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Switzerland: cancer statistics from IARC GlobalCan (2012)

Population in 2012: 7.7m
People newly diagnosed with cancer (excluding NMSC) / yr: 42,000
Age-standardised rate, incidence per 100,000 people/yr: 287.0
Risk of getting cancer before age 75:28.8%
People dying from cancer /yr: 16,400

Swiss Cancer Resources

Swiss Cancer Organisations
Recent Research Publications from Switzerland

Swiss Cancer Organisations (14 links)


Recent Research Publications from Switzerland

Larkin J, Chiarion-Sileni V, Gonzalez R, et al.
Combined Nivolumab and Ipilimumab or Monotherapy in Untreated Melanoma.
N Engl J Med. 2015; 373(1):23-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nivolumab (a programmed death 1 [PD-1] checkpoint inhibitor) and ipilimumab (a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 [CTLA-4] checkpoint inhibitor) have been shown to have complementary activity in metastatic melanoma. In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study, nivolumab alone or nivolumab plus ipilimumab was compared with ipilimumab alone in patients with metastatic melanoma.
METHODS: We assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, 945 previously untreated patients with unresectable stage III or IV melanoma to nivolumab alone, nivolumab plus ipilimumab, or ipilimumab alone. Progression-free survival and overall survival were coprimary end points. Results regarding progression-free survival are presented here.
RESULTS: The median progression-free survival was 11.5 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.9 to 16.7) with nivolumab plus ipilimumab, as compared with 2.9 months (95% CI, 2.8 to 3.4) with ipilimumab (hazard ratio for death or disease progression, 0.42; 99.5% CI, 0.31 to 0.57; P<0.001), and 6.9 months (95% CI, 4.3 to 9.5) with nivolumab (hazard ratio for the comparison with ipilimumab, 0.57; 99.5% CI, 0.43 to 0.76; P<0.001). In patients with tumors positive for the PD-1 ligand (PD-L1), the median progression-free survival was 14.0 months in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and in the nivolumab group, but in patients with PD-L1-negative tumors, progression-free survival was longer with the combination therapy than with nivolumab alone (11.2 months [95% CI, 8.0 to not reached] vs. 5.3 months [95% CI, 2.8 to 7.1]). Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or 4 occurred in 16.3% of the patients in the nivolumab group, 55.0% of those in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group, and 27.3% of those in the ipilimumab group.
CONCLUSIONS: Among previously untreated patients with metastatic melanoma, nivolumab alone or combined with ipilimumab resulted in significantly longer progression-free survival than ipilimumab alone. In patients with PD-L1-negative tumors, the combination of PD-1 and CTLA-4 blockade was more effective than either agent alone. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb; CheckMate 067 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01844505.).

Andres A, Mentha G, Adam R, et al.
Surgical management of patients with colorectal cancer and simultaneous liver and lung metastases.
Br J Surg. 2015; 102(6):691-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The management of patients with colorectal cancer and simultaneously diagnosed liver and lung metastases (SLLM) remains controversial.
METHODS: The LiverMetSurvey registry was interrogated for patients treated between 2000 and 2012 to assess outcomes after resection of SLLM, and the factors associated with survival. SLLM was defined as liver and lung metastases diagnosed 3 months or less apart. Survival was compared between patients with resected isolated liver metastases (group 1, control), those with resected liver and lung metastases (group 2), and patients with resected liver metastases and unresected (or unresectable) lung metastases (group 3). An Akaike test was used to select variables for assessment of survival adjusted for confounding variables.
RESULTS: Group 1 (isolated liver metastases, hepatic resection alone) included 9185 patients, group 2 (resection of liver and lung metastases) 149 patients, and group 3 (resection of liver metastases, no resection of lung metastases) 285 patients. Ten variables differed significantly between groups and seven were included in the model for adjusted survival (age, number of liver metastases, synchronicity of liver metastases with primary tumour, carcinoembryonic antigen level, node status of the primary tumour, initial resectability of liver metastases and inclusion in group 3). Adjusted overall 5-year survival was similar for groups 1 and 2 (51·5 and 44·5 per cent respectively), but worse for group 3 (14·3 per cent) (P = 0·001).
CONCLUSION: Patients who had resection of liver and lung metastases had similar overall survival to those who had undergone removal of isolated liver metastases.

Peters C, Schrappe M, von Stackelberg A, et al.
Stem-cell transplantation in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A prospective international multicenter trial comparing sibling donors with matched unrelated donors-The ALL-SCT-BFM-2003 trial.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(11):1265-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Although hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation is widely performed in children with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the influence of donor types is poorly understood. Thus, transplantation outcomes were compared in the prospective multinational Berlin-Frankfurt-Muenster (BFM) study group trial: ALL-SCT-BFM 2003 (Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation in Children and Adolescents with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: After conditioning with total-body irradiation and etoposide, 411 children with high-risk ALL received highly standardized stem-cell transplantations during the first or later remissions. Depending on donor availability, grafts originated from HLA-genoidentical siblings or from HLA-matched unrelated donors who were identified and matched by high-resolution allelic typing and were compatible in at least 9 of 10 HLA loci.
RESULTS: Four-year event-free survival (± standard deviation [SD]) did not differ between patients with transplantations from unrelated or sibling donors (0.67 ± 0.03 v 0.71 ± 0.05; P = .405), with cumulative incidences of nonrelapse mortality (± SD) of 0.10 ± 0.02 and 0.03 ± 0.02 (P = .017) and relapse rates (± SD) of 0.22 ± 0.02 and 0.24 ± 0.04 (P = .732), respectively. Among recipients of transplantations from unrelated donors, no significant differences in event-free survival, overall survival, or nonrelapse mortality were observed between 9/10 and 10/10 matched grafts or between peripheral blood stem cells and bone marrow. The absence of chronic graft-versus-host disease had no effect on event-free survival. Engraftment was faster after bone marrow transplantation from siblings and was associated with fewer severe infections and pulmonary complications.
CONCLUSION: Outcome among high-risk pediatric patients with ALL after hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation was not affected by donor type. Standardized myeloablative conditioning produced a low incidence of treatment-related mortality and effective control of leukemia.

Hecht JR, Reid TR, Garrett CR, et al.
Phase I study of everolimus, cetuximab and irinotecan as second-line therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer.
Anticancer Res. 2015; 35(3):1567-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: To evaluate feasible doses of weekly everolimus and irinotecan given with cetuximab for previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Adults with mCRC that progressed after 5-fluorouracil or capecitabine-plus-oxaliplatin were treated using a sequential dose escalation scheme. Dosing decisions were based on the probability of experiencing a dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) during the first two 21-day treatment cycles.
RESULTS: Patients received everolimus 30 mg/week plus irinotecan 350 mg/m2 q3w (n=5; dose A1) or everolimus 30 mg/week plus irinotecan 250 mg/m2 q3w (n=14; dose B1). Among patients evaluable for the maximum tolerated dose, two out of four in A1 and one out of eight in B1 experienced four DLTs. The trial was terminated early based on changes in clinical practice and emerging data on everolimus dosing.
CONCLUSION: The feasible doses of everolimus and irinotecan administered with cetuximab as second-line therapy in mCRC were 30 mg/week and 250 mg/m2, respectively.

