[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is substantial heterogeneity in the clinical behavior of pancreatic cancer and in its response to therapy. Some of this variation may be due to differences in delivery of cytotoxic therapies between patients and within individual tumors. Indeed, in 12 patients with resectable pancreatic cancer, we previously demonstrated wide inter-patient variability in the delivery of gemcitabine as well as in the mass transport properties of tumors as measured by computed tomography (CT) scans. However, the variability of drug delivery and transport properties within pancreatic tumors is currently unknown. Here, we analyzed regional measurements of gemcitabine DNA incorporation in the tumors of the same 12 patients to understand the degree of intra-tumoral heterogeneity of drug delivery. We also developed a volumetric segmentation approach to measure mass transport properties from the CT scans of these patients and tested inter-observer agreement with this new methodology. Our results demonstrate significant heterogeneity of gemcitabine delivery within individual pancreatic tumors and across the patient cohort, with gemcitabine DNA incorporation in the inner portion of the tumors ranging from 38 to 74% of the total. Similarly, the CT-derived mass transport properties of the tumors had a high degree of heterogeneity, ranging from minimal difference to almost 200% difference between inner and outer portions of the tumor. Our quantitative method to derive transport properties from CT scans demonstrated less than 5% difference in gemcitabine prediction at the average CT-derived transport value across observers. These data illustrate significant inter-patient and intra-tumoral heterogeneity in the delivery of gemcitabine, and highlight how this variability can be reproducibly accounted for using principles of mass transport. With further validation as a biophysical marker, transport properties of tumors may be useful in patient selection for therapy and prediction of therapeutic outcome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and rituximab (FCR) is established as standard first-line treatment for younger patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), there is little information to guide the management of patients with CLL refractory to, or relapsed following, frontline FCR treatment. In order to define optimal salvage strategy, and in order to identify patients not suitable for retreatment with FCR, we examined the survival and treatment outcome of 300 patients enrolled on a phase II study of FCR. After a median 142 months of follow-up, 156 patients developed progressive CLL, with a median survival of 51 months following disease progression. The duration of first remission (REM1) was a key determinant of survival following disease progression and first salvage. Patients with a short REM1 (< 3 years) had short survival irrespective of salvage therapy received; these patients have high unmet medical need and are good candidates for investigation of novel therapies. In patients with a long REM1 (≥ 3 years), salvage treatment with either repeat FCR or lenalidomide-based therapy results in subsequent median survival exceeding 5 years; for these patients, FCR rechallenge represents a reasonable standard of care.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. The therapeutic resistance of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is partly ascribed to ineffective delivery of chemotherapy to cancer cells. We hypothesized that physical properties at vascular, extracellular, and cellular scales influence delivery of and response to gemcitabine-based therapy. Methods. We developed a method to measure mass transport properties during routine contrast-enhanced CT scans of individual human PDAC tumors. Additionally, we evaluated gemcitabine infusion during PDAC resection in 12 patients, measuring gemcitabine incorporation into tumor DNA and correlating its uptake with human equilibrative nucleoside transporter (hENT1) levels, stromal reaction, and CT-derived mass transport properties. We also studied associations between CT-derived transport properties and clinical outcomes in patients who received preoperative gemcitabine-based chemoradiotherapy for resectable PDAC. Results. Transport modeling of 176 CT scans illustrated striking differences in transport properties between normal pancreas and tumor, with a wide array of enhancement profiles. Reflecting the interpatient differences in contrast enhancement, resected tumors exhibited dramatic differences in gemcitabine DNA incorporation, despite similar intravascular pharmacokinetics. Gemcitabine incorporation into tumor DNA was inversely related to CT-derived transport parameters and PDAC stromal score, after accounting for hENT1 levels. Moreover, stromal score directly correlated with CT-derived parameters. Among 110 patients who received preoperative gemcitabine-based chemoradiotherapy, CT-derived parameters correlated with pathological response and survival. Conclusion. Gemcitabine incorporation into tumor DNA is highly variable and correlates with multiscale transport properties that can be derived from routine CT scans. Furthermore, pretherapy CT-derived properties correlate with clinically relevant endpoints. Trial registration. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01276613. Funding. Lustgarten Foundation (989161), Department of Defense (W81XWH-09-1-0212), NIH (U54CA151668, KCA088084).
