M Vaghi

Azienda Ospedaliera San Gerardo, Monza, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (23)40.97 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The evaluation of the immune status of cancer patients is not routinely included in clinical oncological practice mainly because of the great number of candidate immune parameters that could potentially be the best index of the status of anticancer immunity. Until recently, the T-helper/T-suppressor lymphocyte ratio (CD4/CD8) was considered to be an index of immunosuppression in cancer patients. Successive studies documented the existence of several subtypes of CD4+ lymphocytes, as well as showing that CD8+ cells were not in fact suppressive, but cytotoxic lymphocytes. More recently, the existence of a subtype of T-helper lymphocytes has been demonstrated provided by an evident suppressive activity on anticancer immunity. These are the so-called T-regulator (T-reg) lymphocytes, which may be detected as CD4+CD25+ cells. A study was carried out to evaluate CD4+/CD4+CD25+ ratio, corresponding to the T-helper/T-reg cell ratio (TH/TR), in a group of 50 cancer patients in relation to their disease extension and in 20 healthy controls. The mean TH/TR ratio observed in patients with metasytases was significantly lower with respect to that found in both patients without metastases and controls. On the contrary, the absolute mean number of T-reg cells was higher in patients with metastases than in those without, but the difference was not statistically significant. The evaluation of T-reg cells in terms of their proportion with respect to T-helper cell total number seems to be more appropriate than the simple measurement of their absolute count, in order to quantify cancer-related immunosuppression. Thus, the TH/TR ratio could represent a useful biological marker to explore the immune status of cancer patients.
    In vivo (Athens, Greece) 01/2008; 22(5):647-50. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Corticosteroids, antidopaminergig agents and 5-HT3 antagonists are the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Acupuncture and acupressure have also appeared to exert antiemetic effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of acupressure in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced vomiting resistant to the standard antiemetic therapies. The study included 40 consecutive advanced cancer patients with untreatable chemotherapy-induced vomiting. Colorectal cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer were the neoplasm most frequent in our patients. According to tumour histotype, patients received chemotherapeutic regimens containing the main emetic cytotoxic agents, including cisplatin and athracyclines. Acupressure was made by PC6 point stimulation for at least 6 h/day at the onset of chemotherapy. The therapeutic approach was well accepted by the overall patients. An evident improvement in the emetic symptomatology was achieved in 28/40 (70%) patients, without significant differences in relation to neither tumor histotype, nor type of chemotherapeutic agent. This preliminary study seems to suggest that a bioenergetic approach by acupressure on PC6 point may be effective in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced vomiting resistant to the conventional pharmacological strategies, as previously demonstrated for vomiting occurring during pregnancy.
    Minerva medica 11/2006; 97(5):391-4. · 1.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent experimental observations, showing the potential role of prolactin (PRL) as a tumor growth factor for prostate cancer and the unfavourable prognostic significance of enhanced chromogranin-A-secreting neuroendocrine cell proliferation, could contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the occurrence of hormone-resistance in the prostate cancer. Moreover, it has been shown that tamoxifen, which consistently exerts estrogenic activity in males, may inhibit prostate cancer cell proliferation in experimental studies. At present, there are no clinical data in humans. This preliminary phase II study was planned in an attempt to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of tamoxifen in hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer. The study included 14 consecutive metastatic prostate cancer patients, who had progressed under the classical endocrine therapy with LHRH-analogs and/or anti-androgens. Patients received the same treatment plus tamoxifen at 20 mg/day orally. A decline greater than 50% in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels occurred in 4/14 (29%) patients within the first 2 months of therapy, with a median duration of 5 months. Mean pre-treatment levels of PRL were significantly higher in responder patients than in those who progressed. Moreover, abnormally high pre-treatment levels of PRL were found in 5/14 (36%) patients. The percent of clinical responses observed in patients with pre-treatment hyperprolactinemia was significantly higher than that found in patients with normal pre-treatment PRL concentrations. Finally, a significant decline in mean PRL levels upon tamoxifen therapy occurred only in the responder patients. This preliminary study seems to justify further clinical research to confirm the potential efficacy of tamoxifen in the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer and to identify possible parameters, which may predict the response to treatment.