Karakhanova S, Ryschich E, Mosl B, et al.
Prognostic and predictive value of immunological parameters for chemoradioimmunotherapy in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(6):1027-36 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Chemoradioimmunotherapy of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma from the CapRI trial did not show any benefit of interferon-α in addition to a 5-fluorouracil (5FU)-based treatment. The aim of this study was to identify immunological parameters in patients from this trial to be used for predictive and/or prognostic purposes.
METHODS: The following methods were used: tumour immunohistology, FACS analyses, cytokine measurement, as well as cytotoxicity and ELIspot. Immunological parameters were correlated with patients' survival using the Kaplan-Meier method.
RESULTS: Irrespective of therapy type, high lymphocyte accumulation in tumours and frequencies of NK cells and effector (eff) CD8(+) T cells in peripheral blood of the patients were associated with patients' survival. Amount of CD3(+) and effector-memory CD8(+) blood lymphocytes, expression of CD152 and interleukin (IL)-2 serum level showed a predictive value for chemoradioimmunotherapy. Tumoural accumulation of CD3(+) and CD8(+) cells was predictive for outcome of chemotherapy alone. Besides, we identified the frequencies of CD3(+) lymphocytes, effCD8(+) T cells and NK cells in the peripheral blood of the patients, and IL-10 amount in serum, to be predictive values for 5FU-based chemotherapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Immunological parameters, identified in this trial as possible markers, may be of interest in personalized medicine towards the improvement of the treatment and prognosis of pancreatic carcinoma patients.

Moore HC, Unger JM, Phillips KA, et al.
Goserelin for ovarian protection during breast-cancer adjuvant chemotherapy.
N Engl J Med. 2015; 372(10):923-32 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/09/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Ovarian failure is a common toxic effect of chemotherapy. Studies of the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists to protect ovarian function have shown mixed results and lack data on pregnancy outcomes.
METHODS: We randomly assigned 257 premenopausal women with operable hormone-receptor-negative breast cancer to receive standard chemotherapy with the GnRH agonist goserelin (goserelin group) or standard chemotherapy without goserelin (chemotherapy-alone group). The primary study end point was the rate of ovarian failure at 2 years, with ovarian failure defined as the absence of menses in the preceding 6 months and levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in the postmenopausal range. Rates were compared with the use of conditional logistic regression. Secondary end points included pregnancy outcomes and disease-free and overall survival.
RESULTS: At baseline, 218 patients were eligible and could be evaluated. Among 135 with complete primary end-point data, the ovarian failure rate was 8% in the goserelin group and 22% in the chemotherapy-alone group (odds ratio, 0.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.09 to 0.97; two-sided P=0.04). Owing to missing primary end-point data, sensitivity analyses were performed, and the results were consistent with the main findings. Missing data did not differ according to treatment group or according to the stratification factors of age and planned chemotherapy regimen. Among the 218 patients who could be evaluated, pregnancy occurred in more women in the goserelin group than in the chemotherapy-alone group (21% vs. 11%, P=0.03); women in the goserelin group also had improved disease-free survival (P=0.04) and overall survival (P=0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Although missing data weaken interpretation of the findings, administration of goserelin with chemotherapy appeared to protect against ovarian failure, reducing the risk of early menopause and improving prospects for fertility. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others; POEMS/S0230 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00068601.).

Korfel A, Thiel E, Martus P, et al.
Randomized phase III study of whole-brain radiotherapy for primary CNS lymphoma.
Neurology. 2015; 84(12):1242-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: This is the final report of a phase III randomized study to evaluate whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) in primary therapy of primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) after a median follow-up of 81.2 months.
METHODS: Patients with newly diagnosed PCNSL were randomized to high-dose methotrexate (HDMTX)-based chemotherapy alone or followed by WBRT. We hypothesized that the omission of WBRT would not compromise overall survival (OS; primary endpoint), using a noninferiority design with a margin of 0.9.
RESULTS: In the per-protocol population (n = 320), WBRT nonsignificantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) (median 18.2 vs 11.9 months, hazard ratio [HR] 0.83 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.65-1.06], p = 0.14) and significantly PFS from last HDMTX (25.5 vs 12.0 months, HR 0.65 [95% CI 0.5-0.83], p = 0.001), but without OS prolongation (35.6 vs 37.1 months, HR 1.03 [95% CI 0.79-1.35], p = 0.82). In the intent-to-treat population (n = 410), there was a prolongation by WBRT of both PFS (15.4 vs 9.9 months, HR 0.79 [95% CI 0.64-0.98], p = 0.034) and PFS from last HDMTX (19.4 vs 11.9 months, HR 0.72 [95% CI 0.58-0.89], p = 0.003), but not of OS (32.4 vs 36.1 months, HR 0.98 [95% CI 0.79-1.26], p = 0.98).
CONCLUSION: Although the statistical proof of noninferiority regarding OS was not given, our results suggest no worsening of OS without WBRT in primary therapy of PCNSL.
CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE: This study provides Class II evidence that in PCNSL HDMTX-based chemotherapy followed by WBRT does not significantly increase survival compared to chemotherapy alone. The study lacked the precision to exclude an important survival benefit or harm from WBRT.

Krop IE, Suter TM, Dang CT, et al.
Feasibility and cardiac safety of trastuzumab emtansine after anthracycline-based chemotherapy as (neo)adjuvant therapy for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive early-stage breast cancer.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(10):1136-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1), an antibody-drug conjugate comprising the cytotoxic agent DM1, a stable linker, and trastuzumab, has demonstrated substantial activity in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive metastatic breast cancer, raising interest in evaluating the feasibility and cardiac safety of T-DM1 in early-stage breast cancer (EBC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients (N = 153) with HER2-positive EBC and prechemotherapy left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≥ 55% received (neo)adjuvant doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide or fluorouracil plus epirubicin plus cyclophosphamide followed by T-DM1 for four cycles. Patients could then receive three to four cycles of optional docetaxel with or without trastuzumab. T-DM1 was then resumed with optional radiotherapy (sequential or concurrent) for 1 year (planned) of HER2-directed therapy. The coprimary end points were rate of prespecified cardiac events and safety.
RESULTS: Median follow-up was 24.6 months. No prespecified cardiac events or symptomatic congestive heart failures were reported. Four patients (2.7%) had asymptomatic LVEF declines (≥ 10 percentage points from baseline to LVEF < 50%), leading to T-DM1 discontinuation in one patient. Of 148 patients who received ≥ one cycle of T-DM1, 82.4% completed the planned 1-year duration of HER2-directed therapy. During T-DM1 treatment, 38.5% and 2.7% of patients experienced grade 3 and 4 adverse events, respectively. Approximately 95% of patients receiving T-DM1 plus radiotherapy completed ≥ 95% of the planned radiation dose with delay ≤ 5 days.
CONCLUSION: Use of T-DM1 for approximately 1 year after anthracycline-based chemotherapy was feasible and generally well tolerated by patients with HER2-positive EBC, providing support for phase III trials of T-DM1 in this setting.

