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Annals of Surgical Oncology

Annals of Oncology - current issue
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Squamous-cell cancer of the head and neck (SCCHN) represents a heterogeneous disease entity, with various etiological factors implicated in the genesis of distinct molecular subsets of tumors, which exhibit different biological and clinical behavior. Treatment of SCCHN is expected to change in the next decade as targeted therapies continue to make strides. Recently, next-generation sequencing studies conducted on ~190 SCCHN specimens shed light into the molecular pathogenesis of the disease. These studies discovered mutations in genes involved in the differentiation program of squamous epithelium and the Notch/p63 axis (such as NOTCH1, TP63 and FBXW7), and validated genetic alterations derived from previous studies (such as mutations in TP53, CDKN2A, PIK3CA, CCND1 and HRAS) as driver genetic events in SCCHN neoplastic transformation. More recently, comprehensive data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project on 306 SCCHN specimens provided further insight into SCCHN inherent molecular complexity, identifying novel significantly mutated genes, including FAT1, MLL2, TGFRBR2, HLA-A, NFE2l2 and CASP8. In this article, we provide an overview of the mutational spectrum of SCCHN, with emphasis on the clinical implementation of this knowledge. We also discuss the potential integration of new data within the framework of precision cancer medicine.


Background

Positive association between obesity and survival after breast cancer was demonstrated in previous meta-analyses of published data, but only the results for the comparison of obese versus non-obese was summarised.

Methods

We systematically searched in MEDLINE and EMBASE for follow-up studies of breast cancer survivors with body mass index (BMI) before and after diagnosis, and total and cause-specific mortality until June 2013, as part of the World Cancer Research Fund Continuous Update Project. Random-effects meta-analyses were conducted to explore the magnitude and the shape of the associations.

Results

Eighty-two studies, including 213 075 breast cancer survivors with 41 477 deaths (23 182 from breast cancer) were identified. For BMI before diagnosis, compared with normal weight women, the summary relative risks (RRs) of total mortality were 1.41 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.29–1.53] for obese (BMI >30.0), 1.07 (95 CI 1.02–1.12) for overweight (BMI 25.0–<30.0) and 1.10 (95% CI 0.92–1.31) for underweight (BMI <18.5) women. For obese women, the summary RRs were 1.75 (95% CI 1.26–2.41) for pre-menopausal and 1.34 (95% CI 1.18–1.53) for post-menopausal breast cancer. For each 5 kg/m2 increment of BMI before, <12 months after, and ≥12 months after diagnosis, increased risks of 17%, 11%, and 8% for total mortality, and 18%, 14%, and 29% for breast cancer mortality were observed, respectively.

Conclusions

Obesity is associated with poorer overall and breast cancer survival in pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer, regardless of when BMI is ascertained. Being overweight is also related to a higher risk of mortality. Randomised clinical trials are needed to test interventions for weight loss and maintenance on survival in women with breast cancer.


Introduction

The number of older patients with cancer is increasing. Standard clinical evaluation of these patients may not be sufficient to determine individual treatment strategies and therefore Geriatric Assessment (GA) may be of clinical value. In this review, we summarize current literature that is available on GA in elderly patients with solid malignancies who receive chemotherapy. We focus on prediction of treatment toxicity, mortality and the role of GA in the decision-making process.

Design

We conducted a systematic search in PubMed. Studied populations needed to fulfill the following criteria: 65 years or older, diagnosis of solid malignancy, treatment with chemotherapy, submission to GA, either designed to study prediction of treatment toxicity or mortality or to evaluate the role of GA in the decision-making process.

Results

Our search provided 411 publications. Thirteen met the predefined criteria. These studies revealed: (i) up to 64% of elderly patients suffer from severe toxicity caused by polychemotherapy, (ii) Nutritional status, functionality and comorbidity are often associated with worse outcome, (iii) GA reveals (unknown) geriatric problems in more than 50% of elderly patients with cancer and (iv) 21%–53% of chemotherapy regimens are being modified based on GA.

Conclusions

In geriatric oncology, an accurate predictive test to guide anticancer treatment in order to prevent serious toxicity is needed. The value of GA in predicting toxicity and mortality in older patients with cancer undergoing treatment with chemotherapy has not been proven. It may be valuable in revealing geriatric problems but current evidence for its usefulness to guide treatment decisions in this setting is limited. However, we are convinced that GAs should be carried out to optimize treatment strategies in elderly patients with cancer to improve treatment efficacy and minimize toxicity.


Background

Probiotics are living microorganisms that are generally thought of as being beneficial to the recipient. They have been shown to be effective in people with acute infectious diarrhoea, and cost-effective in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Probiotics may have a role in people with cancer, as various cancer treatments often lead to diarrhoea. However, as people with cancer are often immunocompromised, it is important to assess for adverse events (AEs) such as infection, which could potentially be a consequence of deliberate ingestion of living microorganisms.

Design

A systematic review was carried out to collect, analyse and synthesise all available data on the efficacy and safety of probiotics in people with cancer (PROSPERO registration: CRD42012003454). Randomised, controlled trials, identified through screening multiple databases and grey literature, were included for analysing efficacy, while all studies were included for the analysis of safety of probiotics. Primary outcomes were the reduction in duration, severity and incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and chemotherapy-associated diarrhoea, and AEs, especially probiotic-associated infection. Where possible, data were combined for meta-analysis by a random-effects model, assessing causes of heterogeneity, including differences in strains, dosage and patient characteristics.

Results

Eleven studies (N = 1557 participants) were included for assessing efficacy. Results show that probiotics may reduce the severity and frequency of diarrhoea in patients with cancer and may reduce the requirement for anti-diarrhoeal medication, but more studies are needed to assess the true effect. For example comparing probiotic use to control 25 groups on effect on Common Toxicity Criteria ≥2 grade diarrhoea, odds ratio (OR) = 0.32 [95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.13–0.79; P = 0.01]. Seventeen studies (N = 1530) were included in the safety analysis. Five case reports showed probiotic-related bacteraemia/fungaemia/positive blood cultures.