    Anticancer research 09/2005; 25(5):3597-9. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The evidence of lymphocytopenia has been demonstrated to predict a poor prognosis in terms of survival in advanced cancer patients. This finding is not surprising because of the fundamental role of lymphocytes in mediating tumor cell destruction. Despite the importance of lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of cancer, there are only few data about the profile and the function of lymphocytes during the various antitumor therapies, and in particular the relation between lymphocyte pretreatment number and response to chemotherapy remains to be established. The present study was performed to evaluate whether the evidence of lymphocytopenia before the onset of treatment may influence the efficacy of chemotherapy in metastatic cancer patients affected by the most frequent tumor types. The study included 183 patients (lung cancer: 89; colorectal cancer: 63; breast cancer: 31), 95 of whom had been previously treated with chemotherapy. The chemotherapeutic regimens consisted of oxaliplatin plus 5-fluorouracil and folates in untreated colorectal cancer, weekly irinotecan in pretreated colorectal cancer, cisplatin plus gemcitabine or etoposide in untreated lung cancer, weekly vinorelbine in pretreated lung cancer, and taxotere in breast cancer patients who had been previously treated with anthracyclines. Lymphocyte count was considered to be abnormally low for values below 1500/mm3. Lymphocytopenia was found in 79/183 (43%) patients, without any significant differences in relation to tumor histology. A complete response (CR) was achieved in 6/104 patients with a normal lymphocyte count and in none of the 79 lymphocytopenic patients. A partial response (PR) was obtained in 39 patients with a normal lymphocyte count and in only eight patients with a low lymphocyte count prior to therapy. Therefore, irrespective of the type of chemotherapy, the objective tumor response rate (CR + PR) in lymphocytopenic patients was significantly lower than in patients with normal pretreatment lymphocyte counts (8/79 vs 45/104; p < 0.001). This study shows that the evidence of lymphocytopenia prior to chemotherapy is associated with a lower efficacy of treatment in terms of objective tumor regression rates in patients with metastatic solid tumors, and suggests that the action of chemotherapy may depend at least in part on an interaction with the antitumor immunity. Pretreatment lymphocyte count may represent a new, simple biological marker to be taken into consideration by oncologists in the chemotherapeutic treatment of metastatic cancer.
    The International journal of biological markers 04/2004; 19(2):135-40. · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In view of its potential action as a growth factor, the evidence of abnormally high blood levels of prolactin (PRL) is associated with a poor prognosis in metastatic breast cancer. Moreover, metastatic breast cancer-related hyperprolactinemia has proven to counteract the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy. The negative influence of high blood levels of PRL on the efficacy of chemotherapy in metastatic breast cancer has been confirmed by previous preliminary studies, showing that the concomitant administration of the anti-prolactinemic dopaminergic agent bromocriptine may enhance the therapeutic effect of chemotherapy. However, the clinical use of bromocriptine is limited by its short duration and gastrointestinal toxicity. Therefore, new anti-prolactinemic drugs, characterized by less toxicity and a longer duration of activity, such as Cabergoline (CBG), could be more appropriated to control PRL secretion in breast cancer. On this basis, a study was planned to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a concomitant administration of CBG with weekly low-dose Taxotere (TXT) in pretreated metastatic breast cancer under chemotherapy. The study group comprised 70 metastatic breast cancer patients (females), pretreated with at least one previous chemotherapeutic line containing anthracyclines, who were randomized to be treated with TXT alone or TXT plus CBG. TXT 25 mg/m2 was given i.v. at weekly intervals for at least 9 consecutive cycles. CBG was given orally at 0.5 mg once per week. Abnormally high pre-treatment levels of PRL were seen in 24/70 (34%) patients, 11 of whom were treated with TXT plus CBG, whereas the other 13 received TXT alone. CBG induced a complete normalization of the PRL levels in all patients within the first two weeks of therapy, whereas no normalization of PRL occurred spontaneously in patients treated with chemotherapy alone. The objective tumor regression rate was significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with CBG than in those who received chemotherapy alone (31/34 vs 13/36, p < 0.05), and this difference was particularly evident in patients with high PRL levels prior to therapy (6/11 vs 2/13). No CBG-related toxicity occurred. On the contrary, chemotherapy-induced asthenia was significantly lower in patients concomitantly treated with CBG (5/34 vs 11/36, p < 0.05). This study shows that the chemoneuroendocrine therapy of weekly low-dose TXT plus the anti-prolactinemic drug CBG is a new, effective and well-tolerated therapy for metastatic breast cancer. It may also be recommended in heavily pretreated patients or in those with poor clinical status.
