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Concept: Small cell carcinoma


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


BACKGROUND: New therapies are urgently needed for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Chemotherapy and targeted therapies, including the Bcl-2 inhibitor ABT-737, may induce tumor cell autophagy. Autophagy can promote survival of cancer cells under stress and comprise a pathway of escape from cytotoxic therapies. METHODS: We explored the combination of ABT-737 and chloroquine, an inhibitor of autophagy, in preclinical models of SCLC. These included cell culture analyses of viability and of autophagic and apoptotic pathway induction, as well as in vivo analyses of efficacy in multiple xenograft models. RESULTS: Combination treatment of SCLC lines with ABT-737 and chloroquine decreased viability and increased caspase-3 activation over treatment with either single agent. ABT-737 induced several hallmarks of autophagy. However, knockdown of beclin-1, a key regulator of entry into autophagy, diminished the efficacy of ABT-737, suggesting either that the effects of chloroquine were nonspecific or that induction but not completion of autophagy is necessary for the combined effect of ABT-737 and chloroquine. ABT-737 and chloroquine in SCLC cell lines downregulated Mcl-1 and upregulated NOXA, both of which may promote apoptosis. Treatment of tumor-bearing mice demonstrated that chloroquine could enhance ABT-737-mediated tumor growth inhibition against NCI-H209 xenografts, but did not alter ABT-737 response in three primary patient-derived xenograft models. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that although ABT-737 can induce autophagy in SCLC, autophagic inhibition by choroquine does not markedly alter in vivo response to ABT-737 in relevant preclinical models, arguing against this as a treatment strategy for SCLC.

Concepts: Cell, Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Apoptosis, Tumor, Neoplasm, Small cell carcinoma


We introduce a novel computational framework to enable automated identification of texture and shape features of lesions on (18)F-FDG-PET images through a graph-based image segmentation method. The proposed framework predicts future morphological changes of lesions with high accuracy. The presented methodology has several benefits over conventional qualitative and semi-quantitative methods, due to its fully quantitative nature and high accuracy in each step of (i) detection, (ii) segmentation, and (iii) feature extraction. To evaluate our proposed computational framework, thirty patients received 2 (18)F-FDG-PET scans (60 scans total), at two different time points. Metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma, cerebellar hemongioblastoma, non-small cell lung cancer, neurofibroma, lymphomatoid granulomatosis, lung neoplasm, neuroendocrine tumor, soft tissue thoracic mass, nonnecrotizing granulomatous inflammation, renal cell carcinoma with papillary and cystic features, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, metastatic alveolar soft part sarcoma, and small cell lung cancer were included in this analysis. The radiotracer accumulation in patients' scans was automatically detected and segmented by the proposed segmentation algorithm. Delineated regions were used to extract shape and textural features, with the proposed adaptive feature extraction framework, as well as standardized uptake values (SUV) of uptake regions, to conduct a broad quantitative analysis. Evaluation of segmentation results indicates that our proposed segmentation algorithm has a mean dice similarity coefficient of 85.75±1.75%. We found that 28 of 68 extracted imaging features were correlated well with SUV(max) (p<0.05), and some of the textural features (such as entropy and maximum probability) were superior in predicting morphological changes of radiotracer uptake regions longitudinally, compared to single intensity feature such as SUV(max). We also found that integrating textural features with SUV measurements significantly improves the prediction accuracy of morphological changes (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.8715, p<2e-16).

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, Types of cancer, Squamous cell carcinoma, Correlation and dependence, Small cell carcinoma


Patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) have a poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Since access to longitudinal tumor samples is very limited in patients with this disease, we chose to focus our studies on the characterization of plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) for rapid, noninvasive monitoring of disease burden.

Concepts: DNA, Epidemiology, Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Medical terms, Small cell carcinoma


Shoulder-hand syndrome is a reflex sympathetic dystrophy which is usually associated with minor trauma, fracture or surgical procedures on bones, or follows peripheral nerve injury. In the present report, we describe a patient who developed sympathetic dystrophy which revealed a lung cancer. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy, therefore, should be considered an occasional manifestation of a paraneoplastic syndrome warranting a thorough search for underlying malignancy.

Concepts: Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Surgery, Small cell carcinoma, Paraneoplastic syndrome


The standard chemotherapy for Japanese patients with extensive disease of small-cell lung cancer (ED-SCLC) is cisplatin and irinotecan.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Carcinoma, Cisplatin, Small cell carcinoma, Carboplatin


Previous clinical studies have generally reported that prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) was given to patients with a complete response (CR) to chemotherapy and chest radiotherapy in limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). It is not clear if those with incomplete response (IR) would benefit from PCI.

