British Journal of Cancer

Published by Cancer Research UK
Online ISSN: 1532-1827
Publications
Article
The need for sample size calculations is briefly reviewed: many of the arguments against small trials are already well known, and we only cursorily repeat them in passing. Problems that arise in the estimation of sample size are then discussed, with particular reference to survival studies. However, most of the issues which we discuss are equally applicable to other types of study. Finally, prognostic factor analysis designs are discussed, since this is another area in which experience shows that far too many studies are of an inadequate size and yield misleading results.
 
Vasculature in the junctional region between tumour and underlying dermis showing; a, dense vascularity including many large calibre vessels and b, a tumour with relative sparse vascularity in this region. 
The length and surface density of vessels at the tumour base in relation to adjacent dermis. 0-dermis (n = 74); 0tumour base (n = 100). Regression line fitted to dermis data only. (S, = 0.0246 x L4 + 0.770). 
Clinical outcome in relation to tumour vascularity within a, the tumour base region (0-non-recurrence, n = 77;O}-recurrence, n = 20) and b, the tumour (0-non-recurrence, n 1= 70; *-recurrence, n= 17). 
Vasculature associated with primary cutaneous melan = number of 'hits' scored by the respective morphometric noma, visualised by endothelial staining using Ulex europaeus 
Article
The vascularity of 107 primary cutaneous melanomas has been characterized by morphometric histological analysis. The lesions selected for study were of thickness 0.85-1.25 mm and the aim was to evaluate the prognostic significance of tumour vascularity. Two groups of patients were identified; 86 with no evidence of recurrence after a minimum follow-up period of 5 years and 21 with locoregional recurrence and/or metastasis. The lectin Ulex europaeus type I was used for endothelial cell staining of tissue sections and morphometric analysis was performed to derive the vascular length, surface and volume density from independent measurements of tumour, adjacent dermis and the junctional zone between tumour and underlying tissue. A wide range of values was obtained for each parameter with increased vascularity always found at the tumour base compared with the tumour as a whole. In relation to the adjacent normal dermis, vascularity was generally found to be higher at the tumour base but either higher or lower in the tumour overall. Tumour recurrence could not be predicted by any of the derived vascular parameters either independently or together with other histological and clinical features. This study suggests that tumour vascularity is of no prognostic significance in melanoma of the above thickness range. The highly variable extent of tumour vascularity was not correlated with other clinical or histological parameters, but may have implications for the delivery of pharmaceutical agents used for diagnosis or therapy. Images Figure 1 Figure 2
 
Article
Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) after a hydatidiform mole is either treated with single- or multi-agent chemotherapy determined by a multifactorial scoring system. Women with human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) levels >100 000 IU l(-1) can remain within the low-risk/single-agent category and usually choose one drug therapy. Here we compare the success and duration of single- vs multi-agent chemotherapy in this patient group. Between 1980 and 2008, 65 women had a pre-treatment hCG >100 000 IU l(-1) and were low risk. The initial hCG level, treatment regimens, changes and duration and overall survival were recorded. Of 37 patients starting low-risk/single-agent treatment, 11 (29.7%) were treated successfully, whereas 26 (70.3%) required additional multi-agent chemotherapy to achieve complete remission (CR). Combination chemotherapy was initially commenced in 28 women, and 2 (7%) required additional drugs for CR. The overall duration of therapy for those commencing and completing single- or multi-agent chemotherapy was 130 and 123 days (P=0.78), respectively. The median-treatment duration for patients commencing single-agent but changing to multi-agent chemotherapy was 13 days more than those receiving high-risk treatment alone (136 vs 123 days; P=0.07). All 3 patients with an initial hCG >400 000 IU l(-1) and treated with single-agent therapy developed drug resistance. Overall survival for all patients was 100%. Low-risk post-molar GTN patients with a pre-treatment hCG >100 000 and <400 000 IU l(-1) can be offered low-risk single-agent therapy, as this will cure 30%, is relatively non-toxic and only prolongs treatment by 2 weeks if a change to combination agents is required. Patients whose hCG is >400 000 IU l(-1) should receive multi-agent chemotherapy from the outset.
 
Testicular cancer incidence in relation to serum cholesterol in a 25-year follow-up study of the Värmland cohort (n ¼ 44 864) 
Article
In a 25-year follow-up study of 44,864 men with measured serum cholesterol levels, the testicular cancer hazard ratios for the serum cholesterol categories 5.7-6.9 and > or = 7.0 mmol l(-1) vs the reference category (<5.7 mmol l(-1)) were 1.3 and 4.5, respectively; P-value for trend=0.005. This highly significant association suggests that high-serum cholesterol is a risk factor for testicular cancer.
 
Characteristics of the VHM&PP study cohort 
Estimated HR and 95% CI for incident cancers diagnosed among female participants in the VHM&PP Study Cohort 1985 -2001, according to BMI at enrolment BMI (kg m À2 ) a 
Article
We investigated the relation of overweight and obesity with cancer in a population-based cohort of more than 145 000 Austrian adults over an average of 9.9 years. Incident cancers (n=6241) were identified through the state cancer registry. Using Cox proportional-hazards models adjusted for smoking and occupation, increases in relative body weight in men were associated with colon cancer (hazard rate (HR) ratio 2.48; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.15, 5.39 for body mass index (BMI) > or =35 kg m(-2)) and pancreatic cancer (HR 2.34, 95% CI: 1.17, 4.66 for BMI>30 kg m(-2)) compared to participants with normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg m(-2)). In women, there was a weak positive association between increasing BMI and all cancers combined, and strong associations with non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (HR 2.86, 95% CI: 1.49, 5.49 for BMI> or =30 kg m(-2)) and cancers of the uterine corpus (HR 3.93, 95% CI: 2.35, 6.56 for BMI> or =35 kg m(-2)). Incidence of breast cancer was positively associated with high BMI only after age 65 years. These findings provide further evidence that overweight is associated with the incidence of several types of cancer.
 
Final logistic regression model demonstrating association between number of lifetime sexual partners, age at first sexual intercourse, smoking, OC use and HPV-16, -18, and -31 seropositivity, also adjusted for age and recent sexual partners (excluding study virgins)
of HPV-16, -18, -31, and -45 in the Costa Rican population-based cohort
Article
Human papillomavirus (HPV) seroprevalence and determinants of seropositivity were assessed in a 10049-woman population-based cohort in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Serologic responses based on VLP-based ELISA were obtained from the plasma collected at study enrollment in 1993/1994 for HPV-16 (n=9949), HPV-18 (n=9928), HPV-31 (n=9932), and HPV-45 (n=3019). Seropositivity was defined as five standard deviations above the mean optical density obtained for studied virgins (n=573). HPV-16, -18, -31, and -45 seroprevalence was 15, 15, 16, and 11%, respectively. Of women DNA-positive for HPV-16, -18, -31, or -45, seropositivity was 45, 34, 51, and 28%, respectively. Peak HPV seroprevalence occurred a decade after DNA prevalence; lifetime number of sexual partners was the key determinant of seropositivity independent of DNA status and age. DNA- and sero-positive women showed the highest risk for concurrent CIN3/cancer, followed by DNA-positive, sero-negative women.
 
Article
The present study explored body mass index (BMI), height, and risk of prostate cancer in a large Norwegian cohort of 950000 men aged 20-74 years, whose height and weight were measured in a standardised way in the period 1963-1999. These were followed for an average of 21 years. The Cox proportional hazard models were used in the analyses. During follow-up, 33 300 histologically verified cases of prostate cancer were registered. The risk of prostate cancer increased by both BMI and height. The magnitude of the increase by BMI was modest, the relative risk (RR) of obese men (BMI>or=30) compared with normal weighted was 1.09 (95% CI: 1.04-1.15). However, the RR at age 50-59 years was 1.58 (95% CI: 1.29-1.94) in men being obese at about age 45 years compared with normal weighted men. The tallest men had an RR of 1.72 (95% CI: 1.46-2.04) compared with the shortest men. The overall effect of BMI on the incidence of prostate cancer was modest. The larger effect found in men aged 50-59 years might partly explain the previous inconsistent findings.
 
Standardised incidence ratios of selected second primary cancers after NHL by age at NHL 
Summary of the major findings Trend (Po0.05) 
Article
An analysis of other primary cancers in individuals with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) can help to elucidate this cancer aetiology. In all, 109 451 first primary NHL were included in a pooled analysis of 13 cancer registries. The observed numbers of second cancers were compared to the expected numbers derived from the age-, sex-, calendar period- and registry-specific incidence rates. We also calculated the standardised incidence ratios for NHL as a second primary after other cancers. There was a 47% (95% confidence interval 43-51%) overall increase in the risk of a primary cancer after NHL. A strongly significant (P<0.001) increase was observed for cancers of the lip, tongue, oropharynx*, stomach, small intestine, colon*, liver, nasal cavity*, lung, soft tissues*, skin melanoma*, nonmelanoma skin*, bladder*, kidney*, thyroid*, Hodgkin's lymphoma*, lymphoid leukaemia* and myeloid leukaemia. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as a second primary was increased after cancers marked with an asterisk. Patterns of risk indicate a treatment effect for lung, bladder, stomach, Hodgkin's lymphoma and myeloid leukaemia. Common risk factors may be involved for cancers of the lung, bladder, nasal cavity and for soft tissues, such as pesticides. Bidirectional effects for several cancer sites of potential viral origin argue strongly for a role for immune suppression in NHL.
 
Article
Determinants of human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 serological conversion and persistence were assessed in a population-based cohort of 10 049 women in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Serologic responses to HPV-16 were measured in 7986 women by VLP-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay at both study enrollment (1993/94) and at 5-7 years of follow-up. Seropositive women were defined as >/=5 standard deviations above the mean optical density obtained for studied virgins at enrollment (n=573). Seroconnversion (n=409), persistence (n=675), and clearance (n=541) were defined based on enrollment and follow-up serology measurements. Age-specific distributions revealed that HPV-16 seroconversion was highest among 18- to 24-year-old women, steadily declining with age; HPV-16 seropersistence was lowest in women 65+ years. In age-adjusted multivariate logistic regression models, a 10-fold risk increase for HPV-16 seroconversion was associated with HPV-16 DNA detection at enrollment and follow-up; two-fold risk of seroconversion to HPV-16 was associated with increased numbers of lifetime and recent sexual partners and smoking status. Determinants of HPV-16 seropersistence included a 1.5-fold risk increase associated with having one sexual partner during follow-up, former oral contraceptive use, and a 3-fold risk increase associated with HPV-16 DNA detection at both enrollment and follow-up. Higher HPV-16 viral load at enrollment was associated with seroconversion, and higher antibody titres at enrollment were associated with seropersistence.
 
