HCV-related burden of disease in Europe : a systematic assessment of incidence, prevalence, morbidity, and mortality
- Background Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, end-stage cirrhosis, and liver cancer, but little is known about the burden of disease caused by the virus. We summarised burden of disease data presently available for Europe, compared the data to current expert estimates, and identified areas in which better data are needed. Methods Literature and international health databases were systematically searched for HCV-specific burden of disease data, including incidence, prevalence, mortality, disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), and liver transplantation. Data were collected for the WHO European region with emphasis on 22 countries. If HCV-specific data were unavailable, these were calculated via HCV-attributable fractions. Results HCV-specific burden of disease data for Europe are scarce. Incidence data provided by national surveillance are not fully comparable and need to be standardised. HCV prevalence data are often inconclusive. According to available data, an estimated 7.3–8.8 million people (1.1–1.3%) are infected in our 22 focus countries. HCV-specific mortality, DALY, and transplantation data are unavailable. Estimations via HCV-attributable fractions indicate that HCV caused more than 86000 deaths and 1.2 million DALYs in the WHO European region in 2002. Most of the DALYs (95%) were accumulated by patients in preventable disease stages. About one-quarter of the liver transplants performed in 25 European countries in 2004 were attributable to HCV. Conclusion Our results indicate that hepatitis C is a major health problem and highlight the importance of timely antiviral treatment. However, data on the burden of disease of hepatitis C in Europe are scarce, outdated or inconclusive, which indicates that hepatitis C is still a neglected disease in many countries. What is needed are public awareness, co-ordinated action plans, and better data. European physicians should be aware that many infections are still undetected, provide timely testing and antiviral treatment, and avoid iatrogenic transmission.
Quality management: reduction of waiting time and efficiency enhancement in an ENT-university outpatients' department
Heike Anette Kahla-Witzsch
- Background Public health systems are confronted with constantly rising costs. Furthermore, diagnostic as well as treatment services become more and more specialized. These are the reasons for an interdisciplinary project on the one hand aiming at simplification of planning and scheduling patient appointments, on the other hand at fulfilling all requirements of efficiency and treatment quality. Methods As to understanding procedure and problem solving activities, the responsible project group strictly proceeded with four methodical steps: actual state analysis, analysis of causes, correcting measures, and examination of effectiveness. Various methods of quality management, as for instance opinion polls, data collections, and several procedures of problem identification as well as of solution proposals were applied. All activities were realized according to the requirements of the clinic's ISO 9001:2000 certified quality management system. The development of this project is described step by step from planning phase to inauguration into the daily routine of the clinic and subsequent control of effectiveness. Results Five significant problem fields could be identified. After an analysis of causes the major remedial measures were: installation of a patient telephone hotline, standardization of appointment arrangements for all patients, modification of the appointments book considering the reason for coming in planning defined working periods for certain symptoms and treatments, improvement of telephonic counselling, and transition to flexible time planning by daily updates of the appointments book. After implementation of these changes into the clinic's routine success could be demonstrated by significantly reduced waiting times and resulting increased patient satisfaction. Conclusion Systematic scrutiny of the existing organizational structures of the outpatients' department of our clinic by means of actual state analysis and analysis of causes revealed the necessity of improvement. According to rules of quality management correcting measures and subsequent examination of effectiveness were performed. These changes resulted in higher satisfaction of patients, referring colleagues and clinic staff the like. Additionally the clinic is able to cope with an increasing demand for appointments in outpatients' departments, and the clinic's human resources are employed more effectively.
