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Annals of Surgical Oncology

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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the Western world. Owing to a lack of specific symptoms and no accessible precursor lesions, primary diagnosis is commonly delayed, resulting in only 15%–20% of patients with potentially curable disease. The standard of care in advanced pancreatic cancer has improved. Apart from gemcitabine (plus erlotinib), FOLFIRINOX and the combination of gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel are novel and promising therapeutic options for patients with metastatic PDAC. A better molecular understanding of pancreatic cancer has led to the identification of a variety of potential molecular therapeutic targets. Many targeted therapies are currently under clinical evaluation in combination with standard therapies for PDAC. This review highlights the current status of targeted therapies and their potential benefit for the treatment of advanced PDAC.


Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a very common disease in the elderly population and its incidence in this particular population is expected to increase further, because of the ageing of the Western population. Despite this, limited data are available for the treatment of these patients and, therefore, the development of evidence-based treatment recommendations is challenging. In 2010, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) took an initiative in collaboration with International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG) and created an experts panel that provided an experts' opinion consensus paper for the management of elderly NSCLC patients. Since this publication, important new data are available and EORTC and SIOG recommended to update the 2010 recommendations. Besides recommendations for surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy, treatment of locally advanced and metastatic disease, recommendations were expanded, to include data on patient preferences and geriatric assessment.


Four to six cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy are currently recommended for the first-line treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Several studies have assessed the benefit of maintenance therapy following platinum-based first-line therapy, to improve disease control, and thus, progression-free and overall survival with minimal toxicity and maintenance or improvement of quality of life of patients. We review here clinical trials evaluating continuation maintenance therapy or switch maintenance therapy in locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC, to highlight the achievements made and critical issues faced. Based on the available results and limitations of these trials, maintenance therapy should be considered a good treatment strategy for a limited subgroup of patients. Maintenance therapy should be personalised according to the characteristics of patients and their disease, taking into account the data available for the agents used in this setting.


Background

Physical activity improves physical function during and after cancer treatment, but whether physical activity imparts survival benefit remains uncertain.

Design

Using prospective studies published through June 2013, we conducted a systematic review and random-effects meta-analysis of pre- and post-diagnosis physical activity in relation to total and cancer mortality among breast or colorectal cancer survivors.

Results

Sixteen studies of breast cancer survivors and seven studies of colorectal cancer survivors yielded 49095 total cancer survivors, including 8129 total mortality cases and 4826 cancer mortality cases. Comparing the highest versus lowest levels of pre-diagnosis physical activity among breast cancer survivors, the summary relative risks (RRs) of total and breast cancer mortality were 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.69–0.88] and 0.77 (95% CI = 0.66–0.90, respectively. For post-diagnosis physical activity, the summary RRs of total and breast cancer mortality were 0.52 (95% CI = 0.42–0.64) and 0.72 (95% CI = 0.60–0.85), respectively. For pre-diagnosis physical activity among colorectal cancer survivors, the summary RRs of total and colorectal cancer mortality were 0.74 (95% CI = 0.63–0.86) and 0.75 (95% CI = 0.62–0.91), respectively. For post-diagnosis physical activity, the summary RRs of total and colorectal cancer mortality were 0.58 (95% CI = 0.48–0.70) and 0.61 (95% CI = 0.40–0.92), respectively. Each 10 metabolic equivalent task-hour/week increase in post-diagnosis physical activity (equivalent to current recommendations of 150 min/week of at least moderate intensity activity) was associated with 24% (95% CI = 11–36%) decreased total mortality risk among breast cancer survivors and 28% (95% CI = 20–35%) decreased total mortality risk among colorectal cancer survivors. Breast or colorectal cancer survivors who increased their physical activity by any level from pre- to post-diagnosis showed decreased total mortality risk (RR = 0.61; 95% CI = 0.46–0.80) compared with those who did not change their physical activity level or were inactive/insufficiently active before diagnosis.

Conclusion

Physical activity performed before or after cancer diagnosis is related to reduced mortality risk among breast and colorectal cancer survivors.


Background

The overall prognosis of stage I borderline ovarian tumors (BOT) is excellent but a small percentage of patients die to their disease. The prognostic factors for such a rare event are still not clearly defined. The aim of this study was to determine these factors for recurrence per se and recurrence in the form of invasive carcinoma in a large series of stage I tumors.

Methods

A retrospective review of patients with BOT. Three inclusion criteria were defined: (i) a centralized histological review; (ii) macroscopic stage I tumors; (iii) exclusion of metastatic disease to the ovaries.

Results

From 2000 to 2010, 254 patients fulfilled inclusion criteria [140 had mucinous BOT (MBOT) and 114 a serous BOT (SBOT)], and 191 had undergone conservative management. After a median follow-up of 45 months, 43 patients had developed recurrences (31 borderline and 12 invasive).

