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Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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Background

Cetuximab, a monoclonal blocking antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor EGFR, has been approved for the treatment of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (HNSCC). However, only few patients display long-term responses, prompting the search for cetuximab resistance mechanisms and new therapeutic options enhancing cetuximab effectiveness.

Methods

Cetuximab-sensitive HNSCC cells were retro-engineered to express PIK3CA and RAS oncogenes. These cells and HNSCC cells harboring endogenous PIK3CA and RAS oncogenes were xenografted into mice (n = 10 per group) and studied for their biochemical, antitumor, antiangiogenic, and antilymphangiogenic responses to cetuximab and mTOR targeting agents. All P values are two-sided.

Results

Cetuximab treatment of PIK3CA- and RAS-expressing HNSCC xenografts promoted an initial antitumor response, but all tumors relapsed within few weeks. In these tumors, cetuximab did not decrease the activity of mTOR, a downstream signaling target of EGFR, PIK3CA, and RAS. The combined administration of cetuximab and mTOR inhibitors exerted a remarkably increased antitumor activity, particularly in HNSCC cells that are resistant to cetuximab as a single agent. Indeed, cotargeting mTOR together with cetuximab caused a rapid tumor collapse of both PIK3CA- and RAS-expressing HNSCC xenografts (P < .001), concomitant with reduced proliferation (P < .001) and lymphangiogenesis (P < .001).

Conclusion

The presence of PIK3CA and RAS mutations and other alterations affecting the mTOR pathway activity in HNSCC could be exploited to predict the potential resistance to cetuximab, and to select the patients that may benefit the most from the concomitant administration of cetuximab and PI3K and/or mTOR inhibitors as a precision molecular therapeutic option for HNSCC patients.


Background

The use of neoadjuvant therapy before surgery for gastrointestinal cancer is increasing; however, patients may not complete both treatment components. Understanding completion rates of each treatment stage is necessary for treatment evaluation and to inform decision-making. This study evaluates reporting for recent neoadjuvant surgical trials, focusing on treatment progression and other key outcomes.

Methods

Systematic literature searches identified randomized and nonrandomized phase II and III studies evaluating neoadjuvant treatment and surgery for esophageal, stomach, and colorectal cancer, and colorectal liver metastases. Rates of reporting of failure to complete neoadjuvant treatment, nonprogression to surgery after neoadjuvant treatment, and nonresection at planned surgery were assessed. For each measure, reporting was categorized as "full," "partial," and "absent" according to predefined criteria, and reasons for nonprogression at each stage of treatment were examined to inform proposed standards.

Results

Of 9854 abstracts, 123 papers were reviewed and 62 articles were included, reporting outcomes for 9126 patients. Details of noncompletion of neoadjuvant treatment and nonprogression to surgery were completely absent in 21 (33.9%) and 19 (30.6%) studies, respectively. Reporting of nonresection at planned surgery was also deficient, with 21 (33.9%) studies providing no information about this outcome. Reasons for noncompletion and nonprogression were similar and included disease progression, treatment toxicity, and patient choice. Common reasons for nonresection were locally advanced disease and the discovery of unsuspected metastases.

Conclusions

Reports of recent neoadjuvant surgical trials often fail to include treatment progression and other key outcomes. These findings support the need for minimum reporting standards.




Background

Modern treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) has transformed its prognosis but causes late effects, including premature menopause. Cohort studies of premature menopause risks after treatment have been relatively small, and knowledge about these risks is limited.

Methods

Nonsurgical menopause risk was analyzed in 2127 women treated for HL in England and Wales at ages younger than 36 years from 1960 through 2004 and followed to 2003 through 2012. Risks were estimated using Cox regression, modified Poisson regression, and competing risks. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

During follow-up, 605 patients underwent nonsurgical menopause before age 40 years. Risk of premature menopause increased more than 20-fold after ovarian radiotherapy, alkylating chemotherapy other than dacarbazine, or BEAM (bis-chloroethylnitrosourea [BCNU], etoposide, cytarabine, melphalan) chemotherapy for stem cell transplantation, but was not statistically significantly raised after adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine (ABVD). Menopause generally occurred sooner after ovarian radiotherapy (62.5% within five years of ≥5 Gy treatment) and BEAM (50.9% within five years) than after alkylating chemotherapy (24.2% within five years of ≥6 cycles), and after treatment at older than at younger ages. Cumulative risk of menopause by age 40 years was 81.3% after greater than or equal to 5Gy ovarian radiotherapy, 75.3% after BEAM, 49.1% after greater than or equal to 6 cycles alkylating chemotherapy, 1.4% after ABVD, and 3.0% after solely supradiaphragmatic radiotherapy. Tables of individualized risk information for patients by future period, treatment type, dose and age are provided.

Conclusions

Patients treated with HL need to plan intended pregnancies using personalized information on their risk of menopause by different future time points.







Background

Tumor microenvironment of metastasis (TMEM), consisting of direct contact between a macrophage, an endothelial cell, and a tumor cell, has been associated with metastasis in both rodent mammary tumors and human breast cancer. We prospectively examined the association between TMEM score and risk of distant metastasis and compared risk associated with TMEM score with that associated with IHC4.

Methods

We conducted a case–control study nested within a cohort of 3760 patients with invasive ductal breast carcinoma diagnosed between 1980 and 2000 and followed through 2010. Case patients were women who developed a subsequent distant metastasis; control subjects were matched (1:1) on age at and calendar year of primary diagnosis. TMEM was assessed by triple immunostain and IHC4 by standard methods; slides were read by pathologists blinded to outcome. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic regression, adjusted for clinical variables. A Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis was performed, and the area under the curve was estimated. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

TMEM score was associated with increased risk of distant metastasis in estrogen receptor (ER)+/human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2) tumors (multivariable OR high vs low tertile = 2.70; 95% CI = 1.39 to 5.26; P trend = .004), whereas IHC4 score had a borderline positive association (OR10 unit increase = 1.06; 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.13); the association for TMEM score persisted after adjustment for IHC4 score. The area under the curve for TMEM, adjusted for clinical variables, was 0.78. Neither TMEM score nor IHC4 score was independently associated with metastatic risk overall or in the triple negative or HER2+ subgroups.

Conclusions

TMEM score predicted risk of distant metastasis in ER+/HER2 breast cancer independently of IHC4 score and classical clinicopathologic features.


Background

Screening mammography utilization in Vermont has declined since 2009 during a time of changing screening guidelines and increased interest in personalized screening regimens. This study evaluates whether the breast cancer risk distribution of the state’s screened population changed during the observed decline.

Methods

We examined the breast cancer risk distribution among screened women between 2001 and 2012 using data from the Vermont Breast Cancer Surveillance System. We estimated each screened woman’s 5-year risk of breast cancer using the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium risk calculator. Annual screening counts by risk group were normalized and age-adjusted to the Vermont female population by direct standardization.