Conclusion(s)

Probiotics may be a rare cause of sepsis. Further evidence needs to be collated to determine whether probiotics provide a significant overall benefit for people with cancer.


Neoadjuvant cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy provides a 5% increase in cure rate, an increase in median survival of about 3 years, and statistically significant and clinically relevant increments in overall survival for patients with invasive bladder cancer. Despite compelling level 1 data, it has become quite clear that facts that are similar to those that changed the paradigm of treatment of breast cancer in the 1970s have not had a similar influence on patterns of practice in bladder cancer care. Instead of using this proven approach, cystectomy alone or surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy is often used as a functional alternative for patients with deeply invasive and/or node-metastatic disease discovered at radical cystectomy. However, there is no well-powered level 1 evidence to support routine adjuvant chemotherapy for invasive bladder cancer, and some randomized trials have shown inferior outcomes. There is a clear need for a well-designed, randomized trial that tests the utility of adjuvant chemotherapy for invasive bladder cancer, but until that has been completed, neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by definitive local treatment should be the standard of care for invasive bladder cancer.


Background

Recent clinical trials have shown that immune-checkpoint blockade yields a clinical response in a subset of individuals with advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We examined whether the expression of programmed death–ligand 1 (PD-L1) is related to clinicopathologic or prognostic factors in patients with surgically resected NSCLC.

Patients and methods

The expression of PD-L1 was evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis in 164 specimens of surgically resected NSCLC. Cell surface expression of PD-L1 in NSCLC cell lines was quantified by flow cytometry.

Results

Expression of PD-L1 in tumor specimens was significantly higher for women than for men, for never smokers than for smokers, and for patients with adenocarcinoma than for those with squamous cell carcinoma. Multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) mutations and adenocarcinoma histology were significantly associated with increased PD-L1 expression in a manner independent of other factors. Cell surface expression of PD-L1 was also significantly higher in NSCLC cell lines positive for activating EGFR mutations than in those with wild-type EGFR. The EGFR inhibitor erlotinib downregulated PD-L1 expression in the former cell lines but not in the latter, suggesting that PD-L1 expression is increased by EGFR signaling conferred by activating EGFR mutations. A high level of PD-L1 expression in resected tumor tissue was associated with a significantly shorter overall survival for NSCLC patients.

Conclusions

High expression of PD-L1 was associated with the presence of EGFR mutations in surgically resected NSCLC and was an independent negative prognostic factor for this disease.


Background

ZODIAC was a randomized phase III study of second-line treatment in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that evaluated the addition of vandetanib to docetaxel. The study showed a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival and objective response rate, but not in overall survival for unselected patients. This study evaluated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutation, copy number gain, and protein expression, and KRAS gene mutation, in pretreatment tumor samples as potential biomarkers predicting benefit from vandetanib as second-line treatment of NSCLC.

Patients and methods

After progression following first-line chemotherapy, 1391 patients with locally advanced or metastatic (stage IIIB/IV) NSCLC were randomized 1 : 1 to receive vandetanib (100 mg/day) plus docetaxel (75 mg/m2 every 21 days) or placebo plus docetaxel in the ZODIAC study. Archival tumor samples (n = 570) were collected from consenting patients (n = 958) for predefined, prospective biomarker analyses.

Results

Of evaluable samples, 14% were EGFR mutation positive, 35% were EGFR FISH positive, 88% were EGFR protein expression positive, and 13% were KRAS mutation positive. Compared with the overall study population, in which progression-free survival (PFS) [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.79] but not OS (HR = 0.91) were significantly improved with vandetanib, there was greater relative clinical benefit for patients with EGFR mutation-positive tumors [PFS HR 0.51, confidence interval (CI) 0.25–1.06 and OS HR 0.46, CI 0.14–1.57] and EGFR FISH-positive tumors (PFS HR 0.61, CI 0.39–0.94 and OS HR 0.48, CI 0.28–0.84). Similarly, patients with EGFR mutation or FISH-positive tumor samples who received vandetanib had an increased chance of objective tumor response (odds ratios 3.34, CI 0.8–13.89, and 3.90, CI 1.02–14.82, respectively). There did not appear to be benefit for vandetanib in patients with KRAS mutation-positive tumors.

Conclusions

High EGFR gene copy number or activating EGFR mutations may identify patient subgroups who receive increased clinical benefit from vandetanib in combination with docetaxel in second-line NSCLC.

ClinicalTrials.gov

NCT00312377.


Background

Whether the mutant allele frequency (MAF) may also have predictive implications for tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy in patients with advanced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated lung adenocarcinoma (AELAd) remains unknown.

Patients and methods

Based on a biobanking system in conjunction with our institution, we assessed EGFR mutation status using pyrosequencing (Py) and by outsourcing laboratory tests, such as the Cycleave (Cy) and the Scorpion ARMS (A).

Results

Out of 705 patients enrolled in the Shizuoka Lung Cancer Mutation Study between July 2011 and March 2013, 102 AELAd patients were identified as carrying the L858R mutation (L858Rm) using Py to analyze histological specimens. Of these 102 patients, the EGFR mutation status was assessed using both Py and Cy in 48 patients: the median MAF of L858R (MAFLR) was 18.5% (range: 8%–82%), and 45 patients (94%) were identified as having an L858Rm using both Py and Cy. Three patients (6%) with discrepant L858Rm findings were only identified using Py. The plotting of a receiver operating characteristic curve to identify the discordance in L858Rm findings showed that the area under the curve for MAFLR was 0.967 (95% confidence interval: 0.91–1) and that an MAFLR of 9% resulted in high sensitivity (100%) and specificity (99%). Also, 29 patients with AELAd, excluding those with postoperative recurrences, had their L858R status assessed using Cy or A. The median age, 69 years (range: 47–84 years); male/female, 14 (48%)/15 (52%); smokers/never-smokers 13 (45%)/16 (55%); ECOG PS 0–1/2–3, 26 (90%)/3 (10%); stage IIIB/IV, 4 (14%)/25 (86%); median MAFLR, 18% (range: 8%–63%). Patients with an MAFLR of ≤9% had a significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) period after TKI therapy than those with an MAFLR of >9% (mPFS: 92 versus 284 days, P = 0.0027).

