Publications by authors named "Joost J C Verhoeff"

55 Publications

The Impact of Stereotactic or Whole Brain Radiotherapy on Neurocognitive Functioning in Adult Patients with Brain Metastases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Oncol Res Treat 2021 Sep 3:1-15. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery, University Medical Center Utrecht Brain Center, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background & Objectives: Radiotherapy is standard treatment for patients with brain metastases (BMs), although it may lead to radiation-induced cognitive impairment. This review explores the impact of whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on cognition.

Methods: The PRISMA guidelines were used to identify articles on PubMed and EmBase reporting on objective assessment of cognition before, and at least once after radiotherapy, in adult patients with nonresected BMs.

Results: Of the 867 records screened, twenty articles (14 unique studies) were included. WBRT lead to decline in cognitive performance, which stabilized or returned to baseline in patients with survival of at least 9-15 months. For SRS, a decline in cognitive performance was sometimes observed shortly after treatment, but the majority of patients returned to or remained at baseline until a year after treatment.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that after WBRT, patients can experience deterioration over a longer period of time. The cognitive side effects of SRS are transient. Therefore, this review advices to choose SRS as this will result in lowest risks for cognitive adverse side effects, irrespective of predicted survival. In an already cognitively vulnerable patient population with limited survival, this information can be used in communicating risks and aid in making educated decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000518848DOI Listing
September 2021

Adjuvant Treatment Following Irradical Resection of Stage I-III Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: A Population-based Study.

Curr Probl Cancer 2021 Aug 14:100784. Epub 2021 Aug 14.

Department of Radiation Oncology, The Netherlands, University Medical Center Utrecht. Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Irradical (R1-2) resection for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with a dismal prognosis. Adjuvant treatment attempts to improve survival outcomes, but evidence on the optimal strategy is limited. The purpose of this study was to compare overall survival (OS) between different adjuvant treatment strategies in these patients. Out of 8,528 patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC from 2015-2018, those with an R1-2 resection were identified from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. First, OS was compared between adjuvant treatment groups 'no therapy', 'radiotherapy (RT) only', 'chemotherapy only', and 'chemo- and radiotherapy (CRT)' using multinomial propensity score-weighted Cox regression analysis. Second, three 1:1 propensity score-matched sets were created for chemotherapy vs no chemotherapy, RT only vs no therapy, and CRT vs chemotherapy only. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses for OS were performed in each set. With a median follow-up of 23 months, 427 patients were selected. In the weighted regression analysis, compared to no adjuvant therapy, chemotherapy and CRT were associated with improved OS (HR 0.41, 95%CI: 0.22-0.76; and HR 0.55, 95%CI: 0.37-0.81, respectively), whereas RT was not (HR 1.04, 95%CI: 0.73-1.50). In the matched sets, OS was improved after chemotherapy (+/- RT) compared to no chemotherapy (HR 0.47, 95%CI: 0.32-0.69). No OS difference was observed between matched groups of RT only vs no adjuvant therapy (HR 1.13, 95%CI: 0.74-1.72), nor for CRT vs chemotherapy only (HR 1.37, 95%CI: 0.70-2.71). Adjuvant chemotherapy, but not radiotherapy, improves survival after an R1-2 resection in stage I-III NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.currproblcancer.2021.100784DOI Listing
August 2021

The Influence of Severe Radiation-Induced Lymphopenia on Overall Survival in Solid Tumors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 Nov 28;111(4):936-948. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Departments of Radiation Oncology.

Purpose: Emerging evidence suggests a detrimental prognostic association between radiation-induced lymphopenia (RIL) and pathologic response, progression-free survival, and overall survival (OS) in patients who undergo radiation therapy for cancer. The aim of this study was to systematically review and meta-analyze the prognostic impact of RIL on OS in patients with solid tumors.

Methods And Materials: PubMed/MEDLINE and Embase were systematically searched. The analysis included intervention and prognostic studies that reported on the prognostic relationship between RIL and survival in patients with solid tumors. An overall pooled adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) was calculated using a random-effects model. Subgroup analyses for different patient-, tumor-, treatment-, and study-related characteristics were performed using meta-regression.

Results: Pooling of 21 cohorts within 20 eligible studies demonstrated a statistically significant association between OS and grade ≥3 versus grade 0-2 RIL (n = 16; pooled aHR, 1.65; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.43-1.90) and grade 4 RIL versus grade 0-3 (n = 5; aHR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.24-1.90). Moderate heterogeneity among aHRs was observed, mostly attributable to overestimated aHRs in 7 studies likely subject to model-overfitting. Subgroup analysis showed significant prognostic impact of grade ≥3 RIL in 4 brain tumor (aHR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.06-2.51), 4 lung cancer (aHR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.01-2.29), and 3 pancreatic cancer (aHR, 1.92; 95% CI, 1.10-3.36) cohorts.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis demonstrates a significant detrimental prognostic association between grade ≥3 lymphopenia and OS in patients receiving radiation therapy for solid tumors. This finding appears consistent for tumors of the brain, thorax, and upper abdomen and provides an imperative to further elucidate the potential survival benefit of lymphopenia-mitigating strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.07.1695DOI Listing
November 2021

Visual Outcomes after Endoscopic Endonasal Transsphenoidal Resection of Pituitary Adenomas: Our Institutional Experience.

J Neurol Surg B Skull Base 2021 Jul 3;82(Suppl 3):e79-e87. Epub 2020 Feb 3.

Department of Neurosurgery, Computational Neurosurgical Outcome Center (CNOC), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

 Visual dysfunction in patients with pituitary adenomas is a clear indication for endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS). However, the visual outcomes vary greatly among patients and it remains unclear what tumor, patient, and surgical characteristics contribute to postoperative visual outcomes.  One hundred patients with pituitary adenomas who underwent EETS between January 2011 and June 2015 in a single institution were retrospectively reviewed. General patient characteristics, pre- and postoperative visual status, clinical presentation, tumor characteristics, hormone production, radiological features, and procedural characteristics were evaluated for association with presenting visual signs and visual outcomes postoperatively. Suprasellar tumor extension (SSE) was graded 0 to 4 following a grading system as formulated by Fujimoto et al.  Sixty-six (66/100) of all patients showed visual field defects (VFD) at the time of surgery, of whom 18% (12/66) were asymptomatic. VFD improved in 35 (35%) patients and worsened in 4 (4%) patients postoperatively. Mean visual acuity (VA) improved from 0.67 preoperatively to 0.84 postoperatively (  = 0.04). Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) and Fujimoto grade were independent predictors of preoperative VFD in the entire cohort (  = 0.02 and  < 0.01 respectively). A higher grade of SSE was the only factor independently associated with postoperative improvement of VFD (  = 0.03). NFPA and Fujimoto grade 3 were independent predictors of VA improvement (both  = 0.04).  EETS significantly improved both VA and VFD for most patients, although a few patients showed deterioration of visual deficits postoperatively. Higher degrees of SSE and NFPA were independent predictors of favorable visual outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-3402020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8289550PMC
July 2021

Neurosurgical resection for locally recurrent brain metastasis.

