Purpose: Orteronel (TAK-700) is an investigational, nonsteroidal, oral, inhibitor of androgen synthesis with greater specificity for 17,20-lyase than for 17α-hydroxylase. We investigated orteronel without steroids in patients with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (nmCRPC; M0).
Experimental Design: Patients with nmCRPC and rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) received orteronel 300 mg twice daily until PSA progression, metastases, or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was percentage of patients achieving PSA ≤0.2 ng/mL (undetectable levels) at 3 months. Secondary endpoints included safety, PSA response, time to metastases, and correlated endpoints.
Results: Thirty-nine patients with a median baseline PSA doubling time of 2.4 months (range, 0.9–9.2) received a median of fourteen 28-day treatment cycles. PSA decreased >30% in 35 patients and 6 (16%) achieved PSA ≤ 0.2 ng/mL at 3 months. Median times to PSA progression and metastasis were 13.8 and 25.4 months, respectively. Kaplan–Meier estimates of freedom from PSA progression were 57% and 42% at 12 and 24 months, and of freedom from metastasis were 94% and 62% at 12 and 24 months, respectively. At 3 months, median testosterone declined by 89% from baseline. Adverse events led to therapy discontinuation in 12 patients and grade ≥3/4 adverse events occurred in 22 patients. Most frequent all-cause adverse events included fatigue (64%), hypertension (44%), diarrhea (38%), and nausea (33%), which were primarily grade 1/2.
Purpose: We performed a phase I trial to investigate the safety, clinical responses, and Wilms' tumor 1 (WT1)-specific immune responses following treatment with dendritic cells (DC) pulsed with a mixture of three types of WT1 peptides, including both MHC class I and II–restricted epitopes, in combination with chemotherapy.
Experimental Design: Ten stage IV patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and 1 patient with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) who were HLA-positive for A*02:01, A*02:06, A*24:02, DRB1*04:05, DRB1*08:03, DRB1*15:01, DRB1*15:02, DPB1*05:01, or DPB1*09:01 were enrolled. The patients received one course of gemcitabine followed by biweekly intradermal vaccinations with mature DCs pulsed with MHC class I (DC/WT1-I; 2 PDA and 1 ICC), II (DC/WT1-II; 1 PDA), or I/II–restricted WT1 peptides (DC/WT1-I/II; 7 PDA), and gemcitabine.
Results: The combination therapy was well tolerated. WT1-specific IFN-producing CD4+ T cells were significantly increased following treatment with DC/WT1-I/II. WT1 peptide-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) was detected in 4 of the 7 patients with PDA vaccinated with DC/WT1-I/II and in 0 of the 3 patients with PDA vaccinated with DC/WT1-I or DC/WT1-II. The WT1-specific DTH-positive patients showed significantly improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared with the negative control patients. In particular, all 3 patients with PDA with strong DTH reactions had a median OS of 717 days.
Purpose: Panitumumab, a fully human anti-epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody (mAb), has demonstrated efficacy in patients with wild-type KRAS metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Rilotumumab and ganitumab are investigational, fully human mAbs against hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/scatter factor and IGF1R, respectively. Here we evaluate combining rilotumumab or ganitumab with panitumumab in previously treated patients with wild-type KRAS mCRC.
Experimental Design: Part 1 was a phase Ib dose-finding study of panitumumab plus rilotumumab. The primary endpoint was the incidence of dose-limiting toxicities (DLT). Part 2 was a randomized phase II trial of panitumumab in combination with rilotumumab, ganitumab, or placebo. The primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR); safety, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were secondary endpoints. Archival tissue specimens were collected for exploratory correlative work.
