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Concept: Cancer staging


We show that elevated levels of Ret receptor are found in different sub-types of human breast cancers and that high Ret correlates with decreased metastasis-free survival. The role of Ret in ER+ breast cancer models was explored combining in vitro and in vivo approaches. Our analyses revealed that ligand-induced Ret activation: (i) stimulates migration of breast cancer cells; (ii) rescues cells from anti-proliferative effects of endocrine treatment and (iii) stimulates expression of cytokines in the presence of endocrine agents. Indeed, we uncovered a positive feed-forward loop between the inflammatory cytokine IL6 and Ret that links them at the expression and the functional level. In vivo inhibition of Ret in a metastatic breast cancer model inhibits tumour outgrowth and metastatic potential. Ret inhibition blocks the feed-forward loop by down-regulating Ret levels, as well as decreasing activity of Fak, an integrator of IL6-Ret signalling. Our results suggest that Ret kinase should be considered as a novel therapeutic target in subsets of breast cancer.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Cancer staging, Estrogen, Chemotherapy, Cancer support group


Systemic chemotherapy using two-drug platinum-based regimens for the treatment of advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has largely reached a plateau of effectiveness. Accordingly, efforts to improve survival and quality of life outcomes have more recently focused on the use of molecularly targeted agents, either alone or in combination with standard of care therapies such as taxanes. The molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) represents an attractive candidate for therapeutic intervention, as its inhibition results in the simultaneous blockade of multiple oncogenic signaling cascades. Ganetespib is a non-ansamycin inhibitor of Hsp90 currently under clinical evaluation in a number of human malignancies, including NSCLC. Here we show that ganetespib potentiates the cytotoxic activity of the taxanes paclitaxel and docetaxel in NSCLC models. The combination of ganetespib with paclitaxel, docetaxel or another microtubule-targeted agent vincristine resulted in synergistic antiproliferative effects in the H1975 cell line in vitro. These benefits translated to improved efficacy in H1975 xenografts in vivo, with significantly enhanced tumor growth inhibition observed in combination with paclitaxel and tumor regressions seen with docetaxel. Notably, concurrent exposure to ganetespib and docetaxel improved antitumor activity in 5 of 6 NSCLC xenograft models examined. Our data suggest that the improved therapeutic indices are likely to be mechanistically multifactorial, including loss of pro-survival signaling and direct cell cycle effects resulting from Hsp90 modulation by ganetespib. Taken together, these findings provide preclinical evidence for the use of this combination to treat patients with advanced NSCLC.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Cancer staging, Chemotherapy, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Paclitaxel


The aim of this study was to develop a new data-mining model to predict axillary lymph node (AxLN) metastasis in primary breast cancer. To achieve this, we used a decision tree-based prediction method-the alternating decision tree (ADTree).

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Cancer staging, Lymph node, Chemotherapy, Decision tree learning, Decision trees


Over the past decades, many studies have used data mining technology to predict the 5-year survival rate of colorectal cancer, but there have been few reports that compared multiple data mining algorithms to the TNM classification of malignant tumors (TNM) staging system using a dataset in which the training and testing data were from different sources. Here we compared nine data mining algorithms to the TNM staging system for colorectal survival analysis.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Carcinoma in situ, Cancer staging, Colorectal cancer, Survival rate, TNM staging system, Ann Arbor staging


BACKGROUND: To evaluated the prognostic significance of the pre-operative C-reactive protein (CRP) serum level in patients with renal cell cancer (RCC). METHODS: We evaluated 1,161 RCC patients with complete patient and tumour specific characteristics as well as information about their pre-operative CRP-level, who had undergone either radical nephrectomy or nephron-sparing surgery at two German high-volume centres (University Hospitals of Hannover and Ulm). The mean follow-up was 54 months. RESULTS: The CRP-level, stratified to three subgroups (CRP <= 4, 4--10, and >10 mg/l), correlated significantly with tumour stage (p < 0.001), the risk of presenting nodal disease (2.1, 3.1, and 16.4%) and distant metastasis (2.9, 8.6, and 30.0%; p < 0.001). The Kaplan-Meier 5-year cancer specific survival (CSS) rates were 89.4, 77.9, and 49.5%, respectively (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis identified CRP as an independent prognosticator for CSS as well as overall survival (p < 0.001). Patients with a CRP of 4--10 and >10 mg/l had a 1.67 and 2.48 fold higher risk of dying due to their RCC compared to those with a pre-operative CRP <=4 mg/l, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: A high preoperative serum CRP level is an independent predictor of poor survival in patients with RCC. Its routine use could allow better risk stratification and risk-adjusted follow-up of RCC patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, C-reactive protein, Renin, Renal cell carcinoma, Nephrectomy, Kidney cancer


