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Journal: Cancer treatment reviews


This individual patient data meta-analysis aimed to evaluate the effects of exercise on quality of life (QoL) and physical function (PF) in patients with cancer, and to identify moderator effects of demographic (age, sex, marital status, education), clinical (body mass index, cancer type, presence of metastasis), intervention-related (intervention timing, delivery mode and duration, and type of control group), and exercise-related (exercise frequency, intensity, type, time) characteristics. Relevant published and unpublished studies were identified in September 2012 via PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL, reference checking and personal communications. Principle investigators of all 69 eligible trials were requested to share IPD from their study. IPD from 34 randomised controlled trials (n=4519 patients) that evaluated the effects of exercise compared to a usual care, wait-list or attention control group on QoL and PF in adult patients with cancer were retrieved and pooled. Linear mixed-effect models were used to evaluate the effects of the exercise on post-intervention outcome values (z-score) adjusting for baseline values. Moderator effects were studies by testing interactions. Exercise significantly improved QoL (β=0.15, 95%CI=0.10;0.20) and PF (β=0.18, 95%CI=0.13;0.23). The effects were not moderated by demographic, clinical or exercise characteristics. Effects on QoL (βdifference_in_effect=0.13, 95%CI=0.03;0.22) and PF (βdifference_in_effect=0.10, 95%CI=0.01;0.20) were significantly larger for supervised than unsupervised interventions. In conclusion, exercise, and particularly supervised exercise, effectively improves QoL and PF in patients with cancer with different demographic and clinical characteristics during and following treatment. Although effect sizes are small, there is consistent empirical evidence to support implementation of exercise as part of cancer care.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Obesity, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Body mass index, Effect size


Renal impairment (RI) is a common complication affecting patients with multiple myeloma (MM). Timely identification of MM-related RI and early treatment with novel antimyeloma agents can reverse renal damage in a high proportion of patients and improve outcomes. The IMiDs® immunomodulatory compound lenalidomide (Len) in combination with dexamethasone (Dex) is an effective and well-tolerated regimen for patients with relapsed or refractory (RR) MM. A retrospective analysis of Phase III data has shown that Len/Dex remains effective and well-tolerated in patients with moderate or severe RI, albeit with an increase in myelosuppression. This analysis demonstrated that in a high proportion of patients Len/Dex treatment can reverse MM-related RI and restore normal function. Lenalidomide has a predominantly renal route of excretion and in patients with RI the plasma concentration and half-life of the drug are significantly increased. As a consequence, lower starting doses are required in patients with RI to avoid over-exposure and an increased risk of adverse events, while maintaining good therapeutic index. A prospective cohort study in 50 patients with RRMM has reported that when Len/Dex dosing was adjusted according to renal function, response rates and survival outcomes were similar in patients with and without RI, and there was no increase in adverse events in patients with RI. Further clinical studies are required to confirm the efficacy and tolerability of Len/Dex regimens in MM patients with RI, and to evaluate the impact of reversing renal damage in terms of patient survival.

Concepts: Multiple myeloma, Renal failure, Nephrology, Clinical trial, Thalidomide, Lenalidomide, Dexamethasone, Spinal cord compression


Checkpoint blockades turn on a new paradigm shift in immunotherapy for cancer. Remarkable clinical efficacy, durable response and low toxicity of programmed death 1 (PD-1)/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) checkpoint blockades have been observed in various malignancies. However, a lot of cancer patients failed to respond to the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockades. It is crucial to identify a biomarker to predict the response to checkpoint blockades. The overexpression of PD-L1 is an important and widely-explored predictive biomarker for the response to PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies. However PD-L1 staining cannot be used to accurately select patients for PD-1/PD-L1 pathway blockade due to the low prediction accuracy and dynamic changes. Tumor-infiltrating immune cells and molecules in the tumor microenvironment, or along with PD-L1 expression, may be important in predicting clinical benefits of PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockades. Gene analysis has proven to be new approach for judging the potential clinical benefit of immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as mutational landscape and mismatch-repair deficiency. Further preclinical and clinical studies are necessary to carry out before its application in clinical practice. Challenges should be overcome to identify patients accurately who will benefit from PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint blockades. In this review, we focus on the predictive biomarkers for checkpoint blockades of PD-1/PD-L1 pathway.

Concepts: Immune system, Scientific method, Gene expression, Clinical trial, Prediction, Futurology, Prophecy, Paradigm shift


Chemotherapy has made substantial progress in the therapy of systemic cancer, but the phar-macological efficacy is insufficient in the treatment of brain metastases. Fractionated whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) has been a standard treatment of brain metastases, but provides limited local tumor control and often unsatisfactory clinical results. Stereotactic radiosurgery using Gamma Knife, Linac or Cyberknife has overcome several of these limitations, which has influenced recent treatment recommendations. This present review summarizes the current literature of single session radiosurgery concerning survival and quality of life, specific responses, tumor volumes and numbers, about potential treatment combinations and radioresistant metastases. Gamma Knife and Linac based radiosurgery provide consistent results with a reproducible local tumor control in both single and multiple brain metastases. Ideally minimum doses of ≥18Gy are applied. Reported local control rates were 90-94% for breast cancer metastases and 81-98% for brain metastases of lung cancer. Local tumor control rates after radiosurgery of otherwise radioresistant brain metastases were 73-90% for melanoma and 83-96% for renal cell cancer. Currently, there is a tendency to treat a larger number of brain metastases in a single radiosurgical session, since numerous studies document high local tumor control after radiosurgical treatment of >3 brain metastases. New remote brain metastases are reported in 33-42% after WBRT and in 39-52% after radiosurgery, but while WBRT is generally applied only once, radiosurgery can be used repeatedly for remote recurrences or new metastases after WBRT. Larger metastases (>8-10cc) should be removed surgically, but for smaller metastases Gamma Knife radiosurgery appears to be equally effective as surgical tumor resection (level I evidence). Radiosurgery avoids the impairments in cognition and quality of life that can be a consequence of WBRT (level I evidence). High local efficacy, preservation of cerebral functions, short hospitalization and the option to continue a systemic chemotherapy are factors in favor of a minimally invasive approach with stereotactic radiosurgery.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Chemotherapy, Brain tumor, Radiosurgery, Gamma knife


