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Journal: Annals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology / ESMO


Over the last two decades, ovarian cancer mortality rates have levelled or declined. There are, however, persisting and substantial differences in ovarian cancer patterns and trends.

Concepts: Vitamin D, Metastasis, Mortality rate, Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, BRCA2, Ovarian cancer


BACKGROUND: Information about diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis has been emphasized as a key to empower cancer patients to make treatment decisions reflecting their values. However, surveys indicate that patients' preferences regarding information and treatment decision-making differ. In this qualitative interview study, we explored pancreatic cancer patients' perceptions and preferences on information and treatment decision-making. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Qualitative in-depth interviews with patients with pancreatic cancer. Purposive sampling and qualitative analysis were carried out. RESULTS: We identified two stages of information and treatment decision-making. Patients initially emphasize trust in their physician and indicate rather limited interest in details about surgical and medical treatment. In the latter stage of disease, patients perceive themselves more active regarding information seeking and treatment decision-making. All patients discuss their poor prognosis. Reflecting on their own situation, all patients interviewed pointed out that hope was an important driver to undergo further treatment also in advanced stages of the disease. Interviewees unanimously emphasized the difficulty of anticipating the time at which stopping cancer treatment would be the right decision. CONCLUSIONS: The findings can serve as starting point for reflection on professional decision-making in pancreatic cancer and larger representative surveys on ethical issues in treatment decision-making in pancreatic cancer.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Decision making, Physician, Pancreatic cancer, Interview


Background Intravenous (i.v.) iron can improve anaemia of chronic disease and response to erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs), but data on its use in practice and without ESAs are limited. This study evaluated effectiveness and tolerability of ferric carboxymaltose (FCM) in routine treatment of anaemic cancer patients. Patients and methods Of 639 patients enrolled in 68 haematology/oncology practices in Germany, 619 received FCM at the oncologist’s discretion, 420 had eligible baseline haemoglobin (Hb) measurements, and 364 at least one follow-up Hb measurement. Data of transfused patients were censored from analysis before transfusion. Results The median total iron dose was 1000 mg per patient (interquartile range 600-1500 mg). The median Hb increase was comparable in patients receiving FCM alone (1.4 g/dl [0.2-2.3 g/dl; N = 233]) or FCM + ESA (1.6 g/dl [0.7-2.4 g/dl; N = 46]). Patients with baseline Hb up to 11.0 g/dl and serum ferritin up to 500 ng/ml benefited from FCM treatment (stable Hb ≥11.0 g/dl). Also patients with ferritin >500 ng/ml but low transferrin saturation benefited from FCM treatment. FCM was well tolerated, 2.3% of patients reported putative drug-related adverse events. Conclusions The substantial Hb increase and stabilisation at 11-12 g/dl in FCM-treated patients suggest a role for i.v. iron alone in anaemia correction in cancer patients.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Oncology, Iron, Interquartile range, Anemia, Iron deficiency anemia, Transferrin, Ferritin


BackgroundIpilimumab is a recently approved immunotherapy that has demonstrated an improvement in the overall survival (OS) of patients with metastatic melanoma. We report a single-institution experience in patients treated in a compassionate-use program.Patients and methodsIn this prospective study, patients were treated between June 2010 and September 2011. Inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of unresectable stage III or IV melanoma, at least one previous line of chemotherapy, and survival 12 weeks after the first perfusion. Four courses of ipilimumab were administered at a dose of 3 mg/kg every 3 weeks.ResultsSeventy-three patients were included. Median OS was 9.1 months (95% CI 6.4-11.3) from the start of ipilimumab. Immune-related adverse events were observed in 45 patients (62%), including 19 grade 3-4 events (26%). No drug-related death occurred. A lymphocyte count >1000/mm(3) at the start of the second course and an increase in the eosinophil count >100/mm(3) between the first and second infusions were correlated with an improved OS.ConclusionIpilimumab toxic effect is manageable in real life. Biological data such as lymphocyte and eosinophil counts at the time of the second ipilimumab infusion appear to be early markers associated with better OS.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Better, Improve, Lymph node, Chemotherapy, Melanoma, Cytotoxicity