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


Lung cancer is recognized among the most frequent causes of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes (PNS). Neurological syndromes in subjects with systemic malignancy remain a clinical and diagnostic challenge. The aim of the study was to evaluate the frequency of NPS, their clinical manifestation and association with onconeural antibodies in patients with lung cancer. Fifty patients hospitalized with the diagnosis of PNS participated in the study. Neurological evaluation consisted of the Rankin scale (mRS), the Barthel index (BI), and testing for the presence of onconeural antibodies by means of indirect immunofluorescence, as screening, and Western blotting as confirmation. The majority of lung cancer patients (64%) aged 62 ± 10 had NPS symptoms. Their neurological condition and daily living activities were reasonable: mRS (1.0; 0.0-4.0) and BI (100; 7.4-100) scores. Classical PNS were found in 30% of cases and included sensory neuropathy (16%), paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (12%) as the most frequent symptoms. Autoimmune reaction was observed in 42% of lung cancer patients and in 20% was represented by well-characterized onconeural antibodies. Anti-Hu antibody was identified as the most frequent. In conclusion, PNS signs in lung cancer patients have both classical and non-classical features. In the course of SCLC only well-characterized onconeural antibodies were identified. The presence of well-characterized onconeural antibodies is strongly associated with classical features of PNS.

Concepts: Antibody, Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Rheumatoid arthritis, Modified Rankin Scale, Small cell carcinoma, Paraneoplastic syndrome


BACKGROUND: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare neuroendocrine cancer of the skin. The utility of CD99 (MIC-2) in the diagnosis of MCC has been previously studied, with reported rates of expression ranging from 13 to 55%. When specified, a membranous or cytoplasmic staining pattern was considered significant. Recent studies of CD99 have identified a paranuclear dot-like expression pattern in certain non-neuroendocrine pancreatic and colonic lesions. We recently noted paranuclear dot-like staining in several cases of MCC, including cases lacking cytokeratin 20 (CK20) expression. METHODS: Fourteen cases of MCC were stained with CK20 and CD99 antibody, and the pattern and intensity of staining were recorded. Seven cases of pulmonary small cell carcinoma (PSCC) and one case of primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) were used for comparison. RESULTS: All 14 cases of MCC showed at least focal CD99 staining, with both membranous and paranuclear dot-like staining patterns identified. CK20 staining was present in 12/14 cases, with the characteristic dot-like pattern identified. Four of seven cases of PSCC showed CD99 staining, with two showing a finely granular dot-like staining pattern. CONCLUSIONS: We report an unusual pattern of paranuclear dot-like expression of CD99 in 14 cases of MCC, two of which did not express CK20. This previously unrecognized expression pattern may be of use in differentiating MCC from other cutaneous malignancies, especially when CK20 expression is limited or absent.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Types of cancer, Neuroendocrine tumor, Small cell carcinoma, Merkel cell cancer, Merkel cell, Primitive neuroectodermal tumor


Patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas grade 3 have a poor prognosis. Etoposide-platinum combination is the standard chemotherapy but the role of a second-line remains unknown. Irinotecan alone or in combination has shown some efficacy in patients treated for small cell lung cancer which had pathological similarities with neuroendocine tumors. To determine safety and efficacy of the FOLFIRI regimen in patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas grade 3 after failure of etoposide-platinum combination. Retrospective study of patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas grade 3 and treated with the FOLFIRI regimen after progression or toxicity of etoposide-platinum combination in first-line. Patients with ECOG performance status ≥ 3 and/or serum alkaline phosphatase ≥ 5 x ULN and/or bilirubin ≥ 1.5 x ULN were excluded. Among 39 patients who failed etoposide-platinum combination, 19 (49%) (12 women, median age 53 [29-78] years) received the FOLFIRI regimen with a median number of 6 [1-16] courses. Six patients (32 %) had at least one episode of grade 3-4 toxicity (neutropenia n=3, diarrhea n=3) without toxic death. Six patients (31%) had objective response, 6 (31%) stable disease and 7 (38%) tumor progression. Median progression-free survival under FOLFIRI was 4 months. Overall survival was 18 months versus 6.8 months in non eligible patients. FOLFIRI regimen is a safe and potentially efficient chemotherapy given as second-line in patients with neuroendocrine carcinomas grade 3 who remain in good condition and with correct liver tests after failure of etoposide-platinum combination. These results should be confirmed in a future prospective study.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Chemotherapy, Alkaline phosphatase, Small cell carcinoma, Performance status, FOLFIRI