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Open access

Tanja Marinko, Simona Borstnar, Rok Blagus, Jure Dolenc and Cvetka Bilban-Jakopin

Abstract

Background

The purpose of the study was to find out whether there is a difference in the early parameters of cardiotoxicity (left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide [NT-proBNP]) between the two groups of patients: the patients treated for left breast cancer (left breast cancer group) and those treated for the right breast cancer (right breast cancer group), after the treatment had been completed.

Patients and methods

The study included 175 consecutive patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) positive early breast cancer, treated concurrently with trastuzumab and radiotherapy (RT), between June 2005 and December 2010. Echocardiography with LVEF measurement was performed before adjuvant RT (LVEF0) and after the completed treatment (LVEF1,). After the treatment NT-proBNP measurement was done as well. The difference (Δ) between LVEF0 and LVEF1 was analysed (Δ LVEF = LVEF0 - LVEF1) and compared between the two groups.

Results

There were 84 patients in the left and 91 in the right breast cancer group. Median observation time was 57 (37–71) months. Mean Δ LVEF (%) was -1.786% in the left and -2.607% in the right breast cancer group (p = 0.562, CI: -2.004 to 3.648). Median NT-proBNP were 111.0 ng/l in the left and 90.0 ng/l in the right breast cancer group (p = 0.545). Echocardiography showed that the patients in the left breast cancer group did not have significantly worse systolic and diastolic left ventricular function in comparison with the patients in the right breast cancer group, but, they had higher incidence of pericardial effusion (9 [11%] vs. 1 [1%]) (p = 0.007).

Conclusions

We did not find any significant differences in the early parameters of cardiotoxicity (LVEF, NT-proBNP) between the observed groups. Patients who received left breast/chest wall irradiation had higher incidence of pericardial effusion.

Open access

Noora Al-Hammadi, Palmira Caparrotti, Carole Naim, Jillian Hayes, Katherine Rebecca Benson, Ana Vasic, Hissa Al-Abdulla, Rabih Hammoud, Saju Divakar and Primoz Petric

Abstract

Background

During radiotherapy of left-sided breast cancer, parts of the heart are irradiated, which may lead to late toxicity. We report on the experience of single institution with cardiac-sparing radiotherapy using voluntary deep inspiration breath hold (V-DIBH) and compare its dosimetric outcome with free breathing (FB) technique.

Patients and methods

Left-sided breast cancer patients, treated at our department with postoperative radiotherapy of breast/chest wall +/– regional lymph nodes between May 2015 and January 2017, were considered for inclusion. FB-computed tomography (CT) was obtained and dose-planning performed. Cases with cardiac V25Gy ≥ 5% or risk factors for heart disease were coached for V-DIBH. Compliant patients were included. They underwent additional CT in V-DIBH for planning, followed by V-DIBH radiotherapy. Dose volume histogram parameters for heart, lung and optimized planning target volume (OPTV) were compared between FB and BH. Treatment setup shifts and systematic and random errors for V-DIBH technique were compared with FB historic control.

Results

Sixty-three patients were considered for V-DIBH. Nine (14.3%) were non-compliant at coaching, leaving 54 cases for analysis. When compared with FB, V-DIBH resulted in a significant reduction of mean cardiac dose from 6.1 +/– 2.5 to 3.2 +/– 1.4 Gy (p < 0.001), maximum cardiac dose from 51.1 +/– 1.4 to 48.5 +/– 6.8 Gy (p = 0.005) and cardiac V25Gy from 8.5 +/– 4.2 to 3.2 +/– 2.5% (p < 0.001). Heart volumes receiving low (10–20 Gy) and high (30–50 Gy) doses were also significantly reduced. Mean dose to the left anterior coronary artery was 23.0 (+/– 6.7) Gy and 14.8 (+/– 7.6) Gy on FB and V-DIBH, respectively (p < 0.001). Differences between FB- and V-DIBH-derived mean lung dose (11.3 +/– 3.2 vs. 10.6 +/– 2.6 Gy), lung V20Gy (20.5 +/– 7 vs. 19.5 +/– 5.1 Gy) and V95% for the OPTV (95.6 +/– 4.1 vs. 95.2 +/– 6.3%) were non-significant. V-DIBH-derived mean shifts for initial patient setup were ≤ 2.7 mm. Random and systematic errors were ≤ 2.1 mm. These results did not differ significantly from historic FB controls.