Results

The normalized rate of low-risk (5-year breast cancer risk of <1%) women screened increased 8.3% per year (95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.8 to 11.9) between 2003 and 2008 and then declined by –5.4% per year (95% CI = –8.1 to –2.6) until 2012. When stratified by age group, the rate of low-risk women screened declined –4.4% per year (95% CI = –8.8 to 0.1; not statistically significant) for ages 40 to 49 years and declined a statistically significant –7.1% per year (95% CI = –12.1 to –2.0) for ages 50 to 74 years during 2008 to 2012. These declines represented the bulk of overall decreases in screening after 2008, with rates for women categorized in higher risk levels generally exhibiting small annual changes.

Conclusions

The observed decline in women screened in Vermont in recent years is largely attributable to reductions in screening visits by women who are at low risk of developing breast cancer.


Background

The immune therapeutic potential of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the context of tumor-mediated immune suppression has not been previously described for monocyte-derived glioma-associated macrophages, which are the largest infiltrating immune cell population in glioblastomas and facilitate gliomagenesis.

Methods

An miRNA microarray was used to compare expression profiles between human glioblastoma-infiltrating macrophages and matched peripheral monocytes. The effects of miR-142-3p on phenotype and function of proinflammatory M1 and immunosuppressive M2 macrophages were determined. The therapeutic effect of miR-142-3p was ascertained in immune-competent C57BL/6J mice harboring intracerebral GL261 gliomas and in genetically engineered Ntv-a mice bearing high-grade gliomas. Student t test was used to evaluate the differences between ex vivo datasets. Survival was analyzed with the log-rank test and tumor sizes with linear mixed models and F test. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

miR-142-3p was the most downregulated miRNA (approximately 4.95-fold) in glioblastoma-infiltrating macrophages. M2 macrophages had lower miR-142-3p expression relative to M1 macrophages (P = .03). Overexpression of miR-142-3p in M2 macrophages induced selective modulation of transforming growth factor beta receptor 1, which led to subsequent preferential apoptosis in the M2 subset (P = .01). In vivo miR-142-3p administration resulted in glioma growth inhibition (P = .03, n = 5) and extended median survival (miR-142-3p–treated C57BL/6J mice vs scramble control: 31 days vs 23.5 days, P = .03, n = 10; miR-142-3p treated Ntv-a mice vs scramble control: 32 days vs 24 days, P = .03, n = 9), with an associated decrease in infiltrating macrophages (R 2 = .303).

Conclusions

These data indicate a unique role of miR-142-3p in glioma immunity by modulating M2 macrophages through the transforming growth factor beta signaling pathway.


Background

Integrin αvβ6 promotes migration, invasion, and survival of cancer cells; however, the relevance and role of αvβ6 has yet to be elucidated in breast cancer.

Methods

Protein expression of integrin subunit beta6 (β6) was measured in breast cancers by immunohistochemistry (n > 2000) and ITGB6 mRNA expression measured in the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium dataset. Overall survival was assessed using Kaplan Meier curves, and bioinformatics statistical analyses were performed (Cox proportional hazards model, Wald test, and Chi-square test of association). Using antibody (264RAD) blockade and siRNA knockdown of β6 in breast cell lines, the role of αvβ6 in Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) biology (expression, proliferation, invasion, growth in vivo) was assessed by flow cytometry, MTT, Transwell invasion, proximity ligation assay, and xenografts (n ≥ 3), respectively. A student’s t-test was used for two variables; three-plus variables used one-way analysis of variance with Bonferroni’s Multiple Comparison Test. Xenograft growth was analyzed using linear mixed model analysis, followed by Wald testing and survival, analyzed using the Log-Rank test. All statistical tests were two sided.

Results

High expression of either the mRNA or protein for the integrin subunit β6 was associated with very poor survival (HR = 1.60, 95% CI = 1.19 to 2.15, P = .002) and increased metastases to distant sites. Co-expression of β6 and HER2 was associated with worse prognosis (HR = 1.97, 95% CI = 1.16 to 3.35, P = .01). Monotherapy with 264RAD or trastuzumab slowed growth of MCF-7/HER2-18 and BT-474 xenografts similarly (P < .001), but combining 264RAD with trastuzumab effectively stopped tumor growth, even in trastuzumab-resistant MCF-7/HER2-18 xenografts.

Conclusions

Targeting αvβ6 with 264RAD alone or in combination with trastuzumab may provide a novel therapy for treating high-risk and trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer patients.


Background

Newer approaches to mammography, including digital image acquisition and computer-aided detection (CAD), and adjunct imaging (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging [MRI]) have diffused into clinical practice. The impact of these technologies on screening-related cost and outcomes remains undefined, particularly among older women.

Methods

Using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare linked database, we constructed two cohorts of women without a history of breast cancer and followed each cohort for 2 years. We compared the use and cost of screening mammography including digital mammography and CAD, adjunct procedures including breast ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy between the period of 2001 and 2002 and the period of 2008 and 2009 using 2 and t test. We also assessed the change in breast cancer stage and incidence rates using 2 and Poisson regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

There were 137150 women (mean age = 76.0 years) in the early cohort (2001–2002) and 133097 women (mean age = 77.3 years) in the later cohort (2008–2009). The use of digital image acquisition for screening mammography increased from 2.0% in 2001 and 2002 to 29.8% in 2008 and 2009 (P < .001). CAD use increased from 3.2% to 33.1% (P < .001). Average screening-related cost per capita increased from $76 to $112 (P < .001), with annual national fee-for-service Medicare spending increasing from $666 million to $962 million. There was no statistically significant change in detection rates of early-stage tumors (2.45 vs 2.57 per 1000 person-years; P = .41).

Conclusions

Although breast cancer screening–related costs increased substantially from 2001 through 2009 among Medicare beneficiaries, a clinically significant change in stage at diagnosis was not observed.


Background

Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) rates have substantially increased in recent years and may reflect an exaggerated perceived benefit from the procedure. The objective of this study was to evaluate the magnitude of the survival benefit of CPM for women with unilateral breast cancer.

Methods

We developed a Markov model to simulate survival outcomes after CPM and no CPM among women with stage I or II breast cancer without a BRCA mutation. Probabilities for developing contralateral breast cancer (CBC), dying from CBC, dying from primary breast cancer, and age-specific mortality rates were estimated from published studies. We estimated life expectancy (LE) gain, 20-year overall survival, and disease-free survival with each intervention strategy among cohorts of women defined by age, estrogen receptor (ER) status, and stage of cancer.

Results

Predicted LE gain from CPM ranged from 0.13 to 0.59 years for women with stage I breast cancer and 0.08 to 0.29 years for those with stage II breast cancer. Absolute 20-year survival differences ranged from 0.56% to 0.94% for women with stage I breast cancer and 0.36% to 0.61% for women with stage II breast cancer. CPM was more beneficial among younger women, stage I, and ER-negative breast cancer. Sensitivity analyses yielded a maximum 20-year survival difference with CPM of only 1.45%.

Conclusions

The absolute 20-year survival benefit from CPM was less than 1% among all age, ER status, and cancer stage groups. Estimates of LE gains and survival differences derived from decision models may provide more realistic expectations of CPM.


