Publications by authors named "Mark Gaze"

59 Publications

Radical radiotherapy for paediatric solid tumour metastases: An overview of current European protocols and outcomes of a SIOPE multicenter survey.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Mar 16;145:121-131. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Department of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Princess Máxima Center for Paediatric Oncology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Purpose/objective: About 20% of children with solid tumours (ST) present with distant metastases (DM). Evidence regarding the use of radical radiotherapy of these DM is sparse and open for personal interpretation. The aim of this survey was to review European protocols and to map current practice regarding the irradiation of DM across SIOPE-affiliated countries.

Materials/methods: Radiotherapy guidelines for metastatic sites (bone, brain, distant lymph nodes, lung and liver) in eight European protocols for rhabdomyosarcoma, non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft-tissue sarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, neuroblastoma and renal tumours were reviewed. SIOPE centres irradiating ≥50 children annually were invited to participate in an online survey.

Results: Radiotherapy to at least one metastatic site was recommended in all protocols, except for high-risk neuroblastoma. Per protocol, dose prescription varied per site, and information on delineation and treatment planning/delivery was generally missing. Between July and September 2019, 20/27 centres completed the survey. Around 14% of patients were deemed to have DM from ST at diagnosis, of which half were treated with curative intent. A clear cut-off for a maximum number of DM was not used in half of the centres. Regardless of the tumour type and site, conventional radiotherapy regimens were most commonly used to treat DM. When stereotactic radiotherapy was used, a wide range of fractionation regimens were applied.

Conclusion: Current radiotherapy guidelines for DM do not allow a consistent approach in a multicentre setting. Prospective (randomised) trials are needed to define the role of radical irradiation of DM from paediatric ST.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.12.004DOI Listing
March 2021

The spleen as an organ at risk in paediatric radiotherapy: A SIOP-Europe Radiation Oncology Working Group report.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Jan 1;143:1-10. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 250 Euston Road, London, NW1 2PG, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Background: Radiation may cause long-term splenic dysfunction, risking potentially fatal late sepsis. We aimed to review this complication's magnitude in paediatric radiotherapy and gauge the level of awareness of the spleen as an organ at risk.

Methods: Clinical trial protocols and radiotherapy guidelines, patient/parent information sheets, and professional guidance documents were reviewed to assess the perceived risk of radiotherapy-related splenic dysfunction. Paediatric oncologists and paediatric radiation oncologists across Europe were surveyed to estimate the level of understanding of this risk and to ascertain current practice. Spleen doses received in practice were examined. A systematic review of relevant publications was undertaken.

Results: The risk is not mentioned in most clinical trials, patient information leaflets, or professional guidance documents. When mentioned, a threshold dose of 40 Gy is cited. The survey showed only limited awareness. More than half of patients assessed received spleen doses in excess of 10 Gy. The systematic review identified one paper reporting a relative mortality risk of 5.5 with spleen doses in the 10-20 Gy range.

Conclusions: The risk of mortality from overwhelming infection is poorly recognised. We therefore recommend routine delineation of the spleen. Protocols and guidelines should give a spleen dose objective as low as reasonably achievable, ideally mean <10 Gy without compromise to target volumes. Revised evidence-based guidelines and continuing professional development activities should inform oncologists. Patient/parent information should mention the risk and the dose received be communicated to colleagues. Antibiotic prophylaxis and/or (re)vaccination should be considered if the mean spleen dose is ≥10 Gy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.10.025DOI Listing
January 2021

Parents' responses to prognostic disclosure at diagnosis of a child with a high-risk brain tumor: Analysis of clinician-parent interactions and implications for clinical practice.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 Mar 23;68(3):e28802. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Paediatric Oncology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

Background: Previous studies have found that parents of children with cancer desire more prognostic information than is often given even when prognosis is poor. We explored in audio-recorded consultations the kinds of information they seek.

Methods: Ethnographic study including observation and audio recording of consultations at diagnosis. Consultations were transcribed and analyzed using an interactionist perspective including tools drawn from conversation and discourse analysis.

Results: Enrolled 21 parents and 12 clinicians in 13 cases of children diagnosed with a high-risk brain tumor (HRBT) over 20 months at a tertiary pediatric oncology center. Clinicians presented prognostic information in all cases. Through their questions, parents revealed what further information they desired. Clinicians made clear that no one could be absolutely certain what the future held for an individual child. Explicit communication about prognosis did not satisfy parents' desire for information about their own child. Parents tried to personalize prognostic information and to apply it to their own situation. Parents moved beyond prognostic information presented and drew conclusions, which could change over time. Parents who were present in the same consultations could form different views of their child's prognosis.

Conclusion: Population level prognostic information left parents uncertain about their child's future. The need parents revealed was not for more such information but rather how to use the information given and how to apply it to their child in the face of such uncertainty. Further research is needed on how best to help parents deal with uncertainty and make prognostic information actionable.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28802DOI Listing
March 2021

Personalisation of Molecular Radiotherapy through Optimisation of Theragnostics.

J Pers Med 2020 Oct 16;10(4). Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 250 Euston Road, London NW1 2PG, UK.

Molecular radiotherapy, or targeted radionuclide therapy, uses systemically administered drugs bearing a suitable radioactive isotope, typically a beta emitter. These are delivered via metabolic or other physiological pathways to cancer cells in greater concentrations than to normal tissues. The absorbed radiation dose in tumour deposits causes chromosomal damage and cell death. A partner radiopharmaceutical, most commonly the same vector labelled with a different radioactive atom, with emissions suitable for gamma camera or positron emission tomography imaging, is used to select patients for treatment and to assess response. The use of these pairs of radio-labelled drugs, one optimised for therapy, the other for diagnostic purposes, is referred to as . Theragnostics is increasingly moving away from a fixed number of defined activity administrations, to a much more individualised or personalised approach, with the aim of improving treatment outcomes, and minimising toxicity. There is, however, still significant scope for further progress in that direction. The main tools for personalisation are the following: imaging biomarkers for better patient selection; predictive and post-therapy dosimetry to maximise the radiation dose to the tumour while keeping organs at risk within tolerance limits; imaging for assessment of treatment response; individualised decision making and communication about radiation protection, adjustments for toxicity, inpatient and outpatient care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040174DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7711590PMC
October 2020

Local staging and treatment in extremity rhabdomyosarcoma. A report from the EpSSG-RMS2005 study.

Cancer Med 2020 Oct 1;9(20):7580-7589. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Pediatric Solid Tumor Unit, Princess Maxima Center for pediatric Oncology, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Rhabdomyosarcoma of the extremities present with two main challenges: correct evaluation of initial regional nodal involvement and define adequate local treatment.

Methods: Pediatric patients with localized rhabdomyosarcoma of the extremity included in the EpSSG-RMS2005 study between 2005 and 2014 were evaluated for staging, treatment, and survival. The outcome was compared to the preceding European SIOP-MMT studies.