Article
If infections are involved in the aetiology of childhood leukaemia then seasonal variation in the birth or onset dates of the malignancy may be apparent. Previous studies that have examined seasonality of these dates have produced conflicting results. Using population-based data from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours we conducted a larger study than any to date of 15 835 cases of childhood leukaemia born and diagnosed in the UK between 1953-95. We found no evidence of seasonality in either month of birth or month of diagnosis overall or in any subgroups by age, sex, histology or immunophenotype. We did however find a significant (P = 0.01) February peak in month of birth for cases born before 1960 and a significant (P = 0.02) August peak in month of diagnosis for those diagnosed before 1962. Whilst these findings may be due to chance they are also consistent with changes over time in the seasonality of exposure, or immunological response, to a relevant infection. Changes in the seasonal variation in the fatality rate of a pre-leukaemic illness, such as pneumonia, could be another explanation.
 
Patient flow through the trial.
Tumour and patient characteristics at trial entry N (%)
Progression-free survival (A) and overall survival (B) in months since trial entry.
Article
Background: Penis cancer is rare and clinical trial evidence on which to base treatment decisions is limited. Case reports suggest that the combination of docetaxel, cisplatin and 5-flurouracil (TPF) is highly active in this disease. Methods: Twenty-nine patients with locally advanced or metastatic squamous carcinoma of the penis were recruited into a single-arm phase II trial from nine UK centres. Up to three cycles of chemotherapy were received (docetaxel 75 mg m−2 day 1, cisplatin 60 mg m−2 day 1, 5-flurouracil 750 mg m−2 per day days 1–5, repeated every 3 weeks). Primary outcome was objective response (assessed by RECIST). Fourteen or more responses in 26 evaluable patients were required to confirm a response rate of 60% or higher (Fleming-A'Hern design), warranting further evaluation. Secondary endpoints included toxicity and survival. Results: 10/26 evaluable patients (38.5%, 95% CI: 20.2–59.4) achieved an objective response. Two patients with locally advanced disease achieved radiological complete remission. 65.5% of patients experienced at least one grade 3/4 adverse event. Conclusion: Docetaxel, cisplatin and 5FU did not reach the pre-determined threshold for further research and caused significant toxicity. Our results do not support the routine use of TPF. The observed complete responses support further investigation of combination chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting.
 
Expression of smooth-muscle actin in desmoplastic stroma. The figure illustrates examples with weak (A, C) and strong (B) staining intensity.
Patterns of density of desmoplastic stroma. (A) Loose connective tissue with myxoid appearance. (B) Moderate density. (C) Tightly packed connective tissue fibres (same cases as in ).
Kaplan–Meier curves: α-SMA expression. High α-SMA expression is associated with decreased DFS and OS in the overall study population.
Kaplan–Meier curves: stromal density. A dense stroma is a positive prognostic biomarker for DFS and OS in patients that received no adjuvant treatment but not in patients who received adjuvant treatment with gemcitabine. Stroma density as well as DFS and OS are indicated by the different rows, treatment arms by the different columns.
Article
Background: Previous investigations in pancreatic cancer suggest a prognostic role for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression and stromal density in the peritumoural stroma. The aim of this study was to further validate the impact of α-SMA expression and stromal density in resectable pancreatic cancer patients treated with adjuvant gemcitabine compared with untreated patients. Methods: CONKO-001 was a prospective randomised phase III study investigating the role of adjuvant gemcitabine as compared with observation. Tissue samples of 162 patients were available for immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays to evaluate the impact of α-SMA expression and stromal density impact on patient outcome. Results: High α-SMA expression in tumour stroma was associated with worse patient outcome (DFS: P=0.05, OS: P=0.047). A dense stroma reaction was associated with improved disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in the overall study population (DFS: P=0.001, OS: P=0.001). This positive prognostic impact was restricted to patients with no adjuvant treatment (DFS: P<0.001, OS: P<0.001). In multivariable analysis, α-SMA and stromal density expression were independently predictive factors for survival. Conclusions: Our data confirm the negative prognostic impact of high α-SMA expression in pancreatic cancer patients after curatively intended resection. In contrast to former investigations, we found a positive prognostic impact for a dense stroma. This significant influence was restricted to patients who received no adjuvant therapy.
 
Kaplan–Meier estimates of survival among patients with KRAS or BRAF mutations detected in archival tumour tissue (A) and in plasma (B) in the prospective cohort.
Patient characteristics
Univariate analysis of outcome parameters according to KRAS and BRAF mutations
Article
Background: We investigated the clinical implications of KRAS and BRAF mutations detected in both archival tumor tissue and plasma cell-free DNA in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with irinotecan monotherapy. Methods: Two hundred and eleven patients receiving second-line irinotecan (350 mg m−2 q3w) were included in two independent cohorts. Plasma was obtained from pretreatment EDTA blood-samples. Mutations were detected in archival tumour and plasma with qPCR methods. Results: Mutation status in tumor did not correlate to efficacy in either cohort, whereas none of the patients with mutations detectable in plasma responded to therapy. Response rate and disease control rate in plasma KRAS wt patients were 19 and 66% compared with 0 and 37%, in patients with pKRAS mutations, (P=0.04 and 0.01). Tumor KRAS status was not associated with PFS but with OS in the validation cohort. Plasma BRAF and KRAS demonstrated a strong influence on both PFS and OS. The median OS was 13.0 mo in pKRAS wt patients and 7.8 in pKRAS-mutated, (HR=2.26, P<0.0001). PFS was 4.6 and 2.7 mo, respectively (HR=1,69, P=0.01). Multivariate analysis confirmed the independent prognostic value of pKRAS status but not KRAS tumor status. Conclusion: Tumor KRAS has minor clinical impact, whereas plasma KRAS status seems to hold important predictive and prognostic information.
 
Dose level evaluated and encountered DLTs
Common treatment related adverse events
Pharmacokinetic parameters of cediranib at different DLs
Duration of exposure as of data cutoff date on 6 November 2012. *Patient continues on treatment. Abbreviation: DL, dose level.
Concentration of circulating angiogenic factors measured in the sera of patients during cycle 1 of treatment. (A) VEGF-A, (B) VEGF-C and (C) SDF-1. Increases in these factors were detected after dosing with cediranib, but there was no suggestion of relationship with dose or time to treatment failure.
Article
Background: The Notch signalling pathway has been implicated in tumour initiation, progression, angiogenesis and development of resistance to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) targeting, providing a rationale for the combination of RO4929097, a γ-secretase inhibitor, and cediranib, a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Methods: Patients received escalating doses of RO4929097 (on a 3 days-on and 4 days-off schedule) in combination with cediranib (once daily). Cycle 1 was 42 days long with RO4929097 given alone for the first 3 weeks followed by the co-administration of both RO4929097 and cediranib starting from day 22. Cycle 2 and onwards were 21 days long. Soluble markers of angiogenesis were measured in plasma samples. Archival tumour specimens were assessed for expression of three different components of Notch signalling pathway and genotyping. Results: In total, 20 patients were treated in three dose levels (DLs). The recommended phase II dose was defined as 20 mg for RO4929097 on 3 days-on and 4 days-off schedule and 30 mg daily for cediranib. The most frequent treatment-related adverse events (AEs) were diarrhoea, hypertension, fatigue and nausea. Eleven patients had a best response of stable disease and one patient achieved partial response. We did not detect any correlation between tested biomarkers of angiogenesis or the Notch pathway and treatment effect. There was no correlation between mutational status and time to treatment failure. Conclusion: RO4929097 in combination with cediranib is generally well tolerated at the DLs tested. Preliminary evidence of antitumour efficacy with prolonged disease stabilisation in some patients with progressive malignancies warrants further clinical investigation of this treatment strategy.
 
Typical examples of a diploid (A) and aneuploid (B) flow cytometry profile. The dot plot (left) shows the region delineating BrdUrdlabelled cells. The histograms (right) show the DNA profile of all single nuclei (A) and of BrdUrd-labelled nuclei only. See text for description of markers  
Summary of kinetic parameters obtained from each centre for all 102 specimens. The numbers in parentheses represent the data obtained from 90 patients excluding the censored T s data
's correlation analysis of sample specimens in which there was consensus in ploidy classification. 'All' refers to tumours that were uniformly classified as diploid or aneuploid with the same DNA index and 'dip' and 'aneu' refer to the subgroups of diploid or aneuploid tumours only
Article
We compared the flow cytometric measurement and analysis of the potential doubling time (Tpot) between three centres involved in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) protocol T92-0045. The primary purpose was to understand and minimize the variation within the measurement. A total of 102 specimens were selected at random from patients entered into the trial. Samples were prepared, stained, run and analysed in each centre and a single set of data analysed by all three centres. Analysis of the disc data set revealed that the measurement of labelling index (LI) was robust and reproducible. The estimation of duration of S-phase (T(S)) was subject to errors of profile interpretation, particularly DNA ploidy status, and analysis. The LI dominated the variation in Tpot such that the level of final agreement, after removal of outliers and ploidy agreement, reached correlation coefficients of 0.9. The sample data showed poor agreement within each of the components of the measurement. There was some improvement when ploidy was in agreement, but correlation coefficients failed to exceed values of 0.5 for Tpot. The data suggest that observer-associated analysis of T(S) and tissue processing and tumour heterogeneity were the major causes of variability in the Tpot measurement. The first two aspects can be standardized and minimized, but heterogeneity will remain a problem with biopsy techniques.
 