Results: In part 1, no DLTs were reported. A recommended phase II dose of 10 mg/kg rilotumumab was selected. In part 2, for the panitumumab plus rilotumumab (n = 48), panitumumab plus ganitumab (n = 46), and panitumumab plus placebo arms (n = 48), the ORRs were 31%, 22%, and 21%, respectively. The median PFS was 5.2, 5.3, and 3.7 months and median OS 13.8, 10.6, and 11.6 months, respectively. Adverse events were tolerable. Exploratory biomarker analyses, including MET and IGF-related protein expression, failed to indicate conclusive predictive evidence on efficacy endpoints.
Purpose: This phase I expansion study assessed safety, pharmacodynamic effects, and antitumor activity of RO4987655, a pure MEK inhibitor, in selected patients with advanced solid tumor.
Experimental Design: We undertook a multicenter phase I two-part study (dose escalation and cohort expansion). Here, we present the part 2 expansion that included melanoma, non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and colorectal cancer with oral RO4987655 administered continuously at recommended doses of 8.5 mg twice daily until progressive disease (PD). Sequential tumor sampling investigated multiple markers of pathway activation/tumor effects, including ERK phosphorylation and Ki-67 expression. BRAF and KRAS testing were implemented as selection criteria and broader tumor mutational analysis added.
Results: Ninety-five patients received RO4987655, including 18 BRAF-mutant melanoma, 23 BRAF wild-type melanoma, 24 KRAS-mutant NSCLC, and 30 KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer. Most frequent adverse events were rash, acneiform dermatitis, and gastrointestinal disorders, mostly grade 1/2. Four (24%) of 17 BRAF-mutated melanoma had partial response as did four (20%) of 20 BRAF wild-type melanoma and two (11%) of 18 KRAS-mutant NSCLC. All KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer developed PD. Paired tumor biopsies demonstrated reduced ERK phosphorylation among all cohorts but significant differences among cohorts in Ki-67 modulation. Sixty-nine percent showed a decrease in fluorodeoxyglucose uptake between baseline and day 15. Detailed mutational profiling confirmed RAS/RAF screening and identified additional aberrations (NRAS/non-BRAF melanomas; PIK3CA/KRAS colorectal cancer) without therapeutic implications.
Purpose: Immunotherapy using vaccines or adoptively transferred tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) is limited by T-cell functional inactivation within the solid tumor microenvironment. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a similar tumor-induced inhibition occurred with genetically modified cytotoxic T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) targeting tumor-associated antigens.
Experimental Design: Human T cells expressing CAR targeting mesothelin or fibroblast activation protein and containing CD3 and 4–1BB cytoplasmic domains were intravenously injected into immunodeficient mice bearing large, established human mesothelin-expressing flank tumors. CAR TILs were isolated from tumors at various time points and evaluated for effector functions and status of inhibitory pathways.
Results: CAR T cells were able to traffic into tumors with varying efficiency and proliferate. They were able to slow tumor growth, but did not cause regressions or cures. The CAR TILs underwent rapid loss of functional activity that limited their therapeutic efficacy. This hypofunction was reversible when the T cells were isolated away from the tumor. The cause of the hypofunction seemed to be multifactorial and was associated with upregulation of intrinsic T-cell inhibitory enzymes (diacylglycerol kinase and SHP-1) and the expression of surface inhibitory receptors (PD1, LAG3, TIM3, and 2B4).
Purpose: To identify novel therapeutic drug targets for p53-mutant head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Experimental Design: RNAi kinome viability screens were performed on HNSCC cells, including autologous pairs from primary tumor and recurrent/metastatic lesions, and in parallel on murine squamous cell carcinoma (MSCC) cells derived from tumors of inbred mice bearing germline mutations in Trp53, and p53 regulatory genes: Atm, Prkdc, and p19Arf. Cross-species analysis of cell lines stratified by p53 mutational status and metastatic phenotype was used to select 38 kinase targets. Both primary and secondary RNAi validation assays were performed on additional HNSCC cell lines to credential these kinase targets using multiple phenotypic endpoints. Kinase targets were also examined via chemical inhibition using a panel of kinase inhibitors. A preclinical study was conducted on the WEE1 kinase inhibitor, MK-1775.
