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  • 1
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    Abstract: Background: Radiotherapy is a mainstay for the treatment of lung cancer that can induce pneumonitis or pulmonary fibrosis. The matricellular protein connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a central mediator of tissue remodeling. Methods: A radiation-induced mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis was used to determine if transient administration of a human antibody to CTGF (FG-3019) started at different times before or after 20 Gy thoracic irradiation reduced acute and chronic radiation toxicity. Mice (25 mice/group; 10 mice/group in a confirmation study) were examined by computed tomography, histology, gene expression changes, and for survival. In vitro experiments were performed to directly study the interaction of CTGF blockade and radiation. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: Administration of FG-3019 prevented ( approximately 50%-80%) or reversed ( approximately 50%) lung remodeling, improved lung function, improved mouse health, and rescued mice from lethal irradiation ( P 〈 .01). Importantly, when antibody treatment was initiated at 16 weeks after thoracic irradiation, FG-3019 reversed established lung remodeling and restored lung function. CTGF blockade abrogated M2 polarized macrophage influx, normalized radiation-induced gene expression changes, and reduced myofibroblast abundance and Osteopontin expression. Conclusion: These results indicate that blocking CTGF attenuates radiation-induced pulmonary remodeling and can reverse the process after initiation. CTGF has a central role in radiation-induced fibrogenesis, and FG-3019 may benefit patients with radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis or patients with other forms or origin of chronic fibrotic diseases.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28376190
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    Abstract: BACKGROUND: The present work aimed to analyze the feasibility of a shuttle-based MRI-guided radiation therapy (MRgRT) in the treatment of pelvic malignancies. PATIENTS AND METHODS: 20 patients with pelvic malignancies were included in this prospective feasibility analysis. Patients underwent daily MRI in treatment position prior to radiotherapy at the German Cancer Research Center. Positional inaccuracies, time and patient compliance were assessed for the application of off-line MRgRT. RESULTS: In 78% of applied radiation fractions, MR imaging for position verification could be performed without problems. Additionally, treatment-related side effects and reduced patient compliance were only responsible for omission of MRI in 9% of radiation fractions. The study workflow took a median time of 61min (range 47-99min); duration for radiotherapy alone was 13min (range 7-26min). Patient positioning, MR imaging and CT imaging including patient repositioning and the shuttle transfer required median times of 10min (range 7-14min), 26min (range 15-60min), 5min (range 3-8min) and 8min (range 2-36min), respectively. To assess feasibility of shuttle-based MRgRT, the reference point coordinates for the x, y and z axis were determined for the MR images and CT obtained prior to the first treatment fraction and correlated with the coordinates of the planning CT. In our dataset, the median positional difference between MR imaging and CT-based imaging based on fiducial matching between MR and CT imaging was equal to or less than 2mm in all spatial directions. The limited space in the MR scanner influenced patient selection, as the bore of the scanner had to accommodate the immobilization device and the constructed stereotactic frame. Therefore, obese, extremely muscular or very tall patients could not be included in this trial in addition to patients for whom exposure to MRI was generally judged inappropriate. CONCLUSION: This trial demonstrated for the first time the feasibility and patient compliance of a shuttle-based off-line approach to MRgRT of pelvic malignancies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29349601
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  • 5
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with dose escalation by simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) can be a safe modality for treating spinal bone metastases with enhanced targeting accuracy and improve local tumor control. METHODS/DESIGN: This is a single-center, prospective, randomized, controlled trial. One hundred and twenty patients with spinal bone metastases will receive palliative radiation therapy at the Heidelberg University Hospital. SBRT will be given in five or ten fractions with or without SIB. Four treatment arms are planned: IMRT with 30 Gy in ten fractions, IMRT with 30 Gy in ten fractions and SIB to 40 Gy, IMRT with 20 Gy in five fractions, and IMRT with 20 Gy in five fractions and SIB to 30Gy in five fractions will be compared. The target parameters will be measured at baseline level and at three and six months after radiation. DISCUSSION: The primary endpoint of this study was to assess and compare the local tumor control (by means of different fractionation schedules and biological doses to the tumor area). Secondary endpoints are acute and chronic adverse events, pain relief, quality of life, and fatigue. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02832765 . Registered on 27 July 2016.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29357902
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  • 6
