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Annals of Surgical Oncology

Annals of Oncology - current issue
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Background

Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) was traditionally associated with smoking and alcohol use; however, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has recently been implicated as a novel risk factor for oropharyngeal tumors. Furthermore, HPV-associated oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) appears to be a distinct entity with different epidemiology, biology, and clinical outcomes.

Methods

Here, we comprehensively review the existing data regarding HPV status and prognostic or predictive outcomes in both the locoregionally advanced (LA) and recurrent/metastatic (RM) disease setting and discuss ongoing trials that may eventually impact the treatment of patients with HPV-positive (HPV+) SCCHN.

Results

A body of retrospective and prospective data established an association between HPV+ OPC and better survival, particularly for LA disease. Current data on RM disease are limited, but they also suggest prognostic significance for HPV.

Conclusions

Better outcomes in HPV+ LA disease may allow for less aggressive treatment in the future, and several trials are evaluating deintensified regimens in patients with HPV+, LA OPC; it should be emphasized that deintensification strategies are appropriate only in a clinical research setting and only for selected subgroups of HPV+ patients. In addition, HPV-targeted strategies, such as vaccines, are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. On the other hand, the prognostic impact of HPV in RM disease requires further validation before any modifications in treatment can be made. Likewise, the predictive significance of HPV status in both disease settings remains to be defined.

Clinical Trial Numbers

NCT00226239, NCT00301028, NCT00387127, NCT00410826, NCT00503997, NCT00514943, NCT00544414, NCT00768664, NCT00939627, NCT01084083, NCT01302834, NCT01687413, NCT01706939.


Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) is considered a worldwide health care problem. The majority of patients have a history of alcohol abuse and high-level tobacco consumption; however, SCCHN is also associated with exposure to viruses including human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein–Barr virus. A major problem facing SCCHN patients is that their disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage where treatment options may not be curative, or can have severe post-treatment consequences. Confronted with their diagnosis and treatment options, the patient can express a range of emotional reactions which may lead to maladaptive coping. During the SCCHN patient journey, there are a number of stages where emotional support could be offered. A point of contact should be allocated to help patients navigate these stages and deliver practical emotive support (such as encouraging attendance at hospital appointments, compliance with lifestyle modifications and treatment adherence), and to identify if or when more advanced emotive support, in the form of a mental health professional, might be needed. This role might be carried out by a representative within the multidisciplinary health care team (e.g. a nurse). While optimal care is provided by specialist health care professionals, each with specific roles and responsibilities during the patient journey, all are important in screening for emotional distress and providing referral to the mental health team. This article reviews the key points for delivering emotional support to SCCHN patients at each stage of their care. Emotional problems cannot be ignored in SCCHN patients if optimal outcomes are to be achieved, particularly as therapeutic options extend overall survival for many patients. Health care professionals must be able to implement efficient screening for psychological distress to support patient's compliance to their care and treatment. They must also be able to recognize when to refer patients at risk for pharmacological and/or psychotherapeutic interventions.


Background

The introduction of rituximab (R) to conventional CHOP chemotherapy for newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) led to an unequivocal improvement in survival, establishing RCHOP as the standard of care. Still, nearly 40% of DLBCL patients will eventually die of relapsed disease. Efforts to improve outcomes by addition of new biologic agents (X) to the RCHOP backbone are underway. In this era of R(X)CHOP, it is imperative to develop prognostic and predictive markers, not only to identify patients who will suffer a particularly aggressive course, but also to accurately select patients for clinical trials from which they will most benefit.

Design

The following review was undertaken to describe prognostic factors in DLBCL, with emphasis on markers that are accurate, relatively available, and clinically applicable in 2014.

Results

The International Prognostic Index retains its validity in the era of RCHOP, although with limited ability to predict those with <50% chance of long-term survival. Gene expression profiling has provided novel insights into the biology of DLBCL and led to the development of immunohistochemistry (IHC) algorithms that are in routine practice. Identification of a ‘double-hit’ (DH) lymphoma by fluorescent in situ hybridization with aberrations involving MYC and/or BCL2 and BCL6 genes has important implications due to its extremely dismal prognosis with RCHOP. Other markers such as the absolute lymphocyte count (ALC), serum immunoglobulin free light chains, vitamin D levels, serum cytokines/chemokines, and imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) have all shown promise as future predictive/prognostic tests.

Conclusions

The future for new treatment options in DLBCL is promising with current clinical trials testing novel targeted agents such as bortezomib, lenalidomide, and ibrutinib as the ‘X’ in R(X)CHOP. Predictive factors are required to select and randomize patients appropriately for these trials. We envision the day when ‘X’ will be chosen based on the biological characteristics of the tumor.