Job stress and job satisfaction of physicians, radiographers, nurses and physicists working in radiotherapy : a multicenter analysis by the DEGRO Quality of Life Work Group
Hans Joachim Wypior
- Background Ongoing changes in cancer care cause an increase in the complexity of cases which is characterized by modern treatment techniques and a higher demand for patient information about the underlying disease and therapeutic options. At the same time, the restructuring of health services and reduced funding have led to the downsizing of hospital care services. These trends strongly influence the workplace environment and are a potential source of stress and burnout among professionals working in radiotherapy. Methods and patients A postal survey was sent to members of the workgroup "Quality of Life" which is part of DEGRO (German Society for Radiooncology). Thus far, 11 departments have answered the survey. 406 (76.1%) out of 534 cancer care workers (23% physicians, 35% radiographers, 31% nurses, 11% physicists) from 8 university hospitals and 3 general hospitals completed the FBAS form (Stress Questionnaire of Physicians and Nurses; 42 items, 7 scales), and a self-designed questionnaire regarding work situation and one question on global job satisfaction. Furthermore, the participants could make voluntary suggestions about how to improve their situation. Results Nurses and physicians showed the highest level of job stress (total score 2.2 and 2.1). The greatest source of job stress (physicians, nurses and radiographers) stemmed from structural conditions (e.g. underpayment, ringing of the telephone) a "stress by compassion" (e.g. "long suffering of patients", "patients will be kept alive using all available resources against the conviction of staff"). In multivariate analyses professional group (p < 0.001), working night shifts (p = 0.001), age group (p = 0.012) and free time compensation (p = 0.024) gained significance for total FBAS score. Global job satisfaction was 4.1 on a 9-point scale (from 1 – very satisfied to 9 – not satisfied). Comparing the total stress scores of the hospitals and job groups we found significant differences in nurses (p = 0.005) and physicists (p = 0.042) and a borderline significance in physicians (p = 0.052). In multivariate analyses "professional group" (p = 0.006) and "vocational experience" (p = 0.036) were associated with job satisfaction (cancer care workers with < 2 years of vocational experience having a higher global job satisfaction). The total FBAS score correlated with job satisfaction (Spearman-Rho = 0.40; p < 0.001). Conclusion Current workplace environments have a negative impact on stress levels and the satisfaction of radiotherapy staff. Identification and removal of the above-mentioned critical points requires various changes which should lead to the reduction of stress.
Analysis of knockout/knockin mice that express a mutant FasL lacking the intracellular domain
Katharina Maria Lückerath
- Fas ligand (FasL; CD178; CD95L) is a type II transmembrane protein belonging to the tumour necrosis factor family; its binding to the Fas receptor (CD95; APO-1) triggers apoptosis in the receptor-bearing cell. Signalling through this pathway plays a pivotal role during the immune response and in immune system homeostasis. Similar to other TNF family members, the intracellular domain has been reported to transmit signals to the inside of the FasL-bearing cell (reverse signalling). Recently, we identified the proteases ADAM10 and SPPL2a as molecules important for the processing of FasL. Protease cleavage releases the intracellular domain, which then is able to translocate to the nucleus and to repress reporter gene activity. To study the physiological importance of FasL reverse signalling in vivo, we established knockout/knockin mice with a FasL deletion mutant that lacks the intracellular portion (FasLDeltaIntra). Co-culture experiments confirmed that the truncated FasL protein is still capable of inducing apoptosis in Fas-sensitive cells. Preliminary immune histochemistry data suggest that, in contrast to published data, the absence of the intracellular FasL domain does not alter the intracellular FasL localization in activated T cells. We are currently investigating signalling and proliferative capacities of T cells derived from homozygous FasLDeltaIntra mice to validate a co-stimulatory role of FasL reverse signalling.
Mitochondrial TERT enhances mitochondria functions in vivo by protecting mitochondrial DNA integrity from oxidative damage : meeting abstract
- Mitochondria are essential for respiration and oxidative phosphorylation. Mitochondrial dysfunction due to aging processes is involved in pathologies and pathogenesis of a series of cardiovascular disorders. New results accumulate showing that the enzyme telomerase with its catalytic subunit telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) has a beneficial effect on heart functions. The benefit of short-term running of mice for heart function is dependent on TERT expression. TERT can translocate into the mitochondria and mitochondrial TERT (mtTERT) is protective against stress induced stimuli and binds to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Because mtDNA is highly susceptible to damage produced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are generated in close proximity to the respiratory chain, the aim of this study was to determine the functions of mtTERT in vivo and in vitro. Therefore, mitochondria from hearts of adult, 2nd generation TERT-deficient mice (TERT -/-) and wt littermates were isolated and state 3 respiration was measured. Strikingly mitochondria from TERT -/- revealed a significantly lower state 3 respiration (TERTwt: 987 +/- 72 pmol/s*mg vs. TERT-/-: 774 +/- 38 pmol/s*mg, p < 0.05, n = 5). These results demonstrated that TERT -/- mice have a so far undiscovered heart phenotype. In contrast mitochondria isolated from liver tissues did not show any differences. To get further insights in the molecular mechanisms, we reduced endogenous TERT levels by shRNA and measured mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS). mtROS were increased after ablation of TERT (scrambled: 4.98 +/- 1.1% gated vs. shTERT: 2.03 +/- 0.7% gated, p < 0.05, n = 4). We next determined mtDNA deletions, which are caused by mtROS. Semiquantitative realtime PCR of mtDNA deletions revealed that mtTERT protects mtDNA from oxidative damage. To analyze whether mitochondrial integrity is required to protect from apoptosis, vectors with mitochondrially targeted TERT (mitoTERT) and wildtype TERT (wtTERT) were transfected and apoptosis was measured. mitoTERT showed the most prominent protective effect on H2O2 induced apoptosis. In conclusion, mtTERT has a protective role in mitochondria by importantly contributing to mtDNA integrity and thereby enhancing respiration capacity of the heart.