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) may aid the regeneration of ionizing radiation (IR)-induced tissue damage. They can be harvested from different tissues for clinical purposes; however, the role of the tissue source on the radiation response of human MSCs remains unknown. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Human MSCs were isolated from adipose tissue, bone marrow, and umbilical cord, and cellular survival, proliferation, and apoptosis were measured after irradiation. The influence of IR on the defining functions of MSCs was assessed, and cell morphology, surface marker expression, and the differentiation potential were examined. Western blot analyses were performed to assess the activation of DNA damage signaling and repair pathways. RESULTS: MSCs from adipose tissue, bone marrow, and umbilical cord exhibited a relative radioresistance independent of their tissue of origin. Defining properties including cellular adhesion and surface marker expression were preserved, and irradiated MSCs maintained their potential for multilineage differentiation irrespective of their tissue source. Analysis of activated DNA damage recognition and repair pathways demonstrated an efficient repair of IR-induced DNA double-strand breaks in MSCs from different tissues, thereby influencing the induction of apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: These data show for the first time that MSCs are resistant to IR and largely preserve their defining functions after irradiation irrespective of their tissue of origin. Efficient repair of IR-induced DNA double-strand breaks and consecutive reduction of apoptosis induction may contribute to the tissue-independent radiation resistance of MSCs.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29452769
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  • 7
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: The effect of radiotherapy, in particular the application of different multi-fraction schedules in the management of unstable spinal bone metastases (SBM), is incompletely understood. This study aims to compare the radiological response regarding various dose and fractionation schedules of radiotherapy in the palliative treatment of SBM. METHODS: We retrospectively assessed 1047 patients with osteolytic SBM, treated with palliative radiotherapy at our department between 2000 and 2015. Lung cancer (40.2%), breast (16.7%) and renal cancer (15.2%) were the most common solid tumors in this study. Different common multi-fraction regimen (5x4Gy, 10x3Gy, 14 x 2.5Gy and 20x2Gy) were compared with regard to radiological response and recalcification at 3 and 6 months after radiotherapy. The Taneichi score was used for classification of osteolytic SBM. RESULTS: Median follow up was 6.3 months. The median overall survival (OS) in the short-course radiotherapy (SCR) group using less than 10 treatment fractions was 5.5 months vs. 9.5 months in the long-course radiotherapy (LCR) group using in excess of 10 fractions (log rank p 〈 .0001). Overall survival (OS) in the SCR group after 3 and 6 months was 66.8 and 49.1%, respectively vs 80.9 and 61.5%, respectively in the LCR group. 17.6% (n = 54/306) and 31.1% (n = 89/286) of unstable SBM were classified as stable in the SCR group at 3 and 6 months post radiotherapy, respectively (p 〈 .001 for both). In the LCR group, 24.1% (n = 28/116) and 34.2% (n = 38/111) of unstable SBM were stabilized after 3 and 6 months, respectively (p 〈 .001 for both). CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows no significant difference in stabilization achieving recalcification rates between multi-fraction schedules (SCR vs. LCR) in the palliative management of unstable SBM. Both groups with multi-fraction regimen demonstrate a stabilizing effect following 3 and 6 months after radiotherapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 30041672
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  • 8
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: To report the primary endpoint of a randomized trial comparing pain response following palliative stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) versus conventionally-fractionated 3D-conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) for previously untreated spinal metastases. METHODS: Fifty-five patients with histologically/radiologically confirmed painful spinal metastases were analyzed in this single-institutional, non-blinded, randomized explorative trial. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive single-fraction SBRT (24Gy) or 3DCRT (30Gy in 10 fractions). The primary endpoint was pain relief of 〉2 points on the visual analog scale (VAS) measured within the irradiated region at 3months following radiotherapy completion. Other recorded parameters included pain response (per International Bone Consensus response definitions), use of concurrent medications and opioid usage (oral morphine equivalent dose, OMED). All parameters were assessed at baseline and at three and six months after RT. Intention-to-treat analysis was applied. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02358720. FINDINGS: Despite no significant differences for VAS at 3months between groups (p=0.13), pain values decreased faster within this time period in the SBRT arm (p=0.01). At 6months following RT, significantly lower VAS values were reported in the SBRT group (p=0.002). There were no differences in OMED consumption at 3 (p=0.761) and 6months (p=0.174). There was a trend toward improved pain response in the SBRT arm at 3months (p=0.057), but significantly so after 6months (p=0.003). No patient in the SBRT group experienced grade 〉/=3 toxicities according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v.4.03. CONCLUSIONS: This randomized trial demonstrates the utility of palliative SBRT for spinal metastases, which was associated with a quicker and improved pain response. Larger ongoing randomized studies will assist in further addressing these endpoints.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29843899
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  • 9