This sixteenth biannual report of the Cochrane Haematological Malignancies Group highlights recently published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the field of hemato-oncology, with special focus on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The report covers the publication period June 2012 to July 2013. Trials are selected regarding their methodology and implication for clinical practice. Studies were identified by electronic search of MEDLINE using a broad search filter that covers all topics in hemato-oncology combined with a highly sensitive search filter for randomized trials (Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions). Four RCTs are presented in detail, followed by two further RCTs of high importance in a short version. The report is finalized with an overview of new and updated Cochrane Reviews.




Primary human papillomavirus (HPV) testing (without concurrent Pap tests) every 3 years is under consideration in the United States as an alternative to the two recommended cervical cancer screening strategies: primary Pap testing every 3 years, or concurrent Pap and HPV testing ("cotesting") every 5 years. Using logistic regression and Weibull survival models, we estimated and compared risks of cancer and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 or worse (CIN3+) for the three strategies among 1011092 women aged 30 to 64 years testing HPV-negative and/or Pap-negative in routine screening at Kaiser Permanente Northern California since 2003. All statistical tests were two sided. Three-year risks following an HPV-negative result were lower than 3-year risks following a Pap-negative result (CIN3+ = 0.069% vs 0.19%, P < .0001; Cancer = 0.011% vs 0.020%, P < .0001) and 5-year risks following an HPV-negative/Pap-negative cotest (CIN3+ = 0.069% vs 0.11%, P < .0001; Cancer = 0.011% vs 0.014%, P = .21). These findings suggest that primary HPV testing merits consideration as another alternative for cervical screening.



Myopericytoma (MPC) is a rare tumor with perivascular proliferation of pluripotent stem-cell–like pericytes. Although indolent, MPC may be locally aggressive with recurrent disease. The pathogenesis and diagnostic biomarkers of MPC are poorly understood. We discovered that 15% of benign MPCs (thyroid, skin; 3 of 20 samples) harbored BRAFWT/V600E; 33.3% (1 of 3 samples) of BRAFWT/V600E-MPCs were multifocal/infiltrative/recurrent. Patient-MPC and primary MPC cells harbored BRAFWT/V600E, were clonal and expressed pericytic-differentiation biomarkers crucial for its microenvironment. BRAFWT/V600E-positive thyroid MPC primary cells triggered in vitro (8.8-fold increase) and in vivo (3.6-fold increase) angiogenesis. Anti-BRAFV600E therapy with vemurafenib disrupted angiogenic and metabolic properties (~3-fold decrease) with down-regulation (~2.2-fold decrease) of some extracellular-matrix (ECM) factors and ECM-associated long non-coding RNA (LincRNA) expression, with no effects in BRAFWT-pericytes. Vemurafenib also inhibited (~3-fold decrease) cell viability in vitro and in BRAFWT/V600E-positive thyroid MPC patient-derived xenograft (PDX) mice (n = 5 mice per group). We established the first BRAFWT/V600E-dependent thyroid MPC cell culture. Our findings identify BRAFWT/V600E as a novel genetic aberration in MPC pathogenesis and MPC-associated biomarkers and imply that anti-BRAFV600E agents may be useful adjuvant therapy in BRAFWT/V600E-MPC patients. Patients with BRAFWT/V600E-MPC should be closely followed because of the risk for multifocality/recurrence.



Background

A multi-institutional phase II trial was performed to assess a hypofractionated accelerated radiotherapy regimen for early stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in an era when stereotactic body radiotherapy was not widely available.

Methods

Eighty patients with biopsy-proven, peripherally located, T1-3 N0 M0 NSCLC were enrolled. Eligible patients received 60 Gy in 15 fractions using a three-dimensional conformal technique without inhomogeneity correction. The gross tumour volume (GTV) was the primary tumor only, and the planning target volume (PTV) margin was 1.0 to 1.5cm. The primary endpoint was the 2-year primary tumor control rate. Toxicities were measured using the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0.

Results

The median follow-up of patients was 49 months (range = 21–63 months). The median age of patients was 75.9 years. The actuarial rate of primary tumor control was 87.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 76.2% to 93.5%) at 2 years. Overall survival was 68.7% (95% CI = 57.2% to 77.6%) at 2 years. The actuarial rates of developing regional and distant relapse at 2 years were 8.8% (95% CI = 4.1% to 18.7%) and 21.6% (95% CI = 13.5% to 33.5%), respectively. Tumor size greater than 3cm was associated with an increased risk of developing distant relapse (hazard ratio = 3.11; 95% CI = 1.30 to 7.42; two-sided log-rank test P = .007). The most common grade 3+ toxicities were fatigue (6.3%), cough (7.5%), dyspnea (13.8%), and pneumonitis (10.0%)

Conclusions

Conformal radiotherapy to a dose of 60 Gy in 15 fractions resulted in favorable primary tumor control and overall survival rates in patients with T1-3 N0 M0 NSCLC. Severe toxicities were uncommon with this relatively simple treatment technique.


Survivors of childhood cancer frequently experience cancer-related cognitive dysfunction, commonly months to years after treatment for pediatric brain tumors, acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), or tumors involving the head and neck. Risk factors for cancer-related cognitive dysfunction include young age at diagnosis, treatment with cranial irradiation, use of parenteral or intrathecal methotrexate, female sex, and pre-existing comorbidities. Limiting use and reducing doses and volume of cranial irradiation while intensifying chemotherapy have improved survival and reduced the severity of cognitive dysfunction, especially in leukemia. Nonetheless, problems in core functional domains of attention, processing speed, working memory and visual-motor integration continue to compromise quality of life and performance. We review the epidemiology, pathophysiology and assessment of cancer-related cognitive dysfunction, the impact of treatment changes for prevention, and the broad strategies for educational and pharmacological interventions to remediate established cognitive dysfunction following childhood cancer. The increased years of life saved after childhood cancer warrants continued study toward the prevention and remediation of cancer-related cognitive dysfunction, using uniform assessments anchored in functional outcomes.













Background

Data from animal and cell-line models suggest that vitamin D metabolism plays an important role in pancreatic tumor behavior. Although vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in numerous cancers, the vitamin D status of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer and the effect of baseline vitamin D levels on survival are unknown.

Methods

Participants in this correlative study (CALGB 151006) were enrolled in CALGB 80303, which was a randomized trial of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer that demonstrated no difference in overall survival (OS) among patients treated with gemcitabine plus placebo vs gemcitabine plus bevacizumab. We measured baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels and examined associations between baseline 25(OH)D levels and progression-free survival and OS using the Cox rank score test. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Of 256 patients with available serum, the median 25(OH)D level was 21.7ng/mL (range 4 to 77). 44.5% of patients were vitamin D deficient (25[OH]D <20ng/mL), and 32.4% were insufficient (25[OH]D ≥20 and <30ng/mL). 25(OH)D levels were lower in black patients compared with white patients, and patients of other/undisclosed race (10.7 vs 22.4 vs 20.9ng/mL, P < .001). Baseline 25(OH)D levels were not associated with PFS (HR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.01, P = .60) or OS (HR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.01, P = .95).

Conclusion

Vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent among patients with a new diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer. Black patients had statistically significantly lower 25(OH)D levels than white patients. In this cohort of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer receiving gemcitabine-based chemotherapy, baseline 25(OH)D levels were not associated with PFS or OS.