Article
Proteasome inhibitor Bortezomib/Velcade has emerged as an effective anticancer therapy for the treatment of relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma (MM), but prolonged treatment can be associated with toxicity and development of drug resistance. In this review, we discuss the recent discovery of a novel proteasome inhibitor, NPI-0052, that is distinct from Bortezomib in its chemical structure, mechanisms of action, and effects on proteasomal activities; most importantly, it overcomes resistance to conventional and Bortezomib therapies. In vivo studies using human MM xenografts shows that NPI-0052 is well tolerated, prolongs survival, and reduces tumour recurrence. These preclinical studies provided the basis for Phase-I clinical trial of NPI-0052 in relapsed/refractory MM patients.
 
The effect of bisphosphonate exposure on proliferation of UMR 106-01 cells grown in monolayer. Cells were detached by trypsinization and counted by coulter counter on the days indicated. Points are mean of three samples. Experiments were performed more than three times with similar results and low standard error of means (not discernible at this resolution). (A) -Pamidronate exposure. 10 8 M to 10 5 M. (B) -Clodronate exposure.
Mechanisms via which the bisphosphonates may affect osteoclast function. Downregulation of RANKL mRNA expression in the presence of continued OPG mRNA production accounts for a net reduction in osteoclast differentiating signals from osteoblasts as the relatively abundant OPG saturates RANKL. RANKL binding to the receptor on osteoclast progenitor cells is thus inhibited. Direct apoptotic effects on mature osteoclasts are known and differentiation of osteoclasts is also thought to be directly suppressed.
Article
Local growth of osteosarcoma involves destruction of host bone by proteolytic mechanisms and/or host osteoclast activation. Osteoclast formation and activity are regulated by osteoblast-derived factors such as the osteoclast differentiating factor, receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand (RANKL) and the inhibitor osteoprotegerin (OPG). We have investigated the in vitro effects of bisphosphonates on a clonal rat osteosarcoma cell line. The aminobisphosphonate pamidronate was added to UMR 106-01 cell cultures (10(-8)M to 10(-4)M up to 5 days). The non-aminobisphosphonate clodronate was administered for the same time periods (10(-6)M to 10(-2)M). Cell proliferation, apoptosis and mRNA expression was assessed. Both agents inhibited cell proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner. ELISA analysis demonstrated an increase in DNA fragmentation although there was no significant dose-related difference between the doses studied. Bisphosphonate-treated cultures had a greater subpopulation of cells exhibiting morphological changes of apoptosis. Expression of mRNA for osteopontin and RANKL was down-regulated by both agents, while the expression of mRNA for alkaline phosphatase, pro-alpha1(I) collagen and OPG was not altered. Out in vitro work suggests the bisphosphonates not only have direct effects on osteosarcoma cell growth and apoptosis, but also, by altering the relative expression of osteoclast-regulating factors, they may inhibit the activity of osteoclasts and their recruitment.
 
Baseline characteristics by treatment arm
Study flow according to CONSORT.
Quality of life analysis
Toxicity analysis
Article
Docetaxel (75 mg m(-2) 3-weekly) is standard second-line treatment in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with significant toxicity. To verify whether a weekly schedule (33.3 mg m(-2) for 6 weeks) improved quality of life (QoL), a phase III study was performed with 220 advanced NSCLC patients, < or =75 years, ECOG PS < or =2. QoL was assessed by EORTC questionnaires and the Daily Diary Card (DDC). No difference was found in global QoL scores at 3 weeks. Pain, cough and hair loss significantly favoured the weekly schedule, while diarrhoea was worse. DDC analysis showed that loss of appetite and overall condition were significantly worse in the 3-week arm in the first week, while nausea and loss of appetite were more severe in the weekly arm in the third week. Response rate and survival were similar, hazard ratio of death in the weekly arm being 1.04 (95% CI 0.77-1.39). A 3-weekly docetaxel was more toxic for leukopenia, neutropenia, febrile neutropenia and hair loss; any grade 3-4 haematologic toxicity was significantly more frequent in the standard arm (25 vs 6%). The weekly schedule could be preferred for patients candidate to receive docetaxel as second-line treatment for advanced NSCLC, because of some QoL advantages, lower toxicity and no evidence of strikingly different effect on survival.
 
Radiosensitisation of carcinomas HT29 and SW480 by UCN-01. Survival of the HT29 (A) and SW480 (C) carcinoma cell lines, which have mutant p53, was assessed by attached cell yield after 7 days treatment with 5 Gy IR and/or 50 nM UCN-01. Treatment with UCN-01 alone had no effect on the attached cell yield compared to untreated control cells. IR alone reduced cell yield and this was further significantly reduced by combined treatment with IR and UCN-01. Data represents means of three independent experiments±s.d.; *Significant reduction in cell yield in IR and UCN-01 (combined) cultures compared to IR alone, P<0.05. Induction of apoptosis of the HT29 (B) and SW480 (D) carcinoma cell lines was assessed by determining the percentage of cells which had detached from the monolayer and were floating, these cells were then determined to be apoptotic as described previously (Bracey et al, 1995), also see Materials and Methods. Treatment with UCN-01 alone had no effect on levels of apoptosis. After treatment with both 5 Gy IR and 50 nM UCN-01 (combined) there was a significant increase in apoptosis compared to IR alone. Data represents means of three independent experiments±s.d.; *Significant increase in floating cells in IR and UCN-01 (combined) cells compared to IR alone, *=P<0.05, **=P<0.01.
UCN-01 did not radiosensitise adenoma S/RG/C2. (A) Attached cell yield was determined as a measure of cell survival 7 days after 5 Gy IR and/or treatment with 25 nM UCN-01. Treatment with 25 nM UCN-01 alone had no effect on attached cell yield compared to untreated controls. IR alone reduced cell yield and this was not further increased by IR in combination with UCN-01. Data represents the mean of three independent experiments±s.d. (B) Induction of apoptosis was assessed by the percentage of floating cells as described previously (Bracey et al, 1995) and in Materials and Methods. Treatment with UCN-01 alone had no effect on levels of apoptosis. Five Gy IR induced apoptosis but this was not further significantly increased by IR in the presence of UCN-01. There was no evidence of an increase in apoptosis in the attached population in cells treated with IR and UCN-01 compared to IR alone, nor was there any evidence of cell death via formation of giant polyploid cells – see Results.
Long-term survival studies of HT29 and SW480. After continuous 7 day treatment with IR and/or UCN-01 colorectal cell lines HT29 and SW480 were trypsinised and a known number of cells was re-seeded into control medium without UCN-01. After a further 14 days of growth cells were fixed, stained and colony forming efficiency (CFE) was calculated (as described in Materials and Methods). (A) The CFE of colorectal carcinoma-derived cell line HT29 was not significantly affected by treatment with UCN-01 alone. IR reduced CFE. Cells which had been treated with IR and UCN-01 had a significantly reduced CFE compared to cells treated with IR alone (P<0.05). (B) The CFE of colorectal carcinoma-derived cell line SW480 was not affected by treatment with UCN-01 alone. IR reduced CFE. Cells which had been treated with IR and UCN-01 had a significantly reduced CFE compared to cells treated with IR alone (P<0.001).
Article
Ionising radiation is commonly used in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Tumour cells with mutant p53 undergo cell cycle arrest at G2/M after ionising radiation and evidence suggests that abrogation of this G2 arrest can lead to a premature, aberrant mitosis, thus enhancing ionising radiation-induced cell killing. The G2 checkpoint inhibitor UCN-01 was thus investigated to determine whether it would abrogate the G2 checkpoint induced by 5 Gy ionising radiation in a range of colorectal tumour cell lines. Data presented show that, at doses that are alone non-toxic to the cells, UCN-01 inhibits the ionising radiation-induced G2 checkpoint in five colorectal tumour cell lines with mutant p53. The ability of UCN-01 to sensitise cells to ionising radiation-induced growth inhibition and apoptosis was also investigated and UCN-01 was found to radiosensitise two out of five cell lines. These results were confirmed by long-term colony forming efficiency studies. These results demonstrate that abrogation of the ionising radiation-induced G2 checkpoint is not necessarily associated with sensitisation to ionising radiation, however, some colorectal tumour cell lines can be radiosensitised by UCN-01. Although the mechanism of radiosensitisation is not clear, this may still be an important treatment strategy. British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 352–358. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600492 www.bjcancer.com © 2002 Cancer Research UK
 
Trial schema.
Patient and tumour characteristics
Trial profile.
Kaplan–Meier curve of progression-free survival by treatment arm as a function of time.
Delivery of therapy by treatment arm
Article
We assessed the activity of gemcitabine (G) and cisplatin/gemcitabine (C/G) in patients with locally advanced (LA) or metastatic (M) (advanced) biliary cancers (ABC) for whom there is no standard chemotherapy. Patients, aged > or =18 years, with pathologically confirmed ABC, Karnofsky performance (KP) > or =60, and adequate haematological, hepatic and renal function were randomised to G 1000 mg m(-2) on D1, 8, 15 q28d (Arm A) or C 25 mg m(-2) followed by G 1000 mg m(-2) D1, 8 q21d (Arm B) for up to 6 months or disease progression. In total, 86 patients (A/B, n=44/42) were randomised between February 2002 and May 2004. Median age (64/62.5 years), KP, primary tumour site, earlier surgery, indwelling biliary stent and disease stage (LA: 25/38%) are comparable between treatment arms. Grade 3-4 toxicity included (A/B, % patients) anaemia (4.5/2.4), leukopenia (6.8/4.8), neutropenia (13.6/14.3), thrombocytopenia (9.1/11.9), lethargy (9.1/28.6), nausea/vomiting (0/7.1) and anorexia (2.3/4.8). Responses (WHO criteria, % of evaluable patients: A n=31 vs B n=36): no CRs; PR 22.6 vs 27.8%; SD 35.5 vs 47.1% for a tumour control rate (CR+PR+SD) of 58.0 vs 75.0%. The median TTP and 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) (the primary end point) were greater in the C/G arm (4.0 vs 8.0 months and 45.5 vs 57.1% in arms A and B, respectively). Both regimens seem active in ABC. C/G is associated with an improved tumour control rate, TTP and 6-month PFS. The study has been extended (ABC-02 study) and powered to determine the effect on overall survival and the quality of life.
 