Goldstein D, El-Maraghi RH, Hammel P, et al.
nab-Paclitaxel plus gemcitabine for metastatic pancreatic cancer: long-term survival from a phase III trial.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(2) [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Positive findings from the phase III MPACT trial led to the regulatory approval of nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine as a treatment option for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. This report is an update of overall survival (OS) based on longer follow-up.
METHODS: Patients (n = 861) with metastatic pancreatic cancer and a Karnofsky performance status of 70 or greater were randomly assigned one to one to receive nab-paclitaxel + gemcitabine or gemcitabine alone. Efficacy data for this post hoc analysis were collected through May 9, 2013. Exploratory analyses of carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) were conducted. The primary efficacy endpoint was OS, which was analyzed for all randomly assigned patients by the Kaplan-Meier method. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: The median OS was statistically significantly longer for nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine vs gemcitabine alone (8.7 vs 6.6 months, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.62 to 0.83, P < .001). Long-term (>three-year) survivors were identified in the nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine arm only (4%). In pooled treatment arm analyses, higher CA19-9 level and NLR at baseline were statistically significantly associated with worse OS. There appeared to be a treatment effect for OS favoring nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine over gemcitabine alone in poor-prognosis subgroups defined by these factors (HR = 0.612, P < .001 for CA19-9 level ≥ median and HR = 0.81, P = .079 for NLR > 5).
CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm and extend the primary report of OS, supporting the superior efficacy of nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine over gemcitabine alone. Subgroup analyses support the relevance of CA 19-9 and NLR as prognostic markers in metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Spreafico A, Delord JP, De Mattos-Arruda L, et al.
A first-in-human phase I, dose-escalation, multicentre study of HSP990 administered orally in adult patients with advanced solid malignancies.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(4):650-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/02/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Heat-shock protein 990 (HSP990) is a potent and selective synthetic small-molecule HSP90 inhibitor. The primary objectives of this phase I first-in-human study were to determine dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and recommended phase II dose (RP2D). Secondary objectives included characterisation of the safety profile, pharmacokinetics (PKs) and pharmacodynamics (PDs).
METHODS: Heat-shock protein 990 was administered orally once or two times weekly on a 28-day cycle schedule in patients with advanced solid tumours. Dose escalation was guided by a Bayesian logistic regression model with overdose control.
RESULTS: A total of 64 patients were enrolled. Fifty-three patients received HSP990 once weekly at 2.5, 5, 10, 20, 30, 50 or 60 mg, whereas 11 patients received HSP990 two times weekly at 25 mg. Median duration of exposure was 8 weeks (range 1-116 weeks) and 12 patients remained on treatment for >16 weeks. Dose-limiting toxicities occurred in seven patients and included diarrhoea, QTc prolongation, ALT/AST elevations and central neurological toxicities. The most common drug-related adverse events were diarrhoea, fatigue and decreased appetite. Further dose escalation beyond 60 mg once weekly was not possible owing to neurological toxicity. Rapid absorption, no drug accumulation and large interpatient variability in PK exposures were observed. No objective responses were seen; 25 patients had a best overall response of stable disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Heat-shock protein 990 is relatively well tolerated, with neurological toxicity being the most relevant DLT. The single agent MTD/RP2D of HSP990 was declared at 50 mg once weekly.

Koechli V, Klaeser B, Banz Y, et al.
Consolidation of first remission using radioimmunotherapy with yttrium-90-ibritumomab-tiuxetan in adult patients with Burkitt lymphoma.
Leuk Res. 2015; 39(3):307-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
The addition of anti-CD20 antibodies to high intensity polychemotherapy regimens has improved response and survival rates in newly diagnosed patients with Burkitt lymphoma (BL). However, the role of additional anti-CD20 directed radioimmunotherapy for consolidation of first remission (CR1) has not been reported so far in BL patients receiving rituximab during first-line treatment. We compared five BL patients receiving Y-90-IT radioimmunotherapy consolidation in CR1 to 22 consecutive BL patients without consolidation. We observed that Y-90-IT treatment was associated with clinically relevant myelosuppression. After a median follow-up of 50 months, none of the patients with Y-90-IT treatment relapsed, and no patient died. In contrast, one patient (4.5%) in the non-Y-90-IT group relapsed (50 months-PFS 95.5%; p=0.6336), and one patient died (50 months-OS 95.5%; p=0.6171). In conclusion, our data suggest that survival rates are excellent and equal in rituximab pretreated BL patients with or without Y-90-IT consolidation in first remission.

Arribas AJ, Rinaldi A, Mensah AA, et al.
DNA methylation profiling identifies two splenic marginal zone lymphoma subgroups with different clinical and genetic features.
Blood. 2015; 125(12):1922-31 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/02/2016 Related Publications
Splenic marginal zone lymphoma is a rare lymphoma. Loss of 7q31 and somatic mutations affecting the NOTCH2 and KLF2 genes are the commonest genomic aberrations. Epigenetic changes can be pharmacologically reverted; therefore, identification of groups of patients with specific epigenomic alterations might have therapeutic relevance. Here we integrated genome-wide DNA-promoter methylation profiling with gene expression profiling, and clinical and biological variables. An unsupervised clustering analysis of a test series of 98 samples identified 2 clusters with different degrees of promoter methylation. The cluster comprising samples with higher-promoter methylation (High-M) had a poorer overall survival compared with the lower (Low-M) cluster. The prognostic relevance of the High-M phenotype was confirmed in an independent validation set of 36 patients. In the whole series, the High-M phenotype was associated with IGHV1-02 usage, mutations of NOTCH2 gene, 7q31-32 loss, and histologic transformation. In the High-M set, a number of tumor-suppressor genes were methylated and repressed. PRC2 subunit genes and several prosurvival lymphoma genes were unmethylated and overexpressed. A model based on the methylation of 3 genes (CACNB2, HTRA1, KLF4) identified a poorer-outcome patient subset. Exposure of splenic marginal zone lymphoma cell lines to a demethylating agent caused partial reversion of the High-M phenotype and inhibition of proliferation.

Suchorska B, Jansen NL, Linn J, et al.
Biological tumor volume in 18FET-PET before radiochemotherapy correlates with survival in GBM.
Neurology. 2015; 84(7):710-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this prospective longitudinal study was to identify static and dynamic O-(2-[(18)F]fluoroethyl)-L-tyrosine PET ((18)FET-PET)-derived imaging biomarkers in patients with glioblastoma (GBM).
METHODS: Seventy-nine patients with newly diagnosed GBM were included; 42 patients underwent stereotactic biopsy (unresectable tumors) and 37 patients microsurgical tumor resection. All patients were scheduled to receive radiotherapy plus concomitant and adjuvant temozolomide (RCx/TMZ). (18)FET-PET evaluation using static and dynamic analysis was done before biopsy/resection, after resection, 4 to 6 weeks following RCx, and after 3 cycles of TMZ. Endpoints were survival and progression-free-survival. Prognostic factors were obtained from proportional hazards models.
RESULTS: Biological tumor volume before RCx (BTV(preRCx)) was the most important (18)FET-PET-derived imaging biomarker and was independent of MGMT promoter methylation and clinical prognostic factors: patients with smaller BTV(preRCx) had significantly longer progression-free and overall survival (OS). (18)FET time-activity curves (TACs) before treatment and their changes after RCx were also related to outcome; patients with initially increasing TACs experienced longer OS.
CONCLUSION: BTV(preRCx) and TAC represent important (18)FET-PET-derived imaging biomarkers in GBM. Increasing TACs are associated with prolonged OS. The BTV(preRCx) is a strong prognostic factor for progression-free survival and OS independent of the mode of surgery. Our data furthermore suggest that patients harboring resectable GBM might benefit from maximal PET-guided tumor resection.

