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Hypertension and nephrology

NOVEMBER 04, 2020

[The ACE2-Ang(1-7)-Mas axis as a new option for lowering blood pressure]

KÉKES Ede

[The ACE2-Ang(1-7)-Mas axis counterbalances the ACE/Ang II-AT1R axis in our body in order to maintain normal homeostasis. During the Covid-19 pandemic, this protective system came to the fore again and its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular-metabolic system, including the significant antihypertensive effect, are being clarified. In our brief summary, we analyze the essential aspects of this research.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

[The pain-trigger role of cytokines in the nervous system – the direct analgesic effect of anti-cytokine therapy ]

HODINKA László, VERECKEI Edit

[Nociceptive, neuropathic and central me­chanisms are involved in the perception, transmission and processing of chronic pain and shaping of cerebral pain image. Alar­mins – molecules alarming defence and signing the presence of pathogens and tissue damage - trigger a series of pathogenic events resulting in inflammatory pain stimuli. Proinflammatory cytokines play a determining role in the pain perception at the level of the nervous system. Continuous inflammatory stimuli while sensitizing the periferic and central neurons activate the pain-related cerebral areas and develop the complex pain image, the pain matrix. Ce­reb­ral functional connections are operating in networks and can be visualized by functional MRI. Cytokines activate the neurons directly or indirectly by other neuromediators. Cytokine receptors are expressed on no­ciceptors and even on higher-level neurons and on various non-neural cells, such as microglia and astrocytes. The most ubiquitous cytokines are the Tumour Necrosis Factor and Interleukin 6 in the nervous sys­tem. The signaling pathways are the Nuclear Factor κB and the Janus-kinase enzyme system. The proinflammatory cytokines and the Janus-kinase are therefore primary therapeutic targets. Anti-cytokine biologicals and small molecular kinase inhibitors decrease the pain and improve functional activity in rheumatoid arthritis. Decrease of pain was more pronounced than expected only from the decrease of the clinical biomarkers of inflammation. The early and ra­pid painkiller effect of targeted biological and chemical-biological response modifiers is attributed to their direct analgesic effect on the brain.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

APRIL 18, 2020

[Interrelations between antidepressants and diabetes]

HARGITTAY Csenge, GONDA Xénia, MÁRKUS Bernadett, VÖRÖS Krisztián, TABÁK Gy. Ádám, KALABAY László, RIHMER Zoltán, TORZSA Péter

[Diabetes and depression are frequent comorbidities. They are a heavy burden by themselves, however, as comorbidities increase additionally the number of diabetes-related complications, morbidity, and mortality. In the background of interrelations, there are both well-known and hypothetical mechanisms. The aim of the present review is to outline these interrelations between antidepressants and diabetes and to discuss the effect of medications on carbohydrate metabolism respectively. Anti­depressant treatment on the one hand may improve mood, cognitive function and medication adherence leading to an improved glucose metabolism, on the other hand through their metabolic side effects, they may worsen carbohydrate metabolism. Concerning metabolic side effects, selec­tive serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the sa­fest, while tricyclic antidepressants and mo­noamine oxidase inhibitors should be administered under close monitoring. Se­rotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors may deteriorate gly­cae­mic control via increased noradre­nergic activation. Novel antidepressants, how­ever, have a neutral or positive impact on gly­caemic measures. Screening for and temporally adjusted treatment of depres­sion may decrease the risk of comorbidities ge­nerated complications. While caring for diabetic patients with depression, one should consider metabolic side effects of antidepressants and close monitoring of carbohydrate metabolism.]

Clinical Neuroscience

MARCH 30, 2016

[The importance of anticoagulant therapy in patients with artial fibrillation in stroke prevention – summary of international data and novel therapeutic modalities]