Conclusions

When compared with FB, V-DIBH demonstrated high setup accuracy and enabled significant reduction of cardiac doses without compromising the target volume coverage. Differences in lung doses were non-significant.

Open access

Martina Vrankar and Karmen Stanic

Abstract

Background

Standard treatment for patients with inoperable locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT). Five-year overall survival rates range between 15 and 25%, while long term survival data are rarely reported.

Patients and methods

A total of 102 patients with stage III NSCLC treated between September 2005 and November 2010 with induction chemotherapy and CCRT were included in this long term survival analysis. All patients were tested for PD-L1 status and expression of PD-L1 was correlated with overall survival (OS), progression free survival (PFS) and toxicities.

Results

The median OS of all patients was 24.8 months (95% CI 18.7 to 31.0) with 10 year-survival rate of 11.2%. The median OS of patients with PD-L1 expression was 12.1 months (95% CI 0.1 to 26.2), while in patients with negative or unknown PD-L1 status was significantly longer, 25.2 months (95% CI 18.9 to 31.6), p = 0.005. The median PFS of all patients was 16.4 months (95% CI 13.0 to 19.9). PFS of patients with PD-L1 expression was 10.1 months (95% CI 0.1 to 20.4) and in patients with negative or unknown PD-L1 status was 17.9 months (95% CI 14.2 to 21.7), p = 0.003.

Conclusions

10-year overall survival of stage III NSCLC patients after CCRT is 11.2%. PFS and OS differ with regard to PD-L1 status and are significantly shorter for patients with PD-L1 expression. New treatment with check-point inhibitors combined with RT therefore seems reasonable strategy to improve these results.

Open access

Jasna But-Hadzic and Vaneja Velenik

Abstract

Background

The aim of the study was to investigate the feasibility and safety of experimental fractionation using intensity modulated radiation therapy with a simultaneous integrated boost (IMRT-SIB) to shorten the overall treatment time without dose escalation in preoperative radiochemotherapy of locally advanced rectal cancer.

Patients and methods

Between January 2014 and November 2015, a total of 51 patients with operable stage II-III rectal adenocarcinoma were treated. The preoperative treatment with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and a pelvic dose of 41.8 Gy and simultaneously delivered 46.2 Gy to T2/3 and 48.4 Gy to T4 tumour in 22 fractions, with standard concomitant capecitabine, was completed in 50 patients out of whom 47 were operated. The median follow-up was 35 months.

Results

The rate of acute toxicity G ≥ 3 was 2.4%. The total downstaging rate was 89% and radical resection was achieved in 98% of patients. Pathologic complete response (pCR) was observed in 25.5% of patients, with 2-year local control (LC), disease free survival (DFS), and overall survival (OS) of 100% for this patient group. An intention-to-treat analysis revealed pN to be a significant prognostic factor for DFS and OS (P = 0.005 and 0.030, respectively). LC for the entire group was 100%, and 2-year DFS and OS were 90% (95 % CI 98.4–81.6) and 92.2% (95% CI 99.6–84.7), respectively.

Conclusions

The experimental regime in this study resulted in a high rate of pCR with a low acute toxicity profile. Excellent early results translated into encouraging 2-year LC, DFS, and OS.

Open access

Danijela Strbac, Katja Goricar, Vita Dolzan and Viljem Kovac

Abstract

Background

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a rare disease, linked to asbestos exposure in more than 80% of the cases. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been identified as modulators of the tumour microenvironment and carcinogenesis. Polymorphisms of selected MMPs have been studied as potential biomarkers of time to progression (TTP) and overall survival (OS) in MM. The aim of our study was to investigate selected MMP polymorphisms as baseline risk predictors in MM development in combination with other well known risk factors, such as asbestos exposure.

Patients and methods

The study included 236 patients and 161 healthy blood donors as the control group. Ten different polymorphisms in three MMP genes were genotyped using a fluorescence-based competitive allele-specific assay (KASPar): MMP2 rs243865, rs243849 and rs7201, MMP9 rs17576, rs17577, rs2250889 and rs20544, and MMP14 rs1042703, rs1042704 and rs743257. In statistical analyses continuous variables were described using median and range (25%–75%), while frequencies were used to describe categorical variables. Deviation from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) was assessed using the standard chi-square test. The additive and dominant genetic models were used in statistical analyses. The association of genetic polymorphism with MM risk were examined by logistic regression to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results

Carriers of at least one polymorphic MMP2 rs243865 allele tended to have a decreased risk for MM (OR = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.44–1.00; P = 0.050). The association was more pronounced in patients with known asbestos exposure: carriers of at least one polymorphic allele had significantly lower MM risk (OR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.35–0.86; P = 0.009). None of the other tested polymorphisms showed association with the risk of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Conclusions

The MMP2 rs243865 polymorphism may have a protective role in malignant pleural mesothelioma development. This finding is even more evident in patients exposed to asbestos, implying a strong gene-environment interaction.

