Publications by authors named "Adam Brufsky"

247 Publications

Neratinib + capecitabine sustains health-related quality of life in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer and ≥ 2 prior HER2-directed regimens.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Apr 28. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Purpose: To characterize health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) from the NALA phase 3 study.

Methods: In NALA (NCT01808573), patients were randomized 1:1 to neratinib + capecitabine (N + C) or lapatinib + capecitabine (L + C). HRQoL was assessed using seven prespecified scores from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality Of Life Questionnaire core module (QLQ-C30) and breast cancer-specific questionnaire (QLQ-BR23) at baseline and every 6 weeks. Descriptive statistics summarized scores over time, mixed models evaluated differences between treatment arms, and Kaplan-Meier methods were used to assess time to deterioration in HRQoL scores of ≥ 10 points.

Results: Of the 621 patients randomized in NALA, patients were included in the HRQoL analysis if they completed baseline and at least one follow-up questionnaire. The summary, global health status, physical functioning, fatigue, constipation, and systemic therapy side effects scores were stable over time with no persistent differences between treatment groups. There were no differences in time to deterioration (TTD) for the QLQ-C30 summary score between treatment arms; the hazard ratio (HR) for N + C vs. L + C was 0.94 (95% CI 0.63-1.40). Only the diarrhea score worsened significantly more in the N + C arm as compared to the L + C arm, and this remained over time (HR for TTD for N + C vs. L + C was 1.71 [95% CI 1.32-2.23]).

Conclusion: In NALA, patients treated with N + C maintained their global HRQoL over time, despite a worsening of the diarrhea-related scores. These results may help guide optimal treatment selection for HER2-positive MBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06217-4DOI Listing
April 2021

Sacituzumab Govitecan in Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2021 04;384(16):1529-1541

From the Division of Medical Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center (A. Bardia), and the Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (S.M.T.) - both in Boston; the University of California, Los Angeles, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles (S.A.H.); the Medical Oncology Department and the Department of Drug Development and Innovation, Institut Curie, Paris (D.L.), Institut Claudius Regaud, Institut Universitaire du Cancer de Toulouse Oncopole, Toulouse (F.D.), and the Department of Medical Oncology, Centre Eugène Marquis, Rennes (V.D.) - all in France; the Department of General Medical Oncology and Multidisciplinary Breast Center, Leuven Cancer Institute, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven (K.P.), and the Clinical Trials Conduct Unit (P.A.), Institut Jules Bordet-Université Libre de Bruxelles (M.J.P.), Brussels - all in Belgium; the Medical Oncology Department and Breast Cancer Group, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (M.O.), and the International Breast Cancer Center, Quiron Group (J.C.) - all in Barcelona; Magee-Womens Hospital and the Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh (A. Brufsky); Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus (S.D.S.); Columbia University Irving Medical Center (K.K.) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (T.T.) - both in New York; Northside Hospital, Atlanta (A.B.Z.); Florida Cancer Specialists, Tampa (R.W.); Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Washington, DC (F.L.); Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, Greenwood Village, CO (S.D.); Baylor University Medical Center and Texas Oncology, Dallas (J.O.); Segal Cancer Centre, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal (C.F.); Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London (P.S.); University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill (L.A.C.); Gianni Bonadonna Foundation, Milan (L.G.); the Department of Medicine and Research, Hämatologisch-Onkologische Gemeinschaftspraxis am Bethanien-Krankenhaus, Frankfurt, Germany (S.L.); Immunomedics, Morris Plains, NJ (D.M.G., Q.H., M.S.O., L.M.I.); and the University of California, San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco (H.S.R.).

Background: Patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer have a poor prognosis. Sacituzumab govitecan is an antibody-drug conjugate composed of an antibody targeting the human trophoblast cell-surface antigen 2 (Trop-2), which is expressed in the majority of breast cancers, coupled to SN-38 (topoisomerase I inhibitor) through a proprietary hydrolyzable linker.

Methods: In this randomized, phase 3 trial, we evaluated sacituzumab govitecan as compared with single-agent chemotherapy of the physician's choice (eribulin, vinorelbine, capecitabine, or gemcitabine) in patients with relapsed or refractory metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. The primary end point was progression-free survival (as determined by blinded independent central review) among patients without brain metastases.

