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1.  Prognostic information of serial plasma osteopontin measurement in radiotherapy of non-small-cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2014;14(1):858.
Background
Circulating baseline levels of the plasma-protein osteopontin (OPN) have been suggested as a prognostic indicator in chemotherapy and surgery for lung cancer. However, the role of this hypoxia-related protein in radiotherapy of lung cancer is unclear. We previously demonstrated the prognostic effect of baseline OPN plasma levels which was increased by co-detection with other hypoxia-related proteins in the radical radiotherapy of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This prospective clinical study investigated whether serial OPN measurements during and after curative-intent radiotherapy for NSCLC provide additional or superior prognostic information.
Methods
Sixty-nine patients with inoperable NSCLC were prospectively enrolled (55 M0, 14 M1). OPN plasma levels were measured before (t0), at the end (t1) and four weeks after radiotherapy (t2) by ELISA, compared between M0 and M1 patients and correlated with clinicopathological parameters. OPN levels were monitored over time and correlated with prognosis in M0-stage patients treated by radical 66-Gy radiotherapy ± chemotherapy.
Results
Pre-treatment OPN levels were associated with T stage (p = .03), lung function (p = .002), weight loss (p = .01), tumor volume (p = .02) and hemoglobin concentration (p = 04). M1 patients had significantly elevated OPN levels at all time points (p < .001). Patients with increasing OPN levels after radiotherapy had inferior freedom from relapse (p = .008), overall survival (p = .004) and disease-free survival (p = .001) compared to patients with stable or decreasing OPN levels. The risk of relapse in patients with increasing or stable OPN levels after radiotherapy was increased by a factor of 2.9 (p = .01). Patients with increasing post-treatment OPN levels had a 3.1-fold increased risk of death (p = .003). In an exploratory multivariate model, post-treatment OPN level changes but not absolute baseline OPN levels remained an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (p = .002) with a 3.6-fold increased risk of death, as well as N stage (p = .006).
Conclusions
Our results suggest that OPN level changes over time, particularly post-treatment, may yield additional prognostic information in curative-intent radiotherapy of NSCLC.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-858
PMCID: PMC4251866  PMID: 25416631
Osteopontin; Radiotherapy; Non-small-cell lung cancer; Tumor hypoxia; Prognostic factors; Plasma biomarker
2.  Prospective evaluation of quality of life effects in patients undergoing palliative radiotherapy for brain metastases 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:283.
Background
Recently published results of quality of life (QoL) studies indicated different outcomes of palliative radiotherapy for brain metastases. This prospective multi-center QoL study of patients with brain metastases was designed to investigate which QoL domains improve or worsen after palliative radiotherapy and which might provide prognostic information.
Methods
From 01/2007-01/2009, n=151 patients with previously untreated brain metastases were recruited at 14 centers in Germany and Austria. Most patients (82 %) received whole-brain radiotherapy. QoL was measured with the EORTC-QLQ-C15-PAL and brain module BN20 before the start of radiotherapy and after 3 months.
Results
At 3 months, 88/142 (62 %) survived. Nine patients were not able to be followed up. 62 patients (70.5 % of 3-month survivors) completed the second set of questionnaires. Three months after the start of radiotherapy QoL deteriorated significantly in the areas of global QoL, physical function, fatigue, nausea, pain, appetite loss, hair loss, drowsiness, motor dysfunction, communication deficit and weakness of legs. Although the use of corticosteroid at 3 months could be reduced compared to pre-treatment (63 % vs. 37 %), the score for headaches remained stable. Initial QoL at the start of treatment was better in those alive than in those deceased at 3 months, significantly for physical function, motor dysfunction and the symptom scales fatigue, pain, appetite loss and weakness of legs. In a multivariate model, lower Karnofsky performance score, higher age and higher pain ratings before radiotherapy were prognostic of 3-month survival.
Conclusions
Moderate deterioration in several QoL domains was predominantly observed three months after start of palliative radiotherapy for brain metastases. Future studies will need to address the individual subjective benefit or burden from such treatment. Baseline QoL scores before palliative radiotherapy for brain metastases may contain prognostic information.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-283
PMCID: PMC3434068  PMID: 22780988
Brain tumours; EORTC-QLQ-C15-PAL; EORTC-BN20; Whole-brain radiotherapy
3.  Prognostic impact of mRNA levels of osteopontin splice variants in soft tissue sarcoma patients 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:131.