Neuro Oncol 2021 Jul 16. Epub 2021 Jul 16.

Computational Neuroscience Outcomes Center, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

Background: In patients with locally recurrent brain metastases (LRBMs), the role of (repeat) craniotomy is controversial. This study aimed to analyze long-term oncological outcomes in this heterogeneous population.

Methods: Craniotomies for LRBM were identified from a tertiary neuro-oncological institution. First, we assessed overall survival (OS) and intracranial control (ICC) stratified by molecular profile, prognostic indices, and multimodality treatment. Second, we compared LRBMs to propensity score-matched patients who underwent craniotomy for newly diagnosed brain metastases (NDBM).

Results: Across 180 patients, median survival after LRBM resection was 13.8 months and varied by molecular profile, with >24 months survival in ALK/EGFR+ lung adenocarcinoma and HER2+ breast cancer. Furthermore, 102 patients (56.7%) experienced intracranial recurrence; median time to recurrence was 5.6 months. Compared to NDBMs (n = 898), LRBM patients were younger, more likely to harbor a targetable mutation and less likely to receive adjuvant radiation (p < 0.05). After 1:3 propensity matching stratified by molecular profile, LRBM patients generally experienced shorter OS (hazard ratio 1.67 and 1.36 for patients with or without a mutation, p < 0.05) but similar ICC (hazard ratio 1.11 in both groups, p > 0.20) compared to NDBM patients with similar baseline. Results across specific molecular subgroups suggested comparable effect directions of varying sizes.

Conclusions: In our data, patients with LRBMs undergoing craniotomy comprised a subgroup of brain metastasis patients with relatively favorable clinical characteristics and good survival outcomes. Recurrent status predicted shorter OS but did not impact ICC. Craniotomy could be considered in selected, prognostically favorable patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab173DOI Listing
July 2021

Ultra-central lung tumors: safety and efficacy of protracted stereotactic body radiotherapy.

Acta Oncol 2021 Aug 30;60(8):1061-1068. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: For patients with early stage or medically inoperable lung cancer, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is a general accepted and effective treatment option. The role of SBRT in ultra-central tumors remains controversial. The aim of this single-center retrospective analysis was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of protracted SBRT with 60 Gy in 12 fractions (with a biological effective dose (BED) of 90-150 Gy) for patients with ultra-central lung tumors.

Materials And Methods: Patients with ultra-central lung tumors treated in our institution with 60 Gy in 12 fractions from January 2012 until April 2020 were included. Ultra-central tumors were defined as planning target volume (PTV) abutting or overlapping the main bronchi and/or trachea and/or esophagus. Data regarding patient-, tumor-, and treatment-related characteristics were evaluated.

Results: A total of 72 patients met the criteria for ultra-central tumor location. The PTV abutted the main bronchus, trachea or esophagus in 79%, 22% and 28% of cases, respectively. At a median follow-up of 19 months, 1- and 2-year local control rates were 98% and 85%, respectively. Overall survival rates at 1 and 2 years were 77% and 52%, respectively. Grade 3 or higher toxicity was observed in 21%, of which 10 patients (14% of total) died of bronchopulmonary hemorrhage. A significant difference between patients with or without grade ≥3 toxicity was found for the mean dose () to the main bronchus ( = 0.003), where a BED of ≥91 Gy increased the risk of grade ≥3 toxicity significantly.

Discussion: A protracted SBRT regimen of 60 Gy in 12 fractions for ultra-central lung tumors leads to high local control rates with toxicity rates similar to previous series, but with substantial risk of fatal bronchopulmonary hemorrhage. Therefore, possible risk factors of bronchopulmonary hemorrhage such as dose to the main bronchus should be taken into account.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0284186X.2021.1942545DOI Listing
August 2021

Sarcoma of the Heart Treated with Stereotactic MR-Guided Online Adaptive Radiation Therapy.

Case Rep Oncol 2021 Jan-Apr;14(1):453-458. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

We present the first case in the literature of a patient with a histology-proven intimal sarcoma of the heart, recurrent after surgery, treated with stereotactic MR-guided online adaptive radiation therapy on an MR-Linac machine. The treatment was feasible and well tolerated. The CT scan 6 months after the last treatment showed stable disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000513623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7983626PMC
March 2021

Initial Clinical Experience of MR-Guided Radiotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Front Oncol 2021 10;11:617681. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Radiotherapy Related Research, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Curative-intent radiotherapy plays an integral role in the treatment of lung cancer and therefore improving its therapeutic index is vital. MR guided radiotherapy (MRgRT) systems are the latest technological advance which may help with achieving this aim. The majority of MRgRT treatments delivered to date have been stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) based and include the treatment of (ultra-) central tumors. However, there is a move to also implement MRgRT as curative-intent treatment for patients with inoperable locally advanced NSCLC. This paper presents the initial clinical experience of using the two commercially available systems to date: the ViewRay MRIdian and Elekta Unity. The challenges and potential solutions associated with MRgRT in lung cancer will also be highlighted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.617681DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7988221PMC
March 2021

Prophylactic cranial irradiation in patients with small cell lung cancer in The Netherlands: A population-based study.

Clin Transl Radiat Oncol 2021 Mar 12;27:157-163. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Introduction: Controversy has arisen regarding the benefit of prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), particularly since the 2017 Takahashi trial publication that supports MRI surveillance in extensive-stage (ES-)SCLC. The primary aim of this study was to assess trends and determinants in PCI use over the years 2010-2018. A secondary aim was to determine contemporary practice considerations among radiation oncologists (ROs).

