A prospective randomized study of megestrol acetate and ibuprofen in gastrointestinal cancer patients with weight loss.
The use of megestrol acetate in the treatment of weight loss in gastrointestinal cancer patients has been disappointing. The aim of the present study was to compare the combination of megestrol acetate and placebo with megestrol acetate and ibuprofen in the treatment of weight loss in such patients. At baseline, 4-6 weeks and 12 weeks, patients underwent measurements of anthropometry, concentrations of albumin and C-reactive protein and assessment of appetite, performance status and quality of life using EuroQol-EQ-5D and EORTC QLQ-C30. Thirty-eight and 35 patients (median weight loss 18%) were randomized to megestrol acetate/placebo or megestrol acetate/ibuprofen, respectively, for 12 weeks. Forty-six (63%) of patients failed to complete the 12-week assessment. Of those evaluable at 12 weeks, there was a decrease in weight (median 2.8 kg) in the megestrol acetate/placebo group compared with an increase (median 2.3 kg) in the megestrol acetate/ibuprofen group (P<0.001). There was also an improvement in the EuroQol-EQ-5D quality of life scores of the latter group (P<0.05). The combination of megestrol acetate/ibuprofen appeared to reverse weight loss and appeared to improve quality of life in patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer. Further trials of this novel regimen in weight-losing patients with hormone-insensitive cancers are warranted. (+info)
Elevated levels of C-reactive protein at discharge in patients with unstable angina predict recurrent instability.
BACKGROUND: In a group of patients admitted for unstable angina, we investigated whether C-reactive protein (CRP) plasma levels remain elevated at discharge and whether persistent elevation is associated with recurrence of instability. METHODS AND RESULTS: We measured plasma levels of CRP, serum amyloid A protein (SAA), fibrinogen, total cholesterol, and Helicobacter pylori and Chlamydia pneumoniae antibody titers in 53 patients admitted to our coronary care unit for Braunwald class IIIB unstable angina. Blood samples were taken on admission, at discharge, and after 3 months. Patients were followed for 1 year. At discharge, CRP was elevated (>3 mg/L) in 49% of patients; of these, 42% had elevated levels on admission and at 3 months. Only 15% of patients with discharge levels of CRP <3 mg/L but 69% of those with elevated CRP (P<0.001) were readmitted because of recurrence of instability or new myocardial infarction. New phases of instability occurred in 13% of patients in the lower tertile of CRP (/=8.7 mg/L, P<0.001). The prognostic value of SAA was similar to that of CRP; that of fibrinogen was not significant. Chlamydia pneumoniae but not Helicobacter pylori antibody titers significantly correlated with CRP plasma levels. CONCLUSIONS: In unstable angina, CRP may remain elevated for at >/=3 months after the waning of symptoms and is associated with recurrent instability. Elevation of acute-phase reactants in unstable angina could represent a hallmark of subclinical persistent instability or of susceptibility to recurrent instability and, at least in some patients, could be related to chronic Chlamydia pneumoniae infection. (+info)
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome without systemic inflammation in acutely ill patients admitted to hospital in a medical emergency.
Criteria of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) are known to include patients without systemic inflammation. Our aim was to explore additional markers of inflammation that would distinguish SIRS patients with systemic inflammation from patients without inflammation. The study included 100 acutely ill patients with SIRS. Peripheral blood neutrophil and monocyte CD11b expression, serum interleukin-6, interleukin-1beta, tumour necrosis factor-alpha and C-reactive protein were determined, and severity of inflammation was evaluated by systemic inflammation composite score based on CD11b expression, C-reactive protein and cytokine levels. Levels of CD11b expression, C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 were higher in sepsis patients than in SIRS patients who met two criteria (SIRS2 group) or three criteria of SIRS (SIRS3 group). The systemic inflammation composite score of SIRS2 patients (median 1.5; range 0-8, n=56) was lower than that of SIRS3 patients (3.5; range 0-9, n=14, P=0.013) and that of sepsis patients (5.0; range 3-10, n=19, P<0.001). The systemic inflammation composite score was 0 in 13/94 patients. In 81 patients in whom systemic inflammation composite scores exceeded 1, interleukin-6 was increased in 64 (79.0%), C-reactive protein in 59 (72.8%) and CD11b in 50 (61.7%). None of these markers, when used alone, identified all patients but at least one marker was positive in each patient. Quantifying phagocyte CD11b expression and serum interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein concurrently provides a means to discriminate SIRS patients with systemic inflammation from patients without systemic inflammation. (+info)
Socioeconomic status and determinants of hemostatic function in healthy women.