Background

In neural invasion (NI), cancer cells are classically assumed to actively invade nerves and to cause local recurrence and pain. However, the opposite possibility, that nerves may reach cancer cells even in their preinvasive stage and thereby promote cancer spread, has not yet been genuinely considered. The present study analyzes the reaction of Schwann cells of peripheral nerves to carcinogenesis in pancreatic cancer and colon cancer.

Methods

Two novel 3D migration and Schwann cell outgrowth assays were developed to monitor the timing and the specificity of Schwann cell migration and cancer invasion toward peripheral neurons through digital-time-lapse microscopy and after blockade of nerve growth factor (NGF) signalling via siRNA or a small-molecule inhibitor of the p75NTR receptor. The frequency and emergence of the Schwann cell markers Sox10, S100, ALDH1L1, and glial-fibrillary-acidic-protein (GFAP) around cancer precursor lesions were studied in human and conditional murine pancreatic and colon cancer specimens using multiple immunolabeling.

Results

Schwann cells migrated toward pancreatic and colon cancer cells, but not toward benign cells, before the onset of cancer migration toward peripheral neurons. This chemoattraction was inhibited after blockade of p75NTR-signaling on Schwann and pancreatic cancer cells. Schwann cells were specifically detected around murine and human pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias (PanINs) (mean percent of murine PanINs surrounded by Schwann cells = 78.9%, 95% CI = 70.9 to 86.8%, and mean percent of human PanINs surrounded by Schwann cells = 52.5%, 95% CI = 14.7 to 90.4%; human: n = 44, murine: n = 14) and intestinal adenomas (mean percent of murine adenomas surrounded by Schwann cells = 64.2%, 95% CI = 28.6 to 99.8%, and mean percent of human adenomas surrounded by Schwann cells = 17.2%, 95% CI = -126.9 to 161.4; human: n = 36, murine: n = 12). The Schwann cell presence in this premalignant stage was associated with the frequency of NI in the malignant phase.

Conclusions

Schwann cells have particular and specific affinity to cancer cells. Emergence of Schwann cells in the premalignant phase of pancreatic and colon cancer implies that, in contrast with the traditional assumption, nerves—and not cancer cells—migrate first during NI.


The identification of oncogenic driver mutations in cancer has led to the rapid rise of genotype-directed treatments such as EGFR and BRAF kinase inhibitors. Standard tumor biopsy remains a cumbersome and morbid procedure for patients, leading to a growing interest in noninvasive plasma genotyping approaches. Circulating tumor cells are of interest; however, the processing of specimens is complicated and time consuming. By comparison, cell-free DNA (cfDNA) genotyping has the potential to be convenient and relatively simple to process in a short time period. Several technologies are under development for cfDNA analysis, such as allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), coamplification at Lower Denaturation temperatures (COLD) PCR, emulsion PCR, and massively parallel sequencing. Broad clinical validity will need to be established for different assays, and clinical utility will need to be evaluated within prospective trials to determine which assays will best predict the efficacy of therapy and patient outcomes. In addition, assay standardization will be critical prior to widespread use in routine clinical practice. The Cell Free DNA Working Group, under the sponsorship of Transgenomic, was convened to evaluate the molecular assays in development and provide recommendations for application and interpretation of these tests in the context of future clinical research. The consensus commentary of the Cell Free DNA Working Group for the use of cfDNA plasma genotyping assays is presented here, including future steps in the development of these technologies.




Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease, divisible into a variable number of clinical subtypes. A fundamental question is how many etiological classes underlie the clinical spectrum of breast cancer? An etiological subtype reflects a grouping with a common set of causes, whereas a clinical subtype represents a grouping with similar prognosis and/or prediction. Herein, we review the evidence for breast cancer etiological heterogeneity. We then evaluate the etiological evidence with mRNA profiling data. A bimodal age distribution at diagnosis with peak frequencies near ages 50 and 70 years is a fundamental characteristic of breast cancer for important tumor features, clinical characteristics, risk factor profiles, and molecular subtypes. The bimodal peak frequencies at diagnosis divide breast cancer overall into a "mixture" of two main components in varying proportions in different cancer populations. The first breast cancer tends to arise early in life with modal age-at-diagnosis near 50 years and generally behaves aggressively. The second breast cancer occurs later in life with modal age near 70 years and usually portends a more indolent clinical course. These epidemiological and molecular data are consistent with a two-component mixture model and compatible with a hierarchal view of breast cancers arising from two main cell types of origin. Notwithstanding the potential added value of more detailed categorizations for personalized breast cancer treatment, we suggest that the development of better criteria to identify the two proposed etiologic classes would advance breast cancer research and prevention.









Background

Recent concerns about potential overdiagnosis and overtreatment of ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast (DCIS) render evaluation of late effects of treatment, such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), of great importance. We studied cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in a large population-based cohort of DCIS patients.

Methods

Data on all incident DCIS case patients in the Netherlands between 1989 and 2004 who were diagnosed before the age of 75 years were obtained (n = 10468). CVD data was acquired through linkage with population-based registries. Standardized mortality ratios were calculated by comparing mortality in our cohort with that in the Dutch female population, taking into account person-years of observation. Within-cohort comparisons were based on multivariable competing-risk regression.

Results

Compared with the general population, 5-year survivors of DCIS had a similar risk of dying due to any cause (standardized mortality ratio [SMR] = 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.97 to 1.11) but a lower risk of dying of CVD (SMR = 0.77; 95% CI = 0.67 to 0.89). No difference in CVD risk was found when comparing 5-year survivors treated with radiotherapy with those treated with surgery only. Left-sided vs right-sided radiotherapy also did not increase this risk (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.94; 95% CI = 0.67 to 1.32). In a subgroup analysis of all DCIS patients diagnosed between 1997 and 2005, we were able to account for history of CVD and did not observe a risk difference between treatment groups (left-sided vs right-sided radiotherapy: HR = 0.94; 95% CI = 0.68 to 1.29).

Conclusions

After a median follow-up of 10 years, we did not find an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity or mortality after radiotherapy for DCIS when comparing surgery and radiotherapy vs surgery only, nor when comparing radiotherapy for left-sided vs right-sided DCIS. Compared with the general population, DCIS patients have a decreased risk of cardiovascular death, independent of treatment.


Background

Gemcitabine is a potent nucleoside analogue against solid tumors, but development of drug resistance is a substantial problem. Removal of gemcitabine incorporated into DNA by repair mechanisms may contribute to resistance in chemo-refractory solid tumors. Human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is usually very chemoresistant to gemcitabine.

Methods

We treated HCC in vitro and in vivo (orthotopic murine model with human Hep3B or HepG2 xenografts, 7–10 CB17SCID mice per group) with gemcitabine. The role of homologous recombination repair proteins in repairing stalled replication forks was evaluated with hyperthermia exposure and cell-cycle analysis. The Student t-test was used for two-sample comparisons. Multiple group data were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

We demonstrated that Mre11-mediated homologous recombination repair of gemcitabine-stalled replication forks is crucial to survival of HCC cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated inhibition of Mre11 by an exonuclease inhibitor or concomitant hyperthermia. In orthotopic murine models of chemoresistant HCC, the Hep3B tumor mass with radiofrequency plus gemcitabine treatment (mean ± SD, 180±91mg) was statistically significantly smaller compared with gemcitabine alone (661±419mg, P = .0063).