Article
Sequential administration of the association of 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC) and paclitaxel could be better tolerated than the association of an anthracycline and paclitaxel while having a similar antitumour effect. 69 patients with advanced breast cancer previously untreated with anthracyclines or paclitaxel entered a phase II multicentre study in which FEC was followed by paclitaxel. Both regimens were administered 4 times every 21 days. The median follow-up is 20 months and 38/69 patients have died. Grade III-IV toxicity was acceptable. Leukopenia occurred in 26% of patients, thrombocytopenia in 2% and anaemia in 4%. One patient had reversible heart failure during FEC therapy. Peripheral neuropathy and arthralgia-myalgia occurred in 9% and 4% of patients, respectively and one patient had respiratory hypersensitivity during paclitaxel treatment. 9 patients did not complete therapy because of: treatment refusal (n = 1), cardiac toxicity (n = 1), early death during FEC chemotherapy (n = 1), major protocol violations (n = 4), hypersensitivity reaction (n = 1) and early death during paclitaxel chemotherapy (n = 1). The overall response rate was 65% (95% CI = 53-76), and 7% of patients had stable disease. Therapy was defined as having failed in 28% of patients because they were not evaluable (13%) or had progressive disease (15%). The median time to progression and survival are 13.2 and 23.5 months, respectively. Sequential FEC-paclitaxel is a suitable strategy for patients with metastatic breast cancer who have not been previously treated with anthracyclines and/or taxanes. In fact, it avoids major haematologic toxicity and has a good antitumour effect.
 
Article
Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) are novel anticancer agents with potent cytotoxicity against a wide range of malignancies. We have previously demonstrated that either Calphostin C (CC) (a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor) or Parthenolide (an NF-kappaB inhibitor) abrogates HDACI-induced transcriptional activation of NF-kappaB and p21, which is associated with profound potentiation of HDACI-mediated induction of apoptosis. Valproic acid (VA), a commonly used antiepileptic agent, has recently been shown to be an HDACI. This study was aimed to evaluate the anticancer property of VA in thoracic cancer cells and the development of clinically relevant strategies to enhance VA-mediated induction of apoptosis using kinase inhibitors Staurosporine (STP) or its analogue UCN-01. Treating cultured thoracic cancer cells with VA (0.62-10.0 mM) resulted in significant cell line- and dose-dependent growth inhibition (IC(50) values: 4.1-6.0 mM) and cell cycle arrest at G1/S checkpoint with profound accumulation of cells at G0/G1 phase but little induction of apoptosis. Valproic acid, being an HDACI, caused significant dose-dependent accumulation of hyperacetylated histones, following 24 h of treatment. Valproic acid-mediated 5-20-fold upregulation of transcriptional activity of NF-kappaB was substantially (50-90%) suppressed by cotreatment with CC, STP or UCN-01. Whereas minimal death (<20%) was observed in cells treated with either VA (1.0 or 5.0 mM) alone or kinase inhibitors alone, 60-90% of cells underwent apoptosis following exposure to combinations of VA+kinase inhibitors. Kinase inhibitor-mediated suppression of NF-kappaB transcriptional activity played an important role in sensitising cancer cells to VA as direct inhibition of NF-kappaB by Parthenolide drastically synergised with VA to induce apoptosis (VA+Parthenolide: 60-90% compared to <20% following single-drug treatments). In conclusion, VA, a well-known antiepileptic drug, has mild growth-inhibitory activity on cultured cancer cells. The weak VA-mediated induction of apoptosis of thoracic cancer cells can be profoundly enhanced either by Parthenolide, a pharmacologic inhibitor of NF-kappaB, or by UCN-01 a kinase inhibitor that has already undergone phase I clinical development. Combinations of VA with either a PKC inhibitor or an NF-kappaB inhibitor are promising novel molecularly targeted therapeutics for thoracic cancers.
 
Ladder plots of (A) change in SUVmax with NAC (B) change in SUVmean 40% isocontour with NAC. Those achieving either a pCR or near pCR are classified as responders and all others as non-responders.
FLT-PET images representing SUVmax (300 dpi CT, PET, colour-fused and MIP images) for a 55-year-old female presenting with a 7-cm ER +ve, PR −ve, Her 2+ve breast cancer (A) pre-chemotherapy SUVmax of 13 and Ki-67 of 59.5 (B) post 1 cycle of FEC with a SUVmax of 8.5 (−35%). She went on to have a pathological CR and is alive and disease free at a follow-up of 16 months.
Correlation of baseline Ki-67 and SUVmax with line of best fit (r=0.604, P=0.006).
Box and whisker plot of SUVmean for 30, 40, 50, and 60% isocontours. Whiskers represent range, box represents interquartile range, line represents median, ° indicate outliers and * indicate extreme outliers. (A) Pre-NAC and (B) post 1 cycle of NAC.
Article
Background: [18F]fluorothymidine (FLT) has been proposed as a positron emission tomography (PET)-imaging biomarker of proliferation for breast cancer. The aim of this prospective study was to assess the feasibility of FLT-PET-CT as a technique for predicting the response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in primary breast cancer and to compare baseline FLT with Ki-67. Methods: Twenty women with primary breast cancer had a baseline FLT-PET-CT scan that was repeated before the second cycle of chemotherapy. Expression of Ki-67 in the diagnostic biopsy was quantified. From the FLT-PET-CT scans lesion maximum and mean standardised uptake values (SUVmax, SUVmean) were calculated. Results: Mean baseline SUVmax was 7.3, and 4.62 post one cycle of NAC, representing a drop of 2.68 (36.3%). There was no significant association between baseline, post chemotherapy, or change in SUVmax and pathological response to NAC. There was a significant correlation between pre-chemotherapy Ki-67 and SUVmax of 0.604 (P=0.006). Conclusions: Baseline SUVmax measurements of FLT-PET-CT were significantly related to Ki-67 suggesting that it is a proliferation biomarker. However, in this series neither the baseline value nor the change in SUVmax after one cycle of NAC were able to predict response as most patients had a sizeable SUVmax reduction.
 
Article
Background: A phase III trial was conducted to determine whether neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) before radical surgery (RS) improves overall survival. Methods: Patients with stage IB2, IIA2, or IIB squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix were randomly assigned to receive either BOMP (bleomycin 7 mg days 1–5, vincristine 0.7 mg m−2 day 5, mitomycin 7 mg m−2 day 5, cisplatin 14 mg m−2 days 1–5, every 3 weeks for 2 to 4 cycles) plus RS (NACT group) or RS alone (RS group). Patients with pathological high-risk factors received postoperative radiotherapy (RT). The primary end point was overall survival. Results: A total of 134 patients were randomly assigned to treatment. This study was prematurely terminated at the first planned interim analysis because overall survival in the NACT group was inferior to that in the RS group. Patients who received postoperative RT were significantly lower in the NACT group (58%) than in the RS group (80% P=0.015). The 5-year overall survival was 70.0% in the NACT group and 74.4% in the RS group (P=0.85). Conclusion: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy with BOMP regimen before RS did not improve overall survival, but reduced the number of patients who received postoperative RT.
 
Capecitabine-specific skin toxicity -frequency of occurrence
(A) Progression-free survival, capecitabine-related skin toxicity (grade 0 vs grade 1-3). (B) Overall survival, capecitabine-related skin toxicity (grade 0 vs grade 1-3).
Capecitabine-specific skin toxicity -correlation with response
Abbreviation: CI ¼ confidence interval. a Logrank for differences of all grades. b 95% CI of mean as 50% of patients are censored for s.d. of median. c According to the National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria of Adverse Events, version 3.0. The bold value in (A) indicates statistically significant (0.002; Po0.05); in (B) indicates statistically highly significant (o0.001) and statistically significant (0.008; Po0.05); in (C) and (D) indicate statistically significant (0.011 in (C) and 0.004 in (D); Po0.05).
Article
The AIO KRK-0104 randomised phase II trial investigated the efficacy and safety of two capecitabine-based regimens: combination of capecitabine and irinotecan (CAPIRI) plus cetuximab (CAPIRI-C) and combination of capecitabine with oxaliplatin (CAPOX) plus cetuximab (CAPOX-C) in the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Treatment-related skin toxicity (ST) was evaluated separately for capecitabine and cetuximab. The present analysis investigates the correlation of capecitabine-attributed ST (Cape-ST) and parameters of treatment efficacy. Patients with mCRC were randomised to cetuximab (400 mg m(-2), day 1, followed by 250 mg m(-2) weekly) plus CAPIRI (irinotecan 200 mg m(-2), day 1; capecitabine 800 mg m(-2), twice daily, days 1-14, every 3 weeks), or cetuximab plus CAPOX (oxaliplatin 130 mg m(-2), day 1; capecitabine 1000 mg m(-2), twice daily, days 1-14, every 3 weeks). Of 185 recruited patients, 149 (CAPIRI-C, n=78; CAPOX-C, n=71) received study treatment beyond the first tumour assessment and were evaluable for efficacy. Capecitabine-attributed ST, predominantly hand-foot syndrome, was observed in 32.2% of patients. Capecitabine-attributed ST grade 1-3 was associated with a significantly higher disease control rate (DCR) (97.9 vs 86.1%, P=0.038) compared with grade 0 toxicity. Moreover, Cape-ST grade 1-3 related to a markedly longer progression-free survival (PFS) (9.9 vs 5.6 months, P<0.001) and overall survival (OS) (32.8 vs 22.4 months, P=0.008). Separate analyses of treatment arms indicated that the effect of Cape-ST on PFS remained significant for both arms, whereas the effect on OS remained apparent as a strong trend. This analysis supports the hypothesis that for the evaluated regimens, a correlation exists between Cape-ST and treatment efficacy regarding DCR, PFS, and OS.
 
