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Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1581-3207
First Published
30 Apr 2007
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 49 (2015): Issue 2 (June 2015)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1581-3207
First Published
30 Apr 2007
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
Languages
English

Search

14 Articles
Open Access

Blood-brain barrier permeability imaging using perfusion computed tomography

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 107 - 114

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The blood-brain barrier represents the selective diffusion barrier at the level of the cerebral microvascular endothelium. Other functions of blood-brain barrier include transport, signaling and osmoregulation. Endothelial cells interact with surrounding astrocytes, pericytes and neurons. These interactions are crucial to the development, structural integrity and function of the cerebral microvascular endothelium. Dysfunctional blood-brain barrier has been associated with pathologies such as acute stroke, tumors, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

Conclusions. Blood-brain barrier permeability can be evaluated in vivo by perfusion computed tomography - an efficient diagnostic method that involves the sequential acquisition of tomographic images during the intravenous administration of iodinated contrast material. The major clinical applications of perfusion computed tomography are in acute stroke and in brain tumor imaging.

Keywords

  • blood-brain barrier
  • permeability imaging
  • computed tomography
  • perfusion CT
Open Access

Evaluation of radiographic and metabolic changes in bone metastases in response to systemic therapy with 18FDG-PET/CT

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 115 - 120

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the study was to retrospectively evaluate radiographic and metabolic changes in bone metastases in response to systemic therapy with 18FDG-PET/CT and determine their roles on the evaluation of therapy response.

Patients and methods. We retrospectively evaluated radiographic and metabolic characteristics of bone metastases in 30 patients who were referred for the evaluation of response to systemic therapy with 18FDG-PET/CT. All patients underwent integrated 18FDG-PET/CT before and after treatment.

Results. The baseline radiographic patterns of the target lesions in responders group were lytic, sclerotic, mixed and CT negative; after treatment the radiographic patterns of all target lesions changed to a sclerotic pattern and attenuation increased (p = 0.012) and metabolic activity decreased (p = 0.012). A correlation was found between decreasing metabolic activity and increasing attenuation of the target lesions (r = -0.55) (p = 0.026). Ho wever, in nonresponders group, the baseline radiologic patterns of the target lesions were lytic, blastic, mixed and CT negative; after treatment all lytic target lesions remained the same and one CT negative lesion turned to lytic pattern and the attenuation of the target lesions decreased (p ± 0.12) and metabolic activity increased (p = 0.012). A correlation was found between increasing metabolic activity and decreasing attenuation (r = -0.65) (p = 0.032). An exception of this rule was seen in baseline blastic metastases which progressed with increasing in size, metabolic activity and attenuation.

Conclusions. This study shows that the metabolic activity of lesions is a more reliable parameter than the radiographic patterns for the evaluation of therapy response.

Keywords

  • bone metastases
  • therapy response
  • 18FDG-PET/CT
Open Access

Thyroid lesions incidentally detected by 18F-FDG PET-CT ― a two centre retrospective study

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 121 - 127

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid on PET-CT examinations represents a diagnostic challenge. The maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax) is one possible parameter that can help in distinguishing between benign and malignant thyroid PET lesions.

Patients and methods. We retrospectively evaluated 18F-FDG PET-CT examinations of 5,911 patients performed at two different medical centres from 2010 to 2011. If pathologically increased activity was accidentally detected in the thyroid, the SUVmax of the thyroid lesion was calculated. Patients with incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid were instructed to visit a thyroidologist, who performed further investigation including fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) if needed. Lesions deemed suspicious after FNAC were referred for surgery.

Results. Incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid was found in 3.89% ― in 230 out of 5,911 patients investigated on PET-CT. Malignant thyroid lesions (represented with focal thyroid uptake) were detected in 10 of 66 patients (in 15.2%). In the first medical centre the SUVmax of 36 benign lesions was 5.6 ± 2.8 compared to 15.8 ± 9.2 of 5 malignant lesions (p < 0.001). In the second centre the SUVmax of 20 benign lesions was 3.7 ± 2.2 compared to 5.1 ± 2.3 of 5 malignant lesions (p = 0.217). All 29 further investigated diffuse thyroid lesions were benign.

Conclusions. Incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid was found in 3.89% of patients who had a PET-CT examination. Only focal thyroid uptake represented a malignant lesion in our study ― in 15.2% of all focal thyroid lesions. SUVmax should only serve as one of several parameters that alert the clinician on the possibility of thyroid malignancy.

Keywords

  • thyroid
  • 18F-FDG
  • PET-CT
  • PET incidentaloma
  • thyroid cancer
Open Access

Primary central nervous system lymphoma: is absence of intratumoral hemorrhage a characteristic finding on MRI?

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 128 - 134

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Previous studies have shown that intratumoral hemorrhage is a common finding in glioblastoma multiforme, but is rarely observed in primary central nervous system lymphoma. Our aim was to reevaluate whether intratumoral hemorrhage observed on T2-weighted imaging (T2WI) as gross intratumoral hemorrhage and on susceptibilityweighted imaging as intratumoral susceptibility signal can differentiate primary central nervous system lymphoma from glioblastoma multiforme.

Patients and methods. A retrospective cohort of brain tumors from August 2008 to March 2013 was searched, and 58 patients (19 with primary central nervous system lymphoma, 39 with glioblastoma multiforme) satisfied the inclusion criteria. Absence of gross intratumoral hemorrhage was examined on T2WI, and an intratumoral susceptibility signal was graded using a 3-point scale on susceptibility-weighted imaging. Results were compared between primary central nervous system lymphoma and glioblastoma multiforme, and values of P < 0.05 were considered significant.

Results. Gross intratumoral hemorrhage on T2WI was absent in 15 patients (79%) with primary central nervous system lymphoma and 23 patients (59%) with glioblastoma multiforme. Absence of gross intratumoral hemorrhage could not differentiate between the two disorders (P = 0.20). However, intratumoral susceptibility signal grade 1 or 2 was diagnostic of primary central nervous system lymphoma with 78.9% sensitivity and 66.7% specificity (P < 0.001), irrespective of gross intratumoral hemorrhage.

Conclusions. Low intratumoral susceptibility signal grades can differentiate primary central nervous system lymphoma from glioblastoma multiforme. However, specificity in this study was relatively low, and primary central nervous system lymphoma cannot be excluded based solely on the presence of an intratumoral susceptibility signal.

