Purpose: This study investigated the role of histone demethylase Jumonji domain–containing protein 2B (JMJD2B) in promoting epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and underlying molecular mechanisms in the progression of gastric cancer.
Experimental Design: The induction of EMT by JMJD2B in gastric cancer cells and its underlying mechanisms were examined by a series of assays. In vivo and in vitro assays were performed to clarify invasive potential of JMJD2B in gastric cancer cells. The expression dynamics of JMJD2B were detected using immunohistochemistry in 101 cases of primary gastric cancer tissues.
Results: Inhibition of JMJD2B by specific siRNA suppresses EMT of gastric cancer cells, whereas ectopic expression of JMJD2B induces EMT. Importantly, JMJD2B is physically associated with β-catenin and enhances its nuclear localization and transcriptional activity. JMJD2B, together with β-catenin, binds to the promoter of the β-catenin target gene vimentin to increase its transcription by inducing H3K9 demethylation locally. JMJD2B inhibition attenuates migration and invasion of gastric cancer cells in vitro and metastasis in vivo. The expression of JMJD2B was positively correlated with tumor size (P = 0.017), differentiation status (P = 0.002), tumor invasion (P = 0.045), lymph node metastasis (P = 0.000), distant metastasis (P = 0.024), and tumor–node–metastasis (TNM) stage (P = 0.002) in patients with gastric cancer.
Purpose: Identification of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with development of advanced colorectal adenomas.
Experimental Design: Discovery phase: 1,406 Caucasian patients (139 advanced adenoma cases and 1,267 controls) from the Adenoma Prevention with Celecoxib (APC) trial were included in a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to identify variants associated with postpolypectomy disease recurrence. Genome-wide significance was defined as false discovery rate less than 0.05, unadjusted P = 7.4 x 10–7. Validation phase: results were further evaluated using 4,175 familial colorectal adenoma cases and 5,036 controls from patients of European ancestry [COloRectal Gene Identification consortium (CORGI), Scotland, Australia, and VQ58].
Results: Our study identified eight SNPs associated with advanced-adenoma risk in the APC trial (rs2837156, rs7278863, rs2837237, rs2837241, rs2837254, rs741864 at 21q22.2, and rs1381392 and rs17651822 at 3p24.1, at P < 10–7 level with OR > 2). Five variants in strong pairwise linkage disequilibrium (rs7278863, rs2837237, rs741864, rs741864, and rs2837241; r2 = 0.8–1) are in or near the coding region for the tight junction adhesion protein, IGSF5. An additional variant associated with advanced adenomas, rs1535989 [minor allele frequency, 0.11; OR, 2.09; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.50–2.91], also predicted colorectal cancer development in a validation analysis (P = 0.019) using a series of adenoma cases or colorectal cancer (CORGI study) and 3 sets of colorectal cancer cases and controls (Scotland, VQ58, and Australia; N = 9,211).
Purpose: Recent studies revealed that both disseminated tumor cells and noncancerous cells contributed to cancer progression cooperatively in the bone marrow. Here, RNA-seq analysis of bone marrow from gastric cancer patients was performed to identify prognostic markers for gastric cancer.
Experimental Design: Bone marrow samples from eight gastric cancer patients (stages I and IV: n = 4 each) were used for RNA-seq analysis. Results were validated through quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis of HIST1H3D expression in 175 bone marrow, 92 peripheral blood, and 115 primary tumor samples from gastric cancer patients. miR-760 expression was assayed using qRT-PCR in 105 bone marrow and 96 primary tumor samples. Luciferase reporter assays were performed to confirm whether histone mRNAs were direct targets of miR-760. miR-760 expression was also evaluated in noncancerous cells from gastric cancer patients.
Results: RNA-seq analysis of bone marrow samples from gastric cancer patients revealed higher expression of multiple histone mRNAs in stage IV patients. HIST1H3D expression in the bone marrow, peripheral blood, and primary tumor of stage IV patients was higher than that in stage I patients (P = 0.0284, 0.0243, and 0.0006, respectively). In contrast, miR-760 was downregulated in the bone marrow and primary tumor of stage IV patients compared with stage I patients (P = 0.0094 and 0.0018, respectively). Histone mRNA and miR-760 interacted directly. Furthermore, miR-760 was downregulated in noncancerous mucosa in stage IV gastric cancer patients.