Effects of OGX-011 and/or sorafenib treatment on clusterin expression in ACHN cells. (A) ACHN cells were treated daily with control ODN or OGX-011 for 2 days, and then incubated in the standard medium for 48 h. Protein was then extracted from cultured cells, and analysed for clusterin and β-actin levels by western blotting. No Tx, untreated cells. (B) ACHN cells were treated with various doses of sorafenib for 48 h. Protein was then extracted from cultured cells, and analysed for clusterin and β-actin levels by western blotting. (C) ACHN cells were treated daily with control ODN or 500 nℳ OGX-011 for 2 days. Following incubation in either standard medium or that containing 5 μℳ sorafenib for 48 h, protein was extracted from cultured cells, and analysed for clusterin and β-actin levels by western blotting.
Effect of combined treatment with OGX-011 and sorafenib on ACHN cell growth and apoptosis. (A) ACHN cells were treated with 500 nℳ control ODN, 250 or 500 nℳ OGX-11 once daily for 2 days. Following ODN treatment, the medium was replaced with that containing various doses of sofarenib. After 48 h of incubation, the number of viable cells was determined by a cell proliferation assay. Each data point represents the mean of triplicate analyses; bars, s.d.; ** and * differ from controls (P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively) by unpaired t-test. (B) Following treatment with 500 nM control ODN or OGX-11 once daily for 2 days, ACHN cells were incubated in either standard medium or that containing 5 μℳ sorafenib for 24 h. ACHN cells were then trypsinised and resuspended in standard medium. Colonies >50 cells were counted after 10 days of growth, and plating efficiencies (number of colonies/number of plated cells) were calculated. Columns, mean of three independent experiments; bars, s.d.; *, differs from controls (P<0.01) by unpaired t-test. (C) After the same treatment schedule as described above, cells undergoing apoptosis were detected by a modified TUNEL technique. Arrows, positively stained cells. (D) After the same treatment schedule as described above, the quantitative degree of apoptosis was measured by an In Situ Cell Death Detection ELISA kit that can detect cytoplasmic histone-associated DNA fragments. Columns, mean of three independent experiments; bars, s.d.; *, differs from controls (P<0.05) by unpaired t-test. (E) Proteins were extracted from ACHN cells after the same treatment as described above, and analysed by western blotting with an anti-PARP antibody.
Changes in expression patterns of key molecules involved in apoptosis and signal transduction in ACHN cells after combined treatment with OGX-011 and sorafenib. (A) ACHN cells were treated with 500 nM control ODN or OGX-11 once daily for 2 days, and then incubated in either standard medium or that containing 5 μℳ sorafenib for 24 h. Protein was then extracted from cultured cells, and analysed for Bcl-2, Bax, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, p53 and β-actin levels by western blotting. (B) After the same treatment schedule as described above, protein was extracted from cultured cells, and analysed for total and phosphorylated (phospho) Akt, p44/42 MAPK, STAT3 and β-actin levels by western blotting.
Effect of combined treatment with OGX-011 and sorafenib on ACHN tumour growth. Nude mice bearing ACHN tumours were randomly selected for treatment with control ODN alone, control ODN plus sorafenib, OGX-011 alone or OGX-011 plus sorafenib. After randomisation, 12.5 mg kg−1 control ODN or OGX-011 was injected intraperitoneally once daily for the first week, and three times per week thereafter. From day 7, either sorafenib at a dose of 20 mg kg−1 or vehicle was administered orally twice a week. The subcutaneous tumour growth was measured at least once per week using calipers and calculated by the formula: length × width × depth × 0.5236. Each data point represents the mean tumour volume in each experimental group containing eight mice; bars, s.d.; *, differs from controls (P<0.05) by unpaired t-test.
Histopathological study of ACHN tumours after combined treatment with OGX-011 and sorafenib. In vivo subcutaneous tumours were harvested from nude mice undergoing treatment with control ODN alone, control ODN plus sorafenib, OGX-011 alone or OGX-011 plus sorafenib for 8 weeks according to the schedule shown in Figure 4. Sections from each tumour tissue were examined by immunohistochemical staining with antibodies against clusterin and Ki-67, and TUNEL staining.
Article
The objective of this study was to investigate whether the therapeutic activity of sorafenib could be enhanced by combining with OGX-011, an antisense oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) targeting clusterin, in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We investigated the effects of combined treatment with OGX-011 and sorafenib on a human RCC ACHN model both in vitro and in vivo. Although clusterin expression was increased by sorafenib, additional treatment of ACHN with OGX-011 significantly blocked the upregulation of clusterin induced by sorafenib. Despite the lack of a significant effect on the growth of ACHN, OGX-011 synergistically enhanced the sensitivity to sorafenib, reducing the IC(50) by >50%. Apoptotic changes were intensively detected in ACHN after combined treatment with OGX-011 and a sublethal dose of sorafenib, but not either agent alone. Furthermore, this combined treatment resulted in the marked downregulation of phosphorylated Akt and p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase in ACHN compared with treatment with either agent alone. In vivo systemic administration of OGX-011 plus sorafenib significantly decreased the ACHN tumour volume compared with control ODN plus sorafenib. Combined use with OGX-011 may be useful in enhancing the cytotoxic effect of sorafenib on RCC by inducing apoptosis and inactivating major signal transduction pathways.
 
Protein expression levels of PARP-1 and proteins related to temozolomide sensitivity/resistance in medulloblastoma cell lines. Expression levels of α-tubulin (control) are also shown. Protein expression was determined for 50 μg of whole-cell lysate by western blot analysis and visualised by chemoluminescence. D425 cells have no detectable MGMT and D283 cells have no detectable MLH-1 and minimal PMS2 consistent with MGMT and mismatch repair deficiency, respectively, whereas D384 cells are proficient for both.
Growth inhibition by temozolomide and sensitisation by AG-014699
Toxicity and efficacy of TMZ and AG-014699 in medulloblastoma xenografts
Article
Temozolomide shows activity against medulloblastoma, the most common malignant paediatric brain tumour. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors enhance temozolomide activity in extracranial adult and paediatric human malignancies. We assessed the effect of AG-014699, a clinically active PARP inhibitor, on temozolomide-induced growth inhibition in human medulloblastoma models. Pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and toxicity assays were performed in tumour-bearing mice. Sensitivity to temozolomide in vitro was consistent with methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) and DNA mismatch repair (MMR) status; MGMT(+) MMR(+) D384Med cells (temozolomide GI(50)=220 μM), representative of most primary medulloblastomas, were sensitised fourfold by AG-014699; MGMT⁻ MMR(+) D425Med cells were hypersensitive (GI(50)=9 μM) and not sensitised by AG-014699, whereas MGMT(+) MMR⁻ temozolomide-resistant D283Med cells (GI₅₀=807 μM) were sensitised 20-fold. In xenograft models, co-administration of AG-014699 produced an increase in temozolomide-induced tumour growth delay in D384Med xenografts. Consistent with the in vitro data, temozolomide caused complete tumour regressions of D425Med xenografts, whereas D283Med xenografts were relatively resistant. AG-014699 was not toxic, accumulated and reduced PARP activity ≥75% in xenograft and brain tissues. We show for the first time central nervous system penetration and inhibition of brain PARP activity by AG-014699. Taken together with our in vitro chemosensitisation and toxicity data, these findings support further evaluation of the clinical potential of AG-014699-temozolomide combinations in intra-cranial malignancies.
 
Effect of JWH-015 on PC-3 xenograft tumour growth
Article
We have previously shown that cannabinoids induce growth inhibition and apoptosis in prostate cancer PC-3 cells, which express high levels of cannabinoid receptor types 1 and 2 (CB(1) and CB(2)). In this study, we investigated the role of CB(2) receptor in the anti-proliferative action of cannabinoids and the signal transduction triggered by receptor ligation. The human prostate cancer cell lines, namely PC-3, DU-145 and LNCaP, were used for this study. Cell proliferation was measured using MTT proliferation assay, [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation assay and cell-cycle study by flow cytometry. Ceramide quantification was performed using the DAG kinase method. The CB(2) receptor was silenced with specific small interfering RNA, and was blocked pharmacologically with SR 144528. In vivo studies were conducted by the induction of prostate xenograft tumours in nude mice. We found that the anandamide analogue, R(+)-Methanandamide (MET), as well as JWH-015, a synthetic CB(2) agonist, exerted anti-proliferative effects in PC-3 cells. R(+)-Methanandamide- and JWH-015-induced cell death was rescued by treatment with the CB(2) receptor antagonist, SR 144528. Downregulation of CB(2) expression reversed the effects of JWH-015, confirming the involvement of CB(2) in the pro-apoptotic effect of cannabinoids. Further analysing the mechanism of JWH-015-induced cell growth inhibition, we found that JWH-015 triggered a de novo synthesis of ceramide, which was involved in cannabinoid-induced cell death, insofar as blocking ceramide synthesis with Fumonisin B1 reduced cell death. Signalling pathways activated by JWH-015 included JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) activation and Akt inhibition. In vivo treatment with JWH-015 caused a significant reduction in tumour growth in mice. This study defines the involvement of CB(2)-mediated signalling in the in vivo and in vitro growth inhibition of prostate cancer cells and suggests that CB(2) agonists have potential therapeutic interest and deserve to be explored in the management of prostate cancer.
 
Antitumour activity of ONYX-015 (intratumoral injection) and radiation therapy in subcutaneous malignant glioma xenografts
Article
In spite of aggressive surgery, irradiation and/or chemotherapy, treatment of malignant gliomas remains a major challenge in adults and children due to high treatment failure. We have demonstrated significant cell lysis and antitumour activity of the E1B-55 kDa-gene-deleted adenovirus ONYX-015 (dl1520, CI-1042; ONYX Pharmaceuticals) in subcutaneous human malignant glioma xenografts deriving from primary tumours. Here, we show the combined efficacy of this oncolytic therapy with radiation therapy. Total body irradiation (5 Gy) of athymic nude mice prior to intratumoral injections of ONYX-015 1 x 10(8) PFU daily for 5 consecutive days yielded additive tumour growth delays in the p53 mutant xenograft IGRG88. Radiation therapy was potentiated in the p53 functional tumour IGRG121 with a 'subtherapeutic' dose of 1 x 10(7) PFU daily for 5 consecutive days, inducing significant tumour growth delay, 90% tumour regression and 50% tumour-free survivors 4 months after treatment. These potentiating effects were not due to increased adenoviral infectivity or replication. Furthermore, cell lysis and induction of apoptosis, the major mechanisms for adenoviral antitumour activity, did not play a major role in the combined treatment strategy. Interestingly, the oncolytic adenovirus seemed to accelerate radiation-induced tumour fibrosis. Potentiating antitumour activity suggests the development of this combined treatment for these highly malignant tumours.
 