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Consumer electronics and Web-enabled mobile devices are playing an increasing role in patient care, and their use in the oncologic sector opens up promising possibilities in the fields of supportive cancer care and systematic patient follow-up. OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to assess the acceptance and possible benefits of a mobile app-based concept for supportive care of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy. METHODS: In total, 975 patients presenting for radiotherapy due to breast or prostate cancer were screened; of them, 200 owned a smartphone and consented to participate in the survey. Patients were requested to complete a questionnaire at 2 time points: prior to the initiation (T0) and after the completion (T1) of radiotherapy. The questionnaire included questions about the habits of smartphone usage, technical knowledge and abilities of the participants, readiness to use a mobile app within the context of radiotherapy, possible features of the mobile app, and general attitude toward the different aspects of oncologic treatments. For quantitative analysis, sum scores were calculated for all areas of interest, and results were correlated with patient characteristics. Additionally, answers were quantitatively compared between time points T0 and T1. RESULTS: Median patient age was 57 (range 27-78) years. Of the 200 participants, 131 (66.2%) reported having the ability to use their smartphones with minimal to no help and 75.8% (150/200) had not used their smartphones in a medical context before. However, 73.3% (146/200) and 83.4% (166/200) of patients showed a strong interest in using a mobile app for supportive care during radiotherapy and as part of the clinical follow-up, respectively. Patients most commonly requested functionalities regarding appointment scheduling in the clinic (176/200, 88.0%) and the collection of patient-reported outcome data regarding their illness, therapy, and general well-being (130/200, 65.0%). Age was identified as the most influential factor regarding patient attitude, with patients aged 〈55 years being significantly more inclined toward and versed in smartphone use (P〈.001). The acceptance of mobile apps was significantly higher in patients exhibiting a Karnofsky performance index 〈80% (P=.01). Support in the context of therapy-related side effects was judged most important by patients with poor clinical performance (P=.006). The overall acceptance of mobile apps in the context of radiotherapy surveillance was high at a median item sum score of 71.4/100 and was not significantly influenced by tumor stage, age, gender, treatment setting, or previous radiotherapies. CONCLUSIONS: The acceptance of mobile apps for the surveillance and follow-up of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy is high; this high acceptance level will serve as a basis for future clinical trials investigating the clinical benefits of mobile app-based treatment support. Introduction of mobile apps into the clinical routine should be considered as an opportunity to improve and intensify supportive treatment for cancer patients.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 30166275
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  • 10
    Keywords: SURVIVAL ; SURGERY ; RADIATION-THERAPY ; SQUAMOUS-CELL CARCINOMA ; adenocarcinoma ; RANDOMIZED-TRIAL ; chemoradiation ; 3D conformal radiotherapy ; NEOADJUVANT CHEMORADIOTHERAPY ; DOSE RADIATION
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: To report our experience with increased dose intensity-modulated radiation and concurrent systemic chemotherapy as definitive treatment of locally advanced esophageal cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We analyzed 27 consecutive patients with histologically proven esophageal cancer, who were treated with increased-dose IMRT as part of their definitive therapy. The majority of patients had T3/4 and/or N1 disease (93%). Squamous cell carcinoma was the dominating histology (81%). IMRT was delivered in step-and-shoot technique in all patients using an integrated boost concept. The boost volume was covered with total doses of 56-60 Gy (single dose 2-2.14 Gy), while regional nodal regions received 50.4 Gy (single dose 1.8 Gy) in 28 fractions. Concurrent systemic therapy was scheduled in all patients and administered in 26 (96%). 17 patients received additional adjuvant systemic therapy. Loco-regional control, progression-free and overall survival as well as acute and late toxicities were retrospectively analyzed. In addition, quality of life was prospectively assessed according to the EORTC QLQs (QLQ-OG25, QLQ-H&N35 and QLQ-C30). RESULTS: Radiotherapy was completed as planned in all but one patient (96%), and 21 patients received more than 80% of the planned concurrent systemic therapy. We observed ten locoregional failures, transferring into actuarial 1-, 2- and 3-year-locoregional control rates of 77%, 65% and 48%. Seven patients developed distant metastases, mainly to the lung (71%). The actuarial 1-, 2- and 3-year-disease free survival rates were 58%, 48% and 36%, and overall survival rates were 82%, 61% and 56%. The concept was well tolerated, both in the clinical objective examination and also according to the subjective answers to the QLQ questionnaire. 14 patients (52%) suffered from at least one acute CTC grade 3/4 toxicity, mostly hematological side effects or dysphagia. Severe late toxicities were reported in 6 patients (22%), mostly esophageal strictures and ulcerations. Severe side effects to skin, lung and heart were rare. CONCLUSION: IMRT with concurrent systemic therapy in the definitive treatment of esophageal cancer using an integrated boost concept with doses up to 60 Gy is feasible and yields good results with acceptable acute and late overall toxicity and low side effects to skin, lung and heart.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25175056
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