The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is driven by the Bcr-Abl fusion protein which is a result of a (9;22) chromosomal translocation. Imatinib, dasatinib, and nilotinib (tyrosine kinase inhibitors, TKIs) have revolutionized how CML is treated. While the majority of patients respond to these kinase inhibitors, a subset become resistant to these therapeutics. Synribo (omacetaxine mepesuccinate) was recently FDA approved for Philadelphia-positive CML either in chronic or accelerated phase whose disease failed two prior TKIs. With omacetaxine 1.25 mg/m2 twice daily for 14 days during induction and for 7 days during maintenance, a major cytogenetic response occurred in 20% of patients in chronic phase and major hematologic response in 27% of patients in accelerated phase. Laboratory investigations unraveled the mechanism of action and effectiveness of this agent. Bcr-Abl protein is intrinsically programmed to turn over with a short half-life which makes it susceptible to protein translation inhibitors. Omacetaxine (homoharringtonine) inhibits total protein biosynthesis by binding to A-site cleft of ribosomes. As a corollary to this action, there is a diminution of short-lived proteins such as Bcr-Abl followed by cell death. Approval of this first-in-class protein translation inhibitor opens up new avenues for its use in other diseases as well as mechanism-based combinations.
Clinical Cancer Research 02/2014; · 8.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The combination of cytarabine and fludarabine was associated with superior clinical outcomes compared with those of high-dose cytarabine in relapse acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We conducted a phase I study combining oxaliplatin with cytarabine and fludarabine therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory AML.
Between January 2008 and November 2009, 27 patients were registered in the study. Patients had histologically confirmed disease, performance status 0 to 2, and adequate organ function. The treatment regimen consisted of increasing doses of oxaliplatin (25, 30, or 35 mg/m(2)/d) on days 1 to 4 (escalation phase), and fludarabine (30 mg/m²) and cytarabine (500 mg/m²) on days 2 to 6, every 28 days for ≤ 6 cycles. The dose-limiting toxicity was defined as any symptomatic grade ≥ 3 nonhematologic toxicity lasting ≥ 3 days and involving a major organ system.
Of 27 patients, 12 were treated in the dose-escalation phase and 15 at the maximum tolerated dose for oxaliplatin (30 mg/m²; expansion phase). All patients were evaluable for toxicity and response. Only 1 patient received the second cycle; the remaining patients received no further study treatment, owing to slow recovery from toxicities or physician decision. Grade 3-4 drug-related toxicities included diarrhea (grade 4) and elevated levels of bilirubin (grade 3) and aspartate transaminase (grade 3). In all, 3 patients had a complete remission and 2 patients complete response without platelet recovery.
Oxaliplatin, cytarabine, and fludarabine therapy had antileukemic activity in patients with poor-risk AML, but it was associated with toxicity. Different schedules and doses may be better tolerated.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clofarabine is a nucleoside analogue with activity in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Based on the hypothesis that clofarabine inhibits DNA repair after exposure to DNA-damaging agents, we designed a phase I and extension study to evaluate the combination of clofarabine and cyclophosphamide in adult patients with relapsed/refractory ALL.
The continual reassessment method (CRM) was used to define the maximum tolerated dose (MTD).
