BACKGROUND: This phase III study was designed to compare the combination paclitaxel (Taxol)-gemcitabine (PG) versus carboplatin-gemcitabine (CG) in patients with advanced inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer. METHODS: Chemotherapy-naive patients with performance status of zero or one were randomized to gemcitabine 1 gm/m(2) on days 1 and 8 plus either paclitaxel 200 mg/m(2) on day 1 (arm A) or carboplatin at an area under the concentration-time curve of 6 mg on day 1 (arm B) every 3 weeks. Primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points included objective response (OR), time to progression and toxicity. RESULTS: A total of 512 patients were enrolled and 452 eligible (arm A, 225; arm B, 227) were analyzed. All characteristics were well balanced with the exception of vena cava obstruction symptoms and lymph node involvement. Median survival was 9.97 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.74-12.0] for group A and 10.49 (95% CI 9.04-11.94) for group B. There was no difference in the OS, 1-year survival, OR and TtP. However, statistically significant differences were seen in toxicity. CONCLUSION: The two regimens are equally active. Myelotoxicity is worse in the CG group whereas alopecia, myalgia and neurotoxicity worse in the PG group.
The role of high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) remains controversial. This study was initiated to compare the efficacy and tolerability of HDCT as a consolidation approach in women with chemosensitive advanced EOC (FIGO stages IIC-IV). Patients who had achieved their first clinical complete remission after six cycles of conventional paclitaxel and carboplatin combination chemotherapy were randomly assigned to receive or not high-dose melphalan. The primary objective was to compare time to disease progression (TTP). A total of 80 patients were enrolled onto the trial. Patients who were randomized to receive HDCT were initially treated with cyclophosphamide 4g/m2 for PBPC mobilization. HDCT consisted of melphalan 200 mg/m2. Of the 37 patients who were allocated to HDCT, 11 (29.7%) did not receive melphalan either due to patient refusal (n = 5) or due to failure of PBPC mobilization (n = 6). In an intent-to-treat analysis, there were no significant differences between the two arms in TTP (P = 0.059) as well as in overall survival (OS) (P = 0.38).
The incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is more than 1‰ annually in the general population and increases further in cancer patients. The risk of VTE is higher in multiple myeloma (MM) patients who receive thalidomide or lenalidomide, especially in combination with dexamethasone or chemotherapy. Various VTE prophylaxis strategies, such as low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH), warfarin or aspirin, have been investigated in small, uncontrolled clinical studies. This manuscript summarizes the available evidence and recommends a prophylaxis strategy according to a risk-assessment model. Individual risk factors for thrombosis associated with thalidomide/lenalidomide-based therapy include age, history of VTE, central venous catheter, comorbidities (infections, diabetes, cardiac disease), immobilization, surgery and inherited thrombophilia. Myeloma-related risk factors include diagnosis and hyperviscosity. VTE is very high in patients who receive high-dose dexamethasone, doxorubicin or multiagent chemotherapy in combination with thalidomide or lenalidomide, but not with bortezomib. The panel recommends aspirin for patients with ≤1 risk factor for VTE. LMWH (equivalent to enoxaparin 40mg per day) is recommended for those with two or more individual/myeloma-related risk factors. LMWH is also recommended for all patients receiving concurrent high-dose dexamethasone or doxorubicin. Full-dose warfarin targeting a therapeutic INR of 2-3 is an alternative to LMWH, although there are limited data in the literature with this strategy. In the absence of clear data from randomized studies as a foundation for recommendations, many of the following proposed strategies are the results of common sense or derive from the extrapolation of data from many studies not specifically designed to answer these questions. Further investigation is needed to define the best VTE prophylaxis.