Conclusions

This study provides mechanistic understanding of homologous recombination inhibiting-strategies, such as noninvasive radiofrequency field-induced hyperthermia, to overcome resistance to gemcitabine in refractory human solid tumors.






Background

The clinical impact of the biological heterogeneity within HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer is not fully understood. Here, we evaluated the molecular features and survival outcomes of the intrinsic subtypes within HER2+ breast cancer.

Methods

We interrogated The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 495) and Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) datasets (n = 1730) of primary breast cancers for molecular data derived from DNA, RNA and protein, and determined intrinsic subtype. Clinical HER2 status was defined according to American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)/College of American Pathologists (CAP) guidelines or DNA copy-number aberration by single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Cox models tested the prognostic significance of each variable in patients not treated with trastuzumab (n = 1711).

Results

Compared with clinically HER2 (cHER2)-negative breast cancer, cHER2+ breast cancer had a higher frequency of the HER2-enriched (HER2E) subtype (47.0% vs 7.1%) and a lower frequency of Luminal A (10.7% vs 39.0%) and Basal-like (14.1% vs 23.4%) subtypes. The likelihood of cHER2-positivity in HER2E, Luminal B, Basal-like and Luminal A subtypes was 64.6%, 20.0%, 14.4% and 7.3%, respectively. Within each subtype, only 0.3% to 3.9% of genes were found differentially expressed between cHER2+ and cHER2-negative tumors. Within cHER2+ tumors, HER2 gene and protein expression was statistically significantly higher in the HER2E and Basal-like subtypes than either luminal subtype. Neither cHER2 status nor the new 10-subtype copy number-based classification system (IntClust) added independent prognostic value to intrinsic subtype.

Conclusions

When the intrinsic subtypes are taken into account, cHER2-positivity does not translate into large changes in the expression of downstream signaling pathways, nor does it affect patient survival in the absence of HER2 targeting.



Background

Sedentary behavior is emerging as an independent risk factor for chronic disease and mortality. However, the evidence relating television (TV) viewing and other sedentary behaviors to cancer risk has not been quantitatively summarized.

Methods

We performed a comprehensive electronic literature search in Cochrane, EMBASE, Medline, and SciSearch databases through February 2014 for published articles investigating sedentary behavior in relation to cancer incidence. Because randomized controlled trials are difficult to perform on this topic, we focused on observational studies that met uniform inclusion criteria. Data were extracted independently by both authors and summarized using random-effects meta-analysis and meta-regression. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Data from 43 observational studies including a total of 68936 cancer cases were analyzed. Comparing the highest vs lowest levels of sedentary time, the relative risks (RRs) for colon cancer were 1.54 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.19 to 1.98) for TV viewing time, 1.24 (95% CI = 1.09 to 1.41) for occupational sitting time, and 1.24 (95% CI = 1.03 to 1.50) for total sitting time. For endometrial cancer, the relative risks were 1.66 (95% CI = 1.21 to 2.28) for TV viewing time and 1.32 (95% CI = 1.08 to 1.61) for total sitting time. A positive association with overall sedentary behavior was also noted for lung cancer (RR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.43). Sedentary behavior was unrelated to cancers of the breast, rectum, ovaries, prostate, stomach, esophagus, testes, renal cell, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Conclusions

Prolonged TV viewing and time spent in other sedentary pursuits is associated with increased risks of certain types of cancer.


Background

KRAS and BRAF V600E mutations are important predictive and prognostic markers, respectively, in colon cancer, but little is known about patient and clinical factors associated with them.

Methods

Two thousand three hundred twenty-six of 3397 patients in the N0147 phase III adjuvant trial for stage III colon cancer completed a patient questionnaire. Primary tumors were assessed for KRAS and BRAF V600E mutations and defective mismatch repair (dMMR) status. Logistic regression models and categorical data analysis were used to identify associations of patient and tumor characteristics with mutation status. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

KRAS (35%) and BRAF V600E (14%) mutations were nearly mutually exclusive. KRAS mutations were more likely to be present in patients without a family history of colon cancer and never smokers. Tumors with KRAS mutations were less likely to have dMMR (odds ratio [OR] = 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.15 to 0.31; P < .001) and high-grade histology (OR = 0.73; 95% CI = 0.59 to 0.92; P < .001) but were more often right-sided. Among KRAS-mutated tumors, those with a Gly13Asp mutation tended to have dMMR and high-grade histology. Tumors with BRAF V600E mutations were more likely to be seen in patients who were aged 70 years or older (OR = 3.33; 95% CI = 2.50 to 4.42; P < .001) and current or former smokers (OR = 1.64; 95% CI = 1.26 to 2.14; P < .001) but less likely in non-whites and men. Tumors with BRAF V600E mutations were more likely to be right-sided and to have four or more positive lymph nodes, high-grade histology, and dMMR.

Conclusions

Specific patient and tumor characteristics are associated with KRAS and BRAF V600E mutations.


Background

Patients with neuroblastoma due to the amplification of a 130-kb genomic DNA region containing the MYCN oncogene have poor prognoses.

Methods

Bioinformatics data were used to discover a novel long noncoding RNA, lncUSMycN, at the 130-kb amplicon. RNA-protein pull-down assays were used to identify proteins bound to lncUSMycN RNA. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis, multivariable Cox regression, and two-sided log-rank test were used to examine the prognostic value of lncUSMycN and NonO expression in three cohorts of neuroblastoma patients (n = 47, 88, and 476, respectively). Neuroblastoma-bearing mice were treated with antisense oligonucleotides targeting lncUSMycN (n = 12) or mismatch sequence (n = 13), and results were analyzed by multiple comparison two-way analysis of variance. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Bioinformatics data predicted lncUSMycN gene and RNA, and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction confirmed its three exons and two introns. The lncUSMycN gene was coamplified with MYCN in 88 of 341 human neuroblastoma tissues. lncUSMycN RNA bound to the RNA-binding protein NonO, leading to N-Myc RNA upregulation and neuroblastoma cell proliferation. High levels of lncUSMycN and NonO expression in human neuroblastoma tissues independently predicted poor patient prognoses (lncUSMycN: hazard ratio [HR] = 1.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.06 to 3.28, P = .03; NonO: HR = 2.48, 95% CI = 1.34 to 4.57, P = .004). Treatment with antisense oligonucleotides targeting lncUSMycN in neuroblastoma-bearing mice statistically significantly hindered tumor progression (P < .001).

Conclusions

Our data demonstrate the important roles of lncUSMycN and NonO in regulating N-Myc expression and neuroblastoma oncogenesis and provide the first evidence that amplification of long noncoding RNA genes can contribute to tumorigenesis.


