The feasibility of conducting occupational epidemiology in the UK.
A postal survey was carried out of 1,000 UK companies to collect information about employee biographical and work history records. The overall response rate was 46%. All companies collected surname, forenames, address, date of birth and National Insurance number--information needed for cross-sectional studies. Other biographical details such as maiden name and National Health Service number were collected less often, which could increase the cost and difficulty of tracing ex-employees. Seventy per cent reported destroying their records within 10 years of an employee leaving, rising to 82% for companies with fewer than 100 employees. The destruction of employee records creates problems for historical cohort studies and case-control studies, and may hamper ex-employees trying to claim benefit for occupational-related illness. If the scope of future occupational epidemiology is to be improved, guidelines for the collection and retention of the data required must be developed and industry encouraged to participate. (+info)
Management of asthma and COPD patients: feasibility of the application of guidelines in general practice.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the feasibility of the application of guidelines to the management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by assessing compliance with the guidelines and listing the barriers general practitioners (GPs) encountered during implementation. Insight into the feasibility of individual items in the guidelines can guide implementation strategies in the future and, if necessary, support revision of the guidelines. DESIGN: Descriptive study of care delivered during the implementation of guidelines by means of documentation of the care provided, education, feedback on compliance and peer review. SETTING: General practice. STUDY PARTICIPANTS: Sixteen GPs in 14 general practices. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Compliance was expressed as the percentage of patients per practice managed by the GPs according to the guidelines. For each patient (n=413) data were collected on the care delivered during the first year of the implementation. Barriers encountered were derived from the summaries of the discussions held during the monthly meetings. RESULTS: The GPs were most compliant on the items 'PEFR measurement at every consultation' (98%), 'allergy test' (78%) and 'advice to stop smoking' (82%), and less compliant on the items 'four or more consultations a year' (46%), 'ordering spirometry' (33%), 'adjustment of medication' (42%), 'check on inhalation technique' (38%) and referral to a chest physician (17%) or a district nurse (5%). The main barriers were the amount of time to be invested, doubts about the necessity of regular consultations and about the indications for ordering spirometry and for referral to a chest physician or a district nurse. CONCLUSION: Although the feasibility was assessed in a fairly optimal situation, compliance with the guidelines was not maximal, and differed between the individual items of care. Suggestions are given for further improvements in compliance with the guidelines and for revision of the guidelines. (+info)
Phase I study of eniluracil, a dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase inactivator, and oral 5-fluorouracil with radiation therapy in patients with recurrent or advanced head and neck cancer.
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) is an effective enhancer of radiation therapy (RT) in head and neck cancers. Due to rapid, predominantly hepatic metabolism by dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) and suggested clinical benefit from prolonged drug exposure, 5-FU is commonly given by continuous infusion. Eniluracil is a novel DPD-inactivator designed to prolong the half-life of 5-FU and provide sustained plasma concentrations of 5-FU with oral dosing. We conducted a Phase I study of the safety and efficacy of eniluracil given with oral 5-FU in patients receiving concurrent RT for recurrent or advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. Thirteen patients with recurrent, metastatic, or high-risk (defined as an expected 2-year survival rate of <10%) head and neck cancer were enrolled and treated with concomitant chemoradiotherapy on an every-other-week schedule. Eniluracil at a fixed dose [20 mg twice a day (BID)] was given for 7 consecutive days (days 1-7). 5-FU and RT were given on 5 consecutive days (days 2-6). One patient was treated with once-daily RT (2.0 Gy fractions). The remaining patients received hyperfractionated RT (1.5-Gy fractions BID). The initial dose of 5-FU was 2.5 mg/m2 given BID. Dose escalation in patient cohorts was scheduled at 2.5-mg/m2 increments, with intrapatient dose escalation permitted. Lymphocyte DPD activity and serum 5-FU and uracil concentrations were monitored during two cycles. DPD activity was completely or nearly completely inactivated in all patients. Sustained, presumed therapeutic concentrations of 5-FU were observed at a dose of 5.0 mg/m2 given BID. Cumulative dose-limiting myelosuppression (both neutropenia and thrombocytopenia) was observed during the fourth and fifth cycles following administration of 5.0 mg/m2 5-FU BID. One patient died of neutropenic sepsis during cycle 4. Other late cycle toxicities included diarrhea, fatigue, and mucositis. Grade 3 mucositis was observed in 4 patients, but no grade 4 mucositis or grade 3 or 4 dermatitis was observed. A second patient death occurred during cycle 1 of treatment. No specific cause of death was identified. The study was subsequently discontinued. Cumulative myelosupression was the significant dose-limiting toxicity of oral 5-FU given with the DPD-inactivator eniluracil on an every-other-week schedule. Clinical radiation sensitization was not observed, based on the absence of dose-limiting mucositis and dermatitis. Alternative dosing schedules need to be examined to determine the most appropriate use of eniluracil and 5-FU as radiation enhancers. (+info)
A phase I and pharmacokinetic study of losoxantrone and paclitaxel in patients with advanced solid tumors.