Franscini LC, Vazquez-Montes M, Buclin T, et al.
Pediatric reference intervals for plasma free and total metanephrines established with a parametric approach: relevance to the diagnosis of neuroblastoma.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015; 62(4):587-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Urine catecholamines, vanillylmandelic, and homovanillic acid are recognized biomarkers for the diagnosis and follow-up of neuroblastoma. Plasma free (f) and total (t) normetanephrine (NMN), metanephrine (MN) and methoxytyramine (MT) could represent a convenient alternative to those urine markers. The primary objective of this study was to establish pediatric centile charts for plasma metanephrines. Secondarily, we explored their diagnostic performance in 10 patients with neuroblastoma.
PROCEDURE: We recruited 191 children (69 females) free of neuroendocrine disease to establish reference intervals for plasma metanephrines, reported as centile curves for a given age and sex based on a parametric method using fractional polynomials models. Urine markers and plasma metanephrines were measured in 10 children with neuroblastoma at diagnosis. Plasma total metanephrines were measured by HPLC with coulometric detection and plasma free metanephrines by tandem LC-MS.
RESULTS: We observed a significant age-dependence for tNMN, fNMN, and fMN, and a gender and age-dependence for tMN, fNMN, and fMN. Free MT was below the lower limit of quantification in 94% of the children. All patients with neuroblastoma at diagnosis were above the 97.5th percentile for tMT, tNMN, fNMN, and fMT, whereas their fMN and tMN were mostly within the normal range. As expected, urine assays were inconstantly predictive of the disease.
CONCLUSIONS: A continuous model incorporating all data for a given analyte represents an appealing alternative to arbitrary partitioning of reference intervals across age categories. Plasma metanephrines are promising biomarkers for neuroblastoma, and their performances need to be confirmed in a prospective study on a large cohort of patients.

Giralt J, Trigo J, Nuyts S, et al.
Panitumumab plus radiotherapy versus chemoradiotherapy in patients with unresected, locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck (CONCERT-2): a randomised, controlled, open-label phase 2 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(2):221-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We aimed to compare panitumumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody against EGFR, plus radiotherapy with chemoradiotherapy in patients with unresected, locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
METHODS: In this international, open-label, randomised, controlled, phase 2 trial, we recruited patients with locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck from 22 sites in eight countries worldwide. Patients aged 18 years and older with stage III, IVa, or IVb, previously untreated, measurable (≥ 10 mm for at least one dimension), locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck (non-nasopharygeal) and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1 were randomly assigned (2:3) by an independent vendor to open-label chemoradiotherapy (two cycles of cisplatin 100 mg/m(2) during radiotherapy) or to radiotherapy plus panitumumab (three cycles of panitumumab 9 mg/kg every 3 weeks administered with radiotherapy) using a stratified randomisation with a block size of five. All patients received 70-72 Gy to gross tumour and 54 Gy to areas of subclinical disease with accelerated fractionation radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was local-regional control at 2 years, analysed in all randomly assigned patients who received at least one dose of their assigned protocol-specific treatment (chemotherapy, radiation, or panitumumab). The trial is closed and this is the final analysis. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00547157.
FINDINGS: Between Nov 30, 2007, and Nov 16, 2009, 152 patients were enrolled, and 151 received treatment (61 in the chemoradiotherapy group and 90 in the radiotherapy plus panitumumab group). Local-regional control at 2 years was 61% (95% CI 47-72) in the chemoradiotherapy group and 51% (40-62) in the radiotherapy plus panitumumab group. The most frequent grade 3-4 adverse events were mucosal inflammation (25 [40%] of 62 patients in the chemoradiotherapy group vs 37 [42%] of 89 patients in the radiotherapy plus panitumumab group), dysphagia (20 [32%] vs 36 [40%]), and radiation skin injury (seven [11%] vs 21 [24%]). Serious adverse events were reported in 25 (40%) of 62 patients in the chemoradiotherapy group and in 30 (34%) of 89 patients in the radiotherapy plus panitumumab group.
INTERPRETATION: Panitumumab cannot replace cisplatin in the combined treatment with radiotherapy for unresected stage III-IVb squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and the role of EGFR inhibition in locally advanced squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck needs to be reassessed.
FUNDING: Amgen.

Arellano J, Hauber AB, Mohamed AF, et al.
Physicians' preferences for bone metastases drug therapy in the United States.
Value Health. 2015; 18(1):78-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Several characteristics of bone-targeted agents are considered when making treatment decisions. This study evaluated physicians' therapy preferences for preventing skeletal-related events (SREs) in patients with bone metastases secondary to solid tumors.
METHODS: A Web-enabled, discrete-choice experiment online survey was conducted among physicians who treated patients with bone metastases and solid tumors in the United States. Respondents chose between pairs of hypothetical medications defined by combinations of six attributes at varying levels for two hypothetical patients. Preference weights for attribute levels were estimated using a random-parameters logit model.
RESULTS: In total, 200 physicians completed the survey. Their mean age was 52 years, 57% were in practice for more than 15 years, 37% were oncologists, and 65% treated 10 or fewer patients with bone metastases weekly. Out-of-pocket cost to patients was the most important attribute overall. Among clinical outcomes, time to first SRE and risk of renal impairment were the most important attributes. Statistically significant preferences were observed for all attribute levels for time to first SRE, risk of renal impairment, and mode of administration. Predicted choice probability analysis showed that physicians preferred a hypothetical medication with attributes similar to those of denosumab over one with attributes similar to those of zoledronic acid.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians indicated that clinical attributes are important when considering bone-targeting therapy for bone metastases, but consistent with the current health care landscape, patient out-of-pocket cost was the most important. With health care costs being increasingly shifted to patients, physicians require accurate information about co-pays and assistance programs to avoid patients receiving less costly, yet potentially inferior, treatment.