Among 2258 Helicobacter pylori–seropositive subjects randomly assigned to receive one-time H. pylori treatment with amoxicillin-omeprazole or its placebo, we evaluated the 15-year effect of treatment on gastric cancer incidence and mortality in subgroups defined by age, baseline gastric histopathology, and post-treatment infection status. We used conditional logistic and Cox regressions for covariable adjustments in incidence and mortality analyses, respectively. Treatment was associated with a statistically significant decrease in gastric cancer incidence (odds ratio = 0.36; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.17 to 0.79) and mortality (hazard ratio = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.09 to 0.79) at ages 55 years and older and a statistically significant decrease in incidence among those with intestinal metaplasia or dysplasia at baseline (odds ratio = 0.56; 95% CI = 0.34 to 0.91). Treatment benefits for incidence and mortality among those with and without post-treatment infection were similar. Thus H. pylori treatment can benefit older members and those with advanced baseline histopathology, and benefits are present even with post-treatment infection, suggesting treatment can benefit an entire population, not just the young or those with mild histopathology.


In this updated analysis of the EXPERT-C trial we show that, in magnetic resonance imaging–defined, high-risk, locally advanced rectal cancer, adding cetuximab to a treatment strategy with neoadjuvant CAPOX followed by chemoradiotherapy, surgery, and adjuvant CAPOX is not associated with a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in both KRAS/BRAF wild-type and unselected patients. In a retrospective biomarker analysis, TP53 was not prognostic but emerged as an independent predictive biomarker for cetuximab benefit. After a median follow-up of 65.0 months, TP53 wild-type patients (n = 69) who received cetuximab had a statistically significant better PFS (89.3% vs 65.0% at 5 years; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.23; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.07 to 0.78; two-sided P = .02 by Cox regression) and OS (92.7% vs 67.5% at 5 years; HR = 0.16; 95% CI = 0.04 to 0.70; two-sided P = .02 by Cox regression) than TP53 wild-type patients who were treated in the control arm. An interaction between TP53 status and cetuximab effect was found (P < .05) and remained statistically significant after adjusting for statistically significant prognostic factors and KRAS.



We identified a standard core set of patient-reported symptoms and health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) domains to be assessed in head and neck (H&N) cancer clinical trials. The core symptom and HRQOL domain scores were used to guide recommendations by a working group of experts as part of a National Cancer Institute Symptom Management and HRQOL Clinical Trials Planning Meeting. A PubMed search was conducted using the search terms of "health-related quality of life" and "head & neck cancer," limited to publications from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2010. Fifty-four articles were used to guide the choice of recommendations. Twenty-nine symptoms and nine domains were identified, from which 12 H&N-specific core symptoms and HRQOL domains were recommended: swallowing, oral pain, skin changes, dry mouth, dental health, opening mouth/trismus, taste, excess/thick mucous/saliva, shoulder disability/motion, voice/hoarseness, social domain, and functional domain. This core set of 12 H&N-specific, patient-reported symptoms and HRQOL domains should be assessed in future H&N cancer clinical trials.


There is no consensus as to what symptoms or quality-of-life (QOL) domains should be measured as patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in ovarian cancer clinical trials. A panel of experts convened by the National Cancer Institute reviewed studies published between January 2000 and August 2011. The results were included in and combined with an expert consensus-building process to identify the most salient PROs for ovarian cancer clinical trials. We identified a set of PROs specific to ovarian cancer: abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, fear of recurrence/disease progression, indigestion, sexual dysfunction, vomiting, weight gain, and weight loss. Additional PROs identified in parallel with a group charged with identifying the most important PROs across cancer types were anorexia, cognitive problems, constipation, diarrhea, dyspnea, fatigue, nausea, neuropathy, pain, and insomnia. Physical and emotional domains were considered to be the most salient domains of QOL. Findings of the review and consensus process provide good support for use of these ovarian cancer–specific PROs in ovarian cancer clinical trials.


Background

The National Cancer Institute’s Symptom Management and Health-Related Quality of Life Steering Committee held a clinical trials planning meeting (September 2011) to identify a core symptom set to be assessed across oncology trials for the purposes of better understanding treatment efficacy and toxicity and to facilitate cross-study comparisons. We report the results of an evidence-synthesis and consensus-building effort that culminated in recommendations for core symptoms to be measured in adult cancer clinical trials that include a patient-reported outcome (PRO).

Methods

We used a data-driven, consensus-building process. A panel of experts, including patient representatives, conducted a systematic review of the literature (2001–2011) and analyzed six large datasets. Results were reviewed at a multistakeholder meeting, and a final set was derived emphasizing symptom prevalence across diverse cancer populations, impact on health outcomes and quality of life, and attribution to either disease or anticancer treatment.

Results

We recommend that a core set of 12 symptoms—specifically fatigue, insomnia, pain, anorexia (appetite loss), dyspnea, cognitive problems, anxiety (includes worry), nausea, depression (includes sadness), sensory neuropathy, constipation, and diarrhea—be considered for inclusion in clinical trials where a PRO is measured. Inclusion of symptoms and other patient-reported endpoints should be well justified, hypothesis driven, and meaningful to patients.

Conclusions

This core set will promote consistent assessment of common and clinically relevant disease- and treatment-related symptoms across cancer trials. As such, it provides a foundation to support data harmonization and continued efforts to enhance measurement of patient-centered outcomes in cancer clinical trials and observational studies.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Symptom Management and Health-Related Quality of Life Steering Committee convened four working groups to recommend core sets of patient-reported outcomes to be routinely incorporated in clinical trials. The Prostate Cancer Working Group included physicians, researchers, and a patient advocate. The group’s process included 1) a systematic literature review to determine the prevalence and severity of symptoms, 2) a multistakeholder meeting sponsored by the NCI to review the evidence and build consensus, and 3) a postmeeting expert panel synthesis of findings to finalize recommendations. Five domains were recommended for localized prostate cancer: urinary incontinence, urinary obstruction and irritation, bowel-related symptoms, sexual dysfunction, and hormonal symptoms. Four domains were recommended for advanced prostate cancer: pain, fatigue, mental well-being, and physical well-being. Additional domains for consideration include decisional regret, satisfaction with care, and anxiety related to prostate cancer. These recommendations have been endorsed by the NCI for implementation.


Background

Endoscopic resection is increasingly used to treat localized, early-stage esophageal cancer. We sought to assess its adoption, characterize the risks of nodal metastases, and define differences in procedural mortality and 5-year survival between endoscopic and surgical resection in the United States.

Methods

From the National Cancer Data Base, patients with T1a and T1b lesions were identified. Treatment patterns were characterized, and hierarchical regression methods were used to define predictors and evaluate outcomes. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Five thousand three hundred ninety patients were identified and underwent endoscopic (26.5%) or surgical resection (73.5%). Endoscopic resection increased from 19.0% to 53.0% for T1a lesions (P < .001) and from 6.6% to 20.9% for T1b cancers (P < .001). The strongest predictors of endoscopic resection were depth of invasion (T1a vs T1b: odds ratio [OR] = 4.45; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.76 to 5.27) and patient age of 75 years or older (vs age less than 55 years: OR = 4.86; 95% CI = 3.60 to 6.57). Among patients undergoing surgery, lymph node metastasis was 5.0% for T1a and 16.6% for T1b lesions. Predictors of nodal metastases included tumor size greater than 2cm (vs. <2cm) and intermediate-/high-grade lesions (vs low grade). For example, 0.5% of patients with low-grade T1a lesions less than 2cm had lymph node involvement. The risk of 30-day mortality was less after endoscopic resection (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.33; 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.58) but greater for conditional 5-year survival (HR = 1.63; 95% CI = 1.07 to 2.47).

