• 21st L H Gray Conference: the radiobiology/radiation protection interface.

      West, Catharine M L; Martin, C J; Sutton, D G; Wright, Eric G; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Manchester, Christie Hospital, UK. catharine.west@manchester.ac.uk (2009-05)
      The 21st L H Gray Conference, organised by the L H Gray Trust with the Society for Radiological Protection, brought together international experts in radiobiology, epidemiology and risk assessment, and scientists involved in diagnostic and therapeutic radiation exposure. The meeting - held in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 4-6 June 2008 - aimed to raise awareness, educate and share knowledge of important issues in radiation protection. A distinguished group of speakers discussed topics that included (i) non-targeted effects of radiation, (ii) exposure to high natural background radiation, (iii) non-cancer effects in Japanese bomb survivors, (iv) lessons learnt from Chernobyl, (v) radiation in the workplace, (vi) biokinetic modelling, (vii) uncertainties in risk estimation, (viii) issues in diagnostic medical exposures, (ix) lessons leant from the polonium-210 incidence and (x) how the radiobiology/radiation oncology community is needed to help society prepare for potential future acts of radiation terrorism. The conference highlighted the importance, relevance and topicality of radiobiology today.
    • Blood flow and Vd (water): both biomarkers required for interpreting the effects of vascular targeting agents on tumor and normal tissue.

      Kötz, Barbara; West, Catharine M L; Saleem, Azeem; Jones, Terry; Price, Patricia M; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. (2009-02)
      Positron emission tomography studies with oxygen-15-labeled water provide in vivo quantitative tissue perfusion variables-blood flow and fractional volume of distribution of water [V(d) (water)]. To investigate the relationship between perfusion variables and the effect of vascular-targeting agents on vasculature, we measured tissue perfusion in tumors, spleen, kidney, and liver before and after treatment with combretastatin-A4-phosphate, a combination of nicotinamide and carbogen (N/C), and interferon (IFN). We observed that mean tumor blood flow and V(d) (water) was lower than in kidney, liver, and spleen at baseline. Blood flow and V(d) (water) were related in tumor (r = 0.62; P = 0.004) at baseline, but not in other normal tissues evaluated, where minimal variations in V(d) (water) were observed over a wide range of blood flow. Despite the relationship between blood flow and V(d) (water) in tumors before intervention, vascular-targeting agent-induced changes in these perfusion variables were not correlated. In contrast, changes in blood flow and V(d) (water) correlated in kidney and spleen after N/C and in kidney after combretastatin-A4-phosphate. The close relation between blood flow and V(d) (water) in tumors but not normal tissue may reflect barriers to fluid exchange in tumors because of necrosis and/or increased interstitial fluid pressure and underlies the importance and interdependence of these positron emission tomography perfusion variables under these conditions. As blood flow and V(d) (water) signify different aspects of tissue perfusion, the differential effects of interventions on both variables, flow and V(d) (water), should therefore be reported in future studies.
    • Clinical impact of tumour involvement of the anastomotic doughnut in oesophagogastric cancer surgery.

      Sillah, Abdul Karim; Griffiths, Ewen A; Pritchard, S A; Swindell, Ric; West, Catharine M L; Page, Richard; Welch, I M; Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, UK. (2009-04)
      INTRODUCTION: Published colorectal cancer surgery data suggest no role for the analysis of the anastomotic doughnuts following anterior resection. The usefulness of routine histological analysis of the upper gastrointestinal doughnut is not clear. Our study assessed the impact of cancer involvement of the doughnut on clinical practice. Factors associated with doughnut involvement and the effect on patients' survival were also analysed. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The clinicopathological details of 462 patients who underwent potentially curative oesophagogastrectomy for cancer with a stapled anastomosis between 1994 and 2006 in two specialist centres were retrospectively analysed. Univariate, multivariate and survival analyses were carried out. RESULTS: Approximately 5% of doughnuts (22 of 462) were histologically involved with cancer. Microscopic involvement of the proximal resection margin, local lymph node metastasis and lymphatic invasion within the main resected specimen were independently associated with doughnut involvement (all P < 0.05). However, these three factors taken together failed to predict doughnut involvement. Doughnut involvement was an independent adverse prognostic factor for overall survival (P = 0.0013). CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to findings in colorectal surgery, doughnut involvement with cancer appears to have useful prognostic information following oesophagogastrectomy. Routine histological analysis of upper gastrointestinal doughnuts is justified. Doughnut involvement could potentially strengthen the indications for adjuvant therapy in the future.
    • Epidermal growth factor receptor-targeted therapy.