Keywords

  • glioblastoma multiforme
  • primary central nervous system lymphoma
  • magnetic resonance imaging
Open Access

Doppler ultrasound for diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma: efficacy of ultrasound-based screening score

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 135 - 140

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The utility of ultrasound imaging in the screening of soft-part tumours (SPTs) has been reported. We classified SPTs according to their blood flow pattern on Doppler ultrasound and re-evaluated the efficacy of this imaging modality as a screening method. Additionally, we combined Doppler ultrasound with several values to improve the diagnostic efficacy and to establish a new diagnostic tool.

Patients and methods. This study included 189 cases of pathologically confirmed SPTs (122 cases of benign disease including SPTs and tumour-like lesions and 67 cases of malignant SPTs). Ultrasound imaging included evaluation of vascularity by colour Doppler. We established a scoring system to more effectively differentiate malignant from benign SPTs (ultrasound-based sarcoma screening [USS] score).

Results. The mean scores in the benign and malignant groups were 1.47 ± 0.93 and 3.42 ± 1.30, respectively. Patients with malignant masses showed significantly higher USS scores than did those with benign masses (p < 1 × 10-10). The area under the curve was 0.88 by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Based on the cut-off value (3 points) calculated by ROC curve analysis, the sensitivity and specificity for a diagnosis of malignant SPT was 85.1% and 86.9%, respectively.

Conclusions. Assessment of vascularity by Doppler ultrasound alone is insufficient for differentiation between benign and malignant SPTs. Preoperative diagnosis of most SPTs is possible by combining our USS score with characteristic clinical and magnetic resonance imaging findings.

Keywords

  • Doppler ultrasound
  • soft-part tumours
  • differential diagnosis
  • ultrasound-based sarcoma screening score
Open Access

Artery of Percheron infarction: review of literature with a case report

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 141 - 146

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Clinical features indicating an ischemic infarction in the territory of posterior cerebral circulation require a comprehensive radiologic examination, which is best achieved by a multi-modality imaging approach (computed tomography [CT], CT-perfusion, computed tomography angiography [CTA], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and diffusion weighted imaging [DWI]). The diagnosis of an acute ischemic infarction, where the damage of brain tissue may still be reversible, enables selection of appropriate treatment and contributes to a more favourable outcome. For these reasons it is essential to recognize common neurovascular variants in the territory of the posterior cerebral circulation, one of which is the artery of Percheron.

Case report. A 69 year-old woman, last seen awake 10 hours earlier, presented with two typical clinical features of the artery of Percheron infarction, which were vertical gaze palsy and coma. Brain CT and CTA of neck and intracranial arteries upon arrival were interpreted as normal. A new brain CT scan performed 24 hours later revealed hypodensity in the medial parts of thalami. Other imaging modalities were not performed, due to the presumption that the window for the application of effective therapy was over. The diagnosis of an artery of Percheron infarction was therefore made retrospectively with the re-examination of the CTA of neck and intracranial arteries.

Conclusions. A multi-modality imaging approach is necessary in every patient with suspicion of the posterior circulation infarction immediately after the onset of symptoms, especially in cases where primary imaging modalities are unremarkable and clinical features are severe, where follow-up examinations are indicated.

Keywords

  • Percheron
  • infarction
  • imaging
Open Access

Feasibility and safety of electrochemotherapy (ECT) in the pancreas: a pre-clinical investigation

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 147 - 154

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal disease generally refractory to standard chemotherapeutic agents; therefore improvements in anticancer therapies are mandatory. A major determinant of therapeutic resistance in PDAC is the poor drug delivery to neoplastic cells, mainly due to an extensive fibrotic reaction. Electroporation can be used in vivo to increase cancer cells’ local uptake of chemotherapeutics (electrochemotherapy, ECT), thus leading to an enhanced tumour response rate. In the present study, we evaluated the in vivo effects of reversible electroporation in normal pancreas in a rabbit experimental model. We also tested the effect of electroporation on pancreatic cancer cell lines in order to evaluate their increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents.

Materials and methods. The application in vivo of the European Standard Operating Procedure of Electrochemotherapy (ESOPE) pulse protocol (1000 V/cm, 8 pulses, 100 μs, 5 KHz) was tested on the pancreas of normal New Zealand White Rabbits and short and long-term toxicity were assessed. PANC1 and MiaPaCa2 cell lines were tested for in vitro electrochemotherapy experiments with and without electroporation. Levels of cell permeabilization were determined by flow cytometry, whereas cell viability and drug (cisplatin and bleomycin) sensitivity of pulsed cells were measured by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) assay.

Results. In healthy rabbits, neither systemic nor local toxic effects due to the electroporation procedure were observed, demonstrating the safety of the optimized electric parameters in the treatment of the pancreas in vivo. In parallel, we established an optimized protocol for ECT in vitro that determined an enhanced anti-cancer effect of bleomycin and cisplatin with respect to treatment without electroporation.

Conclusions. Our data suggest that electroporation is a safe procedure in the treatment of PDAC because it does not affect normal pancreatic parenchyma, but has a potentiating effect on cytotoxicity of bleomycin in pancreatic tumour cell lines. Therefore, ECT could be considered as a valid alternative for the local control of non-resectable pancreatic cancer.

Keywords

  • electroporation
  • bleomycin
  • cisplatin
  • electrochemotherapy
  • preclinical study
  • safety
  • pancreatic adenocarcinoma
Open Access

Efficacy of intensity-modulated radiotherapy with concurrent carboplatin in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 155 - 162

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the prospective phase II study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicities of concurrent carboplatin with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

Patients and methods. Between October 2005 and November 2011, 73 stage II‒IVB NPC patients received IMRT 70 Gy concurrently with three cycles of carboplatin (AUC 5) every three weeks, followed by three cycles of adjuvant carboplatin (AUC 5) and 5-FU (1,000 mg/m2/day for four days) every four weeks. All patients were evaluated for tumour response using response evaluation criteria in solid tumour (RECIST) criteria, survival analysis using Kaplan-Meier methods, and toxicities according to common terminology criteria for adverse events (CTCAE) version 4.0.

Results. At three months after chemoradiation, 82.2% and 17.8% of patients achieved complete and partial response, respectively. With a median follow-up of 48.1 months (1.3‒97.8 months), 9.6% and 17.8% had local recurrence and distant metastasis, respectively. The median survival was not reached. A three-year overall survival was 83.6% and a progression-free survival was 65.3%. Regarding treatment compliance, 97.2%, 68.5% and 69.8% completed radiation treatment, concurrent carboplatin and adjuvant chemotherapy, respectively. Grade 3‒4 acute toxicities were oral mucositis (16.4%), dysphagia (16.4%), xerostomia (15.1%) and haematotoxicity (6.8%).