Methods: A nationwide population-based cohort study was conducted using the Netherlands Cancer Registry data on all newly diagnosed SCLC patients (2010-2018). The change in PCI frequency over the years and determinants for PCI were analyzed using logistic regression models. Second, an online survey was performed among Dutch lung cancer ROs in 2020.

Results: Among 10,264 eligible patients, 4,894 (47%) received PCI. Compared to 2010-2014, PCI use significantly decreased in 2017-2018 in ES-SCLC (OR 0.68, 95%CI 0.60-0.77) and LS-SCLC (OR 0.56, 95%CI 0.47-0.67). Incidence year, age, performance status, and thoracic radiotherapy were independent determinants for PCI. Among 41 survey participants, PCI was recommended always/sometimes/never by 22%/71%/7% in ES-SCLC and 54%/44%/2% in LS-SCLC. For ES-SCLC and LS-SCLC, 63% and 25% of ROs, respectively, confirmed influence of the Takahashi trial on PCI recommendations. Denial of such influence was associated with insufficient institutional MRI capacity.

Conclusions: A significant declining trend of PCI use in both ES-SCLC and LS-SCLC was observed in The Netherlands since 2017. The Takahashi trial seems an explanation for this trend even in LS-SCLC, with differential influence of the trial depending on institutional MRI capacity. An alarming increase in practice variation regarding PCI was found which stresses the importance of ongoing trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctro.2021.02.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903055PMC
March 2021

The combined use of steroids and immune checkpoint inhibitors in brain metastasis patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Neuro Oncol 2021 08;23(8):1261-1272

Computational Neuroscience Outcomes Center (CNOC), Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) have been a breakthrough for selected cancer patients, including those with brain metastases (BMs). Likewise, steroids have been an integral component of symptomatic management of BM patients. However, clinical evidence on the interaction between ICI and steroids in BM patients is conflicting and has not adequately been summarized thus far. Hence, the aim of this study was to perform a systematic literature review and meta-analysis on the association between steroid use and overall survival (OS) in BM patients receiving ICI.

Methods: A systematic literature search was performed. Pooled effect estimates were calculated using random-effects models across included studies.

Results: After screening 1145 abstracts, 15 observational studies were included. Fourteen studies reported sufficient data for meta-analysis, comprising 1102 BM patients of which 32.1% received steroids. In the steroid group, median OS ranged from 2.9 to 10.2 months. In the nonsteroid group, median OS ranged from 4.9 to 25.1 months. Pooled results demonstrated significantly worse OS (HR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.22-2.77) and systemic progression-free survival (PFS; HR = 2.00, 95% CI 1.37-2.91) in the steroid group. Stratified analysis showed a consistent effect across the melanoma subgroup; not in the lung cancer subgroup. No significant association was shown between steroid use and intracranial PFS (HR = 1.31, 95% CI 0.42-4.07).

Conclusions: Administration of steroids was associated with significantly worse OS and PFS in BM patients receiving ICI. Further research on dose, timing, and duration of steroids is needed to elucidate the cause of this association and optimize outcomes in BM patients receiving ICI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noab046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328028PMC
August 2021

Combining radiotherapy and focused ultrasound for pain palliation of cancer induced bone pain; a stage I/IIa study according to the IDEAL framework.

Clin Transl Radiat Oncol 2021 Mar 15;27:57-63. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Imaging and Oncology, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Cancer induced bone pain (CIBP) strongly interferes with patient's quality of life. Currently, the standard of care includes external beam radiotherapy (EBRT), resulting in pain relief in approximately 60% of patients. Magnetic Resonance guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MR-HIFU) is a promising treatment modality for CIBP.

Methods: A single arm, R-IDEAL stage I/IIa study was conducted. Patients presenting at the department of radiation oncology with symptomatic bone metastases in the appendicular skeleton, as well as in the sacrum and sternum were eligible for inclusion. All participants underwent EBRT, followed by MR-HIFU within 4 days. Safety and feasibility were assessed, and pain scores were monitored for 4 weeks after completing the combined treatment.

Results: Six patients were enrolled. Median age was 67 years, median lesion diameter was 56,5 mm. In all patients it was logistically possible to plan and perform the MR-HIFU treatment within 4 days after EBRT. All patients tolerated the combined procedure well. Pain response was reported by 5 out of 6 patients at 7 days after completion of the combined treatment, and stabilized on 60% at 4 weeks follow up. No treatment related serious adverse events occurred.

Conclusion: This is the first study to combine EBRT with MR-HIFU. Our results show that combined EBRT and MR-HIFU in first-line treatment of CIBP is safe and feasible, and is well tolerated by patients. Superiority over standard EBRT, in terms of (time to) pain relief and quality of life need to be evaluated in comparative (randomized) study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctro.2021.01.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7822778PMC
March 2021

A single neural network for cone-beam computed tomography-based radiotherapy of head-and-neck, lung and breast cancer.

Phys Imaging Radiat Oncol 2020 Apr 25;14:24-31. Epub 2020 May 25.

Department of radiotherapy, division of imaging & oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Adaptive radiotherapy based on cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) requires high CT number accuracy to ensure accurate dose calculations. Recently, deep learning has been proposed for fast CBCT artefact corrections on single anatomical sites. This study investigated the feasibility of applying a single convolutional network to facilitate dose calculation based on CBCT for head-and-neck, lung and breast cancer patients. Ninety-nine patients diagnosed with head-and-neck, lung or breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy with CBCT-based position verification were included in this study. The CBCTs were registered to planning CT according to clinical procedures. Three cycle-consistent generative adversarial networks (cycle-GANs) were trained in an unpaired manner on 15 patients per anatomical site generating synthetic-CTs (sCTs). Another network was trained with all the anatomical sites together. Performances of all four networks were compared and evaluated for image similarity against rescan CT (rCT). Clinical plans were recalculated on rCT and sCT and analysed through voxel-based dose differences and -analysis. A sCT was generated in 10 s. Image similarity was comparable between models trained on different anatomical sites and a single model for all sites. Mean dose differences were obtained in high-dose regions. Mean gamma (3%, 3 mm) pass-rates were achieved for all sites. Cycle-GAN reduced CBCT artefacts and increased similarity to CT, enabling sCT-based dose calculations. A single network achieved CBCT-based dose calculation generating synthetic CT for head-and-neck, lung, and breast cancer patients with similar performance to a network specifically trained for each anatomical site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phro.2020.04.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7807541PMC
April 2020

Does an immobilization mask have added value during planning magnetic resonance imaging for stereotactic radiotherapy of brain tumours?

