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Journal of the National Cancer Institute

JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute - RSS feed of current issue
Background:

Statins have been associated with moderate reductions in mortality among colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, but these studies lacked adjustment for some potentially relevant factors associated with statin use. We aimed to provide more detailed results on this association from a population-based patient cohort study.

Methods:

Use of statins and other risk or protective factors were assessed in standardized interviews with 2697 patients from southern Germany with a diagnosis of incident CRC between 2003 and 2009 (Darmkrebs: Chancen der Verhütung durch Screening [DACHS] study). Follow-up included assessment of therapy details, recurrence, vital status, and cause of death. Information about molecular pathological subtypes of CRC was available for 1209 patients. Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs). All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Patients were age 68 years on average, 412 used statins (15%), and 769 died during follow-up (29%). After a median follow-up time of 3.4 years, use of statins was not associated with overall (HR = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.85 to 1.41), CRC-specific (HR = 1.11, 95% CI = 0.82 to 1.50), or recurrence-free survival (HR = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.63 to 1.27). Analyses in relevant subgroups also showed no association of statin use with overall and CRC-specific survival, and no associations were observed after stratifying for major pathological subtypes. Among stage I and II patients, statin use was associated with better recurrence-free but not with better CRC-specific survival.

Conclusions:

Statin use was not associated with reduced mortality among CRC patients. Effects reported in previous studies might reflect incomplete control for stage at diagnosis and other factors associated with the use of statins.


Supplemental security income (SSI) and social security disability insurance (DI) are federal programs that provide disability benefits. We report on SSI/DI enrollment in a random sample of adult, long-term survivors of childhood cancer (n = 698) vs a comparison group without cancer (n = 210) from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study who completed a health insurance survey. A total of 13.5% and 10.0% of survivors had ever been enrolled on SSI or DI, respectively, compared with 2.6% and 5.4% of the comparison group. Cranial radiation doses of 25 Gy or more were associated with a higher risk of current SSI (relative risk [RR] = 3.93, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.05 to 7.56) and DI (RR = 3.65, 95% CI = 1.65 to 8.06) enrollment. Survivors with severe/life-threatening conditions were more often enrolled on SSI (RR = 3.77, 95% CI = 2.04 to 6.96) and DI (RR = 2.73, 95% CI = 1.45 to 5.14) compared with those with mild/moderate or no health conditions. Further research is needed on disability-related financial challenges after childhood cancer.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Low-dose computed tomography screening (LDCT) was recently shown to anticipate the time of diagnosis, thus reducing lung cancer mortality. However, concerns persist about the feasibility and costs of large-scale LDCT programs. Such concerns may be addressed by clearly defining the target "high-risk" population that needs to be screened by LDCT. We recently identified a serum microRNA signature (the miR-Test) that could identify the optimal target population. Here, we performed a large-scale validation study of the miR-Test in high-risk individuals (n = 1115) enrolled in the Continuous Observation of Smoking Subjects (COSMOS) lung cancer screening program. The overall accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of the miR-Test are 74.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 72.2% to 77.6%), 77.8% (95% CI = 64.2% to 91.4%), and 74.8% (95% CI = 72.1% to 77.5%), respectively; the area under the curve is 0.85 (95% CI = 0.78 to 0.92). These results argue that the miR-Test might represent a useful tool for lung cancer screening in high-risk individuals.


Background:

For women with hormone receptor–positive, operable breast cancer, surgical oophorectomy plus tamoxifen is an effective adjuvant therapy. We conducted a phase III randomized clinical trial to test the hypothesis that oophorectomy surgery performed during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle was associated with better outcomes.

Methods:

Seven hundred forty premenopausal women entered a clinical trial in which those women estimated not to be in the luteal phase of their menstrual cycle for the next one to six days (n = 509) were randomly assigned to receive treatment with surgical oophorectomy either delayed to be during a five-day window in the history-estimated midluteal phase of the menstrual cycles, or in the next one to six days. Women who were estimated to be in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle for the next one to six days (n = 231) were excluded from random assignment and received immediate surgical treatments. All patients began tamoxifen within 6 days of surgery and continued this for 5 years. Kaplan-Meier methods, the log-rank test, and multivariable Cox regression models were used to assess differences in five-year disease-free survival (DFS) between the groups. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

The randomized midluteal phase surgery group had a five-year DFS of 64%, compared with 71% for the immediate surgery random assignment group (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.91 to 1.68, P = .18). Multivariable Cox regression models, which included important prognostic variables, gave similar results (aHR = 1.28, 95% CI = 0.94 to 1.76, P = .12). For overall survival, the univariate hazard ratio was 1.33 (95% CI = 0.94 to 1.89, P = .11) and the multivariable aHR was 1.43 (95% CI = 1.00 to 2.06, P = .05). Better DFS for follicular phase surgery, which was unanticipated, proved consistent across multiple exploratory analyses.

Conclusions:

The hypothesized benefit of adjuvant luteal phase oophorectomy was not shown in this large trial.


Background:

Racial disparities in cancer survival outcomes have been primarily attributed to underlying biologic mechanisms and the quality of cancer care received. Because prior literature shows little difference exists in the socioeconomic status of non-Hispanic whites and Asian Americans, any difference in cancer survival is less likely to be attributable to inequalities of care. We sought to examine differences in cancer-specific survival between whites and Asian Americans.

Methods:

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program was used to identify patients with lung (n = 130 852 [16.9%]), breast (n = 313 977 [40.4%]), prostate (n = 166 529 [21.4%]), or colorectal (n = 165 140 [21.3%]) cancer (the three leading causes of cancer-related mortality within each sex) diagnosed between 1991 and 2007. Fine and Gray’s competing risks regression compared the cancer-specific mortality (CSM) of eight Asian American groups (Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Japanese, Korean, other Asian, South Asian [Indian/Pakistani], and Vietnamese) to non-Hispanic white patients. All P values were two-sided.

Results:

In competing risks regression, the receipt of definitive treatment was an independent predictor of CSM (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35 to 0.40; HR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.53 to 0.58; HR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.60 to 0.62; and HR = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.25 to 0.29) for prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers respectively, all P < .001). In adjusted analyses, most Asian subgroups (except Hawaiians and Koreans) had lower CSM relative to white patients, with hazard ratios ranging from 0.54 (95% CI = 0.38 to 0.78) to 0.88 (95% CI = 0.84 to 0.93) for Japanese patients with prostate and Chinese patients with lung cancer, respectively.

Conclusions:

Despite adjustment for potential confounders, including the receipt of definitive treatment and tumor characteristics, most Asian subgroups had better CSM than non-Hispanic white patients. These findings suggest that underlying genetic/biological differences, along with potential cultural variations, may impact survival in Asian American cancer patients.


Background:

Population-based estimates of absolute risk of lung cancer recurrence, and of mortality rates after recurrence, can inform clinical management.

Methods:

We evaluated prognostic factors for recurrences and survival in 2098 lung cancer case patients from the general population of Lombardy, Italy, from 2002 to 2005. We conducted survival analyses and estimated absolute risks separately for stage IA to IIIA surgically treated and stage IIIB to IV non–surgically treated patients.

Results:

Absolute risk of metastases exceeded that of local recurrence in every stage and cell type, highlighting the systemic threat of lung cancer. In stage I, the probability of dying within the first year after diagnosis was 2.7%, but it was 48.3% within first year after recurrence; in stage IV, the probabilities were 57.3% and 80.6%, respectively. Over half the patients died within one year of first metastasis. Although in stages IA to IB about one-third of patients had a recurrence, stage IIA patients had a recurrence risk (61.2%) similar to stage IIB (57.9%) and IIIA (62.8%) patients. Risk of brain metastases in stage IA to IIIA surgically treated non–small cell lung cancer patients increased with increasing tumor grade. Absolute risk of recurrence was virtually identical in adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma patients.

Conclusions:

This population-based study provides clinically useful estimates of risks of lung cancer recurrence and mortality that are applicable to the general population. These data highlight the need for more effective adjuvant treatments overall and within specific subgroups. The estimated risks of various endpoints are useful for designing clinical trials, whose power depends on absolute numbers of events.


Rapid advancements in massively parallel sequencing methods have enabled the analysis of breast cancer genomes at an unprecedented resolution, which have revealed the remarkable heterogeneity of the disease. As a result, we now accept that despite originating in the breast, estrogen receptor (ER)–positive and ER-negative breast cancers are completely different diseases at the molecular level. It has become apparent that there are very few highly recurrently mutated genes such as TP53, PIK3CA, and GATA3, that no two breast cancers display an identical repertoire of somatic genetic alterations at base-pair resolution and that there might not be a single highly recurrently mutated gene that defines each of the "intrinsic" subtypes of breast cancer (ie, basal-like, HER2-enriched, luminal A, and luminal B). Breast cancer heterogeneity, however, extends beyond the diversity between tumors. There is burgeoning evidence to demonstrate that at least some primary breast cancers are composed of multiple, genetically diverse clones at diagnosis and that metastatic lesions may differ in their repertoire of somatic genetic alterations when compared with their respective primary tumors. Several biological phenomena may shape the reported intratumor genetic heterogeneity observed in breast cancers, including the different mutational processes and multiple types of genomic instability. Harnessing the emerging concepts of the diversity of breast cancer genomes and the phenomenon of intratumor genetic heterogeneity will be essential for the development of optimal methods for diagnosis, disease monitoring, and the matching of patients to the drugs that would benefit them the most.


