Clinical School (Royal Melbourne Hospital) - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 28
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.
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.
Undernutrition and malaria in pregnancy - a dangerous dyad?
BACKGROUND: In low-resource settings, malaria and macronutrient undernutrition are major health problems in pregnancy, contributing significantly to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth and fetal growth restriction. Affected pregnancies may result in stillbirth and neonatal death, and surviving children are at risk of poor growth and infection in infancy, and of non-communicable diseases in adulthood. Populations exposed to macronutrient undernutrition frequently reside in malaria-endemic areas, and seasonal peaks of low food supply and malaria transmission tend to coincide. Despite these geographic and temporal overlaps, integrated approaches to these twin challenges are infrequent. DISCUSSION: This opinion article examines the current evidence for malaria-macronutrition interactions and discusses possible mechanisms whereby macronutrient undernutrition and malaria may interact to worsen pregnancy outcomes. Macronutrient undernutrition dysregulates the immune response. In pregnant women, undernutrition may worsen the already increased susceptibility to malarial infection and could impair development of protective immunity to malaria, and is likely to exacerbate the impact of placental malaria on fetal growth. Malarial infection, in turn, can drive nutritional depletion; poor gestational weight gain and weight loss in pregnancy increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Despite a commendable number of studies and trials that, in isolation, attempt to address the challenges of malaria and undernutrition in pregnancy, few dare to venture beyond the 'single disease - single solution' paradigm. We believe that this may be a lost opportunity: researching malaria-nutrition interactions, and designing and implementing integrated interventions to prevent and treat these commonly co-existing and intertwining conditions, may markedly reduce the high burden of preterm birth and fetal growth restriction in affected areas. CONCLUSION: We call for more collaboration between researchers studying malaria and nutrition in pregnancy, and propose a research agenda to address this important twin health problem.
Unaccustomed Eccentric Contractions Impair Plasma K+ Regulation in the Absence of Changes in Muscle Na+, K+- ATPase Content
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-06-24)
The Na+,K+-ATPase (NKA) plays a fundamental role in the regulation of skeletal muscle membrane Na+ and K+ gradients, excitability and fatigue during repeated intense contractions. Many studies have investigated the effects of acute concentric exercise on K+ regulation and skeletal muscle NKA, but almost nothing is known about the effects of repeated eccentric contractions. We therefore investigated the effects of unaccustomed maximal eccentric knee extensor contractions on K+ regulation during exercise, peak knee extensor muscle torque, and vastus lateralis muscle NKA content and 3-O-MFPase activity. Torque measurements, muscle biopsies, and venous blood samples were taken before, during and up to 7 days following the contractions in six healthy adults. Eccentric contractions reduced peak isometric muscle torque immediately post-exercise by 26±11% and serum creatine kinase concentration peaked 24 h post-exercise at 339±90 IU/L. During eccentric contractions, plasma [K+] rose during Set 1 and remained elevated at ∼4.9 mM during sets 4-10; this was despite a decline in work output by Set 4, which fell by 18.9% at set 10. The rise in plasma [K+] x work(-1) ratio was elevated over Set 2 from Set 4- Set 10. Eccentric contractions had no effect on muscle NKA content or maximal in-vitro 3-O-MFPase activity immediately post- or up to 7 d post-exercise. The sustained elevation in plasma [K+] despite a decrease in work performed by the knee extensor muscles suggests an impairment in K+ regulation during maximal eccentric contractions, possibly due to increased plasma membrane permeability or to excitation-contraction uncoupling.
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.