Open access

Lorna Zadravec Zaletel, Matjaz Popit and Marjan Zaletel

Abstract

Background

The risk for cerebrovascular late effects among childhood cancer survivors is considerable. According to recent studies it is not clear which marker could be reliable for the screening of cerebrovascular diseases among the long-term survivors of childhood cancer. The purpose of this study is to analyse arterial stiffness and intima-media thickness as possible early markers of later occurring stroke in long-term survivors of childhood cancer after neck radiotherapy.

Patients and methods

Twenty-three patients, treated for Hodgkin disease (HD) in childhood, were included. They had received radiation therapy to the neck with 20–65 (median 30) Gy. Twenty-six healthy controls, matched in age, sex, body mass index, arterial hypertension, smoking history and total cholesterol levels were compared. Highresolution colour-coded duplex sonography and power Doppler sonography of the carotid arteries were performed and intima-media thickness, number and quality of plaques were measured. Arterial stiffness indices were calculated.

Results

Plaque deposits and/or arterial wall calcinations were found in 24 out of 43 (55.8%) irradiated vessels in cancer survivors group and 0 out of 52 vessels in the group of healthy controls (p < 0.01). We found significant group differences for all the stiffness parameters we used (P < 0.05), but there was no difference in intima-media thickness between cases and controls (p = 0.92). In a multivariate model, carotid pulse wave velocity was positively associated with smoking.

Conclusions

The arterial stiffness has appeared as a possible surrogate marker for stroke in long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Smoking habit might have an additional negative influence on vascular aging in the group of patients after neck radiotherapy.

Open access

Biljana Grcar-Kuzmanov, Emanuela Bostjancic, Juan Antonio Contreras Bandres and Joze Pizem

Abstract

Background

Sclerosing melanocytic lesions, which are characterized by either focal or diffuse sclerosis in the dermal component and atypical proliferation of predominantly nevoid melanocytes, remain poorly defined. Our aim was to analyze systematically their morphologic spectrum, especially the distinction between sclerosing melanocytic nevus and sclerosing melanoma, which has not been well documented.

Patients and methods

We collected 90 sclerosing melanocytic lesions, occurring in 82 patients (49 male, 33 female; age range from 21 to 89 years). A four probe fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) assay was performed in 41 lesions to substantiate the diagnosis of sclerosing melanomas.

Results

A prominent full-thickness pagetoid spread of melanocytes was identified in 44 (48%) lesions, and a melanoma in situ adjacent to the sclerosis in 55 (61%) lesions. In the intrasclerotic component, maturation was absent in 40 (44%) and mitotic figures were identified in 18 (20%) lesions. Of the 90 lesions, 26 (29%) were diagnosed morphologically as nevi and 64 (71%) as melanomas (Breslow thickness from 0.4 to 1.8 mm), including 45 (50%) melanomas with an adjacent nevus. A four-probe FISH assay was positive in the sclerotic component in 14 of 25 lesions diagnosed morphologically as melanomas and none of 16 nevi. A sentinel lymph node biopsy was performed for 17 lesions and was negative in all cases.

Conclusions

Sclerosing melanocytic lesions form a morphologic spectrum and include both nevi and melanomas. The pathogenesis of sclerosis remains obscure but seems to be induced by melanocytes or an unusual host response in at least a subset of lesions.

Open access

Ana Ursula Gavric, Janja Ocvirk and Polona Jaki Mekjavic

Abstract

Background

Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor cobimetinib and V-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1 (BRAF) inhibitor vemurafenib have significantly improved the prognosis of BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma. Some ocular symptoms and signs were recently recognized to follow this treatment. The study was aimed to investigate ocular toxicity in patients with metastatic melanoma treated with cobimetinib in combination with vemurafenib.