Hemostatic factors are reported to be associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). Socioeconomic status (SES) is 1 of the determinants of the hemostatic profile, but the factors underlying this association are not well known. Our aim was to examine determinants of the socioeconomic differences in hemostatic profile. Between 1991 and 1994, we studied 300 healthy women, aged 30 to 65 years, who were representative of women living in the greater Stockholm area. Fibrinogen, factor VII mass concentration (FVII:Ag), activated factor VII (FVIIa), von Willebrand factor (vWF), and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) were measured. Educational attainment was used as a measure of SES. Low educational level and an unfavorable hemostatic profile were both associated with older age, unhealthful life style, psychosocial stress, atherogenic biochemical factors, and hypertension. Levels of hemostatic factors increased with lower educational attainment. Independently of age, the differences between the lowest (mandatory) and highest (college/university) education in FVII:Ag levels were 41 microg/L (95% confidence interval [CI], 15 to 66 microg/L, P=0.001), 0.26 g/L (95% CI, 0.10 to 0.42 g/L, P=0.001) in fibrinogen levels, and 0.11 U/mL (95% CI, 0.09 to 0.12 U/mL, P=0.03) in levels of vWF. The corresponding differences in FVIIa and PAI-1 were not statistically significant. With further adjustment for menopausal status, family history of CHD, marital status, psychosocial stress, lifestyle patterns, biochemical factors, and hypertension, statistically significant differences between mandatory and college/university education were observed in FVII:Ag (difference=34 microg/L; 95% CI, 2 to 65 microg/L, P=0.05) but not in fibrinogen (difference=0.03 g/L; 95% CI, -0.13 to 0.19 g/L, P=0.92) or in vWF (difference=0.06 U/mL; 95% CI, -0.10 to 0.22 U/mL, P=0.45). An educational gradient was most consistent and statistically significant for FVII:Ag, fibrinogen, and vWF. Age, psychosocial stress, unhealthful life style, atherogenic biochemical factors, and hypertension mediated the association of low educational level with elevated levels of fibrinogen and vWF. Psychosocial stress and unhealthful life style were the most important contributing factors. There was an independent association between education and FVII:Ag, which could not be explained by any of these factors. (+info)
Randomized secondary prevention trial of azithromycin in patients with coronary artery disease and serological evidence for Chlamydia pneumoniae infection: The Azithromycin in Coronary Artery Disease: Elimination of Myocardial Infection with Chlamydia (ACADEMIC) study.
BACKGROUND: Chlamydia pneumoniae commonly causes respiratory infection, is vasotropic, causes atherosclerosis in animal models, and has been found in human atheromas. Whether it plays a causal role in clinical coronary artery disease (CAD) and is amenable to antibiotic therapy is uncertain. METHODS AND RESULTS: CAD patients (n=302) who had a seropositive reaction to C pneumoniae (IgG titers >/=1:16) were randomized to receive placebo or azithromycin, 500 mg/d for 3 days, then 500 mg/wk for 3 months. Circulating markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein [CRP], interleukin [IL]-1, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-alpha), C pneumoniae antibody titers, and cardiovascular events were assessed at 3 and 6 months. Treatment groups were balanced, with age averaging 64 (SD=10) years; 89% of the patients were male. Azithromycin reduced a global rank sum score of the 4 inflammatory markers at 6 (but not 3) months (P=0. 011) as well as the mean global rank sum change score: 531 (SD=201) for active drug and 587 (SD=190) for placebo (P=0.027). Specifically, change-score ranks were significantly lower for CRP (P=0.011) and IL-6 (P=0.043). Antibody titers were unchanged, and number of clinical cardiovascular events at 6 months did not differ by therapy (9 for active drug, 7 for placebo). Azithromycin decreased infections requiring antibiotics (1 versus 12 at 3 months, P=0.002) but caused more mild, primarily gastrointestinal, adverse effects (36 versus 17, P=0.003). CONCLUSIONS: In CAD patients positive for C pneumoniae antibodies, global tests of 4 markers of inflammation improved at 6 months with azithromycin. However, unlike another smaller study, no differences in antibody titers and clinical events were observed. Longer-term and larger studies of antichlamydial therapy are indicated. (+info)
Near-patient test for C-reactive protein in general practice: assessment of clinical, organizational, and economic outcomes.