Background:

Bromodomain PHD finger transcription factor (BPTF) plays an important role in chromatin remodeling, but its functional role in tumor progression is incompletely understood. Here we explore the oncogenic effects of BPTF in melanoma.

Methods:

The consequences of differential expression of BPTF were explored using shRNA-mediated knockdown in several melanoma cell lines. Immunoblotting was used to assess the expression of various proteins regulated by BPTF. The functional role of BPTF in melanoma progression was investigated using assays of colony formation, invasion, cell cycle, sensitivity to selective BRAF inhibitors, and in xenograft models of melanoma progression (n = 12 mice per group). The biomarker role of BPTF in melanoma progression was assessed using fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analyses. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

shRNA-mediated BPTF silencing suppressed the proliferative capacity (by 65.5%) and metastatic potential (by 66.4%) of melanoma cells. Elevated BPTF copy number (mean ≥ 3) was observed in 28 of 77 (36.4%) melanomas. BPTF overexpression predicted poor survival in a cohort of 311 melanoma patients (distant metastasis-free survival P = .03, and disease-specific survival P = .008), and promoted resistance to BRAF inhibitors in melanoma cell lines. Metastatic melanoma tumors progressing on BRAF inhibitors contained low BPTF-expressing, apoptotic tumor cell subclones, indicating the continued presence of drug-responsive subclones within tumors demonstrating overall resistance to anti-BRAF agents.

Conclusions:

These studies demonstrate multiple protumorigenic functions for BPTF and identify it as a novel target for anticancer therapy. They also suggest the combination of BPTF targeting with BRAF inhibitors as a novel therapeutic strategy for melanomas with mutant BRAF.


Background:

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Detection of promoter hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes in exfoliated cells from the lung provides an assessment of field cancerization that in turn predicts lung cancer. The identification of genetic determinants for this validated cancer biomarker should provide novel insights into mechanisms underlying epigenetic reprogramming during lung carcinogenesis.

Methods:

A genome-wide association study using generalized estimating equations and logistic regression models was conducted in two geographically independent smoker cohorts to identify loci affecting the propensity for cancer-related gene methylation that was assessed by a 12-gene panel interrogated in sputum. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 15q12 (rs73371737 and rs7179575) that drove gene methylation were discovered and replicated with rs73371737 reaching genome-wide significance (P = 3.3x10–8). A haplotype carrying risk alleles from the two 15q12 SNPs conferred 57% increased risk for gene methylation (P = 2.5x10–9). Rs73371737 reduced GABRB3 expression in lung cells and increased risk for smoking-induced chronic mucous hypersecretion. Furthermore, subjects with variant homozygote of rs73371737 had a two-fold increase in risk for lung cancer (P = .0043). Pathway analysis identified DNA double-strand break repair by homologous recombination (DSBR-HR) as a major pathway affecting susceptibility for gene methylation that was validated by measuring chromatid breaks in lymphocytes challenged by bleomycin.

Conclusions:

A functional 15q12 variant was identified as a risk factor for gene methylation and lung cancer. The associations could be mediated by GABAergic signaling that drives the smoking-induced mucous cell metaplasia. Our findings also substantiate DSBR-HR as a critical pathway driving epigenetic gene silencing.



Background:

Lack of robust predictive biomarkers, other than MGMT promoter methylation, makes temozolomide responsiveness in newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) patients difficult to predict. However, we identified patients with long-term survival (≥35 months) within a group of newly diagnosed GBM patients treated with standard or metronomic adjuvant temozolomide schedules. We thus investigated possible molecular profiles associated with longer survival following temozolomide treatment.

Methods:

We investigated the association of molecular features with progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Human-derived GBM cancer stem cells (CSCs) were used to investigate in vitro molecular mechanisms associated with temozolomide responsiveness. Surgically removed recurrences allowed investigation of molecular changes occurring during therapy in vivo. Statistical analyses included one- and two-way analysis of variance, Student’s t test, Cox proportional hazards, and the Kaplan-Meier method. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

No association was found between survival and gene classifiers associated with different molecular GBM subtypes in the standard-treated group, while in metronomic-treated patients robust association was found between EGFR amplification/overexpression and PFS and OS (OS, EGFR-high vs low: hazard ratiodeath = 0.22, 95% confidence interval = 0.09 to 0.55, P = .001). The result for OS remained statistically significant after Bonferroni correction (P interaction < .0005). Long-term survival following metronomic temozolomide was independent from MGMT and EGFRvIII status and was more pronounced in EGFR-overexpressing GBM patients with PTEN loss. In vitro findings confirmed a selective dose- and time-dependent decrease in survival of temozolomide-treated EGFR+ human-derived glioblastoma CSCs, which occurred through inhibition of NF-B transcriptional activity. In addition, reduction in EGFR-amplified cells, along with a statistically significant decrease in NF-B/p65 expression, were observed in specimens from recurrent metronomic-treated EGFR-overexpressing GBM patients.

Conclusions:

EGFR-amplified/overexpressing glioblastomas strongly benefit from metronomic temozolomide–based therapies.


We evaluated whether a 76-locus polygenic risk score (PRS) and Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) breast density were independent risk factors within three studies (1643 case patients, 2397 control patients) using logistic regression models. We incorporated the PRS odds ratio (OR) into the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) risk-prediction model while accounting for its attributable risk and compared five-year absolute risk predictions between models using area under the curve (AUC) statistics. All statistical tests were two-sided. BI-RADS density and PRS were independent risk factors across all three studies (P interaction = .23). Relative to those with scattered fibroglandular densities and average PRS (2nd quartile), women with extreme density and highest quartile PRS had 2.7-fold (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.74 to 4.12) increased risk, while those with low density and PRS had reduced risk (OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.18 to 0.51). PRS added independent information (P < .001) to the BCSC model and improved discriminatory accuracy from AUC = 0.66 to AUC = 0.69. Although the BCSC-PRS model was well calibrated in case-control data, independent cohort data are needed to test calibration in the general population.


Internet marketing may accelerate the use of care based on genomic or tumor-derived data. However, online marketing may be detrimental if it endorses products of unproven benefit. We conducted an analysis of Internet websites to identify personalized cancer medicine (PCM) products and claims. A Delphi Panel categorized PCM as standard or nonstandard based on evidence of clinical utility. Fifty-five websites, sponsored by commercial entities, academic institutions, physicians, research institutes, and organizations, that marketed PCM included somatic (58%) and germline (20%) analysis, interpretive services (15%), and physicians/institutions offering personalized care (44%). Of 32 sites offering somatic analysis, 56% included specific test information (range 1–152 tests). All statistical tests were two-sided, and comparisons of website content were conducted using McNemar’s test. More websites contained information about the benefits than limitations of PCM (85% vs 27%, P < .001). Websites specifying somatic analysis were statistically significantly more likely to market one or more nonstandard tests as compared with standard tests (88% vs 44%, P = .04).


Background:

It is unclear how the extent of surgical lymph node clearance influences prognosis after surgery for esophageal cancer.

Methods:

This nationwide, population-based cohort study included 1044 esophageal cancer patients who had undergone esophagectomy between 1987 and 2010 in Sweden, with follow-up until 2012. The independent role of lymph node removal in relation to survival was analyzed using Cox proportional hazards regression, providing hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for age, sex, comorbidity, tumor (T) stage, neo-adjuvant treatment, surgeon volume, and calendar period. Statistical tests were two-sided, except tests for trend.

Results:

Analyzed as a linear variable, a higher number of lymph nodes removed did not influence the overall five-year mortality (adjusted HR = 1.00, 95% CI = 0.99 to 1.01). Patients in the third (7–15 nodes) and fourth (16–114 nodes) quartiles of removed nodes did not demonstrate any decreased overall five-year mortality compared with those in the lowest two quartiles (<7 nodes) (HR = 1.13, 95% CI = 0.95 to 1.35 and HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 0.94 to 1.46, respectively). In early T stages (Tis-T1) the hazard ratios indicated a worse survival with more lymphadenectomy using the median as cutoff (HR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.13 to 2.06). Increased lymph node removal did not decrease mortality in any specific T stage. A greater number of metastatic nodes and a higher positive-to-negative node ratio were associated with strongly increased mortality. All results were similar when disease-specific mortality was analyzed.

Conclusion:

This population-based study indicates that more extensive lymph node clearance during surgery for esophageal cancer may not improve survival. These results challenge current clinical guidelines, and further research is needed to change clinical practice.