Results: Of the 162 patients included, histology was unfavorable in 113 (70%), 124 (77%) were younger than 10 years, 128 (79%) were IRS III, and 47 (29%) were node-positive. A regional node biopsy was performed in 97 patients (60%) and modified the lymph node stage in 15/97 (16%). Primary and delayed surgery was performed in 155 (96%) and radiotherapy delivered in 118 (73%) patients. Relapse occurred in 61 cases (38%), local in 14 (23%), regional in 13 (21%), distant in 22 (36%), and combined relapse in 12 (20%) with five progressive diseases (8%) and four secondary tumors (7%). Five-year event free (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were 58.4% (95%CI, 50.3-65.7) and 71.7% (63.6-78.4), respectively. In the previous studies MMT89 and MMT95, tumor surgery was performed in 32/53 (60%) and 74/82(90%), respectively, and radiotherapy delivered in 13/53 (25%) and 26/82 (30%), respectively. Five-year EFS and OS were 35.6%, and 50.3% in MMT89 and 54.3% and 68.2% in the MMT95 study.

Conclusions: Even if the lymph node staging was not always complete according to the RMS2005 protocol, node sampling changed lymph node status in a significant number of patients. Despite the higher rate of patients treated with locoregional radiotherapy, survival in RMS2005 did not improve compared to the previous European SIOP-MMT95 study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3365DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571832PMC
October 2020

Treating papillary and follicular thyroid cancer in children and young people: Single UK-center experience between 2003 and 2018.

J Pediatr Surg 2021 Mar 4;56(3):534-539. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Centre for Endocrine Surgery, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

Aim: Differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) in children and adolescents is rare and data about its presentation and management are not well known. The aim of this study was to provide evidence of the current practice in the United Kingdom before the launch of the Rare National Paediatric Endocrine Tumours Guidelines (to be published in 2020).

Methods: Seventy-two children and adolescents with DTC (<18 years) who were treated at our institution between 2003 and 2018 were identified and their presentation, treatment and outcomes were reviewed.

Results: Median age at presentation was 12.7 years [range: 1-18] and fifty-two (72%) were girls. Fifty (69.4%) children and adolescents presented with a thyroid nodule. Thirteen (18%) had cervical adenopathy and seven of them (54%) underwent an excision biopsy under GA. Eight patients (11%) had evidence of lung metastases at presentation. Twenty-four patients (33%) underwent a hemithyroidectomy and 22 of those had a completion thyroidectomy subsequently, ten (14%) a total thyroidectomy alone and 37 (51%) a total thyroidectomy with lymph nodes dissection. Seventy patients (97%) underwent adjuvant RAI at our institution. The median number of children and adolescents managed per year was five [range: 0-10]. After an overall median follow-up of 40 months, eight patients (11%) had developed recurrent disease. The 1- and 5-year recurrence-free-survival-rates were 93% and 87%, respectively. Overall survival was 100%, with eight children and adolescents (11%) being alive with disease.

Conclusion: This study confirms that DTC in children and adolescents is uncommon, is frequently advanced at presentation and has considerable recurrence rates. Despite this, overall survival is excellent. Although the work-up was generally appropriate (image-guided cytology), open biopsy for the diagnosis of lymph node involvement was still employed. The introduction of a specific UK guideline for this age-group will likely result in more tailored-made treatment-pathways and thereby hopefully improve quality and outcomes even further.

Type Of Study: Prognosis study.

Level Of Evidence: Level IV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.07.034DOI Listing
March 2021

68Ga-DOTATATE and 123I-mIBG as imaging biomarkers of disease localisation in metastatic neuroblastoma: implications for molecular radiotherapy.

Nucl Med Commun 2020 Nov;41(11):1169-1177

Department of Oncology.

Purpose: Iodine-131-labelled meta-iodobenzylguanidine (I-mIBG) and lutetium-177-labelled DOTATATE (Lu-DOTATATE) are used for molecular radiotherapy of metastatic neuroblastoma. These are taken up by the noradrenaline transporter (NAT) and the somatostatin receptor subtype 2 (SSTR-2), respectively. Scintigraphy of iodine-123-labelled meta-iodobenzylguanidine (I-mIBG) and gallium-68 DOTATATE (Ga-DOTATATE) PET are used to select patients for therapy. These demonstrate the extent and location of tumour, and avidity of uptake by cells expressing NAT and SSTR-2, respectively. This study compared the similarities and differences in the anatomical distribution of these two imaging biomarkers in an unselected series of patients with metastatic neuroblastoma undergoing assessment for molecular radiotherapy.

Methods: Paired whole-body planar I-mIBG views and Ga-DOTATATE maximum intensity projection PET scans of metastatic neuroblastoma patients were visually compared. The disease extent was assessed by a semiquantitative scoring method.

Results: Paired scans from 42 patients were reviewed. Ga-DOTATATE scans were positive in all patients, I-mIBG scans were negative in two. In two patients, there was a mismatch, with some lesions identified only on the I-mIBG scan, and others visible only on the Ga-DOTATATE scan.

Conclusion: Ga-DOTATATE and I-mIBG scans yield complementary information. For a more comprehensive assessment, consideration could be given to the use of both I-mIBG and Ga-DOTATATE imaging scans. Because of the heterogeneity of distribution of molecular targets revealed by these techniques, a combination of both I-mIBG and Lu-DOTATATE molecular radiotherapy may possibly be more effective than either alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MNM.0000000000001265DOI Listing
November 2020

Influence of Surgical Excision on the Survival of Patients With Stage 4 High-Risk Neuroblastoma: A Report From the HR-NBL1/SIOPEN Study.

J Clin Oncol 2020 09 8;38(25):2902-2915. Epub 2020 Jul 8.

St Anna Children's Hospital and Children's Cancer Research Institute, Department of Paediatrics, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Purpose: To evaluate the impact of surgeon-assessed extent of primary tumor resection on local progression and survival in patients in the International Society of Pediatric Oncology Europe Neuroblastoma Group High-Risk Neuroblastoma 1 trial.

Patients And Methods: Patients recruited between 2002 and 2015 with stage 4 disease > 1 year or stage 4/4S with amplification < 1 year who had completed induction without progression, achieved response criteria for high-dose therapy (HDT), and had no resection before induction were included. Data were collected on the extent of primary tumor excision, severe operative complications, and outcome.

Results: A total of 1,531 patients were included (median observation time, 6.1 years). Surgeon-assessed extent of resection included complete macroscopic excision (CME) in 1,172 patients (77%) and incomplete macroscopic resection (IME) in 359 (23%). Surgical mortality was 7 (0.46%) of 1,531. Severe operative complications occurred in 142 patients (9.7%), and nephrectomy was performed in 124 (8.8%). Five-year event-free survival (EFS) ± SE (0.40 ± 0.01) and overall survival (OS; 0.45 ± 0.02) were significantly higher with CME compared with IME (5-year EFS, 0.33 ± 0.03; 5-year OS, 0.37 ± 0.03; < .001 and = .004). The cumulative incidence of local progression (CILP) was significantly lower after CME (0.17 ± 0.01) compared with IME (0.30 ± 0.02; < .001). With immunotherapy, outcomes were still superior with CME versus IME (5-year EFS, 0.47 ± 0.02 0.39 ± 0.04; = .038); CILP was 0.14 ± 0.01 after CME and 0.27 ± 0.03 after IME ( < .002). A hazard ratio of 1.3 for EFS associated with IME compared with CME was observed before and after the introduction of immunotherapy ( = .030 and = .038).

Conclusion: In patients with stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma who have responded to induction therapy, CME of the primary tumor is associated with improved survival and local control after HDT, local radiotherapy (21 Gy), and immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.03117DOI Listing
September 2020

Outcomes of metastatic non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas (NRSTS) treated within the BERNIE study: a randomised, phase II study evaluating the addition of bevacizumab to chemotherapy.

