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Padova, Italy

Rossi E.,University of Padua | Facchinetti A.,University of Padua | Zamarchi R.,IOV IRCCS
Chinese Journal of Cancer Research

The proved association between the circulating tumor cell (CTC) levels and the patients’ survival parameters has been growing interest to investigate the molecular profile of these neoplastic cells among which hide out precursors capable of initiating a new distant metastatic lesion. The full characterization of the tumor cells in peripheral blood of cancer patients is expected to be of help for understanding and (prospectively) for counteracting the metastatic process. The major hitch that is hampering the successful gaining of this result is the lack of a consensus onto standard operating procedures (SOPs) for performing what we generally define as the “liquid biopsy”. Here we review the more recent acquisitions in the analysis of CTCs and tumor related nucleic acids, looking to the main open questions that are hampering their definitive employ in the routine clinical practice. © Chinese Journal of Cancer Research. All rights reserved. Source

Corti L.,IOV IRCCS | Norberto L.,Endoscopical Unity | Battaglia G.,Endoscopical Unity
Forum on Immunopathological Diseases and Therapeutics

We present our experience on lung and esophageal cancers treated by PDT. Since 1982, we have been using PDT in carcinomas of the head and neck, recurrences of gynecological tumors, skin cancers, and recurrences of brain tumors. We have treated the initial lesions of lung and esophageal cancers. From June 1989 to November 2004, 40 patients with 50 NSCLC were treated with PDT. Twelve cases were inoperable for medical reasons and were staged as T1N0M0, and 28 had recurrent in situ carcinoma. Patients with residual disease after PDT received definitive radiotherapy and/or brachytherapy. With PDT there was 72% complete response (CR) rate (36/50 treated lesions); that is, 27 CR among the 37 Tis carcinomas and 9 among the 13 T1 cases. Kaplan-Meier curves showed a mean overall survival (OS) of 75.59 months (median 91.4 months). Two- and 5-year OS rates were 72.78% and 59.55%, respectively. The mean and median survival rates for patients with Tis stage were 86.5 and 120.4 months, respectively (standard error 9.50), and for patients with T1 disease they were 45.78 and 35.71 months, respectively; the differences were statistically significant (P < 0.03). No severe early or late PDT-related adverse events were recorded. We report the effects of PDT on inoperable early-stage esophageal cancer. Sixty-two patients were treated with an argon dye laser (630-nm wavelength, 300-800 mW of power, energy dose of 200-300 J/cm 2) after intravenous injection of 5 mg/kg of hematoporphyrin derivative. Eighteen patients (29.5%) had in situ carcinoma (Tis), 30 (48.5%) had T1-stage cancer, 7 (11%) had T2-stage cancer, and 7 (11%) had recurrent disease in the anastomotic area after previous surgery without evidence of invasion outside the lumen. The complete response (CR) rate was 37% (23 of 62) in patients who received PDT alone and 82% (51of 62) in those who also received radiotherapy. The CR rate after PDT alone was statistically higher (p < 0.04) for patients who had Tis/T1 lesions (21 of 48; 44%) than for those with T2-stage disease (2 of 7; 28%) or recurrent tumors (0 of 7; 0%). Fifty-two percent of patients who had CR following PDT alone did not suffer local tumor recurrence. The median local progression-free survival times after PDT and additional radiotherapy (in cases with incomplete response) were 49 months for Tis- and T1-stage lesions, 30 months for those with T2-stage disease, and 14 months for patients with locally recurrent disease. Patients who completely responded to PDT had a median overall survival (OS) of 50 months, which was significantly longer (p < 0.003) than that of patients not responding to PDT. Toxicity was minimal; we recorded three cases of esophageal stenosis (7%) and one case of tracheoesophageal fistula (2.5%) after combined PDT and radiotherapy. In conclusion, PDT is an effective regimen for early esophageal cancer and NSCLC, giving a good CR rate and long-term results with local control and favorable overall survival. Additional radiotherapy in cases of incomplete response to PDT is effective and potentially curative. © 2011 by Begell House, Inc. Source