Phys Imaging Radiat Oncol 2020 Jan 6;13:7-13. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

UMC Utrecht, Department of Radiation Oncology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background And Purpose: When using an immobilization mask, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) head receive coil cannot be used and patients may experience discomfort during the examination. We therefore wish to assess the added value of an immobilization mask during all MRI scans intended for cranial stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) planning.

Materials And Methods: An MRI was acquired with and without a thermoplastic immobilization mask in ten patients eligible for SRT. A planning computed tomography (CT) scan was also made, to which the two MRIs were independently registered. Additionally, the MRI without immobilization was registered to the MRI in mask. On each sequence, gross tumour volume (GTV), the right eye, brain stem and chiasm were delineated. The absolute differences in centre-of-gravity coordinates and Dice coefficients of the volumes of the delineated structures between the two MRIs were compared.

Results: Differences in GTV volume between the two MRIs were low, with median Dice coefficients between 0.88 and 0.91. Similarly, the median absolute differences in centre-of-gravity coordinates between the GTVs, organs at risk and landmarks delineated on the two MRIs were within 0.5 mm. The 95% confidence intervals of the median absolute differences in the three GTV coordinates was within 1 mm, which corresponds to the target volume safety margin used to account for possible errors during the SRT treatment chain.

Conclusions: The effect of scanning a patient without the immobilization mask falls within acceptable bounds of error for the geometrical accuracy of the SRT treatment chain. Consequently, placing the head in treatment position during all MRI scans for patients undergoing radiotherapy of brain metastasis is deemed unnecessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phro.2020.02.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7807597PMC
January 2020

Metastasis directed stereotactic radiotherapy in NSCLC patients progressing under targeted- or immunotherapy: efficacy and safety reporting from the 'TOaSTT' database.

Radiat Oncol 2021 Jan 6;16(1). Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Zürich, Rämistrasse 100, 8091, Zürich, Switzerland.

Background: Metastasis directed treatment (MDT) is increasingly performed with the attempt to improve outcome in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving targeted- or immunotherapy (TT/IT). This study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of metastasis directed stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) concurrent to TT/IT in NSCLC patients.

Methods: A retrospective multicenter cohort of stage IV NSCLC patients treated with TT/IT and concurrent (≤ 30 days) MDT was established. 56% and 44% of patients were treated for oligoprogressive disease (OPD) or polyprogressive disease (PPD) under TT/IT, polyprogressive respectively. Survival was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier and log rank testing. Toxicity was scored using CTCAE v4.03 criteria. Predictive factors for overall survival (OS), progression free survival (PFS) and time to therapy switch (TTS) were analyzed with uni- and multivariate analysis.

Results: MDT of 192 lesions in 108 patients was performed between 07/2009 and 05/2018. Concurrent TT/IT consisted of EGFR/ALK-inhibitors (60%), immune checkpoint inhibitors (31%), VEGF-antibodies (8%) and PARP-inhibitors (1%). 2y-OS was 51% for OPD and 25% for PPD. After 1 year, 58% of OPD and 39% of PPD patients remained on the same TT/IT. Second progression after MDT was oligometastatic (≤ 5 lesions) in 59% of patients. Severe acute and late toxicity was observed in 5.5% and 1.9% of patients. In multivariate analysis, OS was influenced by the clinical metastatic status (p = 0.002, HR 2.03, 95% CI 1.30-3.17). PFS was better in patients receiving their first line of systemic treatment (p = 0.033, HR 1.7, 95% CI 1.05-2.77) and with only one metastases-affected organ (p = 0.023, HR 2.04, 95% CI 1.10-3.79). TTS was 6 months longer in patients with one metastases-affected organ (p = 0.031, HR 2.53, 95% CI 1.09-5.89). Death was never therapy-related.

Conclusions: Metastases-directed SRT in NSCLC patients can be safely performed concurrent to TT/IT with a low risk of severe toxicity. To find the ideal sequence of the available multidisciplinary treatment options for NSCLC and determine what patients will benefit most, a further evaluated in a broader context within prospective clinical trials is needed continuation of TT/IT beyond progression combined with MDT for progressive lesions appears promising but requires prospective evaluation.

Trial Registration: retrospectively registered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13014-020-01730-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7788768PMC
January 2021

Pain Response After Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Versus Conventional Radiation Therapy in Patients With Bone Metastases-A Phase 2 Randomized Controlled Trial Within a Prospective Cohort.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 06 14;110(2):358-367. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Division of Imaging and Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Purpose: Pain response after conventional external beam radiation therapy (cRT) in patients with painful bone metastases is observed in 60% to 70% of patients. The aim of the VERTICAL trial was to investigate whether stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) improves pain response.

Methods And Materials: This single-center, phase 2, randomized controlled trial was conducted within the PRESENT cohort, which consists of patients referred for radiation therapy of bone metastases to our tertiary center. Cohort participants with painful bone metastases who gave broad informed consent for randomization were randomly assigned to cRT or SBRT. Only patients in the intervention arm received information about the trial and were offered SBRT (1 × 18 Gy, 3 × 10 Gy, or 5 × 7 Gy), which they could accept or refuse. Patients who refused SBRT underwent standard cRT (1 × 8 Gy, 5 × 4 Gy, or 10 × 3 Gy). Patients in the control arm were not informed. Primary endpoint was pain response at 3 months after radiation therapy. Secondary outcomes were pain response at any point within 3 months, mean pain scores, and toxicity. Data were analyzed intention to treat (ITT) and per protocol (PP). This trial was registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT02364115.