Conclusions. Carboplatin concurrently with IMRT provided excellent tumour response, manageable toxicities and good compliance. This should be considered as an alternative treatment for NPC patients.

Keywords

  • intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
  • carboplatin
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Open Access

Preoperative treatment with radiochemotherapy for locally advanced gastroesophageal junction cancer and unresectable locally advanced gastric cancer

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 163 - 172

Abstract

Abstract

Background. To purpose of the study was to analyze the results of preoperative radiochemotherapy in patients with unresectable gastric or locoregionally advanced gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer treated at a single institution.

Patients and methods. Between 1/2004 and 6/2012, 90 patients with locoregionally advanced GEJ or unresectable gastric cancer were treated with preoperative radiochemotherapy at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana. Planned treatment schedule consisted of induction chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin, followed by concomitant radiochemotherapy four weeks later. Three-dimensional conformal external beam radiotherapy was delivered by dual energy (6 and 15 MV) linear accelerator in 25 daily fractions of 1.8 Gy in 5 weeks with two additional cycles of chemotherapy repeated every 28 days. Surgery was performed 4-6 weeks after completing radiochemotherapy. Following the surgery, multidisciplinary advisory team reassessed patients for the need of adjuvant chemotherapy. The primary endpoints were histopathological R0 resection rate and pathological response rate. The secondary endpoints were toxicity of preoperative radiochemotherapy and survival.

Results. Treatment with preoperative radiochemotherapy was completed according to the protocol in 84 of 90 patients (93.3%). Twenty patients (22.2%) did not undergo the surgery because of the disease progression, serious comorbidity, poor performance status or still unresectable tumour. In 13 patients (14.4%) only exploration was performed because the tumour was assessed as unresectable or diffuse peritoneal carcinomatosis was established. Fifty-seven patients (63.4%) underwent surgery with the aim of complete removal of the tumour. Radical resection was achieved in 50 (55.6%) patients and the remaining seven (7.8%) patients underwent non-radical surgery (R1 in five and R2 in two patients). In this group of patients (n = 57), pathological complete response of tumour was achieved in five patients (5.6% of all treated patients or 8.8% of all operated patients). Down-staging was recorded in 49 patients (86%), in one patient (1.8%) the stage after radiochemotherapy was unchanged while in seven patients (12.3%) the pathological stage was higher than clinical, mainly due to higher pN stage. No death was recorded during preoperative radiochemotherapy. Most grade 3 and 4 toxicities were due to vomiting, nausea and bone marrow suppression (granulocytopenia). Twentysix (45.6%) patients died due to GEJ or gastric carcinoma, one died because of septic shock following the surgery and a reason for two deaths was unknown. Twenty-eight patients (49.1%) were disease free at the time of analysis, while 29 patients (50.9%) developed the recurrence, mostly as distant metastases. At two years, locoregional control, diseasefree survival, disease-specific survival and overall survival were 82.9%, 43.9%, 56.9% and 53.9%, respectively.

Conclusions. Preoperative radiochemotherapy was feasible in our group of patients and had acceptable toxicity. Majority of patients achieved down-staging, allowing greater proportion of radical resections (R0), which are essential for patients’ cure.

Keywords

  • unresectable gastric cancer
  • gastroesophageal junction cancer
  • preoperative radiochemotherapy
  • surgery
  • toxicity
Open Access

Febrile neutropenia in chemotherapy treated small-cell lung cancer patients

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 173 - 180

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Chemotherapy with platinum agent and etoposide for small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is supposed to be associated with intermediate risk (10-20%) of febrile neutropenia. Primary prophylaxis with granulocyte colonystimulating factors (G-CSFs) is not routinely recommended by the treatment guidelines. However, in clinical practice febrile neutropenia is often observed with standard etoposide/platinum regimen. The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the frequency of neutropenia and febrile neutropenia in advanced SCLC patients in the first cycle of standard chemotherapy. Furthermore, we explored the association between severe neutropenia and etoposide peak plasma levels in the same patients.

Methods. The case series based analysis of 17 patients with advanced SCLC treated with standard platinum/etoposide chemotherapy, already included in the pharmacokinetics study with etoposide, was performed. Grade 3/4 neutropenia and febrile neutropenia, observed after the first cycle are reported. The neutrophil counts were determined on day one of the second cycle unless symptoms potentially related to neutropenia occurred. Adverse events were classified according to Common Toxicity Criteria 4.0. Additionally, association between severe neutropenia and etoposide peak plasma concentrations, which were measured in the scope of pharmacokinetic study, was explored.

Results. Two out of 17 patients received primary GCS-F prophylaxis. In 15 patient who did not receive primary prophylaxis the rates of both grade 3/4 neutropenia and febrile neutropenia were high (8/15 (53.3%) and 2/15 (13.3%), respectively), already in the first cycle of chemotherapy. One patient died due to febrile neutropenia related pneumonia. Neutropenic events are assumed to be related to increased etoposide plasma concentrations after a standard etoposide and cisplatin dose. While the mean etoposide peak plasma concentration in the first cycle of chemotherapy was 17.6 mg/l, the highest levels of 27.07 and 27.49 mg/l were determined in two patients with febrile neutropenia.

Conclusions. Our study indicates that there is a need to reduce the risk of neutropenic events in chemotherapy treated advanced SCLC, starting in the first cycle. Mandatory use of primary G-CSF prophylaxis might be considered. Alternatively, use of improved risk models for identification of patients with increased risk for neutropenia and individualization of primary prophylaxis based on not only clinical characteristics but also on etoposide plasma concentration measurement, could be a new, promising options that deserves further evaluation.

Keywords

  • small cell lung cancer
  • platinum-etoposide chemotherapy
  • etoposide
  • febrile neutropenia
  • plasma drug concentration
Open Access

Mesenteric ischemia after capecitabine treatment in rectal cancer and resultant short bowel syndrome is not an absolute contraindication for radical oncological treatment

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 181 - 184

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Thrombotic events, arterial or venous in origin, still remain a source of substantial morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. The propensity for their development in oncology patients is partially a consequence of the disease itself and partially a result of our attempts to treat it. One of the rarest and deadliest thromboembolic complications is arterial mesenteric ischemia. The high mortality rate is caused by its rarity and by its non-specific clinical presentation, both of which make early diagnosis and treatment difficult. Hence, most diagnoses and treatments occur late in the course of the disease. The issue survivors of arterial mesenteric ischemia may face is short bowel syndrome, which has become a chronic condition after the introduction of parenteral nutrition at home.