Results: Our functional kinomics approach identified novel survival kinases in HNSCC involved in G2–M cell-cycle checkpoint, SFK, PI3K, and FAK pathways. RNAi-mediated knockdown and chemical inhibition of the WEE1 kinase with a specific inhibitor, MK-1775, had a significant effect on both viability and apoptosis. Sensitivity to the MK-1775 kinase inhibitor is in part determined by p53 mutational status, and due to unscheduled mitotic entry. MK-1775 displays single-agent activity and potentiates the efficacy of cisplatin in a p53-mutant HNSCC xenograft model.
Purpose: How tumors evade or suppress immune surveillance is a key question in cancer research, and overcoming immune escape is a major goal for lengthening remission after cancer treatment. Here, we used the papillomavirus-associated rabbit auricular VX2 carcinoma, a model for studying human head and neck cancer, to reveal the mechanisms underlying the antitumorigenic effects of intraperitoneal oxidative stress following O3/O2-pneumoperitoneum (O3/O2-PP) treatment.
Experimental Design: Solid auricular VX2 tumors were induced in immune-competent adult New Zealand White Rabbits. Animals were O3/O2-PP- or sham-treated, after which they underwent tumor ablation upon reaching no-go criteria. CD3+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, and expression levels of 84 immune response genes were measured by quantitative real-time PCR. Adoptive transfer of peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL)—derived from animals with tumor regression—into control animals with progressing tumors was implemented to assess acquired tumor resistance functionally.
Results: Auricular VX2 tumors regressing after O3/O2-PP treatment exhibited increased levels of CD3+ TILs; they also exhibited enhanced expression of genes that encode receptors involved in pattern recognition, molecules that are required for antigen presentation and T cell activation, and inflammatory mediators. Adoptive cell transfer of PBLs from donor rabbits with regressing tumors to recipient rabbits with newly implanted VX2 carcinoma resulted in acquired tumor resistance of the host and tumor regression.
Purpose: The selective killing of tumor cells is an important strategy for cancer therapeutics. The aim of this study was to develop a novel antitumor agent that is safe for normal cells with the ability to selectively target cancer cells.
Experimental Design: On the basis of quantitative structure–activity relationship, we synthesized a novel polyphenol conjugate (E)-3-(3,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-1-(2-methoxyphenyl)prop-2-en-1-one (DPP-23). We evaluated the effect of DPP-23 on proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis in various tumor cells. We also assessed molecular targets of DPP-23 using genome-wide expression profiling by DNA microarray and real-time PCR array systems.
Results: DPP-23 effectively inhibited the growth of cancer cells in vitro and in vivo (xenografts in Balb/c nude mice). At a molecular level, DPP-23 targeted the unfolded protein response (UPR) in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells, but not in normal cells, resulting in selective killing of tumor cells via caspase-dependent apoptosis.
Purpose: Patients with luminal breast cancer (LBC) often become endocrine resistant over time. We investigated the molecular changes associated with acquired hormonoresistances in patient-derived xenografts of LBC.
Experimental Design: Two LBC xenografts (HBCx22 and HBCx34) were treated with different endocrine treatments (ET) to obtain xenografts with acquired resistances to tamoxifen (TamR) and ovariectomy (OvaR). PI3K pathway activation was analyzed by Western blot analysis and IHC and responses to ET combined to everolimus were investigated in vivo. Gene expression analyses were performed by RT-PCR and Affymetrix arrays.
Results: HBCx22 TamR xenograft was cross-resistant to several hormonotherapies, whereas HBCx22 OvaR and HBCx34 TamR exhibited a treatment-specific resistance profile. PI3K pathway was similarly activated in parental and resistant xenografts but the addition of everolimus did not restore the response to tamoxifen in TamR xenografts. In contrast, the combination of fulvestrant and everolimus induced tumor regression in vivo in HBCx34 TamR, where we found a cross-talk between the estrogen receptor (ER) and PI3K pathways. Expression of several ER-controlled genes and ER coregulators was significantly changed in both TamR and OvaR tumors, indicating impaired ER transcriptional activity. Expression changes associated with hormonoresistance were both tumor and treatment specific and were enriched for genes involved in cell growth, cell death, and cell survival.