Marincek N, Radojewski P, Dumont RA, et al.
Somatostatin receptor-targeted radiopeptide therapy with 90Y-DOTATOC and 177Lu-DOTATOC in progressive meningioma: long-term results of a phase II clinical trial.
J Nucl Med. 2015; 56(2):171-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Meningiomas express members of the somatostatin receptor family. The present study assessed the long-term benefits and harm of somatostatin-based radiopeptide therapy in meningioma patients.
METHODS: Patients with progressive unresectable meningioma were treated with (90)Y-DOTATOC and (177)Lu-DOTATOC until tumor progression or permanent toxicity occurred. Multivariable Cox regression analyses were used to study predictors of survival.
RESULTS: Overall, 74 treatment cycles were performed on 34 patients. Stable disease was achieved in 23 patients. Severe hematotoxicity occurred in 3 patients, and severe renal toxicity in 1 patient. Mean survival was 8.6 y from the time of recruitment. Stable disease after treatment (hazard ratio, 0.017 vs. progressive disease; 95% confidence interval, 0.001-0.35; n = 34; P = 0.01) and high tumor uptake (hazard ratio, 0.046 vs. intermediate or low tumor uptake; 95% confidence interval, 0.004-0.63; n = 34; P = 0.019) were associated with longer survival.
CONCLUSION: (90)Y-DOTATOC and (177)Lu-DOTATOC are promising tools for treating progressive unresectable meningioma, especially in cases of high tracer uptake in the tumor.

Donnez J, Hudecek R, Donnez O, et al.
Efficacy and safety of repeated use of ulipristal acetate in uterine fibroids.
Fertil Steril. 2015; 103(2):519-27.e3 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy and safety of repeated 12-week courses of 5 or 10 mg daily of ulipristal acetate for intermittent treatment of symptomatic uterine fibroids.
DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized administration of two 12-week courses of ulipristal acetate.
SETTING: Gynecology centers.
PATIENT(S): A total of 451 patients with symptomatic uterine fibroid(s) and heavy bleeding.
INTERVENTION(S): Two repeated 12-week treatment courses of daily 5 or 10 mg of ulipristal acetate.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Amenorrhea, controlled bleeding, fibroid volume, quality of life (QoL), pain.
RESULT(S): In the 5- and 10-mg treatment groups (62% and 73% of patients, respectively) achieved amenorrhea during both treatment courses. Proportions of patients achieving controlled bleeding during two treatment courses were >80%. Menstruation resumed after each treatment course and was diminished compared with baseline. After the second treatment course, median reductions from baseline in fibroid volume were 54% and 58% for the patients receiving 5 and 10 mg of ulipristal acetate, respectively. Pain and QoL improved in both groups. Ulipristal acetate was well tolerated with less than 5% of patients discontinuing treatment due to adverse events.
CONCLUSION(S): Repeated 12-week courses of daily oral ulipristal acetate (5 and 10 mg) effectively control bleeding and pain, reduce fibroid volume, and restore QoL in patients with symptomatic fibroids.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT01629563 (PEARL IV).

Behringer K, Goergen H, Hitz F, et al.
Omission of dacarbazine or bleomycin, or both, from the ABVD regimen in treatment of early-stage favourable Hodgkin's lymphoma (GHSG HD13): an open-label, randomised, non-inferiority trial.
Lancet. 2015; 385(9976):1418-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The role of bleomycin and dacarbazine in the ABVD regimen (ie, doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) has been questioned, especially for treatment of early-stage favourable Hodgkin's lymphoma, because of the drugs' toxicity. We aimed to investigate whether omission of either bleomycin or dacarbazine, or both, from ABVD reduced the efficacy of this regimen in treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma.
METHODS: In this open-label, randomised, multicentre trial (HD13) we compared two cycles of ABVD with two cycles of the reduced-intensity regimen variants ABV (doxorubicin, bleomycin, and vinblastine), AVD (doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine), and AV (doxorubicin and vinblastine), in patients with newly diagnosed, histologically proven, classic or nodular, lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma. In each treatment group, 30 Gy involved-field radiotherapy (IFRT) was given after both cycles of chemotherapy were completed. From Jan 28, 2003, patients were centrally randomly assigned (1:1:1:1) with a minimisation method to the four groups. Because of high event rates, assignment to the AV and ABV groups stopped early, on Sept 30, 2005, and Feb 10, 2006; assignment to ABVD and AVD continued (1:1) until Sept 30, 2009. Our primary objective was to show non-inferiority of the experimental variants compared with ABVD in terms of freedom from treatment failure (FFTF), by excluding a difference of 6% after 5 years corresponding to a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.72, via a 95% CI. Analyses reported here include qualified patients only, and between-group comparisons include only patients recruited during the same period. The trial was registered, number ISRCTN63474366.
FINDINGS: Of 1502 qualified patients, 566, 198, 571, and 167 were randomly assigned to receive ABVD, ABV, AVD, or AV, respectively. 5 year FFTF was 93.1%, 81.4%, 89.2%, and 77.1% with ABVD, ABV, AVD, and AV, respectively. Compared with ABVD, inferiority of the dacarbazine-deleted variants was detected with 5 year differences of -11.5% (95% CI -18.3 to -4.7; HR 2.06 [1.21 to 3.52]) for ABV and -15.2% (-23.0 to -7.4; HR 2.57 [1.51 to 4.40]) for AV. Non-inferiority of AVD compared with ABVD could also not be detected (5 year difference -3.9%, -7.7 to -0·1; HR 1.50, 1.00 to 2.26). 178 (33%) of 544 patients given ABVD had WHO grade III or IV toxicity, compared with 53 (28%) of 187 given ABV, 142 (26%) of 539 given AVD, and 40 (26%) of 151 given AV. Leucopenia was the most common event, and highest in the groups given bleomycin.
INTERPRETATION: Dacarbazine cannot be omitted from ABVD without a substantial loss of efficacy. With respect to our predefined non-inferiority margin, bleomycin cannot be safely omitted either, and the standard of care for patients with early-stage favourable Hodgkin's lymphoma should remain ABVD followed by IFRT.
FUNDING: Deutsche Krebshilfe and Swiss State Secretariat for Education and Research.

Frezza AM, Cesari M, Baumhoer D, et al.
Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma: prognostic factors and outcome in 113 patients. A European Musculoskeletal Oncology Society study.
Eur J Cancer. 2015; 51(3):374-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mesenchymal chondrosarcoma (MCS) is a distinct, very rare sarcoma with little evidence supporting treatment recommendations.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Specialist centres collaborated to report prognostic factors and outcome for 113 patients.
RESULTS: Median age was 30 years (range: 11-80), male/female ratio 1.1. Primary sites were extremities (40%), trunk (47%) and head and neck (13%), 41 arising primarily in soft tissue. Seventeen patients had metastases at diagnosis. Mean follow-up was 14.9 years (range: 1-34), median overall survival (OS) 17 years (95% confidence interval (CI): 10.3-28.6). Ninety-five of 96 patients with localised disease underwent surgery, 54 additionally received combination chemotherapy. Sixty-five of 95 patients are alive and 45 progression-free (5 local recurrence, 34 distant metastases, 11 combined). Median progression-free survival (PFS) and OS were 7 (95% CI: 3.03-10.96) and 20 (95% CI: 12.63-27.36) years respectively. Chemotherapy administration in patients with localised disease was associated with reduced risk of recurrence (P=0.046; hazard ratio (HR)=0.482 95% CI: 0.213-0.996) and death (P=0.004; HR=0.445 95% CI: 0.256-0.774). Clear resection margins predicted less frequent local recurrence (2% versus 27%; P=0.002). Primary site and origin did not influence survival. The absence of metastases at diagnosis was associated with a significantly better outcome (P<0.0001). Data on radiotherapy indications, dose and fractionation were insufficiently complete, to allow comment of its impact on outcomes. Median OS for patients with metastases at presentation was 3 years (95% CI: 0-4.25).
CONCLUSIONS: Prognosis in MCS varies considerably. Metastatic disease at diagnosis has the strongest impact on survival. Complete resection and adjuvant chemotherapy should be considered as standard of care for localised disease.