Background
It is well known that osteopontin (OPN) plays an important role in tumor progression and that a high OPN expression level in several tumor entities correlates with poor prognosis in cancer patients. However, little is known about the prognostic relevance of the OPN mRNA splice variants.
Methods
We analyzed the mRNA expression levels of different OPN splice variants in tumor tissue of 124 soft tissue sarcoma (STS) patients. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to analyze the mRNA expression level of three OPN splice variants (OPN-a, -b and -c).
Results
The multivariate Cox's proportional hazard regression model revealed that high mRNA expression levels of OPN splice variants are significantly associated with poor prognosis in STS patients (n = 124). Women (n = 68) with high mRNA expression levels of OPN-a and OPN-b have an especially elevated risk of tumor-related death (OPN-a: RR = 3.0, P = 0.01, CI = 1.3-6.8; OPN-b: RR = 3.4, P = 0.01, CI = 1.4-8.2). In particular, we found that high mRNA expression levels of OPN-b and OPN-c correlated with a high risk of tumor-related death in STS patients that received radiotherapy (n = 52; OPN-b: RR = 10.3, P < 0.01, CI = 2.0-53.7; OPN-c: RR = 11.4, P < 0.01, CI = 2.2-59.3).
Conclusion
Our study shows that elevated mRNA expression levels of OPN splice variants are negative prognostic and predictive markers for STS patients. Further studies are needed to clarify the impact of the OPN splice variants on prognosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-12-131
PMCID: PMC3364873  PMID: 22471890
4.  Ten years of progress in radiation oncology 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:503.
Over the last decade, BMC Cancer has continuously published important research from the field of radiation oncology. Major developments in this field include the introduction of new imaging modalities into radiotherapy planning, the availability of hardware and software for more precise delivery of radiation dose, the individualization of radiotherapy concepts, for example, based on microarray data, and the combination of radiotherapy with molecular targeting approaches to overcome the radioresistance of tumor cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-503
PMCID: PMC3259125  PMID: 22128868
5.  A novel splice variant of the stem cell marker LGR5/GPR49 is correlated with the risk of tumor-related death in soft-tissue sarcoma patients 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:429.
Background
The human leucine-rich, repeat-containing G protein-coupled receptor (LGR) 5, also called GPR49, is a marker of stem cells in adult intestinal epithelium, stomach and hair follicles. LGR5/GPR49 is overexpressed in tumors of the colon, ovary and liver and in basal cell carcinomas. Moreover, an expression in skeletal muscle tissues was also detected. However, there has been no investigation regarding the expression and function of LGR5/GPR49 in soft-tissue sarcomas (STS) yet.
Methods
Seventy-seven frozen tumor samples from adult STS patients were studied using quantitative real-time TaqMan™ PCR analysis. The mRNA levels of wild type LGR5/GPR49 and a newly identified splice variant of LGR5/GPR49 lacking exon 5 (that we called GPR49Δ5) were quantified.
Results
A low mRNA expression level of GPR49Δ5, but not wild type LGR5/GPR49, was significantly correlated with a poor prognosis for the disease-associated survival of STS patients (RR = 2.6; P = 0.026; multivariate Cox's regression hazard analysis). Furthermore, a low mRNA expression level of GPR49Δ5 was associated with a shorter recurrence-free survival (P = 0.043). However, tumor onset in patients with a lower expression level of GPR49Δ5 mRNA occurred 7.5 years later (P = 0.04) than in patients with a higher tumor level of GPR49Δ5 mRNA.
Conclusion
An attenuated mRNA level of the newly identified transcript variant GPR49Δ5 is a negative prognostic marker for disease-associated and recurrence-free survival in STS patients. Additionally, a lower GPR49Δ5 mRNA level is associated with a later age of tumor onset. A putative role of GPR49Δ5 expression in tumorigenesis and tumor progression of soft tissue sarcomas is suggested.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-429
PMCID: PMC3203099  PMID: 21978106
6.  HIF-1α inhibition by siRNA or chetomin in human malignant glioma cells: effects on hypoxic radioresistance and monitoring via CA9 expression 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:605.
Background
Hypoxia induces activation of the HIF-1 pathway and is an essential characteristic of malignant gliomas. Hypoxia has been linked to tumor progression, therapy resistance and poor prognosis. However, little is known about the impact of HIF-1α inhibition on radioresistance of malignant glioma.
