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Clinical Oncology

APRIL 30, 2020

[Hormone replacement therapy in cancer survivors – Review of the literature]

DELI Tamás, OROSZ Mónika, JAKAB Attila

[Rapid advance in oncology leads to increasing survival of oncologic patients. More and more of them live long enough to reach either the natural age of menopause or, as a side effect of their oncotherapy, experience the cessation of gonadal function, leading to premature ovarian insuffi ciency, with disturbing vasomotor symtoms and long-term negative cardiovascular and skeletal effects. Thus, an ever increasing number of cancer survivors search endocrinologic help in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The misinterpretation of the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative) Study has lead to an irrational fear of female hormone replacement, both by the general population and medical professionals. It has seemed the logical and safe conclusion to many physicians to avoid HRT, supposing that this attitude defi nitely causes no harm, whereas the decision of prescribing estrogen alone or with progestins might bear oncologic and thromboembolic risks and may even lead to litigation in case of a potentially related complication. However, it was known even before the WHI results that premature menopause and hypogonadism decreases the life expectancy of women by years through its skeletal and cardiovascular effects, and this negative effect correlates with the length of the hypoestrogenaemic period. Yet, the oncologic risk of HRT is extremely diffi cult to assess. In this work we review the latest evidence from in vitro experiments to clinical studies. We group tumours regarding the oncologic risk of properly chosen female hormone replacement therapy in cancer survivors as follows: ’HRT is advanageous’ (e.g. endometrial cancer type I, cervical adenocarcinoma, haematologic malignancies, local cutaneous malignant melanoma, colorectal cancer, hepatocellular cancer); ’HRT is neutral’ (e.g. BRCA 1/2 mutation carriers without cancer, endometrial cancer type II, uterinal carcinosarcoma and adenosarcoma, certain types of ovarian cancer, cervical, vaginal and vulvar squamous cell carcinoma, prolactinoma, kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, thyroid cancer); ’HRT is relatively contraindicated’ for various reasons (e.g. leiomyosarcoma, certain types of ovarian tumours, brain tumours, advanced metastatic malignant melanoma, lung cancer, gastric cancer, bladder cancer); ’HRT is diasadvantageous and thus contraindicated’ (e.g. breast cancer, endometrial stroma sarcoma, meningioma, glioma, hormone receptor positive gastric and bladder cancer).]

Lege Artis Medicinae

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

[Second game, 37th move and Fourth game 78th move]

VOKÓ Zoltán

[What has Go to do with making clinical decisions? One of the greatest intellectual challenges of bedside medicine is making decisions under uncertainty. Besides the psychological traps of traditionally intuitive and heuristic medical decision making, lack of information, scarce resources and characteristics of doctor-patient relationship contribute equally to this uncertainty. Formal, mathematical model based analysis of decisions used widely in developing clinical guidelines and in health technology assessment provides a good tool in theoretical terms to avoid pitfalls of intuitive decision making. Nevertheless it can be hardly used in individual situations and most physicians dislike it as well. This method, however, has its own limitations, especially while tailoring individual decisions, under inclusion of potential lack of input data used for calculations, or its large imprecision, and the low capability of the current mathematical models to represent the full complexity and variability of processes in complex systems. Nevertheless, clinical decision support systems can be helpful in the individual decision making of physicians if they are well integrated in the health information systems, and do not break down the physicians’ autonomy of making decisions. Classical decision support systems are knowledge based and rely on system of rules and problem specific algorithms. They are utilized widely from health administration to image processing. The current information revolution created the so-called artificial intelligence by machine learning methods, i.e. machines can learn indeed. This new generation of artificial intelligence is not based on particular system of rules but on neuronal networks teaching themselves by huge databases and general learning algorithms. This type of artificial intelligence outperforms humans already in certain fields like chess, Go, or aerial combat. Its development is full of challenges and threats, while it presents a technological breakthrough, which cannot be stopped and will transform our world. Its development and application has already started also in the healthcare. Health professionals must participate in this development to steer it into the right direction. Lee Sedol, 18-times Go world champion retired three years after his historical defeat from AlphaGo artificial intelligence, be­cause “Even if I become the No. 1, there is an entity that cannot be defeated”. It is our great luck that we do not need to compete or defeat it, we must ensure instead that it would be safe and trustworthy, and in collaboration with humans this entity would make healthcare more effective and efficient. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

[Economic features of rewarding physicians – changing for fair incomes in Hungary ]