Fifty patients with a median age of 30 years (range, 21-72 years) were enrolled, 30 of whom were part of the phase I group. Clofarabine 40 mg/m(2) intravenously daily × 3 days and cyclophosphamide 200 mg/m(2) intravenously every 12 hours × 3 days were established as the MTDs. Dose limiting toxicity (DLT) included diarrhea, transaminase elevations, and skin rashes. The response rate of the whole study group was 14%, including 10% of patients who achieved complete remission (CR) or CR without platelet recovery (CRp). Three responses occurred in patients with primary refractory disease. Early mortality (< 30 days) was 6%. The median duration of response was 69 days (range, 5-315 days). Median overall survival was about 3 months. Compared with day 1 (cyclophosphamide alone), H2AX phosphorylation was increased on day 2 when clofarabine and cyclophosphamide were administered as a couplet (n = 8).
The combination of clofarabine plus cyclophosphamide at the doses used in this study in a group of heavily pretreated patients with ALL is only moderately effective. Other doses, alternative schedules, or a more favorable patient population may achieve better results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Ribonucleotide reductase catalyzes an essential step in the cellular production of deoxyribonucleotide triphosphates and has been associated with clinical outcome in cancer patients receiving nucleoside analog-based chemotherapy. Materials & methods: In the current study, we sequenced the genes RRM1 and RRM2 in genomic DNA from HapMap cell lines with European (Utah residents with northern and western European ancestry [CEU]; n = 90) or African (Yoruba people in Ibadan, Nigeria [YRI]; n = 90) ancestry. Results: We identified 44 genetic variants including eight coding SNPs in RRM1 and 15 SNPs including one coding SNP in RRM2. RRM1 and RRM2 mRNA expression levels were significantly correlated with each other in both CEU and YRI lymphoblast cell lines, and in leukemic blasts from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients (AML97, n = 89; AML02, n = 187). Additionally, RRM1 expression was higher among patient features indicative of a high relapse hazard. We evaluated SNPs within the RRM1 and RRM2 genes in the HapMap lymphoblast cell lines from CEU and YRI panels for association with expression and cytarabine chemosensitivity. SNPs of potential significance were further evaluated in AML patients. RRM1 SNPs rs1042919 (which occurs in linkage disequilbrium with multiple other SNPs) and promoter SNP rs1561876 were associated with intracellular 1-β-d-arabinofuranosyl-CTP levels, response after remission induction therapy, risk of relapse and overall survival in AML patients receiving cytarabine and cladribine. Conclusion: These results suggest that SNPs within ribonucleotide reductase might be helpful predictive markers of response to nucleoside analogs and should be further validated in larger cohorts. Original submitted 2 April 2013; Revision submitted 8 July 2013.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Akt, a serine/threonine protein kinase, is constitutively phosphorylated and hyperactivated in multiple cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia. High levels are linked to poor survival and inferior responses to chemotherapy, making Akt inhibition an attractive therapeutic target. In this phase I/II study of TCN-PM, a small-molecule Akt inhibitor, TCN-PM therapy was well tolerated in patients with advanced hematological malignancies, and reduced levels of phosphorylation of Akt and its substrate Bad were shown, consistent with inhibition of this survival pathway and induction of cell death. Further investigation of TCN-PM alone or in combination in patients with high Akt levels is warranted.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To improve outcomes of patients with Richter syndrome (RS) and relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we modified the OFAR1 regimen (oxaliplatin and cytarabine doses of the oxaliplatin, fludarabine, cytarabine, and rituximab) for this phase I-II study (OFAR2).
OFAR2 consisted of oxaliplatin at 30 mg/m(2) on days 1 to 4, fludarabine at 30 mg/m(2), cytarabine at 0.5 g/m(2), rituximab at 375 mg/m(2) on day 3, and pegfilgrastim at 6 mg on day 6. Fludarabine and cytarabine were given on days 2 and 3 (cohort 1), days 2 to 4 (cohort 2), or days 2 to 5 (cohort 3) every 4 weeks. Phase II followed the "3 + 3" design of phase I.
