Peripheral hepatojejunostomy as palliative treatment for irresectable malignant tumors of the liver hilum. (1/2733)

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the concept of surgical decompression of the biliary tree by peripheral hepatojejunostomy for palliative treatment of jaundice in patients with irresectable malignant tumors of the liver hilum. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Jaundice, pruritus, and recurrent cholangitis are major clinical complications in patients with obstructive cholestasis resulting from malignant tumors of the liver hilum. Methods for palliative treatment include endoscopic stenting, percutaneous transhepatic drainage, and surgical decompression. The palliative treatment of choice should be safe, effective, and comfortable for the patient. METHODS: In a retrospective study, surgical technique, perioperative complications, and efficacy of treatment were analyzed for 56 patients who had received a peripheral hepatojejunostomy between 1982 and 1997. Laparotomy in all of these patients had been performed as an attempt for curative resection. RESULTS: Hepatojejunostomy was exclusively palliative in 50 patients and was used for bridging to resection or transplantation in 7. Anastomosis was bilateral in 36 patients and unilateral in 20. The 1-month mortality in the study group was 9%; median survival was 6 months. In patients surviving >1 month, a marked and persistent decrease in cholestasis was achieved in 87%, although complete return to normal was rare. Among the patients with a marked decrease in cholestasis, 72% had no or only mild clinical symptoms such as fever or jaundice. CONCLUSIONS: Peripheral hepatojejunostomy is a feasible and reasonably effective palliative treatment for patients with irresectable tumors of the liver hilum. In patients undergoing exploratory laparotomy for attempted curative resection, this procedure frequently leads to persistent-although rarely complete-decompression of the biliary tree. In a few cases it may also be used for bridging to transplantation or liver resection after relief of cholestasis.  (+info)

Relative efficacy of 32P and 89Sr in palliation in skeletal metastases. (2/2733)

32p and 89Sr have been shown to produce significant pain relief in patients with skeletal metastases from advanced cancer. Clinically significant pancytopenia has not been reported in doses up to 12 mCi (444 MBq) of either radionuclide. To date, no reports comparing the relative efficacy and toxicity of the two radionuclides in comparable patient populations have been available. Although a cure has not been reported, both treatments have achieved substantial pain relief. However, several studies have used semiquantitative measures such as "slight," "fair," "partial" and "dramatic" responses, which lend themselves to subjective bias. This report examines the responses to treatment with 32P or 89Sr by attempting a quantification of pain relief and quality of life using the patients as their own controls and compares toxicity in terms of hematological parameters. METHODS: Thirty-one patients with skeletal metastases were treated for pain relief with either 32P (16 patients) or 89Sr (15 patients). Inclusion criteria were pain from bone scan-positive sites above a subjective score of 5 of 10 despite analgesic therapy with narcotic or non-narcotic medication, limitation of movement related to the performance of routine daily activity and a predicted life expectancy of at least 4 mo. The patients had not had chemotherapy or radiotherapy during the previous 6 wk and had normal serum creatinine, white cell and platelet counts. 32P was given orally as a 12 mCi dose, and 89Sr was given intravenously as a 4 mCi (148 MBq) dose. The patients were monitored for 4 mo. RESULTS: Complete absence of pain was seen in 7 of 16 patients who were given 32P and in 7 of 15 patients who were given 89Sr. Pain scores fell by at least 50% of the pretreatment score in 14 of 16 patients who were given 32P and 14 of 15 patients who were given 89Sr. Mean duration of pain relief was 9.6 wk with 32P and 10 wk with 89Sr. Analgesic scores fell along with the drop in pain scores. A fall in total white cell, absolute granulocyte and platelet counts occurred in all patients. Subnormal values of white cells and platelets were seen in 5 and 7 patients, respectively, with 32P, and in 0 and 4 patients, respectively, after 89Sr therapy. The decrease in platelet count (but not absolute granulocyte count) was statistically significant when 32P patients were compared with 89Sr patients. However, in no instance did the fall in blood counts require treatment. Absolute granulocyte counts did not fall below 1000 in any patient. There was no significant difference between the two treatments in terms of either efficacy or toxicity. CONCLUSION: No justification has been found in this study for the recommendation of 89Sr over the considerably less expensive oral 32P for the palliation of skeletal pain from metastases of advanced cancer.  (+info)

Reirradiation combined with hyperthermia in recurrent breast cancer results in a worthwhile local palliation. (3/2733)

Both experimental and clinical research have shown that hyperthermia (HT) gives valuable additional effects when applied in combination with radiotherapy (RT). The purpose of this study was evaluation of results in patients with recurrent breast cancer, treated at the Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center (DHCC) with reirradiation (re-RT; eight fractions of 4 Gy twice weekly) combined with HT. All 134 patients for whom such treatment was planned were included in the analysis. The complete response rate in 119 patients with macroscopic tumour was 71%. Including the 15 patients with microscopic disease, the local control rate was 73%. The median duration of local control was 32 months, and toxicity was acceptable. The complete response (CR) rate was higher, and the toxicity was less with the later developed 433-MHz HT technique compared with the 2450-MHz technique used initially. With this relatively well-tolerated treatment, palliation by local tumour control of a worthwhile duration is achieved in the majority of patients. The technique used for hyperthermia appeared to influence the achieved results. The value of HT in addition to this re-RT schedule has been confirmed by a prospective randomized trial in a similar patient group. In The Netherlands, this combined treatment is offered as standard to patients with breast cancer recurring in previously irradiated areas.  (+info)

