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עמוד בית
Fri, 14.06.24

October 2018

Original Articles
Sivan Shamai MD and Ofer Merimsky MD

Background: Trabectedin is a marine-derived chemotherapy, which has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for use in anthracycline-resistant advanced soft tissue sarcoma (STS), especially liposarcoma and leiomyosarcoma (L-sarcomas).

Objectives: To describe our 10 year real-life experience with trabectedin regarding safety and efficacy in a cohort of 86 patients.

Methods: In our study cohort, 46.51% were diagnosed with liposarcoma and 43.02% with leiomyosarcoma. A total of 703 cycles of trabectedin were given, with a median of five cycles per patient (range 1–59). Median overall survival was 13.5 months for the whole cohort, 11 months for liposarcoma patients (range 1–63), and 15 months for leiomyosarcoma patients (range 1–35).

Results: There was no statistically significant difference in progression free survival when stratified according to previous treatment lines given. Trabectedin exhibited a favorable safety profile, with only 22% requiring dose reductions. Grade 3 and higher toxicity was noted in 25% of the patients, mostly due to myelosuppression. There were no treatment-related deaths.

Conclusions: Trabectedin is a safe and effective drug for treating advanced STS. Our results reflect real-life data with patients receiving the drug as a third and even fourth line of treatment, or with a suboptimal performance status, yet achieving impressive clinical benefit rates and survival.

David Dahan MD, Gali Epstein Shochet PhD, Ester Fizitsky MD, Miriam Almagor MD and David Shitrit MD

Background: Sepsis is a common cause of hospitalization, particularly in intensive care units (ICUs), and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Diagnosis is often difficult due to the absence of characteristic clinical signs (e.g., fever and leukocytosis); therefore, additional markers, in addition to C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cell (WBC) count, are needed.

Objectives: To prospectively link resting energy expenditure (REE) with CRP, WBC count, and sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) scores in ICU patients. Such a correlation may suggest REE measurement as an additional parameter for sepsis diagnosis.

Methods: Our study comprised 41 ventilated consecutive patients > 18 years of age. Patient demographic data, height, actual body weight, and SOFA scores were collected at admission. REE was measured by indirect calorimetry. REE, CRP, and WBC measurements were collected at admission, on day three after admission, and 1 week later or as clinically indicated.

Results: Comparison of the REE and CRP changes revealed a significant correlation between REE and CRP changes (r = 0.422, P = 0.007). In addition, CRP changes also correlated with the changes in REE (r = 0.36, P = 0.02). Although no significant correlations in REE, WBC count, and SOFA score were found, a significant trend was observed.

Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to link REE and CRP levels, indicative of severe infection. Further study is needed to establish these findings.

Howard S. Oster MD PhD, Shani Svorai-Litvak MD, Ilya Kirgner MD, Albert Kolomansky MD, Robert S. Siegel MD and Moshe Mittelman MD

Background: With advances in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), patient cohorts from different time periods might be different.

Objectives: To compare presentation and outcomes between two cohorts.

Methods: Data were collected from George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA 1986–1987 (DC), and Tel Aviv Medical Center, Israel 1999–2009 (TA).

Results: The study comprised 227 patients (139 TA, 88 DC). TA patients were older (75.4 ± 9.8 vs. 63.8 ± 14.3 years, P < 0.001) and had more cardiovascular diseases (56.8% vs. 14.8%, P < 0.001), fewer cytopenias (1.67 ± 0.82 vs. 2.0 ± 0.93, P = 0.003), and lower mean corpuscular volume (94.3 ± 9.9 fl vs. 100.5 ± 15.3 fl, P < 0.001). Hemoglobin, leukocyte, neutrophil, and platelet counts were similar. More TA patients had dysplasias. Bone marrow cellularity and cytogenetics were similar, but more TA patients had blasts < 5% (73.4% vs. 50.6%, P = 0.003). More TA patients had early French-American-British (FAB) disease (66.9% vs. 40.9%, P < 0.001) and lower risk disease per International Prognostic Scoring System (81% vs. 50%, P < 0.001). The 5 year survival (5YS) of TA patients was not significantly greater (62% vs. 55%). 5YS by FAB was also slightly greater for TA patients (77% vs. 65% for early FAB; 43% vs. 37% for advanced FAB, P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Although patients diagnosed with MDS at a later period were older and had more cardiovascular co-morbidities, they had fewer cytopenias, tended to have earlier disease, and had minimally greater, but not significant, 5YS.

