Twenty children with retinoblastoma are reviewed who were treated at the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur over a 10-year-period. They constitute 6.6% of childhood malignancies and without exception all presented with advanced disease. Hereditary cases were notably absent in the the series probably because past cases have almost invariably succumbed without an opportunity to transmit the gene. With enucleation and radiotherapy six of the patients have survived from 2 to 12 years. The addition of vincristine and cyclophosphamide has not been associated with improved survival.
Three cases of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma in the middle ear and mastoid in children are presented. Diagnosis was confirmed by histopathology. A multidisciplinary approach employing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is the method of choice in the management of this rare and highly lethal condition.
Quality-of-life assessment has become an accepted method of evaluation in clinical medicine. The technique is based on a patient's self-assessment of physical, psychological, and social function, as well as the effects of distressing physical symptoms. The most important aspect of quality-of-life assessment is that it brings into focus a patient-centred view of health outcome, which is broader than the physiologic measures which predominate in Western medicine. Strategies for the development and use of assessment questionnaires have evolved over the past 15 years, and numerous questionnaires have been created. Most originate in Western societies, with English as the most common language of development. Adapting such questionnaires for use in other language and cultural settings is an imprecise practice. Language translation and equivalent cultural meaning must both be addressed. This paper reports on the language translation process and results for the Functional Living Index for Cancer (FLIC) as translated into Chinese and Malay in Singapore. We employed a step-wise process beginning with translation/back translation, followed by structured pilot field trials and population sampling. Taped versions of the questionnaire were devised to meet illiteracy problems in the sample population. Paired comparisons of the Chinese and Malay versions of individual questions with their English counterparts show good correlations and similar means most of the time. Factor analysis on a population sample of 246 (112 Chinese, 35 Malay and 98 English speaking) with cancers of minimal, extensive or palliative extent is convergent with that obtained on a North American population. However, a separate analysis of the Chinese questionnaires showed some differences in factor pattern. Specific language and cultural translation difficulties are discussed. Of note is the predicted significant decrease in total FLIC scores with extent of disease within each of the language preference populations, which provides some evidence for the validity for each language version in the Singapore culture(s). Thus, the FLIC translations into Malay and Chinese in Singapore can be considered for use in local trials, subject to ongoing evaluation.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Recently an increasing number of young colorectal carcinoma patients attending the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur were noted. This report represents our experience with patients suffering from colorectal cancer aged 30 years or younger.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: All cases of primary carcinoma of the colon and rectum admitted to the University Hospital during 1990 to 1994 were respectively reviewed. Inclusion criteria was that the patient had been 30 years or younger. Data collected included age, gender, race, site of tumour, presenting symptomatology, duration of symptoms, histology, extension of tumour and nodal involvement predisposing factors, treatment and follow-up.
RESULTS: 21 patients were included, 5 patients (24%) were 30 years old at diagnosis, 12 (57%) patients were aged 20-29 years and 4 patients (19%) were less than 20 years old. Thirteen of the 21 patients were female, and 8 (38%) were male, 6 of the 21 patients (29%) were Malaysian, while 1 was Indian (4%). The remainder were Chinese, 14 patients (67%). Six patients (29%) had their primary tumour located in the rectosigmoid, 4 (19%) in the left colon, 1 (4%) in the splenic flexure, 2 in the transverse colon (9%), 1 in the hepatic flexure (4%) and 5 in the caecum 24(%). One patient had a tumour too diffuse to detect a primary site at the time of operation. One patient with a family history of polyps had his entire colon removed at age 14. He had 3 separate foci of tumour. The 5-year survival rate was 25%.
DISCUSSION: Most patients with extensive disease and mucinous histology. Lesions are commonly seen beyond the transverse colon (57%). Presentation included most commonly abdominal pain, haematochezia or haemoccult positive stools.
CONCLUSION: The symptoms above should alert surgeons to colorectal carcinoma as a differential diagnosis
Radical radiotherapy is considered as the treatment of choice in locally advanced cancer cervix. In late stages radiotherapy produce optimum palliation and to some extent cure. Three hundred cases of cancer cervix (stage I-IV) comprising stage-I (7), stage-II (144), stage-III (145) and stage IV (4) were evaluated and treated with radiotherapy between April 1990 to July 1994. FIGO stage IB, IIA and IIB (early), were treated with predominant intracavitary radiotherapy (34 Gy X 2 fractions; within one week) followed by external pelvic radiotherapy to a dose of 36 Gy in 18 fractions; treating 200 cGy per fraction, 5 days a week. The late stage (stage-IIB, IIIA and IIIB, IVA) of disease were managed with initial external radiotherapy to a dose of 50 Gy, followed by a single intracavitary dose of 30 Gy to point-A. The median follow up was 33 months (range 12-72 months). The tumor volume less than 100 cc were associated with better survival than volume more than 100 cc (p < 0.05). The five year actuarial survival was 83%, 68% and 58% respectively in FIGO stage I-III disease. There were 0.33% and 2.6% late grade-III bladder and rectal complications. Our experience shows effectiveness of radiotherapy in the management of locally advanced cancer of the cervix.