      West, Catharine M L; Joseph, L; Bhana, Sara; Academic Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, Christie Hospital, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. catharine.west@manchester.ac.uk (2008-10)
      High epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression is a feature of human tumours and is an adverse prognostic factor for radiotherapy outcome. High expression is associated with benefit from accelerated radiotherapy in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Anti-EGFR strategies potentiate the effects of radiotherapy and the inhibition of deoxyribonucleic acid repair appears to be important amongst a wide range of mechanisms, which include effects on angiogenesis, differentiation and the immunological response. There is considerable interest in exploring combined modality therapies involving radiation and EGFR antagonists for the curative treatment of cancer patients. Important issues in designing new trials are to investigate optimal scheduling and to establish biobanks to develop biomarkers for future patient selection.
    • Exon-array profiling unlocks clinically and biologically relevant gene signatures from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour samples.

      Hall, J S; Leong, Hui Sun; Armenoult, L S C; Newton, G E; Valentine, Helen R; Irlam, Joely J; Möller-Levet, Carla S; Sikand, Kanwal A; Pepper, Stuart D; Miller, Crispin J; et al. (2011-03-15)
      Degradation and chemical modification of RNA in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples hamper their use in expression profiling studies. This study aimed to show that useful information can be obtained by Exon-array profiling archival FFPE tumour samples.
    • Hypoxia-associated markers in gastric carcinogenesis and HIF-2alpha in gastric and gastro-oesophageal cancer prognosis.

      Griffiths, Ewen A; Pritchard, S A; McGrath, S M; Valentine, Helen R; Price, Patricia M; Welch, I M; West, Catharine M L; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Cancer & Imaging Sciences, The University of Manchester, Christie Hospital, Wilmslow Road, Withington, Manchester M20 4BX, UK. (2008-03-11)
      The study investigated hypoxia-associated markers (HIF-2alpha, Epo, Epo-R, Glut-1 and VEGF) along with Ki-67 in a gastric carcinogenesis model, and the prognostic significance of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha in surgically treated gastro-oesophageal cancer. Protein expression was examined using immunohistochemistry on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded biopsies of normal mucosa (n=20), Helicobacter pylori-associated gastritis (n=24), intestinal metaplasia (n=24), dysplasia (n=12) and intestinal (n=19) and diffuse (n=21) adenocarcinoma. Relationships between HIF-2alpha expression and prognosis were assessed in resection specimens from 177 patients with gastric and gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Expression of all markers increased with progression along the gastric carcinogenesis sequence (P=0.0001). Hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha was expressed in 63% of 177 resection specimens and at a high level in 44%. The median overall survival in patients with HIF-2alpha-expressing tumours was 22 (95% CI 18-26) months, whereas those with HIF-2alpha-negative tumours had a median survival of 37 (95% CI 29-44) months (P=0.015). Hypoxia-inducible factor-2alpha had no independent prognostic significance in multivariate analysis. In view of the lack of independent prognostic significance, HIF-2alpha has no role as a routine prognostic indicator. However, the high expression of HIF-2alpha suggests that it may be of value as a potential therapeutic target.
    • Measurement tools for gastrointestinal symptoms in radiation oncology.

      West, Catharine M L; Davidson, Susan E; Academic Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Manchester, UK. Catharine.West@manchester.ac.uk (2009-03)
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To review the use of measurement tools for reporting gastrointestinal toxicity in radiation oncology to highlight recent findings of potential interest to those involved in the treatment of tumors in the pelvis, assessment of survivorship issues or management of bowel effects. RECENT FINDINGS: Multiple measurement tools are being used in radiation oncology studies involving both clinician and patient-reported outcomes. The increasing availability of accurate data on radiation doses and dose-volumes to normal tissues is enabling identification of critical areas where dose should be reduced to minimize organ damage. SUMMARY: Measurement tools for gastrointestinal symptoms are important to highlight therapeutic benefit for the expanding investigations of treatment intensification approaches and methods for toxicity reduction. The increasing use of the CTCAEv3 scales is a step forward, but further research is required to refine the system and improve its ease of use within routine clinical practice.
    • No relationship between 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and expression of Glut-1 and -3 and hexokinase I and II in high-grade glioma.

      Charnley, Natalie; Airley, R; Du Plessis, D; West, Catharine M L; Brock, Cathryn S; Barnett, C; Matthews, Julian C; Symonds, Kirsten; Bottomly, M; Swindell, Ric; et al. (2008-09)
      The purpose of this study was to compare glucose metabolism, measured using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography ([18F]FDG-PET), with the expression of Glut-1 and -3 and hexokinase I (Hex I) and II in high-grade glioma. The retrospective study involved 27 patients with WHO classification grade III and IV glioma, with either newly diagnosed or recurrent tumours. Patients underwent dynamic and static [18F]FDG-PET to glucose metabolic rate (MRGlu) and standardised uptake value (SUV), respectively. Tumour biopsies were obtained and stained using immunohistochemistry for the expression of Glut-1, -3, Hex I and II. Relationships between variables were studied using Spearman's rank correlation test. Results showed that the expression of Glut-1, Glut-3, Hex I and Hex II varied between and within the tumour samples. The mean of MRGlu was 0.2 (range 0.09-0.25) micromol/min/ml and that of SUV was 4.2 (range 3.2-5.2). There were no significant relationships among the tumour expression of any of the proteins studied with either MRGlu or SUV (p>0.21 for all). In conclusion, the lack of relationship between the immunohistochemical expression of Glut-1, -3, Hex I or II and glucose metabolism measured using [18F]FDG-PET in patients with high-grade glioma may be due to the tissue heterogeneity and presence of necrosis in high-grade tumours.
    • Point: why choose pulsed-dose-rate brachytherapy for treating gynecologic cancers?