Results: Between January 29, 2015, and March 20, 2019, 110 patients were randomized. ITT analysis included 44 patients in the cRT arm and 45 patients in the SBRT arm. In the intervention arm, 12 patients (27%) declined SBRT, and 7 patients (16%) were unable to complete the SBRT treatment. In ITT, 14 of 44 patients (32%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 18%-45%) in the control arm and 18 of 45 patients (40%; 95% CI, 26%-54%) in the SBRT arm reported a pain response at 3 months (P = .42). In PP, these proportions were 14 of 44 (32%; 95% CI, 18%-45%) and 12 of 23 patients (46%; 95% CI, 27%-66%), respectively (P = .55). In ITT, a pain response within 3 months was reported by 30 of 44 control patients (82%; 95% CI, 68%-90%) and 38 of 45 patients (84%; 95% CI, 71%-92%) in the SBRT arm (P = .12). In PP, these proportions were 36 of 44 (82%; 95% CI, 68%-90%) and 26 of 27 patients (96%; 95% CI; 81%-100%), respectively (P = .12). No grade 3 or 4 toxicity was observed in either arm.

Conclusions: SBRT did not significantly improve pain response in patients with painful bone metastases. One in 4 patients preferred to undergo cRT over SBRT, and 1 in 5 patients starting SBRT was unable to complete this treatment. Because of this selective dropout, which can be attributed to the character of the intervention, the trial was underpowered to detect the prespecified difference in pain response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.11.060DOI Listing
June 2021

Dose-dependent volume loss in subcortical deep grey matter structures after cranial radiotherapy.

Clin Transl Radiat Oncol 2021 Jan 15;26:35-41. Epub 2020 Nov 15.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, HP Q 00.3.11, PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Background And Purpose: The relation between radiotherapy (RT) dose to the brain and morphological changes in healthy tissue has seen recent increased interest. There already is evidence for changes in the cerebral cortex and white matter, as well as selected subcortical grey matter (GM) structures. We studied this relation in all deep GM structures, to help understand the aetiology of post-RT neurocognitive symptoms.

Materials And Methods: We selected 31 patients treated with RT for grade II-IV glioma. Pre-RT and 1 year post-RT 3D T1-weighted MRIs were automatically segmented, and the changes in volume of the following structures were assessed: amygdala, nucleus accumbens, caudate nucleus, hippocampus, globus pallidus, putamen, and thalamus. The volumetric changes were related to the mean RT dose received by each structure. Hippocampal volumes were entered into a population-based nomogram to estimate hippocampal age.

Results: A significant relation between RT dose and volume loss was seen in all examined structures, except the caudate nucleus. The volume loss rates ranged from 0.16 to 1.37%/Gy, corresponding to 4.9-41.2% per 30 Gy. Hippocampal age, as derived from the nomogram, was seen to increase by a median of 11 years.

Conclusion: Almost all subcortical GM structures are susceptible to radiation-induced volume loss, with higher volume loss being observed with increasing dose. Volume loss of these structures is associated with neurological deterioration, including cognitive decline, in neurodegenerative diseases. To support a causal relationship between radiation-induced deep GM loss and neurocognitive functioning in glioma patients, future studies are needed that directly correlate volumetrics to clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctro.2020.11.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7691672PMC
January 2021

Cognitive impairments are independently associated with shorter survival in diffuse glioma patients.

J Neurol 2021 Apr 19;268(4):1434-1442. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University Medical Center Utrecht/UMC Utrecht Brain Center, G03.232, PO Box 85500, 3508 XC, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Diffuse gliomas (WHO grade II-IV) are progressive primary brain tumors with great variability in prognosis. Cognitive deficits are of important prognostic value for survival in diffuse gliomas. Until now, few studies focused on domain-specific neuropsychological assessment and rather used MMSE as a measure for cognitive functioning. Additionally, these studies did not take WHO 2016 diagnosis into account. We performed a retrospective cohort study with the aim to investigate the independent relationship between cognitive functioning and survival in treatment-naive patients undergoing awake surgery for a diffuse glioma.

Methods: In patients undergoing awake craniotomy between 2010 and 2017, we performed pre-operative neuropsychological assessments in five cognitive domains, with special attention for the domains executive functioning and memory. We evaluated the independent relation between these domains and survival, in a Cox proportional hazards model that included state-of-the-art integrated histomolecular ('layered' or WHO-2016) classification of the gliomas and other known prognostic factors.

Results: We included 197 patients. Cognitive impairments (Z-values ≦ - 2.0) were most frequent in the domains memory (18.3%) and executive functioning (25.9%). Impairments in executive functioning and memory were significantly correlated with survival, even after correcting for the possible confounders. Analyses with the domains language, psychomotor speed, and visuospatial functioning yielded no significant results. Extensive domain-specific neuropsychological assessment was more strongly correlated to survival than MMSE.

Conclusion: Cognitive functioning is independently related to survival in diffuse glioma patients. Possible mechanisms underlying this relationship include the notion of cognitive functioning as a marker for diffuse infiltration of the tumor and the option that cognitive functioning and survival are determined by overlapping genetic pathways and biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-020-10303-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7990824PMC
April 2021

Stereotactic radiotherapy combined with immunotherapy or targeted therapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

BJU Int 2021 06 19;127(6):703-711. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Zürich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Objectives: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) concurrently receiving targeted therapy (TT) or immunotherapy.

Patients And Methods: Data on patients with mRCC were extracted from a retrospective international multicentre register study (TOaSTT), investigating SRT concurrent (≤30 days) with TT/immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. Overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), local metastasis control (LC) and time to systemic therapy switch were analysed using Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank testing. Clinical and treatment factors influencing survival were analysed using multivariate Cox regression. Acute and late SRT-induced toxicity were defined according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v.4.03.

Results: Fifty-three patients who underwent 128 sessions of SRT were included, of whom 58% presented with oligometastatic disease (OMD). ICIs and TT were received by 32% and 68% of patients, respectively. Twenty patients (37%) paused TT for a median (range) of 14 (2-21) days. ICI therapy was not paused in any patient. A median (range) of 1 (1-5) metastatic tumour was treated per patient, with a median (range) SRT dose of 65 (40-129.4) Gy (biologically effective dose). The OS, LC and PFS rates at 1 year were 71%, 75% and 25%, respectively. The median OS and PFS were not significantly different among patients receiving TT vs those receiving ICIs (P = 0.329). New lesions were treated with a repeat radiotherapy course in 46% of patients. After 1 year, 62% of patients remained on the same systemic therapy as at the time of SRT; this was more frequent for ICI therapy compared to TT (83% vs 36%; P = 0.035). OMD was an independent prognostic factor for OS (P = 0.004, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.035-0.528) and PFS (P = 0.004; 95% CI 0.165-0.717) in multivariate analysis. Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG-PS) was the other independent prognostic factor for OS (P = 0.001, 95% CI 0.001-0.351). Acute grade 3 toxicity was observed in two patients, and late grade 3 toxicity in one patient. No grade 4 or 5 toxicity was observed.