Radiotherapy (RT) is a key component of the management of older cancer patients. Level I evidence in older patients is limited. The International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) established a task force to make recommendations for curative RT in older patients and to identify future research priorities. Evidence-based guidelines are provided for breast, lung, endometrial, prostate, rectal, pancreatic, oesophageal, head and neck, central nervous system malignancies and lymphomas. Patient selection should include comorbidity and geriatric evaluation. Advances in radiation planning and delivery improve target coverage, reduce toxicity and widen eligibility for treatment. Shorter courses of hypofractionated whole breast RT are safe and effective. Conformal RT and involved-field techniques without elective nodal irradiation have improved outcomes in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) without increasing toxicity. Where comorbidities preclude surgery, stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) is an option for early-stage NSCLC and pancreatic cancer. Modern involved-field RT for lymphoma based on pre-treatment positron emission tomography data has reduced toxicity. Significant comorbidity is a relative contraindication to aggressive treatment in low-risk prostate cancer (PC). For intermediate-risk disease, 4–6 months of hormones are combined with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT). For high-risk PC, combined modality therapy (CMT) is advised. For high-intermediate risk, endometrial cancer vaginal brachytherapy is recommended. Short-course EBRT is an alternative to CMT in older patients with rectal cancer without significant comorbidities. Endorectal RT may be an option for early disease. For primary brain tumours, shorter courses of postoperative RT following maximal debulking provide equivalent survival to longer schedules. MGMT methylation status may help select older patients for temozolomide alone. Stereotactic RT provides an alternative to whole-brain RT in patients with limited brain metastases. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy provides an excellent technique to reduce dose to the carotids in head and neck cancer and improves locoregional control in oesophageal cancer. Best practice and research priorities are summarised.


Background

In a Spanish Lung Cancer Group (SLCG) phase II trial, the combination of BRCA1 and receptor-associated protein 80 (RAP80) expression was significantly associated with outcome in Caucasian patients with nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The SLCG therefore undertook an industry-independent collaborative randomized phase III trial comparing nonselected cisplatin-based chemotherapy with therapy customized according to BRCA1/RAP80 expression. An analogous randomized phase II trial was carried out in China under the auspices of the SLCG to evaluate the effect of BRCA1/RAP80 expression in Asian patients.

Patients and methods

Eligibility criteria included stage IIIB–IV NSCLC and sufficient tumor specimen for molecular analysis. Randomization to the control or experimental arm was 1 : 1 in the SLCG trial and 1 : 3 in the Chinese trial. In both trials, patients in the control arm received docetaxel/cisplatin; in the experimental arm, patients with low RAP80 expression received gemcitabine/cisplatin, those with intermediate/high RAP80 expression and low/intermediate BRCA1 expression received docetaxel/cisplatin, and those with intermediate/high RAP80 expression and high BRCA1 expression received docetaxel alone. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS).

Results

Two hundred and seventy-nine patients in the SLCG trial and 124 in the Chinese trial were assessable for PFS. PFS in the control and experimental arms in the SLCG trial was 5.49 and 4.38 months, respectively [log rank P = 0.07; hazard ratio (HR) 1.28; P = 0.03]. In the Chinese trial, PFS was 4.74 and 3.78 months, respectively (log rank P = 0.82; HR 0.95; P = 0.82).

Conclusion

Accrual was prematurely closed on the SLCG trial due to the absence of clinical benefit in the experimental over the control arm. However, the BREC studies provide proof of concept that an international, nonindustry, biomarker-directed trial is feasible. Thanks to the groundwork laid by these studies, we expect that ongoing further research on alternative biomarkers to elucidate DNA repair mechanisms will help define novel therapeutic approaches.

Trial registration

NCT00617656/GECP-BREC and ChiCTR-TRC-12001860/BREC-CHINA


Background

Iniparib is a novel anticancer agent initially considered a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, but subsequently shown to act via non-selective protein modification through cysteine adducts. This randomized phase II study investigated the addition of iniparib to gemcitabine–cisplatin in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

Patients and methods

Patients with histologically confirmed stage IV NSCLC were randomized 2 : 1 to receive gemcitabine (1250 mg/m2, days 1/8) and cisplatin (75 mg/m2, day 1) with [gemcitabine/cisplatin/iniparib (GCI)] or without [gemcitabine/cisplatin (GC)] iniparib (5.6 mg/kg, days 1/4/8/11) every 3 weeks for six cycles. The primary end point was the overall response rate (ORR). Secondary objectives included progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and safety. The study was not designed for formal efficacy comparison, the control arm being to benchmark results against the literature.

Results

One hundred and nineteen patients were randomized (39 GC and 80 GCI). More GCI patients were male (80% GCI and 67% GC) and had PS 0 (61% GCI and 49% GC). The ORR was 25.6% [95% confidence interval (CI) 13.0%–42.1%] with GC versus 20.0% (95% CI 11.9%–30.4%) with GCI, which did not allow rejection of the null hypothesis (ORR with GCI ≤20%; P = 0.545). Median PFS was 4.3 (95% CI 2.8–5.6) months with GC and 5.7 (95% CI 4.6–6.6) months with GCI (hazard ratio 0.89, 95% CI 0.56–1.40). Median OS was 8.5 (95% CI 5.5 to not reached) months with GC, and 12.0 (95% CI 8.9–17.1) months with GCI (hazard ratio 0.78, 95% CI 0.48–1.27). More GCI patients received second-line treatment (51% GC and 68% GCI). Toxicity was similar in the two arms. Grade 3–4 toxicities included asthenia (28% GC and 8% GCI), nausea (3% GC and 14% GCI), and decreased appetite (10% in each).

Conclusions

Addition of iniparib to GC did not improve ORR over GC alone. The GCI safety profile was comparable to GC alone. Imbalances in PS and gender distribution may have impacted study results regarding PFS and OS.

Trial Registration

ClinicalTrial.gov Identifier NCT01086254.


Background

Adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy has become the standard therapy against resected nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Because of variable results on its late effect, we reanalyze the long-term data of the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial (IALT) to describe in details the role of adjuvant chemotherapy.

Patients and methods

In the IALT, 1867 patients were randomized between adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy and control, who were followed up for a median of 7.5 years. Of these, 1687 patients were enrolled from 132 centers accepting to report the times to cancer events. We used event history methodology to estimate the effects of adjuvant chemotherapy on the risks of local relapse, distant metastasis, and death.

