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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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To complement the existing treatment guidelines for all tumour types, ESMO organises consensus conferences to focus on specific issues in each type of tumour. The 2nd ESMO Consensus Conference on Lung Cancer was held on 11–12 May 2013 in Lugano. A total of 35 experts met to address several questions on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in each of four areas: pathology and molecular biomarkers, first-line/second and further lines in advanced disease, early-stage disease and locally advanced disease. For each question, recommendations were made including reference to the grade of recommendation and level of evidence. This consensus paper focuses on early-stage disease.


To complement the existing treatment guidelines for all tumour types, ESMO organises consensus conferences to focus on specific issues in each type of tumour. The 2nd ESMO Consensus Conference on Lung Cancer was held on 11–12 May 2013 in Lugano. A total of 35 experts met to address several questions on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in each of four areas: pathology and molecular biomarkers, first-line/second and further lines of treatment in advanced disease, early-stage disease and locally advanced disease. For each question, recommendations were made including reference to the grade of recommendation and level of evidence. This consensus paper focuses on first line/second and further lines of treatment in advanced disease.


Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in Europe. Over the past few decades, important advances have been made in screening, staging and treatment of colorectal cancer. However, considerable variation between and within European countries remains, which implies that further improvements are possible. The most important remaining question now is: when are we, health care professionals, delivering the best available care to patients with colon or rectal cancer? Currently, quality assurance is a major issue in colorectal cancer care and quality assurance awareness is developing in almost all disciplines involved in the treatment of colorectal cancer patients. Quality assurance has shown to be effective in clinical trials. For example, standardisation and quality control were introduced in the Dutch TME trial and led to marked improvements of local control and survival in rectal cancer patients. Besides, audit structures can also be very effective in monitoring cancer management and national audits showed to further improve outcome in colorectal cancer patients. To reduce the differences between European countries, an international, multidisciplinary, outcome-based quality improvement programme, European Registration of Cancer Care (EURECCA), has been initiated. In the near future, the EURECCA dataset will perform research on subgroups as elderly patients or patients with comorbidities, which are often excluded from trials. For optimal colorectal cancer care, quality assurance in guideline formation and in multidisciplinary team management is also of great importance. The aim of this review was to create greater awareness and to give an overview of quality assurance in the management of colorectal cancer.


Background

Weight loss and cachexia are common, reduce tolerance of cancer treatment and the likelihood of response, and independently predict poor outcome.

Methods

A group of experts met under the auspices of the European School of Oncology to review the literature and—on the basis of the limited evidence at present—make recommendations for malnutrition and cachexia management and future research.

Conclusions

Our focus should move from end-stage wasting to supporting patients' nutritional and functional state throughout the increasingly complex and prolonged course of anti-cancer treatment. When inadequate nutrient intake predominates (malnutrition), this can be managed by conventional nutritional support. In the presence of systemic inflammation/altered metabolism (cachexia), a multi-modal approach including novel therapeutic agents is required. For all patients, oncologists should consider three supportive care issues: ensuring sufficient energy and protein intake, maintaining physical activity to maintain muscle mass and (if present) reducing systemic inflammation. The results of phase II/III trials based on novel drug targets (e.g. cytokines, ghrelin receptor, androgen receptor, myostatin) are expected in the next 2 years. If effective therapies emerge, early detection of malnutrition and cachexia will be increasingly important in the hope that timely intervention can improve both patient-centered and oncology outcomes.


Teenagers and young adults (TYA) cancer contributes substantially to morbidity and mortality in a population with much to offer society. TYA place distinct challenges upon cancer care services, many reporting feeling marginalized and their needs not being met in adult or paediatric cancer services. Bone tumours such as osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, because of their age at presentation and the complexity of their care, are where challenges in managing (TYA) with cancer have often been most readily apparent. Bone sarcomas may be managed by paediatric or medical oncologists, and require fastidious attention to protocol. A lack of recent improvement in survival in TYA with bone tumours may be linked to a lack of specialist care, poor concordance with therapy in some situations and TYA-specific pharmacology. Participation in clinical trials, particularly of young adults, is low, hindering progress. All these requirements may be best met by a concerted effort to create collaborative care between adult and paediatric experts in bone sarcoma, working together to meet TYA patients' needs.


Increasing evidence suggests that circulating tumour cells (CTCs) are responsible for metastatic relapse and this has fuelled interest in their detection and quantification. Although numerous methods have been developed for the enrichment and detection of CTCs, none has yet reached the ‘gold’ standard. Since epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-based enrichment of CTCs offers several advantages, it is one of the most commonly used and has been adapted for high-throughput technology. However, emerging evidence suggests that CTCs are highly heterogeneous: they consist of epithelial tumour cells, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) cells, hybrid (epithelial/EMT+) tumour cells, irreversible EMT+ tumour cells, and circulating tumour stem cells (CTSCs). The EpCAM-based approach does not detect CTCs expressing low levels of EpCAM and non-epithelial phenotypes such as CTSCs and those that have undergone EMT and no longer express EpCAM. Thus, the approach may lead to underestimation of the significance of CTCs, in general, and CTSCs and EMT+ tumour cells, in particular, in cancer dissemination. Here, we provide a critical review of research literature on the evolving concept of CTCs and the inadequacy of their enrichment by EpCAM-based technology for basic and clinical cancer research. The review also outlines future perspectives in the field.