Results: A total of 468 patients without brain metastases were randomly assigned to receive sacituzumab govitecan (235 patients) or chemotherapy (233 patients). The median age was 54 years; all the patients had previous use of taxanes. The median progression-free survival was 5.6 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.3 to 6.3; 166 events) with sacituzumab govitecan and 1.7 months (95% CI, 1.5 to 2.6; 150 events) with chemotherapy (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.52; P<0.001). The median overall survival was 12.1 months (95% CI, 10.7 to 14.0) with sacituzumab govitecan and 6.7 months (95% CI, 5.8 to 7.7) with chemotherapy (hazard ratio for death, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.59; P<0.001). The percentage of patients with an objective response was 35% with sacituzumab govitecan and 5% with chemotherapy. The incidences of key treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or higher were neutropenia (51% with sacituzumab govitecan and 33% with chemotherapy), leukopenia (10% and 5%), diarrhea (10% and <1%), anemia (8% and 5%), and febrile neutropenia (6% and 2%). There were three deaths owing to adverse events in each group; no deaths were considered to be related to sacituzumab govitecan treatment.

Conclusions: Progression-free and overall survival were significantly longer with sacituzumab govitecan than with single-agent chemotherapy among patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. Myelosuppression and diarrhea were more frequent with sacituzumab govitecan. (Funded by Immunomedics; ASCENT ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02574455; EudraCT number, 2017-003019-21.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2028485DOI Listing
April 2021

A unique view of SARS-COV-2 through the lens of ORF8 protein.

Comput Biol Med 2021 Apr 15;133:104380. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Center for IPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-8397, Japan.

Immune evasion is one of the unique characteristics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) attributed to its ORF8 protein. This protein modulates the adaptive host immunity through down-regulation of MHC-1 (Major Histocompatibility Complex) molecules and innate immune responses by surpassing the host's interferon-mediated antiviral response. To understand the host's immune perspective concerning the ORF8 protein, a comprehensive study of the ORF8 protein and mutations possessed by it have been performed. Chemical and structural properties of ORF8 proteins from different hosts, such as human, bat, and pangolin, suggest that the ORF8 of SARS-CoV-2 is much closer to ORF8 of Bat RaTG13-CoV than to that of Pangolin-CoV. Eighty-seven mutations across unique variants of ORF8 in SARS-CoV-2 can be grouped into four classes based on their predicted effects (Hussain et al., 2021) [1]. Based on the geo-locations and timescale of sample collection, a possible flow of mutations was built. Furthermore, conclusive flows of amalgamation of mutations were found upon sequence similarity analyses and consideration of the amino acid conservation phylogenies. Therefore, this study seeks to highlight the uniqueness of the rapidly evolving SARS-CoV-2 through the ORF8.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2021.104380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8049180PMC
April 2021

Notable sequence homology of the ORF10 protein introspects the architecture of SARS-CoV-2.

Int J Biol Macromol 2021 Apr 16;181:801-809. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Electronic address:

The current Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) shows similar pathology to MERS and SARS-CoV, with a current estimated fatality rate of 1.4%. Open reading frame 10 (ORF10) is a unique SARS-CoV-2 accessory protein, which contains eleven cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes each of nine amino acids in length. Twenty-two unique SARS-CoV-2 ORF10 variants have been identified based on missense mutations found in sequence databases. Some of these mutations are predicted to decrease the stability of ORF10 in silico physicochemical and structural comparative analyses were carried out on SARS-CoV-2 and Pangolin-CoV ORF10 proteins, which share 97.37% amino acid (aa) homology. Though there is a high degree of ORF10 protein similarity of SARS-CoV-2 and Pangolin-CoV, there are differences of these two ORF10 proteins related to their sub-structure (loop/coil region), solubility, antigenicity and shift from strand to coil at aa position 26 (tyrosine). SARS-CoV-2 ORF10, which is apparently expressed in vivo since reactive T cell clones are found in convalescent patients should be monitored for changes which could correlate with the pathogenesis of COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.03.199DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8051021PMC
April 2021

Outcomes After Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and Radiotherapy in Older Women With Early-Stage, Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer.

JAMA Netw Open 2021 Apr 1;4(4):e216322. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Women's Cancer Research Center, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Importance: Overtreatment of early-stage breast cancer with favorable tumor biology in older patients may be harmful without affecting recurrence and survival. Guidelines that recommend deimplementation of sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) (Choosing Wisely) and radiotherapy (RT) (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) have been published.

Objective: To describe the use rates and association with disease recurrence of SLNB and RT in older women with breast cancer.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study obtained patient and clinical data from an integrated cancer registry and electronic health record of a single health care system in Pennsylvania. The cohort was composed of consecutive female patients 70 years or older who were diagnosed with early-stage, estrogen receptor-positive, ERBB2 (formerly HER2)-negative, clinically node-negative breast cancer from January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2018, who were treated at 15 community and academic hospitals within the health system.

Exposures: Sentinel lymph node biopsy and adjuvant RT.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Primary outcomes were 5-year locoregional recurrence-free survival (LRFS) rate and disease-free survival (DFS) rate after SLNB and after RT. Secondary outcomes included recurrence rate, subgroups that may benefit from SLNB or RT, and use rate of SLNB and RT over time. Propensity scores were used to create 2 cohorts to separately evaluate the association of SLNB and RT with recurrence outcomes. Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs).