Results

Adjuvant chemotherapy was highly effective against local relapses [HR = 0.73; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60–0.90; P = 0.003] and nonbrain metastases (HR = 0.79; 95% CI 0.66–0.94; P = 0.008) but not against brain metastases (HR = 1.1; 95% CI 0.82–1.4; P = 0.61). The effect on noncancer mortality was nonsignificant during the first 5 years (HR = 1.1; 95% CI 0.81–1.5; P = 0.29), whereas the risk of noncancer mortality was subsequently higher with treatment (HR = 3.6; 95% CI 2.2–5.9; P < 0.001). This harmful effect, however, potentially concerned only about 2% of the patients at 8 years.

Conclusion

Adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy reduced the risk of local relapse and of nonbrain metastasis, thereby improving survival. This treatment exerted no residual effect on mortality during the first 5 years, but a higher risk of noncancer mortality was found thereafter. Detailed long-term follow-up is strongly recommended for all patients in randomized trials evaluating adjuvant treatments in NSCLC.


Background

SWENOTECA has since 1998 offered patients with clinical stage I (CS I) nonseminoma, adjuvant chemotherapy with one course of bleomycin, etoposide and cisplatin (BEP). The aim has been to reduce the risk of relapse, sparing patients the need of toxic salvage treatment. Initial results on 312 patients treated with one course of adjuvant BEP, with a median follow-up of 4.5 years, have been previously published. We now report mature and expanded results.

Patients and methods

In a prospective, binational, population-based risk-adapted treatment protocol, 517 Norwegian and Swedish patients with CS I nonseminoma received one course of adjuvant BEP. Patients with lymphovascular invasion (LVI) in the primary testicular tumor were recommended one course of adjuvant BEP. Patients without LVI could choose between surveillance and one course of adjuvant BEP. Data for patients receiving one course of BEP are presented in this study.

Results

At a median follow-up of 7.9 years, 12 relapses have occurred, all with IGCCC good prognosis. The latest relapse occurred 3.3 years after adjuvant treatment. The relapse rate at 5 years was 3.2% for patients with LVI and 1.6% for patients without LVI. Five-year cause-specific survival was 100%.

Conclusions

The updated and expanded results confirm a low relapse rate following one course of adjuvant BEP in CS I nonseminoma. One course of adjuvant BEP should be considered a standard treatment in CS I nonseminoma with LVI. For patients with CS I nonseminoma without LVI, one course of adjuvant BEP is also a treatment option.


Background

We aimed to analyze prognostic factors for relapse in stage I seminoma managed by either active surveillance or adjuvant chemotherapy, and to describe the long-term patterns of recurrence in both groups.

Patients and methods

From 1994 to 2008, 744 patients were included in three consecutive, prospective risk-adapted studies by the Spanish Germ Cell Cancer Group. Low-risk patients were managed by surveillance and high-risk patients were given two courses of adjuvant carboplatin. Relapses were treated mainly with chemotherapy. Patient age, tumor size, histological variant, pT staging, rete testis invasion, and preoperative serum BHCG levels were assessed for prediction of disease-free survival (DFS).

Results

After a median follow-up of 80 months, 63 patients (11.1%) have relapsed: 51/396 (14.8%) on surveillance and 12/348 (3.2%) following adjuvant carboplatin. Actuarial overall 5-year DFS was 92.3% (88.3% for surveillance versus 96.8% for chemotherapy, P = 0.0001). Median time to relapse was 14 months. Most recurrences were located at retroperitoneum (86%), with a median tumor size of 26 mm. All patients were rendered disease-free with chemotherapy (92%), radiotherapy (5%), or surgery followed by chemotherapy (3%). A nomogram was developed from surveillance patients that includes two independent, predictive factors for relapse: rete testis invasion and tumor size (as a continuous variable).

Conclusion

Long-term follow-up confirms the risk-adapted approach as an effective option for patients with stage I seminoma. The pattern of relapses after adjuvant chemotherapy is similar to that observed following surveillance. A new nomogram for prediction of DFS among patients on surveillance is proposed. Rete testis invasion and tumor size should be taken into account when considering the administration of adjuvant carboplatin. Prospective validation is warranted.


Background

Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression in nonclear-cell RCC (non-ccRCC) and its association with clinical outcomes are unknown.

Methods

Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens were obtained from 101 patients with non-ccRCC. PD-L1 expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry in both tumor cell membrane and tumor-infiltrating mononuclear cells (TIMC). PD-L1 tumor positivity was defined as ≥5% tumor cell membrane staining. For PD-L1 expression in TIMC, a combined score based on the extent of infiltrate and percentage of positive cells was used. Baseline clinico-pathological characteristics and outcome data [time to recurrence (TTR) and overall survival (OS)] were correlated with PD-L1 staining.

Results

Among 101 patients, 11 (10.9%) were considered PD-L1+ in tumor cells: 2/36 (5.6%) of chromophobe RCC, 5/50 (10%) of papillary RCC, 3/10 (30%) of Xp11.2 translocation RCC and 1/5 (20%) of collecting duct carcinoma. PD-L1 positivity (PD-L1+) in tumor cells was significantly associated with higher stage (P = 0.01) and grade (P = 0.03), as well as shorter OS (P < 0.001). On the other hand, PD-L1 positivity by TIMC was observed in 57 (56.4%) patients: 13/36 (36.1%) of chromophobe RCC, 30/50 (60%) of papillary RCC, 9/10 (90%) of Xp11.2 translocation RCC and 5/5 (100%) of collecting duct carcinoma. A trend toward shorter OS was observed in patients with PD-L1+ in TIMC (P = 0.08). PD-L1+ in both tumor cell membrane and TIMC cells were associated with shorter TTR (P = 0.02 and P = 0.03, respectively).

