Vassilios Vassiliou

Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center, Lefkoşa, Lefkosia, Cyprus

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Publications (54)136.14 Total impact

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    Hematology/ Oncology and Stem Cell Therapy 09/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.hemonc.2014.06.003
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    ABSTRACT: Lynch syndrome is the most common form of hereditary colorectal cancer and is caused by germline mutations in the mismatch repair (MMR) genes MLH1, MSH2, MSH6 and PMS2. Mutation carriers have an increased lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer as well as other extracolonic tumours. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the frequency and distribution of mutations in the MLH1, MSH2 and MSH6 genes within a cohort of Cypriot families that fulfilled the revised Bethesda guidelines. The study cohort included 77 patients who fulfilled at least one of the revised Bethesda guidelines. Mutational analysis revealed the presence of 4 pathogenic mutations, 3 in the MLH1 gene and 1 in the MSH2 gene, in 5 unrelated individuals. It is noted that out of the 4 pathogenic mutations detected, one is novel (c.1610delG in exon 14 of the MLH1) and has been detected for the first time in the Cypriot population. Overall, the pathogenic mutation detection rate in our patient cohort was 7%. This percentage is relatively low but could be explained by the fact that the sole criterion for genetic screening was compliance to the revised Bethesda guidelines. Larger numbers of Lynch syndrome families and screening of the two additional predisposition genes, PMS2 and EPCAM, are needed in order to decipher the full spectrum of mutations associated with Lynch syndrome predisposition in Cyprus.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e105501. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105501 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To identify which domains/symptoms from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) were predictive of overall quality of life (QoL) in advanced cancer patients. Methods: Four hundred and forty seven patients with brain metastases or bone metastases from seven countries were enrolled with regression analysis to determine the predictive value of the QLQ-C30 functional/symptom scores for patient reported overall QoL (question 30), overall health (question 29) and the global health status domain (questions 29 and 30). Results: Worse role functioning, social functioning, fatigue and financial problems were the most significant predictive factors for worse QoL. In the bone metastases subgroup (n = 400), role functioning, fatigue and financial problems were the most significant predictors. In patients with brain metastases (n = 47), none of the EORTC domains significantly predicted worse QOL. Conclusion: Deterioration of certain QLQ-C30 functional/symptom scores significantly contributes to worse QoL, overall health and global health status.
    Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research 12/2013; DOI:10.1586/14737167.2014.864560 · 1.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background:Older people represent the majority of cancer patients but their specific needs are often ignored in the development of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) instruments. The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-ELD15 was developed to supplement the EORTC's core questionnaire, the QLQ-C30, for measuring HRQOL in patients aged >70 years in oncology studies.Methods:Patients (n=518) from 10 countries completed the QLQ-C30, QLQ-ELD15 and a debriefing interview. Eighty two clinically stable patients repeated the questionnaires 1 week later (test-retest analysis) and 107 others, with an expected change in clinical status, repeated the questionnaires 3 months later (response to change analysis, RCA).Results:Information from the debriefing interview, factor analysis and item response theory analysis resulted in the removal of one item (QLQ-ELD15QLQ-ELD14) and revision of the proposed scale structure to five scales (mobility, worries about others, future worries, maintaining purpose and illness burden) and two single items (joint stiffness and family support). Convergent validity was good. In known-group comparisons, the QLQ-ELD14 differentiated between patients with different disease stage, treatment intention, number of comorbidities, performance status and geriatric screening scores. Test-retest and RCA analyses were equivocal.Conclusion:The QLQ-ELD14 is a validated HRQOL questionnaire for cancer patients aged 70 years. Changes in elderly patients' self-reported HRQOL may be related to both cancer evolution and non-clinical events.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 18 July 2013; doi:10.1038/bjc.2013.407
    British Journal of Cancer 07/2013; 109(4). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2013.407 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: Health related quality of life (HRQOL) is a multidimensional concept that is especially important for cancer patients with bone metastases, as maintaining and improving HRQOL is often the main focus of treatment. This study aims to determine factors that may influence HRQOL, which may in turn influence treatment and care of patients. Methods: Patients (n=396) completed the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ) Bone Metastases module (BM22) at baseline. The EORTC QLQ-BM22 consists of four scales: painful site (PS), pain characteristics (PC), functional interference (FI), and psychosocial aspect (PA) scales. EORTC QLQ-BM22 data, together with sociodemographic and medical factors were analyzed by univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA). Items of significance were determined through backward selection, which were then put through multivariate analysis to determine further significance. Results: Through ANOVA analysis, KPS>80 and breast primary histology were predictive of better HRQOL in the PS scale, while KPS>80, female gender, and breast primary histology were predictive of better HRQOL in the PC and FI scales. KPS>80 and prostate primary histology were predictive of better HRQOL in the PA scale. KPS>80 and primary cancer site were confirmed as significant predictive factors in multivariate analysis. Recommendations: This study identified baseline factors of gender, performance status, and primary histology as determinants of HRQOL in patients with bone metastases. Further study focusing on current treatment (chemotherapy, bisphosphonates, and radiotherapy) and spiritual well-being may identify additional factors affecting HRQOL. Understanding the influence of these factors will allow health care professionals to provide more effective palliative care.