The majority of patients with indolent lymphomas relapse due to minimal residual disease (MRD). In the present study, we sought to determine whether by using rituximab consolidation, for eradication of MRD, following induction chemotherapy with fludarabine and mitoxantrone (FN) combination could improve the outcome of indolent lymphomas. Patients with indolent lymphoma received fludarabine 25mg/m2 Day 1-3 and mitoxantrone 10mg/m2 on Day 1 every 28 days. Patients who attained a response (complete response, CR or partial response, PR) received four weekly doses of Rituximab 375mg/m2 1 month and 3 months after completion of treatment. Forty-five patients were entered into this Phase II trial. The median follow-up time was 39 months. The median number of delivered cycles was 6. Fifty-three percent of patients attained a CR and 38% a PR for an overall response rate of 91%. One patient had stable disease, one had progression of the disease, whereas 2 were non-evaluable. After a median follow-up of 39 months, 32 of 46 patients (74%) are alive and disease-free. Grade III and IV toxicities included leucopenia (37%), neutropenia (28%), thrombocytopenia (7%), anemia (4%), and diarrhea (2%). Grade V toxicities included septic death in one patient and death due to hepatititis B reactivation 6 months after the last Rituximab dose in another patient. FN followed by R consolidation is a well-tolerated and active regimen in the treatment of patients with indolent lymphomas. Further follow-up is required to determine if these remissions are maintained.
Although platinum-based chemotherapy remains the "standard" in advanced non small-cell lung cancer, not all patients-derive clinical benefit from such a treatment. Hence, the development of predictive biomarkers able to identify lung cancer patients who are most likely to benefit from cisplatin-based chemotherapy has become a scientific priority. Among the molecular pathways involved in DNA damage control after chemotherapy, the nucleotide excision repair (NER) is a critical process for the repair of DNA damage caused by cisplatin-induced DNA adducts. Many reports have explored the role of the excision repair cross-complementation group 1 enzyme (ERCC1) expression in the repair mechanism of cisplatin-induced DNA adducts in cancer cells. Using immunohistochemistry in resected tumors from patients included in the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial, the study of important biomarkers showed that high ERCC1 protein expression was associated with improved survival in chemo-naïve patients. On the contrary, the benefit of adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy was more profound in patients with low ERCC1 expression. In a prospective cohort studying mRNA expression in tumor biopsies from patients receiving customized therapy with cisplatin and gemcitabine depending on the molecular profile of the tumour, results showed that patients with low ERCC1 mRNA expression had a longer median survival compared to those with high expression. These data suggest the potent use of ERCC1 as a molecular predictor of clinical resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting of NSCLC. Nevertheless, optimization of methodology, including standardization of technical procedures, as well as validation of ERCC1 protein expression in large prospective cohorts, seem necessary before any routine immunohistochemical validation of ERCC1 can be implemented in daily practice.
Renal failure is a common feature of multiple myeloma and a major management problem. However there is limited data regarding the reversibility of renal failure, the kinetics of serum creatinine and the safety of novel agents such as bortezomib when administered to newly diagnosed or relapsed/refractory patients with renal failure. Patients and Methods. We evaluated 20 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma and renal failure, defined as a serum creatinine ≥ 2 mg/dl. All patients received bortezomib with dexamethasone or in combination with other agents (thalidomide, doxorubicin or melphalan). Results. Reversal of renal failure was documented in 40% of all patients and the median time to reversal was 17 days. Moreover 10 patients (50%) had 50% decrease in serum creatinine and the median time to decrease was 35 days. Some decrease of creatinine was documented in 85% of patients. The objective response rate was 65%. Toxicities were similar to those seen in myeloma patients without renal failure. Conclusions. Bortezomib based regimens can be administered to myeloma patients with renal impairment and their toxicity and efficacy are similar to those observed in patients without renal impairment. Moreover, bortezomib-based regimens induce improvement of serum creatinine in most patients and reversal of renal failure in approximately one-third.
During the last decade several novel agents have been used in the management of patients with multiple myeloma. Immunomodulatory drugs and proteasome inhibitors exert their efficacy both directly by inducing apoptosis of myeloma cells and indirectly through the interruption of the interactions between myeloma and stromal cells in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment. These interactions are crucial for myeloma cell growth and survival. The adherence of myeloma cells to BM stromal cells leads to the overproduction of several cytokines with angiogenic properties that enhance the survival and growth of myeloma cells through paracrine and autocrine loops. The correlation of these molecules with clinical features and survival of myeloma patients supports the importance of angiogenesis in the pathogenesis of the disease and reveals these cytokines as suitable targets for the development of novel anti-myeloma therapies. This review summarises all available preclinical and clinical data for the effect of novel agents that are used in myeloma therapy, such as thalidomide, lenalidomide, bortezomib and VEGF inhibitors, on angiogenesis, which is at least partially responsible for their remarkable anti-myeloma efficacy.