Conclusion

In non-ccRCC, patients with PD-L1+ tumors appear to have worse clinical outcomes, although only PD-L1 positivity in tumor cells is associated with higher tumor stage and grade.


Background

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is a highly heterogeneous disease with great differences in outcome to both chemo- and endocrine therapy. Better insight into the mechanisms underlying resistance is essential to better predict outcome to therapy and to obtain a more tailored treatment approach. We have previously described that increased mRNA expression levels of Enhancer of Zeste homolog (EZH2) are associated with worse outcome to tamoxifen therapy in MBC. Here, we explored whether this is also the case for EZH2 protein expression.

Patients and methods

A tissue microarray (TMA) was created using formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded estrogen receptor (ER)-positive primary breast tumor tissues of 250 MBC patients treated with first-line tamoxifen. Quantity and intensity of EZH2 expression were determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and both were used to generate and group scores according to a previously described method for scoring EZH2.

Results

In total, 116 tumors (46%) were considered to be EZH2 positive. The presence of EZH2 protein expression was significantly associated with progression-free survival (PFS) in both univariate [hazard ratio (HR) 1.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.17–1.97, P = 0.002] and multivariate analysis including traditional factors associated with tamoxifen outcome (HR 1.41, 95% CI 1.06–1.88, P = 0.017). Considering quantity irrespective of intensity, tumors with >50% EZH2-positive cells had the worst PFS (HR 2.15, 95% CI 1.42–3.27, P < 0.001), whereas intensity alone did not show a significant association with PFS. Application of other methods of scoring EZH2 positivity resulted in a similar significant association between the amount of EZH2 positive cells and PFS.

Conclusion

In addition to EZH2 mRNA levels, these results suggest that protein expression of EZH2 can be used as a marker to predict outcome to tamoxifen therapy. This provides new rationale to explore EZH2 inhibition in the clinical setting and increases the possibilities for a more personalized treatment approach in MBC patients.


Background

Lenalidomide has dual antiangiogenic and immunomodulatory properties and confirmed antitumor activity in hematologic malignancies. A phase II study investigating the safety and efficacy of continuous lenalidomide in recurrent ovarian cancer patients was initiated.

Patients and methods

Patients with histologically confirmed epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal carcinoma, with asymptomatic recurrence 6 months after prior therapy were treated with continuous oral lenalidomide (20 mg/day). The primary end point was to evaluate efficacy according to the rate of disease control at 4 months. Secondary objectives were progression-free survival (PFS) and safety.

Results

Most of the 45 patients enrolled and treated had serous histology (78%) and a single line of prior chemotherapy (73%). Median platinum-free interval (PFI) was 11.3 months (range 6.9–56.8). Clinical benefit at 4 months was 38% [95% confidence interval (CI) 23% to 53%]. A 59% disease control rate was reported in patients with a PFI >12 months versus 24% with PFI of 6–12 months (P = 0.023). Four patients had RECIST partial responses and 21 had stable disease. CA125 responses were reported in eight patients, including one complete response. Median PFS was 3.4 months (95% CI 2.4–4.4). Most frequent toxicity was hematologic, notably grade 3–4 neutropenia in 29% of patients, along with fatigue (69%), gastrointestinal toxicity (constipation 53%, abdominal pain 49%, diarrhea 38%, nausea/vomiting 36%) and thrombosis (11%). Eight patients withdrew due to related toxicity.

Conclusions

Lenalidomide shows interesting efficacy in late recurrent ovarian cancer patients. Toxicity was mainly hematologic, gastrointestinal and venous thrombosis. Future studies will evaluate combination of lenalidomide with chemotherapy agents.

Clinicaltrials.gov

NCT01111903.


Background

Distant metastasis is the major cause of cancer-related death, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has a critical role in this process. Accumulating evidence indicates that EMT can be regulated by microRNAs (miRNAs). miR-29c has been implicated as a tumor suppressor in several human cancers. However, the role of miR-29c in the progression of colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasis remains largely unknown.

Patients and methods

The expression of miR-29c was examined by qRT-PCR in a cohort of primary CRC (PC) and distant liver metastasis (LM) tissues. A series of in vivo and in vitro assays were carried out in order to elucidate the functions of miR-29c and the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of metastatic CRC.

Results

miR-29c was markedly downregulated in PCs with distant metastasis and determined to be an independent predictor of shortened patient survival. But LM tissues showed higher levels of miR-29c than that in PC tissues. In CRC cells, miR-29c dramatically suppressed cell migration and invasion abilities in vitro and cancer metastasis in vivo. In addition, miR-29c inhibited EMT and negatively regulated Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. Guanine nucleotide binding protein alpha13 (GNA13) and protein tyrosine phosphatase type IVA (PTP4A) were identified as direct targets of miR-29c, which acted through ERK/GSK3β/β-catenin and AKT/GSK3β/β-catenin pathways, respectively, to regulate EMT. Furthermore, significant associations between miR-29c, its target genes (GNA13 and PTP4A) and EMT markers were validated in both PC and LM tissues.