BACKGROUND: mammography screening in premenopausal women is still the object of controversy and the cost and harms-benefit balance is lower than the one observed for women aged 50 years or more. The reasons are the lower screening sensitivity and the lower risk of occurrence of breast cancer at younger ages. For these reasons, an annual interval is suggested for this age group, and a lower positive predictive value of the recall rate is observed in screening practice. Harms of screening are false positive rates and overdiagnosis (that is an exceeding number of cases over the women's lifetime ascribable to early diagnosis). A tailored approach to screening could both contribute to a reduction of possible harms and reduce the costs of the service screening programmes, which started to offer screening mammography to 45-49-year-old women also in Italy, according with the suggestions of the Italian Group for Mammography Screening. Higher breast density is considered a marker of risk and, at the same time, it brings about a masking effect that decreases the screening mammography sensitivity at younger ages. AIM: the Tailored Breast Screening Trial (TBST) is a population-based, non-inferiority randomised trial aimed at evaluating the impact of a change in the screening protocol in a service screening practice. «Tailored» means that the use of a breast density classification allocates women to a longer interval, decreasing the number of screening rounds in the 45-50-year age range. Density of the breast at the baseline is considered as an indicator of risk and also as a masking factor. The aim of this study is to assess the impart of a longer interval and the reduction of side effects for women allocated to the intervention group. In this study, any further intervention is offered to high-density women who are followed-up according to the usual care interval, since the study aimed at decreasing the screening burden. METHODS: 45-year-old women resident in the screening centre catchment area will be invited to attend for mammography screening and will be asked for informed consent in order to be included in the study. After the enrolment, they will receive a high quality digital mammography; two views and breast density will be classified according with the BI-RADS classification. Women are randomly allocated either to an usual care group or to the intervention group. In the intervention group, women with a dense breast (3-4 categories in BI-RADS) will be invited again after 1 year, while the lower-density group in the intervention arm will be invited after 2 years. After the age of 50, all women will continue to be screened in the usual service screening programme. Density of the breast will be read by 2 readers, and controversies will be solved by a consensus. Allocation of women is blinded to the mammography readers. EXPECTED RESULTS: the outcomes are: A. cumulative incidence of interval-cancer cases by intention to treat (ITT) grouping and by density group, aimed at assessing the non inferiority of screening performance; B. cumulative incidence of T2+/node-positive status breast cancer cases between arms and by protocol. Screening performance parameters will be evaluated at each screening round. Interim and outcome analysis are expected at 3 and 6 years average follow-up, respectively, starting from the beginning of the screening. SAMPLE SIZE: the non-inferiority limit is derived from the accepted level of interval cancers in women 50-69 years, which was considered acceptable by the European Community Guidelines. Assuming a 70% BI-RADS 1-2 at the baseline on the basis of the digital mammography experience, the estimated sample size with a power of 90% is 16,596 women per arm. RESULTS OF THE FEASIBILITY STUDY: the background of the study, that uses data from cancer registries and screening centres, describes the most relevant characteristics of breast cancer occurring in the Italian regions where the study will be conducted. The description of stage distribution in the 40-54-year-old group and the coverage by spontaneous screening, as available by outpatient current data, showed the modification of stage at presentation, according with the implementation of service screening in women 50-54 years. In Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont Regions, service screening is already active for women aged 45 years and more, even though different invitation protocols were used. In Tuscany Region the extension of screening has already been planned for the next few years. Performance data are reported: they show the recall and the detection rates at first and at repeated screening rounds in Emilia-Romagna Region. In order to assess the feasibility and the interobserver reproducibility of breast density visual classification by BI-RADS, two testing sets of 80 digital mammograms for screened women aged 50-52 years were made available by the ISPO (Institute for oncological study and prevention) service screening tests The test was performed by 11 radiologists, which are members of the working group. Concordance was moderate with a BI-RADS classification in 4 categories (kappa =0.46; 95%CI 0.41-0.53), and substantial using 1-2 vs. 3-4 (kappa =0.68; 95%CI 0.59-0.79). The retest performed using the second mammography test did not change the results. CONCLUSION: the TBST was authorised by the Ethical Committee in Florence (Tuscany Region, Central Italy) and the recruitment is still in progress through the invitation of the target population in the participating screening centres. In Florence and Veneto Region, the first round is almost completed and it confirmed the feasibility of the study and of the randomisation process. Source

Biasiolo A.,University of Padua | Tono N.,IOV IRCCS | Zaninotto M.,University of Padua | Merkel C.,University of Padua | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Medical Virology

