Clinical School (Royal Melbourne Hospital) - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 28
Real-world outcomes for neoadjuvant capecitabine versus infusional 5-fluorouracil in the treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer
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.
Vertebral fractures following stereotactic body radiotherapy for spine metastases
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.
Evaluation of the transferability of survival calculators for stage II/III colon cancer across healthcare systems
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.
Robotic-assisted radical cystectomy with intracorporeal urinary diversion versus open: early Australian experience
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to describe our initial Australian single surgeon experience with robotic-assisted radical cystectomy (RARC) and intracorporeal urinary diversion (ICUD) and to compare the outcomes with open radical cystectomy (ORC). METHODS: Between January 2014 and June 2016, consecutive patients diagnosed with muscle invasive and high-risk non-muscle invasive bladder cancer undergoing radical cystectomy were included. Treatment modalities included either RARC with ICUD or ORC. ICUD consisted of either intracorporeal ileal conduit or orthotopic neobladder formation. Prospectively collected perioperative and oncological outcomes were analysed. RESULTS: Twenty-six RARC and 13 ORC were performed. Median operating times were 362 and 240 min for RARC and ORC, respectively (P < 0.001). Estimated blood loss for RARC was 300 mL compared with 500 mL for ORC (P = 0.01). Post-operative haemoglobin drop was less in the RARC cohort (20% versus 24%, P = 0.03). There was no statistical difference in overall 90-day complication rates (81% versus 62%, P = 0.25) and 90-day major complication rates (19% versus 23%, P = 0.67) between the RARC and ORC groups, respectively. Positive surgical margins for RARC were 4% and 8% for ORC (P = 1.0). CONCLUSION: Early results demonstrate that the safe introduction of RARC with ICUD in Australia is potentially feasible without compromising perioperative and oncological outcomes. Future randomized trial with larger numbers will be required for further analysis in the Australian setting.
Barriers and strategies to achieve a cure for HIV
(ELSEVIER INC, 2018-06-01)
9 years since the report of a cure for HIV after C-C chemokine receptor type 5 Δ32 stem cell transplantation, no other case of HIV cure has been reported, despite much research. However, substantial progress has been made in understanding the biology of the latent HIV reservoir, and in measuring the amount of virus that persists after antiretroviral therapy (ART) with increasingly sophisticated approaches. This knowledge is being translated into a long pipeline of clinical trials seeking to reduce viral persistence in participants on suppressive treatment and ultimately to allow safe cessation of ART. In this Review, we discuss the main barriers preventing the development of an HIV cure, methods used to measure HIV persistence in individuals on ART, clinical strategies that aim to cure HIV, and future directions for studies in the field of HIV cure research.
A Tablet-Based Retinal Function Test in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration Eyes and At-Risk Fellow Eye
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2018-03-01)
Purpose: To determine the feasibility of a tablet-based application to detect changes in retinal sensitivity and correlations with underlying pathology in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) eyes undergoing treatment and in at-risk fellow eyes. Method: Participants with nAMD in at least one eye were recruited, examined, and imaged using spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). Retinal sensitivity was measured within the central 5° at 12 locations using a customized test delivered on an iPad. Test points were superimposed on SD-OCT locations to investigate structure/function relationships. Results: Included in the study were 53 nAMD eyes and 21 at-risk fellow eyes. In nAMD eyes, the mean retinal sensitivity was 24.1 ± 1.8 dB with reduced retinal sensitivity associated with the presence of atrophy (P < 0.01), retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) disruption (P < 0.01), and absent ellipsoid zone (EZ) (P < 0.01), but not with the presence of subretinal fluid (P = 0.94) nor intraretinal fluid (P = 0.52). In at-risk eyes, the average retinal sensitivity was 28.8 ± 0.6 dB, with reduced sensitivity significantly associated with the presence of drusen, atrophy, RPE disruption, and absent EZ (P < 0.01). Conclusion: The tablet-based test of retinal sensitivity was able to be performed by an elderly cohort with nAMD. The ability to correlate differences in sensitivity with pathology is encouraging when considering using the tablet devices as a home monitoring tool with remote surveillance. Dual pathology often present with retinal fluid confounded our ability to correlate fluid with sensitivity. Translational Relevance: These findings highlight the potential of tablet-based devices in performing visual function measures as a home monitoring tool with remote surveillance for the earlier detection of nAMD.
