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Intercalated chemotherapy and erlotinib for advanced NSCLC
Matjaž Zwitter, Karmen Stanič, Mirjana Rajer, Izidor Kern, Martina Vrankar, Natalija Edelbaher, Viljem Kovač, 2014, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Pharmaco-dynamic separation of cytotoxic and targeted drugs might avoid their mutual antagonistic effect in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients and methods: Eligible patients were treatment-naive with stage IIIB or IV NSCLC. In addition, inclusion was limited to never-smokers or light smokers or, after 2010, to patients with activating epidermal growth-factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. Treatment started with 3-weekly cycles of gemcitabine and cisplatin on days 1, 2 and 4 and erlotinib on days 5 to 15. After 4 to 6 cycles, patients continued with erlotinib maintenance. Results: Fifty-three patients were recruited into the trial: 24 prior to 2010 (of whom 9 were later found to be positive for EGFR mutations), and 29 EGFR mutation-positive patients recruited later. Unfavourable prognostic factors included stage IV disease (51 patients - 96%), performance status 2%3 (11 patients - 21%) and brain metastases (15 patients - 28%). Grade 4 toxicity included 2 cases of neutropenia and 4 thrombo-embolic events. The 15 EGFR negative patients had 33% objective response rate, median progression-free survival (PFS) 6.0 months and median survival 7.6 months. Among 38 EGFR positive patients, complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) were seen in 16 (42.1%) and 17 (44.7%) cases, respectively. PET-CT scanning was performed in 30 patients and confirmed CR and PR in 16 (53.3%) and 9 (30.0%) cases, respectively. Median PFS for EGFR mutated patients was 21.2 months and median survival was 32.5 months. Conclusions: While patients with EGFR negative tumors do not benefit from addition of erlotinib, the intercalated schedule appears most promising for those with EGFR activating mutations.
Keywords: non-small cell lung cancer, EGFR activating mutations, gemicitabine, erlotinib
Published: 21.12.2015; Views: 783; Downloads: 45
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Potential interactions between cannabinoids and estrogens in common diseases
Marko Hojnik, Luka Dobovišek, Polonca Ferk, 2014, review article

Abstract: Pred kratkim so odkrili prve molekularne povezave med kanabinoidnim sistemom in estrogeni. Preučevanje medsebojnega učinkovanja je zanimivo predvsem zato, ker bi lahko privedlo do novih farmakoterapevtskih pristopov, zlasti pri boleznih, kjer sta oba molekularna sistema vpletena v patofiziologijo bolezni. Članek predstavlja pregled vloge kanabinoidnega sistema in estrogenov pri osteoporozi, aterosklerozi in raku ter potencialne koristi medsebojne povezave obeh sistemov pri farmakoterapiji teh bolezni. Po obsežnem pregledu literature utemeljeno sklepamo na verjetno součinkovanje med kanabinoidnim sistemom in estrogeni, vendar ustreznih neposrednih študij na molekularnem nivoju v literaturi nismo zasledili. Z rezultati nedavne lastne raziskave na primarnih kulturah človeških osteoblastov smo prvi pokazali na morebitno molekularno součinkovanje med navedenima sistemoma. Potrebne so nadaljnje raziskave, ki bodo natančno preučile molekularno součinkovanje ter koristnosti in varnost posameznih kombinacij estrogenov in kanabinoidov v patogenezi oz. farmakoterapiji osteoporoze, ateroskleroze, rakavih in drugih pogostih obolenj.