Ahmad Hassan MD, Ronen Jaffe MD, Ronen Rubinshtein MD, Basheer Karkabi MD, David A. Halon MB ChB, Moshe Y. Flugelman MD and Barak Zafrir MD

Background: Contemporary data on clinical profiles and long-term outcomes of young adults with coronary artery disease (CAD) are limited.

Objectives: To determine the risk profile, presentation, and outcomes of young adults undergoing coronary angiography.

Methods: A retrospective analysis (2000–2017) of patients aged ≤ 35 years undergoing angiography for evaluation and/or treatment of CAD was conducted.

Results: Coronary angiography was performed in 108 patients (88% males): 67 acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and 41 non-ACS chest pain syndromes. Risk factors were similar: dyslipidemia (69%), positive family history (64%), smoking (61%), obesity (39%), hypertension (32%), and diabetes (22%). Eight of the ACS patients (12%) and 29 of the non-ACS (71%) had normal coronary arteries without subsequent cardiac events. Of the 71 with angiographic evidence of CAD, long-term outcomes (114 ± 60 months) were similar in ACS compared to non-ACS presentations: revascularization 41% vs. 58%, myocardial infarction 32% vs. 33%, and all-cause death 8.5% vs. 8.3%. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) was diagnosed in 25% of those with CAD, with higher rates of myocardial infarction (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 2.62, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.15–5.99) and revascularization (HR 4.30, 95%CI 2.01–9.18) during follow-up. Only 17% of patients with CAD attained a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol treatment goal < 70 mg/dl.

Conclusions: CAD in young adults is associated with marked burden of traditional risk factors and high rates of future adverse cardiac events, regardless of acuity of presentation, especially in patients with FH, emphasizing the importance of detecting cardiovascular risk factors and addressing atherosclerosis at young age.

Sami Gendler MD, Hila Shmilovich MD, David Aranovich MD, Roy Nadler MD, Hanoch Kashtan MD and Michael Stein MD

Background: Unlike the elective treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (MCRC), sufficient data and consensual guidelines on acute care are lacking.

Objectives: To analyze a cohort of MCRC patients who required urgent surgery due to acute abdomen and to identify risk factors contributing to the patient's perioperative mortality and morbidity.

Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted of patients diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer who required urgent laparotomy at the Rabin Medical Center. Comparative analysis was performed using Pearson’s chi-square and Student`s t-test.

Results: Between 2010 and 2015, 113 patients underwent urgent laparotomy due to colorectal cancer complications, of which 62 patients were found to have a metastatic, stage IV, disease. Large bowel obstruction was the most common indication for urgent laparotomy. In-hospital mortality was 30% (n=19), and overall 30 day mortality was 43%. Fifteen patients (24%) required more than one surgery. The average length of hospital stay was 21 days. Age and lactate levels at presentation were the only prognostic factor found for mortality (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: MCRC laparotomy patients incur a significant burden of care and have a relatively high incidence of early mortality. Our data suggest high, verging on unacceptable, mortality and complication rates in this subgroup of patients. This finding is further accentuated in the subgroup of older patients presenting with lactatemia. These data should be considered by surgeons when discussing treatment options with patients and families.

Basel Jabarin MD MHA, Jacob Pitaro MD MSc, Tal Marom MD and Limor Muallem-Kalmovich MD

Background: Leukoplakia of the vocal cords may represent a pre-cancerous lesion of the larynx. The management of cases of recurrent leukoplakia with pathologically proven dysplasia is still controversial.