The 102 patients (CLL, 67; RS, 35) treated had heavily pretreated high-risk disease. Twelve patients were treated in phase I; cohort 2 was the phase II recommended dose. The most common toxicities were hematologic. Response rates (phase II) were 38.7% for RS (complete response [CR], 6.5%) and 50.8% for relapsed/refractory CLL (CR, 4.6%). The median survival durations were 6.6 (RS) and 20.6 (CLL) months. Among 9 patients who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT) as post-remission therapy, none has died (median follow-up, 15.9 months).
OFAR2 had significant antileukemic activity in RS and relapsed/refractory CLL. Patients undergoing SCT as post-remission therapy had favorable outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Available treatments for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) have limited durable activity and unsatisfactory safety profiles in most elderly patients. We assessed the efficacy and toxicity of sapacitabine, a novel oral cytosine nucleoside analogue, in elderly patients with AML. METHODS: In this randomised, phase 2 study, we recruited patients with AML who were either treatment naive or at first relapse and who were aged 70 years or older from 12 centres in the USA. We used a computer-generated randomisation sequence to randomly allocate eligible patients to receive one of three schedules of oral sapacitabine (1:1:1; stratified by a history of AML treatment): 200 mg twice a day for 7 days (group A); 300 mg twice a day for 7 days (group B); and 400 mg twice a day for 3 days each week for 2 weeks (group C). All schedules were given in 28 day cycles. To confirm the safety and tolerability of dosing schedules, after 20 patients had been treated in a group we enrolled an expanded cohort of 20-25 patients to that group if at least four patients had achieved complete remission or complete remission with incomplete blood count recovery, and if the 30 day death rate was 20% or less. Our primary endpoint was 1-year overall survival, analysed by intention-to-treat (ie, patients who have received at least one dose of sapacitabine) in those patients who had been randomly allocated to treatment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00590187. RESULTS: Between Dec 27, 2007, and April 21, 2009, we enrolled 105 patients: 86 patients were previously untreated and 19 were at first relapse. Of the 60 patients randomly allocated to treatment, 1-year overall survival was 35% (95% CI 16-59) in group A, 10% (2-33) in group B, and 30% (13-54) in group C. 14 (13%) of 105 patients died within 30 days and 27 (26%) died within 60 days. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were anaemia (eight of 40 patients in group A, 12 of 20 patients in group B, and 15 of 45 patients in group C), neutropenia (14 in group A, 10 in group B, 11 in group C), thrombocytopenia (24 in group A, 12 in group B, and 22 in group C), febrile neutropenia (16 in group A, nine in group B, and 22 in group C), and pneumonia (seven in group A, five in group B, and 10 in group C). The most common grade 5 events were pneumonia (two in group A, one in group B, and three in group C) and sepsis (six in group A, three in group B, and one in group C). Seven deaths were thought to be probably or possibly related to sapacitabine treatment. INTERPRETATION: Sapacitabine seems active and tolerable in elderly patients with AML. The 400 mg dose schedule had the best efficacy profile. Future investigations should aim to combine sapacitabine with other low-intensity therapies in elderly patients with AML. FUNDING: Cyclacel Limited.
The Lancet Oncology 10/2012; · 25.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sapacitabine is an orally bioavailable prodrug of the nucleoside analog 2'-C-cyano-2'-deoxy-1-β-D-arabino-pentofuranosylcytosine (CNDAC). Both the prodrug and active metabolite are in clinical trials for hematologic malignancies and/or solid tumors. CNDAC has a unique mechanism of action: after incorporation into DNA, it induces single-strand breaks (SSBs) that are converted into double-strand breaks (DSBs) when cells go through a second S phase. In our previous studies, we demonstrated that CNDAC-induced SSBs can be repaired by the transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair pathway, whereas lethal DSBs are mainly repaired through homologous recombination. In the current work, we used clonogenic assays to compare the DNA damage repair mechanism of CNDAC with two other deoxycytidine analogs: cytarabine, which is used in hematologic malignacies, and gemcitabine, which shows activity in solid tumors. Deficiency in two Rad51 paralogs, Rad51D and XRCC3, greatly sensitized cells to CNDAC, but not to cytarabine or gemcitabine, indicating that homologous recombination is not a major mechanism for repairing damage caused by the latter two analogs. This study further suggests clinical activity and application of sapacitabine that is distinct from that of cytarabine or gemcitabine.
