R Rull

University of Barcelona, Barcino, Catalonia, Spain

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Publications (36)89.66 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Localization of sentinel lymph nodes can be challenging if they are in difficult anatomic locations or near high radiotracer activity. The purpose of this study was to assess the value of intraoperative real-time imaging using a portable gamma-camera in conjunction with a conventional gamma-counting probe when it is difficult to localize the sentinel node. After (99m)Tc-nanocolloid injection, patients with various malignancies underwent presurgical lymphoscintigraphy followed by surgery (usually the next day). We evaluated 20 patients who required sentinel lymph node biopsy and in whom the location or other characteristics of the sentinel node would make intraoperative retrieval difficult. During surgery, the sentinel node was localized using a portable gamma-camera together with a hand-held gamma-probe. A (153)Gd pointer or (125)I seed was used to better depict the sentinel node location in real time. Using only a conventional hand-held gamma-probe, surgeons were able to definitively localize the sentinel node in 15 of 20 patients. Intraoperatively, the portable gamma-camera showed uptake by the definite sentinel node in 19 of 20 patients and helped to precisely localize the node with the hand-held gamma-probe in 4 patients. In 1 of these patients, the sentinel node was metastatic. The combination of a standard hand-held gamma-probe and real-time imaging provided by a portable gamma-camera offers a high intraoperative detection rate in patients with difficult sentinel node localization as assessed by presurgical lymphoscintigraphy.
    Journal of Nuclear Medicine 08/2010; 51(8):1219-25. · 5.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The treatment of malignant melanoma or sarcomas on a limb using extremity perfusion with tumour necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and melphalan can result in a high degree of systemic toxicity if there is any leakage from the isolated blood territory of the limb into the systemic vascular territory. Leakage is currently controlled by using radiotracers and heavy external probes in a procedure that requires continuous manual calculations. The aim of this work was to develop a light, easily transportable system to monitor limb perfusion leakage by controlling systemic blood pool radioactivity with a portable gamma camera adapted for intraoperative use as an external probe, and to initiate its application in the treatment of MM patients. A special collimator was built for maximal sensitivity. Software for acquisition and data processing in real time was developed. After testing the adequacy of the system, it was used to monitor limb perfusion leakage in 16 patients with malignant melanoma to be treated with perfusion of TNF-alpha and melphalan. The field of view of the detector system was 13.8 cm, which is appropriate for the monitoring, since the area to be controlled was the precordial zone. The sensitivity of the system was 257 cps/MBq. When the percentage of leakage reaches 10% the associated absolute error is +/-1%. After a mean follow-up period of 12 months, no patients have shown any significant or lasting side-effects. Partial or complete remission of lesions was seen in 9 out of 16 patients (56%) after HILP with TNF-alpha and melphalan. The detector system together with specially developed software provides a suitable automatic continuous monitoring system of any leakage that may occur during limb perfusion. This technique has been successfully implemented in patients for whom perfusion with TNF-alpha and melphalan has been indicated.
    Nuklearmedizin 07/2009; 48(4):166-72. · 1.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the prognostic value of detecting tyrosinase transcripts in melanoma sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs). Reverse transcription (RT) PCR for tyrosinase mRNA was performed on negative SLNs of 76 patients with melanoma. Tyrosinase mRNA was found in 39 patients (51.3%). After a median follow-up period of 51 months, significant differences were found in overall survival (OS) but not in disease-free survival (DFS). The 5-year OS and DFS rates were 97.2% and 80%, respectively, for RT-PCR tyrosinase-negative (TN) patients vs. 78.67% and 66.24% for RT-PCR tyrosinase-positive (TP) patients (P = 0.019 and P = 0.38, respectively). Of four progressing patients in the TN group, three relapsed with subcutaneous, soft-tissue or lymph-node metastases, while seven out of nine progressing patients in the TP group relapsed at visceral sites. No significant differences in DFS were found by RT-PCR tyrosinase expression analysis at melanoma SLNs. Significant differences in OS could be related to a different pattern of relapse and must be confirmed after a longer follow-up time.
    Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 06/2009; 34(8):863-9. · 1.33 Impact Factor
  • First Worl Meeting of Interdisciplinary melanoma/skin Cancer centers, Barcelona; 09/2007
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    ABSTRACT: The sentinel lymph node (SLN) is the first node in a nodal basin to receive the direct lymphatic flow from a malignant melanoma. However, in some patients, lymphoscintigraphic study reveals the presence of lymphatic nodes in the area between the primary melanoma and the regional basin. These nodes are called "in-transit nodes" or "interval nodes" and, by definition, are also SLNs. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and location of in-transit SLNs in patients with malignant melanoma and to assess whether it is really necessary to harvest them. The evaluation involved 600 consecutive malignant melanoma patients. Lymphoscintigraphy was performed on the day before surgery following intradermal injection of 74-111 MBq of (99m)Tc-nanocolloid in four doses around the primary melanoma or the biopsy scar. Dynamic and static images were obtained and revealed SLNs in 599 out of 600 patients. The SLN was intraoperatively identified with the aid of patent blue dye and a hand-held gamma probe. Lymphoscintigraphy showed in-transit SLNs in 59/599 patients (9.8%). During surgery, all these in-transit SLNs were harvested, with those in the popliteal and epitrochlear regions being the most difficult to identify and excise. Metastatic cell deposits were subsequently identified in ten (16.9%) of these in-transit SLNs. In conclusion, lymphoscintigraphy has a key role in the identification of in-transit SLNs. Although the incidence of these nodes is relatively low in malignant melanoma patients, such SLNs present metastatic deposits in a significant percentage of cases and therefore the identification of in-transit SLNs in these patients is really necessary.
    European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 08/2004; 31(7):945-9. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Malignant melanoma (MM) early lymph node (LN) metastasis usually appears first in the sentinel LN (SLN). Breslow thickness is the main factor considered in the selection of patients to be submitted to SLN biopsy. The present study aimed to describe other independent prognostic factors useful in SLN candidate selection. During one year, 94 MM patients (90 primary cutaneous MM with Breslow thickness > or = 0.76 mm, and four cutaneous relapses), were submitted to SLN biopsy in the Melanoma Unit at the Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, Spain. The prognostic factors studied were: Breslow thickness, Clark's level of invasion, mitotic rate, cellular type (small, epithelioid, fusocellular, sarcomatoid), vertical growth phase, regression > 50%, severe vascularization, infiltrate (lymphocytic, plasmocytic), ulceration, neurotropism, intravascular/intraneural invasion, protein p16 expression and recurrence. Nineteen SLN (20.2%) were positive and 75 (79.8%) negative. No positive SLN occurred in MM with Breslow thickness < or = 1.0 mm. Breslow thickness > or = 2 mm (P = 0.005), severe vascularization (P = 0.005), small cell (P = 0.000) and ulceration (P = 0.005) were significant prognostic factors by univariate analysis. Small cell (P = 0.008) and ulceration (P = 0.05) were also significant prognostic factors in a multivariate analysis. The probability of finding a positive SLN for small cell was 56.9% [95% confidence interval (CI), 26.8-82.6%]. The probability of positive SLN for ulceration was 35.5% (95% CI, 14.2-64.7%). For small cell and ulceration together the probability increased to 86.3% (95% CI, 54.3-97.1%). The results of this study corroborated ulceration as a prognostic factor for SLN candidate selection and for the first time we have described small cell melanoma morphology as a significant factor associated with positive SLN.
    Melanoma Research 08/2004; 14(4):277-82. · 2.52 Impact Factor
  • Piel 01/2004; 19(1):56-57.
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    ABSTRACT: Unresectable metastatic melanoma has no elective treatment. Neither chemotherapy, intravenous IL-2 nor biochemotherapy clearly improves the overall survival. Recent assays with therapeutic vaccines have been recently yielded promising results. Here, we describe the application, clinical tolerance and antitumoural activity of a heterologous polyvalent melanoma whole cell vaccine in patients with metastatic melanoma. Twenty-eight AJCC stage III/IV melanoma patients with progressive unresectable metastatic disease were treated with our heterologous polyvalent melanoma whole cell vaccine between July 1, 1998 and July 1, 2002. All patients had already been unsuccessfully treated with high doses of IFN-alpha2 and/or polychemotherapy and/or biochemotherapy and/or perfusion of extremities, or could not receive other treatments due to their age or underlying illness. Twenty-three were assessable. The vaccine was constituted by 10 melanoma cell lines, derived from primary, lymph node and metastatic melanomas. Prior to intradermal inoculation, the cells were irradiated and mixed with BCG, and 50% were treated with DNFB. After a median follow-up of 19 months, 26% of patients responded: 3 CR (18, 16+, and 26+ months), 2 PR (8 and 22 months) and 1 MR (36+ months). The median survival of the whole group was 20.2 months. None of the 28 patients initially included in the study presented significant toxicity. This vaccination program had specific antitumoural activity in advanced metastatic melanoma patients and was well tolerated. The clinical responses and the median survival of our group of patients, together with the low toxicity of our polyvalent vaccine, suggest that this approach could be applied to earlier metastatic melanoma patients.