Case report. We present a 73-year-old rectal cancer patient who developed acute arterial mesenteric thrombosis at the beginning of the pre-operative radiochemotherapy. Almost the entire length of his small intestine, except for the proximal 50 cm of it, and the ascending colon had to be resected. After multi-organ failure his condition improved, and he was able to successfully complete radical treatment (preoperative radiotherapy and surgery) for the rectal carcinoma, despite developing short bowel syndrome (SBS) and being dependent upon home-based parenteral nutrition to fully cover his nutritional needs.

Conclusions. Mesenteric ischemia and resultant short bowel syndrome are not absolute contraindications for radical oncological treatment since such patients can still achieve long-term remission.

Keywords

  • rectal cancer
  • capecitabine
  • acute mesenteric ischemia
  • multiorgan failure
  • short bowel syndrome
Open Access

Clinical applicability of biologically effective dose calculation for spinal cord in fractionated spine stereotactic body radiation therapy

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 185 - 191

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the study was to investigate whether biologically effective dose (BED) based on linearquadratic model can be used to estimate spinal cord tolerance dose in spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivered in 4 or more fractions.

Patients and methods. Sixty-three metastatic spinal lesions in 47 patients were retrospectively evaluated. The most frequently prescribed dose was 36 Gy in 4 fractions. In planning, we tried to limit the maximum dose to the spinal cord or cauda equina less than 50% of prescription or 45 Gy2/2. BED was calculated using maximum point dose of spinal cord.

Results. Maximum spinal cord dose per fraction ranged from 2.6 to 6.0 Gy (median 4.3 Gy). Except 4 patients with 52.7, 56.4, 62.4, and 67.9 Gy2/2, equivalent total dose in 2-Gy fraction of the patients was not more than 50 Gy2/2 (12.1- 67.9, median 32.0). The ratio of maximum spinal cord dose to prescription dose increased up to 82.2% of prescription dose as epidural spinal cord compression grade increased. No patient developed grade 2 or higher radiationinduced spinal cord toxicity during follow-up period of 0.5 to 53.9 months.

Conclusions. In fractionated spine SBRT, BED can be used to estimate spinal cord tolerance dose, provided that the dose per fraction to the spinal cord is moderate, e.g. < 6.0 Gy. It appears that a maximum dose of up to 45-50 Gy2/2 to the spinal cord is tolerable in 4 or more fractionation regimen.

Keywords

  • biologically effective dose
  • spine stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • spinal cord
  • tolerance dose
  • linear quadratic model
Open Access

Dynamic CT angiography for cyberknife radiosurgery planning of intracranial arteriovenous malformations: a technical/ feasibility report

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 192 - 199

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Successful radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) requires accurate nidus delineation in the 3D treatment planning system (TPS). The catheter biplane digital subtraction angiogram (DSA) has traditionally been the gold standard for evaluation of the AVM nidus, but its 2D nature limits its value for contouring and it cannot be imported into the Cyberknife TPS. We describe a technique for acquisition and integration of 3D dynamic CT angiograms (dCTA) into the Cyberknife TPS for intracranial AVMs and review the feasibility of using this technique in the first patient cohort.

Patients and methods. Dynamic continuous whole brain CT images were acquired in a Toshiba 320 volume CT scanner with data reconstruction every 0.5 sec. This multi-time-point acquisition enabled us to choose the CT dataset with the clearest nidus without significant enhancement of surrounding blood vessels. This was imported to the Cyberknife TPS and co-registered with planning CT and T2 MRI (2D DSA adjacent for reference). The feasibility of using dCTA was evaluated in the first thirteen patients with outcome evaluation from patient records.

Results. dCTA data was accurately co-registered in the Cyberknife TPS and appeared to assist in nidus contouring for all patients. Imaging modalities were complementary. 85% of patients had complete (6/13) or continuing partial nidus obliteration (5/13) at 37 months median follow-up.

Conclusions. dCTA is a promising imaging technique that can be successfully imported into the Cyberknife TPS and appears to assist in radiosurgery nidus definition. Further study to validate its role is warranted.

Keywords

  • arteriovenous malformation
  • radiosurgery
  • Cyberknife
  • dynamic CT angiogram
Open Access

The cost of systemic therapy for metastatic colorectal carcinoma in Slovenia: discrepancy analysis between cost and reimbursement

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 200 - 208

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the study was to estimate the direct medical costs of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana and to question the healthcare payment system in Slovenia.

Methods. Using an internal patient database, the costs of mCRC patients were estimated in 2009 by examining (1) mCRC direct medical related costs, and (2) the cost difference between payment received by Slovenian health insurance and actual mCRC costs. Costs were analysed in the treatment phase of the disease by assessing the direct medical costs of hospital treatment with systemic therapy together with hospital treatment of side effects, without assessing radiotherapy or surgical treatment. Follow-up costs, indirect medical costs, and nonmedical costs were not included.

Results. A total of 209 mCRC patients met all eligibility criteria. The direct medical costs of mCRC hospitalization with systemic therapy in Slovenia for 2009 were estimated as the cost of medications (cost of systemic therapy + cost of drugs for premedication) + labor cost (the cost of carrying out systemic treatment) + cost of lab tests + cost of imaging tests + KRAS testing cost + cost of hospital treatment due to side effects of mCRC treatment, and amounted to €3,914,697. The difference between the cost paid by health insurance and actual costs, estimated as direct medical costs of hospitalization of mCRC patients treated with systemic therapy at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana in 2009, was €1,900,757.80.

Conclusions. The costs paid to the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana by health insurance for treating mCRC with systemic therapy do not match the actual cost of treatment. In fact, the difference between the payment and the actual cost estimated as direct medical costs of hospitalization of mCRC patients treated with systemic therapy at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana in 2009 was €1,900,757.80. The model Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRG) for cost assessment in oncology being currently used is probably one of the reasons for the discrepancy between pay-outs and actual costs. We propose new method for more precise cost assessment in oncology.