Purpose: Currently, there are few effective adjuvant therapies for pediatric ependymoma outside confocal radiation, and prognosis remains poor. The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway is one of the most commonly activated pathways in cancer. PI3Ks transduce signals from growth factors and cytokines, resulting in the phosphorylation and activation of AKT, which in turn induces changes in cell growth, proliferation, and apoptosis.
Experimental Design: PI3K pathway status was analyzed in ependymoma using gene expression data and immunohistochemical analysis of phosphorylated AKT (P-AKT). The effect of the PI3K pathway on cell proliferation was investigated by immunohistochemical analysis of cyclin D1 and Ki67, plus in vitro functional analysis. To identify a potential mechanism of PI3K pathway activation, PTEN protein expression and the mutation status of PI3K catalytic subunit α-isoform gene (PIK3CA) was investigated.
Results: Genes in the pathway displayed significantly higher expression in supratentorial than in posterior fossa and spinal ependymomas. P-AKT protein expression, indicating pathway activation, was seen in 72% of tumors (n = 169) and P-AKT expression was found to be an independent marker of a poorer progression-free survival. A significant association between PI3K pathway activation and cell proliferation was identified, suggesting that pathway activation was influencing this process. PTEN protein loss was not associated with P-AKT staining and no mutations were identified in PIK3CA.
Purpose: Sunitinib is currently considered as the standard treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We aimed to better understand the mechanisms of sunitinib action in kidney cancer treatment and in the development of acquired resistance.
Experimental Design: Gene expression profiles of RCC tumor endothelium in sunitinib-treated and -untreated patients were analyzed and verified by quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry. The functional role of the target gene identified was investigated in RCC cell lines and primary cultures in vitro and in preclinical animal models in vivo.
Results: Altered expression of autotaxin, an extracellular lysophospholipase D, was detected in sunitinib-treated tumor vasculature of human RCC and in the tumor endothelial cells of RCC xenograft models when adapting to sunitinib. ATX and its catalytic product, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), regulated the signaling pathways and cell motility of RCC in vitro. However, no marked in vitro effect of ATX-LPA signaling on endothelial cells was observed. Functional blockage of LPA receptor 1 (LPA1) using an LPA1 antagonist, Ki16425, or gene silencing of LPA1 in RCC cells attenuated LPA-mediated intracellular signaling and invasion responses in vitro. Ki16425 treatment also dampened RCC tumorigenesis in vivo. In addition, coadministration of Ki16425 with sunitinib prolonged the sensitivity of RCC to sunitinib in xenograft models, suggesting that ATX-LPA signaling in part mediates the acquired resistance against sunitinib in RCC.
Purpose: Cidofovir (CDV) is an U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved nucleoside antiviral agent used to treat severe human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection. Until now, no clear therapeutic effects of CDV have been reported outside of the setting of viral infection, including a potential role for CDV as an antineoplastic agent for the treatment of brain tumors.
Experimental Design: We investigated the cytotoxicity of CDV against the glioblastoma cells, U87MG and primary SF7796, both in vitro and in vivo, using an intracranial xenograft model. Standard techniques for cell culturing, immunohistochemistry, Western blotting, and real-time PCR were employed. The survival of athymic mice (n = 8–10 per group) bearing glioblastoma tumors, treated with CDV alone or in combination with radiation, was analyzed by the Kaplan–Meier method and evaluated with a two-sided log-rank test.
Results: CDV possesses potent antineoplastic activity against HCMV-infected glioblastoma cells. This activity is associated with the inhibition of HCMV gene expression and with activation of cellular apoptosis. Surprisingly, we also determined that CDV induces glioblastoma cell death in the absence of HCMV infection. CDV is incorporated into tumor cell DNA, which promotes double-stranded DNA breaks and induces apoptosis. In the setting of ionizing radiotherapy, the standard of care for glioblastoma in humans, CDV augments radiation-induced DNA damage and, further, promotes tumor cell death. Combination therapy with CDV and radiotherapy significantly extended the survival of mice bearing intracranial glioblastoma tumors.