Article
Accumulated knowledge in the molecular processes of tumour development combined with the availability of genetically modified viruses resemble the basis for new promising cancer therapeutics. The main advantages of employing replication-competent viruses are achievement of tumour selective killing and amplification of their oncolytic potential within the tumour mass. In this review, we describe the development of ONYX-015, one of the first and most advanced replication-competent viruses for cancer therapy. We discuss the molecular biology of this therapeutic approach and the interesting results obtained with this virus in clinical trials. British Journal of Cancer (2002) 86, 5–11. DOI: 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600006 www.bjcancer.com © 2002 The Cancer Research Campaign
 
Kaplan–Meier survival curve is shown. With a mean follow-up of 374.5 days, the predicted median survival time is 15.7 months and the 1-year survival rate is 59%.
Patient characteristics
of toxicities (worst toxicities per patient) during the first three cycles (GEM/VNR) and the latter three cycles (DOC)
Article
To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of the sequential nonplatinum combination chemotherapy consisting of gemcitabine (GEM) and vinorelbine (VNR) followed by docetaxel (DOC) in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we conducted the multiinstitutional phase II study. A total of 44 chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced NSCLC were treated with GEM 1000 mg m(-2) and VNR 25 mg m(-2) intravenously on days 1 and 8 every 3 weeks for three cycles. DOC 60 mg m(-2) was then administrated intravenously at 3-week intervals for three cycles. Patients were evaluated for response and toxicity with each cycle of the treatment. The major objective response rate was 47.7% (95% confidence interval (CI), 33.8-62.1%). Median survival time (MST) was 15.7 months and 1-year survival rate was 59%. In the GEM/VNR cycle, grade 3/4 neutropenia occurred in 36.3%, grade 3/4 anaemia in two patients (4.5%) and grade 3 thrombocytopenia in one patient (2.3%). Grade 3 pneumonitis occurred in two patients (4.5%) in GEM/VNR cycles. In the DOC cycles, grade 3/4 neutropenia occurred in 39.4% but no patient experienced grade 3/4 anaemia or thrombocytopenia. Of the 44 eligible patients, 33 patients completed three cycles of GEM/VNR and 22 patients completed six cycles of planned chemotherapy (three cycles of GEM/VNR followed by three cycles of DOC). The sequential triplet nonplatinum chemotherapy consisted of GEM/VNR followed by DOC, and was very active and well tolerated. This study forms the basis for an ongoing phase III trial that compares this nonplatinum triplet and standard platinum doublet combination (carboplatin/paclitaxel).
 
Thrombopenia and transfusions 
Pathological response rate: comparison with conventional chemotherapy 
Article
Despite the generalization of induction chemotherapy and a better outcome for chemosensitive diseases, the prognosis of inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is still poor. In this work, we evaluate response and toxicity of high-dose sequential chemotherapy with repeated blood stem cell (BSC) transplantation administered as initial treatment in 100 women with non-metastatic IBC. Ninety-five patients (five patients were evaluated as non-eligible) of median age 46 years (range 26-56) received four cycles of chemotherapy associating: cyclophosphamide (C) 6 g m(-2) - doxorubicin (D) 75 mg m(-2) cycle 1, C: 3 g m(-2) - D: 75 mg m(-2) cycle 2, C: 3 g m(-2) - D: 75 mg m(-2) - 5 FU 2500 mg m(-2) cycle 3 and 4. BSC were collected after cycle 1 or 2 and reinfused after cycle 3 and 4. rG-CSF was administered after the four cycles. Mastectomy and radiotherapy were planned after chemotherapy completion. Pathological response was considered as the first end point of this trial. A total of 366 cycles of chemotherapy were administered. Eighty-seven patients completed the four cycles and relative dose intensity was respectively 0.97 (range 0.4-1.04) and 0.96 (range 0.25-1.05) for C and D. Main toxicity was haematological with febrile neutropenia ranging from 26% to 51% of cycles; one death occurred during aplasia. Clinical response rate was 90% +/- 6%. Eighty-six patients underwent mastectomy in a median of 3.5 months (range 3-9) after the first cycle of chemotherapy; pathological complete response rate in breast was 32% +/- 10%. All patients were eligible to receive additional radiotherapy. High-dose chemotherapy with repeated BSC transplantation is feasible with acceptable toxicity in IBC. Pathological response rate is encouraging but has to be confirmed by final outcome.
 
Real-time PCR analysis of prostein mRNA expression in matched samples of malignant and nonmalignant prostate tissues, in the PCa cell line LNCaP 1740, and the melanoma cell line 93.04A12.1. (A) To quantify the prostein mRNA expression in 15 paired cDNA samples of tumourous (black bars) and nontumourous (white bars) prostate tissues and in LNCaP 1740 and 93.04A12.1 cells a 240 bp fragment was amplified in a SYBR Green I-based LC assay. The transcript quantity was normalised to the expression level of HPRT. The results represent the means of two LC runs, bars indicate s.e. The ratio of prostein expression in the tumourous related to the transcript quantity in the corresponding nontumourous tissue sample (ratio T/NT) is given for each tissue pair. Patients' data were classified according to their tumour stage (pT) and within the groups according to the T/NT ratios. (B) The PCa cell line LNCaP 1740 was cultured for 48 h in the androgen-depleted medium (LNCaP a) or in the presence of 1 nM of the synthetic androgen R1881 (LNCaP b) and then used for RNA preparation and quantification of prostein transcripts. The results represent the means of two LC runs, bars indicate s.e.
Pathological and clinical parameters (UICC TNM classification system from 1997) and the percentage of tumour cells in tissue samples analysed by real-time PCR
Prediction of HLA-A*0201-restricted prostein-derived peptides and determination of binding affinity by a competition assay
Prostein-specific lysis and HLA-A*0201-restricted recognition of LNCaP 1740 cells by the in vitro-generated cytotoxic effector cells. (A) After four rounds of stimulation activated CD8+ T cells from the three donors were cocultured with 3 103 51Cr-labeled LNCaP 1740, 93.04A12.1 or K562 tumour cells well-1 at various effector cell (E) to target cell (T) ratios (3 : 1, 10 : 1, 30 : 1). After 4 h of incubation, chromium release was determined. (B) The inhibition of T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity against LNCaP 1740 cells was tested in the presence of the monoclonal anti-HLA-A2 antibody MA2.1 at an E : T ratio of 30 : 1. (C) Influence of androgen deprivation or supplementation on the prostein-specific lysis of LNCaP 1740 target cells. LNCaP 1740 cells were cultured for 24 h in medium containing charcoal-stipped FCS. Cells were grown for additional 48 h in the androgen-deprived medium or in the presence of 1 nM R1881 and then used as target cells in a chromium release assay at an E : T ratio of 30 : 1. All results represent the mean values of triplicate determinations, bars indicate s.e.
Article
The development of T-cell-based immunotherapies of cancer largely depends on the availability of tumour-associated antigens capable of eliciting tumour-directed cytotoxic T-cell responses. In prostate cancer, the number of antigens defined as suitable targets of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) is still limited. Recently, prostein was identified as a transmembrane protein that is highly restricted to prostate tissues. In our study, prostein transcripts were found to be abundant in both malignant and nonmalignant prostate tissue samples. To identify immunogenic CD8+ T-cell epitopes, human leucocyte antigen-A(*)0201-binding peptides were selected from the amino-acid sequence of prostein and were used for the in vitro stimulation of CD8+ T lymphocytes. Specific CTLs were raised against the prostein-derived peptide CLAAGITYV that were capable of lysing prostate cancer cells, indicating that this peptide is naturally generated by tumour cells. Our data suggest that prostein is a suitable candidate to be included in a T-cell-based immunotherapy of prostate cancer.
 
Article
Preoperative chemotherapy is a promising strategy in patients with early-stage resectable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC); optimal chemotherapy remains unclear. Clinical (c-) stage IB/II NSCLC patients were randomised to receive either two cycles of docetaxel (D)-cisplatin (P) combination chemotherapy (D 60 mg m(-2) and P 80 mg m(-2) on day 1) every 3-4 weeks or three cycles of D monotherapy (70 mg m(-2)) every 3weeks. Thoracotomy was performed 4-5 weeks (DP) or 3-4 weeks (D) after chemotherapy. The primary end point was 1-year disease-free survival (DFS). From October 2002 to November 2003, 80 patients were randomised. Chemotherapy toxicities were mainly haematologic and well tolerated. There were two early postoperative deaths with DP (one intraoperative bleeding and one empyema). Pathologic complete response was observed in two DP patients. Docetaxel-cisplatin was superior to D in terms of response rate (45 vs 15%) and complete resection rate (95 vs 87%). Both DFS and overall survival were better in DP. Disease-free survival at 1, 2 and 4 years were 78, 65 and 57% with DP, and were 62, 44 and 36% with D, respectively. Preoperative DP was associated with encouraging resection rate and DFS data, and phase III trials for c-stage IB/II NSCLC are warranted.
 
Probability of PFS and OS.
Article
Background: Combined inhibition of platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta signalling and vascular endothelial growth factor promotes vascular normalisation in preclinical models and may lead to increased delivery of chemotherapy to tumour tissue. This phase I/II trial assessed the safety and efficacy of capecitabine plus oxaliplatin (XELOX) plus bevacizumab and imatinib in the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Methods: Two dose levels (I/II) were defined: capecitabine 850/1000 mg m−2 twice daily on days 1–14; oxaliplatin 100/130 mg m−2 on day 1; bevacizumab 7.5 mg kg−1 on day 1; imatinib 300 mg day−1 on days 1–21 every 21 days. The primary study endpoint was safety. The phase II secondary endpoint was 6-month progression-free survival (PFS). Results: Dose level I was chosen for phase II testing because, even though further dose escalation was permitted by the protocol, gastrointestinal toxicities were considered to be clinically significant. A total of 49 patients were evaluated. The 6-month PFS rate was 76%, median PFS was 10.6 months and median overall survival was 23.2 months. Haematological toxicities were generally mild. Sensory neuropathy and diarrhoea were the most common grade 3 toxicities. Conclusion: The combination of XELOX with bevacizumab and imatinib is tolerable and has promising efficacy.
 