Conclusion

The MAF may be a potential predictive factor of TKI treatment efficacy in patients with AELAd carrying the L858Rm.


Background

Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has emerged as a treatment modality in patients presenting with oligometastatic nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). SBRT is used as a local consolidative treatment to metastatic disease sites. The majority of patients included in SBRT trials for oligometastatic NSCLC have controlled primary tumors and brain metastases.

Patients and methods

Oligometastatic NSCLC patients with ≤5 metastatic lesions were included in a prospective phase II trial to evaluate efficacy and toxicity of SBRT to all disease sites, primary tumor and metastatic locations. SBRT to a dose of 50 Gy in 10 fractions was delivered. Positron emission tomography–computed tomography (PET-CT) was carried out at baseline and 3 months after SBRT to evaluate the metabolic response rate according to PET Response Criteria in Solid Tumors (PERCIST). The progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated using Kaplan–Meier method from start of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Side-effects were scored using the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (NCI CTCAE) version 3.0.

Results

Twenty-six patients received SBRT after induction chemotherapy (n = 17) or as a primary treatment (n = 9). Median follow-up was 16.4 months. Overall metabolic response rate was 60% with seven patients (30%) achieving a complete metabolic remission and 7 (30%) a partial metabolic response. Any acute grade 2 toxicity was observed in four patients (15%) and grade 3 pulmonary toxicity in two patients (8%). Median PFS and OS were 11.2 and 23 months. The 1-year PFS and 1-year OS rate were 45% and 67%, respectively.

Conclusion

SBRT to all disease sites, primary tumor and metastatic locations, in oligometastatic NSCLC patients produced an acceptable median PFS of 11.2 months.


Background

Molecular screening programs use next-generation sequencing (NGS) of cancer gene panels to analyze metastatic biopsies. We interrogated whether plasma could be used as an alternative to metastatic biopsies.

Patients and methods

The Ion AmpliSeq™ Cancer Hotspot Panel v2 (Ion Torrent), covering 2800 COSMIC mutations from 50 cancer genes was used to analyze 69 tumor (primary/metastases) and 31 plasma samples from 17 metastatic breast cancer patients. The targeted coverage for tumor DNA was x1000 and for plasma cell-free DNA x25 000. Whole blood normal DNA was used to exclude germline variants. The Illumina technology was used to confirm observed mutations.

Results

Evaluable NGS results were obtained for 60 tumor and 31 plasma samples from 17 patients. When tumor samples were analyzed, 12 of 17 (71%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 44% to 90%) patients had ≥1 mutation (median 1 mutation per patient, range 0–2 mutations) in either p53, PIK3CA, PTEN, AKT1 or IDH2 gene. When plasma samples were analyzed, 12 of 17 (71%, 95% CI: 44–90%) patients had ≥1 mutation (median 1 mutation per patient, range 0–2 mutations) in either p53, PIK3CA, PTEN, AKT1, IDH2 and SMAD4. All mutations were confirmed. When we focused on tumor and plasma samples collected at the same time-point, we observed that, in four patients, no mutation was identified in either tumor or plasma; in nine patients, the same mutations was identified in tumor and plasma; in two patients, a mutation was identified in tumor but not in plasma; in two patients, a mutation was identified in plasma but not in tumor. Thus, in 13 of 17 (76%, 95% CI 50% to 93%) patients, tumor and plasma provided concordant results whereas in 4 of 17 (24%, 95% CI 7% to 50%) patients, the results were discordant, providing complementary information.

Conclusion

Plasma can be prospectively tested as an alternative to metastatic biopsies in molecular screening programs.


Background

Breast cancer survival has been shown to be associated among relatives. In this study, we used a population-based cohort of Swedish sisters, both diagnosed with breast cancer, to determine whether prognostic information of a previously diagnosed sibling is useful for the clinical management of a newly diagnosed sibling.

Patients and methods

The population-based cohort included all sister pairs, 1617 sisters, diagnosed with breast cancer in Sweden, from 1 January 1992, through 31 December 2006, with complete follow-up. All information was collected manually from original pathology reports and patient records. The Kappa statistic was used to measure the agreement of primary tumor characteristics between the sisters. We modeled the breast cancer-specific survival using multivariate (Cox) proportional hazard analyses in two steps categorizing the older sister's survival.

Results

Estrogen receptor status was the only tumor characteristic significantly associated between the sisters [ 0.18 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.089–0.27)]. Younger sisters with poor older sister survival showed significantly worse survival compared with patients with good older sister survival (log rank, P = 0.017). A twofold increased hazard ratio (HR) for death from breast cancer was found in younger sisters with poor older sister survival compared with patients with good sister survival [HR 2.56 (95% CI 1.16–5.65)], adjusting for age and calendar period of diagnosis, socioeconomic factors, number of children and hospital of primary tumor diagnosis. When further adjusting for primary tumor characteristics and adjuvant therapy, the risk for death from breast cancer in younger sisters with poor older sister survival became more pronounced [HR 3.35 (1.34–8.34)].

Conclusions

Our findings derived from a population-based cohort of Swedish sister pairs suggest that breast cancer-specific survival is inherited independent of tumor characteristics and treatment in the sibling later diagnosed with the disease. Prognostic information of a previously diagnosed sibling with breast cancer could be important in the clinical management.


Background

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients are a poor prognostic subgroup, and currently, there is no biomarker for targeted therapy.

Patients and methods

Tissue samples were obtained from 75 TNBC patients with lymph-node metastases who had received adjuvant chemotherapy. We examined 11 biomarkers, including PIK3CA and AKT1mutation, with regard to event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) of patients.

Results

In the tumor tissues, phospho-AKT (pAKT) expression was significantly related to HER4 expression. Expression of each of these biomarkers was significantly related to longer EFS (P = 0.024 and 0.03, respectively). pERK expression was also a good prognostic factor regarding EFS and OS in TNBC (P = 0.002 and 0.006, respectively). We also identified a correlation between epidermal growth factor receptor positivity and insulin-like growth factor receptor type 1 positivity (P = 0.001). pERK and T-stage (1–3 versus >3) were independent good prognostic factors by multivariate analysis.