MIROLOVICS Ágnes, PAPP Csaba, ZSUGA Judit, BERECZKI Dániel

[The most common cardiogenic cause of ischaemic stroke is atrial fibrillation which increases the probability of stroke five-fold and doubles case fatality. Based on international data the incidence of atrial fibrillation is approx. 2% however this rapidly increases with age. The necessity of using oral anticoagulants in the prevention of non-valvular atrial fibrillation related stroke is decided based on estimated stroke risk. The CHADS2 and the more predictive CHA2DS2-VASc scales are used for this purpose while the bleeding risk of patients treated with anticoagulant may be estimated by the HAS-BLED scoring scale. For decades oral anticoagulation meant using vitamin-K antagonists. Based on international data we can see that rate of anticoagulation is unacceptably low, furthermore most of the anticoagulated patients aren’t within the therapeutic range of INR (INR: 2-3). A lot of disadvantages of vitamin-K antagonists are known (e.g. food-drug interaction, need for regular coagulation monitoring, increased risk of bleeding), therefore compounds with new therapeutic target have been developed. The novel oral anticoagulants (NOAC) can be divided in two major subgroups: direct thrombin inhibitors (dabigatran etexilate) and Xa-factor inhibitors (rivaroxaban, apixaban, edoxaban). These products are administered in fix doses, they less frequently interact with other medications or food, and regular coagulation monitoring is not needed when using these drugs. Moreover several studies have shown that they are at least as effective in the prevention of ischaemic stroke than the vitamin-K antagonists, with no more haemorrhagic complications.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

APRIL 18, 2020

[What is worth to know about COVID-19 for (not only) a cardiologist]

HEPP Tamás, CSÉKE Balázs, BENCZÚR Béla

[SARS-CoV-2 virus infection sprang from Wuhan the capital of the Chinese Hubei province, at the end of 2019 and caused a worldwide pandemic with 1.5 million confirmed cases and claimed almost 100 000 victims until the beginning of April, 2020. First analyses of Chinese COVID-patients confirmed that diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases were highly prevalent among SARS-CoV2 infected patients, and might be associated with poor outcome. As previously shown for SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2 similarly utilizes ACE2 as receptor for viral alveolar cell entry. A suspicion has arisen that the widely used ACE-inhibitor/ARB therapy could be potentially harmful for patients suffering from COVID-19 infection as these agents upregulate the ACE2-expressions. From the other point RAAS-blockade might be beneficial due to fact that ACE2 counters the deleterious effects of Angiotensin II. Authors provide a comprehensive over­view of the most recent literature and summarize the link between COVID-19 and car­diovascular disease. It is important to em­phasize that there are no available hu­man evidences confirming if the RAAS-in­hi­bitor therapy were harmful or helpful in pa­tients suffering from COVID-19.]

Clinical Oncology

APRIL 10, 2019

[CDK 4/6 Inhibitors in Breast Cancer: Current Controversies and Future Directions]

SPRING M. Laura, WANDER A. Seth, ZANGARDI Mark, BARDIA Aditya

[Purpose of review: To describe the clinical role of CDK 4/6 inhibitors in hormone receptor-positive (HR+) metastatic breast cancer (HR+MBC) as well as current controversies and evolving areas of research. Recent fi ndings: Palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib are each approved in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant for HR+MBC. Abemaciclib is also approved as monotherapy for pre-treated patients. Key questions in the fi eld include whether all patients with HR+MBC should receive a CDK 4/6 inhibitor up front versus later line, impact on overall survival, role of continued CDK 4/6 blockade, mechanism of clinical resistance, and treatment sequencing. Summary: The development of CDK 4/6 inhibitors has changed the therapeutic management of HR+MBC. Additional research is needed to determine optimal treatment sequencing, understand mechanisms governing resistance, and develop novel therapeutic strategies to circumvent or overcome clinical resistance and further improve the outcomes of patients with MBC.]

Clinical Oncology

FEBRUARY 20, 2019

[Practical use of meta-analyses in predicting disease risk, outcome, and therapy response in breast cancer]

KAHÁN Zsuzsanna, TARI Gergely, ENYEDI Márton, HARACSKA Lajos

[Germinal BRCA status infl uences patient care both in early and advanced/metastatic breast cancer. Ideally, the patient should make the decision on the type of surgery or the avoidance of radiotherapy being aware of the BRCA status; based on the most recent clinical studies, this knowledge may infl uence the type of chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, adjuvant, or metastatic setting or may raise the use of emerging targeted therapies. DNA-targeting cytostatic agents, mostly platinum agents and PARP inhibitors that act by inducing synthetic lethality, provide specifi c therapies in BRCA-mutant cases. The optimum place and sequence of these specifi c agents in treatment, however, are not known yet. International guidelines promote BRCA testing for the specifi cation of treatment strategy in all HER2-negative advanced/metastatic breast cancer cases (NCCN) or at least in all cases when, based on certain predictors, the presence of mutations is likely (ESMO). Recently, the methods employed for BRCA testing have improved immensely and are widely available through the services of various providers. For the identifi cation of the mutation, sequencing of the whole genes is needed, which can be achieved faster and more cost-effi ciently using next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms compared to previous methods. It is the responsibility of the physician to consider the possibility of BRCA mutations and to raise the issue of BRCA testing to the patient if the family history, the age, previous malignant disease(s) of the patient, or the cancer features are suggestive of genetic risk.]