IgM antibodies bound to different cancer antigens have shown recently a higher diagnostic value, compared with the corresponding free molecule, giving rise to a new family of biomarkers. High or increasing levels of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Antigen (SCCA)-IgM immune complexes were associated with more advanced liver disease and increased risk of development of HCC. Rheumatoid factor (RF) represents a long-standing problem of interference for immunometric assays. The aim of the present study was to examine the specificity of SCCA-IgM in relation to the presence of RF reactivity in patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Sera of 73 patients with cirrhosis, infected with HCV, (mean age±SD: 66±13 years; M/F: 45/28), including 21 patients with HCC, were studied. SCCA-IgM immune complexes levels were measured by a commercial ELISA. To evaluate the possible interfering effect of RF, the standard calibrator, positive for SCCA-IgM, was spiked with serial dilutions of a RF positive or negative serum. SCCA-IgM immune complexes were positive in 35 out of 73 (48%) patients, while RF activity was found in 10 out of 73 (14%) patients. Patients with cirrhosis with RF activity had significantly higher levels of SCCA-IgM, compared to RF negative cases; however, no significant correlation between SCCA-IgM and RF values was observed. In samples created artificially the same results in terms of reactivity for SCCA-IgM were obtained, regardless of the presence of RF activity. These findings support the lack of correlation between the two parameters found in sera of patients infected with HCV. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.. Source

Bidard F.-C.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Bidard F.-C.,Sloan Kettering Cancer Center | Peeters D.J.,Translational Cancer Research Unit | Peeters D.J.,University of Antwerp | And 45 more authors.
The Lancet Oncology

Background: We aimed to assess the clinical validity of circulating tumour cell (CTC) quantification for prognostication of patients with metastatic breast cancer by undertaking a pooled analysis of individual patient data. Methods: We contacted 51 European centres and asked them to provide reported and unreported anonymised data for individual patients with metastatic breast cancer who participated in studies between January, 2003, and July, 2012. Eligible studies had participants starting a new line of therapy, data for progression-free survival or overall survival, or both, and CTC quantification by the CellSearch method at baseline (before start of new treatment). We used Cox regression models, stratified by study, to establish the association between CTC count and progression-free survival and overall survival. We used the landmark method to assess the prognostic value of CTC and serum marker changes during treatment. We assessed the added value of CTCs or serum markers to prognostic clinicopathological models in a resampling procedure using likelihood ratio (LR) χ2 statistics. Findings: 17 centres provided data for 1944 eligible patients from 20 studies. 911 patients (46·9%) had a CTC count of 5 per 7·5 mL or higher at baseline, which was associated with decreased progression-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] 1·92, 95% CI 1·73-2·14, p<0·0001) and overall survival (HR 2·78, 95% CI 2·42-3·19, p<0·0001) compared with patients with a CTC count of less than 5 per 7·5 mL at baseline. Increased CTC counts 3-5 weeks after start of treatment, adjusted for CTC count at baseline, were associated with shortened progression-free survival (HR 1·85, 95% CI 1·48-2·32, p<0·0001) and overall survival (HR 2·26, 95% CI 1·68-3·03) as were increased CTC counts after 6-8 weeks (progression-free survival HR 2·20, 95% CI 1·66-2·90, p<0·0001; overall survival HR 2·91, 95% CI 2·01-4·23, p<0·0001). Survival prediction was significantly improved by addition of baseline CTC count to the clinicopathological models (progression-free survival LR 38·4, 95% CI 21·9-60·3, p<0·0001; overall survival LR 64·9, 95% CI 41·3-93·4, p<0·0001). This model was further improved by addition of CTC change at 3-5 weeks (progression-free survival LR 8·2, 95% CI 0·78-20·4, p=0·004; overall survival LR 11·5, 95% CI 2·6-25·1, p=0·0007) and at 6-8 weeks (progression-free survival LR 15·3, 95% CI 5·2-28·3; overall survival LR 14·6, 95% CI 4·0-30·6; both p<0·0001). Carcinoembryonic antigen and cancer antigen 15-3 concentrations at baseline and during therapy did not add significant information to the best baseline model. Interpretation: These data confirm the independent prognostic effect of CTC count on progression-free survival and overall survival. CTC count also improves the prognostication of metastatic breast cancer when added to full clinicopathological predictive models, whereas serum tumour markers do not. Funding: Janssen Diagnostics, the Nuovo-Soldati foundation for cancer research. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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