Background An early serum tumor marker ™ decline during chemotherapy was shown to independently predict survival in patients with poor-prognosis disseminated non-seminomatous germ-cell tumors (NSGCTs). The aim of this study was to assess whether a TM decline (TMD) also correlates with the outcome in the salvage setting. Patients and methods Data regarding 400 patients with progressive or relapsed disseminated NSGCTs after first-line chemotherapy prospectively accrued onto two phase III clinical trials were obtained. Serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and/or human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) were assessed at baseline and after 6 weeks of chemotherapy. A total of 297 patients, 185 and 112 in the training and validation sets, with initially abnormal TMs for whom a change from baseline could be established were used for this analysis. Results An unfavorable decline in either AFP or hCG was predictive of progression-free survival (PFS) [hazard ratio, HR = 2.15, (95% CI 1.48-3.11); P < 0.001; 2-year PFS rate: 50% versus 26%] as was the Lorch prognostic score (LPS). In the multivariate analysis, an unfavorable TMD, stratified based on the LPS, was an independent adverse prognostic factor for PFS and OS. Conclusion An unfavorable TMD during the first 6 weeks after chemotherapy is associated with a poorer outcome in patients with relapsed disseminated NSGCTs.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cancer, Oncology, Germ cell tumor, Human chorionic gonadotropin, Alpha-fetoprotein, Tumor markers, Tumor marker


Background Ovarian aging and cytotoxic treatments are the most common causes for fertility loss in women. With increasing numbers of young female survivors following cytotoxic cancer treatments, the issue of fertility preservation has assumed greater importance. Methods We review the literature on the causes of female fertility loss as well as the recent advances in fertility preservation options and strategies that might be of interest to oncologists. Currently, several methods and techniques exist for fertility preservation of female patients with cancer including embryo freezing, ovarian protection techniques, oocyte cryopreservation, ovarian tissue cryopreservation followed by autotransplantation, and recently in vitro culture of ovarian tissue, follicles, and oocytes. Each method or technique has advantages and disadvantages related to current success rate, required delay in cancer treatment, sperm requirement, and risk of reintroducing cancer cells. Results To date, embryo freezing is the only established method successfully and widely used for fertility preservation of female patients with cancer. The other methods are promising but still considered experimental. Conclusion Patient awareness, physician knowledge, early counseling, costs management, international registry, interdisciplinary networks, and research development are necessary to improve the current care in the field of female fertility preservation.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Fertility, Spermatozoon, Zygote, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation, Oocyte cryopreservation


BackgroundOnly patients with wild-type (WT) KRAS tumors benefit from anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Pyrosequencing is now widely used for the determination of KRAS mutation burden and a conservative cut-off point of 10% has been defined. Up until now, the impact of low-frequency KRAS mutations (<10%) on the response to anti-EGFR Mabs has yet to be evaluated.Patients and methodsTumors from patients receiving anti-EGFR Mabs based on a WT genotype for KRAS, as determined using direct sequencing, have been retrospectively analyzed by pyrosequencing. Patients were categorized as WT (no KRAS mutation) or low-frequency mutation when KRAS mutation was <10% (KRAS low MT).ResultsA total of 168 patients treated by anti-EGFR Mabs for mCRC were analyzed. According to pyrosequencing, 138 tumors remained KRAS WT, while 30 tumors were KRAS low MT. In the KRAS low MT and KRAS WT groups, the response rates were 6.7% and 37.0%, respectively, while stabilization amounted to 23.3% versus 32.6% and progression to 70% versus 29% (P < 0.01). Progression-free survival (PFS) was 2.7 ± 0.5 months for KRAS low MT and was 6.0 ± 0.3 months for KRAS WT (P < 0.01).ConclusionsThese results appear to validate consideration of low-frequency KRAS mutation tumors as positive, and justify a large-scale prospective study.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Evolution, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Monoclonal antibodies, Biotechnology, Colorectal cancer, Cetuximab


