The architect who never sleeps: tumor-induced plasticity
Tiago de Oliveira
Florian R. Greten
- Tumor cell plasticity is an event that has been observed in several malignancies. In fact, most of the solid tumors are characterized by cellular heterogeneity and undergo constant changes as the tumor develops. The increased plasticity displayed by these cells allows them to acquire additional properties, enabling epithelial-mesenchymal transitions, dedifferentiation and the acquisition of stem cell-like properties. Here we discuss the particular importance of an inflammatory microenvironment for the bidirectional control of cellular plasticity and the potential for therapeutic intervention.
CSF biomarkers for Alzheimer's pathology and the effect size of APOE ε4
Jonathan M. Schott
Anticoagulant treatment in German family practices – screening results from a cluster randomized controlled trial
Juliana J. Petersen
- ackgroundOral anticoagulation (OAC) with coumarins and new anticoagulants are highly effective in preventing thromboembolic complications. However, some studies indicate that over- and under-treatment with anticoagulants are fairly common. The aim of this paper is to assess the appropriateness of treatment in patients with a long-term indication for OAC, and to describe the corresponding characteristics of such patients on the basis of screening results from the cluster randomized PICANT trial.MethodsRandomly selected family practices in the federal state of Hesse, Germany, were visited by study team members. Eligible patients were screened using an anonymous patient list that was generated by the general practitioners? software according to predefined instructions. A documentation sheet was filled in for all screened patients. Eligible patients were classified into 3 categories (1: patients with a long-term indication for OAC and taking anticoagulants, 2: patients with a long-term indication for OAC but not taking anticoagulants, 3: patients without a long-term indication for OAC but taking an anticoagulant on a permanent basis). IBM SPSS Statistics 20 was used for descriptive statistical analysis.ResultsWe screened 2,036 randomly selected, potentially eligible patients from 52 family practices. 275 patients could not be assigned to one of the 3 categories and were therefore not considered for analysis. The final study sample comprised 1,761 screened patients, 1,641 of whom belonged to category 1, 78 to category 2, and 42 to category 3. INR values were available for 1,504 patients of whom 1,013 presented INR values within their therapeutic ranges. The majority of screened patients had very good compliance, as assessed by the general practitioner. New antithrombotic drugs were prescribed in 6.1% of cases.ConclusionsThe screening results showed that a high proportion of patients were receiving appropriate anticoagulation therapy. The numbers of patients with a long-term indication for OAC therapy that were not receiving oral anticoagulants, and without a long-term indication that were receiving OAC, were considerably lower than expected. Most patients take coumarins, and the quality of OAC control is reasonably high.Trial registrationCurrent Controlled Trials ISRCTN41847489.
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Predictive value of interferon-lambda gene polymorphisms for treatment response in chronic hepatitis C
- Background: IL28B gene polymorphism is the best baseline predictor of response to interferon alfa-based antiviral therapies in chronic hepatitis C. Recently, a new IFN-L4 polymorphism was identified as first potential functional variant for induction of IL28B expression. Individualization of interferon alfa-based therapies based on a combination of IL28B/IFN-L4 polymorphisms may help to optimize virologic outcome and economic resources.
Methods: Optimization of treatment outcome prediction was assessed by combination of different IL28B and IFN-L4 polymorphisms in patients with chronic HCV genotype 1 (n = 385), 2/3 (n = 267), and 4 (n = 220) infection treated with pegylated interferon alfa (PEG-IFN) and ribavirin with (n = 79) or without telaprevir. Healthy people from Germany (n = 283) and Egypt (n = 96) served as controls.
Results: Frequencies of beneficial IL28B rs12979860 C/C genotypes were lower in HCV genotype 1/4 infected patients in comparison to controls (20–35% vs. 46–47%) this was also true for ss469415590 TT/TT (20–35% vs. 45–47%). Single interferon-lambda SNPs (rs12979860, rs8099917, ss469415590) correlated with sustained virologic response (SVR) in genotype 1, 3, and 4 infected patients while no association was observed for genotype 2. Interestingly, in genotype 3 infected patients, best SVR prediction was based on IFN-L4 genotype. Prediction of SVR with high accuracy (71–96%) was possible in genotype 1, 2, 3 and 4 infected patients who received PEG-IFN/ribavirin combination therapy by selection of beneficial IL28B rs12979860 C/C and/or ss469415590 TT/TT genotypes (p<0.001). For triple therapy with first generation protease inhibitors (PIs) (boceprevir, telaprevir) prediction of high SVR (90%) rates was based on the presence of at least one beneficial genotype of the 3 IFN-lambda SNPs.
Conclusion: IFN-L4 seems to be the best single predictor of SVR in genotype 3 infected patients. For optimized prediction of SVR by treatment with dual combination or first generation PI triple therapies, grouping of interferon-lambda haplotypes may be helpful with positive predictive values of 71–96%.
High variability in oral glucose tolerance among 1,128 patients with cystic fibrosis: a multicenter screening study
Reinhard W. Holl
Julia M. Hermann
Silke van Koningsbruggen-Rietschel
- Background: In cystic fibrosis, highly variable glucose tolerance is suspected. However, no study provided within-patient coefficients of variation. The main objective of this short report was to evaluate within-patient variability of oral glucose tolerance.