Chinese journal of cancer 06/2012; 31(8):373-80.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of the combination of twice-daily fludarabine and cytarabine (BIDFA) in patients with refractory/relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML), high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and chronic myeloid leukemia in myeloid blast phase (CML-BP). One hundred seven patients were enrolled. Overall, 27 (26%) patients responded with a complete remission (CR) rate of 21% and CR without platelet recovery (CRp) of 5%. The overall 4-week mortality rate was 9%. In conclusion, BIDFA is active and safe in heavily pretreated patients with myeloid malignancies.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the combination of twice-daily fludarabine and cytarabine (BIDFA) in patients with refractory/relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML), high-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and chronic myeloid leukemia in myeloid blast phase (CML-BP).
One hundred seven patients with refractory/relapsed AML, intermediate and high-risk MDS, and CML-BP, with a performance status of 3 or less and normal organ function were treated. Patients received fludarabine 15 mg/m(2) intravenously (IV) every 12 hours on days 1 to 5 and cytarabine 0.5 g/m(2) IV over 2 hours every 12 hours on days 1 to 5. Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (GO) was administered at 3 mg/m(2) IV on day 1 in the first 59 patients. Patients with CML-BP were allowed to receive concomitant tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Overall, 27 (26%) patients responded with a complete remission (CR) rate of 21% and CR without platelet recovery of 5%. The overall 4-week mortality rate was 9%. The CR rates for patients with relapsed AML with first CR duration greater than or equal to 12 months, relapsed AML with first CR duration less than 12 months, and refractory/relapsed AML beyond first salvage were 56%, 26%, and 11%, respectively. With a median follow-up of 7 months, the 6-month event-free survival, overall survival, and complete remission CR duration rates were 18%, 35%, and 70%, respectively.
BIDFA is active with an overall response rate of 26% in a heavily pretreated population. This combination is safe with a low 4-week mortality rate of 9%.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tissue stromal cells interact with leukaemia cells and profoundly affect their viability and drug sensitivity. Here we show a biochemical mechanism by which bone marrow stromal cells modulate the redox status of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells and promote cellular survival and drug resistance. Primary CLL cells from patients exhibit a limited ability to transport cystine for glutathione (GSH) synthesis owing to a low expression level of Xc-transporter. In contrast, bone marrow stromal cells effectively import cystine and convert it to cysteine, which is then released into the microenvironment for uptake by CLL cells to promote GSH synthesis. The elevated level of GSH enhances leukaemia cell survival and protects them from drug-induced cytotoxicity. Furthermore, disabling this protective mechanism significantly sensitizes CLL cells to drug treatment in the stromal environment. This stromal-leukaemia interaction is critical for CLL cell survival and represents a key biochemical pathway for effectively targeting leukaemia cells to overcome drug resistance in vivo.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Sapacitabine is an orally bioavailable nucleoside analog prodrug that is in clinical trials for hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. The active metabolite of sapacitabine, CNDAC (2'-C-cyano-2'-deoxy-1-β-D-arabino-pentofuranosylcytosine), exhibits the unique mechanism of action of causing single-strand breaks (SSBs) after incorporation into DNA, which are converted into double-strand breaks (DSBs) when cells enter a second S-phase. CNDAC-induced DSBs are predominantly repaired through homologous recombination (HR). Cells deficient in HR components are greatly sensitized to CNDAC. Therefore, sapacitabine could be specifically effective against tumors that are deficient in this repair pathway. AREAS COVERED: This review summarizes results from supporting evidence for the mechanisms of action of sapacitabine, its preclinical activities and the current results of clinical trials in a variety of cancers. The novel action mechanism of sapacitabine is discussed, with a view to validate it as a chemotherapeutic drug targeting malignancies with defects in HR. EXPERT OPINION: Knowledge of CNDAC mechanism identifies tumors that may be sensitized to sapacitabine, thus enabling a personalized treatment strategy. It also creates the opportunity to overcome resistance to current front-line therapies and identify synergistic interactions with known anticancer drugs. The results of such investigations may provide rationales for the design of sapacitabine-based clinical trials.