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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Background

The morphological evaluation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in breast cancer (BC) is gaining momentum as evidence strengthens for the clinical relevance of this immunological biomarker. Accumulating evidence suggests that the extent of lymphocytic infiltration in tumor tissue can be assessed as a major parameter by evaluation of hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained tumor sections. TILs have been shown to provide prognostic and potentially predictive value, particularly in triple-negative and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-overexpressing BC.

Design

A standardized methodology for evaluating TILs is now needed as a prerequisite for integrating this parameter in standard histopathological practice, in a research setting as well as in clinical trials. This article reviews current data on the clinical validity and utility of TILs in BC in an effort to foster better knowledge and insight in this rapidly evolving field, and to develop a standardized methodology for visual assessment on H&E sections, acknowledging the future potential of molecular/multiplexed approaches.

Conclusions

The methodology provided is sufficiently detailed to offer a uniformly applied, pragmatic starting point and improve consistency and reproducibility in the measurement of TILs for future studies.


Background

Epidemiologic studies have reported that cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely associated with mortality from cancer. However, the evidence relating cardiorespiratory fitness to cancer mortality has not yet been quantitatively summarized.

Methods

Following the preferred reporting items for sytematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) checklist, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and total cancer mortality. Relevant studies were identified through a literature search in PubMed up to August 2013 and by screening reference lists of qualifying articles. Data extraction was carried out independently by both authors and summary risk estimates were obtained using random-effects models.

Results

Six prospective studies with an overall number of 71 654 individuals and 2002 cases of total cancer mortality were included. The median follow-up time in the studies was 16.4 years. Cardiorespiratory fitness showed a strong, graded, inverse association with total cancer mortality. Using low cardiorespiratory fitness as the reference group, intermediate and high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were related to statistically significant decreased summary relative risks (RRs) of total cancer mortality of 0.80 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67–0.97] and 0.55 (95% CI 0.47–0.65), respectively. Studies that adjusted for adiposity yielded similar results to those that did not adjust for adiposity.

Conclusion

Increased cardiorespiratory fitness represents a strong predictor of decreased total cancer mortality risk, independent of adiposity.


Background

There is no consensus on the therapeutic approach to poor-risk patients with unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), despite the increasing number of these patients in current clinical practice. In terms of survival, the combination of concurrent systemic therapy with standard radiotherapy might be advantageous over radiotherapy alone. The purpose of this review is to ascertain the feasibility, safety and efficacy of the combination of concurrent systemic therapy and standard radiotherapy in these patients.

Methods

A computer-based literature search was carried out using PubMed and Science Direct for relevant publications; data reported at major conferences in abstract form were also included.

Results

In unresectable stage III NSCLC, advanced age, poor performance status, weight loss and comorbidities are factors that influence treatment options and disease outcomes in clinical practice. Prospective studies including poor-risk patients have been reviewed. Trials specifically recruiting poor-risk patients have been separated into those using chemotherapy and those using targeted agents with or without chemotherapy. Only two phase III studies specifically including poor-risk patients have been published. Some recent studies suggested that tolerable radio-sensitizing therapy combined with radiotherapy can provide longer survival outcomes than those reported earlier with chemo-radiotherapy or with radiotherapy alone.

Conclusions

There is an unmet need to develop well-designed clinical trials with tolerable combinations of systemic therapy and radiotherapy specifically tailored to this lung cancer population. Such trials should incorporate careful comorbidity measurement and, in older adults, a validated geriatric assessment.


Background

Screening tools are proposed to identify those older cancer patients in need of geriatric assessment (GA) and multidisciplinary approach. We aimed to update the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) 2005 recommendations on the use of screening tools.

Materials and methods

SIOG composed a task group to review, interpret and discuss evidence on the use of screening tools in older cancer patients. A systematic review was carried out and discussed by an expert panel, leading to a consensus statement on their use.

Results

Forty-four studies reporting on the use of 17 different screening tools in older cancer patients were identified. The tools most studied in older cancer patients are G8, Flemish version of the Triage Risk Screening Tool (fTRST) and Vulnerable Elders Survey-13 (VES-13). Across all studies, the highest sensitivity was observed for: G8, fTRST, Oncogeriatric screen, Study of Osteoporotic Fractures, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-Performance Status, Senior Adult Oncology Program (SAOP) 2 screening and Gerhematolim. In 11 direct comparisons for detecting problems on a full GA, the G8 was more or equally sensitive than other instruments in all six comparisons, whereas results were mixed for the VES-13 in seven comparisons. In addition, different tools have demonstrated associations with outcome measures, including G8 and VES-13.

Conclusions

Screening tools do not replace GA but are recommended in a busy practice in order to identify those patients in need of full GA. If abnormal, screening should be followed by GA and guided multidisciplinary interventions. Several tools are available with different performance for various parameters (including sensitivity for addressing the need for further GA). Further research should focus on the ability of screening tools to build clinical pathways and to predict different outcome parameters.