BACKGROUND: The benefits of near-patient, point-of-care tests have not been fully examined. We have assessed the clinical, organizational, and economic outcomes of implementing a near-patient test for C-reactive protein (CRP) in general practice. METHODS: In a randomized crossover trial during intervention periods, general practitioners (GPs) were allowed to measure CRP within 3 min, using NycoCard(R) CRP. During control periods, they had to mail blood samples for CRP measurements to the hospital laboratory and received test results 24-48 h later. Twenty-nine general practice clinics participated (64 GPs), and 1853 patients were included in the study. Results were evaluated at both the level of participating GPs and the level of included patients. RESULTS: For participating GPs, the overall use of erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESRs) decreased by 8% (95% confidence interval, 1-14%) during intervention periods, and the number of blood samples mailed to the hospital laboratory decreased by 6% (1-10%). No reduction in the prescription of antibiotics was seen. The proportion of study patients having a follow-up telephone consultation was reduced from 63% to 53% (P = 0. 0001), and patients with CRP concentrations >50 mg/L had their antibiotic treatments started earlier when CRP was measured in general practices (P = 0.0161). CONCLUSION: The implementation of the near-patient CRP test was cost-effective mainly on the basis of a reduction in the use of services from the hospital laboratory by GPs. If the implementation is followed by education and clinical guidelines, opportunities exist for additional reduction in the use of ESR and for a more appropriate use of antibiotics. (+info)
Cerebral vasculopathy in HIV infection revealed by transcranial Doppler: A pilot study.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: There is growing evidence for affection of cerebral vessels during human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We prospectively evaluated cerebrovascular reserve capacity (CRC) in HIV-seropositive patients by transcranial Doppler sonography (TCD) after systemic administration of acetazolamide. We hypothesized that a disturbed vasoreactivity would reflect the cerebral arteries' involvement in HIV infection. METHODS: We assessed the mean blood flow velocity (BFV) of the middle cerebral artery and its increase after intravenous administration of 1 g acetazolamide (CRC) in 31 HIV-infected individuals without symptoms of cerebrovascular disease (mean+/-SD age, 39+/-11 years). Stenotic or occlusive lesions of the large brain-supplying arteries were excluded by color-coded duplex and transcranial imaging. BFV and CRC were also measured in an age-matched group of 10 healthy control subjects. Patients were classified according to clinical, laboratory, and neurophysiological parameters. We also performed cerebral MRI (n=25) and rheumatological blood tests (n=26). RESULTS: Baseline BFV and CRC both were significantly reduced in HIV-infected patients as compared with control subjects (P<0.05, Student's t test). These findings did not correlate with duration of seropositivity, helper cell count, or other clinical, rheumatological, and neuroradiological findings. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the hypothesis of a cerebral vasculopathy etiologically associated with HIV infection. (+info)
Leptin elimination in hyperleptinaemic peritoneal dialysis patients.
BACKGROUND: Elevated plasma concentrations of leptin, a hormone thought to regulate body composition by influencing food intake/metabolic rate, are prevalent in renal failure patients. The mechanism for these increases is not known, but evidence suggests that simple accumulation due to decreased elimination is insufficient explanation. METHODS: We studied the incidence of hyperleptinaemia in 28 end-stage renal disease patients treated with continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), compared with body-mass-index-and sex-matched controls. Results were separated by gender because women have higher leptin concentrations than men. Excretion of leptin and other substances in dialysis fluid was also studied. RESULTS: Hyperleptinaemia was prevalent in women CAPD subjects, but not in men. Plasma leptin concentrations correlated strongly with the daily excretion of leptin in dialysis fluid. Clearance of leptin in dialysis fluid was greater in men than women CAPD subjects. Single regression analysis found that fasting insulin, glucose content of dialysis fluid, plasma albumin, C-reactive protein, erythropoietin dose, urinary creatinine clearance and plasma beta2-microglobulin were not determinants of plasma leptin concentrations. Stepwise forward multiple regression, examining the dependence of plasma leptin on body mass index, renal creatinine clearance, plasma albumin, daily dialysis fluid glucose load, daily leptin in dialysis fluid, erythropoietin dose and plasma C-reactive protein found only erythropoietin dose as a consistent negative predictor of plasma leptin concentrations. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that hyperleptinaemia of CAPD was due to predisposing loss of renal elimination capacity combined with increased production due to obesity (more prevalent in women subjects of this study) and potentially female gender. (+info)