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The article summarizes the expert discussion and recommendations on the use of molecular markers and of biological targeted therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), as well as a proposed treatment decision strategy for mCRC treatment. The meeting was conducted during the 11th ESMO/World Gastrointestinal Cancer Congress (WGICC) in Barcelona in June 2009. The manuscript describes the outcome of an expert discussion leading to an expert recommendation. The increasing knowledge on clinical and molecular markers and the availability of biological targeted therapies have major implications in the optimal management in mCRC.
BACKGROUND - Early diagnosis and management of peritoneal metastases from colorectal cancer patients are difficult clinical challenges. The aims of this study were to evaluate the clinical significance of tumor markers and cytology in peritoneal effusions (PE) and peritoneal irrigation fluid (PI) and to determine their value as prognostic indicators in this disease.
METHODS - Two hundred thirty-four consecutive patients who underwent abdominal surgery for colorectal cancer from January 2006 to December 2007 were included, and tumor markers and cytology in PE and PI were analyzed prospectively.
RESULTS - The incidence of free cancer cells retrieved from peritoneal samples was 7.9%. Cytology was positive in 40.0% by Papanicolaou and Giemsa staining, 73.3% by hematoxylin and eosin staining of cell blocks, and 66.7% by carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and calretinin immunohistochemistry. Multivariate analysis revealed that peritoneal CEA and cancer antigen (CA) 19-9 in PI were correlated with peritoneal metastasis and cytology. Level of peritoneal fluid CEA was statistically significantly correlated with recurrence and peritoneal metastatic recurrence in patients with negative peritoneal cytology. Cytology, peritoneal CEA, and peritoneal CA 19-9 showed correlations with cancer-free survival and overall survival.
CONCLUSIONS - These correlations demonstrate the importance of continuous follow-up of peritoneal metastasis if there is positive cytology or an increase in CEA and CA 19-9 in peritoneal fluid.
PURPOSE - The combination of systemic multiagent chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil + cisplatin) and tumor irradiation is standard of care for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Furthermore, it has been shown that sublethal doses of radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs in diverse cancer types may alter the phenotype or biology of neoplastic cells, making them more susceptible to CTL-mediated cytotoxicity. However, little is known about the potential synergistic effect of drug plus radiation on CTL killing. Here, we examined whether the combination of two chemotherapeutics and ionizing radiation enhanced CTL-mediated destruction of HNSCC more so than either modality separately, as well as the basis for the enhanced tumor cell lysis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN - Several HNSCC cell lines with distinct biological features were treated with sublethal doses of cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil for 24 hours and with 10-Gy irradiation. Seventy-two hours postirradiation, tumor cells were exposed to an antigen-specific CD8+ CTL directed against carcinoembryonic antigen or MUC-1.
RESULTS - In three of three tumor cell lines tested, enhanced CTL activity was observed when the two modalities (chemotherapy and radiation) were combined as compared with target cells exposed to either modality separately. CTL-mediated lysis was MHC restricted and antigen specific and occurred almost entirely via the perforin pathway. Moreover, the combination treatment regimen led to a 50% reduction in Bcl-2 expression whereas single modality treatment had little bearing on the expression of this antiapoptotic gene.
CONCLUSIONS - Overall, these results reveal that (a) CTL killing can be enhanced by combining multiagent chemotherapy and radiation and (b) combination treatment enhanced or sensitized HNSCC to the perforin pathway, perhaps by down-regulating Bcl-2 expression. These studies thus form the rational basis for clinical trials of immunotherapy concomitant with the current standard of care of HNSCC.
Immunoperoxidase staining was used to examine carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) expression in 167 breast cancer cases. Patients with histological evidence of regional or localized breast cancer who lived less than 3 years or greater than 10 years were assessed. Overall expression of CEA was 65%. There was no significant correlation in CEA expression and survival in either regional or localized breast cancer cases. There was no association between CEA expression and number of lymph nodes involved, size of tumor, parity, gravidity, blood type, or menopausal status of the patients in either group. When the lymph nodes of cases with regional breast cancer were examined, there was a statistically significant number of short survivors whose primary tumor was negative for CEA, but whose metastatic tumor expressed the marker when compared to long survivors with regional lymph node involvement.