Renal failure is a frequent complication in patients with multiple myeloma (MM) that causes significant morbidity. In the majority of cases, renal impairment is caused by the accumulation and precipitation of light chains, which form casts in the distal tubules, resulting in renal obstruction. In addition, myeloma light chains are also directly toxic on proximal renal tubules, further adding to renal dysfunction. Adequate hydration, correction of hypercalcemia and hyperuricemia and antimyeloma therapy should be initiated promptly. Recovery of renal function has been reported in a significant proportion of patients treated with conventional chemotherapy, especially when high-dose dexamethasone is also used. Severe renal impairment and large amount of proteinuria are associated with a lower probability of renal recovery. Novel agents, such as thalidomide, bortezomib and lenalidomide, have significant activity in pretreated and untreated MM patients. Although there is limited experience with thalidomide and lenalidomide in patients with renal failure, data suggest that bortezomib may be beneficial in this population. Clinical studies that have included newly diagnosed and refractory patients indicate that bortezomib-based regimens may result in rapid reversal of renal failure in up to 50% of patients and that full doses of bortezomib can be administered without additional toxicity.
Lenalidomide is an immunomodulatory drug, structurally related to thalidomide, with pleiotropic activity including antiangiogenic and antineoplastic properties. It is the product of advances in our understanding of the biology of myeloma cells, their interactions with the microenvironment and of the underlying molecular pathways. In preclinical and clinical studies, lenalidomide was more potent and less toxic than thalidomide. Subsequent phase II and III studies confirmed the activity of lenalidomide either as a single agent or in combination with dexamethasone in relapsed or refractory myeloma patients, whereas combinations with chemotherapy induce high response rates and durable remissions. Lenalidomide has been used successfully as an upfront treatment either with high or low dose dexamethasone or with melphalan and prednisone, resulting in high overall response and complete response rates and excellent 1-year survival. Lenalidomide causes less neuropathy than thalidomide; however, the risk of thromboembolism is high, especially in patients treated with lenalidomide and steroids. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms of action, toxicity and clinical activity, and the current role of lenalidomide in patients with multiple myeloma or other related plasma cell disorders.
Background: Cycloxygenase (COX)-2 has been associated with proliferation, apoptosis and angiogenesis in urothelial cancer. The prognostic significance of COX-2 in patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy for urothelial cancer was examined. Patients and Methods: Expression of COX-2, p53, ki67, β-catenin, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and microvessel density (MVD) were studied retrospectively in 59 patients with urothelial cancer (pT3, pT4, N+) who had undergone surgery. The patients had subsequently received adjuvant chemotherapy. Results: Thirty-eight out of 59 cases (64% ) were positive for COX-2. COX-2 was not associated either with progression-free survival (PFS) or overall survival (OS). MVD levels ≥47 were associated with longer median PFS compared with lower levels (not reached vs. 13 months [95% CI: 8-18], p=0.048). The median PFS for patients with β-catenin nuclear accumulation and COX-2 expression was 6 months (95% CI: 4-7) compared with 19 months (95% CI: 14-23) for neither or only one of these factors (p=0.018). Conclusion: MVD may be a useful indicator of relapse in high-risk urothelial cancer treated with adjuvant chemotherapy.
