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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Jan 3, 2012

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This week in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers in Germany assess the effect of histological type on surgical outcome and survival of epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal cancer patients following radical primary tumor "debulking." The team analyzed data from 632 patients after surgery, and found that patients with high-grade serous, high-grade endometrioid, undifferentiated, and malignant mixed-mesodermal tumors had a significantly higher incidence of advanced disease, median CA125 values, operative time, and incomplete tumor resection than patients with low-grade serous, low-grade endometrioid, clear cell, mucinous, and transitional carcinomas. During follow-up, the researchers also found that 17 percent of patients with low-grade tumors relapsed or died, compared to 34.8 percent of patients with high-grade cancer. "Type I EOC patients appear to present at earlier stages have significantly higher survival and more optimal surgical outcome compared with type II patients," the team writes. "However, in advanced stages, histology loses significance as an independent prognosticator."

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, a team of US researchers reports its evaluation of pharmacodynamic biomarkers in a Phase 1a trial of dulanermin. The team measured cell death markers in both a colorectal cancer xenograft model and patients with advanced tumors treated with dulanermin. They found transient increases in apoptotic markers in the mice about eight to 24 hours after treatment and a statistically significant increase in one marker, serum caspase 3/7, in human patients 24 hours after receiving dulanermin. "Owing to limited responses in the Phase 1a study, the changes in circulating cell-death markers were not evaluable," the team adds. "Future studies with dulanermin are needed to determine the utility of these assays with respect to providing evidence of activity or predicting overall response."

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers at the Technical University of Munich evaluate the utility of Y-box-binding protein-1 expression in the stratification of head and neck cancer patients. The team analyzed the expression of YB-1 in tissue samples from 365 head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients, and found they expressed significantly higher levels of this oncogenic transcription factor than healthy individuals. "HNSCC patients with elevated YB-1 protein expression had a significantly decreased [disease-specific survival]," the authors write. "High YB-1 expression and nuclear localization retained its significance as a statistically independent prognostic marker for [disease-specific survival]."

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