    Anticancer research 01/2004; 24(6):4223-6. · 1.87 Impact Factor
  • The Breast 03/2003; 12. DOI:10.1016/S0960-9776(03)80132-7 · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the well-demonstrated stimulatory role of prolactin (PRL) on breast cancer cell growth and the possible existence of a PRL-dependency in estrogen-independent mammary tumors, the therapeutic role of the antiprolactinemic drugs in the treatment of human breast cancer has still to be investigated and defined. Previous preliminary studies have already shown that the concomitant administration of antiprolactinemic agents may enhance the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy for breast carcinoma, whereas their impact on the efficacy of the endocrine therapy is still unknown. At present, the classic endocrine therapy for breast cancer consists of anti-estrogens plus LHRH-analogue. The concomitant administration of antiprolactinemic drugs could enhance the efficacy of treatment by blocking not only the action of estrogens, but also that of another growth factor for breast cancer, such as PRL. The present phase II study was performed to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of a polyneuroendocrine approach for breast cancer, consisting of LHRH-analogue plus the anti-estrogen tamoxifen plus a long-acting antiprolactinemic agent, cabergoline. The study included 14 consecutive metastatic breast cancer women, heavily pretreated with the standard anticancer therapies and for whom no other conventional treatment was available. The LHRH-analogue, triptorelin, was given intramuscularly at a dose of 3.75 mg every 28 days, tamoxifen was given orally at 20 mg/day and cabergoline was given orally at 0.5 mg once/week. The clinical response consisted of partial response (PR) in 4 out of 14 (29%) patients, including one who had progressed on a previous treatment with triptorelin plus tamoxifen alone. A stable disease (SD) was achieved in another 5 patients, whereas the other 5 patients had a progressive disease (PD). Mean serum levels of PRL significantly decreased on treatment within the first month of therapy, and its decline was significantly more evident in patients with PR or SD than in those with PD. The treatment was well-tolerated in all patients, and in particular no cabergoline-related toxicity occurred. This preliminary study would suggest that the association of the long-acting antiprolactinemic drug cabergoline may further enhance the efficacy of the classical endocrine therapy for advanced breast cancer with anti-estrogens plus LHRH-analogues.
    Anticancer research 01/2003; 23(1B):733-6. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In addition to the occurrence of pain, the evidence of a diminished capacity to feel pleasure is one of the most common cancer-related symptoms. Recent advances in psychoneuroendocrinological knowledge has shown that the perception of pleasure is mainly mediated by the dopaminergic pathways in the brain. Moreover, it has also been demonstrated that the brain dopaminergic sensitivity may be clinically explored by evaluating the endocrine response to the administration of dopaminergic agents, such as apomorphine, which consists of a decline in PRL concentrations and an increase in GH and cortisol levels. The present study was performed to evaluate dopaminergic sensitivity by the administration of apomorphine in cancer patients in an attempt to document possible cancer-related neuroendocrine anomalies, which could explain the psychological status of the patients. The study included 24 cancer patients (breast cancer: 12; colorectal cancer: 7; non-small cell lung cancer: 5), 12 of whom showed distant organ metastases. Apomorphine was given orally at 0.01 mg/kg b.w., by collecting venous blood samples before and after 20 and 60 minutes. A normal decline in PRL levels was seen in both non-metastatic and metastatic cancer patients. No cortisol increase in response to apomorphine was achieved and the lack of cortisol response was particularly evident in metastatic patients. No GH rise occurred in either metastatic or non-metastatic cancer patients. Finally, no significant difference in the endocrine response to apomorphine was seen in relation to the histotype of tumor. The results of this study show that the neoplastic disease is characterized by neurochemical alterations involving pleasure-related dopaminergic pathways, which are more evident in the metastatic disease, without particular differences in relation to tumor histotype. Therefore, the psychological condition of cancer patients would not depend only on psychological factors, but it could be due at least in part to cancer-related neuroendocrine alterations involving the dopaminergic system.