To study the distribution of presenting features and their prognostic significance in neuroblastoma treated in a single institution in Malaysia. A retrospective study was made of 78 neuroblastoma cases diagnosed and treated in the University Hospital, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between June 1982 and February 1997. Diagnosis was established by standard histological criteria. The presenting features were evaluated for their distribution and prognostic influence. Disease-free survival from diagnosis was the outcome variable of interest. The ages ranged from 0.1 to 11 years old (median: 3 years old). The tumor originated from the adrenal glands in 83% and the majority of cases presented in advanced stage (stage III 22%, stage IV 66%). Bone marrow was the commonest site of distant metastasis occurring in 45% of patients. The main presenting signs and symptoms in decreasing order were pallor, fever, abdominal mass, weight loss, and bone/joint pain. Univariate analysis conferred age, initial stage and Hb level as significant prognostic factors. No influence in disease-free survival was found for sex, race, primary site, urinary vanillylmandelic acid level, white cell count and platelet count. Overall 2-year disease-free survival was achieved in 27 (39%) patients. Four patients underwent bone marrow transplant, three of whom achieved 2-year disease-free survival. The results suggest that age, initial stage and hemoglobin level are significant prognostic factors based on univariate analysis. In addition, more Malaysian children presented with adrenal primary site and advanced disease compared to previous reported studies.
Since its recognition about 150 years ago, there has been much progress in the understanding of the pathogenesis, prevention, early detection and management of carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Important historical landmarks include the (1) recognition of pre-invasive and pre-clinical lesions, and the devise of various systems for reporting these lesions, (2) improvements in diagnostic techniques particularly colposcopy, (3) advent of therapeutic procedures (electrocoagulation, cryotherapy, laser therapy and loop electrosurgical excision), and (4) recognition of the aetiological relationship between the human papillomavirus and cervical neoplasia. The susceptibility of the cervical transformation zone to malignant change is now well recognised. The WHO classification system remains the one most commonly utilised for histological reporting of cervical cancers. In the recent 1994 update, cervical carcinoma is divided into 3 main categories: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and other epithelial tumours. Squamous cell carcinoma (60-80%) predominates among invasive cervical carcinoma. Recognised variants include verrucous, warty (condylomatous), papillary squamous (transitional) and lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma (5-15% of invasive carcinomas) shows an increasing trend in young females. Like its squamous counterpart, preinvasive and microinvasive versions are known. Variants such as mucinous, endometrioid, clear cell, mesonephric, serous, villoglandular and minimal deviation carcinoma are now defined. Adenosquamous carcinoma (5-25%), adenoid-cystic, adenoid-basal, neuroendocrine and undifferentiated carcinomas constitute other epithelial tumours of the cervix. The management of invasive cervical carcinoma remains heavily dependent on its stage. The FIGO staging system remains the most widely used. The 1995 update provides more definite criteria in subdividing stage IA tumours by delimiting stromal invasion of stage IA1 lesions to a maximum depth of 3 mm and a horizontal axis of 7 mm. In Malaysia, an appreciation of the cervical carcinoma problem has to take into consideration the population at risk, its multi-ethnicity, its socio-economic and geographical diversities and the constraints of the health care system. Females form 48.9% of the Malaysian population. 52.9% of them are in the sexually active age group of 15-50 years, indicating a significant population at risk for cervical carcinoma. Cervical carcinoma was the third most common cause of death due to solid tumours among Malaysian females in 1995 following carcinoma of the breast and respiratory tract. East Malaysia is predominantly rural with many communities having limited modern facilities. Such areas imply a lower educational and socio-economic status, raising the worry of a population at higher risk for developing cervical carcinoma. The population: doctor for Malaysia of 2153:1 compares poorly with nearby Singapore. Besides a shortage of doctors, there is also an uneven distribution of doctors, resulting in a ratio in East Malaysia of > 4000:1. Although Malaysia does not have a national cervical cancer-screening programme, many action plans and cancer awareness campaigns have been launched throughout the years, which appear to have made an impact as evidenced by the decreasing mortality rates from cervical carcinoma. Another interesting feature of cervical carcinoma in Malaysia relates to its multiethnic population. In Malaysian Chinese and Malay females, the prevalence of cervical carcinoma ranks second to breast cancer whereas the pattern is reversed in Malaysian Indian females. Studies into its aetiology and pathogenesis are being undertaken and may shed more light on this matter.