Background:

Chemotherapy triggers endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which in turn regulates levels of the active (LAP) and the natural dominant-negative (LIP) forms of the transcription factor C/EBP-β. LAP upregulates and LIP downregulates the multidrug resistance (MDR) protein P-glycoprotein (Pgp), but it is not known how critical is their role in establishing MDR.

Methods:

Cell viability was quantitated by crystal violet staining and measuring absorbance at 540nm. Expression of various proteins was determined by immunoblotting. mRNA levels were determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). LIP and LAP were overexpressed using expression plasmids followed by selection with blasticidin. Tumor cells expressing doxycycline-inducible LIP were orthotopically implanted in mice (n = 15 mice per group), and tumor size was measured daily by caliper. Tumor sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and immunostained for Pgp, proliferation, and ER stress markers.

Results:

MDR cells do not express basal, chemotherapy-triggered, or ER stress–triggered LIP and fail to activate the CHOP-caspase-3 death-triggering axis upon ER stress or chemotherapy challenge. Overexpression of LIP reversed the MDR phenotype in vitro and in tumors implanted in mice. LIP was undetectable in MDR cells, probably due to its ubiquitination, which was 3.56-fold higher, resulting in lysosomal and proteasomal degradation of LIP.

Conclusions:

Spontaneous and drug-selected MDR cells lack LIP, which is eliminated by ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Loss of LIP drives MDR not only by increasing Pgp expression but also by a two-fold attenuation of ER stress–triggered cell death.


Despite recent increased attention to healthcare performance and the burden of disease from cancer, measures of quality of cancer care are not readily available. In 2013, the California HealthCare Foundation convened an expert workgroup to explore the potential for leveraging data in the California Cancer Registry (CCR), one of the world’s largest population-based cancer registries, for measuring and improving the quality of cancer care. The workgroup assessed current registry operations, the value to be gained by linking CCR data with health insurance claims or encounter data and clinical data contained in health system electronic health records, and potential barriers to these linkages. The workgroup concluded that: 1) The CCR mandate should be expanded to include use of its data for quality of cancer care measurement and public reporting; and 2) a system should be developed to support linkage of registry data with both claims data and provider electronic health record data.


Disruption of the Krebs cycle is a hallmark of cancer. IDH1 and IDH2 mutations are found in many neoplasms, and germline alterations in SDH genes and FH predispose to pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma and other cancers. We describe a paraganglioma family carrying a germline mutation in MDH2, which encodes a Krebs cycle enzyme. Whole-exome sequencing was applied to tumor DNA obtained from a man age 55 years diagnosed with multiple malignant paragangliomas. Data were analyzed with the two-sided Student’s t and Mann-Whitney U tests with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. Between six- and 14-fold lower levels of MDH2 expression were observed in MDH2-mutated tumors compared with control patients. Knockdown (KD) of MDH2 in HeLa cells by shRNA triggered the accumulation of both malate (mean ± SD: wild-type [WT] = 1±0.18; KD = 2.24±0.17, P = .043) and fumarate (WT = 1±0.06; KD = 2.6±0.25, P = .033), which was reversed by transient introduction of WT MDH2 cDNA. Segregation of the mutation with disease and absence of MDH2 in mutated tumors revealed MDH2 as a novel pheochromocytoma/paraganglioma susceptibility gene.



Exercise has been shown to improve postischemia perfusion of normal tissues; we investigated whether these effects extend to solid tumors. Estrogen receptor–negative (ER-, 4T1) and ER+ (E0771) tumor cells were implanted orthotopically into syngeneic mice (BALB/c, N = 11–12 per group) randomly assigned to exercise or sedentary control. Tumor growth, perfusion, hypoxia, and components of the angiogenic and apoptotic cascades were assessed by MRI, immunohistochemistry, western blotting, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction and analyzed with one-way and repeated measures analysis of variance and linear regression. All statistical tests were two-sided. Exercise statistically significantly reduced tumor growth and was associated with a 1.4-fold increase in apoptosis (sedentary vs exercise: 1544 cells/mm2, 95% CI = 1223 to 1865 vs 2168 cells/mm2, 95% CI = 1620 to 2717; P = .048), increased microvessel density (P = .004), vessel maturity (P = .006) and perfusion, and reduced intratumoral hypoxia (P = .012), compared with sedentary controls. We also tested whether exercise could improve chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide) efficacy. Exercise plus chemotherapy prolonged growth delay compared with chemotherapy alone (P < .001) in the orthotopic 4T1 model (n = 17 per group). Exercise is a potential novel adjuvant treatment of breast cancer.



Background:

Previous studies have reported a breast cancer (BC) risk reduction of approximately 50% after risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers, but may have been subject to several types of bias. The purpose of this nationwide cohort study was to assess potential bias in the estimated BC risk reduction after RRSO.

Methods:

We selected BRCA1/2 mutation carriers from an ongoing nationwide cohort study on Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer in the Netherlands (HEBON). First, we replicated the analytical methods as previously applied in four major studies on BC risk after RRSO. Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios and conditional logistic regression to calculate odds ratios. Secondly, we analyzed the data in a revised design in order to further minimize bias using an extended Cox model with RRSO as a time-dependent variable to calculate the hazard ratio. The most important differences between our approach and those of previous studies were the requirement of no history of cancer at the date of DNA diagnosis and the inclusion of person-time preceding RRSO.

Results:

Applying the four previously described analytical methods and the data of 551 to 934 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with a median follow-up of 2.7 to 4.6 years, the odds ratio was 0.61 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35 to 1.08), and the hazard ratios were 0.36 (95% CI = 0.25 to 0.53), 0.62 (95% CI = 0.39 to 0.99), and 0.49 (95% CI = 0.33 to 0.71), being similar to earlier findings. For the revised analysis, we included 822 BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. After a median follow-up period of 3.2 years, we obtained a hazard ratio of 1.09 (95% CI = 0.67 to 1.77).

Conclusion:

In previous studies, BC risk reduction after RRSO in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers may have been overestimated because of bias. Using a design that maximally eliminated bias, we found no evidence for a protective effect.



Background:

There is strong evidence that breast cancer risk is influenced by environmental factors. Blood lipid and lipoprotein levels are also influenced by environmental factors and are associated with some breast cancer risk factors. We examined whether serial measures of serum lipids and lipoproteins were associated with breast cancer risk.

Methods:

We carried out a nested case-control study within a randomized long-term dietary intervention trial with 4690 women with extensive mammographic density followed for an average of 10 years for breast cancer incidence. We measured lipids in an average of 4.2 blood samples for 279 invasive breast cancer case subjects and 558 matched control subjects. We calculated subaverages of lipids for each subject based on menopausal status and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at blood collection and analyzed their association with breast cancer using generalized estimating equations. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

High-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) (P = .05) and apoA1 (P = .02) levels were positively associated with breast cancer risk (75th vs 25th percentile: HDL-C, 23% higher; apoA1, 28% higher) and non-HDL-C (P = .03) and apoB (P = .01) levels were negatively associated (75th vs 25th percentile: non-HDL-C, 19% lower; apoB, 22% lower). These associations were observed only when lipids were measured when HRT was not used. Total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were not statistically significantly associated with breast cancer risk.

Conclusions:

These results demonstrate that serum lipids are associated with breast cancer risk in women with extensive mammographic density. The possibility that interventions for heart disease prevention, which aim to reduce non-HDL-C or raise HDL-C, may have effects on breast cancer risk merits examination.





Background:

Nearly 900 000 people in the United States are living with diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and therefore increased cancer risk. The total number of cancers occurring among HIV-infected people and the excess number above expected background cases are unknown.

Methods:

We derived cancer incidence rates for the United States HIV-infected and general populations from Poisson models applied to linked HIV and cancer registry data and from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program data, respectively. We applied these rates to estimates of people living with diagnosed HIV at mid-year 2010 to estimate total and expected cancer counts, respectively. We subtracted expected from total cancers to estimate excess cancers.

Results:

An estimated 7760 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7330 to 8320) cancers occurred in 2010 among HIV-infected people, of which 3920 cancers (95% CI = 3480 to 4470) or 50% (95% CI = 48 to 54%) were in excess of expected. The most common excess cancers were non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL; n = 1440 excess cancers, occurring in 88% excess), Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS, n = 910, 100% excess), anal cancer (n = 740, 97% excess), and lung cancer (n = 440, 52% excess). The proportion of excess cancers that were AIDS defining (ie, KS, NHL, cervical cancer) declined with age and time since AIDS diagnosis (both P < .001). For anal cancer, 83% of excess cases occurred among men who have sex with men, and 71% among those living five or more years since AIDS onset. Among injection drug users, 22% of excess cancers were lung cancer, and 16% were liver cancer.

Conclusions:

The excess cancer burden in the US HIV population is substantial, and patterns across groups highlight opportunities for cancer control initiatives targeted to HIV-infected people.