    In vivo (Athens, Greece) 01/2003; 17(6):647-50. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: After more than ten years of clinical investigations, IL-2 immunotherapy appears to constitute the most effective treatment metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC),at least in terms of survival time. Moreover, it has been shown that comparable results may be achieved with different schedules of treatment, including intravenous high-dose or subcutaneous (SC) low-dose IL-2. Finally, it has been demonstrated that the association with interferon-alpha does not increase the efficacy of IL-2. Therefore, SC low-dose IL-2 alone may be considered as an adequate therapy for metastatic RCC. In fact, our previous studies with SC low-dose IL-2 alone have shown a 5-year survival time similar to that described with higher and more toxic doses of IL-2. This study was performed to analyze the 10-year survival results with SC low-dose IL-2 in metastatic RCC The study included 44 consecutive metastatic RCC patients, with a minimum follow-up of 120 months. One comlete immunotherapeutic cycle consisted of IL-2 at 3 million IU twice/day SC, 5 days/week for 6 consecutive weeks. In non-progressing patients, a second cycle was planned after a 21-day rest period. Complete response (CR) was achieved in only 2 out of 44 (4%) patients, while partial response (PR) was obtained in 8 out of /44 (18%) patients. Therefore, the response rate (CR + PR) was 10 out of 44 (22%), with a median response duration of 12 months. Stable disease (SD) occurred in 21 out of 44 (48%) patients,whereas the remaining 13 out of 44 (30%) patients had a progressive disease (PD). A 10-year survival was achieved in 2 out of 44 (5%) and the percent of survival at 10 years was significantly higher in patients with response or SD than in those with PD. This study confirms at 10 years the results previously referred to by other authors and by ourselves, in showing that the efficacy of IL-2 immunotherapy in terms of control of cancer growth is associated with a clear prolongation of the overall survival time in metastatic RCC.
    Anticancer research 01/2002; 22(2B):1061-4. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prolactin (PRL) constitutes a growth factor for breast cancer cell proliferation and abnormally elevated blood concentrations of PRL are associated with poor prognosis and reduced efficacy of antitumor therapies in metastatic breast carcinoma. It has already been demonstrated that low-dose bromocriptine, an antiprolactinemic long-acting dopaminergic drug, normalizes PRL blood concentrations in metastatic breast cancer patients with abnormally elevated PRL levels. In addition, previous clinical studies have already demonstrated a lower efficacy of chemotherapy with taxotere in metastatic breast cancer, with persistent hyperprolactinemia. We planned a controlled clinical study to evaluate the influence of a concomitant administration of the antiprolactinemic drug bromocriptine on the efficacy of chemotherapy with taxotere, in metastatic breast cancer patients progressing after chemotherapeutic combinations containing anthracyclines. The study included 30 randomized consecutive patients treated with taxotere alone or taxotere plus bromocriptine. Taxotere was given I.V. at 100 mg/m2 every 21 days for 3 cycles. Bromocriptine was given orally at 2.5 mg/day every day until the end of the chemotherapeutic treatment. Bromocriptine therapy induced a significant decline in PRL mean blood concentrations compared to patients treated by chemotherapy alone. No complete response was obtained. A partial response (PR) occurred in 5 out of 14 (36%) patients treated with taxotere plus bromocriptine and in only 2 out of 16 (13%) patients treated with taxotere alone. Moreover, a stable disease (SD) was obtained in 5 out of 16 patients treated with taxotere alone and in 7 out of 14 patients concomitantly treated with bromocriptine. Therefore, the percent of non-progressive disease (PR + SD) achieved in patients treated with taxotere plus bromocriptine was significantly higher with respect to that found in patients treated with taxotere alone (12 out of 14 vs 7 out of 16, p < 0.025). This preliminary clinical study would suggest that the inhibition of PRL secretion by antiprolactinemic drugs such as bromocriptine may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer.