Purpose: Pancreatic cancer is characterized by stromal desmoplasia and perineural invasion (PNI). We sought to explore the contribution of pancreatic stellate cells (PSC) activated by paracrine Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) in pancreatic cancer PNI and progression.
Experimental Design: In this study, the expression dynamics of SHH were examined via immunohistochemistry, real-time PCR, and Western blot analysis in a cohort of carcinomatous and nonneoplastic pancreatic tissues and cells. A series of in vivo and in vitro assays was performed to elucidate the contribution of PSCs activated by paracrine SHH signaling in pancreatic cancer PNI and progression.
Results: We show that SHH overexpression in tumor cells is involved in PNI in pancreatic cancer and is an important marker of biologic activity of pancreatic cancer. Moreover, the overexpression of SHH in tumor cells activates the hedgehog pathway in PSCs in the stroma instead of activating tumor cells. These activated PSCs are essential for the promotion of pancreatic cancer cell migration along nerve axons and nerve outgrowth to pancreatic cancer cell colonies in an in vitro three-dimensional model of nerve invasion in cancer. Furthermore, the coimplantation of PSCs activated by paracrine SHH induced tumor cell invasion of the trunk and nerve dysfunction along sciatic nerves and also promoted orthotropic xenograft tumor growth, metastasis, and PNI in in vivo models.
Purpose: Atopic dermatitis is characterized by decreased expression of filaggrin and loricrin. Patients with atopic dermatitis often suffer from skin infections, which are also frequently seen in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL). In this study, we aimed to investigate the skin barrier in CTCL.
Experimental Design: We assessed skin moisture and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) in patients with CTCL. We next examined mRNA expression levels of filaggrin, loricrin, and antimicrobial peptides (AMP) in skin samples of CTCL, using skin from healthy volunteers and patients with atopic dermatitis or psoriasis as controls. Immunostainings for filaggrin, loricrin, and S100 proteins were also performed.
Results: Lower levels of skin moisture accompanied by higher levels of TEWL were seen in lesional skin of CTCL than in normal skin. CTCL lesional skin contained lower levels of filaggrin and loricrin mRNA than normal skin, which was also true with atopic dermatitis and psoriatic skin. mRNA expression levels of filaggrin in CTCL skin negatively correlated with disease severity markers. Expression levels of AMPs in lesional skin of CTCL and atopic dermatitis were significantly lower than in psoriatic skin. Immunohistochemistry confirmed decreased expression of filaggrin and loricrin in CTCL, atopic dermatitis, and psoriatic skin and enhanced expression of S100 proteins in psoriatic skin.
Purpose: Even though recent studies have shown that genetic changes at enhancers can influence carcinogenesis, most methylomic studies have focused on changes at promoters. We used renal cell carcinoma (RCC), an incurable malignancy associated with mutations in epigenetic regulators, as a model to study genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation at a high resolution.
Experimental Design: Analysis of cytosine methylation status of 1.3 million CpGs was determined by the HELP assay in RCC and healthy microdissected renal tubular controls.
Results: We observed that the RCC samples were characterized by widespread hypermethylation that preferentially affected gene bodies. Aberrant methylation was particularly enriched in kidney-specific enhancer regions associated with H3K4Me1 marks. Various important underexpressed genes, such as SMAD6, were associated with aberrantly methylated, intronic enhancers, and these changes were validated in an independent cohort. MOTIF analysis of aberrantly hypermethylated regions revealed enrichment for binding sites of AP2a, AHR, HAIRY, ARNT, and HIF1 transcription factors, reflecting contributions of dysregulated hypoxia signaling pathways in RCC. The functional importance of this aberrant hypermethylation was demonstrated by selective sensitivity of RCC cells to low levels of decitabine. Most importantly, methylation of enhancers was predictive of adverse prognosis in 405 cases of RCC in multivariate analysis. In addition, parallel copy-number analysis from MspI representations demonstrated novel copy-number variations that were validated in an independent cohort of patients.