A Phase I and pharmacological study was performed to evaluate the feasibility, maximum tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), and pharmacokinetics of the anthrapyrazole losoxantrone in combination with paclitaxel in adult patients with advanced solid malignancies. Losoxantrone was administered as a 10-min infusion in combination with paclitaxel on either a 24- or 3-h schedule. The starting dose level was 40 mg/m2 losoxantrone and 135 mg/m2 paclitaxel (as a 24- or 3-h i.v. infusion) without granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Administration of these agents at the starting dose level and dose escalation was feasible only with G-CSF support. The following dose levels (losoxantrone/paclitaxel, in mg/m2) of losoxantrone and paclitaxel as a 3-h infusion were also evaluated: 50/135, 50/175, 50/200, 50/225, and 60/225. The sequence-dependent toxicological and pharmacological effects of losoxantrone and paclitaxel on the 24- and 3-h schedules of paclitaxel were also assessed. The MTD was defined as the dose at which >50% of the patients experienced DLT during the first two courses of therapy. DLTs, mainly myelosuppression, occurring during the first course of therapy were noted in four of six and five of eight patients treated with 40 mg/m2 losoxantrone and 135 mg/m2 paclitaxel over 24 and 3 h, respectively, without G-CSF. DLTs during the first two courses of therapy were observed in one of six patients at the 50/175 (losoxantrone/paclitaxel) mg/m2 dose level, two of four patients at the 50/200 mg/m2 dose level, one of four patients at the 50/225 mg/m2 dose level, and two of five patients at the 60/225 mg/m2 dose level. The degree of thrombocytopenia was worse, albeit not statistically significant, when 24-h paclitaxel preceded losoxantrone, with a mean percentage decrement in platelet count during course 1 of 80.7%, compared to 43.8% with the reverse sequence (P = 0.19). Losoxantrone clearance was not significantly altered by the sequence or schedule of paclitaxel. Cardiac toxicity was observed; however, it was not related to total cumulative dose of losoxantrone. An unacceptably high rate of DLTs at the first dose level of 40 mg/m2 losoxantrone and 135 mg/m2 paclitaxel administered as either a 24- or 3-h i.v. infusion precluded dose escalation without G-CSF support. The addition of G-CSF to the regimen permitted further dose escalation without reaching the MTD. Losoxantrone at 50 mg/m2 followed by paclitaxel (3-h i.v. infusion) at 175 mg/m2 with G-CSF support is recommended for further clinical trials. (+info)
Presentation of renal tumor antigens by human dendritic cells activates tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes against autologous tumor: implications for live kidney cancer vaccines.
The clinical impact of dendritic cells (DCs) in the treatment of human cancer depends on their unique role as the most potent antigen-presenting cells that are capable of priming an antitumor T-cell response. Here, we demonstrate that functional DCs can be generated from peripheral blood of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) by culture of monocytes/macrophages (CD14+) in autologous serum containing medium (RPMI) in the presence of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin (IL) 4. For testing the capability of RCC-antigen uptake and processing, we loaded these DCs with autologous tumor lysate (TuLy) using liposomes, after which cytometric analysis of the DCs revealed a markedly increased expression of HLA class I antigen and a persistent high expression of class II. The immunogenicity of DC-TuLy was further tested in cultures of renal tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) cultured in low-dose IL-2 (20 Biologic Response Modifier Program units/ml). A synergistic effect of DC-TuLy and IL-2 in stimulating a T cell-dependent immune response was demonstrated by: (a) the increase of growth expansion of TILs (9.4-14.3-fold; day 21); (b) the up-regulation of the CD3+ CD56- TcR+ (both CD4+ and CD8+) cell population; (c) the augmentation of T cell-restricted autologous tumor lysis; and (d) the enhancement of IFN-gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, and IL-6 mRNA expression by TILs. Taken together, these data implicate that DC-TuLy can activate immunosuppressed TIL via an induction of enhanced antitumor CTL responses associated with production of Thl cells. This indicates a potential role of DC-TuLy vaccines for induction of active immunity in patients with advanced RCC. (+info)
Protective alterations in phase 1 and 2 metabolism of aflatoxin B1 by oltipraz in residents of Qidong, People's Republic of China.