    International Journal of Cancer 10/2003; 106(4):626-31. · 6.20 Impact Factor
  • ASCO; 05/2003
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    ABSTRACT: Scintigraphic identification of the sentinel lymph node is achievable in nearly all patients with malignant melanoma. However, in a very small number of cases the sentinel node fails to be detected, and sometimes recurrence appears during follow-up in patients who had previously tested negative for metastatic disease. The purpose of this study was to review our experience in order to isolate the reasons for erroneous sentinel lymph node identification. The evaluation involved 435 consecutive malignant melanoma patients with AJCC stages I and II (clinically negative nodes) and Breslow thickness >0.76 mm. Lymphoscintigraphy was performed the day before surgery by intradermal administration of technetium-99m labelled nanocolloid. Dynamic and static images were obtained. The sentinel node was intraoperatively identified with the aid of patent blue dye and a hand-held gamma probe. After removal, routine histopathological examination with haematoxylin-eosin (H-E) and immunohistochemistry with S 100 and HMB45 (IHC) were performed. In those patients who developed regional recurrences during follow-up, sentinel nodes were further evaluated by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Lymphoscintigraphy visualised at least one sentinel node in 434 out of 435 patients (99.8%). Uptake in in-transit sentinel lymph nodes was observed in 32 patients (7.4%). During surgery, localisation and removal of sentinel nodes was successful in 430/435 patients (98.8%). A total of 790 sentinel lymph nodes were harvested, with a mean of 1.8 per patient. Routine histopathological examination with H-E or IHC revealed metastatic disease in 72 patients (16.8%). During a mean follow-up of 26 months, seven of those patients with a negative sentinel node developed regional lymph node metastases. In five of them RT-PCR was positive for micrometastases within the sentinel node. In conclusion, erroneous sentinel lymph node identification can be due to changes in the surgical team, difficult lymph node location or absence of a thorough histological study. Nevertheless, it is not possible to explain completely why, in a very small percentage of cases, the sentinel node is erroneously identified.
    European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 04/2003; 30(3):362-6. · 5.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the predictive value of different donor and recipient parameters that have been recognised previously as proven and to suggest prognostic factors for immediate liver function and final outcome after liver transplantation. We evaluated a total of 228 liver grafts transplanted in the last 3 years in our institution. Parameters were recorded for the donor (age, polytransfusion, atherosclerosis, presence of infection, episodes of hypoxia or hypotension, use of vasoactive drugs, intensive care unit stay, steatosis, and ischemia time) and recipient (red blood cell requirements, immediate liver function [score], incidence of hepatic artery thrombosis, survival, and cause of death or retransplantation). Liver biopsy after reperfusion of the donor liver was performed before closure of the abdomen. Donor age over 65 years and presence of steatosis were associated significantly with initial poor function. The mortality rate at 6 months was related to donor age over 65 years. When donor age over 65 years was combined with transfusion requirement of > 10 U of red blood cells (RBC), the incidence of graft loss increased to 53%. The probability of graft survival at two years decreased when donor age was over 65 years. Moreover, when donor age over 65 years was combined with requirement of > 10 units RBC the probability of 2-year survival was significantly reduced. This study shows, for the first time, that the use of donor livers from older donors in liver transplant procedures, requiring more than 10 U of RBC, results in a significantly worse prognosis in terms of immediate liver function and long-term survival.
    Liver Transplantation 04/2003; 9(4):389-93. · 3.94 Impact Factor
  • Piel 01/2003;
  • Transplantation Proceedings 03/2002; 34(1):229-30. · 0.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To assess the usefulness of lymphoscintigraphy and intraoperative gamma probe in the detection of sentinel lymph nodes. Prospective open study. University hospital, Spain. 40 patients with malignant melanoma (24 stage I/II, 16 stage III). The day before operation a lymphoscintigram with 99mTc-nanocolloid was taken and the first lymph node identified was considered to be the sentinel node. A hand-held gamma probe was used for intraoperative mapping. Identification of the sentinel node. Sentinel nodes were identified in 39/40 patients (98%). In 24 patients with stage I/II disease, 34 sentinel nodes were found (6 invaded and 28 clear of melanoma). A total number of 161 regional lymph nodes were harvested, none of them invaded by melanoma. In 16 patients with stage III disease, 22 sentinel nodes were located (14 invaded and 8 clear of melanoma). A total of 89 regional lymph nodes were excised in patients with invaded sentinel nodes (44 of which were invaded and 45 clear of disease). 41 lymph nodes were excised from patients with clear sentinel nodes, and all were also clear of melanoma. We conclude that this is a useful technique for the selection of patients with melanoma who may require lymphadenectomy.
    The European Journal of Surgery 09/2001; 167(8):581-6.
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    ABSTRACT: Intrahepatic biliary lesions (IBL) are rare (2-9%) after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The aim was to evaluate the incidence, etiology and outcome. In nine years, a total 532 OLTs were performed in 481 patients. Twenty-four patients developed IBL. Eight were due to HAT, seven to ABOI, three to CDR and six to PI. The time until diagnosis of HAT is longest in patients (14+/-6) with IBL. ABOI is another cause of IBL. CDR is a rare cause of IBL, however when it takes place, patients must undergo Rtx. Finally, PI is a relevant cause of IBL. In order to suppress the incidence of IBL we should consider 1) the systematic use of Doppler-Ultrasound; 2) emergency reoperation of patients with HAT, 3) avoid ABOI in OLT; 4) Rtx in cases of CDR, and 5) OLT should still be performed as an emergency procedure.