Background:

The functions of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been identified in several cancers, but the roles of lncRNAs in colorectal cancer (CRC) are less well understood. The transcription factor MYC is known to regulate lncRNAs and has been implicated in cancer cell proliferation and tumorigenesis.

Methods:

CRC cells and tissues were profiled to identify lncRNAs differentially expressed in CRC, from which we further selected MYC-regulated lncRNAs. We used luciferase promoter assay, ChIP, RNA pull-down assay, deletion mapping assay, LC-MS/MS and RNA immunoprecipitation to determine the mechanisms of MYC regulation of lncRNAs. Moreover, soft agar assay and in vivo xenograft experiments (four athymic nude mice per group) provided evidence of MYC-regulated lncRNAs in cancer cell transformation and tumorigenesis. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analyses. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

We identified lncRNAs differentially expressed in CRC (P < .05, greater than two-fold) and verified four lncRNAs upregulated and two downregulated in CRC cells and tissues. We further identified MYC-regulated lncRNAs, named MYCLos. The MYC-regulated MYCLos may function in cell proliferation and cell cycle by regulating MYC target genes such as CDKN1A (p21) and CDKN2B (p15), suggesting new regulatory mechanisms of MYC-repressed target genes through lncRNAs. RNA binding proteins including HuR and hnRNPK are involved in the function of MYCLos by interacting with MYCLo-1 and MYCLo-2, respectively. Knockdown experiments also showed that MYCLo-2, differentially expressed not only in CRC but also in prostate cancer, has a role in cancer transformation and tumorigenesis.

Conclusions:

Our results provide novel regulatory mechanisms in MYC function through lncRNAs and new potential lncRNA targets of CRC.



There is growing interest in the application of molecular profiling, including sequencing, genotyping, and/or mRNA expression profiling, to the analysis of patient tumors with the objective of applying these data to inform therapeutic choices for patients with advanced cancers. Multiple clinical trials that are attempting to validate this personalized or precision medicine approach are in various stages of development and execution. Although preliminary data from some of these efforts have fueled excitement about the value and utility of these studies, their execution has also provoked many questions about the best way to approach complicating factors such as tumor heterogeneity and the choice of which genetic mutations to target. This commentary highlights some of the challenges confronting the clinical application of molecular tumor profiling and the various trial designs being utilized to address these challenges. Randomized trials that rigorously test patient response to molecularly targeted agents assigned based on the presence of a defined set of mutations in putative cancer-driving pathways are required to address some of the current challenges and to identify patients likely to benefit from this approach.


Background:

Prior cancer is a common exclusion criterion in lung cancer trials. This practice reflects concerns that prior cancer may affect trial conduct or outcomes. However, the impact of prior cancer on survival in lung cancer is not known.

Methods:

We identified patients older than age 65 years with stage IV lung cancer diagnosed between 1992 and 2009 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare linked registry. Prior cancer was characterized by type, stage, and timing. All-cause and lung cancer–specific survival were compared between patients with and without prior cancer using propensity score–adjusted Cox regression.

Results:

Overall, 102 929 patients with stage IV lung cancer were identified, of whom 14.7% had a history of prior cancer. More than two-thirds (76.0%) of prior cancers were localized or regional stage; most were diagnosed five or fewer years prior to the lung cancer diagnosis. In propensity score–adjusted analysis, patients with prior cancer had better all-cause (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.93, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.91 to 0.94) and lung cancer–specific (HR = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.79 to 0.82) survival. In a simulated clinical trial–eligible population (age <75 years, no comorbidity, treated with chemotherapy), similar trends were noted. In subset analyses according to stage, type, and timing of prior cancer, no group of patients with prior cancer had inferior survival compared with patients without prior cancer.

Conclusion:

Among patients with stage IV lung cancer, prior cancer does not convey an adverse effect on clinical outcomes, regardless of prior cancer stage, type, or timing. Broader inclusion in clinical trials of advanced lung cancer patients with a history of prior cancer should be considered.


Validation of early detection cancer biomarkers has proven to be disappointing when initial promising claims have often not been reproducible in diagnostic samples or did not extend to prediagnostic samples. The previously reported lack of rigorous internal validity (systematic differences between compared groups) and external validity (lack of generalizability beyond compared groups) may be effectively addressed by utilizing blood specimens and data collected within well-conducted cohort studies. Cohort studies with prediagnostic specimens (eg, blood specimens collected prior to development of clinical symptoms) and clinical data have recently been used to assess the validity of some early detection biomarkers. With this background, the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) and the Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) held a joint workshop in August 2013. The goal was to advance early detection cancer research by considering how the infrastructure of cohort studies that already exist or are being developed might be leveraged to include appropriate blood specimens, including prediagnostic specimens, ideally collected at periodic intervals, along with clinical data about symptom status and cancer diagnosis. Three overarching recommendations emerged from the discussions: 1) facilitate sharing of existing specimens and data, 2) encourage collaboration among scientists developing biomarkers and those conducting observational cohort studies or managing healthcare systems with cohorts followed over time, and 3) conduct pilot projects that identify and address key logistic and feasibility issues regarding how appropriate specimens and clinical data might be collected at reasonable effort and cost within existing or future cohorts.


Background:

Resistance to microtubule-stabilizing agents is a major hurdle for successful cancer therapy. We investigated combined treatment of microtubule-stabilizing agents (MSAs) with inhibitors of angiogenesis to overcome MSA resistance.

Methods:

Treatment regimens of clinically relevant MSAs (patupilone and paclitaxel) and antiangiogenic agents (everolimus and bevacizumab) were investigated in genetically defined MSA-resistant lung (A549EpoB40) and colon adenocarcinoma (SW480) tumor xenografts in nude mice (CD1-Foxn1<nu>, ICRnu; 5–14 per group). Tumor growth delays were calculated by Kaplan-Meier analysis with Holm-Sidak tests. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Inhibition of mTOR-kinase by everolimus only minimally reduced the proliferative activity of β tubulin–mutated lung adenocarcinoma cells alone and in combination with the MSA patupilone, but everolimus inhibited expression and secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) from these cells. mTOR-kinase inhibition strongly sensitized tumor xenografts derived from these otherwise MSA-resistant tumor cells to patupilone. Tumors treated with the combined modality of everolimus and patupilone had statistically significantly reduced tumor volume and stronger tumor growth delay (16.2±1.01 days) than control- (7.7±0.3 days, P = .004), patupilone- (10±0.97 days, P = .009), and everolimus-treated (10.6±1.4 days, P = .014) tumors. A combined treatment modality with bevacizumab also resensitized this MSA-refractory tumor model to patupilone. Treatment combination also strongly reduced microvessel density, corroborating the relevance of VEGF targeting for the known antivasculature-directed potency of MSA alone in MSA-sensitive tumor models. Resensitization to MSAs was also probed in P glycoprotein–overexpressing SW480-derived tumor xenografts. Different bevacizumab regimens also sensitized this otherwise-resistant tumor model to clinically relevant MSA paclitaxel.

Conclusions:

A treatment combination of MSAs with antiangiogenic agents is potent to overcome tumor cell–linked MSA resistance and should be considered as strategy for MSA-refractory tumor entities.


Background:

Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 14 may mediate tumor progression through vascular and immune-modulatory effects.

Methods:

Orthotopic murine breast tumors (4T1 and E0771 with high and low MMP14 expression, respectively; n = 5–10 per group) were treated with an anti-MMP14 inhibitory antibody (DX-2400), IgG control, fractionated radiation therapy, or their combination. We assessed primary tumor growth, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, macrophage phenotype, and vascular parameters. A linear mixed model with repeated observations, with Mann-Whitney or analysis of variance with Bonferroni post hoc adjustment, was used to determine statistical significance. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

DX-2400 inhibited tumor growth compared with IgG control treatment, increased macrophage numbers, and shifted the macrophage phenotype towards antitumor M1-like. These effects were associated with a reduction in active TGFβ and SMAD2/3 signaling. DX-2400 also transiently increased iNOS expression and tumor perfusion, reduced tissue hypoxia (median % area: control, 20.2%, interquartile range (IQR) = 6.4%-38.9%; DX-2400: 1.2%, IQR = 0.2%-3.2%, P = .044), and synergistically enhanced radiation therapy (days to grow to 800mm3: control, 12 days, IQR = 9–13 days; DX-2400 plus radiation, 29 days, IQR = 26–30 days, P < .001) in the 4T1 model. The selective iNOS inhibitor, 1400W, abolished the effects of DX-2400 on vessel perfusion and radiotherapy. On the other hand, DX-2400 was not capable of inducing iNOS expression or synergizing with radiation in E0771 tumors.

Conclusion:

MMP14 blockade decreased immunosuppressive TGFβ, polarized macrophages to an antitumor phenotype, increased iNOS, and improved tumor perfusion, resulting in reduced primary tumor growth and enhanced response to radiation therapy, especially in high MMP14-expressing tumors.


Background:

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors are at increased risk of developing valvular heart disease (VHD). We evaluated the determinants of the risk and the radiation dose-response.