Eur J Cancer 2020 05 13;130:72-80. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Pediatric Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milano, Italy.

Purpose: We analysed the cohort of paediatric patients with metastatic non-rhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcomas (NRSTS) treated in the BERNIE protocol, i.e. open-label, multicentre, randomised phase II study evaluating the role of bevacizumab (BO20924/ITCC-006; ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00643565).

Methods: Eligible patients were randomised 1:1 to add or not add bevacizumab to nine courses of intensive multi-drug chemotherapy, followed by 12-month maintenance chemotherapy (plus surgery and radiotherapy). The primary end-point was event-free survival (EFS); secondary objectives were objective response rate (ORR) and overall survival (OS).

Results: From 2008 and 2013, 49 NRSTS patients (out of 154 cases) were treated, 26 in the standard arm and 23 in the bevacizumab arm. ORR was seen in 10 out of 36 evaluable cases (27.7%), i.e. 4/18 standard arm cases and 6/18 bevacizumab arm cases. Two-year EFS was 27.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 13.9-42.5) for all NRSTS patients, i.e. 34.9% (95% CI 14.6-56.2) for bevacizumab arm and 22.9% (95% CI 7.1-43.9) for standard arm (p-value = 0.19). Three-year OS (median follow-up 48.6 months) was 35.2%, with no differences in the two arms. Time to event and time to death were 16.3 and 17.2 months for bevacizumab arm and 2.1 and 7.6 months for standard arm, respectively. Patients not receiving any local treatment on primary disease had a worse outcome as compared to others. Treatment results were better for patients receiving surgical resection and worse for those who did not receive any specific treatment.

Conclusion: The addition of the anti-angiogenic agent to the standard chemotherapy did not show statistically significant improvement in survival in metastatic NRSTS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.01.029DOI Listing
May 2020

A phase IIa trial of molecular radiotherapy with 177-lutetium DOTATATE in children with primary refractory or relapsed high-risk neuroblastoma.

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2020 09 11;47(10):2348-2357. Epub 2020 Mar 11.

Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 250 Euston Road, London, NW1 2PG, UK.

Purpose: The objective of this phase IIa, open-label, single-centre, single-arm, two-stage clinical trial was to evaluate the safety and activity of 177-lutetium DOTATATE (LuDO) molecular radiotherapy in neuroblastoma.

Methods: Children with relapsed or refractory metastatic high-risk neuroblastoma were treated with up to four courses of LuDO. The administered activity was 75 to 100 MBq kg per course, spaced at 8- to 12-week intervals. Outcomes were assessed by the International Neuroblastoma Response Criteria (primary outcome), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS).

Results: The trial recruited 21 patients; eight received the planned four courses. There was dose-limiting haematologic toxicity in one case, but no other significant haematologic or renal toxicities. None of 14 evaluable patients had an objective response at 1 month after completion of treatment (Wilson 90% CI 0.0, 0.16; and 95% CI is 0.0, 0.22). The trial did not therefore proceed to the second stage. The median PFS was 2.96 months (95% CI 1.71, 7.66), and the median OS was 13.0 months (95% CI 2.99, 21.52).

Conclusion: In the absence of any objective responses, the use of LuDO as a single agent at the dose schedule used in this study is not recommended for the treatment of neuroblastoma. There are several reasons why this treatment schedule may not have resulted in objective responses, and as other studies do show benefit, the treatment should not be regarded as being of no value. Further trials designed to overcome this schedule's limitations are required.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN98918118; URL: https://www.isrctn.com/search?q=98918118.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00259-020-04741-xDOI Listing
September 2020

Investigation of the Role of Dinutuximab Beta-Based Immunotherapy in the SIOPEN High-Risk Neuroblastoma 1 Trial (HR-NBL1).

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jan 28;12(2). Epub 2020 Jan 28.

Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, University Medicine Greifswald, 17489 Greifswald, Germany.

To explore the effects of immunotherapy in the International Society of Paediatric Oncology Europe Neuroblastoma Group SIOPEN high-risk neuroblastoma 1 trial (HR-NBL1 trial), two cohorts were studied: one prior to and one after the introduction of dinutuximab beta. All patients received standard induction and high-dose therapy (HDT) with autologous stem cell rescue (ASCR); the local control comprised surgery and radiotherapy to the primary tumour site, followed by isotretinoin. A landmark timepoint of 109 days, resulting from the median time between ASCR and initiation of immunotherapy, was used to define patients' eligibility in the pre-immunotherapy analysis cohort. Median follow-up was 5.8 years (inter-quartile range (IQR): 4.2-8.2 years) for 844 eligible patients balanced for risk factors, such as age, sex, stage 4, MYCN amplification and response prior to HDT. The five-year event-free and overall survival (95% confidence interval (CI) of 466 patients not receiving immunotherapy was 42% (38-47%) and 50% (46-55%) but was 57% (51-62%) and 64% (59-69%) for 378 patients receiving immunotherapy ( < 0.001). A multivariate analysis identified absence of immunotherapy (p = 0.0002, hazard ratio (HR) 1.573); type of HDT ( = 0.0029, HR 1.431); less than complete response prior to maintenance therapy ( = 0.0043, HR 1.494) and >1 metastatic compartment at diagnosis ( < 0.001, HR 2.665) as risk factors for relapse or progression. Results suggest an important role for dinutuximab beta-based immunotherapy within the treatment concepts applied in HR-NBL1/SIOPEN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12020309DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7072500PMC
January 2020

Childhood medulloblastoma-a single institution's historical perspective on survival and functional morbidity.

Childs Nerv Syst 2019 12 4;35(12):2327-2338. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Department of Neurosurgery, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, Great Ormond Street, London, WC2N 3JH, UK.

Purpose: To compare results from a third (1995-2010) cohort of children with medulloblastoma with two previous series (J Neurosurg 86:13-21, 1997; Arch Dis Child 54:200-203, 1979) to analyse the effects of management changes aimed at improving both overall and event-free survivals (OS and EFS) and functional outcomes.

Methods: Review of neuro-oncology and imaging databases and previously published results.

Results: There was no statistically significant improvement in the 5-year OS for 104 children diagnosed 1995-2010, 61.5% (95% CI, 52.9, 71.6), compared with 50% of the 80 children presenting 1980-1990 (J Neurosurg 86:13-21, 1997) (difference 11.5%; 95% CI, 2.8, 25.4). Five-year OS for 96 children suitable for risk-stratification was overall 66% (95% CI, 57.9, 75.8); standard risk 77.8% (95% CI, 67.4, 89.7); high risk < 3 years 50.0% (95% CI, 32.3, 77.5); high risk ≥ 3 years 54.5% (95% CI, 37.2, 79.9); 5-year EFS were standard risk 68.5% (95% CI, 57.2, 82.1); high risk < 3 years 40.0% (95% CI, 23.4, 68.4); and high risk ≥ 3 years 36.4% (95% CI, 20.9, 63.2); overall 55.2% (95% CI, 46.1, 66.1). Of 62/63 ≥ 5-year survivor, 9 died later from tumour relapse and 4 from second malignancy. Functional outcomes of 62 of the 63 ≥ 5-year survivors: 67.7% had educational issues requiring remedial input; 18% restricted mobility indoors and outdoors; 59.7% hearing impairment (42% prescribed aids).