While they account for one-fifth of new cancer cases, rare cancers are difficult to study. A higher than average degree of uncertainty should be accommodated for clinical as well as for population-based decision making. Rules of rational decision making in conditions of uncertainty should be rigorously followed and would need widely informative clinical trials. In principle, any piece of new evidence would need to be exploited in rare cancers. Methodologies to explicitly weigh and combine all the available evidence should be refined, and the Bayesian logic can be instrumental to this end. Likewise, Bayesian-design trials may help optimize the low number of patients liable to be enrolled in clinical studies on rare cancers, as well as adaptive trials in general, with their inherent potential of flexibility when properly applied. While clinical studies are the mainstay to test hypotheses, the potential of electronic patient records should be exploited to generate new hypotheses, to create external controls for future studies (when internal controls are unpractical), to study effectiveness of new treatments in real conditions. Framework study protocols in specific rare cancers to sequentially test sets of new agents, as from the early post-phase I development stage, should be encouraged. Also the compassionate and the off-label settings should be exploited to generate new evidence, and flexible regulatory innovations such as adaptive licensing could convey new agents early to rare cancer patients, while generating evidence. Though validation of surrogate end points is problematic in rare cancers, the use of an updated notion of tumor response may be of great value in the single patient to optimize the use of therapies, all the more the new ones. Disease-based communities, involving clinicians and patients, should be regularly consulted by regulatory bodies when setting their policies on drug approval and reimbursement in specific rare cancers.


Background

Limited data are available on the prognostic value of changes in the biological features of residual tumours following neoadjuvant therapies in breast cancer patients.

Patients and methods

We collected information through the institutional clinical database on all consecutive breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Milan, Italy, between 1999 and 2011. We selected patients who did not achieve pathological complete response at final surgery. All patients had a pathological evaluation, including ER, PgR, HER2 protein and Ki-67 expression carried out at the IEO both at diagnostic core biopsy and at final surgery.

Results

We identified a total of 904 patients. The 5% of patients who were ER positive at diagnostic biopsy had ER-negative residual tumour at final surgery. For PgR expression, 67% of the patients, whose tumours had a PgR >20% at diagnostic biopsy had a PgR <20% at final surgery. The Ki-67 expression changed from >20% to <20% in 40% of the patients. At the multivariate analysis, the decrease of PgR-immunoreactive cells correlated with improved outcome in terms of disease-free survival (DFS) [hazard ratio (HR) 0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.54–1.00, P 0.046]. In addition, the decrease of Ki-67 expression to <20% of the cells at final surgery was found to be associated with better outcome both in terms of DFS (HR 0.52; 95% CI 0.40–0.68 P < 0.0001) and overall survival (HR 0.45; 95% CI 0.32–0.64, P < 0.0001).

Conclusion

The decrease of PgR and Ki-67 expression after preoperative chemotherapy has a prognostic role in breast cancer patients with residual disease.


Background

Zoledronic acid (ZOL) plus adjuvant endocrine therapy significantly improved disease-free survival (DFS) at 48- and 62-month follow-up in the ABCSG-12 trial. We present efficacy results of a final additional analysis after 94.4 months.

Patients and methods

Patients were premenopausal women who had undergone primary surgery for stage I/II estrogen-receptor-positive and/or progesterone-receptor-positive breast cancer with <10 positive lymph nodes, and were scheduled for standard goserelin therapy. All 1803 patients received goserelin (3.6 mg every 28 days) and were randomized to tamoxifen (20 mg/days) or anastrozole (1 mg/days), both with or without ZOL (4 mg every 6 months) for 3 years. The primary end point was DFS; recurrence-free survival and overall survival (OS) were secondary end points.

Results

After 94.4-month median follow-up (range, 0–114 months), relative risks of disease progression [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.77; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60–0.99; P = 0.042] and of death (HR = 0.66; 95% CI 0.43–1.02; P = 0.064) are still reduced by ZOL although no longer significant at the predefined significance level. Overall, 251 DFS events and 86 deaths were reported. Absolute risk reductions with ZOL were 3.4% for DFS and 2.2% for OS. There was no DFS difference between tamoxifen alone versus anastrozole alone, but there was a pronounced higher risk of death for anastrozole-treated patients (HR = 1.63; 95% CI 1.05–1.45; P = 0.030). Treatments were generally well tolerated, with no reports of renal failure or osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Conclusion

These final results from ABCSG 12 suggest that twice-yearly ZOL enhances the efficacy of adjuvant endocrine treatment, and this benefit is maintained long-term.

ClinicalTrials.gov

NCT00295646 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?term=00295646).