Purpose: Gliomas are the most frequently occurring primary malignancies in the brain, and glioblastoma is the most aggressive of these tumors. Protein kinase CK2 is composed of two catalytic subunits (α and/or α') and two β regulatory subunits. CK2 suppresses apoptosis, promotes neoangiogenesis, and enhances activation of the JAK/STAT, NF-B, PI3K/AKT, Hsp90, Wnt, and Hedgehog pathways. Aberrant activation of the NF-B, PI3K/AKT, and JAK/STAT-3 pathways is implicated in glioblastoma progression. As CK2 is involved in their activation, the expression and function of CK2 in glioblastoma was evaluated.
Experimental Design and Results: Analysis of 537 glioblastomas from The Cancer Genome Atlas Project demonstrates the CSNK2A1 gene, encoding CK2α, has gene dosage gains in glioblastoma (33.7%), and is significantly associated with the classical glioblastoma subtype. Inhibition of CK2 activity by CX-4945, a selective CK2 inhibitor, or CK2 knockdown by siRNA suppresses activation of the JAK/STAT, NF-B, and AKT pathways and downstream gene expression in human glioblastoma xenografts. On a functional level, CX-4945 treatment decreases the adhesion and migration of glioblastoma cells, in part through inhibition of integrin β1 and α4 expression. In vivo, CX-4945 inhibits activation of STAT-3, NF-B p65, and AKT, and promotes survival of mice with intracranial human glioblastoma xenografts.
Purpose: Because chemoradiotherapy selectively targets proliferating cancer cells, quiescent cancer stem–like cells are resistant. Mobilization of the cell cycle in quiescent leukemia stem cells sensitizes them to cell death signals. However, it is unclear that mobilization of the cell cycle can eliminate quiescent cancer stem–like cells in solid cancers. Thus, we explored the use of a genetically-engineered telomerase-specific oncolytic adenovirus, OBP-301, to mobilize the cell cycle and kill quiescent cancer stem–like cells.
Experimental Design: We established CD133+ cancer stem–like cells from human gastric cancer MKN45 and MKN7 cells. We investigated the efficacy of OBP-301 against quiescent cancer stem–like cells. We visualized the treatment dynamics of OBP-301 killing of quiescent cancer stem–like cells in dormant tumor spheres and xenografts using a fluorescent ubiquitination cell-cycle indicator (FUCCI).
Results: CD133+ gastric cancer cells had stemness properties. OBP-301 efficiently killed CD133+ cancer stem–like cells resistant to chemoradiotherapy. OBP-301 induced cell-cycle mobilization from G0–G1 to S/G2/M phases and subsequent cell death in quiescent CD133+ cancer stem–like cells by mobilizing cell-cycle–related proteins. FUCCI enabled visualization of quiescent CD133+ cancer stem–like cells and proliferating CD133– non–cancer stem–like cells. Three-dimensional visualization of the cell-cycle behavior in tumor spheres showed that CD133+ cancer stem–like cells maintained stemness by remaining in G0–G1 phase. We showed that OBP-301 mobilized quiescent cancer stem–like cells in tumor spheres and xenografts into S/G2/M phases where they lost viability and cancer stem–like cell properties and became chemosensitive.
Purpose: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive hematologic neoplasm. Recent evidence has shown the bone marrow microenvironment in patients with AML to be intrinsically hypoxic. Adaptive cellular responses by leukemia cells to survive under low oxygenation also confer chemoresistance. We therefore asked whether therapeutic exploitation of marrow hypoxia via the hypoxia-activated nitrogen mustard prodrug, TH-302, could effectively inhibit AML growth.
Experimental Design: We assessed the effects of hypoxia and TH-302 on human AML cells, primary samples, and systemic xenograft models.