Intensive weekly chemotherapy is not effective in advanced pancreatic cancer patients: a report from the Italian Group for the Study of Digestive Tract Cancer (GISCAD). (4/2733)

Twenty-two patients, with locally advanced unresectable and/or metastatic pancreatic carcinoma, received weekly administration of cisplatin 40 mg m(-2), 5-fluorouracil 500 mg m(-2), epidoxorubicin 35 mg m(-2), 6S stereoisomer of leucovorin 250 mg m(-2) and glutathione 1.5 mg m(-2), supported by a daily administration of lenograstim at a dose of 5 microg kg(-1). Nineteen patients were men and three were women. Median age was 63 years (range 47-70). At study entry, pain was present in 15 out of 22 patients (68%) with a mean value of Scott-Huskisson scale of 27.6+/-23.8, whereas a weight loss >10% was present in 15 patients. After eight weekly treatments, three partial responses were achieved for a response rate of 13% (95% CI 0-26%), five patients had stable disease and 14 progressed on therapy. Pain was present in 9 out of 22 patients (40%) with a mean value of Scott-Huskisson scale of 12.3+/-18.4. Eight patients (36%) (three partial response and five stable disease) had a positive weight change. Toxicity was mild: WHO grade III or IV toxicity was recorded in terms of anaemia in 7 out of 188 cycles (3.7%), of neutropenia in 9 out of 188 cycles (4.7%) and of thrombocytopenia in 3 out of 188 cycles (1.5%). Median survival of all patients was 6 months. The outcome of this intensive chemotherapy regimen does not support its use in pancreatic cancer.  (+info)

A prospective randomized study of megestrol acetate and ibuprofen in gastrointestinal cancer patients with weight loss. (5/2733)

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)

Defining and analysing symptom palliation in cancer clinical trials: a deceptively difficult exercise. (6/2733)

The assessment of symptom palliation is an essential component of many treatment comparisons in clinical trials, yet an extensive literature search revealed no consensus as to its precise definition, which could embrace relief of symptoms, time to their onset, duration, degree, as well as symptom control and prevention. In an attempt to assess the importance of these aspects and to compare different methods of analysis, we used one symptom (cough) from a patient self-assessment questionnaire (the Rotterdam Symptom Checklist) in a large (>300 patient) multicentre randomized clinical trial (conducted by the Medical Research Council Lung Cancer Working Party) of palliative chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer. The regimens compared were a two-drug regimen (2D) and a four-drug regimen (4D). No differences were seen between the regimens in time of onset of palliation or its duration. The degree of palliation was strongly related to the initial severity: 90% of the patients with moderate or severe cough at baseline reported improvement, compared with only 53% of those with mild cough. Analyses using different landmark time points gave conflicting results: the 4D regimen was superior at 1 month and at 3 months, whereas at 2 months the 2D regimen appeared superior. When improvement at any time up to 3 months was considered, the 4D regimen showed a significant benefit (4D 79%, 2D 60%, P = 0.02). These findings emphasize the need for caution in interpreting results, and the importance of working towards a standard definition of symptom palliation. The current lack of specified criteria makes analysis and interpretation of trial results difficult, and comparison across trials impossible. A standard definition of palliation for use in the analysis of clinical trials data is proposed, which takes into account aspects of onset, duration and degree of palliation, and symptom improvement, control and prevention.  (+info)

When to consider radiation therapy for your patient. (7/2733)

Radiation therapy can be an effective treatment modality for both malignant and benign disease. While radiation can be given as primary treatment, it may also be used pre- or postoperatively, with or without other forms of therapy. Radiation therapy is often curative but is sometimes palliative. There are many methods of delivering radiation effectively. Often, patients tolerate irradiation well without significant complications, and organ function is preserved. To ensure that all patients with cancer have the opportunity to consider all treatment options, family physicians should be aware of the usefulness of radiation therapy.  (+info)

Use of resources and costs of palliative care with parenteral fluids and analgesics in the home setting for patients with end-stage cancer. (8/2733)

BACKGROUND: In 1992 a home care technology project was started in which infusion therapy in the home setting was made available for patients with end-stage cancer. Beside aspects of feasibility and quality of life the resource utilization and costs of this transition was studied. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a cost evaluation study, to determine the actual cost of managing patients with endstage cancer who require parenteral administration of fluid or analgesics in the home setting. A total of 128 patients were prospectively followed, with a detailed analysis of some aspects in a sample of 24 patients. RESULTS: The cost for each patient was found to be between $250.00 and $300.00 per day, half of which are for hospital charges, even with this active home care technology program. One-third of the costs can be attributed to primary health care activities, in particular those of the district nurses. A hypothetical control group (n = 25) was constructed based on current practice and chart review. Patients in this group would have cost around $750.00 per day. With a median treatment period of 16 days this means a saving of $8000.00 per patient. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that significant savings can be obtained by implementing programs transferring palliative care technology to the home setting.  (+info)