BACKGROUND: Residents of Qidong, People's Republic of China, are at high risk for development of hepatocellular carcinoma, in part due to consumption of foods contaminated with aflatoxins, which require metabolic activation to become carcinogenic. In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase IIa chemoprevention trial, we tested oltipraz, an antischistosomal drug that has been shown to be a potent and effective inhibitor of aflatoxin-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in animal models. METHODS: In 1995, 234 adults from Qidong were enrolled. Healthy eligible individuals were randomly assigned to receive by mouth 125 mg oltipraz daily, 500 mg oltipraz weekly, or a placebo. Sequential immunoaffinity chromatography and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry or to fluorescence detection were used to identify and quantify phase 1 and phase 2 metabolites of aflatoxin B1 in the urine of study participants. Reported P values are two-sided. RESULTS: One month of weekly administration of 500 mg oltipraz led to a 51% decrease in median levels of the phase 1 metabolite aflatoxin M1 excreted in urine compared with administration of a placebo (P = .030), but it had no effect on levels of a phase 2 metabolite, aflatoxin-mercapturic acid (P = .871). By contrast, daily intervention with 125 mg oltipraz led to a 2.6-fold increase in median aflatoxin-mercapturic acid excretion (P = .017) but had no effect on excreted aflatoxin M1 levels (P = .682). CONCLUSIONS: Intermittent, high-dose oltipraz inhibited phase 1 activation of aflatoxins, and sustained low-dose oltipraz increased phase 2 conjugation of aflatoxin, yielding higher levels of aflatoxin-mercapturic acid. While both mechanisms can contribute to protection, this study highlights the feasibility of inducing phase 2 enzymes as a chemopreventive strategy in humans. (+info)
Carotid endarterectomy and intracranial thrombolysis: simultaneous and staged procedures in ischemic stroke.
PURPOSE: The feasibility and safety of combining carotid surgery and thrombolysis for occlusions of the internal carotid artery (ICA) and the middle cerebral artery (MCA), either as a simultaneous or as a staged procedure in acute ischemic strokes, was studied. METHODS: A nonrandomized clinical pilot study, which included patients who had severe hemispheric carotid-related ischemic strokes and acute occlusions of the MCA, was performed between January 1994 and January 1998. Exclusion criteria were cerebral coma and major infarction established by means of cerebral computed tomography scan. Clinical outcome was assessed with the modified Rankin scale. RESULTS: Carotid reconstruction and thrombolysis was performed in 14 of 845 patients (1.7%). The ICA was occluded in 11 patients; occlusions of the MCA (mainstem/major branches/distal branch) or the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) were found in 14 patients. In three of the 14 patients, thrombolysis was performed first, followed by carotid enarterectomy (CEA) after clinical improvement (6 to 21 days). In 11 of 14 patients, 0.15 to 1 mIU urokinase was administered intraoperatively, ie, emergency CEA for acute ischemic stroke (n = 5) or surgical reexploration after elective CEA complicated by perioperative intracerebral embolism (n = 6). Thirteen of 14 intracranial embolic occlusions and 10 of 11 ICA occlusions were recanalized successfully (confirmed with angiography or transcranial Doppler studies). Four patients recovered completely (Rankin 0), six patients sustained a minor stroke (Rankin 2/3), two patients had a major stroke (Rankin 4/5), and two patients died. In one patient, hemorrhagic transformation of an ischemic infarction was detectable postoperatively. CONCLUSION: Combining carotid surgery with thrombolysis (simultaneous or staged procedure) offers a new therapeutic approach in the emergency management of an acute carotid-related stroke. Its efficacy should be evaluated in interdisciplinary studies. (+info)
Relief of obstructive pelvic venous symptoms with endoluminal stenting.
PURPOSE: To select patients for percutaneous transluminal stenting of chronic postthrombotic pelvic venous obstructions (CPPVO), we evaluated the clinical symptoms in a cohort of candidates and in a series of successfully treated patients. METHODS: The symptoms of 42 patients (39 women) with CPPVO (38 left iliac; average history, 18 years) were recorded, and the venous anatomy was studied by means of duplex scanning, subtraction venography, and computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Successfully stented patients were controlled by means of duplex scanning and assessment of symptoms. RESULTS: The typical symptoms of CPPVO were reported spontaneously by 24% of patients and uncovered by means of a targeted interview in an additional 47%. Of 42 patients, 15 had venous claudication, four had neurogenic claudication (caused by dilated veins in the spinal canal that arise from the collateral circulation), and 11 had both symptoms. Twelve patients had no specific symptoms. Placement of a stent was found to be technically feasible in 25 patients (60%), was attempted in 14 patients, and was primarily successful in 12 patients. One stent occluded within the first week. All other stents were fully patent after a mean of 15 months (range, 1 to 43 months). Satisfaction was high in the patients who had the typical symptoms, but low in those who lacked them. CONCLUSION: Venous claudication and neurogenic claudication caused by venous collaterals in the spinal canal are typical clinical features of CPPVO. We recommend searching for these symptoms, because recanalization by means of stenting is often feasible and rewarding. (+info)