Conclusions

We determined that tumors expressing pAKT or pERK are a good prognostic subtype in node-positive TNBC. Different targeted therapies may be necessary for TNBC that involves activation of PI3K/AKT or MAPK pathways.


Background

Patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) preferred subcutaneous (s.c.) trastuzumab, delivered via single-use injection device (SID), over the intravenous (i.v.) formulation (Cohort 1 of the PrefHer study: NCT01401166). Here, we report patient preference, healthcare professional satisfaction, and safety data pooled from Cohort 1 and also Cohort 2, where s.c. trastuzumab was delivered via hand-held syringe.

Patients and methods

Patients were randomized to receive four adjuvant cycles of 600 mg fixed-dose s.c. trastuzumab followed by four cycles of standard i.v. trastuzumab, or vice versa. The primary endpoint was overall preference proportions for s.c. or i.v., assessed by patient interviews in the evaluable ITT population.

Results

A total of 245 patients were randomized to receive s.c. followed by i.v. and 243 received i.v. followed by s.c. (evaluable ITT populations: 235 and 232 patients, respectively). s.c. was preferred by 415/467 [88.9%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 85.7–91.6; P < 0.0001; two-sided test against null hypothesis of 65% s.c. preference]; 45/467 preferred i.v. (9.6%; 95% CI 7–13); 7/467 indicated no preference (1.5%; 95% CI 1–3). Clinician-reported adverse events occurred in 292/479 (61.0%) and 245/478 (51.3%) patients during the pooled s.c. and i.v. periods, respectively (P < 0.05; 2 x 2 2); 16 patients (3.3%) in each period experienced grade 3 events; none were grade 4/5.

Conclusions

PrefHer revealed compelling and consistent patient preferences for s.c. over i.v. trastuzumab, regardless of SID or hand-held syringe delivery. s.c. was well tolerated and safety was consistent with previous reports, including the HannaH study (NCT00950300). No new safety signals were identified compared with the known i.v. profile in EBC. PrefHer and HannaH confirm that s.c. trastuzumab is a validated and preferred option over i.v. for improving patients' care in HER2-positive breast cancer.

Clinicaltrials.gov registration number

NCT01401166.


Background

We investigated whether the Src inhibitor saracatinib (AZD0530) improved efficacy of weekly paclitaxel in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.

Patients and methods

Patients with platinum-resistant ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer were randomised 2 : 1 to receive 8-week cycles of weekly paclitaxel (wPxl; 80 mg/m2/week x6 with 2-week break) plus saracatinib (S; 175 mg o.d.) or placebo (P) continuously, starting 1 week before wPxl, until disease progression. Patients were stratified by taxane-free interval (<6 versus ≥6 months/no prior taxane). The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS) rate at 6 months. Secondary end points included overall survival (OS) and response rate (RR).

Results

A total of 107 patients, median age 63 years, were randomised. Forty-three (40%) had received >2 lines of prior chemotherapy. The 6-month PFS rate was 29% (wPxl + S) versus 34% (wPxl + P) (P = 0.582). Median PFS was 4.7 versus 5.3 months (hazard ratio 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.65–1.54; P = 0.99). RR (complete + partial) was 29% (wPxl + S) versus 43% (wPxl + P), P value = 0.158. Grade 3/4 adverse events were 36% versus 31% (P = 0.624); the most frequent G3/4 toxicities were vomiting (5.8% saracatinib versus 8.6% placebo), abdominal pain (5.8% versus 0%) and diarrhoea (4.3% versus 5.7%). Febrile neutropenia was more common in the saracatinib arm (4.3%) than placebo (0%). Response, PFS and OS were all significantly (P < 0.05) better in patients with taxane interval ≥6 months/no prior taxane (n = 85) than those <6 months (n = 22), regardless of randomisation.

Conclusions

Saracatinib does not improve activity of weekly paclitaxel in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Taxane-free interval of ≥6 months/no prior taxane was associated with better outcome in both groups.

Trials registration

Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01196741; ISRCTN 32163062.


Background

Differences exist between the proximal and distal colon in terms of developmental origin, exposure to patterning genes, environmental mutagens, and gut flora. Little is known on how these differences may affect mechanisms of tumorigenesis, side-specific therapy response or prognosis. We explored systematic differences in pathway activation and their clinical implications.

Materials and methods

Detailed clinicopathological data for 3045 colon carcinoma patients enrolled in the PETACC3 adjuvant chemotherapy trial were available for analysis. A subset of 1404 samples had molecular data, including gene expression and DNA copy number profiles for 589 and 199 samples, respectively. In addition, 413 colon adenocarcinoma from TCGA collection were also analyzed. Tumor side-effect on anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) therapy was assessed in a cohort of 325 metastatic patients. Outcome variables considered were relapse-free survival and survival after relapse (SAR).

Results

Proximal carcinomas were more often mucinous, microsatellite instable (MSI)-high, mutated in key tumorigenic pathways, expressed a B-Raf proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase (BRAF)-like and a serrated pathway signature, regardless of histological type. Distal carcinomas were more often chromosome instable and EGFR or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplified, and more frequently overexpressed epiregulin. While risk of relapse was not different per side, SAR was much poorer for proximal than for distal stage III carcinomas in a multivariable model including BRAF mutation status [N = 285; HR 1.95, 95% CI (1.6–2.4), P < 0.001]. Only patients with metastases from a distal carcinoma responded to anti-EGFR therapy, in line with the predictions of our pathway enrichment analysis.

Conclusions

Colorectal carcinoma side is associated with differences in key molecular features, some immediately druggable, with important prognostic effects which are maintained in metastatic lesions. Although within side significant molecular heterogeneity remains, our findings justify stratification of patients by side for retrospective and prospective analyses of drug efficacy and prognosis.


Background

Recognising colorectal cancer (CRC) patients with Lynch syndrome (LS) can increase life expectancy of these patients and their close relatives. To improve identification of this under-diagnosed disease, experts suggested raising the age limit for CRC tumour genetic testing from 50 to 70 years. The present study evaluates the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of this strategy.