Keywords: estrogens, cannabinoids, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, cancer
Published: 30.12.2015; Views: 533; Downloads: 36
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Hypodontia phenotype in patients with epithelial ovarian cancer
Anita Fekonja, Andrej Čretnik, Danijel Žerdoner, Iztok Takač, 2015, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Ovarian cancer is usually diagnosed in an advanced stage and the present clinical and diagnostic molecular markers for early OC screening are insufficient. The aim of this study was to identify potential relationship between the hypodontia and epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Patients and methods: A retrospective study was conducted on 120 patients with EOC treated at the Department of Gynaecologic and Breast Oncology at the University Clinical Centre and 120 gynaecological healthy women (control group) of the same mean age. Women in both groups were reviewed for the presence of hypodontia and the patients with EOC also for clinicopathological characteristics of EOC according to hypodontia phenotype. Results: Hypodontia was diagnosed in 23 (19.2%) of patients with EOC and 8 (6.7%) controls (p = 0.004; odds ratio [OR] = 3.32; confidence interval [CI], 1.42-7.76). There was no statistically significant difference in patients with EOC with or without hypodontia regarding histological subtype (p = 0.220); they differed in regard to FIGO stage (p = 0.014; OR =3.26; CI, 1.23%8.64) and tumour differentiation grade (p = 0.042; OR = 3.1; CI, 1.01-9.53). Also, bilateral occurrence of EOC was more common than unilateral occurrence in women with hypodontia (p = 0.021; OR = 2.9; CI, 1.15-7.36). We also found statistically significant difference between the ovarian cancer group and control group in presence of other malignant tumours in subjects (p < 0.001). Conclusions: The results of the study suggest a statistical association between EOC and hypodontia phenotype. Hypodontia might serve as a risk factor for EOC detection.
Keywords: hypodontia, epithelial ovarian cancer, risk factor, early stage diagnosis
Published: 30.12.2015; Views: 537; Downloads: 181
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Skin cancer and its treatment
Kristjan Orthaber, Matevž Pristovnik, Kristijan Skok, Barbara Perić, Uroš Maver, 2017, review article

Abstract: The life expectancy in the Western world is increasing for a long time, which is the courtesy of a higher life standard, a more thorough hygiene, and, of course, the progress of modern medicine. Nevertheless, one of the illnesses that still proves to be a great challenge regardless of the recent advancements in medicine is cancer. Skin cancer is, according to theWorld Health Organization, the most common malignancy for the white population.The beginning of the paper offers a brief overview of the latest available information concerning epidemiology, aetiology, diagnostics, and treatment options for skin cancer, whereas the rest of the article deals with modern approaches to skin cancer treatment, highlighting recent development of nanotechnology based treatment approaches. Among these, we focus especially on the newest nanotechnological approaches combined with chemotherapy, a field which specialises in target specificity, drug release control, and real time monitoring with the goal being to diminish unwanted side effects and their severity, achieving a cheaper treatment and a generally more efficient chemotherapy. The field of nanotechnology is a rapidly developing one, judging by already approved clinical studies or by new theranostic agents that combine both the therapeutic and diagnostic modalities.
Keywords: skin cancer, treatment, nanotechnology, nanotechnological methods
Published: 14.06.2017; Views: 333; Downloads: 48
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Single nucleotide polymorphisms as prognostic and predictive factors of adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer of stages I and II
Matej Horvat, Uroš Potočnik, Katja Repnik, Rajko Kavalar, Borut Štabuc, 2016, review article

Abstract: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a highly heterogeneous disease regarding the stage at time of diagnosis and there is special attention regarding adjuvant chemotherapy in unselected patients with stage I and stage II. The clinicohistologically based TNM staging system with emphasis on histological evaluation of primary tumor and resected regional lymph nodes remains the standard of staging, but it has restricted sensitivity resulting in false downward stage migration. Molecular characteristics might predispose tumors to a worse prognosis and identification of those enables identifying patients with high risk of disease recurrence. Suitable predictive markers also enable choosing the most appropriate therapy. The current challenge facing adjuvant chemotherapy in stages I and II CRC is choosing patients with the highest risk of disease recurrence who are going to derive most benefit without facing unnecessary adverse effects. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are one of the potential molecular markers that might help us identify patients with unfavorable prognostic factors regarding disease initiation and recurrence and could determine selection of an appropriate chemotherapy regimen in the adjuvant and metastatic setting. In this paper, we discuss SNPs of genes involved in the multistep processes of cancerogenesis, metastasis, and the metabolism of chemotherapy that might prove clinically significant.