Purpose: Recurrence risk assessment to make treatment decisions for early-stage colon cancer patients is a major unmet medical need. The aim of this retrospective multicenter study was to evaluate the clinical utility of guanylyl cyclase C (GCC) mRNA levels in lymph nodes on colon cancer recurrence.
Methods: The proportion of lymph nodes with GCC-positive mRNA (LNR) was evaluated in 463 untreated T3N0 patients, blinded to clinical outcomes. One site's (n = 97) tissue grossing method precluded appropriate lymph node assessment resulting in post hoc exclusion. Cox regression models tested the relationship between GCC and the primary endpoint of time to recurrence. Assay methods, primary analyses, and cut points were all prespecified.
Results: Final dataset contained 366 patients, 38 (10%) of whom had recurrence. Presence of four or more GCC-positive lymph nodes was significantly associated with risk of recurrence [hazard ratio (HR) = 2.46, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07–5.69, P = 0.035], whereas binary GCC LNR risk class (HR = 1.87, 95% CI, 0.99–3.54, P = 0.054) and mismatch repair (MMR) status (HR = 0.77, 95% CI, 0.36–1.62, P = 0.49) were not. In a secondary analysis using a 3-level GCC LNR risk group classification of high (LNR > 0.20), intermediate (0.10 < LNR ≤ 0.20), and low (LNR ≤ 0.10), high-risk patients had a 2.5 times higher recurrence risk compared with low-risk patients (HR = 2.53, 95% CI, 1.24–5.17, P = 0.011).
Purpose: Krüppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) is a transcription factor and putative tumor suppressor. However, little is known about its effect on aerobic glycolysis in pancreatic tumors. Therefore, we investigated the clinical significance, biologic effects, and mechanisms of dysregulated KLF4 signaling in aerobic glycolysis in pancreatic cancer cells.
Experimental Design: Expression of KLF4 and lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) in 70 primary pancreatic tumors and 10 normal pancreatic tissue specimens was measured. Also, the underlying mechanisms of altered KLF4 expression and its impact on aerobic glycolysis in pancreatic cancer cells were investigated.
Results: We found a negative correlation between KLF4 and LDHA expression in pancreatic cancer cells and tissues and that their expression was associated with clinicopathologic features of pancreatic cancer. KLF4 underexpression and LDHA overexpression were correlated with disease stage and tumor differentiation. Experimentally, KLF4 overexpression significantly attenuated the aerobic glycolysis in and growth of pancreatic cancer cells both in vitro and in orthotopic mouse models, whereas knockdown of KLF4 expression had the opposite effect. Enforced KLF4 expression decreased LDHA expression, whereas small interfering RNA–mediated knockdown of KLF4 expression had the opposite effect. Mechanistically, KLF4 bound directly to the promoter regions of the LDHA gene and negatively regulated its transcription activity.
Purpose: Management guidelines for pancreatic intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN) and mucinous cystic neoplasms (MCN) are based on the assumption that mucinous cysts can be accurately distinguished from other pancreatic cystic lesions. Previous studies using surgical material have identified recurrent mutations in GNAS and KRAS in pancreatic mucinous neoplasms. Yet, the diagnostic utility of testing for both genes in pancreatic cyst fluid obtained by endoscopic ultrasound–fine-needle aspiration (EUS–FNA) remains unclear.