BackgroundRituximab-hyper-CVAD alternating with rituximab-high-dose methotrexate and cytarabine is a commonly utilized regimen in the United States for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) based on phase II single institutional data. To confirm the clinical efficacy of this regimen and determine its feasibility in a multicenter study that includes both academic and community-based practices, a phase II study of this regimen was conducted by SWOG.Patients and methodsForty-nine patients with advanced stage, previously untreated MCL were eligible. The median age was 57.4 years (35-69.8 years).ResultsNineteen patients (39%) did not complete the full scheduled course of treatment due to toxicity. There was one treatment-related death and two cases of secondary myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). There were 10 episodes of grade 3 febrile neutropenia, 19 episodes of grade 3 and 1 episode of grade 4 infection. With a median follow-up of 4.8 years, the median progression-free survival was 4.8 years (5.5 years for those ≤65 years) and the median overall survival (OS) was 6.8 years.ConclusionsAlthough this regimen is toxic, it is active for patients ≤65 years of age and can be given both at academic centers and in experienced community centers.

Concepts: Clinical trial, United States, Chemotherapy, Acute myeloid leukemia, Chemotherapy regimens, Fever, Mantle cell lymphoma, Myelodysplastic syndrome


Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an uncommon type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with poor overall prognosis, requiring the development of new therapies. Lenalidomide is an immunomodulatory agent demonstrating antitumor and antiproliferative effects in MCL. We report results from a long-term subset analysis of 57 patients with relapsed/refractory MCL from the NHL-003 phase II multicenter study of single-agent lenalidomide in patients with aggressive lymphoma DESIGN: Lenalidomide was administered orally 25 mg daily on days 1-21 every 28 days until progressive disease (PD) or intolerability. The primary end point was overall response rate (ORR).

Concepts: Cancer, Medical terms, Chemotherapy, Lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma


BACKGROUND: The FOLFOXIRI regimen developed by the Gruppo Oncologico Nord Ovest (GONO) demonstrated higher activity and efficacy compared with FOLFIRI in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Panitumumab is effective in some patients with KRAS codon 12-13 wild-type mCRC. KRAS codon 61, HRAS, NRAS, and BRAF V600E mutations might predict resistance to anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a phase II study evaluating the combination of panitumumab (6 mg/kg on day 1) with a slightly modified GONO-FOLFOXIRI (irinotecan 150 mg/m(2), oxaliplatin 85 mg/m(2), and folinate 200 mg/m(2) on day 1, followed by fluorouracil 3000 mg/m(2) as a 48-h continuous infusion starting on day 1) repeated every 2 weeks as first-line treatment of wild-type KRAS, HRAS, NRAS (codon 12-13-61), and BRAF unresectable mCRC patients. Fluorouracil dose was reduced to 2400 mg/m(2) after two of the first three patients reported grade 3-4 diarrhoea (in one case with febrile neutropenia). Induction treatment was scheduled for a maximum of 12 cycles, followed by panitumumab ± fluorouracil/folinate maintenance until progression. Primary end point was overall response rate (ORR). RESULTS: Eighty-seven patients were screened and 37 were enrolled. Thirty-three patients achieved an objective response (ORR: 89%; 95% CI 75% to 96%). Sixteen patients (43%) underwent secondary surgery of metastases, and R0 resection was achieved in 13 cases (35%). At a median follow-up of 17.7 months, median progression-free survival was 11.3 months (95% CI 9.7-12.9 months). After amendment, most common grade 3-4 adverse events reported during induction treatment were neutropenia (48%; febrile neutropenia: 5%), diarrhoea (35%), asthenia (27%), stomatitis (14%), and skin toxic effect (14%). One treatment-related death was registered. CONCLUSIONS: Adding panitumumab to FOLFOXIRI is feasible decreasing the dose of fluorouracil and irinotecan to reduce the risk of diarrhoea. Activity and secondary resectability of metastases among Ras-BRAF wild-type patients are promising.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cancer, Oncology, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Chemotherapy, Colorectal cancer, Panitumumab