Conclusion

Our findings highlight the important role of miR-29c in regulating CRC EMT via GSK-3β/β-catenin signaling by targeting GNA13 and PTP4A and provide new insights into the metastatic basis of CRC.


Background

In T3 rectal cancer (RC), preoperative chemoradiotherapy [5-fluorouracil (5-FU–RT)] reduces local recurrences, but does not affect overall survival. New therapeutic options are still necessary to improve clinical outcomes.

Patients and methods

This randomized, noncomparative, open-label, multicenter, two arms, phase II study was conducted in MRI-defined locally advanced T3 resectable RC. In arm A, patients received 12-week bevacizumab plus 5-FU, leucovorin and oxaliplatin (Folfox-4) followed with bevacizumab–5-FU–RT before total mesorectal excision (TME). In arm B, patients received only bevacizumab-5-FU–RT before TME. Primary end point was pathological complete response (pCR) rate.

Results

Forty-six patients were randomized in arm A and 45 patients in arm B. In arm A, the rate of pCR was 23.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 12.1% to 39.5%] statistically superior to the defined standard rate of 10%, P = 0.015. In arm B, the rate of pCR of 11.4% (95% CI 3.8% to 24.6%) was not different from 10%, P = 0.906. No death occurred during the study period, from the start until 8 weeks following surgery. Postoperative fistulas were reported for 16 patients (7 in arm A and 9 in arm B).

Conclusion

Even if the addition of bevacizumab induced manageable toxicities including an increased risk of postoperative fistula and no treatment-related death, arm B did not achieve the expected pCR rate in the population of patients included. Induction bevacizumab–Folfox-4 followed by bevacizumab–5-FU–RT is promising. It is however necessary to continue investigations in the management of locally advanced RC.

Clinical Trials.gov Identifier

NCT 00865189.


Background

Optimal frontline therapy for peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) in the modern era remains unclear.

Patients and methods

We examined patient characteristics, treatment, and outcomes among 341 newly diagnosed PTCL patients from 2000 to 2011. Outcome was compared with a matched cohort of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients, and prognostic factors were assessed using univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results

PTCL subtypes included PTCL, not otherwise specified (PTCL-NOS) (31%), anaplastic large T-cell lymphoma (ALCL) (26%), angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (23%), NK/T-cell lymphoma (7%), acute T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (6%), and other (7%). Median age was 62 years (range 18-95 years), and 74% had stage III-IV disease. Twenty-three (7%) patients received only palliative care whereas 318 received chemotherapy: CHOP-like regimens (70%), hyperCVAD/MA (6%), or other (18%). Thirty-three patients (10%) underwent stem-cell transplantation (SCT) in first remission. The overall response rate was 73% (61% complete); 24% had primary refractory disease. With 39-month median follow-up, 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 32% and 52%. PFS and OS for PTCL patients were significantly inferior to matched patients with DLBCL. On multivariate analysis, stage I–II disease was the only significant pretreatment prognostic factor [PFS: hazard ratio (HR) 0.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34–0.85, P = 0.007; OS: HR 0.42, 95% CI 0.22–0.78, P = 0.006]. ALK positivity in ALCL was prognostic on univariate analysis, but lost significance on multivariate analysis. The most dominant prognostic factor was response to initial therapy (complete response versus other), including adjustment for stage and SCT [PFS: HR 0.19, 95% CI 0.14–0.28, P < 0.0001; OS: HR 0.26, 95% CI 0.17–0.40, P < 0.0001]. No overall survival difference was observed based on choice of upfront regimen or SCT in first remission.

Conclusions

This analysis identifies early-stage disease and initial treatment response as dominant prognostic factors in PTCL. No clear benefit was observed for patients undergoing consolidative SCT. Novel therapeutic approaches for PTCL are critically needed.


Background

High-dose therapy and autologous stem-cell transplant (HDT/ASCT) is the preferred treatment of chemosensitive relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). The role for HDT/ASCT in chemoresistant HL is less well defined. We evaluated long-term outcomes of relapsed/refractory HL patients whose disease was refractory to secondary chemotherapy preceding HDT/ASCT.

Patients and methods

All HL patients who underwent HDT/ASCT in British Columbia for primary progression (PP, defined as progression within 3 months of initial therapy completion) or first relapse (REL1) were reviewed. Patients were grouped based on response to secondary chemotherapy as sensitive (S), resistant (R), and untested/unknown (U).

Results

A total of 256 patients underwent HDT/ASCT for PP (35%) or REL1 (65%) between 1985 and 2011. At median follow-up of 11.7 years, 58% were alive without HL, 36% relapsed; 6% died of transplant-related mortality, 3% secondary malignancies, and 3% unrelated causes. For PP/S, PP/R, and PP/U groups, 10-year FFS were 47%, 31%, and 38%; 10-year OS were 52%, 29%, and 37%, respectively. For REL1/S, REL1/R, and REL1/U groups, 10-year FFS were 64%, 51%, and 81%; 10-year OS were 71%, 59%, and 79%, respectively. In multivariate analysis, resistance to secondary chemotherapy predicted for post-transplant mortality in the PP (P = 0.04) but not REL1 (P = 0.16) groups.

Conclusion

In this large uniformly treated cohort of HL patients with long-term follow-up, chemoresistance preceding HDT/ASCT was identified as a poor prognostic factor; however, this factor can be partially overcome by HDT/ASCT, resulting in cure in 30%–50% of patients. HDT/ASCT should therefore be considered in all transplant eligible patients, regardless of responsiveness to salvage chemotherapy.