Primary objective: Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is used for the mobilization of bone marrow and endothelial progenitor cells, though G-CSF-induced inflammation may cause endothelial dysfunction. We examined the effects of G-CSF on endothelium, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and anti-inflammatory cytokines namely interleukin 10 (IL-10). Research design: We studied 60 women with breast cancer, who were randomized to either subcutaneous G-CSF (5 μg/kg), o.d. for 5 days after adjuvant chemotherapy (n = 40) or placebo (n = 20). Experimental interventions: We measured flow-mediated dilatation (FMD%) of the brachial artery by ultrasonography, CRP, TNF-α, IL-10 and the ratio TNF-α/IL-10 blood levels before, 2-h and 5-days after the G-CSF or placebo treatment. Main outcomes and results: There was a greater increase of FMD, IL-10 and reduction of TNF-α/IL-10, 2 h and 5 days after the G-CSF treatment compared to placebo. Although, CRP and TNF-α were higher, TNF-α/IL-10 was lower at the end of G-CSF treatment compared to placebo. Improvement of FMD was related to changes of IL-10 and TNF-α/IL-10. Conclusions: Treatment with G-CSF improves endothelial function in vivo, possibly by shifting the balance between the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Thalidomide with dexamethasone (thal-dex) is an active therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (MM). In this Practice Point, we discuss the findings of a trial by Rajkumar et al. that aimed to compare the response rate, time to progression and progression-free survival among previously untreated patients with MM who received either thal-dex or placebo plus dexamethasone. The thal-dex regimen was associated with a significantly higher response rate at the expense of more-frequent adverse effects, in particular deep-vein thrombosis, which occurred in almost 20% of patients. Median time to progression was three times longer with thal-dex than with placebo plus dexamethasone, but was shorter, however, than the time to progression observed in studies in which thalidomide or bortezomib was added to melphalan and prednisone. Nevertheless, thal-dex is a convenient oral and relatively inexpensive non-myelosuppressive regimen, which can be used in patients with previously untreated MM.
Background: A number of studies have shown that absence of myelotoxicity during chemotherapy is associated with worse outcome for various types of cancer, including carcinoma of the breast. The aim of this study was to determine whether myelosuppression in patients being treated with chemotherapy for advanced breast cancer has an impact on their prognosis. Patients and Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of a series of 475 patients with advanced breast cancer enrolled in two randomised trials, who received first-line chemotherapy. The impact of severe (grade 3 or 4) hematological toxicity on survival and time to disease progression was assessed. Results: When severe myelotoxicity was evaluated as a whole, a significant negative association for time to disease progression and a trend for a worse survival were demonstrated. In multivariate analysis, hematological toxicity retained its significance as an independent negative prognostic factor for time to disease progression. Conclusion: Our findings do not confirm the results of previous studies which have demonstrated a better outcome for patients experiencing hematological toxicity during treatment.
This phase 2 study aimed to determine the efficacy and safety of the combination of bortezomib, melphalan, dexamethasone and intermittent thalidomide (VMDT) and its effect on bone remodeling and angiogenesis in relapsed/refractory myeloma. Bortezomib (1.0 mg/m2) was given on days 1, 4, 8, 11, oral melphalan (0.15 mg/kg) on days 1-4, whereas thalidomide (100mg per day) and dexamethasone (12 mg/m2) were administered on days 1-4 and 17-20 of a 28-day cycle, for four cycles. Patients without disease progression continued for up to eight cycles. VMDT effect on bone remodeling was evaluated by measuring osteoclast regulators (soluble receptor activator of nuclear factor-κ B ligand/osteoprotegerin ratio, osteopontin, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α), dickkopf-1 protein, bone resorption and formation markers, whereas its effect on angiogenesis was assessed by measuring serum vascular endothelial growth factor, angiogenin, angiopoietin-2 and basic fibroblast growth factor, after four cycles and at the study end. A total of 62 patients were enrolled. The overall response rate was 66%: CR 13%, vgPR 27% and PR 26%. Median time to response was 35 days and median time to progression was 9.3 months. Common adverse events included cytopenias, peripheral neuropathy and infections. No patient experienced deep-vein thrombosis. VMDT reduced angiogenic cytokines, osteoclast regulators, dickkopf-1 and bone resorption. We conclude that VMDT with intermittent thalidomide is an active and well-tolerated regimen for relapsed/refractory myeloma, affecting abnormal bone remodeling and angiogenesis.
Background: Small cell carcinomas (SCC) originate mainly from bronchial tissue. Several extrapulmonary sites of origin have been described, including the genitourinary and gastrointestinal tracts, the ear, nose and throat and lymph nodes. SCC of the lung may be associated with paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes. Case Report: We report an oat cell histological variant of SCC found in the thymus gland of a 53-year-old woman who presented with subacute cerebellar dysfunction. Conclusions: SCC of the thymus gland, which is a rare extrapulmonary site of origin of SCC, accompanied by cerebellar dysfunction, is rarely reported.