Keywords: single nucleotide polymorphism, colorectal cancer, adjuvant chemotherapy
Published: 14.06.2017; Views: 357; Downloads: 220
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Intermittent chemotherapy and erlotinib for nonsmokers or light smokers with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung
Matjaž Zwitter, Mirjana Rajer, Viljem Kovač, Izidor Kern, Martina Vrankar, Uroš Smrdel, 2011, original scientific article

Abstract: Background. Intermittent application of chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors may avoid antagonism between the two classes of drugs. This hypothesis was tested in a Phase II clinical trial. Patients and Methods. Eligible patients were nonsmokers or light smokers, chemo-naïve, with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung. Treatment: 4 to 6 cycles of gemcitabine 1250 mg/m2 on days 1 and 4, cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on day 2, and erlotnib 150 mg daily on days 5–15, followed by erlotinib as maintenance. Results. 24 patients entered the trial. Four pts had grade 3 toxicity. Complete remission (CR) and partial remission (PR) were seen in 5 pts and 9 pts, respectively (response rate 58%). Median time to progression (TTP) was 13.4 months and median overall survival (OS) was 23 months. When compared to patients with negative or unknown status of EGFR mutations, 8 patients with EGFR gene activating mutations had significantly superior experience: 4 CR and 4 PR, with median TTP 21.5 months and OS 24.2 months (P < .05). Conclusions. Intermittent schedule with gemcitabine, cisplatin and erlotinib has mild toxicity. For patients who are positive for EGFR gene activating mutations, this treatment offers excellent response rate, time to progression and survival.
Keywords: smokers, nonsmokers, cancer treatment, lung cancer, chemotherapy, erlotinib
Published: 14.06.2017; Views: 433; Downloads: 57
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Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) in breast cancer
Maja Lampelj, Darja Arko, Nina Čas-Sikošek, Rajko Kavalar, Maja Ravnik, Barbara Jezeršek Novaković, Sarah Dobnik, Nina Fokter Dovnik, Iztok Takač, 2015, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and plasminogen activator inhibitor type-1 (PAI-1) play a key role in tumour invasion and metastasis. High levels of both proteolytic enzymes are associated with poor prognosis in breast cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the correlation between traditional prognostic factors and uPA and PAI-1 expression in primary tumour of breast cancer patients. Patients and methods: 606 primary breast cancer patients were enrolled in the prospective study in the Department of gynaecological oncology and breast oncology at the University Medical Centre Maribor between the years 2004 and 2010. We evaluated the traditional prognostic factors (age, menopausal status, tumour size, pathohistological type, histologic grade, lymph node status, lymphovascular invasion and hormone receptor status), together with uPA and PAI-1. We used Spearman%s rank correlation, Mann Whitney U test and X2 test for statistical analysis. Results: Our findings indicate a positive correlation between uPA and tumour size (p < 0.001), grade (p < 0.001), histological type (p < 0.001), lymphovascular invasion (p = 0.01) and a negative correlation between uPA and hormone receptor status (p < 0.001). They also indicate a positive correlation between PAI-1 and tumour size (p = 0.004), grade (p < 0.001), pathohistological type (p < 0.001) and negative correlation between PAI-1 and hormone receptor status (p = 0.002). Conclusions: Our study showed a relationship between uPA and PAI-1 and traditional prognostic factors. Their role as prognostic and predictive factors remains to be further evaluated.