Stearns V, Chapman JA, Ma CX, et al.
Treatment-associated musculoskeletal and vasomotor symptoms and relapse-free survival in the NCIC CTG MA.27 adjuvant breast cancer aromatase inhibitor trial.
J Clin Oncol. 2015; 33(3):265-71 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/01/2016 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Treatment-emergent symptoms with adjuvant tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors (AIs) have been associated with superior recurrence-free survival (RFS). We hypothesized that MA.27 anastrozole- or exemestane-treated patients with new or worsening vasomotor and/or joint symptoms would have improved RFS.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: MA.27 randomly assigned 7,576 postmenopausal women with breast cancer to 5 years of anastrozole or exemestane. Patient-reported symptoms were collected using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0 at protocol-specified baseline and 6- and 12-month clinical visits. Symptoms were considered present with either vasomotor and/or joint complaints. Associations between symptoms and baseline patient characteristics were examined with χ(2) and Fisher's exact tests. Subsequent effects of new or worsening symptoms on RFS were examined with landmark analyses and stratified univariable and multivariable Cox models. We examined the effects of 3-month symptoms arising from unplanned clinic visits as a result of severe toxicity.
RESULTS: Patients were assessable if eligible for the MA.27 trial, received some trial therapy, and had no disease recurrence at the end of a symptom assessment period; 96% of patients (n = 7,306 patients) were included at 6 months, and 96% (n = 7,246) were included at 12 months. Thirty-four percent of patients had baseline symptoms. For patients without baseline symptoms, 25% and 52% had new symptoms by 6 and 12 months, respectively. Neither treatment-emergent nor baseline symptoms significantly impacted RFS (P > .10) in patients with or without baseline symptoms.
CONCLUSION: In MA.27, anastrozole or exemestane treatment-emergent symptoms were not associated with improved RFS. Women should be supported through treatment and encouraged to remain on their AI regardless of their symptoms.

Bürgler S, Gimeno A, Parente-Ribes A, et al.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells express CD38 in response to Th1 cell-derived IFN-γ by a T-bet-dependent mechanism.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(2):827-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a B cell malignancy associated with increased levels of inflammatory cytokines. Similarly, expression of CD38 on CLL cells correlates with CLL cell survival and proliferation, but the mechanisms that regulate CD38 expression and inflammatory cytokines remain unclear. We have recently demonstrated that patients have CLL-specific Th cells that support CLL proliferation. In this article, we show that CLL cells attract such Th cells, thereby establishing an Ag-dependent collaboration. Blocking experiments performed in vitro as wells as in vivo, using a xenograft model, revealed that secretion of IFN-γ was a major mechanism by which CLL-specific Th cells increased CD38 on CLL cells. The expression of the transcription factor T-bet in peripheral blood CLL cells significantly correlated with CD38 expression, and transient transfection of CLL cells with T-bet resulted in T-bet(hi)CD38(hi) cells. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that T-bet can bind to regulatory regions of the CD38 gene. These data suggest that CLL cells attract CLL-specific Th cells and initiate a positive feedback loop with upregulation of T-bet, CD38, and type 1 chemokines allowing further recruitment of Th cells and increased type 1 cytokine secretion. This insight provides a cellular and molecular mechanism that links the inflammatory signature observed in CLL pathogenesis with CD38 expression and aggressive disease and suggests that targeting the IFN-γ/IFN-γR/JAK/STAT/T-bet/CD38 pathway could play a role in the therapy of CLL.

Heijnsdijk EA, de Carvalho TM, Auvinen A, et al.
Cost-effectiveness of prostate cancer screening: a simulation study based on ERSPC data.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(1):366 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The results of the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC) trial showed a statistically significant 29% prostate cancer mortality reduction for the men screened in the intervention arm and a 23% negative impact on the life-years gained because of quality of life. However, alternative prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening strategies for the population may exist, optimizing the effects on mortality reduction, quality of life, overdiagnosis, and costs.
METHODS: Based on data of the ERSPC trial, we predicted the numbers of prostate cancers diagnosed, prostate cancer deaths averted, life-years and quality-adjusted life-years (QALY) gained, and cost-effectiveness of 68 screening strategies starting at age 55 years, with a PSA threshold of 3, using microsimulation modeling. The screening strategies varied by age to stop screening and screening interval (one to 14 years or once in a lifetime screens), and therefore number of tests.
RESULTS: Screening at short intervals of three years or less was more cost-effective than using longer intervals. Screening at ages 55 to 59 years with two-year intervals had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $73000 per QALY gained and was considered optimal. With this strategy, lifetime prostate cancer mortality reduction was predicted as 13%, and 33% of the screen-detected cancers were overdiagnosed. When better quality of life for the post-treatment period could be achieved, an older age of 65 to 72 years for ending screening was obtained.
CONCLUSION: Prostate cancer screening can be cost-effective when it is limited to two or three screens between ages 55 to 59 years. Screening above age 63 years is less cost-effective because of loss of QALYs because of overdiagnosis.

Bartelink H, Maingon P, Poortmans P, et al.
Whole-breast irradiation with or without a boost for patients treated with breast-conserving surgery for early breast cancer: 20-year follow-up of a randomised phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(1):47-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Since the introduction of breast-conserving treatment, various radiation doses after lumpectomy have been used. In a phase 3 randomised controlled trial, we investigated the effect of a radiation boost of 16 Gy on overall survival, local control, and fibrosis for patients with stage I and II breast cancer who underwent breast-conserving treatment compared with patients who received no boost. Here, we present the 20-year follow-up results.
METHODS: Patients with microscopically complete excision for invasive disease followed by whole-breast irradiation of 50 Gy in 5 weeks were centrally randomised (1:1) with a minimisation algorithm to receive 16 Gy boost or no boost, with minimisation for age, menopausal status, presence of extensive ductal carcinoma in situ, clinical tumour size, nodal status, and institution. Neither patients nor investigators were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival in the intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02295033.
FINDINGS: Between May 24, 1989, and June 25, 1996, 2657 patients were randomly assigned to receive no radiation boost and 2661 patients randomly assigned to receive a radiation boost. Median follow-up was 17.2 years (IQR 13.0-19.0). 20-year overall survival was 59.7% (99% CI 56.3-63.0) in the boost group versus 61.1% (57.6-64.3) in the no boost group, hazard ratio (HR) 1.05 (99% CI 0.92-1.19, p=0.323). Ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence was the first treatment failure for 354 patients (13%) in the no boost group versus 237 patients (9%) in the boost group, HR 0.65 (99% CI 0.52-0.81, p<0.0001). The 20-year cumulative incidence of ipsilatelal breast tumour recurrence was 16.4% (99% CI 14.1-18.8) in the no boost group versus 12.0% (9.8-14.4) in the boost group. Mastectomies as first salvage treatment for ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence occurred in 279 (79%) of 354 patients in the no boost group versus 178 (75%) of 237 in the boost group. The cumulative incidence of severe fibrosis at 20 years was 1.8% (99% CI 1.1-2.5) in the no boost group versus 5.2% (99% CI 3.9-6.4) in the boost group (p<0.0001).
INTERPRETATION: A radiation boost after whole-breast irradiation has no effect on long-term overall survival, but can improve local control, with the largest absolute benefit in young patients, although it increases the risk of moderate to severe fibrosis. The extra radiation dose can be avoided in most patients older than age 60 years.
FUNDING: Fonds Cancer, Belgium.