Background

HannaH (NCT00950300) was a phase III, randomized, international, open-label study that compared pharmacokinetics (PK), efficacy, and safety of two different trastuzumab formulations [subcutaneous (s.c.) and intravenous (i.v.)] in HER2-positive, operable, locally advanced, or inflammatory breast cancer in the neoadjuvant/adjuvant setting. The co-primary end points, to show noninferiority of s.c. versus i.v. trastuzumab in terms of serum concentration (Ctrough) and pathologic complete response (pCR) were met; safety profiles were comparable at 12 months' median follow-up. Secondary end points included safety and tolerability, PK profile, immunogenicity, and event-free survival (EFS). We now report updated safety and efficacy data after a median follow-up of 20 months.

Patients and methods

Patients (N = 596) were treated with eight cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, administered concurrently with 3-weekly s.c. trastuzumab (fixed dose of 600 mg) or the standard weight-based i.v. method. Following surgery, patients continued trastuzumab treatment to complete 1 year of therapy. Updated analyses of PK, efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity data were carried out.

Results

s.c. trastuzumab was generally well tolerated and the incidence of adverse events (AEs), including grade 3 or 4 AEs, between treatment groups was comparable. A slightly higher incidence of serious AEs (SAEs), mainly due to infections, was reported with s.c. treatment {64 [21.5%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 17.0%–26.7%] versus 42 (14.1%; 95% CI 10.4%–18.6%) in the i.v. group}; however, the differences were small and often based on rare events, with no observable pattern across reported events. An early analysis of EFS showed rates of 95% in both groups 1 year postrandomization. Exploratory analyses did not reveal an association between toxicity and body weight or exposure.

Conclusions

Overall, the safety profile of s.c. trastuzumab was consistent with the previously published data from HannaH and the known safety profile of i.v. trastuzumab. EFS rates were comparable between the i.v. and s.c. groups.

Clinical trial number

NCT00950300.


Background

Neoadjuvant trials conducted using a double HER2 blockade with lapatinib and trastuzumab, combined with different paclitaxel-containing chemotherapy regimens, have shown high pathological complete response (pCR) rates, but at the cost of important toxicity. We hypothesised that this toxicity might be due to a specific interaction between paclitaxel and lapatinib. This trial assesses the toxicity and activity of the combination of docetaxel with lapatinib and trastuzumab.

Patients and methods

Patients with stage IIA to IIIC HER2-positive breast cancer received six cycles of chemotherapy (three cycles of docetaxel followed by three cycles of fluorouracil, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide). They were randomised 1 : 1 : 1 to receive during the first three cycles either lapatinib (1000 mg orally daily), trastuzumab (4 mg/kg loading dose followed by 2 mg/kg weekly), or trastuzumab + lapatinib at the same dose. The primary end point was pCR rate defined as ypT0/is. Secondary end points included safety and toxicity. pCR rate defined as ypT0/is ypN0 was assessed as an exploratory analysis. In June 2012, arm A was closed for futility based on the results from other studies.

Results

From October 2010 to January 2013, 128 patients were included in 14 centres. The percentage of the 122 assessable patients with pCR in the breast, and pCR in the breast and nodes, was numerically highest in the lapatinib + trastuzumab group (60% and 56%, respectively), intermediate in the trastuzumab group (52% and 52%), and lowest in the lapatinib group (46% and 36%).

Frequency (%) of the most common grade 3–4 toxicities in the lapatinib /trastuzumab/lapatinib + trastuzumab arms were: febrile neutropenia 23/15/10, diarrhoea 9/2/18, infection (other) 9/4/8, and hepatic toxicity 0/2/8.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates a numerically modest pCR rate increase with double anti-HER2 blockade plus chemotherapy, but suggests that the use of docetaxel rather than paclitaxel may not reduce toxicity.

ClinicalTrials.gov

NCT00450892.


Background

Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-B) and CCL2/CCR2 chemokine axis play a central role in tumor progression such as stimulation of angiogenesis, acceleration of tumor invasion and migration, and suppression of innate immunosurveillance in the macrophage-related functions. There have been few reports regarding association of the macrophage function-related genes with the clinical outcome in gastric cancer. We hypothesized that variants in genes encoding for NF-B and CCL2/CCR2 axis may predict prognosis in gastric cancer and tested whether the functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) will be associated with clinical outcome in patients with gastric cancer across two independent groups.

Patients and methods

This study enrolled two cohorts which consisted of 160 Japanese patients and 104 US patients with locoregional gastric cancer. Genomic DNA was analyzed for association of 11 SNPs in NFKB1, RELA, CCL2, and CCR2 with clinical outcome using PCR-based direct DNA sequencing.