The Australian laparoscopic radical prostatectomy learning curve
BACKGROUND: International estimates of the laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) learning curve extend to as many as 1000 cases, but is unknown for Fellowship-trained Australian surgeons. METHODS: Prospectively collected data from nine Australian surgeons who performed 2943 consecutive LRP cases was retrospectively reviewed. Their combined initial 100 cases (F100, n = 900) were compared to their second 100 cases (S100, n = 782) with two of nine surgeons completing fewer than 200 cases. RESULTS: The mean age (61.1 versus 61.1 years) and prostate specific antigen (7.4 versus 7.8 ng/mL) were similar between F100 and S100. D'Amico's high-, intermediate- and low-risk cases were 15, 59 and 26% for the F100 versus 20, 59 and 21% for the S100, respectively. Blood transfusions (2.4 versus 0.8%), mean blood loss (413 versus 378 mL), mean operating time (193 versus 163 min) and length of stay (2.7 versus 2.4 days) were all lower in the S100. Histopathology was organ confined (pT2) in 76% of F100 and 71% of S100. Positive surgical margin (PSM) rate was 18.4% in F100 versus 17.5% in the S100 (P = 0.62). F100 and S100 PSM rates by pathological stage were similar with pT2 PSM 12.2 versus 9.5% (P = 0.13), pT3a PSM 34.8 versus 40.5% (P = 0.29) and pT3b PSM 52.9 versus 36.4% (P = 0.14). CONCLUSION: There was no significant improvement in PSM rate between F100 and S100 cases. Perioperative outcomes were acceptable in F100 and further improved with experience in S100. Mentoring can minimize the LRP learning curve, and it remains a valid minimally invasive surgical treatment for prostate cancer in Australia even in early practice.
The role of impairment of mesenchymal stem cell function in osteoporotic bone fracture healing
With demographic change and increasing life expectancy, osteoporotic fractures have become one of the most prevalent trauma conditions seen in daily clinical practice. A variety of factors are known to affect the rate of healing in osteoporotic conditions (e.g. both biochemical and biomechanical environment of callus cells). However, the influence of impairment of mesenchymal stem cell function in the osteoporotic condition on bone fracture healing has not been fully understood. In the present study, we develop a mathematical model that quantifies the change in biological processes within the fracture callus as a result of osteoporosis. The model includes special features of osteoporosis such as reduction in mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) number in osteoporotic bone, impaired response of osteoporotic MSCs to their biomechanical microenvironment and the effects of configuration of locking compression plate (LCP) system on healing in this context. The results presented here suggest that mechanically-mediated MSCs differentiation at early stages of healing are significantly affected under osteoporotic conditions, while it is predicted that the flexible fixation achieved by increasing bone-plate distance of LCP could alleviate the negative effects of osteoporosis on healing. The outcomes of this study could potentially lead to patient specific surgical solutions, and thus achieve optimal healing outcomes in osteoporotic conditions.
Intensive care discharge delay is associated with increased hospital length of stay: A multicentre prospective observational study
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-07-27)
BACKGROUND: Some patients experience a delayed discharge from the intensive care unit (ICU) where the intended and actual discharge times do not coincide. The clinical implications of this remain unclear. OBJECTIVE: To determine the incidence and duration of delayed ICU discharge, identify the reasons for delay and evaluate the clinical consequences. METHODS: Prospective multi-centre observational study involving five ICUs over a 3-month period. Delay in discharge was defined as >6 hours from the planned discharge time. The primary outcome measure was hospital length stay after ICU discharge decision. Secondary outcome measures included ICU discharge after-hours, incidence of delirium, survival to hospital discharge, discharge destination, the incidence of ICU acquired infections, revocation of ICU discharge decision, unplanned readmissions to ICU within 72 hours, review of patients admitting team after ICU discharge decision. RESULTS: A total of 955 out of 1118 patients discharged were included in analysis. 49.9% of the patients discharge was delayed. The most common reason (74%) for delay in discharge was non-availability of ward bed. The median duration of the delay was 24 hours. On univariable analysis, the duration of hospital stay from the time of ICU discharge decision was significantly higher in patients who had ICU discharge delay (Median days-5 vs 6; p = 0.003). After-hours discharge was higher in patients whose discharge was delayed (34% Vs 10%; p<0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in the other secondary outcomes analysed. Multivariable analysis adjusting for known confounders revealed delayed ICU discharge was independently associated with increased hospital length of stay. CONCLUSION: Half of all ICU patients experienced a delay in ICU discharge. Delayed discharge was associated with increased hospital length of stay.