Keywords

  • cost of treatment
  • metastatic colorectal cancer
  • cost of targeted therapy
  • monitoring costs
14 Articles
Open Access

Blood-brain barrier permeability imaging using perfusion computed tomography

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 107 - 114

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The blood-brain barrier represents the selective diffusion barrier at the level of the cerebral microvascular endothelium. Other functions of blood-brain barrier include transport, signaling and osmoregulation. Endothelial cells interact with surrounding astrocytes, pericytes and neurons. These interactions are crucial to the development, structural integrity and function of the cerebral microvascular endothelium. Dysfunctional blood-brain barrier has been associated with pathologies such as acute stroke, tumors, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

Conclusions. Blood-brain barrier permeability can be evaluated in vivo by perfusion computed tomography - an efficient diagnostic method that involves the sequential acquisition of tomographic images during the intravenous administration of iodinated contrast material. The major clinical applications of perfusion computed tomography are in acute stroke and in brain tumor imaging.

Keywords

  • blood-brain barrier
  • permeability imaging
  • computed tomography
  • perfusion CT
Open Access

Evaluation of radiographic and metabolic changes in bone metastases in response to systemic therapy with 18FDG-PET/CT

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 115 - 120

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the study was to retrospectively evaluate radiographic and metabolic changes in bone metastases in response to systemic therapy with 18FDG-PET/CT and determine their roles on the evaluation of therapy response.

Patients and methods. We retrospectively evaluated radiographic and metabolic characteristics of bone metastases in 30 patients who were referred for the evaluation of response to systemic therapy with 18FDG-PET/CT. All patients underwent integrated 18FDG-PET/CT before and after treatment.

Results. The baseline radiographic patterns of the target lesions in responders group were lytic, sclerotic, mixed and CT negative; after treatment the radiographic patterns of all target lesions changed to a sclerotic pattern and attenuation increased (p = 0.012) and metabolic activity decreased (p = 0.012). A correlation was found between decreasing metabolic activity and increasing attenuation of the target lesions (r = -0.55) (p = 0.026). Ho wever, in nonresponders group, the baseline radiologic patterns of the target lesions were lytic, blastic, mixed and CT negative; after treatment all lytic target lesions remained the same and one CT negative lesion turned to lytic pattern and the attenuation of the target lesions decreased (p ± 0.12) and metabolic activity increased (p = 0.012). A correlation was found between increasing metabolic activity and decreasing attenuation (r = -0.65) (p = 0.032). An exception of this rule was seen in baseline blastic metastases which progressed with increasing in size, metabolic activity and attenuation.

Conclusions. This study shows that the metabolic activity of lesions is a more reliable parameter than the radiographic patterns for the evaluation of therapy response.

Keywords

  • bone metastases
  • therapy response
  • 18FDG-PET/CT
Open Access

Thyroid lesions incidentally detected by 18F-FDG PET-CT ― a two centre retrospective study

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 121 - 127

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid on PET-CT examinations represents a diagnostic challenge. The maximal standardized uptake value (SUVmax) is one possible parameter that can help in distinguishing between benign and malignant thyroid PET lesions.

Patients and methods. We retrospectively evaluated 18F-FDG PET-CT examinations of 5,911 patients performed at two different medical centres from 2010 to 2011. If pathologically increased activity was accidentally detected in the thyroid, the SUVmax of the thyroid lesion was calculated. Patients with incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid were instructed to visit a thyroidologist, who performed further investigation including fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) if needed. Lesions deemed suspicious after FNAC were referred for surgery.

Results. Incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid was found in 3.89% ― in 230 out of 5,911 patients investigated on PET-CT. Malignant thyroid lesions (represented with focal thyroid uptake) were detected in 10 of 66 patients (in 15.2%). In the first medical centre the SUVmax of 36 benign lesions was 5.6 ± 2.8 compared to 15.8 ± 9.2 of 5 malignant lesions (p < 0.001). In the second centre the SUVmax of 20 benign lesions was 3.7 ± 2.2 compared to 5.1 ± 2.3 of 5 malignant lesions (p = 0.217). All 29 further investigated diffuse thyroid lesions were benign.

Conclusions. Incidental 18F-FDG uptake in the thyroid was found in 3.89% of patients who had a PET-CT examination. Only focal thyroid uptake represented a malignant lesion in our study ― in 15.2% of all focal thyroid lesions. SUVmax should only serve as one of several parameters that alert the clinician on the possibility of thyroid malignancy.

Keywords

  • thyroid
  • 18F-FDG
  • PET-CT
  • PET incidentaloma
  • thyroid cancer
Open Access

Primary central nervous system lymphoma: is absence of intratumoral hemorrhage a characteristic finding on MRI?

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 128 - 134

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Previous studies have shown that intratumoral hemorrhage is a common finding in glioblastoma multiforme, but is rarely observed in primary central nervous system lymphoma. Our aim was to reevaluate whether intratumoral hemorrhage observed on T2-weighted imaging (T2WI) as gross intratumoral hemorrhage and on susceptibilityweighted imaging as intratumoral susceptibility signal can differentiate primary central nervous system lymphoma from glioblastoma multiforme.

Patients and methods. A retrospective cohort of brain tumors from August 2008 to March 2013 was searched, and 58 patients (19 with primary central nervous system lymphoma, 39 with glioblastoma multiforme) satisfied the inclusion criteria. Absence of gross intratumoral hemorrhage was examined on T2WI, and an intratumoral susceptibility signal was graded using a 3-point scale on susceptibility-weighted imaging. Results were compared between primary central nervous system lymphoma and glioblastoma multiforme, and values of P < 0.05 were considered significant.

Results. Gross intratumoral hemorrhage on T2WI was absent in 15 patients (79%) with primary central nervous system lymphoma and 23 patients (59%) with glioblastoma multiforme. Absence of gross intratumoral hemorrhage could not differentiate between the two disorders (P = 0.20). However, intratumoral susceptibility signal grade 1 or 2 was diagnostic of primary central nervous system lymphoma with 78.9% sensitivity and 66.7% specificity (P < 0.001), irrespective of gross intratumoral hemorrhage.

Conclusions. Low intratumoral susceptibility signal grades can differentiate primary central nervous system lymphoma from glioblastoma multiforme. However, specificity in this study was relatively low, and primary central nervous system lymphoma cannot be excluded based solely on the presence of an intratumoral susceptibility signal.