BALÁZS Péter

[Since ages, rewarding physicians was a crucial problem. Among true professionals (priests, legal experts, physicians and teachers) only medical doctors are necessarily working in physical terms, which generates permanent uncertainty about their remuneration. Old Age manual services (surgery, obstetrics) were paid by artisans’ standards while patients of faith-healing (by priest-doctors) presented religious offers according to their capacities. Hippocrates’ business ethics transformed this pattern as price elasticity for profane providers. During the Medieval Ages, governments issued also for physicians fee schedules or in some countries like Hungary they agreed free on remuneration with their patients. Thus, Hungary’s physicians experienced 1891 the implementation of the Bismarck type social health insurance as a real shock-wave generated by the depressed fee proposals. After the first hit, during the following 100 years Hungary committed all possible financial failures down to the fall of Communism in 1989. After the age (1949–1989) of socialism in the health care, general practitioners returned to the self-employed business however under heavy custody of a single payer public fi­nan­cing. Specialist in out and in-patient care (if they used this opportunity) were “li­cenced” for earning money on the quasi pri­vate market of the under-the-table informal business. Actually, only the private dentistry preserved its legal free market share and by the cross-border “dental-tourism” Hungary joined also the competitive international dental market. All other specialists demonstrate income discontent by requiring higher wages, working abroad or fuelling debates on accepting informal payments of “thankful” patients. Contrasted to dentistry, there are actually no economic standards to ponder physicians’ income expectations and compare them with purchasing power of public and private financing. This study shows first the historic evidence of the relevant golden standard and its continuity un-der the present circumstances however supressed for political reasons. It would be able to settle debates about the public employees’ wages of doctors caught out of the thin air. ]

Clinical Oncology

FEBRUARY 28, 2020

[Treatment sequencing in metastatic colorectal cancer]

MODEST D. P., PANT S., SARTORE-BIANCHI A.

[Metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) remains incurable in most cases, but survival has improved with advances in cytotoxic chemotherapy and targeted agents. However, the optimal use and sequencing of these agents across multiple lines of treatment is unclear. Here, we review current treatment approaches and optimal treatment sequencing across the fi rst-, second- and third-line settings in mCRC, including biological aspects affecting sequencing and rechallenge. Effective fi rst-line therapy is a key determinant of treatment outcomes and should be selected after considering both clinical factors and biological markers, notably RAS and BRAF. The second-line regimen choice depends on the systemic therapies given in fi rst-line. Anti-angiogenic agents (e.g. bevacizumab, ramucirumab and afl ibercept) are indicated for most patients, whereas epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors do not improve survival in the second-line setting. Molecular profi ling is important in thirdline treatment, with options in RAS wild-type patients including EGFR inhibitors (cetuximab or panitumumab), regorafenib and trifl uridine/tipiracil. Immunotherapy with pembrolizumab or nivolumab ± ipilimumab may be considered for patients with high microsatellite instability disease. Targeting HER2/neu amplifi cation shows promise for the subset of CRC tumours displaying this abnormality. Sequencing decisions are complicated by the potential for any treatment break or de-escalation to evoke a distinct clinical progression type. Ongoing trials are investigating the optimal sequencing and timing of therapies for mCRC. Molecular profi ling has established new targets, and increasing knowledge of tumour evolution under drug pressure will possibly impact on sequencing.]

Clinical Neuroscience

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

[The Comprehensive Aphasia Test in Hungarian]

ZAKARIÁS Lilla, RÓZSA Sándor, LUKÁCS Ágnes

[In this paper we present the Comprehensive Aphasia Test-Hungarian (CAT-H; Zakariás and Lukács, in preparation), an assessment tool newly adapted to Hungarian, currently under standardisation. The test is suitable for the assessment of an acquired language disorder, post-stroke aphasia. The aims of this paper are to present 1) the main characteristics of the test, its areas of application, and the process of the Hungarian adaptation and standardisation, 2) the first results from a sample of Hungarian people with aphasia and healthy controls. Ninety-nine people with aphasia, mostly with unilateral, left hemisphere stroke, and 19 neurologically intact control participants were administered the CAT-H. In addition, we developed a questionnaire assessing demographic and clinical information. The CAT-H consists of two parts, a Cognitive Screening Test and a Language Test. People with aphasia performed significantly worse than the control group in all language and almost all cognitive subtests of the CAT-H. Consistent with our expectations, the control group performed close to ceiling in all subtests, whereas people with aphasia exhibited great individual variability both in the language and the cognitive subtests. In addition, we found that age, time post-onset, and type of stroke were associated with cognitive and linguistic abilities measured by the CAT-H. Our results and our experiences clearly show that the CAT-H provides a comprehensive profile of a person’s impaired and intact language abilities and can be used to monitor language recovery as well as to screen for basic cognitive deficits in aphasia. We hope that the CAT-H will be a unique resource for rehabilitation professionals and aphasia researchers in aphasia assessment and diagnostics in Hungary. ]

Clinical Neuroscience

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

Positive airway pressure normalizes glucose metabolism in obstructive sleep apnea independent of diabetes and obesity