    Journal of palliative medicine 07/2013; DOI:10.1089/jpm.2012.0623 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas carries a uniformly poor prognosis with high rates of loco-regional as well as systemic recurrence. Outcomes remain poor, even for early stage and resectable disease. It is perceived as inherently resistant to most of the currently available treatment options. Evidence supports the need for adjuvant chemotherapy but controversy remains in relation to the use of combined therapy, novel agents and the most appropriate timing of therapy. Despite no clear consensus, mainstay of treatment following resection is based primarily on single agent gemcitabine. Promising new agents and molecules of prognostic as well as predictive value under evaluation offer intriguing data, despite issues surrounding adjuvant therapy strategies. In this article, we sought to review the different therapeutic adjuvant modalities and future directions.
    Cancer Treatment Reviews 06/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.ctrv.2013.05.008 · 6.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Assessment of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is critical to effective delivery of palliative care in patients with advanced cancer. The current study analyzes relationships between baseline social determinants of health and medical factors, and self-reported HRQOL in patients with bone metastases receiving palliative radiotherapy. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Advanced cancer patients referred for radiotherapy treatment of bone metastases completed the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire in multiple outpatient clinics internationally. Demographics and social determinants were collected as baseline information. Univariate and Bonferroni-adjusted multivariate linear regression analyses were used to detect significant correlations between baseline determinants and different HRQOL domains. RESULTS: Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) was correlated with better physical (p = 0.0002), role (p < 0.0001), emotional (p < 0.0001), and social (p < 0.0001) functioning, and global health scores (p = 0.0015) and predicted lower symptom scores for fatigue (p < 0.0001), pain (p < 0.0001), appetite loss (p < 0.0001), and constipation (p < 0.0001). Increased age was predictive of better social functioning (p < 0.0001) and less insomnia (p = 0.0036), higher education correlated with better global health status (p = 0.0043), and patients who were employed or retired had improved physical functioning (p = 0.0004 and p = 0.0030, respectively) and less financial challenges compared to patients who were unemployed (p = 0.0005). CONCLUSIONS: Baseline KPS had the greatest influence on EORTC QLQ-C30 domain scores. Age, education level, and employment status had significant impacts, although on fewer domains. Further studies that investigate baseline determinants are worthwhile to clarify relationships in order to care for patients more effectively at the end of life.
    Supportive Care in Cancer 06/2013; DOI:10.1007/s00520-013-1876-6 · 2.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective: The European Organization of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire - Core 15 Palliative (EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL) was developed to assess quality of life (QOL) for the palliative cancer population to decrease patient burden. The purpose of this study was to compare predictive factors for well-being in the QLQ-C15-PAL extracted from the EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire - Core 30 (QLQ-C30) with the QLQ-C30 itself. Methods and Materials: Patients with advanced cancer referred for treatment of bone metastases completed the QLQ-C30. Fifteen items from the QLQ-C15-PAL were extracted from the QLQ-C30. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to determine predictive factors of the global QOL/health score in both tools. In the multivariate analyses, a p value of <0.003 indicated statistical significance. Results: Overall, predictive factors were similar when analyzing data from both tools. Predictive factors for the QLQ-C30 were role functioning (p<0.0001), fatigue (p<0.0001), nausea/vomiting (p<0.0001), and financial problems (p<0.0001) and factors for the extracted QLQ-C15-PAL were physical functioning (p<0.0001) and fatigue (p<0.0001). Conclusions: Extraction of the QLQ-C15-PAL items from the QLQ-C30 resulted in similar predictive QOL domains for all patient subgroups analyzed individually. The QLQ-C15-PAL is reflective of the QLQ-C30 domains and is recommended for future studies involving patients in a palliative setting, as this shorter questionnaire reduces patient burden and may increase accrual and compliance, while maintaining a similar breadth of coverage and achieving the same predictive ability.