Sternberg CN, Skoneczna I, Kerst JM, et al.
Immediate versus deferred chemotherapy after radical cystectomy in patients with pT3-pT4 or N+ M0 urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (EORTC 30994): an intergroup, open-label, randomised phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2015; 16(1):76-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma of the bladder have poor survival after cystectomy. The EORTC 30994 trial aimed to compare immediate versus deferred cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy after radical cystectomy in patients with pT3-pT4 or N+ M0 urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.
METHODS: This intergroup, open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial recruited patients from hospitals across Europe and Canada. Eligible patients had histologically proven urothelial carcinoma of the bladder, pT3-pT4 disease or node positive (pN1-3) M0 disease after radical cystectomy and bilateral lymphadenectomy, with no evidence of any microscopic residual disease. Within 90 days of cystectomy, patients were centrally randomly assigned (1:1) by minimisation to either immediate adjuvant chemotherapy (four cycles of gemcitabine plus cisplatin, high-dose methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin, and cisplatin [high-dose MVAC], or MVAC) or six cycles of deferred chemotherapy at relapse, with stratification for institution, pT category, and lymph node status according to the number of nodes dissected. Neither patients nor investigators were masked. Overall survival was the primary endpoint; all analyses were by intention to treat. The trial was closed after recruitment of 284 of the planned 660 patients. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00028756.
FINDINGS: From April 29, 2002, to Aug 14, 2008, 284 patients were randomly assigned (141 to immediate treatment and 143 to deferred treatment), and followed up until the data cutoff of Aug 21, 2013. After a median follow-up of 7.0 years (IQR 5.2-8.7), 66 (47%) of 141 patients in the immediate treatment group had died compared with 82 (57%) of 143 in the deferred treatment group. No significant improvement in overall survival was noted with immediate treatment when compared with deferred treatment (adjusted HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.56-1.08; p=0.13). Immediate treatment significantly prolonged progression-free survival compared with deferred treatment (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.4-0.73, p<0.0001), with 5-year progression-free survival of 47.6% (95% CI 38.8-55.9) in the immediate treatment group and 31.8% (24.2-39.6) in the deferred treatment group. Grade 3-4 myelosuppression was reported in 33 (26%) of 128 patients who received treatment in the immediate chemotherapy group versus 24 (35%) of 68 patients who received treatment in the deferred chemotherapy group, neutropenia occurred in 49 (38%) versus 36 (53%) patients, respectively, and thrombocytopenia in 36 (28%) versus 26 (38%). Two patients died due to toxicity, one in each group.
INTERPRETATION: Our data did not show a significant improvement in overall survival with immediate versus deferred chemotherapy after radical cystectomy and bilateral lymphadenectomy for patients with muscle-invasive urothelial carcinoma. However, the trial is limited in power, and it is possible that some subgroups of patients might still benefit from immediate chemotherapy. An updated individual patient data meta-analysis and biomarker research are needed to further elucidate the potential for survival benefit in subgroups of patients.
FUNDING: Lilly, Canadian Cancer Society Research.

Bergmann L, Maute L, Heil G, et al.
A prospective randomised phase-II trial with gemcitabine versus gemcitabine plus sunitinib in advanced pancreatic cancer: a study of the CESAR Central European Society for Anticancer Drug Research-EWIV.
Eur J Cancer. 2015; 51(1):27-36 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most common malignant tumours and is still associated with a poor prognosis in advanced disease. To improve the standard therapy with gemcitabine, we initiated a prospective randomised phase-II trial with gemcitabine (GEM) versus gemcitabine plus sunitinib (SUNGEM) based on data of in vitro trials and phase-I data for the combination treatment. The rational of adding sunitinib was its putative antiangiogenic mechanism of action.
METHODS: A total of 106 eligible patients with locally advanced, unresectable or metastatic PDAC without previous system therapy were randomised to receive GEM at a dosage of 1.000mg/m(2) d1, 8, 15 q28 versus a combination of SUNGEM at a dosage of GEM 1.000mg/m(2) d1+8 and sunitinib 50mg p.o. d1-14, q21d. The primary end-point was progression free survival (PFS), secondary end-points were overall survival (OS), toxicity and overall response rate (ORR).
RESULTS: The confirmatory analysis of PFS was based on the intend-to-treat (ITT) population (N=106). The median PFS was 13.3 weeks (95% confidence interval (95%-CI): 10.4-18.1 weeks) for GEM and 11.6 weeks for SUNGEM (95%-CI: 7.0-18.0 weeks; p=0.78 one-sided log-rank). The ORR was 6.1% (95%-CI: 0.7-20.2%) for GEM and for 7.1% (95%-CI: 0.9-23.5%) for SUNGEM (p=0.87). The median time to progression (TTP) was 14.0 weeks (95%-CI: 12.4-22.3 weeks) for GEM and 18.0 weeks (95%-CI: 11.3-19.3 weeks) for SUNGEM (p=0.60; two-sided log-rank). The median OS was 36.7 weeks (95%-CI: 20.6-49.0 weeks) for the GEM arm and 30.4 weeks (95%-CI: 18.1-37.6 weeks) for the SUNGEM (p=0.78, one-sided log-rank). In regard to toxicities, suspected SAEs were reported in 53.7% in the GEM arm and 71.2% in the SUNGEM arm. Grade 3 and 4 neutropenia was statistically significantly higher in the SUNGEM arm with 48.1% versus 27.8% in the GEM arm (p=0.045, two sided log-rank).
CONCLUSIONS: The combination SUNGEM was not sufficient superior in locally advanced or metastatic PDAC compared to GEM alone in regard to efficacy but was associated with more toxicity.