Results

The univariable analysis showed four SNPs had significant association with clinical outcome in the Japanese cohort, NFKB1 rs230510 remained significant upon multivariable analysis. The patients with the A allele of the NFKB1 rs230510 had significantly longer overall survival (OS) compared with those with the T/T genotype in both the Japanese and US cohort in the univariable analysis. In contrast, genotypes with the T allele of CCL2 rs4586 were significantly associated with shorter OS compared with the C/C genotype in the US cohort [hazard ratio (HR) 2.43; P = 0.015] but longer OS in the Japanese cohort (HR 0.58; P = 0.021), resulting in the statistically significant opposite impact on OS (P = 0.001).

Conclusions

Our study provides the first evidence that the NFKB1 rs230510 and CCL2 rs4586 are significantly associated with the clinical outcome in patients with locoregional gastric cancer. These results also suggest that the genetic predisposition of the host may dictate the immune-related component of the tumor for progression in gastric cancer.


Background

Perioperative FOLFOX4 (oxaliplatin plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin) chemotherapy is the current standard in patients with resectable metastases from colorectal cancer (CRC). We aimed to determine whether a sequential chemotherapy with dose-dense oxaliplatin (FOLFOX7) and irinotecan (FOLFIRI; irinotecan plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin) is superior to FOLFOX4. The chemotherapy timing was not imposed, and was perioperative or postoperative.

Patients and methods

In this open-label, phase III trial, patients with resectable or resected metastases were randomly assigned either to 12 cycles of FOLFOX4 (oxaliplatin 85 mg/m2) or 6 cycles of FOLFOX7 (oxaliplatin 130 mg/m2) followed by 6 cycles of FOLFIRI (irinotecan 180 mg/m2). Randomization was done centrally, with stratification by chemotherapy timing, type of local treatment (surgery versus radiofrequency ablation with/without surgery), and Fong's prognostic score. The primary end point was 2-year disease-free survival (DFS).

Results

A total of 284 patients were randomized, 142 in each treatment group. Chemotherapy was perioperative in 168 (59.2%) patients and postoperative in 116 (40.8%) patients. Perioperative chemotherapy was preferentially proposed for synchronous metastases, whereas postoperative chemotherapy was more frequently used for metachronous metastases. Two-year DFS was 48.5% in the FOLFOX4 group and 50.0% in the FOLFOX7–FOLFIRI group. In the multivariable analysis, more than one metastasis [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.15] and synchronous metastases (HR = 1.63) were independent prognostic factors for shorter DFS. Five-year overall survival (OS) rate was 69.5% with FOLFOX4 versus 66.6% with FOLFOX7–FOLFIRI.

Conclusions

FOLFOX7–FOLFIRI is not superior to FOLFOX4 in patients with resectable metastatic CRC. Five-year OS rates observed in both groups are the highest ever reported in this setting, possibly reflecting the pragmatic approach to chemotherapy timing.

Clinical trials number

NCT00268398.


Background

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) translocation are considered mutually exclusive in nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, sporadic cases having concomitant EGFR and ALK alterations have been reported. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence of NSCLCs with concomitant EGFR and ALK alterations using mutation detection methods with different sensitivity and to propose an effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategy.

Patients and methods

A total of 1458 cases of lung cancer were screened for EGFR and ALK alterations by direct sequencing and flourescence in situ hybridization (FISH), respectively. For the 91 patients identified as having an ALK translocation, peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-clamping real-time PCR, targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS), and mutant-enriched NGS assays were carried out to detect EGFR mutation.

Results

EGFR mutations and ALK translocations were observed in 42.4% (612/1445) and 6.3% (91/1445) of NSCLCs by direct sequencing and FISH, respectively. Concomitant EGFR and ALK alterations were detected in four cases, which accounted for 4.4% (4/91) of ALK-translocated NSCLCs. Additional analyses for EGFR using PNA real-time PCR and ultra-deep sequencing by NGS, mutant-enriched NGS increased the detection rate of concomitant EGFR and ALK alterations to 8.8% (8/91), 12.1% (11/91), and 15.4% (14/91) of ALK-translocated NSCLCs, respectively. Of the 14 patients, 3 who were treated with gefitinib showed poor response to gefitinib with stable disease in one and progressive disease in two patients. However, eight patients who received ALK inhibitor (crizotinib or ceritinib) showed good response, with response rate of 87.5% (7/8 with partial response) and durable progression-free survival.

Conclusions

A portion of NSCLC patients have concomitant EGFR and ALK alterations and the frequency of co-alteration detection increases when sensitive detection methods for EGFR mutation are applied. ALK inhibitors appear to be effective for patients with co-alterations.


Background

Continuation or ‘switch’ maintenance therapy is commonly used in patients with advancd non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we evaluated the efficacy of the telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, as switch maintenance therapy in patients with advanced NSCLC.

Patients and methods

The primary end point of this open-label, randomized phase II study was progression-free survival (PFS). Patients with non-progressive, advanced NSCLC after platinum-based doublet (first-line) chemotherapy (with or without bevacizumab), any histology, with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0–1 were eligible. Randomization was 2 : 1 in favor of imetelstat, administered at 9.4 mg/kg on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle, or observation. Telomere length (TL) biomarker exploratory analysis was carried out in tumor tissue by quantitative PCR (qPCR) and telomerase fluorescence in situ hybridization.