Smoking is a risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality. However, little is known on smoking and its association with survival after CRC diagnosis. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize current evidence. A systematic literature search was carried out in MEDLINE and ISI Web of Science. We included studies that analyzed recurrence-free survival, disease-free survival, all-cause, and CRC-specific mortality according to smoking status. Data were extracted in duplicate. Standard methods of meta-analysis were applied. Sixteen studies from 11 countries were identified, comprising a total sample size of 62 278 CRC patients. Overall, in the 16 included studies, current smoking and, to a lesser extent, former smoking were rather consistently associated with a poorer prognosis compared with never smokers. Meta-analyses yielded random-effects hazard ratio estimates (95% confidence intervals) for all-cause mortality of 1.26 (1.15–1.37) and 1.11 (0.93–1.33) for current and former smokers, compared with never smokers, respectively. In particular, 30-day mortality was found to be increased by between 49% and 100% among current compared with never smokers. Our results support the existence of detrimental effects of smoking on survival also after CRC diagnosis. Perspectives for enhancing prognosis of CRC patients by smoking abstinence deserve increased attention in further research and clinical practice.


Despite several studies support a positive association between heavy alcohol consumption and liver cancer risk, a consistent dose–risk relationship has not yet been established. We carried out a systematic review and a meta-analysis of the association between alcohol intake and liver cancer occurrence, following the Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology guidelines. We searched for cohort and nested case–control studies on the general population published before April 2013, using PubMed and EMBASE. Summary meta-analytic relative risks (RRs) were estimated using random-effect models. We included 16 articles (19 cohorts) for a total of 4445 incident cases and 5550 deaths from liver cancer. Compared with non-drinking, the pooled RRs were 0.91 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.81–1.02) for moderate drinking (<3 drinks per day) and 1.16 (95% CI, 1.01–1.34) for heavy drinking (≥3 drinks per day), with significant heterogeneity among studies. The dose–risk curve suggested a linear relationship with increasing alcohol intake in drinkers, with estimated excess risk of 46% for 50 g of ethanol per day and 66% for 100 g per day. This systematic review suggests a moderate detrimental role of consumption of 3 or more alcoholic drinks per day on liver cancer, and a lack of association with moderate drinking. Our results have to be taken with due caution on account of the possible limitations of the original studies included in the meta-analysis.


Background

T-cell infiltration in estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast tumours has been associated with longer survival. To investigate this association and the potential of tumour T-cell infiltration as a prognostic and predictive marker, we have conducted the largest study of T cells in breast cancer to date.

Patients and methods

Four studies totalling 12 439 patients were used for this work. Cytotoxic (CD8+) and regulatory (forkhead box protein 3, FOXP3+) T cells were quantified using immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC for CD8 was conducted using available material from all four studies (8978 samples) and for FOXP3 from three studies (5239 samples)-multiple imputation was used to resolve missing data from the remaining patients. Cox regression was used to test for associations with breast cancer-specific survival.

Results

In ER-negative tumours [triple-negative breast cancer and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive)], presence of CD8+ T cells within the tumour was associated with a 28% [95% confidence interval (CI) 16% to 38%] reduction in the hazard of breast cancer-specific mortality, and CD8+ T cells within the stroma with a 21% (95% CI 7% to 33%) reduction in hazard. In ER-positive HER2-positive tumours, CD8+ T cells within the tumour were associated with a 27% (95% CI 4% to 44%) reduction in hazard. In ER-negative disease, there was evidence for greater benefit from anthracyclines in the National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial in patients with CD8+ tumours [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.54; 95% CI 0.37–0.79] versus CD8–negative tumours (HR = 0.87; 95% CI 0.55–1.38). The difference in effect between these subgroups was significant when limited to cases with complete data (Pheterogeneity = 0.04) and approached significance in imputed data (Pheterogeneity = 0.1).

Conclusions

The presence of CD8+ T cells in breast cancer is associated with a significant reduction in the relative risk of death from disease in both the ER-negative [supplementary Figure S1, available at Annals of Oncology online] and the ER-positive HER2-positive subtypes. Tumour lymphocytic infiltration may improve risk stratification in breast cancer patients classified into these subtypes.

NEAT ClinicalTrials.gov

NCT00003577.


Background

We have previously shown the prognostic importance of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in newly diagnosed triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) using tumor samples from a large clinical trial cohort. In this study, we aimed to validate these findings and also investigate associations with trastuzumab benefit in HER2-overexpressing disease (HER2+).