Treatment-related death (TRD) remains a serious problem in small-cell lung cancer (SCLC), despite recent improvements in supportive care. However, few studies have formally assessed time trends in the proportion of TRD over the past two decades. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and pattern of TRD over time.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Carcinoma, Small cell carcinoma, Paraneoplastic syndrome


Bronchoscopy is often the initial diagnostic procedure performed in patients with pulmonary lesions suspicious for lung cancer. A bronchial genomic classifier was previously validated to identify patients at low risk for lung cancer after an inconclusive bronchoscopy. In this study, we evaluate the potential of the classifier to reduce invasive procedure utilization in patients with suspected lung cancer.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Pulmonology, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Pneumonia, Bronchoscopy, Alveolar duct


The current study sought to assess the role of paraaortic lymphadenectomy (LNE) in females with endometrial cancer. A retrospective analysis of patients diagnosed with endometrial cancer of stage IA to II preoperatively, between 2009 and 2011 was conducted. Patients were included who had suffered from endometrial cancer without preoperative adjuvant therapy and who underwent hysterectomy plus systematic pelvic LNE and paraaortic LNE by laparoscopy or laparotomy. A total of 54 patients who underwent surgery for preoperative endometrial cancer were selected. All patients underwent LNE. The incidences of pelvic and paraaortic lymph node metastases were 11.1% (6/54) and 7.4% (4/54), with a total positive lymph node rate of 14.8% (8/54). In addition, among the 8 positive cases, 5 patients underwent laparotomy and 3 underwent laparoscopy; 3 cases were classified as stage I and 5 as stage II preoperatively. Of these, 7 patients were identified with pathology-related risk factors, including low differentiation or clear cell adenocarcinoma postoperatively. Discordance of pathological differentiation between the pre- and postoperative stages reached 57.1% (4/7). The results revealed the high occurrence of positive lymph nodes in endometrial cancer which demonstrate the importance of systematic LNE. Additonally, no severe complications were caused by LNE besides lymph cysts. In summary, it is neccesary to perform LNE, particularly the removal of the paraaortic lymph node, in patients with endometrial cancers in order to improve postoperative therapy. Laparoscopy has similar surgical effects as laparotomy, but has a number of advantages.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Lymph node, Surgery, Endometrial cancer, Paraaortic lymph node


The aim of this study was to determine the impact of prognostic factors in primary fallopian tube carcinoma (PFTC). All cases of PFTC diagnosed between 1990 and 2010 were retrieved from the files of 6 academic centers. The cases were staged according to a modification of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology staging system proposed by Alvarado-Cabrero et al (Gynecol Oncol 1999; 72: 367-379). One hundred twenty-seven PFTC cases were identified. The mean age of the patients was 64.2 years. Stage distribution was as follows: 72 (57%), stage I; 19 (15%), stage II; 28 (22%), stage III; and 8 (6.2%), stage IV. Depth of infiltration of the tubal wall was an independent prognostic factor in stage I cases (P < .001). Carcinomas located in the fimbriated end even without invasion had a worse prognosis than did carcinomas involving the tubal portion of the organ. The presence of vascular space invasion correlated with the depth of tubal wall invasion (P = .001) and the presence of lymph node metastases (P = .003). Tumor grade significantly correlated with survival (P < .0001), but histologic type was of marginal significance and only if it was grouped as nonserous/non-clear cell vs serous/clear cell (P = .04). The depth of invasion of the tubal wall and the presence of carcinoma in the fimbriated end even without invasion are important prognostic indicators. The modified International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology staging system should be used on a routine basis in all carcinomas of the fallopian tube.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Lymph node, Gynecology, Prognosis, Fallopian tube cancer, Obstetrics and gynaecology


BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer, including cancer of the ampulla of Vater and bile duct, is very aggressive and has a poor five year survival rate; improved methods of patient stratification are required. METHODS: We assessed the expression of calpain-1, calpain-2 and calpastatin in two patient cohorts using immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. The first cohort was composed of 68 pancreatic adenocarcinomas and the second cohort was composed of 120 cancers of the bile duct and ampulla. RESULTS: In bile duct and ampullary carcinomas an association was observed between cytoplasmic calpastatin expression and patient age (P=0.036), and between nuclear calpastatin expression and increased tumour stage (P=0.026) and the presence of vascular invasion (P=0.043). In pancreatic cancer, high calpain-2 expression was significantly associated with improved overall survival (P=0.036), which remained significant in multivariate Cox-regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.342; 95% confidence interval=0.157-0.741; P=0.007). In cancers of the bile duct and ampulla, low cytoplasmic expression of calpastatin was significantly associated with poor overall survival (P=0.012), which remained significant in multivariate Cox-regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.595; 95% confidence interval=0.365-0.968; P=0.037). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that calpain-2 and calpastatin expression is important in pancreatic cancers, influencing disease progression. The findings of this study warrant a larger follow-up study.

Concepts: Cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Liver, Carcinoma, Pancreatic cancer, Pancreatic duct