Methods

Probabilistic efficacy and cost-effectiveness analyses were carried out comparing tumour genetic testing of CRC diagnosed at age 70 or below (experimental strategy) versus CRC diagnosed at age 50 or below (current practice). The proportions of LS patients identified and cost-effectiveness including cascade screening of relatives, were calculated by decision analytic models based on real-life data.

Results

Using the experimental strategy, four times more LS patients can be identified among CRC patients when compared with current practice. Both the costs to detect one LS patient (9437/carrier versus 4837/carrier), and the number needed to test for detecting one LS patient (42 versus 19) doubled. When family cascade screening was included, the experimental strategy was found to be highly cost-effective according to Dutch standards, resulting in an overall ratio of 2703 per extra life-year gained in additionally tested patients.

Conclusion

Testing all CRC tumours diagnosed at or below age 70 for LS is cost-effective. Implementation is important as relatives from the large number of LS patients that are missed by current practice, can benefit from life-saving surveillance.


Background

KRAS mutations in codons 12 and 13 are present in ~40% of all colorectal cancers (CRC). Activating mutations in codons 61 and 146 of KRAS and in codons 12, 13, and 61 of NRAS also occur but are less frequent. The clinicopathologic features and gene expression profiles of this latter subpopulation of RAS-mutant colorectal tumors have not yet been clearly defined but in general are treated similarly to those with KRAS 12 or 13 mutations.

Patients and methods

Records of patients with metastatic CRC (mCRC) treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center between December 2000 and August 2012 were reviewed for RAS (KRAS or NRAS) and BRAF mutation status, clinical characteristics, and survival outcomes. To study further with an independent cohort, data from The Cancer Genome Atlas were analyzed to define a gene expression signature for patients whose tumors feature these atypical RAS mutations and explore differences with KRAS 12/13-mutated colorectal tumors.

Results

Among the 484 patients reviewed, KRAS 12/13, KRAS 61/146, NRAS, and BRAF mutations were detected in 47.7%, 3.0%, 4.1%, and 7.4%, respectively, of patients who were tested for each of these aberrations. Lung metastases were more common in both the KRAS 12/13-mutated and atypical RAS-mutated cohorts relative to patients with RAS/BRAF wild-type tumors. Gene expression analyses revealed similar patterns regardless of the site of RAS mutation, and in silico functional algorithms predicted that KRAS and NRAS mutations in codons 12, 13, 61, and 146 alter the protein function and drive tumorgenesis.

Conclusions

Clinicopathologic characteristics, survival outcomes, functional impact, and gene expression profiling were similar between patients with KRAS 12/13 and those with NRAS or KRAS 61/146-mutated mCRC. These clinical and bioinformatic findings support the notion that colorectal tumors driven by these RAS mutations are phenotypically similar.


Background

Patients with incurable cancer usually want specific information about prognosis, and clinicians’ estimates are often inaccurate. Studies in breast and lung cancer have suggested that simple multiples of the median overall survival (OS) can accurately estimate the time at which 90%, 75%, 25% and 10% of patients are alive.

Patients and methods

We identified 46 phase III randomised clinical trials of chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer, representing data from 29 011 patients. We extracted data on demographics, treatment and survival from 96 patient cohorts and assessed agreement with the estimated survival time points, calculated as 0.25, 0.5, 2 and 3 times the median OS.

Results

Median OS was 16.8 months in the trials. There were 342 assessable time points. For 301 of these, the estimated survival time was within 0.75–1.33 of the actual survival time (88% agreement). The worst agreement (76%) was at the earliest (90%) level of survival.

Conclusions

Simple multiples of the median OS give reasonable estimates of the times at which different survival levels are reached in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. Taken with previous studies, these findings are likely to be valid across a large range of patients. We would encourage clinicians to think of prognosis as a trajectory, and to consider quoting survival ranges instead of point estimates, in discussions with patients.


Background

We conducted this trial to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of temsirolimus added to an established regimen comprised of rituximab and cladribine for the initial treatment of mantle cell lymphoma.

Patients and methods

A standard phase I cohort of three study design was utilized. The fixed doses of rituximab and cladribine were 375 mg/m2 i.v. day 1 and 5 mg/m2/day i.v. days 1–5 of a 28-day cycle, respectively. There were five planned temsirolimus i.v. dose levels: 15 mg day 1; 25 mg day 1; 25 mg days 1 and 15; 25 mg days 1, 8 and 15; and 25 mg days 1, 8, 15, and 22.

Results

Seventeen patients were treated: three each at levels 1–4 and five at dose level 5. The median age was 75 years (52–86 years). Mantle Cell International Prognostic Index (MIPI) scores were low in 6% (1), intermediate in 59% (10), and high in 35% (6) of patients. Five patients were treated at level 5 without dose limiting toxicity. Hematologic toxicity was frequent: grade 3 anemia in 12%, grade 3 thrombocytopenia in 41%, grade 4 thrombocytopenia in 24%, grade 3 neutropenia in 6%, and grade 4 neutropenia in 18% of patients. The overall response rate (ORR) was 94% with 53% complete response and 41% partial response. The median progression-free survival was 18.7 months.

Conclusions

Temsirolimus 25 mg i.v. weekly may be safely added to rituximab and cladribine at 375 mg/m2 i.v. day 1 and 5 mg/m2/day i.v. days 1–5 of a 28-day cycle, respectively. This regimen had promising preliminary activity in an elderly cohort of patients with mantle cell lymphoma.

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier

NCT00787969.


Background

The cumulative risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in Sweden by age 80 years has increased to 1.1 in women and 1.6% in men in 2011. Increased risk of NHL associated with personal histories of some autoimmune diseases (ADs) is known. It is unclear whether there are other NHL-related ADs and whether this association holds across different sex, age and year of diagnosis, or NHL histological subtypes.

Patients and methods

Over an average of 9.4-year (maximum 47 years) follow-up of 878 161 patients diagnosed in 1964–2010 with 33 different ADs, 3096 subsequent NHL were diagnosed (data: Swedish Cancer Registry).