Tfg (Trk fused gene) is a Carma-1/IKKgamma interacting protein involved in CD40-induced canonical NF-KB signaling
- Carma-1 is required for B cell receptor-/CD40- and T cell receptor-/CD28-induced B- and T-cell activation via JNK and NF-betaB. In B cells, Carma-1 becomes phosphorylated by PKCbeta, leading to its oligomerization. Subsequent Bcl10 binding induces IKKbeta-activation and, thereby, canonical NF-KB signalling. Despite these findings it is still unknown how exactly Carma-1 is connected to the plasma membrane and to the IKK-complex. Therefore, we purified Carma-1 complexes from mouse CH12 B cells using anti-Carma-1 affinity columns. Mass spectrometric analyses of the column eluates demonstrated the presence of Carma-1 as well as three previously uncharacterized adaptor proteins in B cells, one of which was the Trk-fused gene (Tfg), an adaptor protein containing PB1 and coiledcoil domains. Whereas Tfg was originally identified as fusion partner of oncogenic Trk tyrosine kinase mutants, the normal cellular homologue of Tfg has so far not been described in B cells. However, Tfg has been shown in other systems to interact with IKKgamma and to enhance TNFinduced NF-KB activation. Tfg and Carma-1 co-localized at the plasma membrane and perinuclear structures in B cells. We further corroborated the interactions of Tfg, IKKgamma and Carma-1 by Blue Native gel electrophoresis, where Carma-1 and Tfg formed a 0.7–1 MDa complex. Ectopic expression of Tfg increased the molecular mass of IKKgamma complexes, fused IKKgamma, Bcl10 and Carma-1 complexes to a ~2 MDa complex, and increased basal and CD40-induced canonical activity of NF-KB and IKKbeta. In contrast, shRNA-mediated silencing of Tfg decreased CD40-induced IKKbeta activity. Very interestingly, in primary B cells, highest expression of Tfg was detected in marginal zone and B1 B cells, and Carma-1 and Tfg formed complexes in these B cells. Since Carma-1 is required for marginal zone B cell and B1 B cell development, we suggest that a functional interaction between Carma-1 and Tfg contributes to development and maintenance of these cells by means of canonical NF-KB signals.
T-cell metagene predicts a favorable prognosis in estrogen receptor-negative and HER2-positive breast cancers
- Introduction Lymphocyte infiltration (LI) is often seen in breast cancer but its importance remains controversial. A positive correlation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification and LI has been described, which was associated with a more favorable outcome. However, specific lymphocytes might also promote tumor progression by shifting the cytokine milieu in the tumor. Methods Affymetrix HG-U133A microarray data of 1,781 primary breast cancer samples from 12 datasets were included. The correlation of immune system-related metagenes with different immune cells, clinical parameters, and survival was analyzed. Results A large cluster of nearly 600 genes with functions in immune cells was consistently obtained in all datasets. Seven robust metagenes from this cluster can act as surrogate markers for the amount of different immune cell types in the breast cancer sample. An IgG metagene as a marker for B cells had no significant prognostic value. In contrast, a strong positive prognostic value for the T-cell surrogate marker (lymphocyte-specific kinase (LCK) metagene) was observed among all estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors and those ER-positive tumors with a HER2 overexpression. Moreover ER-negative tumors with high expression of both IgG and LCK metagenes seem to respond better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Conclusions Precise definitions of the specific subtypes of immune cells in the tumor can be accomplished from microarray data. These surrogate markers define subgroups of tumors with different prognosis. Importantly, all known prognostic gene signatures uniformly assign poor prognosis to all ER-negative tumors. In contrast, the LCK metagene actually separates the ER-negative group into better or worse prognosis.