Patients and methods

A prospective–retrospective study was conducted using samples from the FinHER adjuvant, phase III trial that enrolled 1010 early-stage BC patients, 778 of whom were HER2-nonamplified. Those with HER2+ disease (n = 232) were randomized to 9 weeks of trastuzumab or no trastuzumab in addition to chemotherapy. Two pathologists independently quantified stromal TILs in 935 (92.6%) available slides. The primary end point of distant disease-free survival (DDFS) and interactions with trastuzumab were studied in Cox regression models.

Results

Confirming our previous findings, in TNBC (n = 134) each 10% increase in TILs was significantly associated with decreased distant recurrence in TNBC; for DDFS the hazard ratio adjusted for clinicopathological factors: 0.77; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61–0.98, P = 0.02. In HER2+ BC (n = 209), each 10% increase in lymphocytic infiltration was significantly associated with decreased distant recurrence in patients randomized to the trastuzumab arm (DDFS Pinteraction = 0.025).

Conclusions

Higher levels of TILs present at diagnosis were significantly associated with decreased distant recurrence rates in primary TNBC. These results confirm our previous data and further support that TILs should be considered as a robust prognostic factor in this BC subtype. We also report for the first time an association between higher levels of TILs and increased trastuzumab benefit in HER2+ disease. Further research into why some TN and HER2+ BCs can or cannot generate a host antitumor immune response and how trastuzumab can favorably alter the immune microenvironment is warranted.


Background

Taxane-based adjuvant chemotherapy is standard in node-positive (N+) early breast cancer (BC). The magnitude of benefit in intermediate-risk N+ early BC is still unclear. WSG-AGO epiribicine and cyclophosphamide (EC)-Doc is a large trial evaluating modern taxane-based chemotherapy in patients with 1–3 positive lymph nodes (LNs) only.

Patients and methods

A total of 2011 BC patients (18–65 years, pN1) were entered into a randomized phase III trial comparing 4 x E90C600 q3w followed by 4 x docetaxel100 q3w (n = 1008) with the current standard: 6 x F500E100C500 q3w (n = 828) or C600M40F600 d1, 8x q4w (n = 175). Primary end point was event-free survival (EFS); secondary end points were overall survival (OS), toxicity, translational research, and quality of life. Central tumor bank samples were evaluable in a representative collective (n = 772; 40%). Ki-67 was assessed centrally in hormone receptor-positive disease as a surrogate marker for the distinction of luminal A/B-like tumors.

Results

Baseline characteristics were well balanced between study arms in both main study and central tumor bank subset. At 59-month median follow-up, superior efficacy of EC-Doc [versus FEC (a combination of 5-fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide)] was seen in EFS and OS: 5-year EFS: 89.8% versus 87.3% (P = 0.038); 5-year OS: 94.5% versus 92.8% (P = 0.034); both tests one-tailed. EC-Doc caused more toxicity. In hormone receptor-positive (HR)+ disease, only high-Ki-67 tumors (≥20%) derived significant benefit from taxane-based therapy: hazard ratio = 0.39 (95% CI 0.18–0.82) for EC-Doc versus FEC (test for interaction; P = 0.01).

Conclusion

EC-Doc significantly improved EFS and OS versus FEC in intermediate-risk BC (1–3 LNs) within all subgroups as defined by local pathology. In HR+ disease, patients with luminal A-like tumors may be potentially over-treated by taxane-based chemotherapy.

Clinical Trial number

ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02115204.


Background

To explore the current clinical management of early-stage breast cancer (BC) patients, identify areas of controversy, and interrogate how treating physicians implement latest advances.

Methods

We conducted a 27-item survey, disseminated in two stages: paper distribution at selected BC sessions at the ESMO 2012 Congress, and dedicated mailings to ESMO members. Descriptive statistical analysis and logistic regression analysis were applied to explore potential associations between the demographic characteristics of the participants and replies.

Results

A total of 512 physicians from 79 countries participated in the study, accounting for 465 (91%) fully completed questionnaires. The majority of the participants were ESMO members (66%), medical oncologists (86.5%), and working in multidisciplinary teams (91.6%). Heterogeneous results were captured, such as the following: 40.9% of the participants consider no genetic test useful for making adjuvant treatment decisions; 15.3% consider PET-CT a useful imaging modality for staging; 68.8% consider that postmenopausal patients with hormone receptor positive disease should always be offered an aromatase inhibitor as part of their adjuvant therapy; 78.7% prefer to administer trastuzumab concurrently with the taxane component of chemotherapy; and 27% would consider bevacizumab in the neoadjuvant setting. The logistic regression analysis did not identify any strong predictor of the probability of giving a reply fully compatible with evidence in the literature.