Results

Of 116 patients enrolled, 114 were evaluable. Grade 3/4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were more frequent with imetelstat. Median PFS was 2.8 and 2.6 months for imetelstat-treated versus control [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.844; 95% CI 0.54–1.31; P = 0.446]. Median survival time favored imetelstat (14.3 versus 11.5 months), although not significantly (HR = 0.68; 95% CI 0.41–1.12; P = 0.129). Exploratory analysis demonstrated a trend toward longer median PFS (HR = 0.43; 95% CI 0.14–1.3; P = 0.124) and overall survival (OS; HR = 0.41; 95% CI 0.11–1.46; P = 0.155) in imetelstat-treated patients with short TL, but no improvement in median PFS and OS in patients with long TL (HR = 0.86; 95% CI 0.39–1.88; and HR = 0.51; 95% CI 0.2–1.28; P = 0.145).

Conclusions

Maintenance imetelstat failed to improve PFS in advanced NSCLC patients responding to first-line therapy. There was a trend toward a improvement in median PFS and OS in patients with short TL. Short TL as a predictive biomarker will require further investigation for the clinical development of imetelstat.


Background

Thymic carcinoma (TC) is an exceptionally rare tumor, which has a very poor prognosis differing from thymoma. Till date, there has been no report of any results of clinical trials focusing on TC. The role of non-anthracycline-based chemotherapy has not been elucidated since the previous studies included a relatively small number of TC patients. This single-arm study evaluated carboplatin and paclitaxel (CbP) in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced TC.

Patients and methods

The study treatment consisted of carboplatin (area under the curve 6) and paclitaxel (200 mg/m2) every 3 weeks for a maximum of six cycles. The primary end point was objective response rate (ORR) by independent review. The secondary end points included overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and safety. Based on the SWOG 2-stage design, the planned sample size of 40 patients was determined to reject the ORR of 20% under the expectation of 40% with a power of 0.85 and a type I error of 0.05.

Results

Forty patients from 21 centers were enrolled for this study from May 2008 to November 2010. Of the 39 patients evaluable for analysis, 36 were pathologically diagnosed by independent review, and 97% patients were eventually TC. There was 1/13 complete/partial responses with an ORR of 36% (95% confidence interval 21%–53%; P = 0.031). The median PFS was 7.5 (6.2–12.3) months, while OS did not reach the median value. Major adverse event was grade 3–4 neutropenia in 34 patients (87%). There was no treatment-related death.

Conclusions

In this largest trial with TC, CbP showed promising efficacy in advanced TC when compared with anthracycline-based chemotherapy, which is the current standard treatment of thymic neoplasm. Our results established that CbP, one of the standard treatments for non-small-cell lung cancer, might be an option as a chemotherapy regimen for TC.


Background

In a phase III trial in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and bone metastases, denosumab was superior to zoledronic acid in reducing skeletal-related events (SREs; radiation to bone, pathologic fracture, surgery to bone, or spinal cord compression). This study reassessed the efficacy of denosumab using symptomatic skeletal events (SSEs) as a prespecified exploratory end point.

Patients and methods

Patients with CRPC, no previous bisphosphonate exposure, and radiographic evidence of bone metastasis were randomized to subcutaneous denosumab 120 mg plus i.v. placebo every 4 weeks (Q4W), or i.v. zoledronic acid 4 mg plus subcutaneous placebo Q4W during the blinded treatment phase. SSEs were defined as radiation to bone, symptomatic pathologic fracture, surgery to bone, or symptomatic spinal cord compression. The relationship between SSE or SRE and time to moderate/severe pain was assessed using the Brief Pain Inventory Short Form.

Results

Treatment with denosumab significantly reduced the risk of developing first SSE [HR, 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66–0.93; P = 0.005] and first and subsequent SSEs (rate ratio, 0.78; 95% CI 0.65–0.92; P = 0.004) compared with zoledronic acid. The treatment differences in the number of patients with SSEs or SREs were similar (n = 48 and n = 45, respectively). Among patients with no/mild pain at baseline, both SSEs and SREs were associated with moderate/severe pain development (P < 0.0001). Fewer patients had skeletal complications, particularly fractures, when defined as SSE versus SRE.

Conclusion

In patients with CRPC and bone metastases, denosumab reduced the risk of skeletal complications versus zoledronic acid regardless of whether the end point was defined as SSE or SRE.


Background

To report the long-term results of adjuvant treatment with one cycle of modified bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) in patients with clinical stage I (CS I) nonseminomatous germ-cell tumors (NSGCT) at high risk of relapse.