Overexpression and amplification of cyclin D1 were investigated by immunohistochemistry and differential polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) in 440 formalin-fixed primary breast carcinoma tissues. Overexpression of cyclin D1 was detected in 60% (263/440) and amplification of cyclin D1 was noted in 27% (119/440) of the primary breast carcinomas. Molecular analysis demonstrated that cyclin D1 was amplified in 30% (7/23) of the comedo DCIS, 22% (9/41) of the comedo DCIS and 32% (13/41) of the adjacent invasive ductal carcinomas, 30% (82/270) of the invasive ductal carcinomas, 27% (9/33) of the invasive lobular carcinomas, 19% (4/21) of the colloid carcinomas and 13% (2/15) of the medullary carcinomas. Cyclin D1 was amplified in 11% (2/19) of the invasive ductal carcinomas but not in the adjacent non-comedo DCIS lesions. Our observation showed that cyclin D1 was strongly positive in 61% (14/23) of the comedo subtype, 61% (11/18) of the non-comedo subtype, 59% (24/41) of the comedo DCIS and 63% (26/41) of the adjacent invasive ductal carcinomas, 53% (10/19) of the non-comedo DCIS and 58% (11/19) of the adjacent invasive lesions, 58% (157/270) of the invasive ductal carcinomas, 73% (24/33) of the invasive lobular carcinomas, 52% (11/21) of the colloid carcinomas and 27% (4/15) of the medullary carcinomas. A significant association was observed between in situ components and adjacent invasive lesions for cyclin D1 expression (p<0.05) and amplification (p<0.05). A significant relationship was noted between amplification of cyclin D1 and lymph node metastases (p<0.05) but not with histological grade (p>0.05), estrogen receptor status (p>0.05) and proliferation index (Ki-67 and PCNA) (p>0.05). However, overexpression of cyclin D1 was statistically associated with well differentiated tumors (p<0.05) and estrogen receptor positivity (p<0.05). No relationship was seen with nodal status (p>0.05) and proliferation index (Ki-67 and PCNA) (p>0.05). These observations suggest that tumors positive for cyclin D1 protein may have features of good prognosis but amplification of cyclin D1 gene could be an indicator of tumors with poor prognostic features. Although majority of the Malaysian patients belong to younger age group (<50 years old), amplification and expression of cyclin D1 was not statistically associated with patient age (p>0.05). These observations indicate that amplification and up-regulation of cyclin D1 may be independent of patient age. Moreover, overexpression and amplification of cyclin D1 in preinvasive, preinvasive and adjacent invasive lesions, and invasive carcinomas suggest that the gene may play an important role in early and late stages of breast carcinogenesis.
OBJECTIVE: To study the impact of various clinicopathological factors on short-term survival in a cohort of breast cancer patients treated at the University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).
METHODS: All cases of breast cancer treated at UMMC from January 1999 to June 2001, except for stage IV disease, were included in the study. Survival analysis was carried out using Kaplan-Meier for univariate analysis and Cox regression for multivariate analysis. The log-rank test was used to test the significance of differences between the different survival curves.
RESULTS: A total of 385 patients were included. The mean patient age at presentation was 50.3 years (SD, 11.4); 198 (51.4%) patients had lymph node-positive disease, and 187 (48.6%) had node-negative disease. The mean follow-up period was 18.7 months (SD, 8.8). The Malay ethnic group, tumours of larger size, node-positive disease, more than five positive lymph nodes, oestrogen receptor (ER) negativity and the presence of lymphovascular invasion were significant prognostic factors for shorter recurrence-free survival (RFS) in the univariate analysis. In the multivariate analysis, ER negativity was the only independent adverse prognostic factor for RFS. For overall survival (OS), tumours of larger size, node-positive disease, more than five positive lymph nodes, ER negativity and high grade tumours were associated with significantly shorter OS. However, more than five positive lymph nodes was the only independent prognostic factor for shorter OS in the multivariate analysis. Further multivariate analysis of the patients with node-positive disease showed that the Malay ethnic group, ER negativity and more than five positive lymph nodes were independent prognostic factors for shorter RFS. On the other hand, ER negativity and more than five positive lymph nodes were independent negative prognostic factors for OS in this subgroup of patients.