The effect of the dual Src/Abl kinase inhibitor AZD0530 on Philadelphia positive leukaemia cell lines
Patricia Mambou Gwanmesia
Oliver Gerhard Ottmann
- Background Imatinib mesylate, a selective inhibitor of Abl tyrosine kinase, is efficacious in treating chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) and Ph+ acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). However, most advanced-phase CML and Ph+ ALL patients relapse on Imatinib therapy. Several mechanisms of refractoriness have been reported, including the activation of the Src-family kinases (SFK). Here, we investigated the biological effect of the new specific dual Src/Abl kinase inhibitor AZD0530 on Ph+ leukaemic cells. Methods Cell lines used included BV173 (CML in myeloid blast crisis), SEM t(4;11), Ba/F3 (IL-3 dependent murine pro B), p185Bcr-Abl infected Ba/F3 cells, p185Bcr-Abl mutant infected Ba/F3 cells, SupB15 (Ph+ ALL) and Imatinib resistant SupB15 (RTSupB15) (Ph+ ALL) cells. Cells were exposed to AZD0530 and Imatinib. Cell proliferation, apoptosis, survival and signalling pathways were assessed by dye exclusion, flow cytometry and Western blotting respectively. Results AZD0530 specifically inhibited the growth of, and induced apoptosis in CML and Ph+ ALL cells in a dose dependent manner, but showed only marginal effects on Ph- ALL cells. Resistance to Imatinib due to the mutation Y253F in p185Bcr-Abl was overcome by AZD0530. Combination of AZD0530 and Imatinib showed an additive inhibitory effect on the proliferation of CML BV173 cells but not on Ph+ ALL SupB15 cells. An ongoing transphosphorylation was demonstrated between SFKs and Bcr-Abl. AZD0530 significantly down-regulated the activation of survival signalling pathways in Ph+ cells, resistant or sensitive to Imatinib, with the exception of the RTSupB15. Conclusion Our results indicate that AZD0530 targets both Src and Bcr-Abl kinase activity and reduces the leukaemic maintenance by Bcr-Abl.
Taurolidine reduces the tumor stimulating cytokine interleukin-1beta in patients with resectable gastrointestinal cancer : a multicentre prospective randomized trial
Carsten Nils Gutt
Joachim M. Müller
Christoph A. Jacobi
- Background The effect of additional treatment strategies with antineoplastic agents on intraperitoneal tumor stimulating interleukin levels are unclear. Taurolidine and Povidone-iodine have been mainly used for abdominal lavage in Germany and Europe. Methods In the settings of a multicentre (three University Hospitals) prospective randomized controlled trial 120 patients were randomly allocated to receive either 0.5% taurolidine/2,500 IU heparin (TRD) or 0.25% povidone-iodine (control) intraperitoneally for resectable colorectal, gastric or pancreatic cancers. Due to the fact that IL-1beta (produced by macrophages) is preoperatively indifferent in various gastrointestinal cancer types our major outcome criterion was the perioperative (overall) level of IL-1beta in peritoneal fluid. Results Cytokine values were significantly lower after TRD lavage for IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-10. Perioperative complications did not differ. The median follow-up was 50.0 months. The overall mortality rate (28 vs. 25, p = 0.36), the cancer-related death rate (17 vs. 19, p = .2), the local recurrence rate (7 vs. 12, p = .16), the distant metastasis rate (13 vs. 18, p = 0.2) as well as the time to relapse were not statistically significant different. Conclusion Reduced cytokine levels might explain a short term antitumorigenic intraperitoneal effect of TRD. But, this study analyzed different types of cancer. Therefore, we set up a multicentre randomized trial in patients undergoing curative colorectal cancer resection. Trial registration : ISRCTN66478538
QPRT: a potential marker for follicular thyroid carcinoma including minimal invasive variant : a gene expression, RNA and immunohistochemical study
- Background The differential diagnosis between follicular thyroid adenoma and minimal invasive follicular thyroid carcinoma is often difficult for several reasons. One major aspect is the lack of typical cytological criteria in well differentiated specimens. New marker molecules, shown by poly- or monoclonal antibodies proved helpful. Methods We performed global gene expression analysis of 12 follicular thyroid tumours (4 follicular adenomas, 4 minimal invasive follicular carcinomas and 4 widely invasive follicular carcinomas), followed by immunohistochemical staining of 149 cases. The specificity of the antibody was validated by western blot analysis Results In gene expression analysis QPRT was detected as differently expressed between follicular thyroid adenoma and follicular thyroid carcinoma. QPRT protein could be detected by immunohistochemistry in 65% of follicular thyroid carcinomas including minimal invasive variant and only 22% of follicular adenomas. Conclusion Consequently, QPRT is a potential new marker for the immunohistochemical screening of follicular thyroid nodules.