Results

Of 33 studied ADs, 21 showed significantly increased risk of NHL; 6 of them tended to increase the risk and none significantly decreased it. The overall standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for NHL after ADs was 1.6 [novel findings: immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) = 7.5, polymyositis/dermatomyositis = 4.1, primary biliary cirrhosis = 3.9, myasthenia gravis = 2.2, Behcet = 1.7, rheumatoid fever = 1.7, ulcerative colitis = 1.5, polymyalgia rheumatica = 1.4, and chronic rheumatic heart disease = 1.4; confirmatory findings: autoimmune hemolytic anemia = 27.2, Sjögren = 4.9, Celiac = 4.8, systemic lupus erythematosus = 4.4, polyarteritis nodosa = 2.9, discoid lupus erythematosus = 2.7, sarcoidosis = 2.6, Crohn = 2.1, systemic sclerosis = 2.1, rheumatoid arthritis = 2.0, and Hashimoto/hypothyroidism and psoriasis = 1.4]. SIR for NHL diagnosis before age 60 (2.2) was significantly higher than that in older ages (age ≥60: 1.5). The SIRs in women or men and in period 1993–2010 or 1964–1992 were similar. Risk of all common NHL histology subtypes significantly increased after ADs (cutaneous/peripheral T cell and anaplastic large T and null cell = 2.2; small B-cell lymphocytic = 1.7; diffuse large B cell = 1.6; follicular and mantel cell = 1.3).

Conclusion

Many of 33 studied ADs (except for ankylosing spondylitis, diabetes type I graves/hyperthyroidism, multiple sclerosis, chorea minor, and pernicious anemia), especially when diagnosed at younger ages, were associated with higher risk of NHL. However, the absolute risk of NHL in many ADs is still small.


Background

The 2008 World Health Organization (WHO) classification distinguishes three entities among the large granular lymphocytic leukemia (LGL leukemia): T-cell LGL leukemia (T-LGL leukemia), aggressive natural killer (NK) cell leukemia, and chronic NK lymphoproliferative disorders (LPD), the later considered as a provisional entity. Only a few and small cohorts of chronic NK LPD have been published.

Patients and methods

We report here clinicobiological features collected retrospectively from 70 cases of chronic NK LPD, and compared with those of T-LGL leukemia.

Results

There were no statistical differences between chronic NK LPD and T-LGL leukemia concerning median age [61 years (range 23–82 years)], organomegaly (26%), associated autoimmune diseases (24%), and associated hematological malignancies (11%). Patients with chronic NK LPD were significantly less symptomatic (49% versus 18%, P < 0.001) and the association with rheumatoid arthritis was more rarely observed (7% versus 17%, P = 0.03). The neutropenia (<0.5 x 109/l) was less severe in chronic NK LPD (33% versus 61%, P < 0.001) without difference in the rate of recurrent infections. STAT3 mutation was detected in 12% of the cohort, which is lower than the frequency observed in T-LGL leukemia. Thirty-seven percent of the patients required specific therapy. Good results were obtained with cyclophosphamide. Overall and complete response rates were, respectively, 69% and 56%. Overall survival was 94% at 5 years.

Conclusion

This study suggests very high similarities between chronic NK LPD and T-LGL leukemias. Since chronic NK LPD is still a provisional entity, our findings should be helpful when considering further revisions of the WHO classification.


Background

E2303 evaluated cetuximab, paclitaxel, and carboplatin used as induction therapy and concomitant with radiation therapy in patients with stage III/IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) determining pathologic complete response (CR), event-free survival (EFS), and toxicity.

Patients and methods

Patients with resectable stage III/IV HNSCC underwent induction therapy with planned primary site restaging biopsies (at week 8 in clinical complete responders and at week 14 if disease persisted). Chemoradiation (CRT) began week 9. If week 14 biopsy was negative, patients completed CRT (68–72 Gy); otherwise, resection was carried out. p16 protein expression status was correlated with response/survival.

Results

Seventy-four patients were enrolled; 63 were eligible. Forty-four (70%) were free of surgery to the primary site, progression, and death 1-year post-treatment. Following induction, 41 (23 CR) underwent week 8 primary site biopsy and 24 (59%) had no tumor (pathologic CR). Week 14 biopsy during chemoradiation (50 Gy) in 34 (15 previously positive biopsy; 19 no prior biopsy) was negative in 33. Thus 90% of eligible patients completed CRT. Overall survival and EFS were 78% and 55% at 3 years, respectively. Disease progression in 23 patients (37%) was local only in 10 (16%), regional in 5 (8%), local and regional in 2 (3%), and distant in 5 patients (8%). There were no treatment-related deaths. Toxicity was primarily hematologic or radiation-related. p16 AQUA score was not associated with response/survival.

Conclusions

Induction cetuximab, paclitaxel, and carboplatin followed by the same drug CRT is safe and induces high primary site response and promising survival.

Clinical trials number

NCT 00089297.


Background

The prognostic role of persistence of circulating tumor cells (CTC) after upfront tumor surgery for outcome of adjuvant (chemo)radiation in locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (LASCCHN) was evaluated.

Patients and methods

In this prospective study, peripheral blood samples from 144 patients with LASCCHN presenting after tumor resection for adjuvant treatment were analyzed for CTC. Their detection was correlated with tumor site, clinical risk factors, disease-free (DFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

CTC were detected in 42 of 144 patients (29%). CTC detection was higher in cases with nodal involvement and in carcinomas located at the tonsil or base of tongue but was not influenced by age, smoking history, T stage, extracapsular lymph node extension, surgical margins or the human papillomavirus status. Overall, the presence of CTC was not predictive for OS or DFS. However, while in oropharyngeal carcinomas (OPC, n = 63), the detection of CTC was associated per trend with improved DFS [CTC+ versus CTC– (% of patients without evidence of disease at 2 years): 100% versus 79%; log rank: P = 0.059]; the reverse was observed for carcinomas from other sites (non-OPC, n = 81; CTC+ versus CTC–: 29% versus 75%; P = 0.001). In multivariate analysis, CTC remained an independent prognostic marker for DFS [hazard ratio (HR) 4.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7–10.9, P = 0.002] and OS (HR 2.7, 95% CI 1.2–6.3, P = 0.016) in non-OPC.