Conclusions: 1. Comparison of this single-institution series with its predecessor found that revised chemotherapy and RT protocols and greater accuracy of risk stratification did not result in statistically significant improvements in either survival or treatment-related functional disability. 2. Extended (> 5-year) follow-up is essential if 20% of late deaths from relapse and second malignancies are not to be overlooked.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00381-019-04402-xDOI Listing
December 2019

Outcome and prognostic factors in pediatric malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors: An analysis of the European Pediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Group (EpSSG) NRSTS-2005 prospective study.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 10 26;66(10):e27833. Epub 2019 Jun 26.

Department of Paediatric Oncology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Background: Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) are rare tumors of childhood. The role of standard chemotherapy in unresectable MPNST is still unclear. We report the outcome and prognostic factors in the EpSSG risk-adapted prospective study for localized pediatric MPNST.

Methods: Patients were stratified into four treatment groups defined by surgical resection, tumor size, and tumor grade (G): (a) surgery-only group-resected tumors G1; (b) adjuvant radiotherapy group-R0/R1, G2 tumors; (c) adjuvant chemotherapy group-R0/R1, G3 tumors; and (d) neoadjuvant chemotherapy group-R2 resected tumors and/or nodal involvement. Chemotherapy consisted of four courses of ifosfamide-doxorubicin and two courses of ifosfamide concomitant with radiotherapy (50.4-54 Gy).

Results: Overall, the study included 51 patients. The 5-year event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were 52.9% (95% confidence interval, 38.1-65.8) and 62.1% (46.7-74.3), respectively. The 5-year EFS was 92% (56.6-98.9) for treatment group 1 (N = 13), 33% (0.9-77.4) for treatment group 2 (N = 4), 29% (4.1-61.2) for treatment group 3 (N = 7), and 42% (23.1-60.1) for treatment group 4 (N = 27). Response rate to chemotherapy (partial response + complete response) in patients with measurable disease was 46%. The presence of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1; 51% of patients) was an independent poor prognostic factor for OS and EFS.

Conclusion: The outcome for patients with resectable MPNST was excellent. Standard ifosfamide-doxorubicin for unresectable MPNST rendered the best reported outcome. Children with NF1 disease seem to have worse prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27833DOI Listing
October 2019

Radiotherapy practice for paediatric brain tumours across Europe and quality assurance initiatives: Current situation, international survey and future perspectives.

Eur J Cancer 2019 06 28;114:36-46. Epub 2019 Apr 28.

Dept. of Radiation Oncology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric Oncology, Heidelberglaan 25, 3584 CS, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Aim: The aim of the study is to analyse radiotherapy quality assurance (RTQA) processes in the treatment of paediatric central nervous system (CNS) tumours across Europe.

Methods: The RTQA aspects of major past and current European trials for paediatric CNS tumours were reviewed based on study protocols and publications. A survey among radiation oncologists and paediatric oncologists about the practices of RTQA in paediatric CNS tumours across European countries was also performed.

Results: Several (inter)national initiatives to implement RTQA are being developed across Europe, with an apparent paradigm shift from retrospective to prospective RTQA. Experts from 21 of 29 contacted countries responded to the survey. National consensus guidelines for paediatric CNS tumours are available in 10 of 21 countries. Twenty-one of 33 experts believe that the level of involvement of paediatric radiation oncologists in the meetings and activities of the national paediatric oncology societies is adequate. Central storage of radiotherapy data is available in France, Germany and Denmark. RTQA programmes for paediatric brain tumours are available in 7 countries. Twelve of 21 experts believe that there is a well-established national referral network for the radiation treatment of paediatric patients in their respective countries.

Conclusion: As a result of the review and survey, the following measures are proposed: (1) developing international RT guidelines for paediatric CNS tumours, (2) improving the collaboration between paediatric oncologists and paediatric radiation oncologists, (3) building a central storage system for RT data, (4) implementing international prospective RTQA platforms and (5) promoting European referral networks to reduce inequality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2019.03.018DOI Listing
June 2019

Outcome of localized liver-bile duct rhabdomyosarcoma according to local therapy: A report from the European Paediatric Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Study Group (EpSSG)-RMS 2005 study.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 07 28;66(7):e27725. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

Department of Paediatric Surgery, Bicêtre Hospital, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris-Sud, Le Kremlin-Bicetre, France.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of local therapies on the outcome of patients with liver-bile duct rhabdomyosarcoma (LBDRMS).

Methods: Data of 30 patients included in the EpSSG-RMS 2005 study were analyzed.

Results: The median age at diagnosis was 3 years (11 months-8 years). All patients had non-alveolar histology. Fifteen patients had a tumor > 5 cm and six had enlarged regional lymph nodes on imaging. Eight patients (27%) had primary surgery (1 R0). Six of them received external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). All are in first complete remission (CR1) except one (R1, EBRT , local relapse, death). Six patients (20%) received EBRT without surgery: one had local relapse and died. Sixteen patients (53%) underwent delayed surgery, with 12 achieving R0 margins, which were higher than those in the primary surgery group (P = 0.003). Three patients with R0 margins received EBRT; one had a metastatic relapse and died. Nine patients with R0 resection did not receive EBRT, three relapsed locally (two deaths). Four R1 patients received additional EBRT without relapses. Local relapse occurred in two among 19 patients with EBRT and three among 11 without EBRT (P = 0.326). At a median follow-up of 61 months (48-84 months), five patients died; all had a tumor size > 5 cm (P = 0.01). The five-year overall survival was 85% (95% CI, 65-94), and event-free survival was 76% (95% CI, 54-89).

Conclusion: This analysis did not show any significant difference in outcome between irradiated and nonirradiated patients. Local relapse in LBDRMS is related to initial tumor size and is often fatal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27725DOI Listing
July 2019

How rapid advances in imaging are defining the future of precision radiation oncology.

Br J Cancer 2019 04 26;120(8):779-790. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Cancer Institute, University College London, London, UK.

Imaging has an essential role in the planning and delivery of radiotherapy. Recent advances in imaging have led to the development of advanced radiotherapy techniques-including image-guided radiotherapy, intensity-modulated radiotherapy, stereotactic body radiotherapy and proton beam therapy. The optimal use of imaging might enable higher doses of radiation to be delivered to the tumour, while sparing normal surrounding tissues. In this article, we review how the integration of existing and novel forms of computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography have transformed tumour delineation in the radiotherapy planning process, and how these advances have the potential to allow a more individualised approach to the cancer therapy. Recent data suggest that imaging biomarkers that assess underlying tumour heterogeneity can identify areas within a tumour that are at higher risk of radio-resistance, and therefore potentially allow for biologically focussed dose escalation. The rapidly evolving concept of adaptive radiotherapy, including artificial intelligence, requires imaging during treatment to be used to modify radiotherapy on a daily basis. These advances have the potential to improve clinical outcomes and reduce radiation-related long-term toxicities. We outline how recent technological advances in both imaging and radiotherapy delivery can be combined to shape the future of precision radiation oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-019-0412-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6474267PMC
April 2019

Interleukin 2 with anti-GD2 antibody ch14.18/CHO (dinutuximab beta) in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (HR-NBL1/SIOPEN): a multicentre, randomised, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2018 12 12;19(12):1617-1629. Epub 2018 Nov 12.

Paediatric Haematology-Oncology Department, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.