Keywords

  • glioblastoma multiforme
  • primary central nervous system lymphoma
  • magnetic resonance imaging
Open Access

Doppler ultrasound for diagnosis of soft tissue sarcoma: efficacy of ultrasound-based screening score

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 135 - 140

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The utility of ultrasound imaging in the screening of soft-part tumours (SPTs) has been reported. We classified SPTs according to their blood flow pattern on Doppler ultrasound and re-evaluated the efficacy of this imaging modality as a screening method. Additionally, we combined Doppler ultrasound with several values to improve the diagnostic efficacy and to establish a new diagnostic tool.

Patients and methods. This study included 189 cases of pathologically confirmed SPTs (122 cases of benign disease including SPTs and tumour-like lesions and 67 cases of malignant SPTs). Ultrasound imaging included evaluation of vascularity by colour Doppler. We established a scoring system to more effectively differentiate malignant from benign SPTs (ultrasound-based sarcoma screening [USS] score).

Results. The mean scores in the benign and malignant groups were 1.47 ± 0.93 and 3.42 ± 1.30, respectively. Patients with malignant masses showed significantly higher USS scores than did those with benign masses (p < 1 × 10-10). The area under the curve was 0.88 by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. Based on the cut-off value (3 points) calculated by ROC curve analysis, the sensitivity and specificity for a diagnosis of malignant SPT was 85.1% and 86.9%, respectively.

Conclusions. Assessment of vascularity by Doppler ultrasound alone is insufficient for differentiation between benign and malignant SPTs. Preoperative diagnosis of most SPTs is possible by combining our USS score with characteristic clinical and magnetic resonance imaging findings.

Keywords

  • Doppler ultrasound
  • soft-part tumours
  • differential diagnosis
  • ultrasound-based sarcoma screening score
Open Access

Artery of Percheron infarction: review of literature with a case report

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 141 - 146

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Clinical features indicating an ischemic infarction in the territory of posterior cerebral circulation require a comprehensive radiologic examination, which is best achieved by a multi-modality imaging approach (computed tomography [CT], CT-perfusion, computed tomography angiography [CTA], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] and diffusion weighted imaging [DWI]). The diagnosis of an acute ischemic infarction, where the damage of brain tissue may still be reversible, enables selection of appropriate treatment and contributes to a more favourable outcome. For these reasons it is essential to recognize common neurovascular variants in the territory of the posterior cerebral circulation, one of which is the artery of Percheron.

Case report. A 69 year-old woman, last seen awake 10 hours earlier, presented with two typical clinical features of the artery of Percheron infarction, which were vertical gaze palsy and coma. Brain CT and CTA of neck and intracranial arteries upon arrival were interpreted as normal. A new brain CT scan performed 24 hours later revealed hypodensity in the medial parts of thalami. Other imaging modalities were not performed, due to the presumption that the window for the application of effective therapy was over. The diagnosis of an artery of Percheron infarction was therefore made retrospectively with the re-examination of the CTA of neck and intracranial arteries.

Conclusions. A multi-modality imaging approach is necessary in every patient with suspicion of the posterior circulation infarction immediately after the onset of symptoms, especially in cases where primary imaging modalities are unremarkable and clinical features are severe, where follow-up examinations are indicated.

Keywords

  • Percheron
  • infarction
  • imaging
Open Access

Feasibility and safety of electrochemotherapy (ECT) in the pancreas: a pre-clinical investigation

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 147 - 154

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal disease generally refractory to standard chemotherapeutic agents; therefore improvements in anticancer therapies are mandatory. A major determinant of therapeutic resistance in PDAC is the poor drug delivery to neoplastic cells, mainly due to an extensive fibrotic reaction. Electroporation can be used in vivo to increase cancer cells’ local uptake of chemotherapeutics (electrochemotherapy, ECT), thus leading to an enhanced tumour response rate. In the present study, we evaluated the in vivo effects of reversible electroporation in normal pancreas in a rabbit experimental model. We also tested the effect of electroporation on pancreatic cancer cell lines in order to evaluate their increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents.

Materials and methods. The application in vivo of the European Standard Operating Procedure of Electrochemotherapy (ESOPE) pulse protocol (1000 V/cm, 8 pulses, 100 μs, 5 KHz) was tested on the pancreas of normal New Zealand White Rabbits and short and long-term toxicity were assessed. PANC1 and MiaPaCa2 cell lines were tested for in vitro electrochemotherapy experiments with and without electroporation. Levels of cell permeabilization were determined by flow cytometry, whereas cell viability and drug (cisplatin and bleomycin) sensitivity of pulsed cells were measured by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium (MTS) assay.

Results. In healthy rabbits, neither systemic nor local toxic effects due to the electroporation procedure were observed, demonstrating the safety of the optimized electric parameters in the treatment of the pancreas in vivo. In parallel, we established an optimized protocol for ECT in vitro that determined an enhanced anti-cancer effect of bleomycin and cisplatin with respect to treatment without electroporation.

Conclusions. Our data suggest that electroporation is a safe procedure in the treatment of PDAC because it does not affect normal pancreatic parenchyma, but has a potentiating effect on cytotoxicity of bleomycin in pancreatic tumour cell lines. Therefore, ECT could be considered as a valid alternative for the local control of non-resectable pancreatic cancer.

Keywords

  • electroporation
  • bleomycin
  • cisplatin
  • electrochemotherapy
  • preclinical study
  • safety
  • pancreatic adenocarcinoma
Open Access

Efficacy of intensity-modulated radiotherapy with concurrent carboplatin in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 155 - 162

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the prospective phase II study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicities of concurrent carboplatin with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

Patients and methods. Between October 2005 and November 2011, 73 stage II‒IVB NPC patients received IMRT 70 Gy concurrently with three cycles of carboplatin (AUC 5) every three weeks, followed by three cycles of adjuvant carboplatin (AUC 5) and 5-FU (1,000 mg/m2/day for four days) every four weeks. All patients were evaluated for tumour response using response evaluation criteria in solid tumour (RECIST) criteria, survival analysis using Kaplan-Meier methods, and toxicities according to common terminology criteria for adverse events (CTCAE) version 4.0.

Results. At three months after chemoradiation, 82.2% and 17.8% of patients achieved complete and partial response, respectively. With a median follow-up of 48.1 months (1.3‒97.8 months), 9.6% and 17.8% had local recurrence and distant metastasis, respectively. The median survival was not reached. A three-year overall survival was 83.6% and a progression-free survival was 65.3%. Regarding treatment compliance, 97.2%, 68.5% and 69.8% completed radiation treatment, concurrent carboplatin and adjuvant chemotherapy, respectively. Grade 3‒4 acute toxicities were oral mucositis (16.4%), dysphagia (16.4%), xerostomia (15.1%) and haematotoxicity (6.8%).