KABELOĞLU Vasfiye, SENEL Benbir Gulçin, KARADENIZ Derya

The relationship among obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) and obesity is very complex and multi-directional. Obesity and increased visceral fat are important perpetuating factors for DM2 in patients with OSAS. On the other hand, OSAS itself leads to obesity by causing both leptin and insulin resistance as a consequence of activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Risk for developing DM2 further increases in patients with OSAS and obesity. Data regarding effects of positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, gold standard treatment for OSAS, on glycemic control were inconsistent due to variability in duration of and adherence to PAP therapy. In our cohort study we investigated effects of PAP treatment on glucose metabolism in normal-weighted non-diabetic OSAS patients, in obese non-diabetic OSAS patients, and in OSAS patients with DM2. We prospectively analyzed 67 patients diagnosed with OSAS and documented to be effectively treated with PAP therapy for three months. Apnea-hypopnea index was highest in the diabetic group, being significantly higher than in the normal-weighted group (p=0.021). Mean HOMA values were significantly higher in obese (p=0.002) and diabetic group (p=0.001) than normal-weighted group; the differences were still significant after PAP therapy. HbA1c levels were significantly higher in diabetic group compared to those in normal-weighted (p=0.012) and obese (p=0.001) groups. After PAP treatment, decrease in HbA1c levels were significant in normal-weighted (p=0.008), obese (p=0.034), and diabetic (p=0.011) groups. There was no correlation with the change in HbA1c levels and age (p=0.212), BMI (p=0.322), AHI (p=0.098) or oxygen levels (p=0.122). Our study showed that treatment of OSAS by PAP therapy offers beneficial effect on glucose metabolism, not only in diabetic patients, but also in obese and normal-weighted OSAS patients. Although data regarding overall effects of PAP therapy on glycemic control present contradictory results in the literature, it should be emphasized that duration and adherence to PAP therapy were main determinants for beneficial outcome of treatment.

Lege Artis Medicinae

OCTOBER 21, 2020

[Gene modified immune cells: New weapons not exclusively against cancer]

SZÖŐR Árpád

[The oncological breakthrough of the last decade was the application of CD19-specific CAR T cells in different hematologic diseases. Experience gained by clinical trials, coupled with investments of the private stakeholders and the pharmaceutical industry resulted not only in commercial release to the public of already developed CAR T cell products, but drew the atten­tion of many researchers to the potentials of new type immune cells, and their non-oncological administration. This study aims to present briefly those preclinical applications, which approved successfully the administration of CAR T cells in autoimmune and infectious diseases.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

NOVEMBER 30, 2020

[GLP-1 receptor agonists in the elderly]

WINKLER Gábor

[According to current guidelines of type 2 diabetes, treatment, glucagon-like pep­tide (GLP) -1 receptor agonists (RAs) are primary suggested drugs of the early antidiabetic medication, just after the first an­ti­­diabetic metformin. However, more and more arguments support their optional application in old age diabetes. These include multi-target strong glycemic ef­fects, low risk of hypoglycaemia, proven cardio- and nephroprotective nature of long- and ultra long-acting derivatives, multifaceted be­neficial pleiotropic effects, as well as the appearence of their fixed combinations with analogue basal insulins effective in weight loss and lowering the blood pressure. This study reviews specific aspects of blood sugar lowering treatment in the elderly and the potential benefits of choosing GLP-1 RAs in this age group. While presenting data of relevant literature and own experiences it is emphasized, that these preparations can be used safely in long term also in this age group.]

Hypertension and nephrology

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

[Post-career development of cardiometabolic changes and hypertension in competitive athletes]

LELBACH Ádám, KÁNTOR Márk, KOLLER Ákos

[Regular physical activity is essential in delaying the aging processes (e.g. arterial remodelling – stiffening, metabolism, bodyweight), the beneficial effects of competitive sports – especially strength sports – according to the recent data of the literature are questionable. The beneficial effects of physical activity on the cardiovascular (CV) system are well known, however less is known regarding the delayed impacts of high intensity competitive sports on the CV system, especially after the sport career is over. This review summarizes the effects of active competitive sport and the post-career period on the cardiometabolic system with special attention to the systemic blood pressure and the development of metabolic syndrome. After sport career, the welldeveloped high performance cardiovascular- and metabolic system suddenly is much less used, but still supported by sport-level diet. It is well known that hypertension is a significant pathogenic factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases, characterized – among others – by reduced elasticity of large- and medium- sized vessels thereby importantly contributing to the development of systolic hypertension. Inflammation and thrombus formation both play an important role in the development of vascular injury and atherosclerosis. The increased tone of microvessels can impair the blood supply of certain organs, including the coronary circulation. It has been ample shown, that regular non-competitive, aerobic exercise activities are important factors in preventing hypertension. Such pathological changes become more evident after the development of post-career obesity, as well as the development of hypertension due to the activation of the renin-angiotensin system through sodium retention and other metabolic changes (increased glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, type II diabetes mellitus). It has been ample shown, that regular non-competitive, dynamic aerobic exercise activities are important factors in preventing hypertension. The frequency, intensity, type, and time (FITT) principle of exercise prescription is the first and common therapeutic approach, which represents the translation of cardiovascular basic science research results into hypertension treatment, thus can provide a personalized physical activity program/therapy according to medical needs not just for the post-career sportspersons, but the wide range of patients.]