Methods:

A case-control study was nested in a cohort of 1852 five-year HL survivors diagnosed at ages 15 to 41 years and treated between 1965 and 1995. Case patients had VHD of at least moderate severity as their first cardiovascular diagnosis following HL treatment. Control patients were matched to case patients for age, gender, and HL diagnosis date. Treatment and follow-up data were abstracted from medical records. Radiation doses to heart valves were estimated by reconstruction of individual treatments on representative computed tomography datasets. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Eighty-nine case patients with VHD were identified (66 severe or life-threatening) and 200 control patients. Aortic (n = 63) and mitral valves (n = 42) were most frequently affected. Risks increased more than linearly with radiation dose. For doses to the affected valve(s) of less than or equal to 30, 31–35, 36–40, and more than 40 Gy, VHD rates increased by factors of 1.4, 3.1, 5.4, and 11.8, respectively (P trend < .001). Approximate 30-year cumulative risks were 3.0%, 6.4%, 9.3%, and 12.4% for the same dose categories. VHD rate increased with splenectomy by a factor of 2.3 (P = .02).

Conclusions:

Radiation dose to the heart valves can increase the risk of clinically significant VHD, especially at doses above 30 Gy. However, for patients with mediastinal involvement treated today with 20 or 30 Gy, the 30-year risk will be increased by only about 1.4%. These findings may be useful for patients and doctors both before treatment and during follow-up.


Background:

Neopterin may be relevant for colorectal cancer (CRC) development, as a biomarker of cellular immune activity exerting pleiotropic effects on cellular ageing, oxidative stress, and inflammation. So far, the association between prediagnostic neopterin and colon and rectal cancer risk has not been evaluated in human populations.

Methods:

A nested case-control study was conducted within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort using data on plasma concentrations of total neopterin (T-N, sum of neopterin and 7,8-dihydroneopterin) in 830 incident CRC case patients (561 colon and 269 rectal) matched within risk sets to 830 control participants. A subsequent replication study used data from the Hordaland Health Study, where 173 CRC case patients have been diagnosed among 6594 healthy participants over 12 years of follow-up.

Results:

After multivariable adjustment for a priori chosen CRC risk factors, a "U-shaped" association of T-N with CRC was revealed. Compared with the second quintile of the T-N distribution, the relative risks for the first, third, fourth, and fifth quintiles were 2.37 (95% CI = 1.66 to 3.39), 1.24 (95% CI = 0.87 to 1.77), 1.55 (95% CI = 1.08 to 2.22), and 2.31 (95% CI = 1.63 to 3.27), respectively. Replication of these associations within the Hordaland Health Study yielded similar results. No differences have been observed when the associations were explored by colon and rectal cancer site (two-sided P difference = .87) and after excluding case patients diagnosed within the first four follow-up years.

Conclusions:

These novel findings provide evidence of the role of both suppressed and activated cell-mediated immunity as reflected by prediagnostic T-N concentrations in the development of CRC.


Background:

Survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) treated as adults are at risk for late effects of therapy. However, the burden of late morbidity and mortality among adults treated for HL remains incompletely characterized.

Methods:

Vital status and, for deceased, cause of death were determined for 746 adults treated on a first-line trial at a single center from 1975 to 2000. Survivors completed a detailed survey describing their physical and mental health. A severity score (grades 1–4, ranging from mild to life-threatening or disabling) was assigned to self-reported conditions.

Results:

At a median follow-up of 22 years, 227 of patients (30.4%) had died, 107 (47.1%) from HL, 120 (52.9%) from other causes, including second primary malignancies (SPMs) (n = 52) and cardiovascular disease (n = 27). Across the duration of follow-up, all-cause and SPM-specific risk of death remained higher than predicted by normative data. Among survivors, late morbidity survey data are available for 238 patients (45.9%). Ninety-four-point-one percent of respondents reported at least one morbidity, and 47.5% reported at least one grade 3 or 4 morbidity; 20.2% reported two or more grade 3 morbidities. Commonly reported morbidities included cardiovascular (54.6%), endocrine (68.5%), pulmonary disease (21.4%), and nonfatal second malignancy (23.1%). Anxiety, depression, and fear of recurrence were frequently reported.

Conclusions:

Among a large cohort of patients treated for HL with extensive follow-up, risk of late mortality from causes other than HL and prevalence of late medical morbidity are high. Guidelines for prevention, screening, and management of late effects in adult survivors of HL are needed.


Background:

Statins (3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitors) are widely prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels. Studies have suggested that statins are associated with reduced risk of liver cancer, but much of the evidence is from regions of the world with high liver cancer incidence rates. The current study examined the statins–liver cancer relationship in a low-rate region and examined the effects of preexisting liver disease and diabetes on that association.

Methods:

A nested case-control study was conducted within the United Kingdom’s Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD). Persons diagnosed with primary liver cancer between 1988 and 2011 were matched to controls at a four-to-one ratio. Matches stratified on liver disease and on diabetes were also completed. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations of statins with liver cancer were estimated using conditional logistic regression.

Results:

In total, 1195 persons with primary liver cancer were matched to 4640 control patients. Statin use was associated with a statistically significantly reduced risk of liver cancer (ORadj = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.45 to 0.69), especially among current users (ORadj = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.42 to 0.66). The reduced risk was statistically significant in the presence (ORadj = 0.32, 95% CI = 0.17 to 0.57) and absence of liver disease (ORadj = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.52 to 0.81) and in the presence (ORadj = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.21 to 0.42) and absence of diabetes (ORadj = 0.66, 95% CI = 0.51 to 0.85).

Conclusions:

In the current study in a low-rate area, statin use was associated with a statistically significantly reduced risk of liver cancer overall. Risk was particularly reduced among persons with liver disease and persons with diabetes, suggesting that statin use may be especially beneficial in persons at elevated risk of liver cancer.




Background:

Chronic inflammation is involved in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC) and microsatellite instability (MSI), a distinct phenotype of CRC. Experimental evidence indicates an anti-inflammatory and antineoplastic effect of marine -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). However, epidemiologic data remain inconclusive.

Methods:

We investigated whether the association between marine -3 PUFAs and CRC varies by MSI-defined subtypes of tumors in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study. We documented and classified 1125 CRC cases into either MSI-high tumors, in which 30% or more of the 10 microsatellite markers demonstrated instability, or microsatellite-stable (MSS) tumors. Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of MSS tumors and MSI-high tumors in relation to marine -3 PUFA intake. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Marine -3 PUFA intake was not associated with overall incidence of CRC. However, a statistically significant difference was detected by MSI status (P heterogeneity = .02): High marine -3 PUFA intake was associated with a lower risk of MSI-high tumors (comparing ≥0.30g/d with <0.10g/d: multivariable HR = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.35 to 0.83, P linearity = .03) but not MSS tumors (HR = 0.97, 95% CI = 0.78 to 1.20, P linearity = .28). This differential association appeared to be independent of CpG island methylator phenotype and BRAF mutation status.

Conclusions:

High marine -3 PUFA intake is associated with lower risk of MSI-high CRC but not MSS tumors, suggesting a potential role of -3 PUFAs in protection against CRC through DNA mismatch repair. Further research is needed to confirm our findings and elucidate potential underlying mechanisms.







Current dogma suggests that tumor-reactive IFN-–producing (TH1-type) T-cells are beneficial to patient outcome; however, the clinical consequence of these responses with respect to long-term prognosis in colorectal cancer (CRC) is not understood. Here, we compared the utility of preoperative, peripheral blood–derived IFN-+ T-cell responses specific to carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), 5T4, or control antigens (n = 64) with tumor staging and clinical details (n = 87) in predicting five-year outcome of CRC patients who underwent resection with curative intent. Although disease recurrence was more likely in patients with stage III tumors, the presence of preoperative, CEA-specific IFN-–producing T-cells identified patients at a statistically significantly greater risk of tumor recurrence following surgical resection, irrespective of tumor stage (odds ratio = 5.00, 95% confidence interval = 1.96 to 12.77, two-sided P <.001). Responses to other antigens, including 5T4, did not reflect outcome. Whilst these results initially appear surprising, they could improve prognostication and help redirect adjuvant treatments.


Background:

ACRIN 6668/RTOG 0235 evaluated the prognostic value of positron emission tomography with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG-PET) uptake before and after definitive, concurrent, platinum-based chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this secondary analysis, we evaluate volumetric pretreatment PET measures as predictors of clinical outcomes.