Methods
In this study, we investigated the effects of the inhibition of HIF-1α on cell survival and radiosensitivity in U251MG and U343MG glioma cells, using two different strategies. HIF-1α inhibition was achieved by siRNA targeting of HIF-1α or via chetomin, a disruptor of interactions between HIF-1α and p300. The inhibition of the HIF-1 pathway was monitored by quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot analyses of the expression levels of HIF-1α and CA9. CA9 expression was investigated as a potential indicator of the efficacy of HIF-1 inhibition and the resulting radiosensitivity of malignant glioma cell lines was determined by clonogenic assay after irradiation under normoxic (2-10 Gy) or hypoxic (2-15 Gy) conditions.
Results
Although siRNA and chetomin show distinct modes of action, both attenuated the hypoxia-induced radioresistance of malignant glioma cell lines U251MG (DMF10: 1.35 and 1.18) and U343MG (DMF10: 1.78 and 1.48). However, siRNA and chetomin showed diverse effects on radiosensitivity under normoxic conditions in U251MG (DMF10: 0.86 and 1.35) and U343MG (DMF10: 1.33 and 1.02) cells.
Conclusions
Results from this in vitro study suggest that inhibition of HIF-1α is a promising strategy to sensitize human malignant gliomas to radiotherapy and that CA9 could serve as an indicator of effective HIF-1-related radiosensitization.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-605
PMCID: PMC2992520  PMID: 21050481
7.  Elevated tumor and serum levels of the hypoxia-associated protein osteopontin are associated with prognosis for soft tissue sarcoma patients 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:132.
Background
Osteopontin (OPN) overexpression is correlated with a poor prognosis for tumor patients. However, only a few studies investigated the prognostic impact of expression of OPN in soft tissue sarcomas (STS) yet.
Methods
This study is based on tumor and serum samples from 93 adult STS patients. We investigated OPN protein levels in serum (n = 86) and tumor tissue (n = 80) by ELISA and OPN mRNA levels in tumor tissue (n = 68) by quantitative real-time PCR.
Results
No correlation was found between OPN levels in serum and tumor tissue. Moreover, an elevated OPN protein level in the serum was significantly associated with clinical parameters such as higher stage (p = 0.004), higher grade (p = 0.003), subtype (p = 0.002) and larger tumor size (p = 0.03). OPN protein levels in the tumor tissue were associated with higher stage (p = 0.06), higher grade (p = 0.003), subtype (p = 0.07) and an increased rate of relapse (p = 0.02). In addition, using a Cox's proportional hazards regression model, we found that an elevated OPN protein level in the serum and tumor tissue extracts is a significant negative prognostic factor for patients with STS. The relative risks of tumor-related death were 2.2 (p < 0.05) and 3.7 (p = 0.01), respectively.
Conclusion
Our data suggest OPN protein in serum as well as in tumor tissue extracts is an important prognostic factor for soft tissue sarcoma patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-132
PMCID: PMC2856551  PMID: 20377868
8.  Effects of HIF-1 inhibition by chetomin on hypoxia-related transcription and radiosensitivity in HT 1080 human fibrosarcoma cells 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:213.
Background
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) overexpression has been linked to tumor progression and poor prognosis. We investigated whether targeting of HIF-1 using chetomin, a disrupter of the interaction of HIF-1 with the transcriptional coactivator p300, influences the radiosensitivity of hypoxic HT 1080 human fibrosarcoma cells.
Methods
Optimal dose of chetomin was determined by EGFP-HRE gene reporter assay in stably transfected HT 1080 cells. Cells were assayed for expression of the hypoxia-inducible genes carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by RT-PCR and for clonogenic survival after irradiation with 2, 5 or 10 Gy, under normoxic or hypoxic (0.1% O2, 12 h) conditions in the presence or absence of chetomin (150 nM, 12 h, pre-treatment of 4 h).
Results
Chetomin treatment significantly reduced CA9 and VEGF mRNA expression in hypoxic cells to 44.4 ± 7.2% and 39.6 ± 16.0%, respectively, of untreated hypoxic controls. Chetomin clearly reduced the modified oxygen enhancement ratio (OER') compared to untreated cells, from 2.02 to 1.27, from 1.86 to 1.22 and from 1.49 to 1.06 at the 50%, 37% and 10% clonogenic survival levels, respectively.
Conclusion
HIF-1 inhibition by chetomin effectively reduces hypoxia-dependent transcription and radiosensitizes hypoxic HT 1080 human fibrosarcoma cells in vitro.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-7-213
PMCID: PMC2200672  PMID: 17999771
9.  Glioblastoma multiforme with oligodendroglial component (GBMO): favorable outcome after post-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy with nimustine (ACNU) and teniposide (VM26) 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:247.