The risks of recurrences were statistically increased after conservative treatment, particularly after a cystectomy, in patients with stage IB and among patients with incompletely staged tumors. In the subgroup of conservatively treated patients (representing 75% of our population), the risks of recurrences were statistically increased in patients affected by a SBOT, in patients who had undergone a cystectomy, in patients with stage IB disease and in patients with a micropapillary pattern (MPP). MBOT and the presence of a MPP were identified as prognostic factors for invasive disease.

Conclusions

In the present series of BOT with the largest number of patients treated conservatively to date, the presence of a MPP and the mucinous subtype were associated with a higher rate of progression to carcinoma after conservative management. These important results suggest that MBOT belong to a ‘high-risk’ group likely to develop an invasive recurrence after fertility-sparing surgery in stage I BOT.


Background

Approximately one-third of all borderline ovarian tumours (BOT) are diagnosed in patients with child-bearing potential. Detailed information regarding their specific characteristics and prognostic factors is limited.

Methods

Clinical parameters of BOT patients treated between 1998 and 2008 in 24 German centres were retrospectively investigated. Central pathology review and prospective follow-up were carried out. Patients <40 versus ≥40 years were analysed separately and then compared regarding clinico-pathological variables and prognosis.

Results

A total of 950 BOT patients with a median age of 49.1 (14.1–91.5) years were analysed [280 patients <40 years (29.5%), 670 patients ≥40 years (70.5%)]. Fertility-preserving surgery was carried out in 53.2% (149 of 280) of patients <40 years with preservation of the primarily affected ovary in 32 of these 149 cases (21.5%). Recurrence was significantly more frequent in patients <40 years (19.0% versus 10.1% 5-year recurrence rate, P < 0.001), usually in ovarian tissue, whereas disease-specific overall survival did not differ between the subgroups. In case of recurrent disease, malignant transformation was less frequent in younger than in older patients (12.0% versus 66.7%, P < 0.001), mostly presenting as invasive peritoneal carcinomatosis. Multivariate analysis for patients <40 years identified advanced International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage and fertility-sparing approach as independent prognostic factors negatively affecting progression-free survival (PFS) while, for patients ≥40 years, higher FIGO stage and incomplete staging was associated with impaired PFS.

Conclusions

Despite favourable survival, young BOT patients with child-bearing potential are at higher risk for disease recurrence. However, relapses usually remain BOT in the preserved ovaries as opposed to older patients being at higher risk for malignant transformation in peritoneal or distant localisation. Therefore, fertility-sparing approach can be justified for younger patients after thorough consultation.


Background

Antiemetic guidelines recommend co-administration of agents that target multiple molecular pathways involved in emesis to maximize prevention and control of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). NEPA is a new oral fixed-dose combination of 300 mg netupitant, a highly selective NK1 receptor antagonist (RA) and 0.50 mg palonosetron (PALO), a pharmacologically and clinically distinct 5-HT3 RA, which targets dual antiemetic pathways.

Patients and methods

This multinational, randomized, double-blind, parallel group phase III study (NCT01339260) in 1455 chemotherapy-naïve patients receiving moderately emetogenic (anthracycline–cyclophosphamide) chemotherapy evaluated the efficacy and safety of a single oral dose of NEPA versus a single oral dose (0.50 mg) of PALO. All patients also received oral dexamethasone (DEX) on day 1 only (12 mg in the NEPA arm and 20 mg in the PALO arm). The primary efficacy end point was complete response (CR: no emesis, no rescue medication) during the delayed (25–120 h) phase in cycle 1.

Results

The percentage of patients with CR during the delayed phase was significantly higher in the NEPA group compared with the PALO group (76.9% versus 69.5%; P = 0.001), as were the percentages in the overall (0–120 h) (74.3% versus 66.6%; P = 0.001) and acute (0–24 h) (88.4% versus 85.0%; P = 0.047) phases. NEPA was also superior to PALO during the delayed and overall phases for all secondary efficacy end points of no emesis, no significant nausea and complete protection (CR plus no significant nausea). NEPA was well tolerated with a similar safety profile as PALO.

Conclusions

NEPA plus a single dose of DEX was superior to PALO plus DEX in preventing CINV following moderately emetogenic chemotherapy in acute, delayed and overall phases of observation. As a fixed-dose antiemetic drug combination, NEPA along with a single dose of DEX on day 1 offers guideline-based prophylaxis with a convenient, single-day treatment.


Background

Safe, effective and convenient antiemetic regimens that preserve benefit over repeated cycles are needed for optimal supportive care during cancer treatment. NEPA, an oral fixed-dose combination of netupitant, a highly selective NK1 receptor antagonist (RA), and palonosetron (PALO), a distinct 5-HT3 RA, was shown to be superior to PALO in preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting after a single cycle of highly (HEC) or moderately (MEC) emetogenic chemotherapy in recent trials. This study was designed primarily to assess the safety but also to evaluate the efficacy of NEPA over multiple cycles of HEC and MEC.