CONCLUSION: The evaluation of various prognostic factors would provide useful information on disease progression in local patients, especially for the planning of adjuvant therapies and follow-up protocols. Differences in the pattern of breast cancer among the different ethnic groups in Malaysia warrant further studies.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Malaysian women. There is a marked geographical difference in the worldwide incidence of breast cancer, with a higher incidence in developed countries compared to developing countries. From 1998 to 2001, new cases of breast cancer presenting to the breast clinics at Hospital Kuala Lumpur and University Malaya Medical Centre, Malaysia, were reviewed; the race, age and stage at presentation were analysed. Of 774 cases seen in Hospital Kuala Lumpur, only 5.2% (40/774) were impalpable breast cancers diagnosed on mammography. The prevalent age group was 40 to 49 years, and the median age was 50 years. The average size of the tumour was 5.4 cm in diameter. Malay women appear to have larger tumours and a later stage at presentation than other ethnic groups; 50% to 60% were in late stages (Stages 3 and 4). During the same period, 752 new cases of breast cancer were seen in the University Malaya Medical Centre. The average tumour size was 4.2 cm, and 30% to 40% were in late stages. The age incidence was similar. The delay in presentation of breast cancer was attributed to a strong belief in traditional medicine, the negative perception of the disease, poverty and poor education, coupled with fear and denial. A prospective, population-based study is required to determine the demographic pattern of breast cancer and the factors delaying presentation. These findings will have important implications in future programmes to promote the early detection of breast cancer, as well as in understanding geographical as well as racial variations in the incidence of breast cancer.
Anaemia is a frequent complication in patients with haematological malignancies and is caused by a variety of mechanisms including neoplastic cell infiltration into the bone marrow, haemolysis, nutritional deficiencies and defect in erythropoiesis or dysplastic anaemia as a result of the disease itself. However, acquired dysplastic anaemia which mimic congenital dyserythropoietic anaemia (CDA) type II morphology in the bone marrow is very rare. A 41-year-old Chinese man presented with refractory symptomatic anaemia in September 2001. He was clinically pale with no other significant physical finding. His initial peripheral blood picture showed normochromic normocytic anaemia with haemoglobin level of 26g/L, with no evidence of haemolysis and a poor reticulocyte response of 0.6%. Bone marrow aspiration was done and showed congenital dyserythropoietic anaemia (CDA) type II-like morphology. He was treated symptomatically with regular blood transfusions approximately every 3 weeks, until August 2002 when he developed multiple cervical lymphadenopathy with loss of appetite, loss of weight and low grade fever. Biopsy of the lymph node confirmed the diagnosis of small lymphocytic lymphoma. Staging with computed tomography and bone marrow aspirate revealed the infiltration of lymphoma cells into the marrow cavity consistent with the staging of IVB. This case report illustrates that CDA type II-like dysplastic anaemia can preceed the development of lymphoma.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a common cancer in Malaysia. The clinical presentation in Sarawak has not been well documented. A retrospective review of 213 selected NPC cases was undertaken on the clinical records in Sarawak General Hospital, Sarawak, from June 1999 to June 2003. There were 116 patients in Kuching and 97 in Serian. There were twice as many males as females. The youngest patient was 16 and the oldest 88 years old with a mean age of 51 years. The four most common symptoms in order of frequencies were cervical lymphadenopathy, epistaxis, hearing loss and diplopia. 80.8% of the patients presented with cervical lymphadenopathy and about 85% of the patients presented in the advanced stages. Very small percentages of the patients were found to have single presenting symptoms of epistaxis (2.4%) and hearing loss (0.5%).
Patients with aggressive musculoskeletal tumours often arrive at specialised treatment centres late. Such a delay could mean disfavour for potentially curable or long-term disease-free outcome of limb preserving surgery. This study was undertaken to identify the underlying problem-related delay with a view to propose solution for solving it. We reviewed 30 patients to determine the periods of delay between onset of the first symptom and the definitive treatment. The delays were categorized as 'patient' delay, 'referral' delay and 'treatment' delay. There was 'patient' delay in 57% of patients (n=17), ranging from 1 to 18 months; 'referral' delay in 67% of patients (n=20) ranging from 1 to 19 months and 23% of patients (n=7) had treatment delay (average 23 days) at the treatment centre. The causes of late arrival are not solely patient-related but are multifactorial. Measures to minimize such delays include enhancing awareness only with high index of suspicion among primary care practitioners, creating a special lane specialized imaging studies and establishing a dedicated musculoskeletal tumour unit.