    Anticancer research 01/2002; 22(2B):1131-4. · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Immunochemotherapeutic combinations containing IL-2 theoretically represent the most effective therapies for metastatic melanoma, particularly in association with cisplatin (CDDP); however, both IL-2 and CDDP have been generally utilized at high doses, with the consequence of considerable toxicity. According to psychoneuroimmunological knowledge, the antitumor activity of IL-2 has been proven to be enhanced by the immunomodulating pineal neurohormone melatonin (MLT), which has also been shown to increase the cytotoxicity of cancer chemotherapy and reduce its toxicity. On this basis, a study was planned with low-dose IL-2 and CDDP in association with MLT as a second-line therapy for metastatic melanoma patients progressing on dacarbazine plus interferon-alpha. The study included 13 evaluable patients. CDDP was injected i.v. at 30 mg/m2/day for 3 days every 21 days. IL-2 was administered s.c. at 3 million IU/day from days 4 to 9 and from days 11 to 16 of the cycle. Finally, MLT was given orally at 20 mg/day in the evening, every day without interruption. One patient obtained a complete response (CR), while partial response (PR) was achieved in 3 other patients. Therefore, the objective tumor response-rate (CR + PR) was 4 out of 13 (31%). A stable disease occurred in 5 patients, whereas the remaining 4 patients had a progressive disease. The treatment was extremely well-tolerated in all patients and, in particular, no CDDP-related neurotoxicity was observed. The results of this preliminary study would suggest that low-dose CDDP and IL-2 in association with the pineal hormone MLT (P.I.M. schedule), given as a second line therapy, is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for metastatic melanoma, with a clinical efficacy at least comparable to that obtained with a first-line therapy of dacarbazine plus interferon-alpha.
    In vivo (Athens, Greece) 01/2002; 16(2):93-6. · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent data have suggested that the efficacy of cancer chemotherapy does not depend only on tumor-related characteristics, but also on patient biological status, namely immune and endocrine functions. In particular, it has been shown that prolactin (PRL) is a growth factor for breast cancer, and abnormally high blood levels of PRL have been described in metastatic breast cancer patients. The present study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapy with taxanes in relation to PRL blood levels in metastatic breast cancer. The study included 20 metastatic breast cancer patients, who were treated with taxotere (100 mg/mq I.V. every 21 days) for at least 3 consecutive cycles. Serum levels of PRL were measured by RIA before the onset of treatment and at 21-days intervals. The clinical response consisted of partial response (PR) in 6, stable disease (SD) in 7 and progressive disease (PD) in the remaining 7 patients. Abnormally high pre-treatment levels of PRL were seen in 7/20 patients. The percent of patients who had PD in response to chemotherapy was significantly high in patients with pre-treatment hyperprolactinemia than in those with normal blood levels of PRL before therapy. This study shows that the evidence of abnormally high serum levels of PRL correlates with resistance to chemotherapy with taxanes in metastatic breast cancer. Therefore, a concomitant administration of anti-prolactinemic agents, such as bromocriptine, could enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy itself.
    Neuro endocrinology letters 01/2001; 22(1):27-9. · 0.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: After the discovery of its essential role in anticancer immunity, IL-2 cancer immunotherapy has shown that comparable results may be obtained with different schedules, including intravenous high-dose IL-2 as a bolus or as a 24-hour intravenous infusion or prolonged subcutaneous injection of low-dose IL-2 with or without IFN-alpha. This study shows the long-term results obtained in 92 metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) patients with low-dose subcutaneous IL-2, which was given at 3 million IU twice/day for 5 days/week for 6 consecutive weeks. In nonprogressing patients, a second cycle was planned after a 21-day rest period, followed by maintenance therapy consisting of 5 days of treatment every month until disease progression. Complete response (CR) was achieved in only 2/92 (2%) patients, and partial response (PR) was observed in 19 patients (21%). Therefore, the response rate (CR + PR) was 21/92 (23%), with a median duration of response of 25 months. Stable disease (SD) occurred in 37 patients (40%), whereas the other 34 (37%) had a progressive disease (PD). The response rate was significantly higher in patients with a disease-free interval of >1 year than in those with a lower interval, in patients with a high performance status (PS) than in those with a low PS, and in patients with sites of disease other than the liver. A 5-year survival was obtained in 9/92 (9%) patients, and the percent of survival was significantly higher in patients with a response or SD than in those with PD. The treatment was well tolerated in all patients. This study confirms that low-dose subcutaneous IL-2 alone in an effective and well tolerated therapy of metastatic RCC, with results comparable to those described with more aggressive and toxic IL-2 schedules.