Patients and methods

This multinational, double-blind, randomized phase III study (NCT01376297) in 413 chemotherapy-naïve patients evaluated a single oral dose of NEPA (NETU 300 mg + PALO 0.50 mg) given on day 1 with oral dexamethasone (DEX). An oral 3-day aprepitant (APR) regimen + PALO + DEX was included as a control (3:1 NEPA:APR randomization). In HEC, DEX was administered on days 1–4 and in MEC on day 1. Safety was assessed primarily by adverse events (AEs), including cardiac AEs; efficacy by complete response (CR: no emesis, no rescue).

Results

Patients completed 1961 total chemotherapy cycles (76% MEC, 24% HEC) with 75% completing ≥4 cycles. The incidence/type of AEs was comparable for both groups. Most frequent NEPA-related AEs included constipation (3.6%) and headache (1.0%); there was no indication of increasing AEs over multiple cycles. The majority of AEs were mild/moderate and there were no cardiac safety concerns based on AEs and electrocardiograms. The overall (0–120 h) CR rates in cycle 1 were 81% and 76% for NEPA and APR + PALO, respectively, and antiemetic efficacy was maintained over repeated cycles.

Conclusions

NEPA, a convenient single oral dose antiemetic targeting dual pathways, was safe, well tolerated and highly effective over multiple cycles of HEC/MEC.


Background

NEPA is a novel oral fixed-dose combination of netupitant (NETU), a new highly selective neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor antagonist (RA) and palonosetron (PALO), a pharmacologically and clinically distinct 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 (5-HT3) RA. This study was designed to determine the appropriate clinical dose of NETU to combine with PALO for evaluation in the phase 3 NEPA program.

Patients and methods

This randomized, double-blind, parallel group study in 694 chemotherapy naïve patients undergoing cisplatin-based chemotherapy for solid tumors compared three different oral doses of NETU (100, 200, and 300 mg) + PALO 0.50 mg with oral PALO 0.50 mg, all given on day 1. A standard 3-day aprepitant (APR) + IV ondansetron (OND) 32 mg regimen was included as an exploratory arm. All patients received oral dexamethasone on days 1–4. The primary efficacy endpoint was complete response (CR: no emesis, no rescue medication) during the overall (0–120 h) phase.

Results

All NEPA doses showed superior overall CR rates compared with PALO (87.4%, 87.6%, and 89.6% for NEPA100, NEPA200, and NEPA300, respectively versus 76.5% PALO; P < 0.050) with the highest NEPA300 dose studied showing an incremental benefit over lower NEPA doses for all efficacy endpoints. NEPA300 was significantly more effective than PALO and numerically better than APR + OND for all secondary efficacy endpoints of no emesis, no significant nausea, and complete protection (CR plus no significant nausea) rates during the acute (0–24 h), delayed (25–120 h), and overall phases. Adverse events were comparable across groups with no dose response. The percent of patients developing electrocardiogram changes was also comparable.

Conclusions

Each NEPA dose provided superior prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) compared with PALO following highly emetogenic chemotherapy; however, NEPA300 was the best dose studied, with an advantage over lower doses for all efficacy endpoints. The combination of NETU and PALO was well tolerated with a similar safety profile to PALO and APR + OND.


Background

The Panitumumab Randomized trial In combination with chemotherapy for Metastatic colorectal cancer to determine Efficacy (PRIME) demonstrated that panitumumab–FOLFOX4 significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) versus FOLFOX4 as first-line treatment of wild-type (WT) KRAS metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), the primary end point of the study.

Patients and methods

Patients were randomized 1:1 to panitumumab 6.0 mg/kg every 2 weeks + FOLFOX4 (arm 1) or FOLFOX4 (arm 2). This prespecified final descriptive analysis of efficacy and safety was planned for 30 months after the last patient was enrolled.

Results

A total of 1183 patients were randomized. Median PFS for WT KRAS mCRC was 10.0 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 9.3–11.4 months] for arm 1 and 8.6 months (95% CI 7.5–9.5 months) for arm 2; hazard ratio (HR) = 0.80; 95% CI 0.67–0.95; P = 0.01. Median overall survival (OS) for WT KRAS mCRC was 23.9 months (95% CI 20.3–27.7 months) for arm 1 and 19.7 months (95% CI 17.6–22.7 months) for arm 2; HR = 0.88; 95% CI 0.73–1.06; P = 0.17 (68% OS events). An exploratory analysis of updated survival (>80% OS events) was carried out which demonstrated improvement in OS; HR = 0.83; 95% CI 0.70–0.98; P = 0.03 for WT KRAS mCRC. The adverse event profile was consistent with the primary analysis.