    Journal of palliative medicine 03/2013; DOI:10.1089/jpm.2012.0398 · 2.06 Impact Factor
  • Vassilios Vassiliou
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    ABSTRACT: The life expectancy of Western populations has risen in the last few decades, resulting in a steep increase in the number of elderly cancer patients. Metastatic bone disease (MBD) is an important problem in such patients as it is associated with the development of skeletal-related events (SREs), such as fractures and spinal cord compression. These complications do not only deteriorate the quality of life of affected patients, but can also reduce expected survival. Due to the fact that elderly patients have an increased risk of SREs, maintaining bone health and implementing effective treatments for managing MBD is of vital importance. Bisphosphonates have been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of SREs considerably in patients with MBD. Moreover, they have been shown to reduce pain and improve the quality of life of affected patients. Bisphosphonates should be used with caution in elderly patients due to the fact that their use can bring about renal function deterioration. Several preventive measures need to be followed in order to minimise the risk of this complication. Denosumab is a monoclonal antibody inhibiting receptor activator of NF-kB ligand and has shown superiority over zoledronic acid in reducing the risk of SREs. In the three comparative trials between denosumab and zoledronic acid, survival and disease progression were similar between the two groups. Denosumab has been shown not to affect renal function and can therefore be safely used in the elderly. Osteonecrosis of the jaws is a devastating complication that may occur after treatment with either denosumab or zoledronic acid. The incidence rates between the two are comparable and percentage differences not statistically significant. In the three randomised trials, hypocalcaemia occurred more frequently in denosumab-treated patients than in those managed with zoledronic acid, with the corresponding percentages being 5.5-13% versus 3.4-6%. In order to minimise the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaws and hypocalcaemia, all precautionary measures and treatment guidelines should be followed closely. Several studies have investigated the cost-effectiveness of denosumab versus zoledronic acid when used for SRE prevention. These studies reported contradictory results due to the application of different analytical perspectives and model parameters.
    Clinical Oncology 03/2013; 25(5). DOI:10.1016/j.clon.2013.01.008 · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: This study explored international radiation oncology trainee decision making in the management of radiotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (RINV). METHODS: Radiation oncology trainees who were members of the national radiation oncology associations of the USA, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain and Singapore completed a Web-based survey. Respondents estimated the risks of nausea and vomiting associated with six standardised radiotherapy-only clinical case vignettes modelled after international anti-emetic guidelines and then committed to prophylactic, rescue or no therapy as an initial management approach for each case. RESULTS: One hundred and seventy-six trainees from 11 countries responded. Only 28 % were aware of any anti-emetic guideline. In general, risk estimates and management approaches for the high-risk and minimal risk cases varied less and were more in line with guideline standards than were estimates and approaches for the moderate- and low-risk cases. Prophylactic therapy was the most common approach for the high-risk and a moderate-risk case (83 and 71 % of respondents respectively), while rescue therapy was the most common approach for a second moderate-risk case (69 %), two low-risk cases (69 and 76 %) and a minimal risk case (68 %). A serotonin receptor antagonist was the most commonly recommended prophylactic agent. On multivariate analysis, a higher estimated risk of nausea predicted for recommending prophylactic therapy, and a lower estimated risk of nausea predicted for recommending rescue therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Radiation oncology trainee risk estimates and recommended management approaches for RINV clinical case vignettes varied and matched guideline standards more often for high-risk and minimal risk cases than for moderate- and low-risk cases. Risk estimates of nausea specifically were strong predictors of management decisions.
    Supportive Care in Cancer 02/2013; DOI:10.1007/s00520-013-1759-x · 2.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: This study examined which domains/symptoms from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 15 Palliative (QLQ-C15-PAL), an abbreviated version of the health-related EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire designed for palliative cancer patients, were predictive of overall quality of life (QOL) in advanced cancer patients. METHODS: Patients with advanced cancer from six countries completed the QLQ-C15-PAL at consultation and at one follow-up point. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted to determine the predictive value of the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL functional/symptom scores for global QOL (question 15). RESULTS: Three hundred forty-nine patients completed the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL at baseline. In the total patient sample, worse emotional functioning, pain, and appetite loss were the most significant predictive factors for worse QOL. In the subgroup of patients with bone metastases (n = 240), the domains mentioned above were also the most significant predictors, whereas in patients with brain metastases (n = 109), worse physical and emotional functioning most significantly predicted worse QOL. One-month follow-up in 267 patients revealed that the significant predictors changed somewhat over time. For example, in the total patient sample, physical functioning, fatigue, and appetite loss were significant predictors at the follow-up point. A sub-analysis of predictive factors affecting QOL by primary cancer (lung, breast, and prostate) was also conducted for the total patient sample. CONCLUSION: Deterioration of certain EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL functional/symptom scores significantly contributes to worse overall QOL. Special attention should be directed to managing factors most influential on overall QOL to ensure optimal management of advanced cancer patients.