Methods:

Patients with stage III NSCLC underwent FDG-PET prior to treatment. A commercially available gradient-based segmentation tool was used to contour all visible hypermetabolic lesions on each scan. For each patient, the maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), metabolic tumor volume (MTV), and total glycolytic activity (TGA) for all contoured lesions were recorded. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to evaluate clinical variables and PET metrics as predictors of overall survival (OS) and locoregional control (LRC). Time-dependent covariables were added to the models when necessary to address nonproportional hazards. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Complete data were available for 214 patients in the OS analysis and 189 subjects in the LRC analysis. In multivariable analysis incorporating clinical and imaging data available prior to treatment, MTV was an independent predictor of OS (HR = 1.04 per 10cm3 increase, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.06, P < .001). High MTV was also associated with increased risk of locoregional failure at baseline (HR = 1.16 per 10cm3 increase, 95% CI = 1.08 to 1.23, P < .001) and at six months (HR = 1.05 per 10cm3 increase, 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.07, P < .001) but not at 12 months or later time points.

Conclusion:

Pretreatment MTV is a predictor of clinical outcomes for NSCLC patients treated with chemoradiotherapy. Quantitative PET measures may serve as stratification factors in clinical trials for this patient population and may help guide novel trial designs.


Background:

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Approximately 3% of colorectal cancers are associated with Lynch Syndrome. Controversy exists regarding the optimal screening strategy for Lynch Syndrome.

Methods:

Using an individual level microsimulation of a population affected by Lynch syndrome over several years, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of 21 screening strategies were compared. Modeling assumptions were based upon published literature, and sensitivity analyses were performed for key assumptions. In a two-step process, the number of Lynch syndrome diagnoses (Step 1) and life-years gained as a result of foreknowledge of Lynch syndrome in otherwise healthy carriers (Step 2) were measured.

Results:

The optimal strategy was sequential screening for probands starting with a predictive model, then immunohistochemistry for mismatch repair protein expression (IHC), followed by germline mutation testing (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER] of $35 143 per life-year gained). The strategies of IHC + BRAF, germline testing and universal germline testing of colon cancer probands had ICERs of $144 117 and $996 878, respectively.

Conclusions:

This analysis suggests that the initial step in screening for Lynch Syndrome should be the use of predictive models in probands. Universal tumor testing and general population screening strategies are not cost-effective. When family history is unavailable, alternate strategies are appropriate. Documentation of family history and screening for Lynch Syndrome using a predictive model may be considered a quality-of-care measure for patients with colorectal cancer.


The aim of cancer screening is to detect asymptomatic cancers whose treatment will result in extension of life, relative to length of life absent screening. Unfortunately, cancer screening also results in overdiagnosis, the detection of cancers that, in the absence of screening, would not present symptomatically during one’s lifetime. Thus, their detection and subsequent treatment is unnecessary and detrimental. This definition of overdiagnosis, while succinct, does not capture the ways it can occur, and our interactions with patients, advocates, researchers, clinicians, and journalists have led us to believe that the concept of overdiagnosis is difficult to explain and, for some, difficult to accept. We propose a dichotomy, the "tumor-patient" classification, to aid in understanding overdiagnosis. The tumor category includes asymptomatic malignant disease that would regress spontaneously if left alone, as well as asymptomatic malignant disease that stagnates or progresses too slowly to be life threatening in even the longest of lifetimes. The patient category includes asymptomatic malignant disease that would progress quickly enough to be life threatening during a lifetime of typical length, but lacks clinical relevance because death due to another cause intercedes prior to what would have been the date of symptomatic diagnosis had screening not occurred. Cancer screening of most organs is likely to result in overdiagnosis of both types. However, the ratio of tumor- to patient-driven overdiagnosis almost certainly varies, and may vary drastically, by organ, screening modality, patient characteristics, and other factors.














Background:

Metformin may improve metabolic factors (insulin, glucose, leptin, highly sensitive C-reactive protein [hs-CRP]) associated with poor breast cancer outcomes. The NCIC Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) MA.32 investigates effects of metformin vs placebo on invasive disease-free survival and other outcomes in early breast cancer. Maintaining blinding of investigators to outcomes, we conducted a planned, Data Safety Monitoring Committee–approved, analysis of the effect of metformin vs placebo on weight and metabolic factors at six months, including examination of interactions with baseline body mass index (BMI) and insulin, in the first 492 patients with paired blood samples.

Methods:

Eligible nondiabetic subjects with T1-3, N0-3, M0 breast cancer who had completed surgery and (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy (if given) provided fasting plasma samples at random assignment and at six months. Glucose was measured locally; blood was aliquoted, frozen, and stored at -80°C. Paired plasma aliquots were analyzed for insulin, hs-CRP, and leptin. Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated and comparisons analyzed using Wilcoxon signed rank test. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Mean age was 52.1±9.5 years in the metformin group and 52.6 ± 9.8 years in the placebo group. Arms were balanced for estrogen/progesterone receptor, BMI, prior (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy, and stage. At six months, decreases in weight and blood variables were statistically significantly greater in the metformin arm (vs placebo) in univariate analyses: weight -3.0%, glucose -3.8%, insulin -11.1%, homeostasis model assessment -17.1%, leptin -20.2%, hs-CRP -6.7%; all P values were less than or equal to .03. There was no statistically significant interaction of change in these variables with baseline BMI or insulin.

Conclusions:

Metformin statistically significantly improved weight, insulin, glucose, leptin, and CRP at six months. Effects did not vary by baseline BMI or fasting insulin.





The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), with its broad coverage of bench research, epidemiologic studies, and clinical trials, has a long history of publishing practice-changing studies in cancer prevention and public health. These include studies of tobacco cessation, chemoprevention, and nutrition. The landmark Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT)—the first large trial to prove efficacy of a preventive medication for a major malignancy—was published in the Journal, as were key ancillary papers to the BCPT. Even when JNCI was not the publication venue for the main trial outcomes, conceptual and design discussions leading to the trial as well as critical follow-up analyses based on trial data from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT) and the Selenium and Vitamin E Chemoprevention Trial (SELECT) were published in the Journal. The Journal has also published important evidence on very charged topics, such as the purported link between abortion and breast cancer risk. In summary, JNCI has been at the forefront of numerous major publications related to cancer prevention.









Background:

Hospital-level measures of patient satisfaction and quality are now reported publically by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There are limited metrics specific to cancer patients. We examined whether publically reported hospital satisfaction and quality data were associated with surgical oncologic outcomes.

Methods:

The Nationwide Inpatient Sample was utilized to identify patients with solid tumors who underwent surgical resection in 2009 and 2010. The hospitals were linked to Hospital Compare, which collects data on patient satisfaction, perioperative quality, and 30-day mortality for medical conditions (pneumonia, myocardial infarction [MI], and congestive heart failure [CHF]). The risk-adjusted hospital-level rates of morbidity and mortality were calculated for each hospital and the means compared between the highest and lowest performing hospital quartiles and reported as absolute reduction in risk (ARR), the difference in risk of the outcome between the two groups. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

A total of 63197 patients treated at 448 hospitals were identified. For patients at high vs low performing hospitals based on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems scores, the ARR in perioperative morbidity was 3.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.4% to 5.7%, P = .02). Similarly, the ARR for mortality based on the same measure was -0.4% (95% CI = -1.5% to 0.6%, P = .40). High performance on perioperative quality measures resulted in an ARR of 0% to 2.2% for perioperative morbidity (P > .05 for all). Similarly, there was no statistically significant association between hospital-level mortality rates for MI (ARR = 0.7%, 95% CI = -1.0% to 2.5%), heart failure (ARR = 1.0%, 95% CI = -0.6% to 2.7%), or pneumonia (ARR = 1.6%, 95% CI = -0.3% to 3.5%) and complications for oncologic surgery patients.

Conclusion:

Currently available measures of patient satisfaction and quality are poor predictors of outcomes for cancer patients undergoing surgery. Specific metrics for long-term oncologic outcomes and quality are needed.


Background:

We examined the impact of palliative care (PC) on aggressiveness of end-of-life care for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Measures of aggressive care included chemotherapy within 14 days of death; and at least one intensive care unit (ICU) admission, more than one emergency department (ED) visit, and more than one hospitalization, all within 30 days of death.

Methods:

A retrospective population-based cohort study using administrative data was conducted in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer from 2005 to 2010 in Ontario, Canada. Multivariable logistic regression was performed with the above measures of aggressive care as the outcomes of interest and PC as the main exposure, adjusting for covariables. Secondary analyses examined intensity of PC as the main exposure defined in two ways: 1) absolute number of PC visits before the outcome of interest (0, 1, 2, 3+ visits) and 2) monthly rate of PC visits.

Results:

The cohort included 5381 patients (median survival 75 days); 2816 (52.3%) had received a PC consultation. PC consultation was associated with decreased use of chemotherapy near death (odds ratio [OR] = 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.25 to 0.46); lower risk of ICU admission: OR = 0.12, 95% CI = 0.08 to 0.18; multiple ED visits: OR = 0.19, 95% CI = 0.16 to 0.23; multiple hospitalizations near death: OR = 0.24, 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.31). A per-unit increase in the monthly rate of PC visits was associated with lower odds of aggressive care for all four outcomes.

Conclusion:

PC consultation and a higher intensity of PC were associated with less aggressive care near death in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.