Keywords: urokinase plasminogen activator, plasminogen activator inhibitor, breast cancer
Published: 05.04.2017; Views: 383; Downloads: 37
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Induction gemcitabine in standard dose or prolonged low-dose with cisplatin followed by concurrent radiochemotherapy in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer
Martina Vrankar, Matjaž Zwitter, Tanja Bavčar-Vodovnik, Ana Milič, Viljem Kovač, 2014, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: The optimal combination of chemotherapy with radiation therapy for treatment locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains an open issue. This randomized phase II study compared gemcitabine in two different schedules and cisplatin - as induction chemotherapy, followed by radiation therapy concurrent with cisplatin and etoposid. Patients and methods: Eligible patients had microscopically confirmed inoperable non-metastatic non-small cell lung cancer; fulfilled the standard criteria for platin-based chemotherapy; and signed informed consent. Patients were treated with 3 cycles of induction chemotherapy with gemcitabine and cisplatin. Two different aplications of gemcitabine were compared: patients in arm A received gemcitabine at 1250 mg/m2 in a standard half hour i.v. infusion on days 1 and 8; patients in arm B received gemcitabine at 250 mg/m2 in prolonged 6-hours i.v. infusion on days 1 and 8. In both arms, cisplatin 75 mg/m2 on day 2 was administered. All patients continued treatment with radiation therapy with 60-66 Gy concurrent with cisplatin 50 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, 29 and 36 and etoposid 50 mg/m2 on days 1-5 and 29-33. The primary endpoint was response rate (RR) after induction chemotherapy; secondary endpoints were toxicity, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Results: From September 2005 to November 2010, 106 patients were recruited to this study. No statistically signifficant differences were found in RR after induction chemotherapy between the two arms (48.1% and 57.4%, p = 0.34). Toxicity profile was comparable and mild with grade 3/4 neutropenia as primary toxicity in both arms. One patient in arm B suffered from acute peripheral ischemia grade 4 and an amputation of lower limb was needed. With a median follow-up of 69.3 months, progression-free survival and median survival in arm A were 15.7 and 24.8 months compared to 18.9 and 28.6 months in arm B. The figures for 1- and 3-year overall survival were 73.1% and 30.8% in arm A, and 81.5 % and 44.4% in arm B, respectively. Conclusions: Among the two cisplatin-based doublets of induction chemotherapy for inoperable NSCLC, both schedules of gemcitabine have a comparable toxicity profile. Figures for RR, PFS and OS are among the best reported in current literature. While there is a trend towards better efficacy of the treament with prolonged infusion of gemcitabine, the difference between the two arms did not reach statistical significance.
Keywords: induction chemotherapy, non-small cell lung cancer, radiation therapy, randomized clinical trial
Published: 05.04.2017; Views: 449; Downloads: 42
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Single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes MACC1, RAD18, MMP7 and SDF-1[alpha] as prognostic factors in resectable colorectal cancer
Matej Horvat, Uroš Potočnik, Katja Repnik, Rajko Kavalar, Vesna Zadnik, Stojan Potrč, Borut Štabuc, 2016, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) represents one of the most common malignancies worldwide. Research has indicated that functional gene changes such as single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) influence carcinogenesis and metastasis and might have an influence on disease relapse. The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of SNPs in selected genes as prognostic markers in resectable CRC. Patients and methods: In total, 163 consecutive patients treated surgically for CRC of stages I, II and III at the University Medical Centre in Maribor in 2007 and 2008 were investigated. DNA was isolated from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded CRC tissue from the Department of Pathology and SNPs in genes SDF-1alpha, MMP7, RAD18 and MACC1 were genotyped using polymerase chain reaction followed by high resolution melting curve analysis or restriction fragment length polymorphism. Results: We found worse disease-free survival (DFS) for patients with TT genotype of SNP rs1990172 in gene MACC1 (p = 0.029). Next, we found worse DFS for patients with GG genotype for SNP rs373572 in gene RAD18 (p = 0.020). Higher frequency of genotype GG of MMP7 SNP rs11568818 was found in patients with T3/T4 stage (p = 0.014), N1/N2 stage (p = 0.041) and with lymphovascular invasion (p = 0.018). For MACC1 rs1990172 SNP we found higher frequency of genotype TT in patients with T3/T4 staging (p = 0.024). Higher frequency of genotype GG of RAD18 rs373572 was also found in patients with T1/T2 stage with disease relapse (p = 0.041). Conclusions: Our results indicate the role of SNPs as prognostic factors in resectable CRC.
Keywords: single nucleotide polymorphism, colorectal cancer, MACC1, RAD18, MMP7, SDF-1a
Published: 05.04.2017; Views: 359; Downloads: 52
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