Conclusion: Combined treatment with TT or immunotherapy and concurrent SRT was safe, without signals of increased severe toxicity. As we observed no signal of excess toxicity, full-dose SRT should be considered to achieve optimal metastasis control in patients receiving TT or immunotherapy. Favourable PFS and OS were observed for patients with oligometastatic RCC with a good ECOG-PS, which should form the basis for prospective testing of this treatment strategy in properly designed clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.15284DOI Listing
June 2021

Immunomodulation Through Low-Dose Radiation for Severe COVID-19: Lessons From the Past and New Developments.

Dose Response 2020 Jul-Sep;18(3):1559325820956800. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA.

Low-dose radiation therapy (LD-RT) has historically been a successful treatment for pneumonia and is clinically established as an immunomodulating therapy for inflammatory diseases. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has elicited renewed scientific interest in LD-RT and multiple small clinical trials have recently corroborated the historical LD-RT findings and demonstrated preliminary efficacy and immunomodulation for the treatment of severe COVID-19 pneumonia. The present review explicates archival medical research data of LD-RT and attempts to translate this into modernized evidence, relevant for the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, we explore the putative mechanisms of LD-RT immunomodulation, revealing specific downregulation of proinflammatory cytokines that are integral to the development of the COVID-19 cytokine storm induced hyperinflammatory state. Radiation exposure in LD-RT is minimal compared to radiotherapy dosing standards in oncology care and direct toxicity and long-term risk for secondary disease are expected to be low. The recent clinical trials investigating LD-RT for COVID-19 confirm initial treatment safety. Based on our findings we conclude that LD-RT could be an important treatment option for COVID-19 patients that are likely to progress to severity. We advocate the further use of LD-RT in carefully monitored experimental environments to validate its effectiveness, risks and mechanisms of LD-RT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1559325820956800DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7513398PMC
September 2020

Glioma consensus contouring recommendations from a MR-Linac International Consortium Research Group and evaluation of a CT-MRI and MRI-only workflow.

J Neurooncol 2020 Sep 29;149(2):305-314. Epub 2020 Aug 29.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON, M4N 3M5, Canada.

Introduction: This study proposes contouring recommendations for radiation treatment planning target volumes and organs-at-risk (OARs) for both low grade and high grade gliomas.

Methods: Ten cases consisting of 5 glioblastomas and 5 grade II or III gliomas, including their respective gross tumor volume (GTV), clinical target volume (CTV), and OARs were each contoured by 6 experienced neuro-radiation oncologists from 5 international institutions. Each case was first contoured using only MRI sequences (MRI-only), and then re-contoured with the addition of a fused planning CT (CT-MRI). The level of agreement among all contours was assessed using simultaneous truth and performance level estimation (STAPLE) with the kappa statistic and Dice similarity coefficient.

Results: A high level of agreement was observed between the GTV and CTV contours in the MRI-only workflow with a mean kappa of 0.88 and 0.89, respectively, with no statistically significant differences compared to the CT-MRI workflow (p = 0.88 and p = 0.82 for GTV and CTV, respectively). Agreement in cochlea contours improved from a mean kappa of 0.39 to 0.41, to 0.69 to 0.71 with the addition of CT information (p < 0.0001 for both cochleae). Substantial to near perfect level of agreement was observed in all other contoured OARs with a mean kappa range of 0.60 to 0.90 in both MRI-only and CT-MRI workflows.

Conclusions: Consensus contouring recommendations for low grade and high grade gliomas were established using the results from the consensus STAPLE contours, which will serve as a basis for further study and clinical trials by the MR-Linac Consortium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-020-03605-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7541359PMC
September 2020

Long-term outcomes of two ablation techniques for treatment of radio-recurrent prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 2021 03 19;24(1):186-192. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Departments of Urology and Oncology, Western University, London, ON, Canada.

Background: In men with recurrence of prostate cancer post radiation therapy, further treatment remains a challenge. The default salvage option of androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) has adverse effects. Alternatively, selected men may be offered salvage therapy to the prostate. Herein, we present long-term oncological outcomes of two whole-gland ablation techniques, cryotherapy (sCT) and high-intensity-focused ultrasound (sHIFU).

Methods: Men undergoing sCT (1995-2004) and sHIFU (2006-2018) at Western University were identified. Oncological endpoints included biochemical recurrence (BCR), ADT initiation, metastases, castration resistance (CRPC), and prostate cancer-specific mortality (PCSM). Survival analysis with competing risks of mortality was performed. Multivariable analysis was performed using Fine and Gray regression.

Results: A total of 187 men underwent sCT and 113 sHIFU. Mean (SD) age of the entire cohort was 69.9 (5.9 years), median pre-radiation PSA 9.6 ng/ml (IQR 6.1-15.2), and pre-salvage PSA 4.5 ng/ml (IQR 2.8-7.0). Median total follow-up was 116 months (IQR 67.5-173.8). A total of 170 (57.6%) developed BCR, 68 (23.4%) metastases, 143 (49.3%) were started on ADT, 58 (20.1%) developed CRPC, and 162 (56%) patients died of which 59 (36.4%) were of prostate cancer. On multivariable analysis, sHIFU (HR 1.65, 95% CI 1.15-2.36, p = 0.006) and pre-salvage PSA (HR 1.09, 95% CI 1.06-1.13, p < 0.0001) were associated with a higher risk of BCR. Similarly, sHIFU patients had a higher risk of CRPC (HR 2.31, 95% CI 1.23-4.35, p = 0.009). The cumulative incidence (for both treatments) of PCSM was 16.5% (95% CI 12.2-21.4%) at 10 years and 28.4% (95% CI 22.1-34.9%) at 20 years, with no difference between treatment modalities. Pre-salvage PSA was a common predictor for the measured oncological outcomes.

Conclusions: Although sHIFU had higher BCR and CRPC rates, there were no differences in PCSM when compared with sCT. The long-term oncological data on two ablation techniques highlighted that only 50% of patients started ADT after 10-year follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41391-020-00265-5DOI Listing
March 2021

Predicting Incomplete Resection in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Preoperatively: A Validated Nomogram.