      Davidson, Susan E; Hendry, Jolyon H; West, Catharine M L; Department of Clinical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom. Susan.Davidson@christie.nhs.uk (2010-08-09)
    • Radiation and the genome: from risks to opportunities for therapeutic exploitation.

      Robson, T; West, Catharine M L; School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, UK. T.Robson@qub.ac.uk (2010-08)
      On 1 December 2009, the Radiation and Cancer Biology Committee of the British Institute of Radiology (BIR) held a one-day conference on the theme of radiation and the genome. Talks covered genomic instability (its importance for radiation-induced carcinogenesis and potential for exploitation in the development of novel chemoradiotherapy combinations) and the prospects of exploiting knowledge of the genome to understand how individual genetic variation can impact on a patient's likelihood of developing toxicity following radiotherapy. The meeting also provided an overview of stem cell biology and its relevance for radiotherapy in terms of both tumour (somatic) and normal tissue (germline) sensitivity to radiation. Moreover, the possibility of manipulating stem cells to reduce radiation-induced normal tissue damage was considered.
    • The radiobiology/radiation protection interface in healthcare.

      Martin, C J; Sutton, D G; West, Catharine M L; Wright, Eric G; Department of Clinical Physics and Bio-engineering, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow, UK. (2009-06)
      The current knowledge of radiation effects is reviewed and implications for its application in healthcare considered. The 21st L H Gray conference gathered leading experts in radiobiology, radiation epidemiology, radiation effect modelling, and the application of radiation in medicine to provide an overview of the subject. The latest radiobiology research in non-targeted effects such as genomic instability and the bystander effect challenge the old models, but the implications for health effects on humans are uncertain. Adaptive responses to external stresses, of which radiation is one, have been demonstrated in cells and animal models, but it is not known how these might modify human dose-effect relationships. Epidemiological evidence from the Japanese A-bomb survivors provides strong evidence that there is a linear relationship between the excess risk of cancer and organ dose that extends from about 50 mSv up to 2.5 Sv, and results from pooled data for multiple epidemiological studies indicate that risks extend down to doses of 20 mSv. Thus linear extrapolation of the A-bomb dose-effect data provides an appropriate basis for radiological protection standards at the present time. Risks from higher dose diagnostic procedures fall within the range in which health effects can be demonstrated. There is therefore reason for concern about the rise in the number of computed tomography (CT) scans performed in many countries, and in particular the use of CT for screening of asymptomatic individuals. New radiotherapy techniques allow high dose radiation fields to be conformed more effectively to target volumes, and reduce doses to critical organs, but they tend to give a higher and more uniform dose to the whole body which may increase the risk of second cancer. It is important that radiation protection practitioners keep abreast of developments in understanding of radiation effects and advise the medical community about the implications of fundamental research when planning medical applications for the future.
    • The small-nucleolar RNAs commonly used for microRNA normalisation correlate with tumour pathology and prognosis.

      Gee, H E; Buffa, F M; Camps, C; Ramachandran, A; Leek, R; Taylor, M; Patil, M; Sheldon, H; Betts, Guy N J; Homer, J; et al. (2011-03-29)
      To investigate small-nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) as reference genes when measuring miRNA expression in tumour samples, given emerging evidence for their role in cancer.
    • Use of multiple biological markers in radiotherapy-treated head and neck cancer.

      Silva, Priyamal; Slevin, Nicholas J; Sloan, Philip; Valentine, Helen R; Ryder, W David J; Price, Patricia M; West, Catharine M L; Homer, Jarrod J; School of Cancer & Enabling Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. (2010-06)
      OBJECTIVE: Management of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is often based on clinical parameters, with little appreciation of the underlying tumour biology. Single biological marker studies fail to acknowledge the complexity of these tumours. Our aim was to define a profile of biological markers associated with outcome. DESIGN: This retrospective study involved consecutive patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated with primary radiotherapy between 1996 and 2001. Pre-treatment biopsies were used to study the immunohistochemical expression of nine biological markers. Markers were chosen to reflect biologically relevant pathways. RESULTS: Following analysis of nine markers, a profile of two markers was derived (carbonic anhydrase 9 and major vault protein), the co-expression of which conferred a significantly poor probability of locoregional control. The prognostic effect of these biomarkers in combination was greater than their effect individually. CONCLUSION: Biomarker profiles can be established which highlight large differences in locoregional control. Identifying tumours that express both carbonic anhydrase 9 and major vault protein may facilitate patient selection for more aggressive treatment.