The relationship between interfragmentary movement and cell differentiation in early fracture healing under locking plate fixation
(Springer Netherlands, 2016)
Interfragmentary movement (IFM) at the fracture site plays an important role in fracture healing, particularly during its early stage, via influencing the mechanical microenvironment of mesenchymal stem cells within the fracture callus. However, the effect of changes in IFM resulting from the changes in the configuration of locking plate fixation on cell differentiation has not yet been fully understood. In this study, mechanical experiments on surrogate tibia specimens, manufactured from specially formulated polyurethane, were conducted to investigate changes in IFM of fractures under various locking plate fixation configurations and loading magnitudes. The effect of the observed IFM on callus cell differentiation was then further studied using computational simulation. We found that during the early stage, cell differentiation in the fracture callus is highly influenced by fracture gap size and IFM, which in turn, is highly sensitive to locking plate fixation configuration. The computational model predicted that a small gap size (e.g. 1 mm) under a relatively flexible configuration of locking plate fixation (larger bone-plate distances and working lengths) could experience excessive strain and fluid flow within the fracture site, resulting in excessive fibrous tissue differentiation and delayed healing. By contrast, a relatively flexible configuration of locking plate fixation was predicted to improve cartilaginous callus formation and bone healing for a relatively larger gap size (e.g. 3 mm). If further confirmed by animal and human studies, the research outcome of this paper may have implications for orthopaedic surgeons in optimising the application of locking plate fixations for fractures in clinical practice.
The devil is in the detail - a multifactorial intervention to reduce blood pressure in coexisting diabetes and chronic kidney disease: a single blind, randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND: About 30-60% of individuals are non-adherent to their prescribed medications and this risk increases as the number of prescribed medications increases. This paper outlines the development of a consumer-centred Medicine Self-Management Intervention (MESMI), designed to improve blood pressure control and medication adherence in consumers with diabetes and chronic kidney disease recruited from specialist outpatients' clinics. METHODS: We developed a multifactorial intervention consisting of Self Blood Pressure Monitoring (SBPM), medication review, a twenty-minute interactive Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), and follow-up support telephone calls to help consumers improve their blood pressure control and take their medications as prescribed. The intervention is novel in that it has been developed from analysis of consumer and health professional views, and includes consumer video exemplars in the DVD. The primary outcome measure was a drop of 3-6 mmHg systolic blood pressure at three months after completion of the intervention. Secondary outcome measures included: assessment of medication adherence, medication self-efficacy and general wellbeing. Consumers' adherence to their prescribed medications was measured by manual pill count, self-report of medication adherence, and surrogate biochemical markers of disease control. DISCUSSION: The management of complex health problems is an increasing component of health care practice, and requires interventions that improve patient outcomes. We describe the preparatory work and baseline data of a single blind, randomized controlled trial involving consumers requiring cross-specialty care with a follow-up period extending to 12 months post-baseline. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial was registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ACTRN12607000044426).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pooled genome wide association detects association upstream of FCRL3 with Graves' disease
BACKGROUND: Graves' disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease of complex inheritance. Multiple genetic susceptibility loci are thought to be involved in Graves' disease and it is therefore likely that these can be identified by genome wide association studies. This study aimed to determine if a genome wide association study, using a pooling methodology, could detect genomic loci associated with Graves' disease. RESULTS: Nineteen of the top ranking single nucleotide polymorphisms including HLA-DQA1 and C6orf10, were clustered within the Major Histo-compatibility Complex region on chromosome 6p21, with rs1613056 reaching genome wide significance (p = 5 × 10-8). Technical validation of top ranking non-Major Histo-compatablity complex single nucleotide polymorphisms with individual genotyping in the discovery cohort revealed four single nucleotide polymorphisms with p ≤ 10-4. Rs17676303 on chromosome 1q23.1, located upstream of FCRL3, showed evidence of association with Graves' disease across the discovery, replication and combined cohorts. A second single nucleotide polymorphism rs9644119 downstream of DPYSL2 showed some evidence of association supported by finding in the replication cohort that warrants further study. CONCLUSIONS: Pooled genome wide association study identified a genetic variant upstream of FCRL3 as a susceptibility locus for Graves' disease in addition to those identified in the Major Histo-compatibility Complex. A second locus downstream of DPYSL2 is potentially a novel genetic variant in Graves' disease that requires further confirmation.