Ann Thorac Surg 2021 03 31;111(3):1052-1058. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Background: Patients who are surgically treated for stage I to III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have dismal prognosis after incomplete (R1-R2) resection. Our study aimed to develop a prediction model to estimate the chance of incomplete resection based on preoperative patient-, tumor-, and treatment-related factors.

Methods: From a Dutch national cancer database, NSCLC patients who had surgical treatment without neoadjuvant therapy were selected. Thirteen possible predictors were analyzed. Multivariable logistic regression was used to create a prediction model. External validation was applied in the American National Cancer Database, whereupon the model was adjusted. Discriminatory ability and calibration of the model was determined after internal and external validation. The prediction model was presented as nomogram.

Results: Of 7156 patients, 511 had an incomplete resection (7.1%). Independent predictors were histology, cT stage, cN stage, extent of surgery, and open vs thoracoscopic approach. After internal validation, the corrected C statistic of the resulting nomogram was 0.72. Application of the nomogram to an external data set of 85,235 patients with incomplete resection in 2485 patients (2.9%) resulted in a C statistic of 0.71. Calibration revealed good overall fit of the nomogram in both cohorts.

Conclusions: An internationally validated nomogram is presented providing the ability to predict the individual chance of incomplete resection in patients with stage I to III NSCLC planned for resection. In case of a high predicted risk of incomplete resection, alternative treatment strategies could be considered, whereas a low risk further supports the use of surgical procedures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2020.05.165DOI Listing
March 2021

Prognostic factors for overall survival of stage III non-small cell lung cancer patients on computed tomography: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Radiother Oncol 2020 10 22;151:152-175. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

UMC Utrecht, Netherlands. Electronic address:

Introduction: Prognosis prediction is central in treatment decision making and quality of life for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, conventional computed tomography (CT) related prognostic factors may not apply to the challenging stage III NSCLC group. The aim of this systematic review was therefore to identify and evaluate CT-related prognostic factors for overall survival (OS) of stage III NSCLC.

Methods: The Medline, Embase, and Cochrane electronic databases were searched. After study selection, risk of bias was estimated for the included studies. Meta-analysis of univariate results was performed when sufficient data were available.

Results: 1595 of the 11,996 retrieved records were selected for full text review, leading to inclusion of 65 studies that reported data of 144,513 stage III NSCLC patients andcompromising 26 unique CT-related prognostic factors. Relevance and validity varied substantially, few studies had low relevance and validity. Only four studies evaluated the added value of new prognostic factors compared with recognized clinical factors. Included studies suggested gross tumor volume (meta-analysis: HR = 1.22, 95%CI: 1.05-1.42), tumor diameter, nodal volume, and pleural effusion, are prognostic in patients treated with chemoradiation. Clinical T-stage and location (right/left) were likely not prognostic within stage III NSCLC. Inconclusive are several radiomic features, tumor volume, atelectasis, location (pulmonary lobes, central/peripheral), interstitial lung abnormalities, great vessel invasion, pit-fall sign, and cavitation.

Conclusions: Tumor-size and nodal size-related factors are prognostic for OS in stage III NSCLC. Future studies should carefully report study characteristics and contrast factors with guideline recognized factors to improve evidence evaluation and validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2020.07.030DOI Listing
October 2020

Untangling the diffusion signal using the phasor transform.

NMR Biomed 2020 12 23;33(12):e4372. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Center for Image Sciences, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Separating the decay signal from diffusion-weighted scans into two or more components can be challenging. The phasor technique is well established in the field of optical microscopy for visualization and separation of fluorescent dyes with different lifetimes. The use of the phasor technique for separation of diffusion-weighted decay signals was recently proposed. In this study, we investigate the added value of this technique for fitting decay models and visualization of decay rates. Phasor visualization was performed in five glioblastoma patients. Using simulations, the influence of incorrect diffusivity values and of the number of b-values on fitting a three-component model with fixed diffusivities (dubbed "unmixing") was investigated for both a phasor-based fit and a linear least squares (LLS) fit. Phasor-based intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) fitting was compared with nonlinear least squares (NLLS) and segmented fitting (SF) methods in terms of accuracy and precision. The distributions of the parameter estimates of simulated data were compared with those obtained in a healthy volunteer. In the phasor visualizations of two glioblastoma patients, a cluster of points was observed that was not seen in healthy volunteers. The identified cluster roughly corresponded to the enhanced edge region of the tumor of two glioblastoma patients visible on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) images. For fitting decay models the usefulness of the phasor transform is less pronounced, but the additional knowledge gained from the geometrical configuration of phasor space can aid fitting routines. This has led to slightly improved fitting results for the IVIM model: phasor-based fitting yielded parameter maps with higher precision than the NLLS and SF methods for parameters f and D (interquartile range [IQR] for f: NLLS 27, SF 12, phasor 5.7%; IQR for D: NLLS 0.28, SF 0.18, phasor 0.10 μm /s). For unmixing, LLS fitting slightly but consistently outperformed phasor-based fitting in all of the tested scenarios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nbm.4372DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7685171PMC
December 2020

Effect of radiation therapy on cerebral cortical thickness in glioma patients: Treatment-induced thinning of the healthy cortex.

Neurooncol Adv 2020 Jan-Dec;2(1):vdaa060. Epub 2020 May 21.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: With overall survival of brain tumors improving, radiation induced brain injury is becoming an increasing issue. One of the effects of radiation therapy (RT) is thinning of the cerebral cortex, which could be one of the factors contributing to cognitive impairments after treatment. In healthy brain, cortex thickness varies between 1 and 4.5 mm. In this study, we assess the effect of RT on the thickness of the cerebral cortex and relate the changes to the local dose.

Methods: We identified 28 glioma patients with optimal scan quality. Clinical CTs and MRIs at baseline and 1 year post-RT were collected and coregistered. The scans were processed via an automated image processing pipeline, which enabled measuring changes of the cortical thickness, which were related to local dose.

Results: Three areas were identified where significant dose-dependent thinning occurred, with thinning rates of 5, 6, and 26 μm/Gy after 1 year, which corresponds to losses of 5.4%, 7.2%, and 21.6% per 30 Gy per year. The first area was largely located in the right inferior parietal, supramarginal, and superior parietal regions, the second in the right posterior cingulate and paracentral regions, and the third almost completely in the right lateral orbital frontal region.