Article
We have investigated the effects of localised tumour hyperthermia (LTH; 43.5 degrees C x 30 min) on the acute toxicity and pharmacokinetics of the hypoxic cell sensitizer pimonidazole (Ro 03-8799) in mice. There were three treatment groups: unrestrained controls, sham-treated and LTH treated mice. LTH had minimal effects on the acute toxicity (LD50/7d) of pimonidazole with no significant difference between the three treatment groups. Pharmacokinetic studies were carried out at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD; approximately 60% LD50) of 437 micrograms g-1 i.v. in plasma, brain and tumour. Sham tumour treatment consistently increased plasma drug concentrations compared to unrestrained controls but had minimal effects on the elimination t1/2. The AUC0-infinitive was increased by 35% and the plasma clearance decreased by 26%. By contrast, LTH had minimal effects on these parameters compared to sham treatment. Brain pimonidazole concentrations were increased in restrained mice (sham and LTH treatments) compared to unrestrained controls, but average brain/plasma ratios were similar in all three groups at between 400 and 500%. Sham tumour treatment markedly reduced peak tumour pimonidazole concentrations compared to unrestrained controls giving a 29% lower AUC0-180min. Average tumour/plasma ratios were reduced from 236 to 129%. The most important finding was that LTH further reduced pimonidazole tumour concentrations, giving a 31% lower AUC0-180 min compared to sham treated tumours. Tumour/plasma ratios for pimonidazole were reduced by 41%. Plasma exposure to the pimonidazole N-oxide metabolite, Ro 31-0313, was unaltered by LTH. The markedly reduced drug concentrations in heated tumours may be a result of hyperthermia-stimulated bioreductive drug activation.
 
Kaplan–Meier estimation of progression-free survival and overall survival (N=50).
Patients' baseline characteristics
Kaplan–Meier estimation of overall survival by Child–Pugh score group (N=50).
Univariate and multivariate analyses of overall survival (N ¼ 50)
Treatment-related toxicities in 49 patients
Article
Evaluation of new drug combinations is needed to improve patients' prognosis in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the capecitabine-oxaliplatine combination (XELOX) in HCC patients. First-line chemotherapy with XELOX regimen consisting of a 3-week cycle of intravenous oxaliplatin (130 mg m(-2)) on Day 1, and oral capecitabine twice daily from Days 1-14 (1000 mg m(-2)) was administered in patients with measurable, unresectable HCC. Fifty patients (male, 88%; median age, 68 years) received a total of 295 cycles (median, 6) of treatment. Disease control (three partial responses, 29 stable diseases) rate was 72% (95% CI 57-83%). Median overall and median progression-free (PFS) survival was 9.3 months and 4.1 months, respectively. Progression-free survival rates at 6 and 12 months were 38% (95% CI 26-52%) and 14% (95% CI 7-26%), respectively. Main grade 3-4 drug-related toxicities included diarrhoea (16%), elevation of aminotransferases and/or bilirubin (16%), thrombocytopenia (12%), and neurotoxicity (6%). Capecitabine plus oxaliplatin regimen showed modest anti-tumour activity with tolerable toxicities in patients with advanced HCC. However, the manageable toxicity profile and the encouraging disease control rate deserve further attention for this convenient, outpatient-based chemotherapy regimen.
 
Article
A new hypoxic cell radiosensitizer, Ro 03-8799, has been administered i.v. to 2 normal and 6 patient volunteers. Generally in non-necrotic tumours the concentrations obtained were 3 times greater than in plasma sampled at the same time. These observations added to the reports concerning toxicology in monkeys and rats and radiosensitizing efficiency in the laboratory, suggest that Ro 03-8799 may prove to be much more effective sensitizer than misonidazole in man.
 
Article
Glucose and lipid metabolism in the brain, liver and in a transplanted tumour were found to be variously altered within 2 to 3 h of administering single doses of the radiosensitizer Ro-03-8799 to normal and tumour-bearing mice. Hepatic lactate and glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) levels were decreased but those of the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (beta-HOBu) were raised. However, in the tumour, these levels were all enhanced. The lactate levels in brain remained relatively constant but both beta-HOBu and G3P levels were altered in a manner similar to that in the liver. The levels of glucose were approximately doubled in blood, brain and tumour, but whereas tumour G6P levels increased, those in the brain were lowered to below the limits of detection. Hepatic glucose levels were significantly decreased after 1 h but G6P levels were not affected. These changes could neither be related to inhibitory effects on hepatic glucokinase or brain hexokinase activity nor to limiting amounts of ATP in both tissues. However, the activity of glucose-6-phosphatase (G6P'ase) was distinctly raised in the liver and the hepatic glycogen stores were also rapidly lowered. Overall, the results suggest that Ro-03-8799 exerts a stimulatory effect on glucose production in the liver. In both liver and brain the levels of free fatty acids and phospholipids were increased whereas those of esterified fatty acids were lowered. Most importantly, the changes in metabolite levels affect the cellular redox couples; those of the cytosol (lactate/pyruvate; G3P/dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DAP] are directed towards the oxidised state in the liver but to a more reduced state in the tumour. The mitochondrial couple (beta-HOBu/acetoacetate (AcAc)) in both tissues is shifted towards the reduced state. These metabolic changes may result in an increase in the degree of hypoxia in the tumour and may well play an important role in the development of neuropathies.
 
The incidence of neutropenia according to treatment cycle (n ¼ 387). Values indicate number (%) of patients
Association between worst grade of neutropenia and number of treatment cycles received
Baseline patient characteristics (n ¼ 337)
Multivariate proportional-hazards regression analysis for asso- ciations between overall survival and worst grade of neutropenia (n ¼ 337)
Article
Neutropenia is a common adverse reaction of chemotherapy. We assessed whether chemotherapy-induced neutropenia could be a predictor of survival for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A total of 387 chemotherapy-naïve patients who received chemotherapy (vinorelbine and gemcitabine followed by docetaxel, or paclitaxel and carboplatin) in a randomised controlled trial were evaluated. The proportional-hazards regression model was used to examine the effects of chemotherapy-induced neutropenia and tumour response on overall survival. Landmark analysis was used to lessen the bias of more severe neutropenia resulting from more treatment cycles allowed by longer survival, whereby patients who died within 126 days of starting chemotherapy were excluded. The adjusted hazard ratios for patients with grade-1 to 2 neutropenia or grade-3 to 4 neutropenia compared with no neutropenia were 0.59 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.36-0.97) and 0.71 (95% CI, 0.49-1.03), respectively. The hazard ratios did not differ significantly between the patients who developed neutropenia with stable disease (SD), and those who lacked neutropenia with partial response (PR). Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia is a predictor of better survival for patients with advanced NSCLC. Prospective randomised trials of early-dose increases guided by chemotherapy-induced toxicities are warranted.
 
Article
The effect of the 2-nitroimidazole Ro 03-8799 (8799) on the activity of 11 chemotherapeutic agents against the anaplastic MT tumour in mice has been determined by soft agar cloning. The 8799, whilst producing little cytotoxicity by itself, potentiated the cytotoxic actions of the alkylating agents melphalan and cyclophosphamide, and the nitrosoureas BCNU, CCNU and MeCCNU. This potentiation was influenced by the time interval between the administration of 8799 and the chemotherapeutic agents, and also by the site of tumour implantation. However, 8799 did not potentiate the cytotoxicities of the compounds CBDCA, cisplatin, adriamycin, vincristine, 5-fluorouracil and bleomycin. A review is included of the reported in vivo effects of nitroimidazoles on the chemotherapeutic agents investigated here.
 
Article
We have investigated the effects of 50 min whole-body hyperthermia (WBH; 15 min equilibration followed by 41 degrees C for 35 min) on the toxicity and pharmacokinetics of the radiosensitizer Ro 03-8799 in mice. WBH markedly reduced Ro 03-8799 LD50/7d from 779 to 259 micrograms g-1 (P less than 0.001). Pharmacokinetics were studied at 175 micrograms g-1 (approximately 0.6 WBH LD50/7d) with and without heat and 437 micrograms g-1 (approximately 0.6 control LD50/7d) without heat. WBH increased Ro 03-8799 plasma concentrations and prolonged its elimination t1/2 by 26% (P less than 0.01). Total plasma area under the curve (AUC0-infinity) was increased by 22%, but was still less than 50% of the unheated high-dose value. Ro 03-8799 concentrated 300-400% in tumour and brain relative to plasma. Absolute tumour and brain levels were unaltered by WBH, giving reduced tissue/plasma ratios. WBH greatly inhibited glomerular filtration (51Cr EDTA clearance) during heating, contributing to the increased plasma Ro 03-8799 concentrations. WBH increased peak plasma concentrations of the Ro 03-8799 N-oxide metabolite Ro 31-0313 by 61% and the beta-phase AUC of i.v. administered Ro 31-0313 by 36%. Since Ro 31-0313 levels were increased to a greater extent after Ro 03-8799 and WBH than Ro 31-0313 and WBH, WBH must both increase metabolite production and decrease its plasma clearance. WBH had no effect on Ro 31-0313 tumour concentrations or its exclusion from brain. These complex effects of WBH on Ro 03-8799 pharmacokinetics may contribute to the enhanced toxicity, possibly through hyperthermia-stimulated bioreductive drug activation, but do not wholly explain it.
 
Article
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common paediatric soft-tissue sarcoma including two major subtypes, alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) and embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS). Increasing evidence suggests that oncogenesis of RMS involves multiple stages of signalling protein dysregulation which may include prolonged activation of serine/threonine kinases such as phosphoinositide-dependent kinase-1 (PDK-1) and AKT. To date, whether PDK-1/AKT pathway is activated in RMS is unknown. This study was to examine phosphorylation status of AKT and to evaluate a novel small molecular inhibitor, OSU-03012 targeting PDK-1 in RMS. We examined phosphorylation levels of AKT using ARMS and ERMS tissue microarray and immunohistochemistry staining. Our results showed phospho-AKT(Thr308) level is elevated 42 and 35% in ARMS and ERMS, respectively. Phospho-AKT(Ser473) level is also increased 43% in ARMS and 55% in ERMS. Furthermore, we showed that OSU-03012 inhibits cell viability and induces apoptosis in ARMS and ERMS cell lines (RH30, SMS-CTR), which express elevated phospho-AKT levels. Normal cells are much less sensitive to OSU-03012 and in which no detectable apoptosis was observed. This study showed, for the first time, that PDK-1/AKT pathway is activated in RMS and may play an important role in survival of RMS. PDK-1/AKT pathway may be an attractive therapeutic target for cancer intervention in RMS using OSU-03012.
 