Background

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of the high-dose regimen on the outcome of patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) having had autologous stem-cell transplantation (ASCT) in a recent time period.

Patients

Between 1995 and 2007, 2233 patients with FL had their first ASCT with either a total body irradiation (TBI)-containing regimen or carmustin, etoposide, cytarabine and melphalan (BEAM), of which 47% were autografted in first remission.

Results

After a median observation time of 73 months (interquartile range 30–107), 5- and 10-year non-relapse mortality (NRM) was similar (6% and 10% in both groups). No significant NRM differences became evident after multivariate adjustment for confounders. Secondary malignancies were observed in 9.7% and 7.9% of the patients after TBI and BEAM (P = 0.19), which were treatment-related myelodysplastic syndromes/acute myelogenous leukaemia (t-MDS/AML) in 3.4% and 2.8% (P = 0.57). The median time to t-MDS/AML was around 50 months in both groups. Because of a lower relapse incidence, TBI was associated with better event-free survival reaching statistical significance in the patients transplanted in first remission but not in those transplanted beyond first remission.

Conclusions

In patients with FL who received TBI-based ASCT after 1995 increased NRM and t-MDS/AML risks did not emerge compared with BEAM while disease control was at least equivalent.


Background

A germline mutation in the 3'-untranslated region of KRAS (rs61764370, KRAS-variant: TG/GG) has previously been associated with altered patient outcome and drug resistance/sensitivity in various cancers. We examined the prognostic and predictive significance of this variant in recurrent/metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).

Patients and methods

We conducted a retrospective study of 103 HNSCCs collected from three completed clinical trials. KRAS-variant genotyping was conducted for these samples and 8 HNSCC cell lines. p16 expression was determined in a subset of 26 oropharynx tumors by immunohistochemistry. Microarray analysis was also utilized to elucidate differentially expressed genes between KRAS-variant and non-variant tumors. Drug sensitivity in cell lines was evaluated to confirm clinical findings.

Results

KRAS-variant status was determined in 95/103 (92%) of the HNSCC tumor samples and the allelic frequency of TG/GG was 32% (30/95). Three of the HNSCC cell lines (3/8) studied had the KRAS-variant. No association between KRAS-variant status and p16 expression was observed in the oropharynx subset (Fisher's exact test, P = 1.0). With respect to patient outcome, patients with the KRAS-variant had poor progression-free survival when treated with cisplatin (log-rank P = 0.002). Conversely, KRAS-variant patients appeared to experience some improvement in disease control when cetuximab was added to their platinum-based regimen (log-rank P = 0.04).

Conclusions

The TG/GG rs61764370 KRAS-variant is a potential predictive biomarker for poor platinum response in R/M HNSCC patients.

Clinical trial registration numbers

NCT00503997, NCT00425750, NCT00003809.


Background

Exercise has been reported to decrease cancer-related fatigue and to increase quality of life (QoL) in various breast cancer (BC) populations. However, studies investigating exercise during radiotherapy or resistance training are scarce. We conducted a randomized, controlled trial (BEST study) to assess the efficacy of 12-week resistance training on fatigue beyond possible psychosocial effects of a group-based intervention.

Patients and methods

One hundred sixty patients with BC stage 0–III were randomly assigned to a 12-week progressive resistance training (2 times/week) or a 12-week relaxation control (RC, 2 times/week). Both interventions were group-based. The primary end point fatigue was assessed with a 20-item multidimensional questionnaire, QoL with EORTC questionnaires. Statistical analyses were based on analysis of covariance models for the individual changes from baseline to week 13.

Results

Adherence to the intervention program as well as the completion rate (97%) for the primary outcome variable fatigue was high. In intention-to-treat analyses for the N = 155 patients, significant between-group mean differences (MD) favoring the exercise group (EX) were observed for general fatigue (P = 0.044), especially for the subscale physical fatigue [MD = –0.8; 95% confidence interval –1.5 to –0.2, P = 0.013], but not for affective (P = 0.91) or cognitive fatigue (P = 0.65). For QoL, significantly larger improvements regarding the role function (P = 0.035) and pain (P = 0.040) were noted among exercisers compared with RCs. Future perspective improved significantly stronger in the RC group compared with the EX group (P = 0.047).

Conclusions

The 12-week resistance training program was a safe, feasible and efficacious strategy to improve cancer-related fatigue and components of QoL in BC patients during adjuvant radiotherapy. As exercise was compared with another group-based intervention, results indicate that resistance training effects on fatigue and QoL go beyond psychosocial benefits, and that the clinically relevant overall benefit of resistance exercise compared with usual care can be assumed to be higher.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01468766.


Background

Lucitanib is a potent, oral inhibitor fibroblast growth factor receptor types 1 and 2 (FGFR), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor types 1, 2, and 3 (VEGFR), platelet-derived growth factor receptor types α and β (PGFRα/β), which are essential kinases for tumor growth, survival, migration, and angiogenesis. Several tumor types, including breast carcinoma, demonstrate amplification of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-related genes. There are no approved drugs for molecularly defined FGF-aberrant (FGFR1- or FGF3/4/19-amplified) tumors.

Methods

This open-label phase I/IIa study involved a dose-escalation phase to determine maximum tolerated dose (MTD), recommended dose (RD), and pharmacokinetics of lucitanib in patients with advanced solid tumors, followed by a dose-expansion phase to obtain preliminary evidence of efficacy in patients who could potentially benefit from treatment (i.e. with tumors harboring FGF-aberrant pathway or considered angiogenesis-sensitive).