Conclusions

In WT KRAS mCRC, PFS was improved, objective response was higher, and there was a trend toward improved OS with panitumumab–FOLFOX4, with significant improvement in OS observed in an updated analysis of survival in patients with WT KRAS mCRC treated with panitumumab + FOLFOX4 versus FOLFOX4 alone (P = 0.03). These data support a positive benefit-risk profile for panitumumab–FOLFOX4 for patients with previously untreated WT KRAS mCRC. KRAS testing is critical to select appropriate patients for treatment with panitumumab.


Background

In stage III colon cancer, oxaliplatin/5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based adjuvant chemotherapy (FOLFOX) improves disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). In rectal adenocarcinoma following neoadjuvant chemoradiation (CRT), we examined the benefit of postoperative adjuvant capecitabine and oxaliplatin (XELOX) chemotherapy.

Methods

Eligible patients were randomly assigned following fluoropyrimidine-based CRT and curative resection to observation or six cycles of XELOX. The primary end point was DFS; secondary end points were acute toxicity and OS. 390 patients were required in each arm, to detect an improvement in 3-year DFS from 40% to 50.5%, with 85% power and two-sided 5% significance level.

Results

The study closed prematurely in 2008 because of poor accrual. Only 113 patients were randomly assigned to either observation (n = 59) or XELOX (n = 54). Compliance was poor, 93% allocated chemotherapy started and 48% completed six cycles. Protocolised dose reductions in XELOX were 39%, and levels of G3/G4 toxicity 40%. After a median follow-up of 44.8 months, 16 patients (27%) in the observation arm had relapsed or died compared with 12 patients (22%) in XELOX. The 3-year DFS rate was 78% with XELOX and 71% with observation [hazard ratio (HR) for DFS = 0.80; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38–1.69; P = 0.56]. The 3-year OS for XELOX and observation were 89% and 88%, respectively (HR for OS = 1.18; 95% CI 0.43–3.26; P = 0.75).

Conclusions

The observed improvement in DFS for adjuvant XELOX and similar OS were not statistically significant, as expected given the small number of patients and consequent low power. Our findings support the need for trials that test the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier

NCT00427713.


Background

The aim of this study is to determine whether PAQR3, a protein specifically localized in the Golgi apparatus, is associated with tumor progression, metastasis and survival of human patients with gastric cancer.

Patients and methods

PAQR3 expression status was investigated in a large panel of gastric cancer (n = 300) and their corresponding para-cancerous histological normal tissues (PCHNT) at both mRNA and protein levels. The correlation of PAQR3 expression levels with clinical features such as metastasis and prognosis was analyzed. The effect of PAQR3 on the growth and migration of gastric cancer cells was also determined.

Results

PAQR3 was frequently down-regulated in gastric cancer samples compared with PCHNT at both mRNA and protein levels (both P < 0.0001). The expression level of PAQR3 was negatively correlated with Helicobacter pylori infection (P < 0.0001), tumor size (P < 0.0001), tumor stage (P < 0.0001), venous and lymphatic invasion (P < 0.0001), distant and nodal metastasis (P < 0.0001), and patient survival (P < 0.0001). Down-regulation of PAQR3 was highly correlated with increased epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in gastric cancer samples. In addition, PAQR3 overexpression was able to negatively modulate cell proliferation, migration and EMT of gastric cancer cells.

Conclusion

PAQR3 is markedly down-regulated in human gastric cancers. PAQR3 expression level is closely associated with the progression and metastasis of gastric cancers. PAQR3 is also a new genetic signature that can predict the prognosis of the patients with gastric cancer.


Background

Some trial have demonstrated a benefit of adjuvant fluoropirimidine with or without platinum compounds compared with surgery alone. ITACA-S study was designed to evaluate whether a sequential treatment of FOLFIRI [irinotecan plus 5-fluorouracil/folinic acid (5-FU/LV)] followed by docetaxel plus cisplatin improves disease-free survival in comparison with 5-FU/LV in patients with radically resected gastric cancer.

Patients and methods

Patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction were randomly assigned to either FOLFIRI (irinotecan 180 mg/m2 day 1, LV 100 mg/m2 as 2 h infusion and 5-FU 400 mg/m2 as bolus, days 1 and 2 followed by 600 mg/m2/day as 22 h continuous infusion, q14 for four cycles) followed by docetaxel 75 mg/m2 day 1, cisplatin 75 mg/m2 day 1, q21 for three cycles (sequential arm) or De Gramont regimen (5-FU/LV arm).

Results

From February 2005 to August 2009, 1106 patients were enrolled, and 1100 included in the analysis: 562 in the sequential arm and 538 in the 5-FU/LV arm. With a median follow-up of 57.4 months, 581 patients recurred or died (297 sequential arm and 284 5-FU/LV arm), and 483 died (243 and 240, respectively). No statistically significant difference was detected for both disease-free [hazard ratio (HR) 1.00; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.85–1.17; P = 0.974] and overall survival (OS) (HR 0.98; 95% CI: 0.82–1.18; P = 0.865). Five-year disease-free and OS rates were 44.6% and 44.6%, 51.0% and 50.6% in the sequential and 5-FU/LV arm, respectively.