Results: We observed that human AML cells and primary AML colonies cultured under chronic hypoxia (1% O2, 72 hours) exhibited reduced sensitivity to cytarabine-induced apoptosis as compared with normoxic controls. TH-302 treatment resulted in dose- and hypoxia-dependent apoptosis and cell death in diverse AML cells. TH-302 preferentially decreased proliferation, reduced HIF-1α expression, induced cell-cycle arrest, and enhanced double-stranded DNA breaks in hypoxic AML cells. Hypoxia-induced reactive oxygen species by AML cells were also diminished. In systemic human AML xenografts (HEL, HL60), TH-302 [50 mg/kg intraperitoneally (i.p.) 5 times per week] inhibited disease progression and prolonged overall survival. TH-302 treatment reduced the number of hypoxic cells within leukemic bone marrows and was not associated with hematologic toxicities in nonleukemic or leukemic mice. Later initiation of TH-302 treatment in advanced AML disease was as effective as earlier TH-302 treatment in xenograft models.
Purpose: Cancer stem cells (CSC) are the tumorigenic cell population that has been shown to sustain tumor growth and to resist conventional therapies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) as anti-CSC therapies.
Experimental Design: We evaluated the effect of the HDACi compound abexinostat on CSCs from 16 breast cancer cell lines (BCL) using ALDEFLUOR assay and tumorsphere formation. We performed gene expression profiling to identify biomarkers predicting drug response to abexinostat. Then, we used patient-derived xenograft (PDX) to confirm, in vivo, abexinostat treatment effect on breast CSCs according to the identified biomarkers.
Results: We identified two drug-response profiles to abexinostat in BCLs. Abexinostat induced CSC differentiation in low-dose sensitive BCLs, whereas it did not have any effect on the CSC population from high-dose sensitive BCLs. Using gene expression profiling, we identified the long noncoding RNA Xist (X-inactive specific transcript) as a biomarker predicting BCL response to HDACi. We validated that low Xist expression predicts drug response in PDXs associated with a significant reduction of the breast CSC population.
Purpose: To investigate the antitumor effects of targeting Src and tubulin in mucinous ovarian carcinoma.
Experimental Design: The in vitro and in vivo effects and molecular mechanisms of KX-01, which inhibits Src pathway and tubulin polymerization, were examined in mucinous ovarian cancer models.
Results:In vitro studies using RMUG-S and RMUG-L cell lines showed that KX-01 inhibited cell proliferation, induced apoptosis, arrested the cell cycle at the G2–M phase, and enhanced the cytotoxicity of oxaliplatin in the KX-01–sensitive cell line, RMUG-S. In vivo studies showed that KX-01 significantly decreased tumor burden in RMUG-S and RMUG-L mouse models relative to untreated controls, and the effects were greater when KX-01 was combined with oxaliplatin. KX-01 alone and in combination with oxaliplatin significantly inhibited tumor growth by reducing cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis in vivo. PTEN knock-in experiments in RMUG-L cells showed improved response to KX-01. Reverse phase protein array analysis showed that in addition to blocking downstream molecules of Src family kinases, KX-01 also activated acute stress-inducing molecules.
Purpose: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths and there currently is no reliable modality for the early detection of this disease. Here, we identify cancer-specific promoter DNA methylation of BNC1 and ADAMTS1 as a promising biomarker detection strategy meriting investigation in pancreatic cancer.
Experimental Design: We used a genome-wide pharmacologic transcriptome approach to identify novel cancer-specific DNA methylation alterations in pancreatic cancer cell lines. Of eight promising genes, we focused our studies on BNC1 and ADAMTS1 for further downstream analysis, including methylation and expression. We used a nanoparticle-enabled methylation on beads (MOB) technology to detect early-stage pancreatic cancers by analyzing DNA methylation in patient serum.
Results: We identified two novel genes, BNC1 (92%) and ADAMTS1 (68%), that showed a high frequency of methylation in pancreatic cancers (n = 143), up to 100% in PanIN-3 and 97% in stage I invasive cancers. Using the nanoparticle-enabled MOB technology, these alterations could be detected in serum samples (n = 42) from patients with pancreatic cancer, with a sensitivity for BNC1 of 79% [95% confidence interval (CI), 66%–91%] and for ADAMTS1 of 48% (95% CI, 33%–63%), whereas specificity was 89% for BNC1 (95% CI, 76%–100%) and 92% for ADAMTS1 (95% CI, 82%–100%). Overall sensitivity using both markers is 81% (95% CI, 69%–93%) and specificity is 85% (95% CI, 71%–99%).