Conclusions

Endoscopic resection has become the most common treatment of T1a esophageal cancer and has increased for T1b cancers. It remains important to balance the risk of nodal metastases and procedural risk when counseling patients regarding their treatment options.





Background

Breast cancer frequently metastasizes to the brain, colonizing a neuro-inflammatory microenvironment. The molecular pathways facilitating this colonization remain poorly understood.

Methods

Expression profiling of 23 matched sets of human resected brain metastases and primary breast tumors by two-sided paired t test was performed to identify brain metastasis–specific genes. The implicated DNA repair genes BARD1 and RAD51 were modulated in human (MDA-MB-231-BR) and murine (4T1-BR) brain-tropic breast cancer cell lines by lentiviral transduction of cDNA or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) coding sequences. Their functional contribution to brain metastasis development was evaluated in mouse xenograft models (n = 10 mice per group).

Results

Human brain metastases overexpressed BARD1 and RAD51 compared with either matched primary tumors (1.74-fold, P < .001; 1.46-fold, P < .001, respectively) or unlinked systemic metastases (1.49-fold, P = .01; 1.44-fold, P = .008, respectively). Overexpression of either gene in MDA-MB-231-BR cells increased brain metastases by threefold to fourfold after intracardiac injections, but not lung metastases upon tail-vein injections. In 4T1-BR cells, shRNA-mediated RAD51 knockdown reduced brain metastases by 2.5-fold without affecting lung metastasis development. In vitro, BARD1- and RAD51-overexpressing cells showed reduced genomic instability but only exhibited growth and colonization phenotypes upon DNA damage induction. Reactive oxygen species were present in tumor cells and elevated in the metastatic neuro-inflammatory microenvironment and could provide an endogenous source of genotoxic stress. Tempol, a brain-permeable oxygen radical scavenger suppressed brain metastasis promotion induced by BARD1 and RAD51 overexpression.

Conclusions

BARD1 and RAD51 are frequently overexpressed in brain metastases from breast cancer and may constitute a mechanism to overcome reactive oxygen species–mediated genotoxic stress in the metastatic brain.


The chromatin remodeling gene, ARID1A, has been implied as a tumor suppressor, and its somatic inactivating mutations occur in a wide variety of human cancers, most frequently in ovarian and uterine endometrioid and ovarian clear cell carcinomas. Tumors with ARID1A mutations also frequently harbor PTEN or PIK3CA mutations, suggesting their collaboration in tumorigenesis. Here, we used a conditional knockout mouse model in which Arid1a and Pten were deleted either individually or in combination in the mouse ovarian surface epithelium. After 6 months, 59.1% of mice with Arid1a and Pten double knockout developed ovarian endometrioid or undifferentiated carcinoma, whereas the remaining mice showed hyperplasia of ovarian surface epithelium. In contrast, 52 mice with homozygous or heterozygous deletion in either Arid1a or Pten did not develop ovarian lesions. These results demonstrate that inactivation of Arid1a alone is insufficient for tumor initiation but it requires additional genetic alteration(s) such as Pten deletion to drive tumorigenesis.


Background

Tumor-related leukocytosis (TRL) is occasionally found in patients with nonhematopoietic malignancies. We investigated the clinical implication of TRL and individualized treatment for TRL-positive cervical cancer, as well as the underlying biological mechanism.

Methods

Clinical data from 258 cervical cancer patients treated with definitive radiotherapy were analyzed to investigate the association between TRL and treatment outcome. Clinical samples, cervical cancer cell lines, and a mouse model of cervical cancer were used to examine the mechanisms responsible for TRL in cervical cancer, focusing on the role of tumor-derived granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

TRL was statistically significantly associated with younger age (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P = .03), larger tumor size (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P = .006), advanced clinical stage (2 test, P = .01), and shorter overall survival (Cox proportional hazard modeling and Wald tests, P < .001). Among cervical cancer patients, TRL was associated with upregulated tumor G-CSF expression (2 test, P < .001), elevated serum G-CSF levels (Student t test, P = .03), larger spleens (Student t test, P = .045), and increased MDSC frequencies in the blood (Student t test, P < .001) compared with the TRL-negative patients. In vitro and in vivo experiments revealed that tumor-derived G-CSF was involved in the underlying causative mechanism of TRL and MDSCs induced by tumor-derived G-CSF are responsible for the rapidly progressive and radioresistant nature of TRL-positive cervical cancer. The administration of anti-Gr-1 neutralizing antibody or the depletion of MDSCs by splenectomy (n = 6 per group) inhibited tumor growth and enhanced radiosensitivity in TRL-positive cervical cancer xenografts (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P = .008 and P = .02, respectively).

Conclusions

TRL is associated with resistance to radiotherapy among cervical cancer patients, and MDSC-targeting treatments may have therapeutic potential in these patients.



Background

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play various roles in cancer biology and drug resistance, but their association with outcomes in serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is unknown.

Methods

The relationship between clinical outcomes and ABC transporter gene expression in two independent cohorts of high-grade serous EOC tumors was assessed with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, analysis of expression microarray data, and immunohistochemistry. Associations between clinical outcomes and ABCA transporter gene single nucleotide polymorphisms were tested in a genome-wide association study. Impact of short interfering RNA–mediated gene suppression was determined by colony forming and migration assays. Association with survival was assessed with Kaplan–Meier analysis and log-rank tests. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Associations with outcome were observed with ABC transporters of the "A" subfamily, but not with multidrug transporters. High-level expression of ABCA1, ABCA6, ABCA8, and ABCA9 in primary tumors was statistically significantly associated with reduced survival in serous ovarian cancer patients. Low levels of ABCA5 and the C-allele of rs536009 were associated with shorter overall survival (hazard ratio for death = 1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.26 to 1.79; P = 6.5e–6). The combined expression pattern of ABCA1, ABCA5, and either ABCA8 or ABCA9 was associated with particularly poor outcome (mean overall survival in group with adverse ABCA1, ABCA5 and ABCA9 gene expression = 33.2 months, 95% CI = 26.4 to 40.1; vs 55.3 months in the group with favorable ABCA gene expression, 95% CI = 49.8 to 60.8; P = .001), independently of tumor stage or surgical debulking status. Suppression of cholesterol transporter ABCA1 inhibited ovarian cancer cell growth and migration in vitro, and statin treatment reduced ovarian cancer cell migration.

Conclusions

Expression of ABCA transporters was associated with poor outcome in serous ovarian cancer, implicating lipid trafficking as a potentially important process in EOC.



Background

Median survival of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with brain metastases is poor. We examined concurrent erlotinib and whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) followed by maintenance erlotinib in patients with untreated brain metastases, given the potential radiosensitizing properties of erlotinib and its direct effect on brain metastases and systemic activity.