Background: Immunotherapy with the chimeric anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody dinutuximab, combined with alternating granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and intravenous interleukin-2 (IL-2), improves survival in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. We aimed to assess event-free survival after treatment with ch14.18/CHO (dinutuximab beta) and subcutaneous IL-2, compared with dinutuximab beta alone in children and young people with high-risk neuroblastoma.

Methods: We did an international, open-label, phase 3, randomised, controlled trial in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma at 104 institutions in 12 countries. Eligible patients were aged 1-20 years and had MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma with stages 2, 3, or 4S, or stage 4 neuroblastoma of any MYCN status, according to the International Neuroblastoma Staging System. Patients were eligible if they had been enrolled at diagnosis in the HR-NBL1/SIOPEN trial, had completed the multidrug induction regimen (cisplatin, carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and etoposide, with or without topotecan, vincristine, and doxorubicin), had achieved a disease response that fulfilled prespecified criteria, had received high-dose therapy (busulfan and melphalan or carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan) and had received radiotherapy to the primary tumour site. In this component of the trial, patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive dinutuximab beta (20 mg/m per day as an 8 h infusion for 5 consecutive days) or dinutuximab beta plus subcutaneous IL-2 (6 × 10 IU/m per day on days 1-5 and days 8-12 of each cycle) with the minimisation method to balance randomisation for national groups and type of high-dose therapy. All participants received oral isotretinoin (160 mg/m per day for 2 weeks) before the first immunotherapy cycle and after each immunotherapy cycle, for six cycles. The primary endpoint was 3-year event-free survival, analysed by intention to treat. This trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01704716, and EudraCT, number 2006-001489-17, and recruitment to this randomisation is closed.

Findings: Between Oct 22, 2009, and Aug 12, 2013, 422 patients were eligible to participate in the immunotherapy randomisation, of whom 406 (96%) were randomly assigned to a treatment group (n=200 to dinutuximab beta and n=206 to dinutuximab beta with subcutaneous IL-2). Median follow-up was 4·7 years (IQR 3·9-5·3). Because of toxicity, 117 (62%) of 188 patients assigned to dinutuximab beta and subcutaneous IL-2 received their allocated treatment, by contrast with 160 (87%) of 183 patients who received dinutuximab beta alone (p<0·0001). 3-year event-free survival was 56% (95% CI 49-63) with dinutuximab beta (83 patients had an event) and 60% (53-66) with dinutuximab beta and subcutaneous IL-2 (80 patients had an event; p=0·76). Four patients died of toxicity (n=2 in each group); one patient in each group while receiving immunotherapy (n=1 congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension due to capillary leak syndrome; n=1 infection-related acute respiratory distress syndrome), and one patient in each group after five cycles of immunotherapy (n=1 fungal infection and multi-organ failure; n=1 pulmonary fibrosis). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were hypersensitivity reactions (19 [10%] of 185 patients in the dinutuximab beta group vs 39 [20%] of 191 patients in the dinutuximab plus subcutaneous IL-2 group), capillary leak (five [4%] of 119 vs 19 [15%] of 125), fever (25 [14%] of 185 vs 76 [40%] of 190), infection (47 [25%] of 185 vs 64 [33%] of 191), immunotherapy-related pain (19 [16%] of 122 vs 32 [26%] of 124), and impaired general condition (30 [16%] of 185 vs 78 [41%] of 192).

Interpretation: There is no evidence that addition of subcutaneous IL-2 to immunotherapy with dinutuximab beta, given as an 8 h infusion, improved outcomes in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma who had responded to standard induction and consolidation treatment. Subcutaneous IL-2 with dinutuximab beta was associated with greater toxicity than dinutuximab beta alone. Dinutuximab beta and isotretinoin without subcutaneous IL-2 should thus be considered the standard of care until results of ongoing randomised trials using a modified schedule of dinutuximab beta and subcutaneous IL-2 are available.

Funding: European Commission 5th Frame Work Grant, St. Anna Kinderkrebsforschung, Fondation ARC pour la recherche sur le Cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30578-3DOI Listing
December 2018

Psychosocial well-being of long-term survivors of pediatric head-neck rhabdomyosarcoma.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2019 02 14;66(2):e27498. Epub 2018 Oct 14.

Department of Paediatric Oncology, Emma Children's Hospital, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Head and neck rhabdomyosarcoma (HNRMS) survivors are at risk to develop adverse events (AEs). The impact of these AEs on psychosocial well-being is unclear. We aimed to assess psychosocial well-being of HNRMS survivors and examine whether psychosocial outcomes were associated with burden of therapy.

Procedure: Sixty-five HNRMS survivors (median follow-up: 11.5 years), treated in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom between 1990 and 2010 and alive ≥2 years after treatment visited the outpatient multidisciplinary follow-up clinic once, in which AEs were scored based on a predefined list according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events. Survivors were asked to complete questionnaires on health-related quality of life (HRQoL; PedsQL and YQOL-FD), self-perception (KIDSCREEN), and satisfaction with appearances (SWA). HRQoL and self-perception scores were compared with reference values, and the correlation between physician-assessed AEs and psychosocial well-being was assessed.

Results: HNRMS survivors showed significantly lower scores on PedsQL school/work domain (P ≤ 0.01, P = 0.02, respectively), YQOL-FD domains negative self-image and positive consequences (P ≤ 0.01, P = 0.04, respectively) compared with norm data; scores on negative consequences domain were significantly higher (P = 0.03). Over 50% of survivors negatively rated their appearances on three or more items. Burden of AEs was not associated with generic HRQoL and self-perception scores, but was associated with disease-specific QoL (YQOL-FD).

Conclusion: In general, HRQoL in HNRMS survivors was comparable to reference groups; however, survivors did report disease-specific consequences. We therefore recommend including specific questionnaires related to difficulties with facial appearance in a systematic monitoring program to determine the necessity for tailored care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.27498DOI Listing
February 2019

An evaluation of the efficacy of nutlin-3 and topotecan in combination with Lu-DOTATATE for the treatment of neuroblastoma.

Oncotarget 2018 Jun 26;9(49):29082-29096. Epub 2018 Jun 26.

Radiation Oncology, Institute of Cancer Sciences, Wolfson Wohl Translational Cancer Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Bearsden, Glasgow, UK.

Targeted radiotherapy of metastatic neuroblastoma using the somatostatin receptor (SSTR)-targeted octreotide analogue DOTATATE radiolabelled with lutetium-177 (Lu-DOTATATE) is a promising strategy. This study evaluates whether its effectiveness may be enhanced by combination with radiosensitising drugs. The growth rate of multicellular tumour spheroids, derived from the neuroblastoma cell lines SK-N-BE(2c), CHLA-15 and CHLA-20, was evaluated following treatment with Lu-DOTATATE, nutlin-3 and topotecan alone or in combination. Immunoblotting, immunostaining and flow cytometric analyses were used to determine activation of p53 signalling and cell death. Exposure to Lu-DOTATATE resulted in a significant growth delay in CHLA-15 and CHLA-20 spheroids, but not in SK-N-BE(2c) spheroids. Nutlin-3 enhanced the spheroid growth delay induced by topotecan in CHLA-15 and CHLA-20 spheroids, but not in SK-N-BE(2c) spheroids. Importantly, the combination of nutlin-3 with topotecan enhanced the spheroid growth delay induced by X-irradiation or by exposure to Lu-DOTATATE. The efficacy of the combination treatments was p53-dependent. These results indicate that targeted radiotherapy of high risk neuroblastoma with Lu-DOTATATE may be improved by combination with the radiosensitising drugs nutlin-3 and topotecan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25607DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6044389PMC
June 2018

Addition of dose-intensified doxorubicin to standard chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma (EpSSG RMS 2005): a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2018 08 22;19(8):1061-1071. Epub 2018 Jun 22.