    Supportive Care in Cancer 01/2013; DOI:10.1007/s00520-013-1717-7 · 2.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective The validated EORTC quality of life (QOL) questionnaire QLQ-BN20 is a cancer subtype-specific supplement to the QLQ-C30 general QOL questionnaire for patients with primary brain neoplasms. The QLQ-C15-PAL core palliative questionnaire is an abbreviated version of the QLQ-C30 designed to decrease patient burden. We conducted content validation of the QLQ-BN20+2 for patients with brain metastases. Methods and materials Patients undergoing treatment for brain metastases, along with health care professionals (HCPs) completed the QLQ-C15-PAL and QLQ-BN20+2 questionnaires. A structured interview followed to assess for any difficulties with the QLQ-BN20+2, irrelevant items, and whether additional pertinent items should be included. Results Seventy-four patients and 71 HCPs participated. The majority of patients (84 %) were treated with whole-brain radiotherapy only. Over 50 % of patients felt that seizures, hair loss and trouble controlling bladder were not related to brain metastases. Questions regarding uncertainty about the future were the most difficult, although still a small proportion (12–16 %). All items were endorsed by over 50 % of HCPs as ‘quite’ or ‘very’ relevant to brain metastases patients, with two exceptions: 15 and 12 % of HCPs rated pruritis and future uncertainty as irrelevant, respectively. Conclusion We report the first content validation of the QLQ-BN20+2 and QLQ-C15-PAL QOL questionnaires for patients undergoing treatment for brain metastases, demonstrating feasibility and relevance. These questionnaires should be used together as universal QOL assessment tools in this setting.
    12/2012; 1(4). DOI:10.1007/s13566-012-0044-9
  • Vassilios Vassiliou, Panteleimon Kountourakis
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 11/2012; 84(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.04.039 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This narrative review summarizes new and existing local and systemic management strategies for bone metastases from the fields of radiation oncology, medical oncology and orthopaedic surgery. Local management strategies are organized according to different clinical scenarios, with complicated bone metastases defined as those with associated pathological fractures, soft tissue components or those compressing the spinal cord or cauda equina, and uncomplicated lesions defined as those without these adverse features. The distinction applies for both sclerotic and lytic lesions. Systemic strategies are organized according to classes of therapeutic agents.
    09/2012; 1(3). DOI:10.1007/s13566-012-0058-3
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    ABSTRACT: Radiation therapy (RT) is an effective method of palliating painful bone metastases and can improve function and reduce analgesic requirements. In advanced cancer patients, quality of life (QOL) is the primary outcome of interest over traditional endpoints such as survival. The purpose of our study was to compare bone metastasis-specific QOL scores among patients who responded differently to palliative RT. Patients receiving RT for bone metastases across 6 countries were prospectively enrolled from March 2010-January 2011 in a trial validating the QLQ-BM22 and completed the QLQ-BM22 and the core measure (QLQ-C30) at baseline and after 1 month. Pain scores and analgesic intake were recorded, and response to RT was determined according to the latest published guidelines. The Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric and Wilcoxon rank sum tests compared changes in QOL among response groups. A Bonferroni-adjusted P<.003 indicated statistical significance. Of 79 patients who received palliative RT, 59 were assessable. Partial response, pain progression, and indeterminate response were observed in 22, 8, and 29 patients, respectively; there were no patients with a complete response. Patients across all groups had similar baseline QOL scores apart from physical functioning (patients who progressed had better initial functioning). One month after RT, patients who responded had significant improvements in 3 of 4 QLQ-BM22 domains (painful site, P<.0001; painful characteristic, P<.0001; and functional interference, P<.0001) and 3 QLQ-C30 domains (physical functioning, P=.0006; role functioning, P=.0026; and pain, P<.0001). Patients with progression in pain had significantly worse functional interference (P=.0007) and pain (P=.0019). Patients who report pain relief after palliative RT also have better QOL with respect to bone metastasis-specific issues. The QLQ-BM22 and QLQ-C30 are able to discriminate among patients with varying responses and are recommended for use in future bone metastasis clinical trials.