Conclusions. Carboplatin concurrently with IMRT provided excellent tumour response, manageable toxicities and good compliance. This should be considered as an alternative treatment for NPC patients.

Keywords

  • intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)
  • carboplatin
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Open Access

Preoperative treatment with radiochemotherapy for locally advanced gastroesophageal junction cancer and unresectable locally advanced gastric cancer

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 163 - 172

Abstract

Abstract

Background. To purpose of the study was to analyze the results of preoperative radiochemotherapy in patients with unresectable gastric or locoregionally advanced gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer treated at a single institution.

Patients and methods. Between 1/2004 and 6/2012, 90 patients with locoregionally advanced GEJ or unresectable gastric cancer were treated with preoperative radiochemotherapy at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana. Planned treatment schedule consisted of induction chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin, followed by concomitant radiochemotherapy four weeks later. Three-dimensional conformal external beam radiotherapy was delivered by dual energy (6 and 15 MV) linear accelerator in 25 daily fractions of 1.8 Gy in 5 weeks with two additional cycles of chemotherapy repeated every 28 days. Surgery was performed 4-6 weeks after completing radiochemotherapy. Following the surgery, multidisciplinary advisory team reassessed patients for the need of adjuvant chemotherapy. The primary endpoints were histopathological R0 resection rate and pathological response rate. The secondary endpoints were toxicity of preoperative radiochemotherapy and survival.

Results. Treatment with preoperative radiochemotherapy was completed according to the protocol in 84 of 90 patients (93.3%). Twenty patients (22.2%) did not undergo the surgery because of the disease progression, serious comorbidity, poor performance status or still unresectable tumour. In 13 patients (14.4%) only exploration was performed because the tumour was assessed as unresectable or diffuse peritoneal carcinomatosis was established. Fifty-seven patients (63.4%) underwent surgery with the aim of complete removal of the tumour. Radical resection was achieved in 50 (55.6%) patients and the remaining seven (7.8%) patients underwent non-radical surgery (R1 in five and R2 in two patients). In this group of patients (n = 57), pathological complete response of tumour was achieved in five patients (5.6% of all treated patients or 8.8% of all operated patients). Down-staging was recorded in 49 patients (86%), in one patient (1.8%) the stage after radiochemotherapy was unchanged while in seven patients (12.3%) the pathological stage was higher than clinical, mainly due to higher pN stage. No death was recorded during preoperative radiochemotherapy. Most grade 3 and 4 toxicities were due to vomiting, nausea and bone marrow suppression (granulocytopenia). Twentysix (45.6%) patients died due to GEJ or gastric carcinoma, one died because of septic shock following the surgery and a reason for two deaths was unknown. Twenty-eight patients (49.1%) were disease free at the time of analysis, while 29 patients (50.9%) developed the recurrence, mostly as distant metastases. At two years, locoregional control, diseasefree survival, disease-specific survival and overall survival were 82.9%, 43.9%, 56.9% and 53.9%, respectively.

Conclusions. Preoperative radiochemotherapy was feasible in our group of patients and had acceptable toxicity. Majority of patients achieved down-staging, allowing greater proportion of radical resections (R0), which are essential for patients’ cure.

Keywords

  • unresectable gastric cancer
  • gastroesophageal junction cancer
  • preoperative radiochemotherapy
  • surgery
  • toxicity
Open Access

Febrile neutropenia in chemotherapy treated small-cell lung cancer patients

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 173 - 180

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Chemotherapy with platinum agent and etoposide for small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is supposed to be associated with intermediate risk (10-20%) of febrile neutropenia. Primary prophylaxis with granulocyte colonystimulating factors (G-CSFs) is not routinely recommended by the treatment guidelines. However, in clinical practice febrile neutropenia is often observed with standard etoposide/platinum regimen. The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the frequency of neutropenia and febrile neutropenia in advanced SCLC patients in the first cycle of standard chemotherapy. Furthermore, we explored the association between severe neutropenia and etoposide peak plasma levels in the same patients.

Methods. The case series based analysis of 17 patients with advanced SCLC treated with standard platinum/etoposide chemotherapy, already included in the pharmacokinetics study with etoposide, was performed. Grade 3/4 neutropenia and febrile neutropenia, observed after the first cycle are reported. The neutrophil counts were determined on day one of the second cycle unless symptoms potentially related to neutropenia occurred. Adverse events were classified according to Common Toxicity Criteria 4.0. Additionally, association between severe neutropenia and etoposide peak plasma concentrations, which were measured in the scope of pharmacokinetic study, was explored.

Results. Two out of 17 patients received primary GCS-F prophylaxis. In 15 patient who did not receive primary prophylaxis the rates of both grade 3/4 neutropenia and febrile neutropenia were high (8/15 (53.3%) and 2/15 (13.3%), respectively), already in the first cycle of chemotherapy. One patient died due to febrile neutropenia related pneumonia. Neutropenic events are assumed to be related to increased etoposide plasma concentrations after a standard etoposide and cisplatin dose. While the mean etoposide peak plasma concentration in the first cycle of chemotherapy was 17.6 mg/l, the highest levels of 27.07 and 27.49 mg/l were determined in two patients with febrile neutropenia.

Conclusions. Our study indicates that there is a need to reduce the risk of neutropenic events in chemotherapy treated advanced SCLC, starting in the first cycle. Mandatory use of primary G-CSF prophylaxis might be considered. Alternatively, use of improved risk models for identification of patients with increased risk for neutropenia and individualization of primary prophylaxis based on not only clinical characteristics but also on etoposide plasma concentration measurement, could be a new, promising options that deserves further evaluation.

Keywords

  • small cell lung cancer
  • platinum-etoposide chemotherapy
  • etoposide
  • febrile neutropenia
  • plasma drug concentration
Open Access

Mesenteric ischemia after capecitabine treatment in rectal cancer and resultant short bowel syndrome is not an absolute contraindication for radical oncological treatment

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 181 - 184

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Thrombotic events, arterial or venous in origin, still remain a source of substantial morbidity and mortality in cancer patients. The propensity for their development in oncology patients is partially a consequence of the disease itself and partially a result of our attempts to treat it. One of the rarest and deadliest thromboembolic complications is arterial mesenteric ischemia. The high mortality rate is caused by its rarity and by its non-specific clinical presentation, both of which make early diagnosis and treatment difficult. Hence, most diagnoses and treatments occur late in the course of the disease. The issue survivors of arterial mesenteric ischemia may face is short bowel syndrome, which has become a chronic condition after the introduction of parenteral nutrition at home.