Objectives: To present a series of patients with recurrent vocal cord leukoplakia and to examine their malignant transformation rate in relation to the clinical characteristics, risk factors, and histological findings.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted between 1999 and 2017. The study comprised 52 patients with recurrent leukoplakia of the vocal cords who required ≥ 2 direct laryngeal procedures within a minimum of 3 months between each procedure. Malignant transformation rate over follow-up period, risk factors for malignant transformation, and interval to develop laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma were investigated.

Results: All patients presented with hoarseness. An average of three procedures per patient was performed (range 2–13). Ten male patients (19.2%) developed squamous cell carcinoma. Of these, four with severe dysplasia developed SCC within 19 months of the first direct laryngoscopy. In the six other patients, SCC developed within an average of 3.7 years. The follow-up period ranged from 9–253 months (mean 109 months). Heavy smoking and severe dysplasia in the first biopsy were found to be significant risk factors for developing squamous cell carcinoma, as was male gender.

Conclusions: We showed an increased malignant transformation rate in recurrent leukoplakia cases among heavy smokers and male patients. In addition, severe dysplasia at initial diagnosis was a risk factor for SCC development. Close follow-up of patients with recurrent leukoplakia is warranted.

Nasser Sakran MD, Doron Kopelman MD, Ron Dar MD, Nael Abaya MD, Shams-Eldin Mokary MD, Chovav Handler MD and Dan D. Hershko MD

Background: Recent studies have suggested that urgent cholecystectomy is the preferred treatment for acute cholecystitis. However, initial conservative treatment followed by delayed elective surgery is still common practice in many medical centers.

Objectives: To determine the effect of percutaneous cholecystostomy on surgical outcome in patients undergoing delayed elective cholecystectomy.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients admitted to our medical center with acute cholecystitis who were treated by conservative treatment followed by delayed cholecystectomy between 2004 and 2013. Logistic regression was calculated to assess the association of percutaneous cholecystostomy with patient characteristics, planned surgical procedure, and the clinical and surgical outcomes.

Results: We identified 370 patients. Of these, 134 patients (36%) underwent cholecystostomy during the conservative treatment period. Patients who underwent cholecystostomy were older and at higher risk for surgery. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was offered to 92% of all patients, yet assignment to the open surgical approach was more common in the cholecystostomy group (16% vs. 3%). Cholecystostomy was associated with significantly higher conversion rates to open approach (26% vs. 13%) but was not associated with longer operative time, hemorrhage, surgical infections, or bile duct or organ injuries.

Conclusions: Treatment with cholecystostomy is associated with higher conversion rates but does not include other major operative-related complications or poorer clinical outcome.

Adi Guy MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi MD PhD, Alec Krosser MD, Boris Gilburd PhD, Eleanor Zeruya MD, Ora Shovman MD, Abdulla Watad MD and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Patients with rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), encounter significantly higher rates of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system maintains hemodynamic stability through blood pressure regulation. When dysregulated, this system has been implicated in various pathological conditions, including cardiovascular events.

Objectives: To investigate the levels of renin and aldosterone in RA and AS patients.

Methods: Three groups were recruited: patients with RA, patients with AS, and healthy controls. Subjects were excluded if they had a diagnosis of hypertension, hyperaldosteronism, or renal artery stenosis, or were taking drugs that might have affected renin levels. Renin and aldosterone levels were measured using commercially available kits. Data were analyzed using univariate analyses and multivariate regression analyses.

Results: Fifty-one subjects were enrolled in the study: 15 with RA, 4 with AS, and 32 healthy controls. At the univariate analysis, the three groups differed in age (P = 0.005), renin levels (P = 0.013), and aldosterone-to-renin ratio (P = 0.019). At the post-hoc tests, both AS and RA patients differed from controls for renin levels and the aldosterone-to-renin ratio. At the multivariate regression analysis, AS patients had lower renin values than controls (beta standardized regression coefficient -0.323, P = 0.022).