Conclusion

This survey captures clinical practice and whether the latest research advances are implemented in the treatment of early-stage BC by an extended number of physicians. Significant individual differences were found. Areas of controversy were detected, and they deserve further exploration in order to generate ‘tailored’ educational tools, with the final goal being the standardization of the treatment of early-stage BC patients.


Background

At 42.5 months of median follow-up, PHARE failed to show that 6 was non-inferior to 12 months of adjuvant trastuzumab. From the results of PHARE, questions remain regarding whether the magnitude of benefit derived from 1 year is sufficient to justify its systematic use for different patient subgroups.

Methods

Treatment effects were evaluated according to various tumour characteristics, and the multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models were carried out on metastases-free survival (MFS) in the 12 months control arm. A prognostic score was defined providing the identification of patient categories with similar risks. The 6-month arm was used as a validation set in order to test for heterogeneity. This study is registered at clinicaltrials.gov, number NCT00381901.

Results

A total of 261 metastatic events were observed and four prognostic groups were defined: very low, low, intermediate and high risk in the 12-month arm. The corresponding 3-year MFS rates were 98.3%, 95.8%, 90.4% and 78.4% in the four prognostic groups, respectively. In the 6-month arm, the 3-year MFS rates were 98.3%, 94.2%, 85.7% and 74.8% in the four prognostic groups, respectively.

Conclusion

In the very low-risk group, the potential absolute benefit of standard duration of trastuzumab was small enough to indicate that optimal standard treatment might be clinically questionable. On the other hand, the 3-year metastasis occurrence rates strongly support the need for a search of a more efficient treatment in the low-, intermediate- and high-risk groups.


Background

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a heterogeneous group of tumors for some of which the epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway may play an important role. We investigated the efficacy and toxicity of an anti-EGFR antibody (panitumumab) combined with a standard neoadjuvant anthracycline–taxane-based chemotherapy in patients with operable, stage II–III, TNBC.

Patients and methods

Treatment in this multicentric neoadjuvant pilot study consisted of panitumumab (9 mg/kg) for eight cycles q.3 weeks combined with four cycles of 5-fluorouracil, epidoxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC100: 500/100/500 mg/m2) q.3 weeks, followed by four cycles of docetaxel (T: 100 mg/m2) q.3 weeks. Following therapy, all patients underwent surgical resection. Pathologic complete response (pCR) in assessable patients was the main end point while clinical response, toxicity and ancillary studies were secondary end points. Paraffin-embedded and frozen tumor samples were systematically collected with the aim to identify predictive biomarkers of efficacy and resistance in order to select biologically defined subpopulations for potential further clinical development of the anti-EGFR antibody.

Results

Sixty patients were included with 47 assessable for pathologic response. The pCR rates were 46.8% [95% confidence interval (CI): 32.5% to 61.1%] and 55.3% [95% CI: 41.1% to 69.5%] according, respectively, to Chevallier and Sataloff classifications. The complete clinical response (cCR) rate was 37.5%. Conservative surgery was carried out in 87% of cases. Toxicity was manageable. The association of high EGFR and low cytokeratin 8/18 expression in tumor cells on one hand and high density of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes on the other hand were significantly predictive of pCR.

Conclusions

Panitumumab in combination with FEC100 followed by docetaxel appears efficacious, with acceptable toxicity, as neoadjuvant therapy of operable TNBC. Several biomarkers could help define large subsets of patients with a high probability of pCR, suggesting a potential interest to further develop this combination in biologically defined subgroups of patients with TNBC.

Clinical Trial Number

NCT00933517.


Background

This phase II, open-label study investigated intercalated combinations of eribulin and erlotinib in unselected patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapies.

Patients and methods

Eligible patients were randomized to eribulin mesylate 2.0 mg/m2 on day 1 with erlotinib 150 mg on days 2–16 (21-day regimen) or eribulin mesylate 1.4 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8 with erlotinib 150 mg on days 15–28 (28-day regimen). The primary end point was objective response rate (ORR).

Results

One hundred and twenty-three patients received ≥1 cycle of therapy (63, 21-day regimen; 60, 28-day regimen). ORRs were 13% [95% confidence interval (CI) 6%–24%] and 17% (95% CI 8%–29%), and disease control rates were 48% (95% CI 35%–61%) and 63% (95% CI 50%–75%) for the 21- and 28-day regimens, respectively. The median progression-free survival and overall survival were similar with both regimens. Both regimens were well tolerated with common grade ≥3 toxicities being neutropenia, asthenia/fatigue, and dyspnoea. Sequential administration of erlotinib did not interfere with the pharmacokinetic profile of eribulin.

Conclusion

Intercalated combination of eribulin and erlotinib demonstrated modest activity and the addition of erlotinib did not appear to improve treatment outcome in an unselected population. The 28-day regimen is suitable for further investigation.

Clinicaltrials.gov identifier

NCT01104155.


Background

The aim of this study was to evaluate whether genetic variations in the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) pathway influenced clinical outcome of advanced lung adenocarcinoma with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations treated with gefitinib.