Conclusions

A more intensive regimen failed to show any benefit in disease-free and OS versus monotherapy.

Clinical trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01640782.


Background

It has not yet been determined whether hepatic arterial infusion (HAI) chemotherapy improves survival in patients with early hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We evaluated the effectiveness of HAI with high-concentration cisplatin (DDP-H) for the treatment of HCC by comparing outcomes between patients who received HAI with DDP-H before radical local treatment of early-stage HCC [Japan Integrated Staging (JIS) score 0/1] and patients who did not receive HAI chemotherapy.

Patients and methods

Survival was analyzed in 114 patients with early-stage HCC who underwent radical local treatment. The patients were divided into two groups: a HAI group (n = 79) who received DDP-H infusion into the whole liver via the proper hepatic artery, and a non-HAI group (n = 35) who did not receive HAI chemotherapy.

Results

The cumulative survival rates at 1, 3, and 5 years were 77.4%, 69.2%, and 55.3% in the non-HAI group and 97.4%, 87.0%, and 84.4% in the HAI group, respectively. Survival time prolonged significantly in the HAI group compared with the non-HAI group (log-rank test: P = 0.023; generalized Wilcoxon test: P = 0.012) Multivariate analysis using the Cox proportional hazards model identified HAI with DDP-H as the most important factor affecting survival.

Conclusions

Whole-liver HAI with DDP-H before radical local treatment can improve the prognosis of patients with early-stage HCC.


Background

A prospective, randomized phase II study, with mandatory tumor sampling at current disease stage, aimed to identify biomarkers predictive of improved progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with pancreatic cancer treated with erlotinib.

Patients and methods

Patients with histologically/cytologically confirmed, unresectable, locally advanced/metastatic pancreatic cancer, who had failed on or were unsuitable for first-line chemotherapy, underwent a tumor biopsy and were then randomized to receive once-daily erlotinib 150 mg or placebo. The primary end point was identification of biomarkers predicting improved PFS with erlotinib. Secondary end points included PFS, overall survival, response and toxicity.

Results

At data cut-off, 207 patients were enrolled and analyzed. Prespecified biomarker analyses of EGFR protein expression, EGFR gene copy number/mutations/polymorphisms and KRAS mutations did not identify any subgroups with a detrimental effect or a strong benefit for PFS with erlotinib. In the primary analysis, the median PFS was 6.1 versus 5.9 weeks in the erlotinib and placebo arms, respectively [hazard ratio (HR) 0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63–1.10; P = 0.1909]. However, observed baseline imbalances indicated worse prognosis in the erlotinib arm. After adjustment for baseline characteristics, a significant PFS benefit for erlotinib was observed (HR 0.68; 95% CI 0.50–0.91; P = 0.0102). Exploratory biomarker analyses showed patients with high baseline serum amphiregulin levels might benefit from erlotinib.

Conclusion

This study in patients with inoperable pancreatic cancer did not identify any prespecified biomarkers predictive of PFS benefit with erlotinib. Exploratory analyses suggested high amphiregulin might predict PFS benefit from erlotinib.

ClinicalTrials.gov number

NCT00674973.


Background

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is aggressive, and relapsed/refractory disease has poor outcomes.

Patients and methods

Thirty-nine patients (men = 34, women = 5) at 64 (41–82) years of age with relapsed/refractory MCL, ineligible for high-dose chemotherapy and had received 2 (1–5) prior regimens, were treated with a continuous oral regimen, comprising oral arsenic trioxide (oral-As2O3), chlorambucil and ascorbic acid.

Results

Overall response rate was 49% (complete response, CR = 28%; partial response, PR = 21%). Only grade 1/2 toxicities were observed (hematologic: 56%, hepatic: 8%). Response was maintained in 11 patients (CR = 8; PR = 3), after a median of 24 (2–108) months. Independent prognostic factors for response were increased lactate dehydrogenase (P = 0.04) and unfavorable MCL international prognostic index (P = 0.04). At a median follow-up of 21 (1–118) months, the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 16 months, and overall survival (OS) 38 months. Independent prognostic factors for PFS were female gender (P = 0.002), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance score of 2 (P = 0.009). Independent prognostic factors for OS were female gender (P < 0.001), ECOG performance score of 2 (P = 0.03), non-response (P < 0.001), and disease progression after initial response (P = 0.05).

Conclusion

An oral regimen of oral-As2O3, chlorambucil and ascorbic acid was active with minimal toxicity in relapsed/refractory MCL, achieving durable responses in ~30% of cases.


