Clinical School (Royal Melbourne Hospital) - Research Publications

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    Evaluation of the transferability of survival calculators for stage II/III colon cancer across healthcare systems
    Jorissen, RN ; Croxford, M ; Jones, IT ; Wards, RL ; Hawkins, NJ ; Gibbs, P ; Sieber, OM (WILEY, 2019-07-01)
    Adjuvant! Online Inc (A!O), the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), MD Anderson (MDA) and Mayo Clinic (MC) provide calculators to predict survival probabilities for patients with resected early-stage colon cancer, trained on data from United States (US) patient cohorts or patients enrolled in international clinical trials. Limited data exist on the transferability of calculators across healthcare systems. Calculator transferability to Australian community practice was evaluated for 1,401 stage II/III patients. Calibration and discrimination were assessed for overall (OS), cancer-specific (CSS) or recurrence-free survival (RFS). The US patient cohort-based calculators, A!O, MSKCC and MDA, significantly overestimated risks of recurrence and death in Australian patients, with 5-year OS, CSS and RFS prediction differences of -6.5% to -9.9%, -9.1% to -14.4% and - 3.8% to -6.8%, respectively (p < 0.001). Significant heterogeneity in calibration was observed for subgroups by tumor stage and treatment, age, gender, tumor location, ECOG and ASA score. Calibration appeared acceptable for the clinical trial patient-based MC calculator, but restricted tool applicability (stage III patients, ≥12 examined lymph nodes, receiving adjuvant treatment) limited the sample size. Compared to AJCC 7th edition tumor staging, calculators showed improved discrimination for OS, but no improvement for CSS and RFS. In conclusion, deficiencies in calibration limited transferability of US patient cohort-based survival calculators for early-stage colon cancer to the setting of Australian community practice. Our results demonstrate the utility for multi-feature survival calculators to improve OS predictions but highlight the importance for performance assessment of tools prior to implementation in an external health care setting.
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    Real-world outcomes for neoadjuvant capecitabine versus infusional 5-fluorouracil in the treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer
    Loft, M ; Wong, H-L ; Kosmider, S ; Lee, M ; Tie, J ; Wong, R ; Jones, IT ; Croxford, M ; Steel, M ; Faragher, I ; Guerrieri, M ; Christie, M ; Gibbs, P (WILEY, 2021-08)
    BACKGROUND: Neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy is standard-of-care treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). A pathological complete response (pCR) following chemoradiation therapy is an early indicator of treatment benefit and associated with excellent survival outcomes, with capecitabine largely replacing infusional 5-fluorouracil as the choice in routine care of LARC. AIMS: To analyse the uptake of capecitabine usage over time, and on the back of clinical trial data demonstrating equivalence between fluoropyrimidines, confirm that efficacy is maintained in the real-world setting. METHODS: We analysed data from a prospectively maintained colorectal cancer database at three Australian hospitals including patients diagnosed from January 2009 to December 2018. Pathological response was determined as either complete or incomplete and compared for patients receiving 5-FU or capecitabine. RESULTS: A total of 657 patients was analysed, 498 receiving infusional 5-FU and 159 capecitabine. Capecitabine use has markedly increased from approval in 2014 in Australia, now being used in more than 80% of patients. Patient characteristics were similar by treatment, including age, tumour location and pre-treatment stage. pCR was reported in 22/159 (13.8%) of capecitabine-treated patients and 118/380 (23.7%) that received 5-FU (P ≤ 0.01). More capecitabine-treated patients received post-operative oxaliplatin (44.2% vs 6.3%, P < 0.01). Two-year progression-free survival was similar (84.9% vs 88.0%, P = 0.34). CONCLUSIONS: Capecitabine is now the dominantly used neoadjuvant chemotherapy in LARC. Capecitabine use was associated with a lower rate of pCR versus infusional 5-FU, a difference not explained by examined patient or tumour characteristics. Poor treatment compliance with oral therapy in the real-world setting is one possible explanation.
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    Vertebral fractures following stereotactic body radiotherapy for spine metastases
    Abbouchie, H ; Chao, M ; Tacey, M ; Joon, DL ; Ho, H ; Guerrieri, M ; Ng, M ; Foroudi, F (WILEY, 2020-04)
    Stereotactic body radiotherapy has emerged as one of the preferred treatments for patients with spine metastases, with the potential for long-term control from lesion irradiation. Post-treatment vertebral compression fractures are a known complication of this therapy, contributing to worsening pain and reduced quality of life, sometimes requiring surgical intervention. This review explores the current knowledge of post-radiotherapy fractures, in terms of the rates and associated predictive factors. A search of databases including Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Library was conducted using keywords such as 'vertebral compression fracture', 'stereotactic body radiotherapy' and 'spine metastases'. The search was limited to published studies up to March 2019, reporting clinical outcomes including both the post-treatment fracture rate and statistical identification of associated risk factors. Rates of post-treatment fractures ranged from 4 to 39%. A variety of factors were found to increase the risk, including the appearance of lytic vertebral disease, degree of pre-existing compression, spinal malalignment, increased dose per fraction and a Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score >6. This knowledge can enable clinicians to counsel patients when considering management options for spine metastases, maintaining the balance between local tumour control and the risk of subsequent fracture.