Patients and methods

In a single-arm, phase II clinical trial, 40 patients with CS I NSGCT with vascular invasion and/or >50% embryonal cell carcinoma in the orchiectomy specimen received one cycle of adjuvant BEP (20 mg/m2 bleomycin as a continuous infusion over 24 h, 120 mg/m2 etoposide and 40 mg/m2 cisplatin each on days 1–3). Primary end point was the relapse rate.

Results

Median follow-up was 186 months. One patient (2.5%) had a pulmonary relapse 13 months after one BEP and died after three additional cycles of BEP chemotherapy. Three patients (7.5%) presented with a contralateral metachronous testicular tumor, and three (7.5%) developed a secondary malignancy. Three patients (7.5%) reported intermittent tinnitus and one had grade 2 peripheral polyneuropathy (2.5%).

Conclusions

Adjuvant chemotherapy with one cycle of modified-BEP is a feasible and safe treatment of patients with CS I NSGCT at high risk of relapse. In these patients, it appears to be an alternative to two cycles of BEP and to have a lower relapse rate than retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. If confirmed by other centers, 1 cycle of adjuvant BEP chemotherapy should become a first-line treatment option for this group of patients.


Background

Although sequential targeted therapy is standard in patients with metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (m-ccRCC), the choice of drugs and optimal administration sequence have yet to be established. The objective of this study was to explore whether it is preferable to rechallenge a long-term responder to a first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) with a TKI or whether to switch to a mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor (mTORi); to determine whether second-line treatment response depends on duration of first-line response (TD1).

Patients and methods

Retrospective multicenter study (2004–2011) of 241 consecutive mRCC patients (clear-cell histology) who received a first-line TKI for ≥6 months followed by a second-line TKI (n = 118) or mTORi (n = 123). End points: Progression-free survival (PFS) and time-to-treatment failure (TTF) on second-line therapy. Multivariable full-model: second-line drug, TD1, ECOG-PS before first- and second-line, best objective response (first-line), Fuhrman grade, number of metastatic sites, and presence of bone metastases. Adjustment covariable: International mRCC Database Consortium (IMDC) risk score. Multiple propensity score and missing data methods were used. Any correlation between first-line and second-line PFS was investigated using censored quantile regression models (CQRM).

Results

Sequence effect in the overall cohort was in favor of the TKI–TKI sequence over the TKI–mTORi sequence on using TD1 as continuous covariable (HR 0.75 for PFS and TTF). TKI–TKI superiority was attributed in large part to the 11–22 month (TD1) subgroup of patients which displayed significantly better outcomes [HR 0.5; median PFS (months): 9.4 (5.9–12.2) versus 3.9 (3.0–5.5), P = 0.003; TTF(months): 8.0 (5.5–11.0) versus 3.6 (3.0–4.6), P = 0.009]. Upon full CQRM, long-term second-line responders were more likely to have received a second TKI than an mTORi and to have been long-term responders to first-line TKI.

Conclusions

m-ccRCC patients who remained on first-line TKI between 11 and 22 months benefited from a TKI rechallenge rather than from second-line mTORi.


Background

Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs) are rare and heterogeneous diseases with dismal outcome when treated with chemotherapy alone. Because allogeneic stem-cell transplantation (allo-SCT) can cure relapse/refractory patients, we hypothesized that upfront allo-SCT may provide a better outcome. Therefore, all patients that presented with advanced PTCL in our institution at diagnosis were scheduled to undergo upfront allo-SCT after induction chemotherapy.

Patients and methods

The aim of the present work was to assess the feasibility and toxicity of upfront allo-SCT. From 2004 to 2012, 49 newly diagnosed PTCL patients were scheduled to receive upfront allo-SCT. A human leukocyte antigen-matched donor was found for 42 patients: related to the patient in 15 cases, unrelated in 20 cases, and suitable cord blood units were used in 7 cases.

Results

After induction chemotherapy, 17 patients reached complete remission and 29 (60%) proceeded to upfront allo-SCT. For all patients, the 1 and 2-year overall survival (OS) rates were 59% [95% confidence interval (CI) 47–75] and 55% (95% CI 43–71), respectively. The most frequent reason we did not proceed to allo-SCT was disease progression or insufficient response after induction. For transplanted patients, the 1- and 2-year OS were 76% (95% CI 62–93) and 72.5% (95% CI 58–91), respectively. Toxicity-related mortality (TRM) 1 year after allo-SCT was only 8.2% (95% CI 0–18.5). The 2-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate of patients who did not proceed to allo-SCT (n = 20) was below 30%. The disease status at the time of transplantation was a strong predictive marker for both PFS and OS in transplant patients.

Conclusions

Upfront allo-SCT in PTCLs is feasible with low TRM, and it provides long-term disease control. However, one-third of patients remain chemo-refractory and, thus, new therapeutic approaches are warranted. The role of upfront allo-SCT compared with other therapeutic approaches in PTCLs requires investigation in randomized studies.