Conclusions

Assessment of CTC in non-OPC should prove useful for identification of patients who benefit from treatment intensification. The basis for the good prognostic value of CTC in OPC has to be elucidated in future studies.


Background

Although advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) is quite common, there are few prospective trials regarding its optimal management. This study evaluated the efficacy and safety of single-agent panitumumab in the treatment of patients with CSCC not suitable for local therapy.

Patients and methods

Sixteen patients received single-agent panitumumab at a dose of 6 mg/kg repeated every 2 weeks for a minimum of three cycles and continued until progression, a maximum of nine cycles or dose-limiting toxicity. The primary end point was the best overall response rate (ORR) as assessed by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST version 1.1) criteria. Secondary end points included evaluation of safety, toxicity and progression-free survival (PFS).

Results

Between May 2010 and May 2012, 16 patients were recruited. Fourteen patients were male and the median age was 68 years. Fifteen patients had locoregionally advanced or recurrent disease with 14 patients receiving previous radiotherapy and 7 receiving previous cytotoxic chemotherapy. The best ORR [partial (PR) or complete response (CR)] was 31% (3/16 PR, 2/16 CR) with a further 6 of 16 patients achieving SD. The median PFS and overall survival were 8 and 11 months respectively. Grade 3 or 4 events were observed in five patients (four being skin toxicity) with one patient ceasing due to skin toxicity. With a median follow-up of 24 months, 10 patients died due to progressive disease, 6 are alive, one patient with no evidence of disease at the time of analysis.

Conclusions

Single-agent panitumumab is safe and effective in the management of patients with advanced CSCC even in a previously extensively pre-treated cohort.


Background

Knowledge about supportive care needs in patients with cutaneous invasive melanoma is scarce. We examined the unmet needs of melanoma patients treated with surgery and factors associated with these needs to assist health professionals identify areas needing clinical attention.

Patients and methods

Cross-sectional multisite survey of UK patients ascertained 3 months to 5 years after complete resection of stage I–III cutaneous melanoma. Participants completed the following validated questionnaires: Supportive Care Needs Survey (SCNS-SF34 with melanoma module), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and 51-item Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Melanoma quality-of-life scale.

Results

A total of 472 participants were recruited [319 (67%) clinical stage I–II). Mean age was 60 years (standard deviation = 14) and 255 (54%) were female. One hundred and twenty-three (27%) participants reported at least one unmet need (mostly ‘low’ level). The most frequently reported unmet needs were fears of cancer returning (n = 138, 29%), uncertainty about the future (n = 119, 25%), lack of information about risk of recurrence (n = 112, 24%) and about possible outcomes if melanoma were to spread (n = 91, 20%). One hundred and thirty-eight (29%) participants reported anxiety and 51 (11%) depression at clinical or subclinical levels. Patients with nodal disease had a significantly higher level of unmet supportive care needs (P < 0.001) as did patients with anxiety or depression (P < 0.001). Key correlates of the total SCNS-SF34 score for unmet supportive care needs were younger age (odds ratio, OR = 2.23, P < 0.001) and leaving school early (OR = 4.85, P < 0.001), while better emotional (OR = 0.89, P < 0.001) and social well-being (OR = 0.91, P < 0.001) were linked with fewer unmet needs. Neither patients' sex nor tumour thickness was associated with unmet needs.

Conclusions

Around a quarter of melanoma patients may have unmet support needs in the mid to long term after primary treatment. In particular, patients who are younger, less educated, distressed or socially isolated could benefit from more support.


Background

Pregnant patients with cancer are increasingly treated with anticancer drugs, although the specific impact of pregnancy-induced physiological changes on the pharmacokinetics (PK) of anticancer drugs and associated implications for optimal dose regimens remains unclear. Our objectives were to quantify changes in PK during pregnancy for four frequently used anticancer agents doxorubicin, epirubicin, docetaxel and paclitaxel, and to determine associated necessary dose adjustments.

Patients and methods

A pooled analysis of PK data was carried out for pregnant (Pr) and nonpregnant (NPr) patients for doxorubicin (n = 16 Pr/59 NPr), epirubicin (n = 14 Pr/57 NPr), docetaxel (n = 3 Pr/32 NPr) and paclitaxel (n = 5 Pr/105 NPr). Compartmental nonlinear mixed effect models were used to describe the PK and gestational effects. Subsequently, we derived optimized dose regimens aiming to match to the area under the concentration–time curve (AUC) in nonpregnant patients.

Results

The effect of pregnancy on volumes of distribution for doxorubicin, epirubicin, docetaxel and paclitaxel were estimated as fold-change of <1.32, <2.08, <1.37 and <4.21, respectively, with adequate precision [relative standard error (RSE) <37%]. For doxorubicin, no gestational effect could be estimated on clearance (CL). For epirubicin, docetaxel and paclitaxel, a fold-change of 1.1 (RSE 9%), 1.19 (RSE 7%) and 1.92 (RSE 21%) were, respectively, estimated on CL. Calculated dose adjustment requirements for doxorubicin, epirubicin, docetaxel and paclitaxel were +5.5%, +8.0%, +16.9% and +37.8%, respectively. Estimated changes in infusion duration were marginal (<4.2%) except for paclitaxel (–21.4%).

Conclusion

Clinicians should be aware of a decrease in drug exposure during pregnancy and should not a priori reduce dose. The decrease in exposure was most apparent for docetaxel and paclitaxel which is supported by known physiological changes during pregnancy. The suggested dose adaptations should only be implemented after conduct of further confirmatory studies of the PK during pregnancy.


Background

Type 2 diabetes mellitus has been associated with an excess risk of pancreatic cancer, but the magnitude of the risk and the time–risk relationship are unclear, and there is limited information on the role of antidiabetic medications.

Patients and methods

We analyzed individual-level data from 15 case–control studies within the Pancreatic Cancer Case-Control Consortium, including 8305 cases and 13 987 controls. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) were estimated from multiple logistic regression models, adjusted for relevant covariates.