Patients and methods

Two hundred six patients with advanced lung adenocarcinomas were enrolled in this study. EGFR mutation in these tumors was detected. Among them, 106 patients with EGFR mutation and 37 of 100 patients with wild type were treated with gefitinib. Genotype of 33 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from 13 genes involved in the TGF-β signaling pathway was determined, and their association with survival time was analyzed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to assess the role of biological/clinical parameters in progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) using Pearson's 2 test, log-rank test, and Cox proportional hazards model.

Results

Among SNPs analyzed, multivariate analysis showed the cytidylate and thymidine (CT) genotype of SMAD3: rs11632964 was associated with a longer OS and PFS when the entire cohort of 143 patients were included; the association was significant in the patients with EGFR mutant tumors (30.8 versus 17.5 months; log-rank P = 0.020; and 20.8 versus 9.4 months; log-rank P = 0.001), when compared with patients with wild-type EGFR tumors. In patients with mutant EGFR, the CT genotype of SMAD3: rs11071938 and the cytidylate and cytidylate genotype of SMAD3: rs6494633 were also found to be associated with better PFS. Dual luciferase reporter assays showed gefitinib-resistant PC9/G cells transfected with SMAD3: rs11632964T allelic reporter construct showed significantly lower luciferase activities compared with cells expression C allelic reporter construct. There was significantly decreased expression of SMAD3 and pi-SMAD3 in the PC-9/G cells compared with PC-9.

Conclusions

Among the candidate genes involved in the TGF-β pathway, the polymorphisms of SMAD3 appear to be highly predictive of outcome of patients with lung adenocarcinoma after gefitinib treatment, especially in those with EGFR mutations.


Background

Seminoma stage I is the most frequent testis cancer and single-dose carboplatin (AUC7) is an effective and widely used adjuvant treatment. Underdosing of carboplatin by 10% has been shown to almost double the rate of relapse and hence correct dosing based on accurate GFR measurement is crucial. The gold standard of GFR measurement with a radiolabelled isotope is expensive and not readily available. In many institutions, it is replaced by GFR estimation with the Cockcroft–Gault formula, which might lead to significant carboplatin underdosing and potentially inferior clinical outcome.

Methods

Retrospective analysis of all patients with stage I seminoma treated with adjuvant carboplatin between 1999 and 2012. All patients had serum creatinine measured and underwent GFR measurement with a radioisotope (51Cr EDTA or 99mTc DTPA), which was compared with seven standard GFR estimation formulae (Cockcroft–Gault, CKD-EPI, Jelliffe, Martin, Mayo, MDRD, Wright) and a flat dosing strategy. Bias, precision, rates of under- and overdosing of GFR estimates were compared with measured GFR. Bland–Altman plots were done.

Results

A total of 426 consecutive Caucasian male patients were included: median age 39 years (range 19–60 years), median measured GFR 118 ml/min (51–209), median administered carboplatin dose 1000 mg (532–1638). In comparison to isotopic GFR measurement, a relevant proportion of patients would have received ≤90% of carboplatin dose through the use of GFR estimation formulae: 4% using Mayo, 9% Martin, 18% Cockcroft–Gault, 24% Wright, 63% Jelliffe, 49% MDRD and 41% using CKD-EPI. The flat dosing strategy, Wright and Cockcroft–Gault formulae, showed the smallest bias with mean percentage error of +1.9, +0.4 and +2.1, respectively.

Conclusions

Using Cockcroft–Gault or any other formula for GFR estimation leads to underdosing of adjuvant carboplatin in a relevant number of patients with Seminoma stage I and should not be regarded as standard of care.


Background

Biliary tract cancer (BTC) is a highly lethal disease for which the best available therapy remains undetermined. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is up-regulated in several cancers, including BTC, and preclinical evidence indicates that mTOR inhibition may be effective in the treatment of BTC. We sought to evaluate the activity and tolerability of the mTOR inhibitor RAD001—everolimus—in patients with BTC progressing after prior chemotherapy.

Patients and methods

This was an open-label, single-arm, phase II study (EUDRACT 2008-007152-94) conducted in eight sites in Italy. Patients with locally advanced, metastatic or recurrent BTC progressing despite previous chemotherapy received a daily oral dose of everolimus 10 mg administered continuously in 28-day cycles. The two primary end points were disease control rate (DCR) and objective response rate (ORR). Secondary end points were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and time-to-progression (TTP).

Results

Thirty-nine patients were enrolled. The DCR was 44.7%, and the ORR was 5.1%. One patient showed a partial response at 2 months and one patient showed a complete response sustained up to 8 months. The median (95% confidence interval) PFS was 3.2 (1.8–4.0) months, and the median OS was 7.7 (5.5–13.2) months. The median TTP was 2.0 (1.7–3.7) months. Most common toxicities were asthenia (43.6%), thrombocytopenia (35.9%), pyrexia (30.8%) and erythema, mainly of mild-to-moderate severity. Two patients required dose reduction due to adverse events.