Biological agents or “biologics” are widely used in oncology practice for cancer treatment and for the supportive management of treatment-related side effects. Unlike small-molecule generic drugs, exact copies of biologics are impossible to produce because these are large and highly complex molecules produced in living cells. The term “biosimilar” refers to a biological product that is highly similar to a licensed biological product (reference or originator product) with no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety, purity, or potency. Biosimilars have the potential to provide savings to healthcare systems and to make important biological therapies widely accessible to a global population. As biosimilars for rituximab, trastuzumab, and bevacizumab are expected to reach the market in the near future, clinicians will soon be faced with decisions to consider biosimilars as alternatives to existing reference products. The aim of this article is to inform oncology practitioners about the biosimilar development and evaluation process, and to offer guidance on how to evaluate biosimilar data in order to make informed decisions when integrating these drugs into oncology practice. We will also review several biosimilars that are currently in development for cancer treatment.

Concepts: DNA, Medicine, Cell biology, Population, Monoclonal antibodies, Clinic, Health care system, Genentech


Both stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) and immune- or targeted therapy play an increasingly important role in personalized treatment of metastatic disease. Concurrent application of both therapies is rapidly expanding in daily clinical practice. In this systematic review we summarize severe toxicity observed after concurrent treatment.

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Cure, Chemotherapy, Prostate cancer, Melanoma, Cancer treatments


Cancer is a disease that affects mostly older adults. Older adults often have other chronic health conditions in addition to cancer and may have different health priorities, both of which can impact cancer treatment decision-making. However, no systematic review of factors that influence an older cancer patient’s decision to accept or decline cancer treatment has been conducted.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Oncology, Decision making, Accept


Kidney cancer represents about 5% of all new cancer diagnoses. The most common form of kidney cancer arises from renal epithelium, named renal cell carcinoma (RCC). This entity comprises different histological and molecular subtypes. Unraveling the molecular biology and cytogenetic of RCC has enabled the development of several targeted agents that have improved treatment outcomes of these patients. This article reviews all the agents currently approved for the treatment of RCC, and discuss upcoming molecules. Mechanism of action, preclinical and clinical development and ongoing trials, are presented for each agent, providing a broad vision of the current state of targeted therapy in RCC and possible future developments.

Concepts: DNA, Cancer, Biology, Renal pelvis, Renin, Renal cell carcinoma, Nephrectomy, Kidney cancer


The treatment of bladder cancer has evolved over time to encompass not only the traditional modalities of chemotherapy and surgery, but has been particularly impacted by the use of immunotherapy. The first immunotherapy was the live, attenuated bacterial Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine, which has been the standard of care non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer since 1990. Modern immunotherapy has focused on inhibitors of checkpoint proteins, which are molecules that impede immune function, thereby allowing tumor cells to grow and proliferate unregulated. Several checkpoint targets (programmed death ligand-1 [PD-L1] programmed cell death protien-1 [PD-1], and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein 4 [CTLA4]) have received the most attention in the treatment of bladder cancer, and have inhibitor agents either approved or in late-stage development. This review describes the most recent data on agents that inhibit PD-L1, found on the surface of tumor cells, and PD-1 found on activated T and B cells and macrophages. Atezolizumab is the only member of this class currently approved for the treatment of bladder cancer, but nivolumab, pembrolizumab, durvalumab, and avelumab all have positive results for this indication, and approvals are anticipated in the near future. The checkpoint inhibitors offer an effective alternative for patients for whom previously there were few options for durable responses, including those who are ineligible for cisplatin-based regimens or who are at risk of significant toxicity. Research is ongoing to further categorize responses, define ideal patient populations, and investigate combinations of checkpoint inhibitors to address multiple pathways in immune system functioning.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Cancer, Bacteria, Apoptosis, Immunology, Antigen, Programmed cell death


Advanced urothelial carcinoma is frequently lethal, and improvements in cytotoxic chemotherapy have plateaued. Recent technological advances allows for a comprehensive analysis of genomic alterations in a timely manner. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) study revealed that there are numerous genomic aberrations in muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma, such as TP53, ARID1A, PIK3CA, ERCC2, FGFR3, and HER2. Molecular targeted therapies against similar genetic alterations are currently available for other malignancies, but their efficacy in urothelial carcinoma has not been established. This review describes the genomic landscape of malignant urothelial carcinomas, with an emphasis on the potential to prosecute these tumours by deploying novel targeted agents and immunotherapy in appropriately selected patient populations.

Concepts: Genetics, Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Chemotherapy, Types of cancer, Carcinoma