Background

Transformation of indolent lymphomas (IL) to an aggressive histology (TIL) often results in a rapid clinical course, treatment refractoriness and shortened survival. Although rituximab-containing regimens (R-chemo) have become standard of care in CD20-positive TIL, the role of autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) is still debated. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the outcome of TIL patients improved if they, at transformation, also received ASCT. Furthermore, we investigated the outcome of cases with histologically low- and high-grade components diagnosed either simultaneously or after a period of overt indolent disease. We also analyzed, whether prior rituximab treatment during the indolent course of the disease affected outcome after transformation.

Patients and methods

Eighty-five patients (≤68 years) with histologically confirmed TIL were included. Five-year overall (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were calculated. Selected parameters were tested in a multivariate analysis. All analyses were conducted on three cohorts: (i) whole cohort (all TIL), (ii) patients with co-existing evidence of both indolent and aggressive histology at diagnosis (Composite/discordant TIL) and (iii) patients transformed after prolonged prior indolent disease (sequential TIL).

Results

Fifty-four patients (64%) received ASCT consolidation and 31 (36%) did not. Within the ‘all TIL’ cohort, the 5-year OS and PFS for R-chemo + ASCT versus R-chemo alone, were 67% versus 48% (P = 0.11) and 60% versus 30% (P = 0.02), respectively. Furthermore, in ‘Composite/discordant TIL’ R-chemo + ASCT showed no impact on OS (76% versus 67%; P = 0.66) or PFS (71% versus 62%; P = 0.54). Conversely, R-chemo + ASCT improved the outcome of ‘sequential TIL’ (OS 62% versus 36%; P = 0.07; PFS 53% versus 6%; P = 0.002), regardless of prior rituximab therapy. The beneficial effect of ASCT was significantly higher in patients who had not received rituximab at IL stage.

Conclusions

ASCT improved the outcome in sequential, but not composite/discordant TIL. The beneficial impact of ASCT was greater in patients, who were rituximab-naïve at transformation.


Background

Death within 1 month of surgery is considered treatment related and serves as an important health care quality metric. We sought to identify the incidence of and factors associated with 1-month mortality after cancer-directed surgery.

Patients and methods

We used the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program to study a cohort of 1 110 236 patients diagnosed from 2004 to 2011 with cancers that are among the 10 most common or most fatal who received cancer-directed surgery. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with 1-month mortality after cancer-directed surgery.

Results

A total of 53 498 patients (4.8%) died within 1 month of cancer-directed surgery. Patients who were married, insured, or who had a top 50th percentile income or educational status had lower odds of 1-month mortality from cancer-directed surgery {[adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.80; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.79–0.82; P < 0.001], (AOR 0.88; 95% CI 0.82–0.94; P < 0.001), (AOR 0.95; 95% CI 0.93–0.97; P < 0.001), and (AOR 0.98; 95% CI 0.96–0.99; P = 0.043), respectively}. Patients who were non-white minority, male, or older (per year increase), or who had advanced tumor stage 4 disease all had a higher risk of 1-month mortality after cancer-directed surgery, with AORs of 1.13 (95% CI 1.11–1.15), P < 0.001; 1.11 (95% CI 1.08–1.13), P < 0.001; 1.02 (95% 1.02–1.03), P < 0.001; and 1.89 (95% CI 1.82–1.95), P < 0.001 respectively.

Conclusions

Unmarried, uninsured, non-white, male, older, less educated, and poorer patients were all at a significantly higher risk for death within 1 month of cancer-directed surgery. Efforts to reduce 1-month surgical mortality and eliminate sociodemographic disparities in this adverse outcome could significantly improve survival among patients with cancer.


Background

Four international study groups undertook a large study in resectable osteosarcoma, which included two randomised controlled trials, to determine the effect on survival of changing post-operative chemotherapy based on histological response.

Patients and methods

Patients with resectable osteosarcoma aged ≤40 years were treated with the MAP regimen, comprising pre-operatively of two 5-week cycles of cisplatin 120 mg/m2, doxorubicin 75 mg/m2, methotrexate 12 g/m2 x 2 (MAP) and post-operatively two further cycles of MAP and two cycles of just MA. Patients were randomised after surgery. Those with ≥10% viable tumour in the resected specimen received MAP or MAP with ifosfamide and etoposide. Those with <10% viable tumour were allocated to MAP or MAP followed by pegylated interferon. Longitudinal evaluation of quality of life was undertaken.

Results

Recruitment was completed to the largest osteosarcoma study to date in 75 months. Commencing March 2005, 2260 patients were registered from 326 centres across 17 countries. About 1334 of 2260 registered patients (59%) were randomised. Pre-operative chemotherapy was completed according to protocol in 94%. Grade 3–4 neutropenia affected 83% of cycles and 59% were complicated by infection. There were three (0.13%) deaths related to pre-operative chemotherapy. At definitive surgery, 50% of patients had at least 90% necrosis in the resected specimen.