Background

Increased risk of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) associated with personal history of several autoimmune diseases (ADs), such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, and immune thrombocytopenic purpura, are known. Whether there are other HL-related ADs and whether the increased risk of HL after ADs holds across sex, age, year of diagnosis, or HL histological subtype is unclear.

Patients and methods

We systematically analyzed the risk of HL in 878 161 Swedish patients diagnosed with 33 different ADs in 1964–2010. During ~10-year follow-up of ADs patients, 371 incident HL cases were diagnosed.

Results

Significantly increased overall standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for HL after ADs was 2.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.8–2.2); AD-specific SIRs: autoimmune hemolytic anemia 19.9 (7.2–43.6), sarcoidosis 10.3 (7.8–13.4), systemic lupus erythematosus 8.4 (5.2–12.9), immune thrombocytopenic purpura 7.0 (3.2–13.3), polyarteritis nodosa 6.6 (1.2–19.5), polymyositis/dermatomyositis 6.3 (2.0–14.9), Behcet's disease 5.6 (2.7–10.3), Sjögren's syndrome 5.0 (2.1–9.8), rheumatoid arthritis 3.2 (2.6–3.9), polymyalgia rheumatica 2.2 (1.4–3.5), and psoriasis 1.9 (1.3–2.6). Men with AD had slightly higher risk of HL (2.4, 2.0–2.7) compared with women (1.8, 1.5–2.0). Only 23% of ADs were diagnosed before age 35 years and the overall SIR for HL diagnosis before age 35 [1.4, (1.0–1.8)] was lower than that in older ages [35 ≤ age < 50: 2.1 (1.6–2.7); age ≥ 50: 2.2 (2.0–2.5)], except for sarcoidosis [age < 35: 19.3 (10.5–32.5); 35 ≤ age < 50: 10.4 (5.7–17.5); age ≥ 50: 8.4 (5.6–12.1)]. Risks of all classical HLs significantly increased after ADs: lymphocyte depletion 3.7 (1.5–7.6), lymphocyte-rich 3.7 (2.3–5.9), mixed cellularity 2.4 (1.8–3.2), and nodular sclerosis 1.7 (1.3–2.1).

Conclusion

Several, but not all ADs (11/33), had a positive association with all classical histological subtypes of HL. Higher risks of classical HL after polyarteritis nodosa, polymyositis/dermatomyositis, Behcet's disease, Sjögren's syndrome, polymyalgia rheumatica, and psoriasis were novel findings of this study.


Background

Tumor regression after antiviral therapy (AT) is in favor of an etiological role of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphomas (NHL).

Patients and methods

We carried out a cohort study of 704 consecutive HIV-negative, HCV-positive patients with indolent NHL diagnosed and treated from 1993 to 2009 in 39 centers of the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi; 134 patients were managed with AT for lymphoma control.

Results

For entire cohort, 5-year overall survival (OS) was 78% [95% confidence interval (CI): 74%–82%] and 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 48% (95% CI: 44%–53%). In multivariate analysis, the use of AT during the patients’ life had positive impact on OS. Forty-four of the 100 patients treated with first-line AT achieved a complete remission (CR) and 33 a partial response (PR). HCV-RNA clearance was achieved in 80 patients and was related to lymphoma response. At a median follow-up of 3.6 years, 5-year PFS was 63% (95% CI: 50%–73%). CR + PR rate was 85% with AT as second-line treatment.

Conclusion

AT produces HCV-RNA clearance and consequent tumor regression in most patients with HCV-related indolent NHL. AT used at any time is associated with improved OS. Consequently, AT can be considered an option for patients with indolent lymphomas who do not need immediate cytoreductive treatment.


Background

The purpose of this article was to study the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) with clinical outcomes in patients with recurrent or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).

Patients and methods

Archival baseline tumor specimens were obtained from patients treated on two clinical trials in recurrent or metastatic SCCHN: E1395, a phase III trial of cisplatin and paclitaxel versus cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil, and E3301, a phase II trial of irinotecan and docetaxel. HPV DNA was detected by in situ hybridization (ISH) with a wide-spectrum probe. p16 status was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Clinical outcomes of interest were objective response, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results

We analyzed 64 patients for HPV ISH and 65 for p16. Eleven tumors (17%) were HPV+, 12 (18%) were p16+, whereas 52 (80%) were both HPV– and p16–. The objective response rate was 55% for HPV-positive versus 19% for HPV-negative (P = 0.022), and 50% for p16-positive versus 19% for p16-negative (P = 0.057). The median survival was 12.9 versus 6.7 months for HPV-positive versus HPV-negative patients (P = 0.014), and 11.9 versus 6.7 months for p16-positive versus p16-negative patients (P = 0.027). After adjusting for other covariates, hazard ratio for OS was 2.69 (P = 0.048) and 2.17 (P = 0.10), favoring HPV-positive and p16-positive patients, respectively. The other unfavorable risk factor for OS was loss of ≥5% weight in previous 6 months (P = 0.0021 and 0.023 for HPV and p16 models, respectively).