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 07/2012; 84(3):e337-42. DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.05.028 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate international patterns of practice in the management of radiation therapy-induced nausea and vomiting (RINV). Oncologists prescribing radiation therapy in the United States, Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cyprus, and Israel completed a Web-based survey that was based on 6 radiation therapy-only clinical cases modeled after the minimal-, low-, moderate-, and high-emetic risk levels defined in the antiemetic guidelines of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer. For each case, respondents estimated the risks of nausea and vomiting separately and committed to an initial management approach. In total, 1022 responses were received. Risk estimates and management decisions for the minimal- and high-risk cases varied little and were in line with guideline standards, whereas those for the low- and moderate-risk cases varied greatly. The most common initial management strategies were as follows: rescue therapy for a minimal-risk case (63% of respondents), 2 low-risk cases (56% and 80%), and 1 moderate-risk case (66%); and prophylactic therapy for a second moderate-risk case (75%) and a high-risk case (95%). The serotonin (5-HT)₃ receptor antagonists were the most commonly recommended prophylactic agents. On multivariate analysis, factors predictive of a decision for prophylactic or rescue therapy were risk estimates of nausea and vomiting, awareness of the American Society of Clinical Oncology antiemetic guideline, and European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology membership. Risk estimates and management strategies for RINV varied, especially for low- and moderate-risk radiation therapy cases. Radiation therapy-induced nausea and vomiting are under-studied treatment sequelae. New observational and translational studies are needed to allow for individual patient risk assessment and to refine antiemetic guideline management recommendations.
    International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics 06/2012; 84(1):e49-60. DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2012.02.031 · 4.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Quality of life (QOL) is frequently an endpoint in clinical trials involving patients with advanced cancer. Statistical significance of minimal differences can be achieved with sufficient sample size, yet the actual clinical relevance is unknown. The purpose of this study was to establish the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) bone metastases module (EORTC QLQ-BM22). Patients with bone metastases across seven countries were prospectively enrolled in a trial validating the EORTC QLQ-BM22 and completed the QLQ-BM22 and core measure (QLQ-C30) at baseline and 1-month follow-up. MCIDs were calculated for each QOL scale for both improvement and deterioration using both an anchor- (performance status) and distribution-based approach. A total of 93 patients completed both baseline and follow-up QOL and had recorded performance status at both intervals. Statistically significant meaningful differences were seen in seven scales. There were improvements of 30.5 (95 % confidence interval, 9.0 to 52.0), 20.1 (7.1 to 33.2), 30.5 (13.8 to 47.3) and 19.6 (5.0 to 34.3) in the pain, painful site, painful characteristic and functional interference scales, respectively, demonstrated clinical relevance. Decreases of 12.4 (0.3 to 24.6), 22.4 (11.8 to 32.9) and 13.5 (1.9 to 25.1) were required to represent clinically relevant deterioration in emotional functioning, global health status and financial issues, respectively. Minimal differences for improvement were closest to 0.5 standard deviations (SD) while for deterioration, closer to 0.3 SD on the QLQ-BM22. Identification of requirements for clinical significance can assist in determining the relevance of QOL changes after treatment and in sample size determination in future trials. Our study is limited by the small sample size. Future studies should continue to determine MCID and confirm our findings using a variety of appropriate anchors and in a larger sample.
    Supportive Care in Cancer 05/2012; 20(12):3307-13. DOI:10.1007/s00520-012-1484-x · 2.50 Impact Factor
  • Radiotherapy and Oncology 05/2012; 103:S414. DOI:10.1016/S0167-8140(12)71397-X · 4.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aromatase inhibitors are widely used as one of the main treatment options of both early and advanced hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Unfortunately, musculoskeletal symptoms are often presented in patients treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs), and, although the pathogenesis is unknown, postulated mechanisms have been described. Herein, to our knowledge, we present the first report of bilateral De Quervain syndrome related with AIs therapy with a review of the relevant literature.
    Case Reports in Medicine 04/2012; 2012:810428. DOI:10.1155/2012/810428
  • Medical Oncology 03/2012; 29(4):2716-7. DOI:10.1007/s12032-012-0206-z · 2.06 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

204 Citations
136.14 Total Impact Points


  • 2009–2014
    • Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center
      Lefkoşa, Lefkosia, Cyprus
  • 2013
    • University of Toronto
      • Department of Radiation Oncology
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2007–2008
    • Πανεπιστημιακό Γενικό Νοσοκομείο Πατρών
      Pátra, West Greece, Greece
  • 2006–2008
    • University of Patras
      Rhion, West Greece, Greece