Conclusion

Everolimus demonstrated a favourable toxicity profile and encouraging anti-tumour activity. Further trials are needed to establish the role of everolimus in the treatment of BTC.

EUDRACT 2008-007152-94.


Background

Cabozantinib targets tyrosine kinases including the hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2, which are important drug targets in renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Patients and methods

This single-arm open-label phase I trial evaluated the safety and tolerability of cabozantinib in heavily pretreated patients with metastatic clear cell RCC.

Results

The study enrolled 25 RCC patients for whom standard therapy had failed. Patients received a median of two prior systemic agents, and most patients had previously received at least one VEGF pathway inhibiting therapy (22 patients [88%]). Common adverse events included fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, proteinuria, appetite decreased, palmar–plantar erythrodysesthesia, and vomiting. Partial response was reported in seven patients (28%). Median progression-free survival was 12.9 months, and median overall survival was 15.0 months.

Conclusion

Cabozantinib demonstrates preliminary anti-tumor activity and a safety profile similar to that seen with other multitargeted VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors in advanced RCC patients. Further evaluation of cabozantinib in RCC is warranted.

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier

NCT01100619.


Background

Disturbances in one carbon metabolism may contribute to carcinogenesis by affecting methylation and synthesis of DNA. Choline and its oxidation product betaine are involved in this metabolism and can serve as alternative methyl group donors when folate status is low.

Patients and methods

We conducted a case–control study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), to investigate plasma concentrations of the methyl donors methionine, choline, betaine (trimethylglycine), and dimethylglycine (DMG) in relation to colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. Our study included 1367 incident CRC cases (965 colon and 402 rectum) and 2323 controls matched by gender, age group, and study center. Multivariate-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for CRC risk were estimated by conditional logistic regression, comparing the fifth to the first quintile of plasma concentrations.

Results

Overall, methionine (OR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.63–0.99, P-trend = 0.05), choline (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.60–0.99, P-trend = 0.07), and betaine (OR: 0.85, 95% CI: 0.66–1.09, P-trend = 0.06) concentrations were inversely associated with CRC risk of borderline significance. In participants with folate concentration below the median of 11.3 nmol/l, high betaine concentration was associated with reduced CRC risk (OR: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.50–1.00, P-trend = 0.02), which was not observed for those having a higher folate status. Among women, but not men, high choline concentration was associated with decreased CRC risk (OR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.43–0.88, P-trend = 0.01). Plasma DMG was not associated with CRC risk.

Conclusions

Individuals with high plasma concentrations of methionine, choline, and betaine may be at reduced risk of CRC.


Background

Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus (SCCA) is highly sensitive to chemoradiation (CRT) which achieves good loco-regional control and preserves anal function. However, some patients require permanent stoma formation either as a result of surgery on relapse, poor anal function or treatment-related symptoms. Our aim was to determine patient, tumour and treatment-related colostomy rates following CRT and maintenance chemotherapy in the ACT II trial.

Patients and methods

The ACT II trial recruited 940 patients comparing 5FU-based CRT using cisplatin (CisP) or mitomycin C (MMC) with or without additional maintenance chemotherapy. We investigated the association between colostomy-free survival (CFS) and progression-free survival (PFS) with age, gender, T-stage, N-stage, treatment and baseline haemoglobin.

Results

The median follow-up was 5.1 years (n = 884 evaluable/940); tumour site canal (84%), margin (14%); stage T1/T2 (52%), T3/T4 (46%); N+ (32%), N0 (62%). Twenty out of 118 (17%) colostomies fashioned before CRT were reversed within 8 months. One hundred and twelve patients had a post-treatment colostomy due to persistent disease (98) or morbidity (14). Fifty-two per cent (61/118) of all pre-treatment colostomies were never reversed. The 5-year CFS rates were 68% MMC/Maint, 70% CisP/Maint, 68% MMC/No-maint and 65% CisP/No-maint. CRT with CisP did not improve CFS when compared with MMC (hazard ratio: 1.04, 95% confidence interval: 0.82–1.31, P = 0.74). The 5-year CFS rates were higher for T1/T2 (79%) than T3/T4 (54%) tumours and higher for node-negative (72%) than node-positive (60%) patients. Significant predictors of CFS were gender, T-stage and haemoglobin, while treatment factors had no impact on outcome. Similar associations were found between PFS and tumour/treatment-related factors.

Conclusions

The majority (52%) of pre-treatment colostomies were never reversed. Neither CRT with 5FU/CisP nor maintenance chemotherapy impacted on CFS. The low risk of colostomy for late effects (1.7%) is likely to be associated with the modest total radiotherapy dose. The predictive factors for CFS were T-stage, gender and baseline haemoglobin.