Conclusion

HPV is a favorable prognostic factor in recurrent or metastatic SCCHN that should be considered in the design of clinical trials in this setting.

Clinical Trial Identifier

NCT01487733 Clinicaltrials.gov.


Background

Tivantinib (ARQ 197) is an orally available, non-adenosine triphosphate competitive, selective c-MET inhibitor. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the safety, tolerability and to establish the recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of tivantinib and gemcitabine combination.

Patients and methods

Patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors were treated with escalating doses of tivantinib (120–360 mg capsules) in combination with gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2 weekly for 3 of 4 weeks). Different schedules of administration were tested and modified based on emerging preclinical data. Tivantinib was given continuously, twice a day (b.i.d.) for 2, 3 or 4 weeks of a 28-day cycle or on a 5-day on, 2-day off schedule (the day before and day of gemcitabine administration).

Results

Twenty-nine patients were treated with gemcitabine and escalating doses of tivantinib: 120 mg b.i.d. (n = 4), 240 mg b.i.d. (n = 6) and 360 mg b.i.d. (n = 19). No dose-limiting toxicities were observed in escalation. The RP2D was 360 mg b.i.d. daily, and 45 additional patients were enrolled in the expansion cohort. Grade ≥3 treatment-related toxicities were observed in 54 of 74 (73%) patients with the most common being neutropenia (43%), anemia (30%), thrombocytopenia (28%) and fatigue (15%). There was one treatment-related death due to neutropenia. Administration of gemcitabine did not affect tivantinib concentration. Fifty-six patients were assessable for response. Eleven (20%) patients achieved a partial response and 26 (46%) had stable disease (SD), including 15 (27%) who achieved SD for over 4 months. Ten of 37 patients with clinical benefit had prior exposure to gemcitabine.

Conclusion

The combination of tivantinib at its monotherapy dose and standard dose gemcitabine was safe and tolerable. Early signs of antitumor activity may warrant further development of this combination in nonsmall-cell lung cancer, ovarian, pancreatic and cholangiocarcinoma.

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier

NCT00874042.


Background

Experimental and epidemiological evidence suggests that prolactin might play a role in the etiology of breast cancer. We analyzed the relationship of prediagnostic circulating prolactin levels with the risk of breast cancer by menopausal status, use of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at blood donation, and by estrogen and progesterone receptor status of the breast tumors.

Patients and methods

Conditional logistic regression was used to analyze the data from a case–control study nested within the prospective European EPIC cohort, including 2250 invasive breast cancer and their matched control subjects.

Results

Statistically significant heterogeneity in the association of prolactin levels with breast cancer risk between women who were either pre- or postmenopausal at the time of blood donation was observed (Phet = 0.04). Higher serum levels of prolactin were associated with significant increase in the risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women [odds ratio (OR)Q4–Q1 = 1.29 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.05–1.58), Ptrend = 0.09]; however, this increase in risk seemed to be confined to women who used postmenopausal HRT at blood donation [ORQ4–Q1 = 1.45 (95% CI 1.08–1.95), Ptrend = 0.01], whereas no statistically significant association was found for the non-users of HRT [ORQ4–Q1 = 1.11 (95%CI 0.83–1.49), Ptrend = 0.80] (Phet = 0.08). Among premenopausal women, a statistically non-significant inverse association was observed [ORQ4–Q1 = 0.70 (95% CI 0.48–1.03), Ptrend = 0.16]. There was no heterogeneity in the prolactin–breast cancer association by hormone receptor status of the tumor.

Conclusion

Our study indicates that higher circulating levels of prolactin among the postmenopausal HRT users at baseline may be associated with increased breast cancer risk.


Background

In a randomized phase III study (BREAK-3), dabrafenib showed prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) (median 5.1 versus 2.7 months; hazard ratio = 0.30; 95% confidence interval 0.18–0.53; P < 0.0001) compared with dacarbazine (DTIC) in patients with BRAF V600E metastatic melanoma. Assessing how these results are transformed into a real health benefit for patients is crucial.

Methods

The EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire assessed quality of life (QoL) at baseline and follow-up visits.

Results

For DTIC, all functional dimensions except role dimension worsened from baseline at follow-up. For dabrafenib, all functionality dimensions remained stable relative to baseline or improved at week 6; mean change in seven symptom dimensions improved from baseline, with appetite loss, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, and pain showing the greatest improvement. In the DTIC arm, symptom dimensions were unchanged or worsened from baseline for all symptoms except pain (week 6), with the greatest exacerbations observed for fatigue and nausea and vomiting. Mixed-model-repeated measures analyses showed significant (P < 0.05) and/or clinically meaningful improvements from baseline in favor of dabrafenib for emotional and social functioning, nausea and vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, fatigue, dyspnea, and insomnia at weeks 6 and/or 12. After crossing over to dabrafenib upon progression (n = 35), improvements in all QoL dimensions were evident after receiving dabrafenib for 6 (n = 31) to 12 (n = 25) weeks.