    Transplant International 07/2001; 14(3):129-34. · 3.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to evaluate hepatic content of adenine nucleotides and their degradation products in non-heart-beating donor (NHBD) pigs and its relationship with recipient survival. Thirty animals were transplanted with an allograft from NHBDs. After warm ischemia (WI) time (20, 30, or 40 min), cardiopulmonary bypass and normothermic recirculation (NR) were run for 30 min. Afterward, the animals were cooled to 15 degrees C and liver procurement was performed. Survival rate was 100% in the 20WI, 70% in the 30WI, and 50% in the 40WI. Livers from non-surviving animals had higher levels of xanthine after NR than livers from surviving animals. Logistic regression analysis revealed that xanthine at the end of NR was the only variable able to predict survival with a calculated sensitivity of 80% and a specificity of 60%. Prolongation of warm ischemic period leaded to a greater xanthine accumulation as well as increased plasma alpha-glutathione S-transferase levels at reperfusion. Xanthine at NR and alpha-glutathione S-transferase at reperfusion significantly correlated, indicating that donor xanthine contributes to some extent to the severity of the lesion by ischemia-reperfusion. It is suggested that xanthine content in the donor is able to predict survival after transplantation. Xanthine is significantly involved in the hepatic lesion elicited by warm ischemia and subsequent ischemia-reperfusion associated to liver transplantation from a NHBD.
    Transplantation 06/2001; 71(9):1232-7. · 3.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although nitric oxide (NO) is thought to be beneficial in hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (I/R), the mechanisms for this effect are not well established. To investigate the effects of endogenous NO and exogenous NO supplementation on hepatic I/R injury and their pathogenic mechanisms, serum ALT and hyaluronic acid (endothelial cell damage), and hepatic malondialdehyde and H2O2 (oxidative stress), myeloperoxidase activity (leukocyte accumulation), and endothelin (vasoconstrictor peptide opposite to NO) were determined at different reperfusion periods in untreated rats and rats receiving L-NAME, L-NAME+L-arginine, and spermine NONOate (exogenous NO donor). After reperfusion every parameter increased in untreated animals. Endogenous NO synthesis inhibition by L-NAME increased hepatocyte and endothelial damage as compared to untreated rats, which was reverted and even improved by the addition of L-arginine. Spermine NONOate also improved this damage. However, different mechanisms account for the beneficial effect of endogenous and exogenous NO. Oxidative stress decreased by both L-NAME and L-NAME+L-arginine, but remained unmodified by spermine NONOate. Myeloperoxidase increased by L-NAME and this effect was reverted by the addition of L-arginine, whereas no change was observed with spermine NONOate. Endothelin levels were not modified by L-NAME and L-NAME+L-arginine, but decreased with spermine NONOate. These results suggest that, although both endogenous and exogenous NO exert a protective role in experimental hepatic I/R injury, the mechanisms of the beneficial effect of the two sources of NO are different.
    Transplantation 03/2001; 71(4):529-36. · 3.78 Impact Factor
  • Liver Transplantation - LIVER TRANSPLANT. 01/2000; 6(3).
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess liver viability after different periods of cardiac arrest and the predictive value of two markers of ischemia-reperfusion injury. A pig liver transplantation model of non-heart-beating donors was studied. Four donor groups were designed; three groups were submitted to different periods of cardiac arrest (20, 30 and 40 min), and the fourth group served as the control group (without cardiac arrest). In the non-heart-beating donor groups, normothermic recirculation was established 30 min prior to total body cooling. Aminotransferase, alpha-glutathione-S-transferase, and hyaluronic acid determinations as well as liver biopsies, were serially performed. Although hepatocellular function could be preserved after 40 min of cardiac arrest, histological lesions at 5 days were considered irreversible due to the presence of a necrotic biliary tract. An overall significant relationship was found between the time period of cardiac arrest (20, 30 or 40 min) and the levels of hyaluronic acid (p = 0.004) or alpha-glutathione-S-transferase (p = 0.01) obtained during liver procurement and transplantation. The period of cardiac arrest is the determinant factor of liver viability after liver transplantation from non-heart-beating donors. As early markers of endothelial or hepatocellular damage, hyaluronic acid or alpha-glutathione-S-transferase levels may help to evaluate the ischemic injury of a potential donor.
    European Surgical Research 02/1999; 31(6):447-56. · 0.75 Impact Factor
  • Transplantation 01/1999; 67(9). · 3.78 Impact Factor