Background:

A prior analysis of postmenopausal breast cancer patients linked a decline in mammographic density (MD) following the initiation of tamoxifen treatment with improved survival, but excluded premenopausal women, for whom tamoxifen is the primary anti-endocrine therapy. Therefore, we evaluated change in MD after tamoxifen and breast cancer death among patients age 32 to 87 years.

Methods:

This case-control study included 349 estrogen receptor (ER)–positive breast cancer patients who were treated with tamoxifen at Kaiser Permanente Northwest (1990–2008): 97 who died from breast cancer (case patients) and 252 who did not (control patients), matched on age and year at diagnosis and disease stage. Percent MD in the unaffected breast was measured at baseline (mean six months before tamoxifen initiation) and follow-up (mean 12 months after initiation). Associations between change in MD and breast cancer death were estimated using conditional logistic regression.

Results:

Patients in the highest tertile of MD decline had a lower risk of breast cancer death when compared with women in the lowest tertile (odds ratio [OR] = 0.44, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.22 to 0.88); results were similar after adjustment for baseline MD (OR = 0.49, 95% CI = 0.23 to 1.02). Reductions in death were observed only among patients in the middle and upper tertiles of baseline MD. Associations did not differ by age, tamoxifen use duration, estrogen and/or progestin use, body mass index, or receipt of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Conclusion:

These data suggest that younger and older ER-positive breast cancer patients who experience large reductions in MD following tamoxifen initiation have an improved prognosis.


Background:

Women with node-positive vulvar cancer have a high risk for disease recurrence. Indication criteria for adjuvant radiotherapy are controversial. This study was designed to further understand the role of adjuvant therapy in node-positive disease.

Methods:

Patients with primary squamous-cell vulvar cancer treated at 29 gynecologic cancer centers in Germany from 1998 through 2008 were included in this retrospective exploratory multicenter cohort study. Of 1618 documented patients, 1249 had surgical groin staging and known lymph node status and were further analyzed. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Four hundred forty-seven of 1249 patients (35.8%) had lymph node metastases (N+). The majority of N+ patients had one (172 [38.5%]) or two (102 [22.8%]) positive nodes. The three-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate of N+ patients was 35.2%, and the overall survival (OS) rate 56.2% compared with 75.2% and 90.2% in node-negative patients (N-). Two hundred forty-four (54.6%) N+ patients had adjuvant therapy, of which 183 (40.9%) had radiotherapy directed at the groins (+/-other fields). Three-year PFS and OS rates in these patients were better compared with N+ patients without adjuvant treatment (PFS: 39.6% vs 25.9%, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.67, 95% confidence interval [CI[= 0.51 to 0.88, P = .004; OS: 57.7% vs 51.4%, HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.56 to 1.11, P = .17). This effect was statistically significant in multivariable analysis adjusted for age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, Union internationale contre le cancer stage, grade, invasion depth, and number of positive nodes (PFS: HR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.78, P < .001; OS: HR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.91, P = .01).

Conclusion:

This large multicenter study in vulvar cancer observed that adjuvant radiotherapy was associated with improved prognosis in node-positive patients and will hopefully help to overcome concerns regarding adjuvant treatment. However, outcome after adjuvant radiotherapy remains poor compared with node-negative patients. Adjuvant chemoradiation could be a possible strategy to improve therapy because it is superior to radiotherapy alone in other squamous cell carcinomas.


Background:

We sought to clarify the prognostic impact of primary tumor location in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

Methods:

We evaluated the association between tumor location and survival parameters in patients with previously untreated mCRC receiving first-line chemotherapy ± bevacizumab in three independent cohorts: a prospective pharmacogenetic study (PROVETTA) and two randomized phase III trials, AVF2107g and NO16966. Cancers proximal or distal of the splenic flexure were classified as right-sided or left-sided, respectively. The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Data were analyzed with Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Among evaluable patients in the PROVETTA (n = 200), AVF2107g (n = 559), and NO16966 (n = 1268) studies, 72.0%, 63.1%, and 73.7% had left-sided tumors, respectively. In PROVETTA, patients with left-sided tumors had superior OS (left-sided vs right-sided: hazard ratio [HR] = .44, 95% confidence interval [CI] = .28 to .70, P < .001) and progression-free survival (HR = .52, 95% CI = .36 to .75, P < .001) outcomes. Multivariable analyses confirmed right-sided location as a negative prognostic variable, independent of mucinous histology and BRAF mutational status. Data from the AVF2107g (HR for OS = .55, 95% CI = .43 to .70) and NO16966 trials (HR for OS = .71, 95% CI = .62 to .82 both P < .001) also showed favorable outcomes in patients with left-sided tumors. In both randomized studies, the efficacy of bevacizumab was independent of tumor location.

Conclusions:

These data demonstrate that primary tumor location is an important prognostic factor in previously untreated mCRC. Given the consistency across an exploratory set and two confirmatory phase III studies, side of tumor origin should be considered for stratification in randomized trials.



Background:

Phase I trials often include a dose expansion cohort (DEC), in which additional patients are treated at the estimated maximum tolerated dose (MTD) after dose escalation, with the goal of ensuring that data are available from more than six patients at a single dose level. However, protocols do not always detail how, or even if, the additional toxicity data will be used to reanalyze the MTD or whether observed toxicity in the DEC will warrant changing the assigned dose. A DEC strategy has not been statistically justified.

Methods:

We conducted a simulation study of two phase I designs: the "3+3" and the Continual Reassessment Method (CRM). We quantified how many patients are assigned the true MTD using a 10 to 20 patient DEC and how a sensible reanalysis using the DEC changes the probability of selecting the true MTD. We compared these results with those from an equivalently sized larger CRM that does not include a DEC.

Results:

With either the 3+3 or CRM, reanalysis with the DEC increased the probability of identifying the true MTD. However, a large CRM without a DEC was more likely to identify the true MTD while still treating 10 or 15 patients at this dose level.

Conclusions:

Where feasible, a CRM design with no explicit DEC is preferred to designs that fix a dose for all patients in a DEC.


Background:

Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) are usually measured using subjective methods. Studies suggest that TIL subtypes have independent roles in cancer and that they could support the use of novel immunostimulatory therapies. We simultaneously measured TIL subtypes in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) samples using objective methods and determined their relationship with clinico-pathologic characteristics and survival.

Methods:

Using multiplexed quantitative fluorescence (QIF), we measured the levels of CD3, CD8, and CD20 in 552 NSCLC from two independent collections represented in tissue microarrays (YTMA79, n = 202 and YTMA140, n = 350). The level of TILs was obtained in different tumor compartments using cytokeratin stain to define tumor cells and 4’,6-Diamidino-2-Phenylindole. Association of TILs with clinical parameters was determined using univariate and multivariable analyses. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

In both NSCLC collections there was a low correlation between the three TIL markers (linear regression coefficients (R2) = 0.19–0.22, P < .001 for YTMA79 and R2 = 0.23–0.32, P < .001 for YTMA140). No consistent association between the level of TIL subtypes and age, sex, smoking history, tumor size, stage, and histology type was found. In univariate analysis, an elevated CD3 or CD8 signal was statistically significantly associated with longer survival in both collections. However, only CD8 was independent from age, tumor size, histology, and stage in multivariable analysis. High CD20 was associated with longer survival in the YTMA79 cohort.

Conclusions:

Increased levels of CD3 and CD8 + TILs are associated with better outcome in NSCLC, but only CD8 is independent from other prognostic variables. Objective measurement of TIL subpopulations could be useful to predict response or evaluate the local immune effect of anticancer immune checkpoint inhibitors.







Background:

Younger ages at diagnosis for blacks compared with whites have been reported for several cancer types. However, the US black population is younger than the white population, which may bias age comparisons that do not account for the populations at risk.

Methods:

We analyzed Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results data for non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites from 18 regions for the year 2010. We calculated crude mean ages at diagnosis among cases of 29 cancer types for whites and blacks. Separately, we calculated adjusted means that corrected for differences in population structure, which we obtained by fitting linear regression models to the ages at diagnosis with statistical weights specific to age and sex. Negative differences indicate younger ages in blacks, while positive differences indicate older ages in blacks. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Based on crude means, blacks were diagnosed at younger ages than whites for nearly every cancer type. However, adjustment for population structure shifted the comparisons toward older ages among blacks, and only six statistically significant differences of three or more years remained. Blacks were younger than whites at diagnosis for Kaposi sarcoma (-10.2 years), male soft tissue cancer (-5.6), male anal cancer (-5.5), and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (-3.7), but older for cervical cancer (+4.7 years) and female thyroid cancer (+3.3). Smaller differences (<3 years) were present for female breast, female colon, lung, pancreas, prostate, and uterine corpus cancers (all P ≤ .001).

Conclusions:

Most differences between blacks and whites in the age at cancer diagnosis are small. Large differences for a few cancer types may be driven by etiologic and subtype heterogeneity as well as disparities in access to care.


Background:

Randomized clinical trials showed that laparoscopic colectomy (LC) is superior to open colectomy (OC) in short-term surgical outcomes; however, the generalizability among real-world patients is not clear.