Results

Doses from 5 to 30 mg were evaluated with dose-limiting toxic effects dominated by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibition-related toxic effects at the 30 mg dose level (one case of grade 4 depressed level of consciousness and two cases of grade 3 thrombotic microangiopathy). The most common adverse events (all grades, all cohorts) were hypertension (91%), asthenia (42%), and proteinuria (57%). Exposure increased with dose and t1/2 was 31–40 h, suitable for once daily administration. Seventy-six patients were included. All but one had stage IV; 42% had >3 lines of previous chemotherapy. Sixty-four patients were assessable for response; 58 had measurable disease. Clinical activity was observed at all doses tested with durable Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) partial responses in a variety of tumor types. In the angiogenesis-sensitive group, objective RECIST response rate (complete response + partial response) was 26% (7 of 27) and progression-free survival (PFS) was 25 weeks. In assessable FGF-aberrant breast cancer patients, 50% (6 of 12) achieved RECIST partial response with a median PFS of 40.4 weeks for all treated patients.

Conclusion

Lucitanib has promising efficacy and a manageable side-effect profile. The spectrum of activity observed demonstrates clinical benefit in both FGF-aberrant and angiogenesis-sensitive populations. A comprehensive phase II program is planned.


Background

Persons living after a cancer diagnosis represent 4% of the whole population in high-income countries. The aim of the study was to provide estimates of indicators of long-term survival and cure for 26 cancer types, presently lacking.

Patients and methods

Data on 818 902 Italian cancer patients diagnosed at age 15–74 years in 1985–2005 were included. Proportions of patients with the same death rates of the general population (cure fractions) and those of prevalent patients who were not at risk of dying as a result of cancer (cure prevalence) were calculated, using validated mixture cure models, by cancer type, sex, and age group. We also estimated complete prevalence, conditional relative survival (CRS), time to reach 5- and 10-year CRS >95%, and proportion of patients living longer than those thresholds.

Results

The cure fractions ranged from >90% for patients aged <45 years with thyroid and testis cancers to <10% for liver and pancreatic cancers of all ages. Five- or 10-year CRS >95% were both reached in <10 years by patients with cancers of the stomach, colon–rectum, pancreas, corpus and cervix uteri, brain, and Hodgkin lymphoma. For breast cancer patients, 5- and 10-year CRSs reached >95% after 19 and 25 years, respectively, and in 15 and 18 years for prostate cancer patients. Five-year CRS remained <95% for >25 years after cancer diagnosis in patients with liver and larynx cancers, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, and leukaemia. Overall, the cure prevalence was 67% for men and 77% for women. Therefore, 21% of male and 31% of female patients had already reached 5-year CRS >95%, whereas 18% and 25% had reached 10-year CRS >95%.

Conclusions

A quarter of Italian cancer patients can be considered cured. This observation has a high potential impact on health planning, clinical practice, and patients' perspective.


Background

Chronic inflammation is known to be one of the main steps in carcinogenesis. Identification of those with chronic inflammation may help identify subjects at risk of cancer. Previous studies have reported low albumin-to-globulin ratio (AGR) to be associated with increased cancer mortality in cancer patients, but there has been no study based on healthy populations.

Patients and methods

Our retrospective cohort study involved 26 974 generally healthy adults aged 30 or older who visited Seoul National University Hospital Health Promotion Center for self-referred health checkup. National medical service claims data were used to determine cancer incidence, and Korean death registry data was used to determine mortality. Median follow-up time for survival was 5.9 years (interquartile range 4.1 years).

Results

Compared with subjects with AGR ≥ 1.5, subjects with 1.1 > AGR ≥ 1.0 and 1.0 > AGR showed adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 2.69 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.54–4.72) and aHR 6.71 (95% CI 3.56–12.66) for all-cause mortality, aHR 2.95 (95% CI 1.42–6.11) and aHR 4.38 (95% CI 1.57–12.25) for cancer mortality, and aHR 2.07 (95% CI 1.28–3.36) and aHR 3.99 (95% CI 2.10–7.58) for cancer incidence, respectively. When cancer incidence events after 2 years from baseline were separately analyzed, subjects with 1.1 > AGR ≥ 1.0 and 1.0 > AGR were associated with aHR 1.88 (95% CI 1.01–3.48) and aHR 2.55 (95% CI 1.03–7.11) for cancer incidence, respectively. Cancer events were increased in all types of cancer, but especially in liver and hematologic malignancies.

Conclusions

Low AGR is a risk factor for cancer incidence and mortality, both short- and long terms, in a generally healthy screened population. The results of this study need to be replicated in larger studies, along with the determination of the sensitivity and other diagnostic values of low AGR.


Background

Synovial sarcoma (SS) is an aggressive soft-tissue tumor. Despite being considered as a chemosensitive disease, the real impact of perioperative chemotherapy on metastasis-free survival (MFS) is controversial. We have shown that metastatic relapse of SS is strongly associated with genomic complexity. There are no data regarding the potential correlation between genomic complexity and response to chemotherapy.

Patients and methods

The study population included 65 SS patients diagnosed between 1991 and 2013 and with available tissue material. Genomic profiling was carried out by using array-CGH. Forty-five SS out of the 65 patients were treated with neoadjuvant anthracycline/ifosfamide-based chemotherapy. Radiological response was assessed according to RECIST criteria. Histological response was defined by the percentage of recognizable tumor cells on the surgical specimen.

Results

Genomic complexity was significantly associated with MFS. However, there was no statistically significant association between radiological or histological response and genomic complexity.