Results

Overall, 1155 (15%) cases and 1087 (8%) controls reported a diagnosis of diabetes 2 or more years before cancer diagnosis (or interview, for controls), corresponding to an OR of 1.90 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.72–2.09). Consistent risk estimates were observed across strata of selected covariates, including body mass index and tobacco smoking. Pancreatic cancer risk decreased with duration of diabetes, but a significant excess risk was still evident 20 or more years after diabetes diagnosis (OR 1.30, 95% CI 1.03–1.63). Among diabetics, long duration of oral antidiabetic use was associated with a decreased pancreatic cancer risk (OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.14–0.69, for ≥15 years). Conversely, insulin use was associated with a pancreatic cancer risk in the short term (OR 5.60, 95% CI 3.75–8.35, for <5 years), but not for longer duration of use (OR 0.95, 95% CI 0.53–1.70, for ≥15 years).

Conclusion

This study provides the most definitive quantification to date of an excess risk of pancreatic cancer among diabetics. It also shows that a 30% excess risk persists for more than two decades after diabetes diagnosis, thus supporting a causal role of diabetes in pancreatic cancer. Oral antidiabetics may decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer, whereas insulin showed an inconsistent duration–risk relationship.


Background

Although elevated risks of pancreatic cancer have been observed in long-term survivors of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), no prior study has assessed the risk of second pancreatic cancer in relation to radiation dose and specific chemotherapeutic agents.

Patients and methods

We conducted an international case–control study within a cohort of 19 882 HL survivors diagnosed from 1953 to 2003 including 36 cases and 70 matched controls.

Results

Median ages at HL and pancreatic cancer diagnoses were 47 and 60.5 years, respectively; median time to pancreatic cancer was 19 years. Pancreatic cancer risk increased with increasing radiation dose to the pancreatic tumor location (Ptrend = 0.005) and increasing number of alkylating agent (AA)-containing cycles of chemotherapy (Ptrend = 0.008). The odds ratio (OR) for patients treated with both subdiaphragmatic radiation (≥10 Gy) and ≥6 AA-containing chemotherapy cycles (13 cases, 6 controls) compared with patients with neither treatment was 17.9 (95% confidence interval 3.5–158). The joint effect of these two treatments was significantly greater than additive (P = 0.041) and nonsignificantly greater than multiplicative (P = 0.29). Especially high risks were observed among patients receiving ≥8400 mg/m2 of procarbazine with nitrogen mustard or ≥3900 mg/m2 of cyclophosphamide.

Conclusion

Our study demonstrates for the first time that both radiotherapy and chemotherapy substantially increase pancreatic cancer risks among HL survivors treated in the past. These findings extend the range of nonhematologic cancers associated with chemotherapy and add to the evidence that the combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy can lead to especially large risks.


Background

At diagnosis, identification of reliable biological indicators of prognosis to allow stratification of patients according to different risks is an important but still unresolved aspect in the treatment of Ewing sarcoma (EWS) patients. This study aimed to explore the role of miR-34A expression on prognosis of EWS patients.

Patients and methods

Specimens from 109 patients with non-metastatic EWS treated at the Rizzoli Institute with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (protocols ISG/SSGIII, EW-1, EW-2, EW-REN2, EW-REN3, EW-PILOT) and 17 metastases were studied. Sixty-eight patients (62%) remained disease-free and 41 (38%) relapsed (median follow-up: 67 months, range 9–241 months). Expression of miR-34a and of some of its targets (cyclin D1, bcl-2, SIRT1 and YY1) was evaluated by qRT-PCR using TaqMan MicroRNA Assays and/or by immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays from the same patients.

Results

High expression of miR-34a in localized tumors was significantly related to better event-free and overall survival (P = 0.004). Relevance of miR-34a was confirmed by using different calibrators (normal mesenchymal stem cells and different normal tissues). By multivariate Cox regression analysis, low miR-34a expression as well as nontotal necrosis and high levels of lactate dehydrogenase were all confirmed as independent risk factors associated with poor outcome. Expression of miR-34a was lower in metastases than in primary tumors. It inversely correlated with expression of cyclin D1 and Ki-67.

Conclusions

By demonstrating its relationship with clinical outcome, we propose evaluation of miR-34a at diagnosis of EWS patients to allow early risk stratification. Validation of these results would nonetheless ultimately need a prospective assessment.


Background

Both Gamma-Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) and BRAF inhibitors (BRAF-I) have been shown to be useful in melanoma patients with brain metastases (BMs), thus suggesting that it could be interesting to combine their respective advantages. However, cases of radiosensitization following conventional radiation therapy in BRAF-I treated patients have raised serious concerns about the real feasibility and risk/benefit ratio of this combination.

Patients and methods

Review by two independent observers of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) follow-up pictures, and volume and edema quantifications, and survival assessment in all patients who had been treated by GKRS and BRAF-I at a single institution.

Results

Among 53 GKRS carried out in 30 patients who ever received BRAF-I and GKRS, 33 GKRS were carried out in 24 patients while under BRAF-I treatment, from which only 4 with an interruption of BRAF-I. The 20 other GKRS were carried out in 15 patients (including 9 of the 24) before initiation of BRAF-I treatment. No case of radiation-induced necrosis and no scalp radiation dermatitis occurred. A >20% increase in volume was observed in 35 of the 263 BM treated by GKRS (13.3%), but only 3 clear-cut edemas and 3 hemorrhages were detected within 2 months after GKRS, and 4 edemas and 7 hemorrhages later. Neither the MRI features nor the incidence of the volume changes, hemorrhage and edema were deemed unexpected for melanoma BM treated by GKRS. Median survival from first GKRS under BRAF-I and first dose of BRAF-I were 24.8 and 48.8 weeks, respectively.

Conclusion

This series does not show immediate radiotoxicity nor radiation recall, in melanoma patients with BRAF-I whose BMs are treated by GKRS. Interrupting BRAF-I for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) of BM seems useless, although it is still advised for other radiation therapies. The potential benefit of combining SRS and BRAF-I can be safely tested.