Methods:

The National Cancer Data Base was used to identify stage I-III colon cancer patients age 18 to 84 years in 2010 and 2011. A propensity score analysis with 1:1 matching (PS) was used to avoid the effect of treatment selection bias. Patients were clustered at the hospital level for multilevel regression analyses. The main outcomes measured were 30-day mortality, unplanned readmissions, length of stay (LOS), and initiation of adjuvant chemotherapy among stage III patients. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

A total of 45 876 patients were analyzed, 18 717 (41%) LC and 27 159 (59%) OC. After PS matching, there were 18 230 patients in both groups and they were well balanced on their covariables. Compared with OC, LC showed consistent benefits in 30-day mortality (1.3% vs 2.3 %, odds ratio [OR] = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.49 to 0.69, P < .001) and LOS (median 5 vs 6 days, incident rate ratio = 0.83, 95% CI = 0.8 to 0.84, P < .001). LC was also associated with a higher rate of adjuvant chemotherapy use in stage III patients (72.3% vs 67.0%, P < .001). LC was more likely to be performed by high-volume surgeons in high-volume hospitals, but there was no significant effect of the hospital/surgeon volume on short-term outcomes.

Conclusion:

In routine clinical practice, laparoscopic colectomy is associated with lower 30-day mortality, shorter length of stay, and greater likelihood of adjuvant chemotherapy initiation among stage III colon cancer patients when compared with open colectomy.


Background:

Distant metastasis is the major cause of mortality in colorectal cancer (CRC). We performed a systemic, comprehensive discovery for expression patterns of metastasis-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) by directly comparing primary CRCs (pCRCs) and matched liver metastases (LMs) and evaluated the feasibility of their clinical application as metastasis-specific biomarkers.

Methods:

CRC metastasis–specific miRNA profiles were generated by analyzing nine pairs of pCRC and LM tissues, followed by quantitative validation in an independent cohort of 58 pairs of matched pCRC and LM tissues. We evaluated associations between miRNA expression and patient survival and ability to predict metastasis in another 84 patients with CRC. Subsequently, associations were quantitatively validated in 175 CRC tissues and 169 serum samples. Kaplan-Meier, Cox regression, and logistic regression analyses were used. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Twenty-three miRNAs were identified that were differentially expressed between pCRC and LM (P < .001; FDR < .5). Four miRNAs downregulated in LM (let-7i, miR-10b, miR-221, and miR-320a) and one upregulated miR (miR-885-5p) were quantitatively validated in pCRC (P < .0001). Low let-7i expression in pCRC tissue predicted worsened prognosis (hazard ratio [HR] = 5.0, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0 to 24.4, P = .0479) as well as distant metastasis (odds ratio [OR] = 5.5, 95% CI = 1.1 to 26.8, P = .0334). High miR-10b expression in pCRC tissue independently predicted distant metastasis (OR = 4.9, 95% CI = 1.2 to 19.7, P = .0248). High serum miR-885-5p expression independently predicted prognosis (HR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.1 to 7.5, P = .0323), LN metastasis (OR = 3.0, 95% CI = 1.3 to 7.2, P = .0116), and distant metastasis (OR = 3.1, 95% CI = 1.0 to 10.0, P = .0456), whereas tissue miR-885-5p expression did not. Expression patterns of miRNAs were confirmed by in situ hybridization.

Conclusions:

We discovered a metastasis-specific miRNA signature in pCRCs and discovered novel tissue- and serum-based CRC metastasis–specific miRNA biomarkers through intensive validation. These unique miRNAs may be clinically applicable to predict prognosis and distant metastasis in CRC.


Background:

There is preclinical synergism between taxanes and MK-2206. We aim to determine the maximum tolerated dose, safety, and activity of combining MK-2206 and paclitaxel in metastatic cancer.

Methods:

Patients received weekly doses of paclitaxel at 80mg/m2 on day 1, followed by MK-2206 orally on day 2 escalated at 90mg, 135mg, and 200mg. Treatment continued until progression, excessive toxicity, or patient request. Blood and tissue were collected for pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics markers. A cycle consisted of three weeks of therapy. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was defined as unacceptable toxicity during the first cycle. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

Twenty-two patients were treated, nine in dose escalation and 13 in dose expansion. Median age was 55 years. Median number of cycles was four. Dose escalation was completed with no DLT. CTCAE Grade 3 or higher adverse events were fatigue (n = 2), rash (n = 2), hyperglycemia (n = 1), and neutropenia (n = 7). Four patients in the expansion phase required MK-2206 dose reduction. Phase II recommended dose was established as paclitaxel 80mg/m2 weekly on day 1, and MK-2206 135mg weekly on day 2. Paclitaxel systemic exposure was similar in the presence or absence of MK-2206. Plasma MK-2206 concentrations were similar to data from previous phase I monotherapy. There was a statistically significant decrease in expression of pAKT S473 (P = .01) and pAKT T308 (P = .002) after therapy. PI3K/AKT/mTOR downregulation in tumor tissues and circulating markers did not correlate with tumor response or clinical benefit. There were five objective responses, and nine patients had stable disease.

Conclusion:

MK-2206 was well tolerated with paclitaxel. Preliminary antitumor activity was documented.


Background:

Surgical management of primary melanoma is curative for most patients with clinically localized disease at diagnosis; however, a substantial number of patients recur and progress to advanced disease. Understanding molecular alterations that influence differential tumor progression of histopathologically similar lesions may lead to improved prognosis and therapies to slow or prevent metastasis.

Methods:

We examined microRNA dysregulation by expression profiling of primary melanoma tumors from 92 patients. We screened candidate microRNAs selected by differential expression between recurrent and nonrecurrent tumors or associated with primary tumor thickness (Student’s t test, Benjamini-Hochberg False Discovery Rate [FDR] < 0.05), in in vitro invasion assays. We performed in vivo metastasis assays, matrix remodeling experiments, and molecular studies to identify metastasis-regulating microRNAs and their cellular and molecular mechanisms. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results:

We identified two microRNAs (hsa-miR-382, hsa-miR-516b) whose expression was lower in aggressive vs nonaggressive primary tumors, which suppressed invasion in vitro and metastasis in vivo (mean metastatic foci: control: 37.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 25.6 to 50.2; miR-382: 19.5, 95% CI = 12.2 to 26.9, P = .009; miR-516b: 12.5, 95% CI = 7.7 to 17.4, P < .001, Student’s t test). Mechanistically, miR-382 overexpression inhibits extracellular matrix degradation by melanoma cells. Moreover, we identified actin regulators CTTN, RAC1, and ARPC2 as direct targets of miR-382. Depletion of CTTN partially recapitulates miR-382 effects on matrix remodeling, invasion, and metastasis. Inhibition of miR-382 in a weakly tumorigenic melanoma cell line increased tumor progression and metastasis in vivo.

Conclusions:

Aberrant expression of specific microRNAs that can functionally impact progression of primary melanoma occurs as an early event of melanomagenesis.


Background:

Small molecule inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) have been developed as molecular therapy for cancer, but their efficacy in the clinic is modest, hampered by resistance mechanisms.

Methods:

We studied the effect of PI3K therapy in patient-derived tumor organotypic cultures (from five patient samples), three glioblastoma (GBM) tumor cell lines, and an intracranial model of glioblastoma in immunocompromised mice (n = 4–5 mice per group). Mechanisms of therapy-induced tumor reprogramming were investigated in a global metabolomics screening, analysis of mitochondrial bioenergetics and cell death, and modulation of protein phosphorylation. A high-throughput drug screening was used to identify novel preclinical combination therapies with PI3K inhibitors, and combination synergy experiments were performed. All statistical methods were two-sided.

Results:

PI3K therapy induces global metabolic reprogramming in tumors and promotes the recruitment of an active pool of the Ser/Thr kinase, Akt2 to mitochondria. In turn, mitochondrial Akt2 phosphorylates Ser31 in cyclophilin D (CypD), a regulator of organelle functions. Akt2-phosphorylated CypD supports mitochondrial bioenergetics and opposes tumor cell death, conferring resistance to PI3K therapy. The combination of a small-molecule antagonist of CypD protein folding currently in preclinical development, Gamitrinib, plus PI3K inhibitors (PI3Ki) reverses this adaptive response, produces synergistic anticancer activity by inducing mitochondrial apoptosis, and extends animal survival in a GBM model (vehicle: median survival = 28.5 days; Gamitrinib+PI3Ki: median survival = 40 days, P = .003), compared with single-agent treatment (PI3Ki: median survival = 32 days, P = .02; Gamitrinib: median survival = 35 days, P = .008 by two-sided unpaired t test).

Conclusions:

Small-molecule PI3K antagonists promote drug resistance by repurposing mitochondrial functions in bioenergetics and cell survival. Novel combination therapies that target mitochondrial adaptation can dramatically improve on the efficacy of PI3K therapy in the clinic.