Case report. We present a 73-year-old rectal cancer patient who developed acute arterial mesenteric thrombosis at the beginning of the pre-operative radiochemotherapy. Almost the entire length of his small intestine, except for the proximal 50 cm of it, and the ascending colon had to be resected. After multi-organ failure his condition improved, and he was able to successfully complete radical treatment (preoperative radiotherapy and surgery) for the rectal carcinoma, despite developing short bowel syndrome (SBS) and being dependent upon home-based parenteral nutrition to fully cover his nutritional needs.

Conclusions. Mesenteric ischemia and resultant short bowel syndrome are not absolute contraindications for radical oncological treatment since such patients can still achieve long-term remission.

Keywords

  • rectal cancer
  • capecitabine
  • acute mesenteric ischemia
  • multiorgan failure
  • short bowel syndrome
Open Access

Clinical applicability of biologically effective dose calculation for spinal cord in fractionated spine stereotactic body radiation therapy

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 185 - 191

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the study was to investigate whether biologically effective dose (BED) based on linearquadratic model can be used to estimate spinal cord tolerance dose in spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivered in 4 or more fractions.

Patients and methods. Sixty-three metastatic spinal lesions in 47 patients were retrospectively evaluated. The most frequently prescribed dose was 36 Gy in 4 fractions. In planning, we tried to limit the maximum dose to the spinal cord or cauda equina less than 50% of prescription or 45 Gy2/2. BED was calculated using maximum point dose of spinal cord.

Results. Maximum spinal cord dose per fraction ranged from 2.6 to 6.0 Gy (median 4.3 Gy). Except 4 patients with 52.7, 56.4, 62.4, and 67.9 Gy2/2, equivalent total dose in 2-Gy fraction of the patients was not more than 50 Gy2/2 (12.1- 67.9, median 32.0). The ratio of maximum spinal cord dose to prescription dose increased up to 82.2% of prescription dose as epidural spinal cord compression grade increased. No patient developed grade 2 or higher radiationinduced spinal cord toxicity during follow-up period of 0.5 to 53.9 months.

Conclusions. In fractionated spine SBRT, BED can be used to estimate spinal cord tolerance dose, provided that the dose per fraction to the spinal cord is moderate, e.g. < 6.0 Gy. It appears that a maximum dose of up to 45-50 Gy2/2 to the spinal cord is tolerable in 4 or more fractionation regimen.

Keywords

  • biologically effective dose
  • spine stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • spinal cord
  • tolerance dose
  • linear quadratic model
Open Access

Dynamic CT angiography for cyberknife radiosurgery planning of intracranial arteriovenous malformations: a technical/ feasibility report

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 192 - 199

Abstract

Abstract

Background. Successful radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) requires accurate nidus delineation in the 3D treatment planning system (TPS). The catheter biplane digital subtraction angiogram (DSA) has traditionally been the gold standard for evaluation of the AVM nidus, but its 2D nature limits its value for contouring and it cannot be imported into the Cyberknife TPS. We describe a technique for acquisition and integration of 3D dynamic CT angiograms (dCTA) into the Cyberknife TPS for intracranial AVMs and review the feasibility of using this technique in the first patient cohort.

Patients and methods. Dynamic continuous whole brain CT images were acquired in a Toshiba 320 volume CT scanner with data reconstruction every 0.5 sec. This multi-time-point acquisition enabled us to choose the CT dataset with the clearest nidus without significant enhancement of surrounding blood vessels. This was imported to the Cyberknife TPS and co-registered with planning CT and T2 MRI (2D DSA adjacent for reference). The feasibility of using dCTA was evaluated in the first thirteen patients with outcome evaluation from patient records.

Results. dCTA data was accurately co-registered in the Cyberknife TPS and appeared to assist in nidus contouring for all patients. Imaging modalities were complementary. 85% of patients had complete (6/13) or continuing partial nidus obliteration (5/13) at 37 months median follow-up.

Conclusions. dCTA is a promising imaging technique that can be successfully imported into the Cyberknife TPS and appears to assist in radiosurgery nidus definition. Further study to validate its role is warranted.

Keywords

  • arteriovenous malformation
  • radiosurgery
  • Cyberknife
  • dynamic CT angiogram
Open Access

The cost of systemic therapy for metastatic colorectal carcinoma in Slovenia: discrepancy analysis between cost and reimbursement

Published Online: 25 Mar 2015
Page range: 200 - 208

Abstract

Abstract

Background. The aim of the study was to estimate the direct medical costs of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana and to question the healthcare payment system in Slovenia.

Methods. Using an internal patient database, the costs of mCRC patients were estimated in 2009 by examining (1) mCRC direct medical related costs, and (2) the cost difference between payment received by Slovenian health insurance and actual mCRC costs. Costs were analysed in the treatment phase of the disease by assessing the direct medical costs of hospital treatment with systemic therapy together with hospital treatment of side effects, without assessing radiotherapy or surgical treatment. Follow-up costs, indirect medical costs, and nonmedical costs were not included.

Results. A total of 209 mCRC patients met all eligibility criteria. The direct medical costs of mCRC hospitalization with systemic therapy in Slovenia for 2009 were estimated as the cost of medications (cost of systemic therapy + cost of drugs for premedication) + labor cost (the cost of carrying out systemic treatment) + cost of lab tests + cost of imaging tests + KRAS testing cost + cost of hospital treatment due to side effects of mCRC treatment, and amounted to €3,914,697. The difference between the cost paid by health insurance and actual costs, estimated as direct medical costs of hospitalization of mCRC patients treated with systemic therapy at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana in 2009, was €1,900,757.80.

Conclusions. The costs paid to the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana by health insurance for treating mCRC with systemic therapy do not match the actual cost of treatment. In fact, the difference between the payment and the actual cost estimated as direct medical costs of hospitalization of mCRC patients treated with systemic therapy at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana in 2009 was €1,900,757.80. The model Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRG) for cost assessment in oncology being currently used is probably one of the reasons for the discrepancy between pay-outs and actual costs. We propose new method for more precise cost assessment in oncology.

Keywords

  • cost of treatment
  • metastatic colorectal cancer
  • cost of targeted therapy
  • monitoring costs

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