Purpose: Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) promotes carcinogenesis by epigenetically silencing tumor suppressor genes. We studied EZH2 expression by immunohistochemistry in a large series of non–small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) in association with tumor characteristics and patient outcomes.
Experimental Design: EZH2 immunohistochemistry expression was analyzed in 265 normal and premalignant bronchial epithelia, 541 primary NSCLCs [221 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and 320 adenocarcinomas] and 36 NSCLCs with paired brain metastases. An independent set of 91 adenocarcinomas was also examined. EZH2 expression was statistically correlated with clinico-pathological information, and EGFR/KRAS mutation status.
Results: EZH2 expression was significantly (P < 0.0001) higher in SCCs compared with adenocarcinomas and in brain metastasis relative to matched primary tumors (P = 0.0013). EZH2 expression was significantly (P < 0.0001) elevated in bronchial preneoplastic lesions with increasing severity. In adenocarcinomas, higher EZH2 expression significantly correlated with younger age, cigarette smoking, and higher TNM stage (P = 0.02 to P < 0.0001). Higher EZH2 expression in adenocarcinoma was associated with worse recurrence-free survival (RFS; P = 0.025; HR = 1.54) and overall survival (OS; P = 0.0002; HR = 1.96). Furthermore, lung adenocarcinomas with low EZH2 levels and high expression of the lineage-specific transcription factor, TTF-1, exhibited significantly improved RFS (P = 0.009; HR = 0.51) and OS (P = 0.0011; HR = 0.45), which was confirmed in the independent set of 91 adenocarcinomas.
Purpose: Use of 2[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in postchemotherapy response assessment in follicular lymphoma is still a controversial issue. Here, we conducted the first systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the predictive value of FDG-PET in predicting outcome after chemotherapy of follicular lymphoma.
Experimental Design: Comprehensive literature search in Ovid-MEDLINE and EMBASE databases was performed to identify studies which evaluate predictive value of end-therapy PET and/or computed tomography (CT) in patients with follicular lymphoma. To quantitatively compare the predictive value of PET and CT, pooled hazard ratios (HRs) comparing progression-free survival (PFS) between patients with positive and negative results were adopted as the primary indicators for meta-analysis. To explore the efficiency in determining complete remission (CR), pooled CR rates of PET- and CT-based response criteria were calculated. Pooling of these parameters was based on the random-effects model.
Results: Review of 285 candidate articles identified eight eligible articles with a total of 577 patients for qualitative review and meta-analysis. The pooled HRs of end-therapy PET and CT were 5.1 [95% confidence interval (CI), 3.7–7.2] and 2.6 (95% CI, 1.2–5.8), respectively, which implies that PET is more predictive of PFS after chemotherapy than CT. The pooled CR rates of PET- and CT-based response criteria were 75% (95% CI, 70–79%) and 63% (95% CI, 53–73%), respectively, which implies that PET is more efficient in distinguishing CR (without residual disease) from other states with residual disease. In addition, qualitative systematic review indicates the same findings.
Purpose: Imetelstat is a covalently-lipidated 13-mer thiophosphoramidate oligonucleotide that acts as a potent specific inhibitor of telomerase. It binds with high affinity to the template region of the RNA component of human telomerase (hTERC) and is a competitive inhibitor of telomerase enzymatic activity. The purpose of this study was to determine the recommended phase II dose of imetelstat in children with recurrent or refractory solid tumors.
Experimental Design: Imetelstat was administered intravenously more than two hours on days 1 and 8, every 21 days. Dose levels of 225, 285, and 360 mg/m2 were evaluated, using the rolling-six design. Imetelstat pharmacokinetic and correlative biology studies were also performed during the first cycle.
Results: Twenty subjects were enrolled (median age, 14 years; range, 3–21). Seventeen were evaluable for toxicity. The most common toxicities were neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and lymphopenia, with dose-limiting myelosuppression in 2 of 6 patients at 360 mg/m2. Pharmacokinetics is dose dependent with a lower clearance at the highest dose level. Telomerase inhibition was observed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells at 285 and 360 mg/m2. Two confirmed partial responses, osteosarcoma (n = 1) and Ewing sarcoma (n = 1), were observed.