Methods

Eighty NSCLC patients with KPS of 70 and greater and multiple brain metastases were randomly assigned to placebo (n = 40) or erlotinib (100mg, n = 40) given concurrently with WBRT (20 Gy in 5 fractions). Following WBRT, patients continued with placebo or erlotinib (150mg) until disease progression. The primary end point was neurological progression-free survival (nPFS); hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using Cox regression. All P values were two-sided.

Results

Fifteen patients (37.5%) from each arm were alive and without neurological progression 2 months after WBRT. Median nPFS was 1.6 months in both arms; nPFS HR 0.95 (95% CI = 0.59 to1.54; P = .84). Median overall survival (OS) was 2.9 and 3.4 months in the placebo and erlotinib arms; HR 0.95 (95% CI = 0.58 to 1.55; P = .83). The frequency of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations was low with only 1 of 35 (2.9%) patients with available samples had activating EGFR-mutations. Grade 3/4 adverse event rates were similar between the two groups (70.0% in each arm), except for rash 20.0% (erlotinib) vs 5.0% (placebo), and fatigue 17.5% vs 35.0%. No statistically significant quality of life differences were found.

Conclusions

Our study showed no advantage in nPFS or OS for concurrent erlotinib and WBRT followed by maintenance erlotinib in patients with predominantly EGFR wild-type NSCLC and multiple brain metastases compared to placebo. Future studies should focus on the role of erlotinib with or without WBRT in patients with EGFR mutations.



Background

Obesity increases the risk of cancer death among postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor–positive (ER+) breast cancer, but the direct evidence for the mechanisms is lacking. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate direct evidence for the mechanisms mediating this epidemiologic phenomenon.

Methods

We analyzed transcriptomic profiles of pretreatment biopsies from a prospective cohort of 137 ER+ breast cancer patients. We generated transgenic (MMTV-TGFα;A y /a) and orthotopic/syngeneic (A y /a) obese mouse models to investigate the effect of obesity on tumorigenesis and tumor progression and to determine biological mechanisms using whole-genome transcriptome microarrays and protein analyses. We used a coculture system to examine the impact of adipocytes/adipokines on breast cancer cell proliferation. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Functional transcriptomic analysis of patients revealed the association of obesity with 59 biological functional changes (P < .05) linked to cancer hallmarks. Gene enrichment analysis revealed enrichment of AKT-target genes (P = .04) and epithelial–mesenchymal transition genes (P = .03) in patients. Our obese mouse models demonstrated activation of the AKT/mTOR pathway in obesity-accelerated mammary tumor growth (3.7- to 7.0-fold; P < .001; n = 6–7 mice per group). Metformin or everolimus can suppress obesity-induced secretion of adipokines and breast tumor formation and growth (0.5-fold, P = .04; 0.3-fold, P < .001, respectively; n = 6–8 mice per group). The coculture model revealed that adipocyte-secreted adipokines (eg, TIMP-1) regulate adipocyte-induced breast cancer cell proliferation and invasion. Metformin suppress adipocyte-induced cell proliferation and adipocyte-secreted adipokines in vitro.

Conclusions

Adipokine secretion and AKT/mTOR activation play important roles in obesity-accelerated breast cancer aggressiveness in addition to hyperinsulinemia, estrogen signaling, and inflammation. Metformin and everolimus have potential for therapeutic interventions of ER+ breast cancer patients with obesity.


Background

Aberrant DNA methylation in gene promoters is associated with aging and cancer, but the circumstances determining methylation change are unknown. We investigated the impact of lifestyle modulators of colorectal cancer (CRC) risk on the stability of gene promoter methylation in the colonic mucosa.

Methods

We measured genome-wide promoter CpG methylation in normal colon biopsies (n = 1092) from a female screening cohort, investigated the interaction of lifestyle factors with age-dependent increase in methylation with log-linear multivariable regression, and related their modifying effect to hypermethylation in CRC. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results

Of 20025 promoter-associated CpGs analyzed, 1713 showed statistically significant age-dependent methylation gains. Fewer CpGs acquired methylation in users of aspirin (≥2 years) and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT age ≥50 years) compared with nonusers (43 vs 1355; 1 vs1377, respectively), whereas more CpGs were affected in smokers (≥20 years) and individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 25kg/m2 and greater compared with control groups (180 vs 39; 554 vs 144, respectively). Fifty percent of the CpGs showing age-dependent methylation were found hypermethylated in CRC (odds ratio [OR] = 20; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 18 to 23; P < 2x10–16). These loci gained methylation with a higher median rate compared with age-only methylated sites (P = 2x10–76) and were enriched for polycomb regions (OR = 3.67). Importantly, aspirin (P < .001) and HRT use (P < .001) reduced the methylation rate at these cancer-related genes, whereas smoking (P < .001) and high BMI (P = .004) increased it.

Conclusions

Lifestyle, including aspirin use, modulates age-associated DNA methylation change in the colonic epithelium and thereby impacts the evolution of cancer methylomes.


Background

Phase I trials have traditionally been designed to assess toxicity and establish phase II doses with dose-finding studies and expansion cohorts but are frequently exceeding the traditional sample size to further assess endpoints in specific patient subsets. The scientific objectives of phase I expansion cohorts and their evolving role in the current era of targeted therapies have yet to be systematically examined.

Methods

Adult therapeutic phase I trials opened within Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) from 1988 to 2012 were identified for sample size details. Statistical designs and study objectives of those submitted in 2011 were reviewed for expansion cohort details.

Results

Five hundred twenty-two adult therapeutic phase I trials were identified during the 25 years. The average sample size of a phase I study has increased from 33.8 patients to 73.1 patients over that time. The proportion of trials with planned enrollment of 50 or fewer patients dropped from 93.0% during the time period 1988 to 1992 to 46.0% between 2008 and 2012; at the same time, the proportion of trials enrolling 51 to 100 patients and more than 100 patients increased from 5.3% and 1.8%, respectively, to 40.5% and 13.5% (2 test, two-sided P < .001). Sixteen of the 60 trials (26.7%) in 2011 enrolled patients to three or more sub-cohorts in the expansion phase. Sixty percent of studies provided no statistical justification of the sample size, although 91.7% of trials stated response as an objective.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that phase I studies have dramatically changed in size and scientific scope within the last decade. Additional studies addressing the implications of this trend on research processes, ethical concerns, and resource burden are needed.





Indoor tanning is carcinogenic to humans. Individuals report that they tan indoors before planning to be in the sun to prevent sunburns, but whether skin cancer is subsequently reduced is unknown. Using a population-based case–control study, we calculated the association between melanoma and indoor tanning after excluding exposed participants reporting indoor tanning–related burns, stratified by their number of lifetime sunburns (0, 1–2, 3–5, >5). Confounding was addressed using propensity score analysis methods. All statistical tests were two-sided. We observed increased risk of melanoma across all sunburn categories for participants who had tanned indoors without burning compared with those who never tanned indoors, including those who reported zero lifetime sunburns (odds ratio = 3.87; 95% confidence interval = 1.68 to 8.91; P = .002). These data provide evidence that indoor tanning is a risk factor for melanoma even among persons who reported never experiencing burns from indoor tanning or outdoor sun exposure.