Patient characteristics and mutational status of CRC explants 
Wnt pathway analysis between sensitive vs resistant tumours. (A) KEGG pathway analysis of the Wnt pathway shows an increase in many components of the canonical Wnt pathway in sensitive tumours when compared with resistant tumours. Red indicates elevated gene expression. (B) Baseline levels of active b-catenin are elevated in sensitive tumours compared with resistant tumours. (C) Densitometry of active b-catenin/b-catenin ratio showed a significant increase in sensitive tumours compared with resistant tumours (Po0.05). (D) PF-03084014 treatment decreased active b-catenin and Axin2 levels in the sensitive tumour CRC021. (E) No treatment effects were observed in the resistant tumour CRC012. 
Assessment of PF-03084014 on apoptosis. (A) Post gene array 3 days after PF-03084014 treatment on gene expression of apoptotic genes in CRC001-sensitive explant. (B) Western blot analysis of cleaved Notch1, cleaved caspase 3, cleaved PARP, phos p65, and BCLxL in CRC021 2 h, 8 h, 24 h and 8 days after treatment with PF-03084014. 
Article
Background: Dysregulation of the Notch pathway has been identified to play an important role in the development and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, we used a patient-derived CRC explant model to investigate the efficacy of the clinical γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) PF-03084014. Methods: A total of 16 CRC explants were treated with PF-03084014. Knockdown of RBPjκ gene was used to determine the specificity of PF-03084014. Evaluation of the Notch and Wnt pathways in CRC explant tumours was performed by gene array and immunoblotting. Results: We identified a subset of CRC tumours that exhibited elevations of the Notch and Wnt pathways sensitive to PF-03084014. Treatment with the GSI resulted in a significant reduction in cleaved Notch, Axin2 (Wnt-dependent gene) and active β-catenin. In addition, knockdown of the RBPjκ gene showed that PF-03084014 has specificity for the Notch pathway in an HCT116 cell line xenograft model. Finally, an increase in apoptosis was observed in CRC001- and CRC021-sensitive tumours. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that inhibition of γ-secretase may be beneficial in a subset of patients with elevated levels of the Wnt and Notch pathways.
 
Article
This phase I, open-label, first-in-human study determined dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of PD 0332991, an oral cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor with potent anti-proliferative activity in vitro/vivo. A total of 33 patients with retinoblastoma protein-positive advanced solid tumours or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma refractory to standard therapy or for which no therapy was available received PD 0332991 once daily (QD) for 14 days followed by 7 days off treatment (21-day cycles; Schedule 2/1). Six patients had DLTs (18%; four receiving 200 mg QD; two receiving 225 mg QD); the MTD was 200 mg QD. Treatment-related, non-haematological adverse events occurred in 29 patients (88%) during cycle 1 and 27 patients (82%) thereafter. Adverse events were generally mild-moderate. Of 31 evaluable patients, one with testicular cancer achieved a partial response; nine had stable disease (≥10 cycles in three cases). PD 0332991 was slowly absorbed (mean T(max) 4.2 h) and eliminated (mean half-life 26.7 h). Volume of distribution was large (mean 3241 l) with dose-proportional exposure. Using a maximum effective concentration model, neutropenia was proportional to exposure. PD 0332991 was generally well tolerated, with DLTs related mainly to myelosuppression. The MTD, 200 mg QD, is recommended for phase II study.
 
Poisson regression IRR and 95% CIs for female lung cancer 1998-2003, South East England. Adjusted for age and socioeconomic deprivation; White women were used as the baseline group.
Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for overall survival in male patients diagnosed with lung cancer 1998 -2003, South East England. Adjusted sequentially for age, socioeconomic deprivation, stage of disease and treatment
Article
This study aimed to examine the incidence and survival of lung cancer patients from several different ethnic groups in a large ethnically diverse population in the United Kingdom. Data on residents of South East England diagnosed with lung cancer between 1998 and 2003 were extracted from the Thames Cancer Registry database. Age- and socioeconomic deprivation-standardised incidence rate ratios were calculated for males and females in each ethnic group. Overall survival was examined using Cox regression, adjusted for age, socioeconomic deprivation, stage of disease and treatment. Results are presented for White, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Black Caribbean, Black African and Chinese patients, apart from female survival results where only the White, South Asian and Black ethnic groups were analysed. Compared with other ethnic groups of the same sex, Bangladeshi men, White men and White women had the highest incidence rates. Bangladeshi men had consistently higher survival estimates compared with White men (fully adjusted hazard ratio 0.46; P<0.001). Indian (0.84; P=0.048), Black Caribbean (0.87; P=0.47) and Black African (0.68; P=0.007) men also had higher survival estimates. South Asian (0.73; P=0.006) and Black (0.74; P=0.004) women had higher survival than White women. Smoking prevention messages need to be targeted for different ethnic groups to ensure no groups are excluded. The apparent better survival of South Asian and Black patients is surprising, and more detailed follow-up studies are needed to verify these results.
 
Toxicities associated with the administration of penclomedine. A neurotxicity -dizziness; B neurotoxicity -ataxia; C nausea; and D vomiting 
Article
3,5-Dichloro-2,4-dimethoxy-6-(trichloromethyl)pyridine (penclomedine, NSC 338720, CRC 88-04) is an alpha-picoline derivative with anti-tumour activity in preclinical models. Penclomedine administration by 1-h intravenous infusion on 5 consecutive days was repeated 3 weekly in the absence of dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) or disease progression. Five dose levels were investigated (22.5-340 mg m(-2) day[-1]). Eight men and eight women were entered, median age 59 years (range 39-73 years), with good performance status (ECOG 0/1) in 11 patients. A total of 13 out of 16 patients had received previous chemotherapy. Common toxicity criteria grade (CTCg) II vomiting was recorded at all dose levels. Neurotoxicity (cerebellar ataxia and dizziness) was the DLT, CTCg III toxicity occurring in three out of three patients treated at 340 mg m(-2) day(-1). CTCg III dizziness was noted in one out of three patients at 250 mg m(-2) day(-1). Neurotoxicity developed during the 1-h infusion and persisted for a variable period (maximum 5 h) after infusion. Prophylactic antiemetic drugs appeared to reduce associated vomiting but did not prevent ataxia. No antiproliferative toxicities were noted and no anti-tumour responses were documented. Penclomedine pharmacokinetic studies confirmed preclinical evidence of extensive apparent distribution (93 l m[-2]) and rapid clearance (41 l h[-1] m[-2]). Purkinje cell loss has been identified in preclinical models after intraperitoneal administration (O'Reilly et al, 1996a) and further clinical development of penclomedine will focus on oral administration.
 
Article
The hypoxic cell radiosensitizer desmethylmisonidazole (1-(2-nitroimidazol-1-yl)-2,3-propandiol; Ro 05-9963; DEMIS) was administered to 4 dogs at doses of 50 and 200 mg/kg by both oral and i.v. routes. The resulting plasma, cerebrospinal fluid and urinary concentrations were measured by HPLC analysis; various pharmacokinetic parameters were obtained and compared with similar data for the parent compound, misonidazole (MISO), in the dog. Because of its shorter half-life (2·1 h) the total tissue exposure for DEMIS was only half that for a similar dose of MISO, whereas peak plasma concentrations were 60% higher than those for MISO. Cerebrospinal fluid penetration by DEMIS was limited because of the drug's reduced lipophilicity, and the total cerebrospinal-fluid exposure to the drug during the first 5 h after drug administration was about half that previously recorded for MISO. Urinary excretion accounted for 75% of the i.v. dose of unchanged DEMIS, whilst less than 20% of MISO is excreted via this route. DEMIS was also administered to 6 dogs bearing spontaneous tumours at a dose of 150 mg/kg i.v., and the resulting concentrations were recorded in serial biopsies over a 5h period. Mean tumour/plasma ratios ranged between 56 and 90%, and were very similar to those previously observed for MISO in canine tumours. Peak DEMIS tumour concentrations, however, occurred rapidly after dosage (15-20 min) and were as much as twice those for MISO, although they declined rapidly from their initial concentration. We conclude in the light of the reduced tissue exposure, particularly of the nervous tissue, and the improved tumour concentrations, that DEMIS may prove to be a potentially less toxic alternative to MISO.
 
Article
Background: To evaluate the effects of elective nodal irradiation (ENI) in clinical stage II–III breast cancer patients with pathologically negative lymph nodes (LNs) (ypN0) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) followed by breast-conserving surgery (BCS) and radiotherapy (RT). Methods: We retrospectively analysed 260 patients with ypN0 who received NAC followed by BCS and RT. Elective nodal irradiation was delivered to 136 (52.3%) patients. The effects of ENI on survival outcomes were evaluated. Results: After a median follow-up period of 66.2 months (range, 15.6–127.4 months), 26 patients (10.0%) developed disease recurrence. The 5-year locoregional recurrence-free survival and disease-free survival (DFS) for all patients were 95.5% and 90.5%, respectively. Pathologic T classification (0−is vs 1 vs 2–4) and the number of LNs sampled (<13 vs ⩾13) were associated with DFS (P=0.0086 and 0.0012, respectively). There was no significant difference in survival outcomes according to ENI. Elective nodal irradiation also did not affect survival outcomes in any of the subgroups according to pathologic T classification or the number of LNs sampled. Conclusions: ENI may be omitted in patients with ypN0 breast cancer after NAC and BCS. But until the results of the randomised trials are available, patients should be put on these trials.
 
Top-cited authors
Donald C Mcmillan
  • University of Glasgow
Henrik Moller
  • The Danish Clinical Quality Program and Clinical Registries (RKKP), Aarhus, Denmark.
Koji Mori
  • Miyazaki University
Tatjana Stojakovic
  • University Hospital Graz
Armin Gerger
  • Medical University of Graz