Clinical Oncology

FEBRUARY 20, 2019

[Molecular subtypes and the evolution of treatment decisions in metastatic colorectal cancer]

RODRIGO Dienstmann, RAMON Salazar, JOSEP Tabernero

[Colorectal cancer (CRC) has clinically-relevant molecular heterogeneity at multiple levels: genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics and microenvironment features. Genomic events acquired during carcinogenesis remain drivers of cancer progression in the metastatic setting. For example, KRAS and NRAS mutations defi ne a population refractory to EGFR monoclonal antibodies, BRAFV600E mutations associate with poor outcome under standard therapies and response to targeted inhibitors in combinations, while HER2 amplifi cations confer unique sensitivity to double HER2 blockade. Multiple rare gene alterations driving resistance to EGFR monoclonal antibodies have been described with signifi cant overlap in primary and acquired mechanisms, in line with a clonal selection process. In this context, sequential analysis of circulating tumor DNA has the potential to guide drug development in a treatment refractory setting. Rare kinase fusion events and complex alterations in genes involved in DNA damage repair have been described, with emerging evidence for targetability. On the other hand, transcriptomic subtypes and pathway activation signatures have also shown prognostic and potential predictive value in metastatic CRC. These markers refl ect stromal and immune microenvironment interactions with cancer cells. For example, the microsatellite instable (MSI) or POLE ultramutant CRC population is particularly sensitive to immune checkpoint inhibitors, while tumors with a mesenchymal phenotype are characterized by activation of immunosuppressive molecules that mandate stratifi ed development of novel immunotherapy combinations. In this manuscript we review the expanding landscape of targetable oncogenic alterations and signatures in metastatic CRC and discuss the clinical implementation of novel molecular diagnostic tests.]

Clinical Oncology

DECEMBER 10, 2018

[Treatment of head and neck cancer]

KATONA Csilla, LANDHERR László

[Head and neck cancers cause worldwide a signifi cant problem in health care systems. Despite great advances in therapeutic modalities its prognosis has not changed in the past few decades. It is mainly caused by classical risk factors, like alcohol consumption and smoking, but in a signifi cant number of oropharyngeal cancers HPV infection plays a major role, which is associated with a new patient group characterized by a much better prognosis and therapeutic response. In the diagnostic phase staging examinations (CT scan, MRI, FDG-PET) are also involved which are necessary to multidisciplinary decision making. It can be largely infl uenced by the patient’s preference. The therapy is based on multimodality approach; surgery, radiotherapy, chemoirradiation, chemotherapy and the combination of these are used in early or locally advanced tumours. Targeted agents like EGFR inhibitors are partly used in the recurrent/metastatic setting or in combination with radiotherapy. Immun checkpoint inhibitors are new therapeutic options for pretreated, recurrent/metastatic patients and their role is under investigation in earlier therapeutic lines. Several clinical trials aim treatment desintensifi cation strategies in HPV positive tumours. Molecular genetic tests try to defi ne subgroups of patients to plan individualized treatment. Regarding the signifi cant functional and aesthetic damage of both disease and treatment, supportive care and rehabilitation are of great importance.]

Clinical Oncology

DECEMBER 10, 2018

[Advancing therapies in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer]

GIULIA Baciarello, MARCO Gicci, KARIM Fizazi

[Introduction: Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer world wide and is the most frequently detected cancer in the European Union in men over 50 years of age. Androgen deprivation therapy remains the corner stone of treatment for recurrent or metastatic disease. Unfortunately, nearly all patients will develop resistance to androgen blockade leading to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Over the last 10 years, new treatment shaved ramatically improved overall survival of men with mCRPC. Current therapies are basedon AR-axis inhibitors and taxane-based chemotherapies, aswell as radiopharmaceuticals and Sipuleucel T. Areas covered: The authors provide a review of the current fi eld of systemic therapy in metastatic CRPC. This is followed by an in-depth analysis of recent developments in treatment, and the biological rationale behind these therapies. Expert opinion: Since several trials with docetaxel or novel hormonal agents showed improvement in overall survival in metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer, aswell as in non-metastatic castrationresistant patients, it is expected that a growing subgroup of patients will be expose dearlierto chemotherapy and to AR targeted agents. It becomes then fundamental to fi nd novel strategies to over come drug resistance and further improve survival.]