Milowsky MI, Dittrich C, Durán I, et al.
Phase 2 trial of dovitinib in patients with progressive FGFR3-mutated or FGFR3 wild-type advanced urothelial carcinoma.
Eur J Cancer. 2014; 50(18):3145-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Second-line treatment options for patients with advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC) are limited. Fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is dysregulated in UC by activating mutations or protein overexpression in non-mutant tumours. In this study, the efficacy, pharmacodynamics and safety of dovitinib-a broad-targeted inhibitor of tyrosine kinases, including FGFR3-were evaluated in patients with previously treated advanced UC with and without FGFR3 mutations.
METHODS: Forty-four adults with advanced UC who had progressed after one to three platinum-based and/or combination chemotherapy regimens were classified as having mutant (FGFR3(MUT); n=12), wild-type (FGFR3(WT); n=31), or unknown (n=1) FGFR3 status. Patients received 500 mg dovitinib once daily on a 5-days-on/2-days-off schedule. The primary end-point of this two-stage study was the investigator-assessed overall response rate (ORR).
RESULTS: Most of the patients were men (75%) and over half of the patients were aged ⩾65 years (61%). All patients had received ⩾1 prior antineoplastic therapy for UC. The study was terminated at the end of stage 1, when it was determined by investigator review that the ORR of both the FGFR3(MUT) (0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.0-26.5) and FGFR3(WT) (3.2%; 95% CI, 0.1-16.7) groups did not meet the criteria to continue to stage 2. The most common grade 3/4 adverse events, suspected to be study-drug related, included thrombocytopenia (9%), fatigue (9%), and asthenia (9%).
CONCLUSION: Although generally well tolerated, dovitinib has very limited single-agent activity in patients with previously treated advanced UC, regardless of FGFR3 mutation status. clinicaltrials.gov NCT00790426.

Donker M, van Tienhoven G, Straver ME, et al.
Radiotherapy or surgery of the axilla after a positive sentinel node in breast cancer (EORTC 10981-22023 AMAROS): a randomised, multicentre, open-label, phase 3 non-inferiority trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2014; 15(12):1303-10 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/01/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: If treatment of the axilla is indicated in patients with breast cancer who have a positive sentinel node, axillary lymph node dissection is the present standard. Although axillary lymph node dissection provides excellent regional control, it is associated with harmful side-effects. We aimed to assess whether axillary radiotherapy provides comparable regional control with fewer side-effects.
METHODS: Patients with T1-2 primary breast cancer and no palpable lymphadenopathy were enrolled in the randomised, multicentre, open-label, phase 3 non-inferiority EORTC 10981-22023 AMAROS trial. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) by a computer-generated allocation schedule to receive either axillary lymph node dissection or axillary radiotherapy in case of a positive sentinel node, stratified by institution. The primary endpoint was non-inferiority of 5-year axillary recurrence, considered to be not more than 4% for the axillary radiotherapy group compared with an expected 2% in the axillary lymph node dissection group. Analyses were by intention to treat and per protocol. The AMAROS trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00014612.
FINDINGS: Between Feb 19, 2001, and April 29, 2010, 4823 patients were enrolled at 34 centres from nine European countries, of whom 4806 were eligible for randomisation. 2402 patients were randomly assigned to receive axillary lymph node dissection and 2404 to receive axillary radiotherapy. Of the 1425 patients with a positive sentinel node, 744 had been randomly assigned to axillary lymph node dissection and 681 to axillary radiotherapy; these patients constituted the intention-to-treat population. Median follow-up was 6·1 years (IQR 4·1-8·0) for the patients with positive sentinel lymph nodes. In the axillary lymph node dissection group, 220 (33%) of 672 patients who underwent axillary lymph node dissection had additional positive nodes. Axillary recurrence occurred in four of 744 patients in the axillary lymph node dissection group and seven of 681 in the axillary radiotherapy group. 5-year axillary recurrence was 0·43% (95% CI 0·00-0·92) after axillary lymph node dissection versus 1·19% (0·31-2·08) after axillary radiotherapy. The planned non-inferiority test was underpowered because of the low number of events. The one-sided 95% CI for the underpowered non-inferiority test on the hazard ratio was 0·00-5·27, with a non-inferiority margin of 2. Lymphoedema in the ipsilateral arm was noted significantly more often after axillary lymph node dissection than after axillary radiotherapy at 1 year, 3 years, and 5 years.
INTERPRETATION: Axillary lymph node dissection and axillary radiotherapy after a positive sentinel node provide excellent and comparable axillary control for patients with T1-2 primary breast cancer and no palpable lymphadenopathy. Axillary radiotherapy results in significantly less morbidity.
FUNDING: EORTC Charitable Trust.

Rakha EA, Tan PH, Varga Z, et al.
Prognostic factors in metaplastic carcinoma of the breast: a multi-institutional study.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(2):283-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 20/01/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Metaplastic breast carcinoma (MBC) is a rare type of breast cancer that has basal-like characteristics and is perceived to have poorer prognosis when compared with conventional no specific type/ductal carcinomas (ductal/NST). However, current data on MBC are largely derived from small case series or population-based reports. This study aimed to assess the clinicopathological features and outcome of MBC identified through an international multicentre collaboration.
METHODS: A large international multicentre series of MBC (no=405) with histological confirmation and follow-up information has been included in this study. The prognostic value of different variables and outcome has been assessed and compared with grade, nodal status and ER/HER2 receptor-matched ductal/NST breast carcinoma.
RESULTS: The outcome of MBC diagnosed in Asian countries was more favourable than those in Western countries. The outcome of MBC is not different from matched ductal/NST carcinoma but the performance of the established prognostic variables in MBC is different. Lymph node stage, lymphovascular invasion and histologic subtype are associated with outcome but tumour size and grade are not. Chemotherapy was associated with longer survival, although this effect was limited to early-stage disease. In this study no association between radiotherapy and outcome was identified. Multivariate analysis of MBC shows that histologic subtype is an independent prognostic feature.
CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that MBC is a heterogeneous disease. Although the outcome of MBC is not different to matched conventional ductal/NST breast carcinoma, its behaviour is dependent on the particular subtype with spindle cell carcinoma in particular has an aggressive biological behaviour. Management of patients with MBC should be based on validated prognostic variables.

Bigoni J, Gundar M, Tebeu PM, et al.
Cervical cancer screening in sub-Saharan Africa: a randomized trial of VIA versus cytology for triage of HPV-positive women.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 137(1):127-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Developing countries are interested in using human papillomavirus (HPV) testing as a primary screening test for cervical cancer prevention programs. The low specificity of the HPV assay requires triage testing of HPV-positive women. The aim of the study is to compare visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) and cytology as triage testing methods in HPV-positive women to detect cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or Grade 2 or higher (CIN2+). The study was conducted in two Cameroonian towns (Yaoundé and Edea) and included 846 eligible women aged 25 to 65 years. All participants performed self-HPV testing. HPV-positive women (n = 259) were randomly assigned to be tested either by VIA (VIA group) or cytology (cytology group). HPV-positive women had both cervical biopsy and endocervical curettage to detect biopsy-confirmed CIN2+. All statistical tests were two-sided. The prevalence of HPV was 38.5%, and the mean age of HPV-positive women was 41.5 ± 10.1 years. One hundred ninety-eight women (97 in the VIA group and 99 in the cytology) were randomly assigned to one of the two testing arms. The sensitivity of VIA was 25.0% (95% CI, 7.1-59.1%), and the sensitivity of cytology was 90.0% (59.6-98.2%). The specificity was 74.2% (95% CI, 64.2-82.1%) for VIA and 85.2% (76.3-91.2%) for cytology. ROC area for cytology was 0.910 against the 0.496 area for VIA. In this trial, VIA was inferior to cytology as a triage test among HPV-positive women. Further investigations are needed to determine the optimal triage method for HPV-positive women.

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