Clinical Trials and Biostatistics Unit, Istituto Oncologico Veneto IOV-IRCCS, Padova, Italy.

Background: Rhabdomyosarcoma is an aggressive tumour that can develop in almost any part of the body. Doxorubicin is an effective drug against rhabdomyosarcoma, but its role in combination with an established multidrug regimen remains controversial. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the possible benefit of early dose intensification with doxorubicin in patients with non-metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma.

Methods: We did a multicentre, open-label, randomised controlled, phase 3 trial involving 108 hospitals from 14 countries. We included patients older than 6 months but younger than 21 years with a pathologically proven diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma. We assigned each patient to a specific subgroup according to the EpSSG stratification system. Those with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma incompletely resected and localised at unfavourable sites with or without nodal involvement, or those with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma without nodal involvement were considered at high risk of relapse. These high-risk patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either nine cycles of IVA (ifosfamide 3 g/m given as a 3-h intravenous infusion on days 1 and 2, vincristine 1·5 mg/m weekly during the first 7 weeks then only on day 1 of each cycle [given as a single intravenous injection], and dactinomycin 1·5 mg/m on day 1 given as a single intravenous injection) or four cycles of IVA with doxorubicin 30 mg/m given as a 4-h intravenous infusion on days 1 and 2 followed by five cycles of IVA. The interval between cycles was 3 weeks. Randomisation was done using a web-based system and was stratified (block sizes of four) by enrolling country and risk subgroup. Neither investigators nor patients were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was 3-year event-free survival assessed by the investigator at each centre in the intention-to-treat population. Patients who received at least one dose of study treatment were considered in the safety analysis. In agreement with the independent data monitoring committee, the study was closed to patient entry on Dec 16, 2013, after futility analysis. This trial is registered with EudraCT, number 2005-000217-35, and is currently in follow-up.

Findings: Between Oct 1, 2005, and Dec 16, 2013, 484 patients were randomly assigned to receive each chemotherapy regimen (242 in the IVA group and 242 in the IVA plus doxorubicin group). Median follow-up was 63·9 months (IQR 44·6-78·9). The 3-year event-free survival was 67·5% (95% CI 61·2-73·1) in the IVA plus doxorubicin group and 63·3% (56·8-69·0) in the IVA group (hazard ratio 0·87, 95% CI 0·65-1·16; p=0·33). Grade 3-4 leucopenia (232 [93%] of 249 patients in the IVA plus doxorubicin group vs 194 [85%] of 227 in the IVA group; p=0·0061), anaemia (195 [78%] vs 111 [49%]; p<0·0001), thrombocytopenia (168 [67%] vs 59 [26%]; p<0.0001), and gastrointestinal adverse events (78 [31%] vs 19 [8%]; p<0·0001) were significantly more common in the IVA plus doxorubicin group than in the IVA group. Grade 3-5 infections (198 [79%] vs 128 [56%]; p<0·0001) were also significantly more common in the IVA plus doxorubicin group than in the IVA group, in which one patient had grade 5 infection. Two treatment-related deaths were reported (one patient developed septic shock and one affected by Goldenhar syndrome developed intractable seizures) in the IVA plus doxorubicin group, both occurring after the first cycle of treatment, and none were reported in the IVA group.

Interpretations: The addition of dose-intensified doxorubicin to standard IVA chemotherapy did not show a significant improvement in the outcome of patients with high-risk non-metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma. Therefore, the IVA chemotherapy regimen should remain the standard of care for patients with localised rhabdomyosarcoma in Europe.

Funding: Fondazione Città della Speranza, Italy, and the Association Léon Berard Enfant Cancéreux, France.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30337-1DOI Listing
August 2018

Prognostic relevance of early radiologic response to induction chemotherapy in pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology Malignant Mesenchymal Tumor 95 study.

Cancer 2018 03 6;124(5):1016-1024. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Emma Children's Hospital/Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: Early response to induction chemotherapy is used in current European guidelines to evaluate the efficacy of chemotherapy and subsequently to adapt treatment in pediatric patients with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). However, existing literature on the prognostic value of early radiologic response on survival is contradictory; here the prognostic value is analyzed with data from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) Malignant Mesenchymal Tumor 95 (MMT-95) study.

Methods: This study examined 432 Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Grouping III (macroscopic residue) patients enrolled in the SIOP MMT-95 study with a response assessment after 3 courses of chemotherapy (a 2-dimensional assessment). Patients with progressive disease (PD) after 3 courses of chemotherapy were excluded (n = 7). Failure-free survival (FFS) and overall survival (OS), calculated with the Kaplan-Meier method, were compared for 3 groups (complete response [CR]/partial response [PR], objective response [OR], and no response [NR]). The prognostic impact of early response was assessed through the calculation of Cox proportional hazards.

Results: After 3 courses of chemotherapy, 85.2% of the patients had CR/PR, 8.6% had OR, and 6.3% had NR. For all patients, the 5-year FFS and OS rates were 60% (95% confidence interval [CI], 56%-65%) and 74% (95% CI, 70%-78%), respectively. However, a Cox proportional hazards regression analysis revealed no significant difference in FFS or OS between the response groups. The adjusted hazard ratios for an OR and NR were 1.09 (95% CI, 0.63-1.88) and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.39-1.67), respectively, for FFS and 0.91 (95% CI, 0.47-1.76) and 1.27 (95% CI, 0.61-2.64), respectively, for OS.

Conclusions: No evidence was found for the idea that early radiologic response to chemotherapy is prognostic for survival for patients with RMS. Treatment adaptation based on early response (except for patients with PD) should, therefore, no longer be incorporated into future studies. Cancer 2018;124:1016-24. © 2017 American Cancer Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31157DOI Listing
March 2018

Immunohistochemical evaluation of molecular radiotherapy target expression in neuroblastoma tissue.

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2018 03 17;45(3):402-411. Epub 2017 Oct 17.

Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 250 Euston Road, London, NW1 2PG, UK.

Purpose: Neuroblastoma may be treated with molecular radiotherapy, I meta-Iodobenzylguanidine and Lu Lutetium DOTATATE, directed at distinct molecular targets: Noradrenaline Transporter Molecule (NAT) and Somatostatin Receptor (SSTR2), respectively. This study used immunohistochemistry to evaluate target expression in archival neuroblastoma tissue, to determine whether it might facilitate clinical use of molecular radiotherapy.

Methods: Tissue bank samples of formalin fixed paraffin embedded neuroblastoma tissue from patients for whom clinical outcome data were available were sectioned and stained with haematoxylin and eosin, and monoclonal antibodies directed against NAT and SSTR2. Sections were examined blinded to clinical information and scored for the percentage and intensity of tumour cells stained. These data were analysed in conjunction with clinical data.