Conclusions

This first reported QoL analysis for a BRAF inhibitor in metastatic melanoma demonstrates that the high tumor response rates and PFS superiority of dabrafenib over DTIC is not only a theoretical advantage, but also transforms in a rapid functional and symptomatic benefit for the patient.

Clinical Trials.gov identifier

NCT01227889.


Background

Melanoma is one of the most aggressive skin cancers. Recently, selective MEK inhibitors have shown efficacy in patients with advanced BRAF- and NRAS-mutant melanoma. Soon after the initiation of clinical oncology trials with MEK inhibitors, it was observed that some participants developed an eye condition resembling central serous chorioretinopathy. The present article addresses the clinical features and management of these MEK inhibitor-associated retinal syndromes.

Patients and methods

Thirty-two patients with advanced cutaneous melanoma were treated with the selective MEK inhibitor binimetinib (MEK162) in three different Phase 1b or 2 clinical trials. Twenty patients on binimetinib monotherapy and 12 on binimetinib plus RAF inhibitor [pan-kinase RAF inhibitor RAF265 (n = 7) or selective BRAF inhibitor encorafenib (LGX818) (n = 5)] combination therapy underwent ophthalmological examinations at regular intervals, including determination of best corrected visual acuity, perimetry, colour vision testing, dilated fundus examination, and multimodal imaging.

Results

Grade 1–2 bilateral retinopathies with multiple lesions were observed in 13 of 20 patients on binimetinib monotherapy, 4 of 7 patients on binimetinib plus RAF265 combination therapy, and 2 of 5 patients on binimetinib plus encorafenib combination therapy. In this study population, the rate ranged from 40% to 65%. Retinopathy events appeared during the first 4 weeks, and in some cases, during the first few days of treatment. Patients reported mild and only short-lived visual symptoms. Optical coherence tomography revealed neuroretinal elevations. Central retinal thickness and volume showed dose-dependent increases after the start of treatment, followed by a marked decrease despite continued treatment, which was associated with symptom resolution. No vascular abnormalities were found with fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography.

Conclusions

Treatment with the selective MEK inhibitor binimetinib as a single agent or in combination with RAF inhibitors induced transient retinopathy with multiple bilateral lesions in some patients. Binimetinib-induced retinopathy was usually mild, self-limiting, and tolerable as visual function was not seriously impaired.


Background

Prognosis of unresectable glioblastoma (GB) remains poor, despite temozolomide (TMZ)-based chemoradiation. Activity of bevacizumab (BEV) and irinotecan (IRI) has been reported in recurrent disease. We evaluated BEV and IRI as neo-adjuvant and adjuvant treatment combined with TMZ-based chemoradiation for unresectable GB.

Patients and methods

Patients with unresectable GB, age 18–70, IK ≥50 were eligible. The experimental arm (BEV/IRI) consisted of neo-adjuvant intravenous BEV, 10 mg/kg, and IRI, 125 mg/m2, every 2 weeks for four cycles before radiotherapy (RT) (60 Gy), concomitant oral TMZ, 75 mg/m2/day, and BEV, 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Adjuvant BEV and IRI were given every 2 weeks for 6 months. The control arm consisted of concomitant oral TMZ, 75 mg/m2/day during RT, and 150–200 mg/m2 for 5 days every 28 days for 6 months. The use of BEV was allowed at progression in the control arm.

Results

Patients (120) were included from April 2009 to January 2011. The working hypothesis was that treatment would increase the progression-free survival at 6 month (PFS-6) from 50% to 66%. The primary objective was not achieved, and only 30 out of 60 patients were alive without progression at 6 months (50.0% [IC95% (36.8; 63.1)] in the BEV/IRI arm when 37 out of 60 patients were required according to the Fleming decision rules. PFS-6 was 7.1 months in BEV/IRI versus 5.2 months in the control arm. The median overall survival was not different between the two arms (11.1 months). Main toxicities were three fatal intracranial bleedings, three bile duct or digestive perforations/infections (1 fatal), and six thrombotic episodes in the BEV/IRI arm, whereas there was one intracranial bleeding, two bile duct or digestive perforations/infections (1 fatal), and one thrombotic episode in the control arm.

Conclusions

Neo-adjuvant and adjuvant BEV/IRI, combined with TMZ-radiation, is not recommended for further evaluation in the first-line treatment of unresectable GB.

Clinical trial registration

Clinical trial registered under EUDRACT number 2008-002775-28 (NCT01022918).