Conclusion: Patients with RA tended to have lower levels of plasma renin compared to healthy subjects. This finding indicates that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system might not be directly involved in the process that results in increased cardiovascular events in rheumatoid arthritis.

Michael Peer MD, Sharbell Azzam MD, Vladislav Gofman MD, Mark Kushnir MD, Benjamin Davidson MD and Carmel Armon MD

Background: Thymectomy is a reliable surgical method for treating patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) and benign tumors of the thymus. Despite the advantages of minimally invasive surgical approaches for resection of thymic neoplasms, there are still controversies regarding the superiority of one type of surgery over another.

Objectives: To report the results of our initial Israeli experience with robotic thymectomy in 22 patients with MG and suspected benign thymic tumors.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 22 patients (10 men, 12 women) who underwent robotic thymectomy by a left-sided (16) or right-sided approach (6) using the da Vinci robotic system at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center. Seven patients were diagnosed with MG before surgery and 14 had suspected benign thymic neoplasms.

Results: Average operative time was 90 minutes. There were no deaths or intraoperative complications. Postoperative complications occurred in two patients (dyspnea and pleural effusion). Median blood loss was 12.3 cc (range 5–35 cc), median hospital stay 2.9 days (range 2–5 days), and mean weight of resected thymus 32.1 grams. Seven patients had thymic hyperplasia, six a lipothymoma, one a thymic cyst. Seven each had thymomas in different stages and one had a cavernous hemangioma.

Conclusions: Robotic thymectomy is a safe, technically effective surgical method for resection of thymic neoplasms. The advantages of this technique are safety, short hospitalization period, little blood loss, and low complications. We have included this surgical procedure in our thoracic surgery residency program and recommend a learning curve program of 10 to 12 procedures during residency.

Igal Shpunt MD, Dan Leibovici MD, Sergey Ikher MD, Alexey Kovalyonok MD, Yuval Avda MD, Morad Jaber MD, Abraham Bercovich MD and Uri Lindner MD

Background: Almost 50% of patients with germ-cell tumors (GCT) are subfertile, and every step of the treatment may further impair fertility. As a result, sperm banking is often advised prior to radical orchiectomy. However, whether affected testes contribute to fertility is unclear.

Objectives: To determine whether maximal tumor diameter (MTD) is correlated with ipsilateral fertility (IF) in patients treated for GCT.

Methods: We reviewed medical charts for demographic and clinical data of patients with GCT who had undergone orchiectomy at our institution between 1999 and 2015. The extent of spermatogenesis was categorized into three groups: full spermatogenesis, hypospermatogenesis, and absence of spermatogenesis. The presence of mature spermatozoa in the epididymis tail was also assessed. We defined IF as the combination of full spermatogenesis in more than 100 tubules and the presence of mature spermatozoa in the epididymis tail. Mann–Whitney was applied to determine the correlation between MTD and IF.

Results: Of 57 patients, IF was present in 28 (49%). Mean patient age was 32.8 years in patients with positive IF and 33.4 years those with negative IF. Seminoma was diagnosed in 46.4% of patients with positive IF and in 65.5% of patients with negative IF. Full spermatogenesis was observed in 33 patients (57.8%). In 48 (82.7%), mature epididymal spermatozoa were found. No correlation was found between MTD and IF.

Conclusions: IF is present in almost half of the patients undergoing radical orchiectomy. Because IF cannot be predicted by MTD, routine pre-orchiectomy sperm banking is suggested.


Case communications
Snir Boniel MD, Anetta Jeziorek MD, Małgorzata Woźniak MD PhD, Elżbieta Lipińska MD, Elżbieta Szczepanik MD PhD, Urszula Demkow MD PhD and Krystyna Szymańska MD PhD
Julie Vaynshtein MD, Ohad Guetta MD, Ilya Replyansky MD, Alexander Vakhrushev MD, David Czeiger MD PHD, Amnon Ovnat MD and Gilbert Sebbag MD MPH

These research projects were undertaken in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the MD degree at Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University in 2017–2018. They were considered the most outstanding of the graduating class

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