The Belgian next generation sequencing guidelines for haematological and solid tumours

BJMO - volume 11, issue 2, march 2017

Ir A. Hébrant PhD, B. Denys MD, B. Maes MD, PhD, C. Van Campenhout PhD, E. Dequeker PhD, F. Nollet PhD, G. Froyen PhD, J. Van der Meulen PhD, J. Van Houdt PhD, J. Van Huysse MD, K. Claes PhD, K. Cuppens MD, K. Vanneste PhD, M. Le Mercier PhD, M. Van den Bulcke PhD, N. D’Haene MD, PhD, P. Aftimos MD, R. Salgado MD, PhD, S. De Keersmaecker PhD, S. Van Dooren PhD, S. Van Laere PhD, V. Ghislain


Targeted next generation sequencing is a complex procedure including the ‘wet bench’ and ‘dry bench’ parts. Both parts are composed of many steps for which optimal assay conditions and settings must be determined.

The aim of these guidelines is to provide generic, platform independent, recommendations for targeted next generation sequencing tests to detect acquired somatic mutations in DNA, in (haemato)-oncology that are complementary to the ISO 15189 norm (medical laboratories) in order to:

  1. facilitate the implementation of the required quality metrics for the detection of somatic variants by next generation sequencing in oncology and haemato-oncology in the Belgian laboratories,
  2. harmonise test validation and verification,
  3. harmonise clinical interpretation and reporting of variants and,
  4. assure and maintain optimal test performance by establishing procedures and modalities for internal quality control and external quality assessments.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2017;11(2):56–67)

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Guidance for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism in cancer patients

BJMO - volume 10, issue 7, november 2016

A. Awada MD, PhD, C. Vulsteke MD, PhD, J-F. Baurain MD, PhD, J-M. Hougardy , J. Mebis MD, PhD, K. Jochmans MD, PhD, M. Strijbos MD, PhD, P. Clement MD, PhD, P. Hainaut MD, PhD, P. Verhamme MD, PhD, S. Holbrechts MD, PhD, V. Mathieux MD, PhD


Venous thrombosis is a common complication in cancer patients and thromboembolism is the second most common cause of death. Several practice guidelines provide recommendations for the management of cancer-associated thrombosis. However, these guidelines do not sufficiently cover commonly encountered clinical challenges. With this expert panel, consisting of medical oncologists, haematologists, internists and thrombosis specialists, we aimed to develop a practical Belgian guidance for adequate prevention and treatment of cancer-associated thrombosis that covered several challenging situations encountered in daily clinic. This paper discusses the following topics: type and treatment duration of anticoagulant therapy, recurrent VTE despite anticoagulation, anticoagulation in case of renal impairment, liver disease and thrombocytopenia, the role of anti-Xa monitoring, central venous catheter-associated thrombosis, the position of direct oral anticoagulants and thromboprophylaxis, both in ambulatory and hospitalised patients. For an overview of the recommendations formulated by the expert panel, we refer to the key messages for clinical practice in this article.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2016;10(7):249–255)

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Therapeutic approaches in clear cell and non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma

BJMO - volume 10, issue 7, november 2016

A. De Meulenaere MD, M. Van de Walle MD, S. Rottey MD, PhD, T. Vermassen PhD


Renal cell carcinoma accounts for 2.4% of all malignancies worldwide diagnosed with 338,000 estimated new cases globally in 2012. In the last decade, the therapeutic landscape for renal cell carcinoma patients has changed tremendously. In this review, we will summarise the treatment options currently available for clear-cell localised, advanced and metastatic renal cell carcinoma; as stated in the ESMO clinical practice guidelines, the EAU guidelines and the NCCN guidelines. Furthermore we will discuss the recommended therapies in patients diagnosed with non-clear cell tumours.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2016;10(7):256–262)

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Recurrent and metastatic non-nasopharyngeal head and neck cancer: state of the art of systemic treatment