Purpose: Regulatory T cells (Treg) accumulate in tumor tissues and the peripheral blood of cancer patients and may persist after therapies. This cross-sectional study examines effects of adjuvant chemoradiotherapy (CRT) on Treg numbers and function in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients.
Experimental Design: The frequency and absolute numbers of CD4+, ATP-hydrolyzing CD4+CD39+ and CD8+ T cells, and expression levels of CD39, CD25, TGF-β–associated LAP and GARP on Treg were measured by flow cytometry in 40 healthy donors (NC) and 71 HNSCC patients [29 untreated with active disease (AD); 22 treated with surgery; 20 treated with CRT]. All treated subjects had no evident disease (NED) at the time of phlebotomy. In an additional cohort of 40 subjects with AD (n = 15), NED (n = 10), and NC (n = 15), in vitro sensitivity of CD4+ T-cell subsets to cisplatin and activation-induced cell death (AICD) was tested in Annexin V–binding assays.
Results: CRT decreased the frequency of circulating CD4+ T cells (P < 0.002) but increased that of CD4+CD39+ Treg (P ≤ 0.001) compared with untreated or surgery-only patients. Treg frequency remained elevated for >3 years. CRT increased surface expression of LAP, GARP, and CD39 on Treg. In vitro Treg were resistant to AICD or cisplatin but conventional CD4+ T cells (Tconv) were not. CRT-induced Treg from AD or NC subjects upregulated prosurvival proteins whereas Tconv upregulated proapoptotic Bax.
Purpose: We investigated the use of graded-dose peginterferon α-2b (Peg-IFN) in patients with stage IV melanoma overexpressing basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2). The primary objective was suppression of plasma FGF-2 to within reference range (≤7.5 pg/mL).
Experimental Design: Plasma FGF-2 was measured at baseline (step 1), and patients with concentrations of 15 pg/mL or more were eligible for study treatment (step 2). Peg-IFN was given weekly at a starting dose of 0.5 μg/kg/wk with increment every 3 weeks based on serial FGF-2 concentrations.
Results: Two hundred seven patients entered step 1; 45 (22%) overexpressed FGF-2 (median = 22 pg/dL). Twenty-nine eligible patients entered step 2 and received treatment. Patients' median age was 64 years (range, 29–84 years). Most had more than two prior therapies. FGF-2 decreased in 28 (97%) patients, with suppression to reference range in 10 (35%). Median time to FGF-2 suppression was 30 days. The best clinical responses were partial response (7%) and stable disease (17%). Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 2.0 and 9.7 months, respectively. Patients who achieved FGF-2 suppression were more likely than those who did not to have a response or stable disease (P = 0.03). VEGF concentrations decreased in 27 patients (93%) during treatment and paralleled those of FGF-2 over time. We found no compensatory increase in VEGF among those with FGF-2 suppression.
Purpose: The primary objective was to evaluate safety of 3-(1'-hexyloxyethyl)pyropheophorbide-a (HPPH) photodynamic therapy (HPPH-PDT) for dysplasia and early squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (HNSCC). Secondary objectives were the assessment of treatment response and reporters for an effective PDT reaction.
Experimental Design: Patients with histologically proven oral dysplasia, carcinoma in situ, or early-stage HNSCC were enrolled in two sequentially conducted dose escalation studies with an expanded cohort at the highest dose level. These studies used an HPPH dose of 4 mg/m2 and light doses from 50 to 140 J/cm2. Pathologic tumor responses were assessed at 3 months. Clinical follow up range was 5 to 40 months. PDT induced cross-linking of STAT3 were assessed as potential indicators of PDT effective reaction.
Results: Forty patients received HPPH-PDT. Common adverse events were pain and treatment site edema. Biopsy proven complete response rates were 46% for dysplasia and carcinoma in situ and 82% for squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) lesions at 140 J/cm2. The responses in the carcinoma in situ/dysplasia cohort are not durable. The PDT-induced STAT3 cross-links is significantly higher (P = 0.0033) in SCC than in carcinoma in situ/dysplasia for all light doses.