Results: Tissue from 75 patients was examined. Target expression scores varied widely between patients: NAT median 45%, inter-quartile range 25% - 65%; and SSTR2 median 55%, interquartile range 30% - 80%; and in some cases heterogeneity of expression between different parts of a tumour was observed. A weak positive correlation was observed between the expression scores of the different targets: correlation coefficient = 0.23, p = 0.05. MYCN amplified tumours had lower SSTR2 scores: mean difference 23% confidence interval 8% - 39%, p < 0.01. Survival did not differ by scores.

Conclusions: As expression of both targets is variable and heterogeneous, imaging assessment of both may yield more clinical information than either alone. The clinical value of immunohistochemical assessment of target expression requires prospective evaluation. Variable target expression within a patient may contribute to treatment failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00259-017-3856-4DOI Listing
March 2018

Improved outcome of I-mIBG treatment through combination with external beam radiotherapy in the SK-N-SH mouse model of neuroblastoma.

Radiother Oncol 2017 09 5;124(3):488-495. Epub 2017 Jun 5.

CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, Department of Oncology, Oxford University, UK. Electronic address:

Purpose: To assess the efficacy of different schedules for combining external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) with molecular radiotherapy (MRT) using I-mIBG in the management of neuroblastoma.

Materials And Methods: BALB/c nu/nu mice bearing SK-N-SH neuroblastoma xenografts were assigned to five treatment groups: I-mIBG 24h after EBRT, EBRT 6days after I-mIBG, EBRT alone, I-mIBG alone and control (untreated). A total of 56 mice were assigned to 3 studies. Study 1: Vessel permeability was evaluated using dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI (n=3). Study 2: Tumour uptake of I-mIBG in excised lesions was evaluated by γ-counting and autoradiography (n=28). Study 3: Tumour volume was assessed by longitudinal MR imaging and survival was analysed (n=25). Tumour dosimetry was performed using Monte Carlo simulations of absorbed fractions with the radiation transport code PENELOPE.

Results: Given alone, both I-mIBG and EBRT resulted in a seven-day delay in tumour regrowth. Following EBRT, vessel permeability was evaluated by DCE-MRI and showed an increase at 24h post irradiation that correlated with an increase in I-mIBG tumour uptake, absorbed dose and overall survival in the case of combined treatment. Similarly, EBRT administered seven days after MRT to coincide with tumour regrowth, significantly decreased the tumour volume and increased overall survival.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that combining EBRT and MRT has an enhanced therapeutic effect and emphasizes the importance of treatment scheduling according to pathophysiological criteria such as tumour vessel permeability and tumour growth kinetics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2017.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5636618PMC
September 2017

Impact of induction chemotherapy, hyperfractionated accelerated radiotherapy and high-dose thiotepa on brain volume loss and functional status of children with primitive neuroectodermal tumour.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2017 Nov 16;64(11). Epub 2017 May 16.

Department of Paediatric Oncology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Background: The introduction of aggressive chemo-radiotherapy regimens has improved overall survival in children with primitive neuroectodermal tumours (PNET). However, these combinations may result in neurotoxicity. Previously reported magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities in children receiving intensive sequential chemotherapy, hyperfractionated accelerated radiotherapy (HART) and high-dose thiotepa prompted us to investigate the degree of brain volume loss and patients' functional status after therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed clinico-radiological data of children with PNET treated in this way at our centre.

Results: We studied 14 children treated between December 2009 and April 2013. Data were not complete for one child. Performance status was severely restricted in four children, and mildly to moderately impaired in 7 of the 13 children. Eleven of 13 children showed mild-to-severe generalised neuroparenchymal atrophy, in 7 of whom neuroparenchymal volume loss was moderate to severe. Of these seven, six had received high-dose thiotepa. There was no correlation between brain volume loss and Lansky performance status. However, unexpected neurotoxicities, such as symptoms of transverse myelitis, were observed.

Conclusion: Measurement of brain volume loss in patients treated with HART and high-dose thiotepa may not be sufficient to predict function. However, correlation of brain volume loss due to late neurotoxicity with performance decline may be more obvious over longer period of follow-up. The combination of HART and myeloablative courses of thiotepa is associated with severe neurotoxicity and subsequent decline in performance status in a significant proportion of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26619DOI Listing
November 2017

Busulfan and melphalan versus carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan as high-dose chemotherapy for high-risk neuroblastoma (HR-NBL1/SIOPEN): an international, randomised, multi-arm, open-label, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2017 04 2;18(4):500-514. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Children and Adolescent Oncology Department, Gustave Roussy, Paris-Sud University, Paris, France.

Background: High-dose chemotherapy with haemopoietic stem-cell rescue improves event-free survival in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma; however, which regimen has the greatest patient benefit has not been established. We aimed to assess event-free survival after high-dose chemotherapy with busulfan and melphalan compared with carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan.

Methods: We did an international, randomised, multi-arm, open-label, phase 3 cooperative group clinical trial of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma at 128 institutions in 18 countries that included an open-label randomised arm in which high-dose chemotherapy regimens were compared. Patients (age 1-20 years) with neuroblastoma were eligible to be randomly assigned if they had completed a multidrug induction regimen (cisplatin, carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and etoposide with or without topotecan, vincristine, and doxorubicin) and achieved an adequate disease response. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to busulfan and melphalan or to carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan by minimisation, balancing age at diagnosis, stage, MYCN amplification, and national cooperative clinical group between groups. The busulfan and melphalan regimen comprised oral busulfan (150 mg/m given on 4 days consecutively in four equal doses); after Nov 8, 2007, intravenous busulfan was given (0·8-1·2 mg/kg per dose for 16 doses according to patient weight). After 24 h, an intravenous melphalan dose (140 mg/m) was given. Doses of busulfan and melphalan were modified according to bodyweight. The carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan regimen consisted of carboplatin continuous infusion of area under the plasma concentration-time curve 4·1 mg/mL per min per day for 4 days, etoposide continuous infusion of 338 mg/m per day for 4 days, and melphalan 70 mg/m per day for 3 days, with doses for all three drugs modified according to bodyweight and glomerular filtration rate. Stem-cell rescue was given after the last dose of high-dose chemotherapy, at least 24 h after melphalan in patients who received busulfan and melphalan and at least 72 h after carboplatin etoposide, and melphalan. All patients received subsequent local radiotherapy to the primary tumour site followed by maintenance therapy. The primary endpoint was 3-year event-free survival, analysed by intention to treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01704716, and EudraCT, number 2006-001489-17.

Findings: Between June 24, 2002, and Oct 8, 2010, 1347 patients were enrolled and 676 were eligible for random allocation, 598 (88%) of whom were randomly assigned: 296 to busulfan and melphalan and 302 to carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan. Median follow-up was 7·2 years (IQR 5·3-9·2). At 3 years, 146 of 296 patients in the busulfan and melphalan group and 188 of 302 in the carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan group had an event; 3-year event-free survival was 50% (95% CI 45-56) versus 38% (32-43; p=0·0005). Nine patients in the busulfan and melphalan group and 11 in the carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan group had died without relapse by 5 years. Severe life-threatening toxicities occurred in 13 (4%) patients who received busulfan and melphalan and 29 (10%) who received carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan. The most frequent grade 3-4 adverse events were general condition (74 [26%] of 281 in the busulfan and melphalan group vs 103 [38%] of 270 in the carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan group), infection (55 [19%] of 283 vs 74 [27%] of 271), and stomatitis (138 [49%] of 284 vs 162 [59%] of 273); 60 (22%) of 267 patients in the busulfan and melphalan group had Bearman grades 1-3 veno-occlusive disease versus 21 (9%) of 239 in the carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan group.