    Urologia Internationalis 02/2000; 64(1):3-8. DOI:10.1159/000030473 · 1.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The recent availability of adequate methods for cytokine measurement could contribute to better understanding the immunophysiopathology of neoplastic disease. Unfortunately, very little data is available about cytokine secretion in cancer patients. At present, IL-2, IL-12 and IL-15 represent the major antitumor cytokines in humans. Preliminary clinical studies have shown a progressive decline in IL-2 levels with cancer progression, whereas IL-12 seems to increase in the advanced disease. IL-18 is the latest cytokine discovered by potential anticancer and anti-angiogenetic activity, and it has effects similar to those of IL-12. This preliminary study was carried out to analyze IL-18 secretion in early or advanced cancer patients. The study included 40 cancer patients (lung cancer, 21; gastrointestinal tumors, 19), 17 of whom had metastatic disease, and 50 healthy controls. Serum levels of IL-18 were measured by ELISA. No significant difference in IL-18 mean levels was seen between controls and non-metastatic patients. In contrast, metastatic patients showed significantly higher IL-18 mean values with respect to both healthy controls and non-metastatic patients. This preliminary study seems to suggest that metastatic disease may be characterized by enhanced IL-18 secretion the biological and prognostic significance to be established by successive clinical investigation.
    Journal of biological regulators and homeostatic agents 01/2000; 14(4):275-7. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer-related deficiency in circulating dendritic cells (DC), whose important anticancer role is well established, has been proven to be associated with lymphocytopenia. This study was performed to evaluate which lymphocyte subset is most markedly related to the failure of the DC system. The study included 30 patients with gastrointestinal tract cancer, 10 of whom had distant organ metastases. Immature and mature DCs were measured by FACS and monoclonal antibodies against CD123 and CD11c antigens, respectively. Low levels of immature and mature DCs were observed in 63% and 43% of patients, respectively. Patients with low levels of circulating mature DCs had significantly lower values of T lymphocytes, T helper lymphocytes and NK cells than those with normal mature DC levels. In contrast, no significant difference was seen between patients with normal or abnormally low values of immature DCs. Conversely, patients with a decreased number of T lymphocytes, T helper lymphocytes and NK cells showed significantly lower values of circulating mature DCs than those with lymphocyte subsets within the normal range, whereas no difference was seen in immature DC amounts. This study suggests that only mature DC deficiency may be associated with important lymphocyte subset alterations in cancer patients, whereas deficiency in immature DCs does not seem to be related to other immune cell disorders.
    The International journal of biological markers 01/2000; 15(1):22-5. · 1.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin (MLT) has been proven to counteract chemotherapy toxicity, by acting as an anti-oxidant agent, and to promote apoptosis of cancer cells, so enhancing chemotherapy cytotoxicity. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of concomitant MLT administration on toxicity and efficacy of several chemotherapeutic combinations in advanced cancer patients with poor clinical status. The study included 250 metastatic solid tumour patients (lung cancer, 104; breast cancer, 77; gastrointestinal tract neoplasms, 42; head and neck cancers, 27), who were randomized to receive MLT (20 mg/day orally every day) plus chemotherapy, or chemotherapy alone. Chemotherapy consisted of cisplatin (CDDP) plus etoposide or gemcitabine alone for lung cancer, doxorubicin alone, mitoxantrone alone or paclitaxel alone for breast cancer, 5-FU plus folinic acid for gastro-intestinal tumours and 5-FU plus CDDP for head and neck cancers. The 1-year survival rate and the objective tumour regression rate were significantly higher in patients concomitantly treated with MLT than in those who received chemotherapy (CT) alone (tumour response rate: 42/124 CT + MLT versus 19/126 CT only, P < 0.001; 1-year survival: 63/124 CT + MLT versus 29/126 CT only, P < 0.001). Moreover, the concomitant administration of MLT significantly reduced the frequency of thrombocytopenia, neurotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, stomatitis and asthenia. This study indicates that the pineal hormone MLT may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and reduce its toxicity, at least in advanced cancer patients of poor clinical status.
    European Journal of Cancer 11/1999; 35(12):1688-92. DOI:10.1016/S0959-8049(99)00159-8 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The biochemical modulation of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) by means of methotrexate (MTX) and 6-S leucovorin (LV) seems mainly directed at two different intracellular targets, supporting the hypothesis of possible non-cross resistance between these two methods of 5-FU potentiation. Thirty-one patients, all previously treated with 5-FU and LV for advanced colorectal cancer (ACC), were treated with MTX = 200 mg/m2 iv day 1 and 5-FU 600 mg/m2 day 2 with 6-S LV 10 mg/m2 po q 6 h X 6 starting 24 h after MTX, repeated every 2 weeks. Of 30 evaluable patients, 2 Partial Remissions (PR) were achieved (Response Rate = 6.6%; 95% Confidence Interval 0%-14%). Eight patients had disease stabilization (SD). The overall median survival was 5 months (range 1-11). No WHO grade III-IV toxicities were reported. Despite the good tolerability, this combination of MTX, 5-FU and LV rescue has minimal activity in ACC after the failure of 5FU+LV-based chemotherapy.
