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Kosmas Daskalakis, Olov Norlén, Andreas Karakatsanis, Per Hellman, Rolf Larsson, Peter Nygren, and Peter Stålberg

Small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) are generally considered resistant to systemic treatment. To date, predictive markers for drug activity are lacking. Tumor samples from 27 patients with SI-NETs were analyzed ex vivo for sensitivity to a panel of cytotoxic drugs and targeted agents using a short-term total cell kill assay. Samples of renal cancer, colorectal cancer (CRC), ovarian cancer and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) were included for comparison. For the SI-NET subset, drug sensitivity was analyzed in relation to clinicopathological variables and pre-treatment biomarkers. For cytotoxic drugs, SI-NETs demonstrated similar or higher sensitivity to 5-FU, platinum, gemcitabine and doxorubicin compared with CRC. For several of the targeted kinase inhibitors, SI-NET was among the most sensitive solid tumor types. CLL and ovarian cancer were generally the most sensitive tumor types to both cytotoxic drugs and protein kinase inhibitors. SI-NET was more sensitive to the mTOR inhibitor sirolimus than the other solid tumor types tested. Individual SI-NET samples demonstrated great variability in ex vivo sensitivity for most drugs. Cross-resistance between different drugs also varied considerably, being higher among protein kinase inhibitors. Age, stage, grade, peritoneal carcinomatosis and extra-abdominal metastases as well as serum chromogranin A and urine 5-HIAA concentrations at diagnosis did not correlate to drug sensitivity ex vivo. SI-NETs exhibit intermediate sensitivity ex vivo to cytotoxic and targeted drugs. Clinicopathological factors and currently used biomarkers are not clearly associated to ex vivo sensitivity, challenging these criteria for treatment decisions in SI-NET. The great variability in drug sensitivity calls for individualized selection of therapy.

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Krystallenia I Alexandraki, Ariadni Spyroglou, Stylianos Kykalos, Kosmas Daskalakis, Georgios Kyriakopoulos, Georgios C Sotiropoulos, Gregory A Kaltsas, and Ashley B. Grossman

Following improvements in the management and outcome of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) in recent years, we see a subset, particularly of pancreatic NENs, which become more aggressive during the course of the disease. This is reflected by an increase in the Ki-67 labelling index, as a marker of proliferation, which may lead on occasion to an increase in grading, but generally does not appear to be correlated with histologically confirmed de-differentiation. A systematic review of the literature was performed in PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase until May 2020 to identify cases that have behaved in such a manner. We screened 244 articles: only 7 studies included cases in their cohort, or in a subset of the cohort studied, with a proven increase in the Ki-67 during follow-up through additional biopsy. In addition to these studies, we have also tried to identify possible pathophysiological mechanisms implicated in advanced NENs, although currently no studies appear to have addressed the mechanisms implicated in the switch to a more aggressive biological phenotype over the course of the disease. Such progression of the disease course may demand a change in management. Summarising the evidence overall, we suggest that future studies should concentrate on changes in molecular pathways during disease progression with sequential biopsies in order to shed light on the mechanisms that render a neoplasm more aggressive than its initial phenotype or genotype.