BJMO - volume 10, issue 6, september 2016

J.B. Vermorken MD, PhD, P. Szturz MD, PhD


The majority of patients diagnosed with recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck are deemed ineligible for surgery or irradiation. Their management prioritise symptom control and quality-of-life improvement. According to patient’s performance status, medical comorbidities and symptoms, recommended treatment options include supportive care only, mono- or multi-drug chemotherapy or cetuximab (epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor) either alone or as an adjunct to cytotoxic drugs. Despite achieving response rates superior to single-agents, doublet and triplet regimens incorporating cisplatin and/or taxanes did not increase overall survival and were often difficult to tolerate. The platinum (cisplatin or carboplatin)/5-fluorouracil/cetuximab regimen is the only regimen showing significant survival improvement over PF alone in a large randomised trial, and therefore is the only approved new standard systemic treatment today. However, the very poor overall survival of six to ten months expected in this patient population, remains a continuous challenge and novel anticancer therapies are urgently needed. The potential to induce durable responses with manageable toxicity has propelled immunotherapy to the forefront of cancer research, yet its validation in phase III clinical trials is pending. Another crucial task is the identification of reliable, prospectively confirmed prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Mounting evidence from retrospective analyses suggests that human papillomavirus status with p16 immunohistochemical positivity as its surrogate represent promising candidates for this role.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2016;10(6):207–214)

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Pathological diagnosis and molecular testing in non-small cell lung cancer: Belgian guidelines

BJMO - volume 10, issue 4, july 2016

A. Jouret-Mourin MD, PhD, B. Weynand MD, D. Hoton MD, F. Dome MD, J. van Dorpe MD, PhD, K. Dhaene MD, PhD, M. Remmelink MD, PhD, N. D’Haene MD, PhD, P. Pauwels MD, PhD


In recent years, the management of patients with non-small cell lung cancer has been modified thanks to the development of targeted therapies. The pathologist is now asked to give the most accurate possible diagnosis in association with theranostic information in order to provide the best therapeutic option.
Different international societies have already underlined the importance of guidelines for managing samples of non-small cell lung cancer. These Belgian guidelines have the goal of adapting these international recommendations to the Belgian landscape.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2016;10(4):123–131)

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Adjuvant endocrine therapy in pre- and perimenopausal women with breast cancer: practice guidelines

BJMO - volume 10, issue 3, may 2016

A. Awada MD, PhD, F.P. Duhoux MD, PhD, H. Denys MD, PhD, H. Wildiers MD, PhD, M. Berlière MD, PhD, P. Neven MD, PhD


Oestrogen receptor positive early invasive breast cancer is a common disease in pre- and perimenopausal women. Adjuvant endocrine therapy is an essential part of its treatment. Until recently, premenopausal patients were uniformly treated with tamoxifen during five years. Given the recent publication of large clinical trials showing a benefit for other treatment regimens, the BSMO Breast Cancer Task Force met on the 6th of March, 2015, to propose common guidelines for adjuvant endocrine therapy for premenopausal patients. The members agreed that low-risk patients should be treated with five to ten years of tamoxifen, while the highest-risk patients should be treated with exemestane or tamoxifen plus ovarian function suppression. Special attention should be given to patients less than 35 years at diagnosis: in this subgroup, exemestane plus ovarian function suppression is preferred to tamoxifen plus ovarian function suppression.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2016;10(3):92–96)

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The emerging role of stereotactic radiotherapy in oligometastatic cancer

BJMO - volume 10, issue 2, april 2016

B. Engels MD, PhD, C. Collen MD, D. Van Brummelen MD, D. Verellen PhD, G. Storme MD, PhD, M. De Ridder MD, PhD, R. Van den Begin MD, T. Gevaert MD, PhD


Most metastatic cancer patients pass through an oligometastatic disease phase. Management of oligometastatic cancer is changing due to the increasing application of local treatments, leading to longer disease control and, in some cases, even cure. This paper discusses stereotactic radiotherapy as a progressively more effective treatment of oligometastatic cancer due to technological developments enabling the specific delivery of higher radiation doses to the tumour itself, more insight in disease-related factors influencing its effectiveness, and its potential of synergy with immunotherapy.

(BELG J MED ONCOL 2016;10(2):58–62)

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