Interpretation: Busulfan and melphalan improved event-free survival in children with high-risk neuroblastoma with an adequate response to induction treatment and caused fewer severe adverse events than did carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan. Busulfan and melphalan should thus be considered standard high-dose chemotherapy and ongoing randomised studies will continue to aim to optimise treatment for high-risk neuroblastoma.

Funding: European Commission 5th Framework Grant and the St Anna Kinderkrebsforschung.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30070-0DOI Listing
April 2017

Semi-quantitative scoring of skeletal metastases by I-mIBG scintigraphy in high-risk neuroblastoma.

Authors:
Mark N Gaze

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging 2017 08 3;44(8):1251-1253. Epub 2017 Mar 3.

Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 250 Euston Road, London, NW1 2PG, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00259-017-3660-1DOI Listing
August 2017

Paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma in children and adolescents-Outcome and patterns of relapse when utilizing a nonsurgical strategy for lymph node staging: Report from the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Malignant Mesenchymal Tumour 89 and 95 studies.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2017 Sep 16;64(9). Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Chirurgie Pédiatrique Hôpital Bicêtre, Université Paris XI, Orsay, France.

Purpose: To report the results from International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) Malignant Mesenchymal Tumors studies (MMT 89 and 95) of males with nonmetastatic paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma.

Methods: From 1989 to 2003, 159 patients were included. Radical inguinal orchidectomy was recommended, but retroperitoneal lymph node (LN) assessment was based on imaging alone. The treatment was stratified by stage (SIOP tumor-node-metastasis staging system) and histology.

Results: Median age at presentation was 5.6 years (range 0.3-17.6) and 120 patients were of <10 years (75%). Patients ≥10 years had tumors of >5 cm more frequently compared to patients of <10 years (54% vs. 22%, P = 0.0004). The 5- year overall and progression-free survivals were 94% and 83%, respectively. Seventy-eight percent of relapses occurred in the retroperitoneal LN. Thirty-one percent of stage N0 patients of age ≥10 years developed node relapse, compared with 8% of N0 patients aged <10 years (P = 0.0005).

Conclusions: Older patients with paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma have a significant risk of LN relapse. These results support a surgical approach to LN staging in this subgroup of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.26486DOI Listing
September 2017

The neuroendocrine sequelae of paediatric craniopharyngioma: a 40-year meta-data analysis of 185 cases from three UK centres.

Eur J Endocrinol 2017 Mar 10;176(3):359-369. Epub 2017 Jan 10.

Royal Manchester Children's HospitalManchester, UK.

Objectives: The management of paediatric craniopharyngiomas was traditionally complete resection (CR), with better reported tumour control compared to that by partial resection (PR) or limited surgery (LS). The subsequent shift towards hypothalamic sparing, conservative surgery with adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) to any residual tumour aimed at reducing neuroendocrine morbidity, has not been systematically studied. Hence, we reviewed the sequelae of differing management strategies in paediatric craniopharyngioma across three UK tertiary centres over four decades.

Methods: Meta-data was retrospectively reviewed over two periods before (1973-2000 (Group A: n = 100)) and after (1998-2011 (Group B: n = 85)) the introduction of the conservative strategy at each centre.

Results: Patients had CR (A: 34% and B: 19%), PR (A: 48% and B: 46%) or LS (A: 16% and B: 34%), with trends reflecting the change in surgical approach over time. Overall recurrence rates between the two periods did not change (A: 38% vs B: 32%). More patients received RT in B than A, but recurrence rates were similar: for A, 28% patients received RT with 9 recurrences (32%); for B, 62% received RT with 14 recurrences (26%). However, rates of diabetes insipidus (P = 0.04), gonadotrophin deficiency (P < 0.001) and panhypopituitarism (P = 0.001) were lower in B than those in A. In contrast, post-operative obesity (BMI SDS >+2.0) (P = 0.4) and hypothalamic (P = 0.1) and visual (P = 0.3) morbidity rates were unchanged.

Conclusion: The shift towards more conservative surgery has reduced the prevalence of hormone deficiencies, including diabetes insipidus, which can be life threatening. However, it has not been associated with reduced hypothalamic and visual morbidities, which remain a significant challenge. More effective targeted therapies are necessary to improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/EJE-16-0812DOI Listing
March 2017

Opportunities for research in molecular radiotherapy.

Br J Radiol 2017 Mar 5;90(1071):20160921. Epub 2017 Jan 5.

2 Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, Queen's University, Belfast, UK.

Cancer has been treated with radiopharmaceuticals for 80 years. A recent National Cancer Research Institute report from the Clinical and Translational Radiotherapy Research Working Group reviews the current status of molecular radiotherapy and has highlighted the barriers to and opportunities for increased research activities. The report recommends a number of actions to promote this field, which in the dawning age of personalized medicine and theragnostics is of increasing importance, particularly with the clinical introduction of a range of new commercial radiotherapeutics at costs in line with those seen for conventional chemotherapeutics. These recommendations recognize the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the development of molecular radiotherapy and the particular need for investment in radiopharmacies and personalized dosimetry. There are many areas to be investigated including adaptive treatment planning, the use of radiosensitizers and translational radiation biology. Progress in these areas will result in significant patient benefit and more cost-effective use of increasingly expensive therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. A concerted effort from the community, from funding bodies and from health service providers is now needed to address the scientific and logistical changes necessary to realize the potential offered by this currently underused treatment modality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1259/bjr.20160921DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5601516PMC
March 2017

MRI-guided radiotherapy of the SK-N-SH neuroblastoma xenograft model using a small animal radiation research platform.

Br J Radiol 2017 Jan 2;90(1069):20160427. Epub 2016 Sep 2.

1 CR-UK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Objective: Neuroblastoma has one of the lowest survival rates of all childhood cancers, despite the use of intensive treatment regimens. Preclinical models of neuroblastoma are essential for testing new multimodality protocols, including those that involve radiotherapy (RT). The aim of this study was to develop a robust method for RT planning and tumour response monitoring based on combined MRI and cone-beam CT (CBCT) imaging and to apply it to a widely studied mouse xenograft model of neuroblastoma, SK-N-SH.

Methods: As part of a tumour growth inhibition study, SK-N-SH xenografts were generated in BALB/c nu/nu mice. Mice (n = 8) were placed in a printed MR- and CT-compatible plastic cradle, imaged using a 4.7-T MRI scanner and then transferred to a small animal radiation research platform (SARRP) irradiator with on-board CBCT. MRI/CBCT co-registration was performed to enable RT planning using the soft-tissue contrast afforded by MRI prior to delivery of RT (5 Gy). Tumour response was assessed by serial MRI and calliper measurements.

Results: SK-N-SH xenografts formed soft, deformable tumours that could not be differentiated from surrounding normal tissues using CBCT. MR images, which allowed clear delineation of tumours, were successfully co-registered with CBCT images, allowing conformal RT to be delivered. MRI measurements of tumour volume 4 days after RT correlated strongly with length of survival time.

Conclusion: MRI allowed precision RT of SK-N-SH tumours and provided an accurate means of measuring tumour response. Advances in knowledge: MRI-based RT planning of murine tumours is feasible using an SARRP irradiator.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1259/bjr.20160427DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605018PMC
January 2017