Background
The presence of an oligodendroglial component within a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is considered a prognostically favorable factor, but the clinical outcome of patients with glioblastoma multiforme with oligodendroglial component (GBMO) after combined post-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy has rarely been reported.
Methods
We analyzed overall and progression-free survival in a group of ten consecutive patients initially diagnosed with GBMO between 1996 and 2004 (4.2% of all GBM patients). Median (range) age was 54 (34–73) years, 90% were resected and median radiotherapy dose was 54 (45–60.6) Gy. 80% of patients received post-operative chemotherapy with nimustine (ACNU) and VM26 (teniposide) for a median of 3.5 (1–6) cycles, the remainder were treated with post-operative radiotherapy alone. All specimens were reviewed by an experienced neuropathologist.
Results
Neuropathological re-evaluation revealed GBM with an oligodendroglial component of 30% or less in five cases, predominant oligoastrocytic tumors with focal areas of GBM in four patients and WHO grade III oligoastrocytoma with questionable transition to GBM in one patient. Four of ten patients were alive at at 40, 41, 41 and 82 months. The median overall survival (Kaplan-Meier) was 26 months, the 2-year survival rate was 60% (progression-free survival: 9.8 months and 40%, respectively).
Conclusion
In conclusion, patients with GBMO treated with post-operative radiotherapy and chemotherapy with ACNU/VM26 had a better prognosis than reported for GBM in modern chemoradiation series.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-247
PMCID: PMC1621074  PMID: 17049083
10.  Plasma osteopontin levels in patients with head and neck cancer and cervix cancer are critically dependent on the choice of ELISA system 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:207.
Background
The tumor-associated glycoprotein osteopontin (OPN) is discussed as a plasma surrogate marker of tumor hypoxia and as an indicator of the presence of pleural mesothelioma in asbestos-exposed individuals. The clinical introduction of plasma OPN measurements requires the availability of a reliable enzyme-linked immunosorbence assay (ELISA).
Methods
We compared previously described and currently available ELISA systems on 88 archival plasma samples obtained from patients with head and neck or cervix cancer between 20 days before and 171 after the start of radiotherapy.
Results
Median (range) plasma OPN levels were 667 (148.8–2095) ng/ml and 9.8 (3.5–189.5) ng/ml for a previously described and a newly marketed assay, respectively. Although results for different assays were significantly correlated (r = 0.38, p < 0.05, Spearman rank test), between-assay factors ranged from 2.0 to 217.9 (median 74.6) in individual patients. OPN levels in cervix cancer patients were comparable to those of head and neck cancer patients.
Conclusion
Commercially available OPN ELISA systems produce different absolute plasma OPN levels, compromising a comparison of individual patient data with published results. However, different assays appear to have a similar capacity to rank patients according to plasma OPN level. A review of literature data suggests that plasma OPN levels measured even with identical ELISA systems can only be compared with caution.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-207
PMCID: PMC1564036  PMID: 16911785
11.  Hypofractionated stereotactic re-irradiation: treatment option in recurrent malignant glioma 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:55.
Background
Hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (HFSRT) is one salvage treatment option in previously irradiated patients with recurrent malignant glioma. We analyzed the results of HFSRT and prognostic factors in a single-institution series.
Methods
Between 1997 and 2003, 19 patients with recurrent malignant glioma (14 glioblastoma on most recent histology, 5 anaplastic astrocytoma) were treated with HFSRT. The median interval from post-operative radiotherapy to HFSRT was 19 (range 3–116) months, the median daily single dose 5 (4–10) Gy, the median total dose 30 (20–30) Gy and the median planning target volume 15 (4–70) ml.
Results
The median overall survival (OS) was 9.3 (1.9-77.6+) months from the time of HFSRT, 15.4 months for grade III and 7.9 months for grade IV tumors (p = 0.029, log-rank test). Two patients were alive at 34.6 and 77.6 months. OS was longer after a total dose of 30 Gy (11.1 months) than after total doses of <30 Gy (7.4 months; p = 0.051). Of five (26%) reoperations, none was performed for presumed or histologically predominant radiation necrosis. Median time to tumor progression after HFSRT on imaging was 4.9 months (1.3 to 37.3) months.
Conclusion
HFSRT with conservative total doses of no more than 30 Gy is safe and leads to similar OS times as more aggressive treatment schemes. In individual patients, HFSRT in combination with other salvage treatment modalities, was associated with long-term survival.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-55
PMCID: PMC1156875  PMID: 15924621

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