    Journal of chemotherapy (Florence, Italy) 03/1996; 8(1):82-4. DOI:10.1179/joc.1996.8.1.82 · 1.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is known that interleukin-2 (IL-2) activated cytotoxic lymphocytes require a cell-cell contact to exert their anticancer action. Therefore, the pronounced fibrosis that generally characterizes the neoplastic mass could counteract the action of cytotoxic lymphocytes. Some preliminary studies have shown that progesterone and its analogs may inhibit fibroblast proliferation. On the basis of such evidence, we have designed a clinical study with or without the progestational agent medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) in metastatic renal cancer patients in maintenance therapy with IL-2 following response or stable disease (SD) after two cycles of IL-2 subcutaneous immunotherapy, in an attempt to evaluate the influence of MPA on free-from progression (FPP) period. The study included 30 consecutive patients who were randomized to receive IL-2 alone (3 million IU twice/day for 5 days/month subcutaneously) or IL-2 plus low-dose MPA (500 mg orally one day/week) without interruption until disease progression. A FPP period longer than 1 year was obtained in 8/14 patients treated with IL-2 plus MPA and in only 3/16 patients treated with IL-2 alone. The difference was statistically significant. On the contrary, no significant difference was seen in the mean number of lymphocytes and eosinophils, which was evaluated monthly. Finally, no hyperglycemic or thromboembolic complications occurred in patients concomitantly treated with MPA. This preliminary study would suggest that the concomitant administration of low-dose MPA may prolong the FFP period in metastatic renal cancer patients under maintenance therapy with IL-2. A longer follow-up will be required to evaluate the influence of MPA on overall survival.
    Tumori 09/1993; 79(4):246-9. · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Interleukin-2 (IL-2), given subcutaneously with interferon-alpha, induces clinical results similar to those achieved with intravenous administration in advanced renal cancer but with lower toxicity. This study was performed to investigate the efficacy of IL-2 subcutaneous therapy alone in advanced renal cancer patients pretreated with interferon-2 alpha. The study included 13 evaluable patients, 6 of whom had visceral metastasis sites. The cycle consisted of IL-2 at 9 x 10(6) IU/m2 twice daily for 2 days, followed by 1.8 x 10(6) IU/m2 every 12 h for 5 days/week for 6 weeks. Clinical responses were: partial response: 4(31%); stable disease: 7(54%), progressive disease: 2(15%). The median duration of response was 9+ months (range 6(+)-12+). Toxicity was low in all patients, and in particular no important cardiovascular side-effect was seen. The results of this study show that IL-2 subcutaneous therapy alone is an effective and well tolerated treatment in advanced renal cancer patients progressed under interferon-alpha therapy.
    European Journal of Cancer 02/1992; 28(1):92-6. DOI:10.1016/0959-8049(92)90393-G · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Intravenous interleukin-2 (IL-2) administration has been shown to influence several hormonal secretions. The present study was carried out to investigate the endocrine effects of subcutaneous therapy with IL-2. Six patients with advanced renal cancer were studied. They were treated subcutaneously with IL-2 according to the schedule proposed by Atzpodien et al. Venous blood samples were collected at O-time and 1, 8 and 12 hours after the first IL-2 pulse of 9 X 10(6) IU/m2 at 8.00 a.m.; on a separate occasion, samples were collected during a saline infusion only. In each blood sample, serum levels of cortisol, beta-endorphin, GH, PRL, FSH, LH, TSH and the pineal hormone melatonin were measured by RIA. Both cortisol and beta-endorphin significantly increased after IL-2 injection. GH rose but not to a significant extent. PRL, FSH, LH and TSH did not change after IL-2. Finally, melatonin levels markedly decreased after IL-2 injection in the only 2 patients with elevated concentrations of this hormone before the start of immunotherapy. These results suggest that the endocrine effects of subcutaneous IL-2 therapy are similar to those previously described with intravenous administration.
    Tumori 07/1991; 77(3):212-5. · 1.09 Impact Factor