Methods: In total, 4,643 standardized oral glucose tolerance tests of 1,128 cystic fibrosis patients (median age at first test: 15.5 [11.5; 21.5] years, 48.8% females) were studied. Patients included were clinically stable, non-pregnant, and had at least two oral glucose tolerance tests, with no prior lung transplantation or systemic steroid therapy. Transition frequency from any one test to the subsequent test was analyzed and within-patient coefficients of variation were calculated for fasting and two hour blood glucose values. All statistical analysis was implemented with SAS 9.4.
Results: A diabetic glucose tolerance was confirmed in 41.2% by the subsequent test. A regression to normal glucose tolerance at the subsequent test was observed in 21.7% and to impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance or both in 15.2%, 12.0% or 9.9%. The average within-patient coefficient of variation for fasting blood glucose was 11.1% and for two hour blood glucose 25.3%.
Conclusion: In the cystic fibrosis patients studied, a highly variable glucose tolerance was observed. Compared to the general population, variability of two hour blood glucose was 1.5 to 1.8-fold higher.
Curare - a curative poison: a scientometric analysis
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- Introduction: Curare is one of the best-examined neurotoxins of the world, which has empirically been used for centuries by American Indigenes. Research on curare has been performed much later, a global scientometric analysis on curare research or its derivates does not yet exist. This bibliometric analysis is part of the global NewQis-project and should illuminate both toxic and historic issues of research on curare.
Methods: The ISI Web of Science was searched for data covering 1900 to 2013 using a term which included as many original articles on curare as possible. 3,867 articles were found and analyzed for common bibliometric items such as the number of citations, language of the articles or the (modified) Hirsch-Index (h-index). Results are illustrated utilizing modern density equalizing map projections (DEMP) or beam diagrams.
Results: Most publications were located in North America and Europe. The USA has the highest number of publications as well as the highest h-index. The number of publications overall rose until the late 1990s and later decreased. Furthermore, sudden increases of research activity are ascribable to historic events, like the first use of curare as muscle relaxant during surgery.
Discussion: This scientometric analysis of curare research reflects several tendencies as previously seen in other bibliometric investigations, i.e. the scientific quality standard of North America and Europe. Research on curare decreased however, due to the declining attention towards this muscle relaxant. This work exemplifies also how scientometric methods can be used to illuminate historic circumstances immediately stimulating scientific research.
Esthetic outcome of implant-based reconstructions in augmented bone: comparison of autologous and allogeneic bone block grafting with the pink esthetic score (PES)
- From 2003 to 2009, 67 patients underwent alveolar ridge augmentation and were enrolled in the study, 41 meet the inclusion criteria and 31 agreed to take part in the study. Patients were 18-69 years old (mean: 49.3 ± 13.8 years), and predominantly female. Patients received bone block grafts either autologous (n = 48) (AUBB) or allografts (ABB) (n = 19). Implants were inserted 4-7 months (autografts) or 5-6 months (allografts) after bone grafting. The Pink Esthetic Score (PES) as well as radiographic and subjective assessments were employed for the outcome analysis. The PES was assessed twice within one month based on digital photographic images that were randomly rearranged between evaluations by three independent, experienced investigators.
First-line treatment of EGFR-mutated nonsmall cell lung cancer: critical review on study methodology
- Recent advances in understanding the mechanisms of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has led to the development of targeted treatments, including the reversible epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib, and the irreversible ErbB family blocker afatinib. Several important activating EGFR mutations have now been identified, which correlate strongly with response to treatment with these agents. Multiple randomised controlled trials have confirmed the association between the presence of activating EGFR mutations and objective response to gefitinib, erlotinib and afatinib, thus demonstrating their superiority over platinum-based chemotherapy as first-line treatment for NSCLC patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumours, and resulting in approval of these agents for use in this setting. It can be tempting to compare outcome data across multiple clinical trials and agents; however, substantial differences in methodology between studies, including investigator versus independent assessment and differences in patient eligibility, makes such comparisons fraught with difficulty. This critical review provides an overview of the evolution of the methodology used in eight phase III trials investigating first-line targeted treatment of NSCLC, identifies key differences in methodology and reporting, and critically assesses how these differences should be taken into account when interpreting the findings from such trials.
Targeted ultra-deep sequencing reveals recurrent and mutually exclusive mutations of cancer genes in blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm
Jochen K. Lennerz
- Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) is a rare haematopoietic malignancy characterized by dismal prognosis and overall poor therapeutic response. Since the biology of BPDCN is barely understood, our study aims to shed light on the genetic make-up of these highly malignant tumors. Using targeted high-coverage massive parallel sequencing, we investigated 50 common cancer genes in 33 BPDCN samples. We detected point mutations in NRAS (27.3% of cases), ATM (21.2%), MET, KRAS, IDH2, KIT (9.1% each), APC and RB1 (6.1% each), as well as in VHL, BRAF, MLH1, TP53 and RET (3% each). Moreover, NRAS, KRAS and ATM mutations were found to be mutually exclusive and we observed recurrent mutations in NRAS, IDH2, APC and ATM. CDKN2A deletions were detected in 27.3% of the cases followed by deletions of RB1 (9.1%), PTEN and TP53 (3% each). The mutual exclusive distribution of some mutations may point to different subgroups of BPDCN whose biological significance remains to be explored.