Purpose: To assess the efficacy and safety of the anti-VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) antibody ramucirumab as first-line therapy in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and explore potential circulating biomarkers.
Experimental Design: Adults with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma and no prior systemic treatment received ramucirumab 8 mg/kg every two weeks until disease progression or limiting toxicity. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS); secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR) and overall survival (OS). Circulating biomarkers were evaluated before and after ramucirumab treatment in a subset of patients.
Results: Forty-two patients received ramucirumab. Median PFS was 4.0 months [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.6–5.7], ORR was 9.5% (95% CI, 2.7–22.6; 4/42 patients had a partial response), and median OS was 12.0 months (95% CI, 6.1–19.7). For patients with Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage C disease, median OS was 4.4 months (95% CI, 0.5–9.0) for patients with Child-Pugh B cirrhosis versus 18.0 months (95% CI, 6.1–23.5) for patients with Child-Pugh A cirrhosis. Treatment-related grade ≥3 toxicities included hypertension (14%), gastrointestinal hemorrhage and infusion-related reactions (7% each), and fatigue (5%). There was one treatment-related death (gastrointestinal hemorrhage). After treatment with ramucirumab, there was an increase in serum VEGF and placental growth factor (PlGF) and a transient decrease in soluble VEGFR-2.
Purpose: There is currently no consensus on optimal frontline therapy for patients with follicular lymphoma. We analyzed a phase III randomized intergroup trial comparing six cycles of CHOP-R (cyclophosphamide–Adriamycin–vincristine–prednisone (Oncovin)–rituximab) with six cycles of CHOP followed by iodine-131 tositumomab radioimmunotherapy (RIT) to assess whether any subsets benefited more from one treatment or the other, and to compare three prognostic models.
Experimental Design: We conducted univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses of 532 patients enrolled on this trial and compared the prognostic value of the FLIPI (follicular lymphoma international prognostic index), FLIPI2, and LDH + β2M (lactate dehydrogenase + β2-microglobulin) models.
Results: Outcomes were excellent, but not statistically different between the two study arms [5-year progression-free survival (PFS) of 60% with CHOP-R and 66% with CHOP-RIT (P = 0.11); 5-year overall survival (OS) of 92% with CHOP-R and 86% with CHOP-RIT (P = 0.08); overall response rate of 84% for both arms]. The only factor found to potentially predict the impact of treatment was serum β2M; among patients with normal β2M, CHOP-RIT patients had better PFS compared with CHOP-R patients, whereas among patients with high serum β2M, PFS by arm was similar (interaction P value = 0.02).
Purpose: Multimodality treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) often involves radiotherapy and cisplatin-based therapy. Elevated activity of DNA repair mechanisms, such as the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway, of which ERCC1 is a rate-limiting element, are associated with cisplatin and possibly RT resistance. We have determined excision repair cross-complementing group 1 (ERCC1) expression in human papillomavirus (HPV)-negative SCCHN treated with surgery [±adjuvant radiotherapy/chemoradiation (CRT)].
Experimental Design: We assessed ERCC1 protein expression in archival tumors using immunofluorescence staining and automatic quantitative analysis (AQUA) with three antibodies to ERCC1 (8F1, FL297, and HPA029773). Analysis with Classification and Regression Tree (CART) methods ascertained the cutoff points between high/low ERCC1 expression. Multivariable analysis adjusted for age, T, and N stage. Kaplan–Meier curves determined median survival. ERCC1 expression at initial tumor presentation and in recurrent disease were compared. Performance characteristics of antibodies were assessed.
Results: ERCC1 low/high groups were defined on the basis of AQUA analysis with 8F1/2009, FL297, and HPA029773. Among patients treated with surgery plus adjuvant radiotherapy/CRT, longer median survival was observed in ERCC1-low versus ERCC1-high tumors (64 vs. 29 months; P = 0.02; HPA029773). Data obtained with HPA029773 indicated no survival difference among patients treated only with surgery. Recurrent cancers had lower ERCC1 AQUA scores than tumors from initial presentation. Extensive characterization indicated optimal specificity and performance by the HPA029773 antibody.