Experimental Design:GNAS and KRAS testing was performed on EUS–FNA pancreatic cyst fluid from 91 pancreatic cysts: 41 IPMNs, 9 IPMNs with adenocarcinoma, 16 MCNs, 10 cystic pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNET), 9 serous cystadenomas (SCA), 3 retention cysts, 2 pseudocysts, and 1 lymphoepithelial cyst.
Results: Mutations in GNAS were detected in 16 (39%) IPMNs and 2 (22%) IPMNs with adenocarcinoma. KRAS mutations were identified in 28 (68%) IPMNs, 7 (78%) IPMNs with adenocarcinoma, and 1 (6%) MCN. Mutations in either gene were present in 34 (83%) IPMNs, 8 (89%) IPMNs with adenocarcinoma, and 1 (6%) MCN. No mutations were found in cystic PanNETs, SCAs, retention cysts, pseudocysts, and a lymphoepithelial cyst. GNAS and KRAS mutations had 100% specificity [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.83–1.00] but 65% sensitivity (95% CI, 0.52–0.76) for mucinous differentiation. Among IPMNs, mutations in either gene had 98% specificity (95% CI, 0.86–1.00) and 84% sensitivity (95% CI, 0.70–0.92).
Purpose: We initially observed that the presence of circulating NY-ESO-1– and/or Melan-A–specific T cells in patients with stage IV melanoma was significantly associated with prolonged survival. Here, we report the ways in which the phenotypes and functions of these T cells differentially affect survival in patients preselected for NY-ESO-1 and/or Melan-A reactivity.
Experimental Design: We assayed functional antigen-reactive T cells recognizing NY-ESO-1 and/or Melan-A after in vitro stimulation using overlapping peptide pools. After restimulation, we assayed six cytokines simultaneously by intracellular cytokine staining. This allowed us to analyze the functional antigen response of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells at the single-cell level.
Results: We observed that NY-ESO-1 stimulated mainly CD4+ T cells, whereas Melan-A more often stimulated CD8+ T cells. NY-ESO-1 reactivity was not associated with an additional impact on survival, whether CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, or both types of T cells were responding. In contrast, recognition of Melan-A by CD4+ T cells was associated with reduced survival in our cohort of patients preselected for NY-ESO-1 and/or Melan-A reactivity (that is, in patients with exceptionally long survival). We further observed a negative effect on survival in patients with CD4+ T cells producing IL4 and IL17 upon Melan-A stimulation. Their prognosis was comparable to patients without any Melan-A reactivity.
Purpose: Neuroblastoma is an embryonic childhood cancer with high mortality. 13-cis retinoic acid (13-cisRA) improves survival for some patients, but many recur, suggesting clinical resistance. The mechanism of resistance and the normal differentiation pathway are poorly understood. Three–amino-acid loop extension (TALE) family genes are master regulators of differentiation. Because retinoids promote differentiation in neuroblastoma, we evaluated TALE family gene expression in neuroblastoma.
Experimental Design: We evaluated expression of TALE family genes in RA-sensitive and -resistant neuroblastoma cell lines, with and without 13-cisRA treatment, identifying genes whose expression correlates with retinoid sensitivity. We evaluated the roles of one gene, PBX1, in neuroblastoma cell lines, including proliferation and differentiation. We evaluated PBX1 expression in primary human neuroblastoma samples by qRT-PCR, and three independent clinical cohort microarray datasets.
Results: We confirmed that induction of PBX1 expression, and no other TALE family genes, was associated with 13-cisRA responsiveness in neuroblastoma cell lines. Exogenous PBX1 expression in neuroblastoma cell lines, mimicking induced PBX1 expression, significantly impaired proliferation and anchorage-independent growth, and promoted RA-dependent and -independent differentiation. Reduced PBX1 protein levels produced an aggressive growth phenotype and RA resistance. PBX1 expression correlated with histologic neuroblastoma subtypes, with highest expression in benign ganglioneuromas and lowest in high-risk neuroblastomas. High PBX1 expression is prognostic of survival, including in multivariate analysis, in the three clinical cohorts.