Conclusions

New models of collaboration are required to successfully conduct trials to improve outcomes of patients with rare cancers; EURAMOS-1 demonstrates achievability. Considerable regulatory, financial and operational challenges must be overcome to develop similar studies in the future.

The trial is registered as NCT00134030 and ISRCTN 67613327.


Background

Pyrexia is a frequent adverse event with combined dabrafenib and trametinib therapy (CombiDT), but little is known of its clinical associations, etiology, or appropriate management.

Patients and methods

All patients on the BRF133220 phase I/II trial of CombiDT treated at the standard dose (150/2) were included for assessment of pyrexia (n = 201). BRAF and MEK inhibitor-naïve patients (n = 117) were included for efficacy analyses. Pyrexia was defined as temperature ≥38°C (≥100.4°F) or related symptoms.

Results

Fifty-nine percent of patients developed pyrexia during treatment, 24% of which had pyrexia symptoms without a recorded elevation in body temperature. Pyrexia was grade 2+ in 60% of pyrexia patients. Median time to onset of first pyrexia was 19 days, with a median duration of 9 days. Pyrexia patients had a median of two pyrexia events, but 21% had three or more events. Various pyrexia management approaches were conducted in this study. A trend was observed between dabrafenib and hydroxy-dabrafenib exposure and pyrexia. No baseline clinical characteristics predicted pyrexia, and pyrexia was not statistically significantly associated with treatment outcome.

Conclusions

Pyrexia is a frequent and recurrent toxicity with CombiDT treatment. No baseline features predict pyrexia, and it is not associated with clinical outcome. Dabrafenib and metabolite exposure may contribute to the etiology of pyrexia. The optimal secondary prophylaxis for pyrexia is best studied in a prospective trial.


Background

Safety assessment beyond the dose-limiting toxicity evaluation period provides relevant information to define the recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of a new treatment. We retrospectively analyzed three phase I trials to illustrate two indicators: per-cycle probability of graded toxicity and cumulative probability of severe toxicity over the treatment period.

Patients and methods

Data were collected from two continual reassessment method (CRM) trials (T1: aviscumine in solid tumors with short time on treatment; T2: erlotinib + radiotherapy in brainstem gliomas with longer time on treatment) and one 3 + 3 design (T3: liposomal doxorubicin + cyclophosphamide combination in ovarian carcinoma). The probability of severe and moderate or severe toxicity per cycle was estimated at each dose level with mixed proportional odds model. The cumulative probability of severe toxicity was also estimated with the time-to-event CRM.

Results

Eighty-three patients were included in the three trials; 94, 96 and 72 treatment cycles were administered, in T1, T2 and T3, respectively. Moderate toxicities were at least twice as frequent as severe toxicities. An increased probability of toxicity over time was detected in T3 [P = 0.04; per-cycle probability of severe toxicity: 27% (cycle 1) to 59% (cycle 6) at the RP2D]. At the RP2D, 37% of patients experienced at least one severe toxicity over the first six cycles in T2, and 78% in T3.

Conclusions

Dedicated methods can be used to analyze toxicities from all cycles of treatment. They do not delay accrual and should be integrated in the analysis and reporting of phase I dose-finding trials.


Background

Immunoregulatory cytokines may play a fundamental role in tumor growth and metastases. Their effects are mediated through complex regulatory networks. Human cytokine profiles could define patient subgroups and represent new potential biomarkers. The aim of this study was to associate a cytokine profile obtained through data mining with the clinical characteristics of patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Patients and methods

We conducted a prospective study of the plasma levels of 14 immunoregulatory cytokines by ELISA and a cytometric bead array assay in 110 NSCLC patients before chemotherapy and 25 control subjects. Cytokine levels and data-mining profiles were associated with clinical, quality of life and pathological outcomes.

Results

NSCLC patients had higher levels of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-12p70, IL-17a and interferon (IFN)-, and lower levels of IL-33 and IL-29 compared with controls. The pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1b, IL-6 and IL-8 were associated with lower hemoglobin levels, worse functional performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, ECOG), fatigue and hyporexia. The anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4, IL-10 and IL-33 were associated with anorexia and lower body mass index. We identified three clusters of patients according to data-mining analysis with different overall survival (OS; 25.4, 16.8 and 5.09 months, respectively, P = 0.0012). Multivariate analysis showed that ECOG performance status and data-mining clusters were significantly associated with OS (RR 3.59, [95% CI 1.9–6.7], P < 0.001 and 2.2, [1.2–3.8], P = 0.005).

Conclusion

Our results provide evidence that complex cytokine networks may be used to identify patient subgroups with different prognoses in advanced NSCLC. These cytokines may represent potential biomarkers, particularly in the immunotherapy era in cancer research.