Conclusions: We have identified three areas susceptible to dose-dependent cortical thinning after radiation therapy. Should future prospective studies conclude that irradiation of these areas lead to cognitive decline, they need to be spared in order to prevent this debilitating consequence of treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/noajnl/vdaa060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7284116PMC
May 2020

Programmed Death Receptor Ligand One Expression May Independently Predict Survival in Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma Brain Metastases Receiving Immunotherapy.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 09 23;108(1):258-267. Epub 2020 Apr 23.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Electronic address:

Purpose: Programmed death receptor ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression is known to predict response to PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the predictive role of this biomarker in brain metastases (BMs) is unknown. The aim of this study was to assess whether PD-L1 expression predicts survival in patients with NSCLC BMs treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, after adjusting for established prognostic models.

Methods And Materials: In this multi-institutional retrospective cohort study, we identified patients with NSCLC-BM treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors after local BM treatment (radiation therapy or neurosurgery) but before intracranial progression. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the predictive value of PD-L1 expression for overall survival (OS) and intracranial progression-free survival (IC-PFS).

Results: Forty-eight patients with BM with available PD-L1 expression were identified. PD-L1 expression was positive in 33 patients (69%). Median survival was 26 months. In univariable analysis, PD-L1 predicted favorable OS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.19-1.02; P = .055). This effect persisted after correcting for lung-graded prognostic assessment and other identified potential confounders (HR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.10-0.61; P = .002). Moreover, when modeled as a continuous variable, there appeared to be a proportional relationship between percentage of PD-L1 expression and survival (HR, 0.86 per 10% expression; 95% CI, 0.77-0.98; P = .02). In contrast, PD-L1 expression did not predict IC-PFS in uni- or multivariable analysis (adjusted HR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.26-1.14; P = .11).

Conclusions: In patients with NSCLC-BMs treated with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors and local treatment, PD-L1 expression may predict OS independent of lung-graded prognostic assessment. IC-PFS did not show association with PD-L1 expression, although the present analysis may lack power to assess this. Larger studies are required to validate these findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.04.018DOI Listing
September 2020

Subtype switching in breast cancer brain metastases: a multicenter analysis.

Neuro Oncol 2020 08;22(8):1173-1181

Computational Neuroscience Outcomes Center, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Background: Breast cancer (BC) brain metastases (BM) can have discordant hormonal or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression compared with corresponding primary tumors. This study aimed to describe incidence, predictors, and survival outcomes of discordant receptors and associated subtype switching in BM.

Methods: BCBM patients seen at 4 tertiary institutions who had undergone BM resection or biopsy were included. Surgical pathology reports were retrospectively assessed to determine discordance between the primary tumor and the BCBM. In discordant cases, expression in extracranial metastases was also assessed.

Results: In BM from 219 patients, prevalence of any discordance was 36.3%; receptor-specific discordance was 16.7% for estrogen, 25.2% for progesterone, and 10.4% for HER2. Because estrogen and progesterone were considered together for hormonal status, 50 (22.8%) patients switched subtype as a result; 20 of these switches were HER2 based. Baseline subtype predicted switching, which occurred in up to 37.5% of primary HR+ patients. Moreover, 14.8% of initially HER2-negative patients gained HER2 in the BM. Most (63.6%) discordant patients with extracranial metastases also had discordance between BM and extracranial subtype. Loss of receptor expression was generally associated with worse survival, which appeared to be driven by estrogen loss (hazard ratio = 1.80, P = 0.03). Patients gaining HER2 status (n = 8) showed a nonsignificant tendency toward improved survival (hazard ratio = 0.64, P = 0.17).

Conclusions: In this multicenter study, we report incidence and predictors of subtype switching, the risk of which varies considerably by baseline subtype. Switches can have clinical implications for prognosis and treatment choice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7471502PMC
August 2020

Occurrence of an Abscopal Radiation Recall Phenomenon in a Glioblastoma Patient Treated with Nivolumab and Re-Irradiation.

Case Rep Oncol 2019 Sep-Dec;12(3):896-900. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most frequent primary brain tumor. The clinical course of glioblastoma is almost invariably fatal. Combined chemo-irradiation with temozolomide is currently the standard of care for newly diagnosed glioblastoma and concurrent Nivolumab, an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody is being studied for de novo glioblastoma. We present a 62-year old patient with glioblastoma, which was discovered during evaluation of sudden-onset moderate ataxia. Following craniotomy of the glial tumour he received chemo radiation. During this first-line treatment the patient participated in the CA209-548 phase III placebo controlled study investigating the addition of concurrent nivolumab. One month after the last administration of nivolumab after 60 weeks of study participation, magnetic resonance imaging scan showed progressive disease. Therefore stereotactic re-irradiation was given. Five days after completing radiation therapy and 50 days after his last nivolumab course he developed a mild diffuse generalized pruritic maculopapular exanthema. Skin biopsy was very indicative for a drug hypersensitivity reaction. The maculopapular rash and pruritus was successfully treated with moderate potency topical corticosteroids and prednisone. With the introduction of PD1/PD-L1 inhibitors and other immunotherapies tweaking the immune system to target cancer cells one can argue that once local radiation triggers a local immune mediated hypersensitivity reaction as seen in radiation recall dermatitis, the subsequent hypersensitivity reaction which would traditionally only be a local reaction is now possible to advance to more pronounced (systemic) reactions as seen in an abscopal effect. Therefore, we propose a combined name to coin this effect, the abscopal radiation recall phenomenon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000504698DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6940433PMC
November 2019

Acute-Onset Pneumonitis while Administering the First Dose of Durvalumab.

Case Rep Oncol 2019 May-Aug;12(2):621-624. Epub 2019 Aug 6.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht Cancer Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

In locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, consolidation therapy with durvalumab (an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody) has proven to significantly increase both progression free and overall survival after chemoradiotherapy. Here, we describe a case of acute pneumonitis during durvalumab administration for locally advanced NSCLC, causing persistent symptomatology and steroid treatment to date. To our knowledge, acute-onset pneumonitis during infusion of a PD-L1 inhibitor has not been described previously. This case illustrates that ICI-induced pneumonitis can occur anytime during treatment, especially after chemoradiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000502202DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6738224PMC
August 2019
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