Conclusion

The absence of significant association between response to chemotherapy and genomic complexity suggests that the prognostic value of chromosome instability in SS is independent of response to chemotherapy; mechanisms leading to metastatic relapse of SS are intrinsic to the biology of the tumor and current cytotoxic drugs are only poorly efficient to prevent it.


Background

An exploratory translational analysis was conducted as part of a phase II study of dovitinib to assess the relevance of soluble serum proteins and circulating tumor (ct) DNA (ctDNA) as biomarkers in patients with tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-refractory gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs).

Patients and methods

Predose serum samples were collected from 30 patients on day 1 of cycle 1 and cycle 2. Serum levels of angiogenesis-related proteins were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and Beads, emulsions, amplification, and magnetics (BEAMing) assays were carried out to detect mutations in serum ctDNA.

Results

Dovitinib increased vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)165 (1.26-fold, P = 0.006), VEGF-A (1.27-fold, P = 0.004), placental growth factor (6.0-fold, P = 0.002), fibroblast growth factor 23 (1.45-fold, P = 0.02), and interleukin 8 (1.75-fold, P = 0.04) levels, and decreased soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (sVEGFR)-2 levels (0.8-fold, P = 0.001). The changes in sVEGFR-2 were significantly associated with metabolic response determined by positron emission tomography (P = 0.02) and progression-free survival (PFS; P = 0.02). Secondary kinase mutations were identified in the ctDNA of 11 patients (41%), and these patients all had mutations involving KIT exon 17. Patients with secondary KIT mutations had significantly worse overall survival {median, 5.5 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.8–7.2 months]} than those with no detectable secondary mutations [9.8 months (95% CI 9.6–10.0 months); hazard ratio = 2.7 (95% CI 1.0–7.3); P = 0.047].

Conclusions

Changes in sVEGFR-2 levels were associated with dovitinib-mediated antitumor activity. Genotyping of serum ctDNA with BEAMing is useful for the identification of resistant mutations potentially associated with poor prognosis in patients with GISTs.


Background

This report provides a survival update at a follow-up of >5 years (5.5–6 years) for patients with advanced melanoma who previously received ipilimumab in phase II clinical trials. Safety and efficacy data following ipilimumab retreatment are also reported.

Patients and methods

Patients who previously received ipilimumab 0.3, 3, or 10 mg/kg in one of six phase II trials (CA184-004, CA184-007, CA184-008, CA184-022, MDX010-08, and MDX010-15) were eligible to enroll in the companion study, CA184-025. Upon enrollment, patients initially received ipilimumab retreatment, extended maintenance therapy, or were followed for survival only. Overall survival (OS) rates were evaluated in patients from studies CA184-004, CA184-007, CA184-008, and CA184-022. Safety and best overall response during ipilimumab retreatment at 10 mg/kg were assessed in study CA184-025.

Results

Five-year OS rates for previously treated patients who received ipilimumab induction at 0.3, 3, or 10 mg/kg were 12.3%, 12.3%–16.5%, and 15.5%–28.4%, respectively. Five-year OS rates for treatment-naive patients who received ipilimumab induction at 3 or 10 mg/kg were 26.8% and 21.4%–49.5%, respectively. Little to no change in OS was observed from year 5 up to year 6. The objective response rate among retreated patients was 23%. Grade 3/4 immune-related adverse events occurred in 25%, 5.9%, and 13.2% of retreated patients who initially received ipilimumab 0.3, 3, and 10 mg/kg, with the most common being observed in the skin (4.2%, 2.9%, 3.8%) and gastrointestinal tract (12.5%, 2.9%, 3.8%), respectively.

Conclusions

At a follow-up of 5–6 years, ipilimumab continues to demonstrate durable, long-term survival in a proportion of patients with advanced melanoma. In some patients, ipilimumab retreatment can re-establish disease control with a safety profile that is comparable with that observed during ipilimumab induction. Further studies are needed to determine the contribution of ipilimumab retreatment to OS.

ClinicalTrials.gov

NCT00162123.


Background

Whether or not toxicity predicts clinical outcomes has long been a question regarding cancer treatments. While prior studies have focused on specific cancers, therapies, and toxicities, no comprehensive evidence exists on whether treatment toxicity predicts favorable outcomes.

Methods

We abstracted treatment toxicity and clinical outcome data from a sample of phase III oncology randomized clinical trials (n = 99 trials). We investigated whether treatments with relatively greater toxicity compared with their controls had relatively higher, lower, or equivocal rates of clinical efficacy, measured by progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Several toxicities were assessed (all grades, grades III/IV, cutaneous rash, gastrointestinal toxicity, and myelosuppression).

Results

Toxicity and efficacy were greater among treatments than controls (e.g. 3.5 instances of all-grade toxicity per patient in treatment arms versus 2.8 instances in controls, P < 0.001; mean PFS of 9.1 months across treatment arms versus 7.1 months across controls, P < 0.001; mean OS of 18.6 months across treatment arms versus 16.9 months across controls, P < 0.001). Across trials, greater relative treatment toxicity was strongly associated with greater PFS in treatments versus controls (P < 0.001), but not OS (P = 0.44). Although higher relative rates of myelosuppression and cutaneous rash among treatments were not associated with greater treatment efficacy, greater relative gastrointestinal toxicity among treatments was associated with greater relative PFS compared with controls (P = 0.007).

Conclusion

Across trials, treatments with relatively greater all-grade toxicity compared with controls are associated with relatively greater PFS but not OS.