Clinical trial registration number

ISRCTN 26715889.


Background

Treatment with escalated BEACOPP achieved a superior time to treatment failure over ABVD in patients with disseminated Hodgkin lymphoma. However, recent clinical trials have failed to confirm BEACOPP overall survival (OS) superiority over ABVD. In addition, the gain in low-risk patients is still a matter of debate.

Patients and methods

We randomly compared ABVD (8 cycles) with BEACOPP (escalated 4 cycles ≥baseline 4 cycles) in low-risk patients with an International Prognostic Score (IPS) of 0–2. The primary end point was event-free survival (EFS). This parallel group, open-label phase 3 trial was registered under #RECF0219 at French National Cancer Institute.

Results

One hundred and fifty patients were randomized in this trial (ABVD 80, BEACOPP 70): 28 years was the median age, 50% were male and IPS was 0–1 for 64%. Complete remission rate was 85% for ABVD and 90% for BEACOPP. Progression or relapses were more frequent in the ABVD patients than in the BEACOPP patients (17 versus 5 patients). With a median follow-up period of 5.5 years, seven patients died: six in the ABVD arm and one in the BEACOPP arm (HL 3 and 0, 2nd cancer 2 and 1, accident 1 and 0). The EFS at 5 years was estimated at 62% for ABVD versus 77%, for BEACOPP [hazards ratio (HR) = 0.6, P = 0.07]. The progression-free survival (PFS) at 5 years was 75% versus 93% (HR = 0.3, P = 0.007). The OS at 5 years was 92% versus 99% (HR = 0.18, P = 0.06).

Conclusion

Fewer progressions/relapses were observed with BEACOPP, demonstrating the high efficacy of the more intensive regimen, even in low-risk patients. However, additional considerations, balancing treatment-related toxicity and late morbidity due to salvage may help with decision-making with regard to treatment with ABVD or BEACOPP.


Background

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma refers to a heterogeneous disease frequently aggressive in its biologic behavior. Despite the improvements in the therapeutic modalities, the long-term survival rate remained unchanged over the past decade and patients with this type of cancer are at a high risk of developing recurrence. For this reason, there is a great need to find better ways to foresee outcome, to improve treatment choices, and to enable a more personalized approach.

Patients and methods

Nine microarray gene expression datasets, reporting survival data of a total of 841 samples, were retrieved from publicly repositories. Three datasets, profiled on the same version of microarray chips, were selected and merged following a meta-analysis approach to build a training set. The remaining six studies were used as independent validation sets.

Results

The training set led us to identify a 172-gene signature able to stratify patients in low or high risk of relapse [log-rank, P = 2.44e–05; hazard ratio (HR) = 2.44, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.58–3.76]. The model based on the 172 genes was validated on the six independent datasets. The performance of the model was challenged against other proposed prognostic signatures (radiosensitivity index, 13-gene oral squamous cell carcinoma signature, hypoxia metagene, 42-gene high-risk signature) and was compared with a human papillomavirus (HPV) signature: our model resulted independent and even better in prediction.

Conclusions

We have identified and validated a prognostic model based on the expression of 172 genes, independent from HPV status and able to improve assessment of patient's risk of relapse compared with other molecular signatures. In order to transpose our model into a useful clinical grade assay, additional work is needed following the framework established by the Institute of Medicine and REMARK guidelines.


Background

Weight loss limits cancer therapy, quality of life and survival. Common diagnostic criteria and a framework for a classification system for cancer cachexia were recently agreed upon by international consensus. Specific assessment domains (stores, intake, catabolism and function) were proposed. The aim of this study is to validate this diagnostic criteria (two groups: model 1) and examine a four-group (model 2) classification system regarding these domains as well as survival.

Patients and methods

Data from an international patient sample with advanced cancer (N = 1070) were analysed. In model 1, the diagnostic criteria for cancer cachexia [weight loss/body mass index (BMI)] were used. Model 2 classified patients into four groups 0-III, according to weight loss/BMI as a framework for cachexia stages. The cachexia domains, survival and sociodemographic/medical variables were compared across models.

Results

Eight hundred and sixty-one patients were included. Model 1 consisted of 399 cachectic and 462 non-cachectic patients. Cachectic patients had significantly higher levels of inflammation, lower nutritional intake and performance status and shorter survival. In model 2, differences were not consistent; appetite loss did not differ between group III and IV, and performance status not between group 0 and I. Survival was shorter in group II and III compared with other groups. By adding other cachexia domains to the model, survival differences were demonstrated.

Conclusion

The diagnostic criteria based on weight loss and BMI distinguish between cachectic and non-cachectic patients concerning all domains (intake, catabolism and function) and is associated with survival. In order to guide cachexia treatment a four-group classification model needs additional domains to discriminate between cachexia stages.


Background

Recent data show a falling cancer mortality in the general population without a similar shift in immigrant outcomes, leading to a greater cancer burden and mortality for immigrants. Our aims were to compare perceived patterns of care in immigrants and native-born cancer patients.