Patients and methods

In the prospective, observational study, patients with BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma treated with cobimetinib in combination with vemurafenib at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana were asked to participate. Ophthalmic examination was performed including measurement of visual acuity and intraocular pressure, slit lamp examination, funduscopy (CF), infrared-reflectance (IR) imaging and optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Results

Five out of 7 patients noticed changes in vision few days after starting the therapy with cobimetinib. In all patients, small circular lesions, described as MEKAR lesions, were documented in outer retinal layers demonstrated with OCT, IR, and CF. Changes were in the center and/or scattered over the retina almost symmetrical in both eyes in 6 patients, and asymmetrical in one patient, the latter presented also with unilateral anterior uveitis and cystoid macular edema.

Conclusions

Multiple bilateral foveal and extrafoveal small retinal lesions in the outer retinal layers develop in patients treated with MEK inhibitor in combination with BRAF inhibitor. Ophthalmologists and oncologists need to be aware of this common, yet relatively benign and often transient ocular side effect to avoid needless intervention, including the discontinuance of a potentially life-prolonging therapy.

Open access

Catrin von Below, Cecilia Wassberg, Rafael Grzegorek, Joel Kullberg, Charlotta Gestblom, Jens Sörensen, Mauritz Waldén and Håkan Ahlström

Abstract

Background

The aim of the study was to examine the value of quantitative and qualitative MRI and 11C acetate PET/CT parameters in predicting regional lymph node (LN) metastasis of newly diagnosed prostate cancer (PCa).

Patients and methods

Patients with intermediate (n = 6) and high risk (n = 47) PCa underwent 3T MRI (40 patients) and 11C acetate PET/CT (53 patients) before extended pelvic LN dissection. For each patient the visually most suspicious LN was assessed for mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADCmean), maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax), size and shape and the primary tumour for T stage on MRI and ADCmean and SUVmax in the index lesion. The variables were analysed in simple and multiple logistic regression analysis.

Results

All variables, except ADCmean and SUVmax of the primary tumor, were independent predictors of LN metastasis. In multiple logistic regression analysis the best model was ADCmean in combintion with MRI T-stage where both were independent predictors of LN metastasis, this combination had an AUC of 0.81 which was higher than the AUC of 0.65 for LN ADCmean alone and the AUC of 0.69 for MRI T-stage alone.

Conclusions

Several quantitative and qualitative imaging parameters are predictive of regional LN metastasis in PCa. The combination of ADCmean in lymph nodes and T-stage on MRI was the best model in multiple logistic regression with increased predictive value compared to lymph node ADCmean and T-stage on MRI alone.

Open access

Alenka Franko, Nika Kotnik, Katja Goricar, Viljem Kovac, Metoda Dodic-Fikfak and Vita Dolzan

Abstract

Background

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer with poor outcome, associated with asbestos exposure. Reactive oxygen species may play an important role in the mechanism of carcinogenesis; therefore, genetic variability in antioxidative defence may modify an individual’s susceptibility to this cancer. This study investigated the influence of functional polymorphisms of NQO1, CAT, SOD2 and hOGG1 genes, gene-gene interactions and gene-environment interactions on malignant mesothelioma risk.

Patients and methods

In total, 150 cases with malignant mesothelioma and 122 controls with no asbestos-related disease were genotyped for NQO1, CAT, SOD2 and hOGG1 polymorphisms.

Results

The risk of malignant mesothelioma increased with smoking, odds ratio (OR) 9.30 [95% confidence interval (CI): 4.83–17.98] and slightly with age, OR 1.10 (95% CI: 1.08–1.14). Medium and high asbestos exposures represented 7-times higher risk of malignant mesothelioma compared to low exposure, OR 7.05 (95% CI 3.59–13.83). NQO1 rs1800566 was significantly associated with increased malignant mesothelioma risk, OR 1.73 (95% CI 1.02–2.96). Although there was no independent association between either CAT rs1001179 or hOGG1 rs1052133 polymorphism and malignant mesothelioma, interaction between both polymorphisms showed a protective effect, ORint 0.27 (95% CI 0.10–0.77).

Conclusions

Our findings suggest a role of both genetic variability in antioxidative defence and repair as well as the impact of gene-gene interactions in the development of malignant mesothelioma. The results of this study could add to our understanding of pathogenesis of malignant mesothelioma and contribute to prevention and earlier diagnosis of this aggressive cancer.