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triptolide, isolated from the herb Tripterygium wilfordii, has been shown to potently induce apoptosis in various malignant cells by inhibiting RNA synthesis and nuclear factor-κB activity. Previously, we showed that triptolide promotes apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells via the mitochondria-mediated pathway, in part, by decreasing levels of the anti-apoptotic proteins XIAP and Mcl-1. MRx102 is a triptolide derivative, currently in preclinical development. Here we show that MRx102 potently promoted apoptosis in AML cell lines, with EC(50) values of 14.5±0.6 nM and 37.0±0.9 nM at 48 h for OCI-AML3 and MV4-11 cells, respectively. MRx102, at low nanomolar concentrations, also induced apoptosis in bulk, CD34(+) progenitor, and more importantly, CD34(+)CD38(-) stem/progenitor cells from AML patients, even when they were protected by coculture with bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells. MRx102 decreased XIAP and Mcl-1 protein levels and inhibited RNA synthesis in OCI-AML3 cells. In vivo, MRx102 greatly decreased leukemia burden and increased survival time in non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency mice harboring Ba/F3-ITD cells. Collectively, we demonstrated that MRx102 has potent antileukemic activity both in vitro and in vivo, has the potential to eliminate AML stem/progenitor cells and overcome microenvironmental protection of leukemic cells, and warrants clinical investigation.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 09/2011; 26(3):443-50. · 10.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytosolic 5'-nucleotidase II (NT5C2) is involved in the development of 1-β-d-arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) resistance and has been associated with clinical outcome in patients receiving ara-C-based chemotherapy. NT5C2 inactivates ara-C by dephosphorylating ara-C monophosphate to ara-C. In this study, we sequenced NT5C2 in genomic DNA samples from International HapMap project panels with European [Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain (CEU); n = 90] or African [Yoruba people in Ibadan, Nigeria (YRI); n = 90] ancestry. We identified 41 genetic variants [one insertion-deletion and 40 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)], including three nonsynonymous SNPs (Y3A, K47R, and Q136R). Twenty-five SNPs were novel and 16 overlapped with the HapMap data. Subjects with African ancestry had NT5C2 mRNA expression levels that was significantly higher than those with European ancestry (p = 0.005). Furthermore, there was a correlation between NT5C2 mRNA expression and ara-C sensitivity in CEU but not in YRI cell lines. None of the nonsynonymous SNPs demonstrated any effect on NT5C2 activity. The genotypes of several SNPs were significantly associated with NT5C2 mRNA expression and/or ara-C sensitivity in CEU cell lines, but very few were significant in YRI cell lines. Of most interest, SNPs (linkage disequilibrium group CEU.12) in the 5'-untranslated region were associated with NT5C2 expression and ara-C sensitivity in HapMap cell lines and with NT5C2 mRNA expression and ara-C sensitivity in diagnostic leukemic blasts from pediatric patients with acute myeloid leukemia. Functional genomics analysis demonstrated that the promoter SNP rs11191612 was associated with altered luciferase activation in reporter assays and altered DNA-protein binding in gel shift assays. These results suggest that genetic variations in NT5C2 influence its expression and, potentially, cellular responses to nucleoside analogs.
Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 06/2011; 339(1):9-23. · 3.89 Impact Factor