Patients and methods

This was a hospital-based sample of first-generation immigrants and Australian-born Anglo patients in the first year following diagnosis. It was restricted to Chinese, Arabic, or Greek speakers. Eligible participants, recruited via 16 oncology clinics, were over 18, with cancer (any type or stage), and having commenced treatment at least 1 month previously. Five hundred and seventy-one CALD patients (comprising 145 Arabic, 248 Chinese, and 178 Greek) and a control group of 274 Anglo-Australian patients participated.

Results

Immigrants had difficulty communicating with the doctor (73% versus 29%) and understanding the health system (38% versus 10%). Differences were found in ‘difficulty knowing who to see’ (P = 0.0002), ‘length of time to confirm diagnosis’ (P = 0.04), wanting more choice about a specialist and hospital (P < 0.0001); being offered the opportunity to see a counselor (P < 0.0001); and actually seeing one (P < 0.0001). There were no significant self-reported differences regarding how cancer was detected, time to see a health professional, or type first seen; however, immigrants reported difficulty knowing who to see. Previous studies showed differences in patterns of care according to socioeconomic status (SES) and educational level. Despite adjusting for age, sex, education, marital status, SES, time since diagnosis, and type of cancer, we did not find significant differences. Instead, we found that understanding of the health system and confidence understanding English were important factors.

Conclusions

This study confirmed that immigrants with cancer perceive an inferior quality of cancer care. We highlight potentially modifiable factors including assistance in navigating the health system, translated information, and cultural competency training for health professionals.


Background

From most recent available data, we projected cancer mortality statistics for 2014, for the European Union (EU) and its six more populous countries. Specific attention was given to pancreatic cancer, the only major neoplasm showing unfavorable trends in both sexes.

Patients and methods

Population and death certification data from stomach, colorectum, pancreas, lung, breast, uterus, prostate, leukemias and total cancers were obtained from the World Health Organisation database and Eurostat. Figures were derived for the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. Projected 2014 numbers of deaths by age group were obtained by linear regression on estimated numbers of deaths over the most recent time period identified by a joinpoint regression model.

Results

In the EU in 2014, 1 323 600 deaths from cancer are predicted (742 500 men and 581 100 women), corresponding to standardized death rates of 138.1/100 000 men and 84.7/100 000 women, falling by 7% and 5%, respectively, since 2009. In men, predicted rates for the three major cancers (lung, colorectum and prostate cancer) are lower than in 2009, falling by 8%, 4% and 10%, respectively. In women, breast and colorectal cancers had favorable trends (–9% and –7%), but female lung cancer rates are predicted to rise 8%. Pancreatic cancer is the only neoplasm with a negative outlook in both sexes. Only in the young (25–49 years), EU trends become more favorable in men, while women keep registering slight predicted rises.

Conclusions

Cancer mortality predictions for 2014 confirm the overall favorable cancer mortality trend in the EU, translating to an overall 26% fall in men since its peak in 1988, and 20% in women, and the avoidance of over 250 000 deaths in 2014 compared with the peak rate. Notable exceptions are female lung cancer and pancreatic cancer in both sexes.


Background

To establish the maximum tolerated dose, determine safety/tolerability and evaluate the pharmacokinetics and preliminary efficacy of olaparib in combination with cisplatin in patients with advanced solid tumors.

Patients and methods

Patients aged ≥18 years with advanced solid tumors, who had progressed on standard treatment, were assigned to a treatment cohort and received oral olaparib [50–200 mg twice daily (bid); 21-day cycle] continuously or intermittently (days 1–5 or 1–10) in combination with cisplatin (60–75 mg/m2 intravenously) on day 1 of each cycle.

Results

Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) of grade 3 neutropenia (cisplatin 75 mg/m2 with continuous olaparib 100 mg bid or 200 mg bid; n = 1 each) and grade 3 lipase elevation (cisplatin 75 mg/m2 with olaparib 100 mg bid days 1–10 or 50 mg bid days 1–5; n = 1 each) were reported. Olaparib and cisplatin doses were subsequently reduced to 50 mg bid days 1–5 and 60 mg/m2, respectively; no DLTs were reported for patients receiving this regimen. The most frequent grade ≥3 adverse events were neutropenia (16.7%), anemia (9.3%) and leucopenia (9.3%). Thirty patients (55.6%) received colony-stimulating factors for hematologic support. The overall objective response rate was 41% for patients with measurable disease, and 43% and 71% among patients with a BRCA1/2 mutation who had ovarian and breast cancer, respectively.

Conclusions

Olaparib in combination with cisplatin 75 mg/m2 was not considered tolerable; intermittent olaparib (50 mg bid, days 1–5) with cisplatin 60 mg/m2 improved tolerability. Promising antitumor activity in patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations was observed and warrants further investigation.