Quantitative Analysis of the Ellipsoid Zone Intensity in Phenotypic Variations of Intermediate Age-Related Macular Degeneration
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2017-04-01)
Purpose: Reduction of the ellipsoid zone (EZ) intensity has been reported in eyes with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This study determined whether overall EZ intensity, in retinal locations undisturbed by pathologic features, is associated with the presence of clinical features, which are known important phenotypic risk factors for disease progression, large drusen, reticular pseudodrusen (RPD), and pigmentary abnormalities. Methods: A horizontal B-scan through the foveola on spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) was performed in both eyes of 75 participants with bilateral intermediate AMD and 10 age-similar control participants. Eyes with AMD were classified as per the presence of large drusen, RPD, and hyperpigmentary changes. The relative EZ intensity profile, up to an eccentricity of 3400 μm, was averaged over seven 1000-μm retinal segments. The association between relative EZ intensity profile over seven retinal segments and AMD pathologic features was analyzed. Results: The average relative EZ intensities were significantly reduced in eyes with intermediate AMD compared to normal eyes (P ≤ 0.025) and with increasing age (P ≤ 0.020). On multivariate analyses, only the presence of hyperpigmentary changes and increasing age were significantly associated with reduced overall relative intensities (P ≤ 0.024), but not the presence of large drusen or RPD (P ≥ 0.115). Conclusions: The presence of hyperpigmentary change in the macula in association with large drusen, not large drusen alone, nor large drusen with RPD, was significantly associated with a generalised reduction in EZ intensity. Quantitative assessment of the relative EZ intensity may serve as an effective biomarker of disease severity and progression.
Accuracy and safety of ward based pleural ultrasound in the Australian healthcare system
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Ultrasound has been shown to improve the accuracy and safety of pleural procedures. Studies to date have been performed in large, specialized units, where pleural procedures are performed by a small number of highly specialized physicians. There are no studies examining the safety and accuracy of ultrasound in the Australian healthcare system where procedures are performed by junior doctors with a high staff turnover. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of the ultrasound database in the Respiratory Department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital to determine accuracy and complications associated pleural procedures. RESULTS: A total of 357 ultrasounds were performed between October 2010 and June 2013. Accuracy of pleural procedures was 350 of 356 (98.3%). Aspiration of pleural fluid was successful in 121 of 126 (96%) of patients. Two (0.9%) patients required chest tube insertion for management of pneumothorax. There were no recorded pleural infections, haemorrhage or viscera puncture. CONCLUSION: Ward-based ultrasound for pleural procedures is safe and accurate when performed by appropriately trained and supported junior medical officers. Our findings support this model of pleural service care in the Australian healthcare system.
Understanding factors influencing physical activity and exercise in lung cancer: a systematic review
PURPOSE: Despite evidence and clinical practice guidelines supporting physical activity (PA) for people with lung cancer, this evidence has not translated into clinical practice. This review aims to identify, evaluate and synthesise studies examining the barriers and enablers for patients with lung cancer to participate in PA from the perspective of patients, carers and health care providers (HCPs). METHODS: Systematic review of articles using electronic databases: MEDLINE (1950-2016), CINAHL (1982-2016), EMBASE (1980-2016), Scopus (2004-2016) and Cochrane (2016). Quantitative and qualitative studies, published in English in a peer-reviewed journal, which assessed the barriers or enablers to PA for patients with lung cancer were included. Registered-PROSPERO (CRD4201603341). RESULTS: Twenty-six studies (n = 9 cross-sectional, n = 4 case series, n = 11 qualitative) including 1074 patients, 23 carers and 169 HCPs were included. Barriers and enablers to PA were identified (6 major themes, 18 sub-themes): Barriers included patient-level factors (physical capability, symptoms, comorbidities, previous sedentary lifestyle, psychological influences, perceived relevance), HCP factors (time/knowledge to deliver information) and environmental factors (access to services, resources, timing relative to treatment). Enablers included anticipated benefits, opportunity for behaviour change and influences from HCPs and carers. CONCLUSION: This systematic review has identified the volume of literature demonstrating that barriers and enablers to PA in lung cancer are multidimensional and span diverse factors. These include patient-level factors, such as symptoms, comorbidities, sedentary lifestyle, mood and fear, and environmental factors. These factors should be considered to identify and develop suitable interventions and clinical services in attempt to increase PA in patients with lung cancer.