Results: From 2010 to 2018, a total of 3361 women 70 years or older (median [interquartile range {IQR}] age, 77.0 [73.0-82.0] years) with estrogen receptor-positive, ERBB2-negative, clinically node-negative breast cancer were included in the study. Of these women, 2195 (65.3%) received SLNB and 1828 (54.4%) received adjuvant RT. Rates of SLNB steadily increased (1.0% per year), a trend that persisted after the 2016 adoption of the Choosing Wisely guideline. Rates of RT decreased slightly (3.4% per year). To examine patient outcomes and maximize follow-up time, the analysis was limited to cases from 2010 to 2014, identifying 2109 patients with a median (IQR) follow-up time of 4.1 (2.5-5.7) years. In the propensity score-matched cohorts, no association was found between SLNB and either LRFS (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.37-4.30; P = .71) or DFS (HR, 1.92; 95% CI, 0.86-4.32; P = .11). In addition, RT was not associated with LRFS (HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.09-1.24; P = .10) or DFS (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.46-2.10; P = .97). Subgroup analysis showed that stratification by tumor grade or comorbidity was not associated with LRFS or DFS. Low absolute rates of recurrence were observed when comparing the groups that received SLNB (3.5%) and those that did not (4.5%) as well as the groups that received RT (2.7%) and those that did not (5.5%).

Conclusions And Relevance: This study found that receipt of SLNB or RT was not associated with improved LRFS or DFS in older patients with ER-positive, clinically node-negative breast cancer. Despite limited follow-up time and wide 95% CIs, this study supports the continued deimplementation of both SLNB and RT in accordance with the Choosing Wisely and National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.6322DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8050744PMC
April 2021

Approaching Neoadjuvant Therapy in the Management of Early-Stage Breast Cancer.

Breast Cancer (Dove Med Press) 2021 30;13:199-211. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Magee Women's Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Neoadjuvant therapy is integral to the treatment of early-stage breast cancer. Goals of treatment include surgical downstaging of the tumor, rendering inoperable tumors resectable, and de-escalating axillary surgery in those with clinically positive nodes. Additionally, response to treatment provides important prognostic information regarding risk of recurrence and guides future adjuvant treatment. Although chemotherapy serves as the backbone of neoadjuvant treatment, an increased understanding of the tumor's clinical course as well as its molecular and genetic make-up aids in individualizing treatment and developing novel agents. This review summarizes current clinical approaches and the future direction to the management of breast cancer patients in the neoadjuvant setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/BCTT.S273058DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8019614PMC
March 2021

Carbon-Based Nanomaterials: Promising Antiviral Agents to Combat COVID-19 in the Microbial-Resistant Era.

ACS Nano 2021 Apr 7. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232, United States.

Therapeutic options for the highly pathogenic human severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing the current pandemic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are urgently needed. COVID-19 is associated with viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome causing significant morbidity and mortality. The proposed treatments for COVID-19 have shown little or no effect in the clinic so far. Additionally, bacterial and fungal pathogens contribute to the SARS-CoV-2-mediated pneumonia disease complex. The antibiotic resistance in pneumonia treatment is increasing at an alarming rate. Therefore, carbon-based nanomaterials (CBNs), such as fullerene, carbon dots, graphene, and their derivatives constitute a promising alternative due to their wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity, biocompatibility, biodegradability, and capacity to induce tissue regeneration. Furthermore, the antimicrobial mode of action is mainly physical (, membrane distortion), characterized by a low risk of antimicrobial resistance. In this Review, we evaluated the literature on the antiviral activity and broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties of CBNs. CBNs had antiviral activity against 13 enveloped positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. CBNs with low or no toxicity to humans are promising therapeutics against the COVID-19 pneumonia complex with other viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including those that are multidrug-resistant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsnano.1c00629DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8043205PMC
April 2021

Voltage-Gated Calcium Channel Antibody-Induced Oropharyngeal Dysphagia Presenting as a Paraneoplastic Neurological Complication in Breast Cancer.

Cureus 2021 Mar 3;13(3):e13677. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Hematology/Oncology, Magee Women's Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA.

Paraneoplastic neurologic syndromes (PNS) are a group of disorders characterized by an autoimmune response against the nervous system due to cross-reactivity between malignant and normal neural tissue. The most commonly associated malignancies include small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma. Multiple PNS have been reported including paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, retinopathy, sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy, encephalopathy, opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, and stiff-person syndrome. We report a case of a 67-year-old woman with breast cancer who presented with a history of progressive oropharyngeal dysphagia as a paraneoplastic neurologic complication. She was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, nuclear grade 3 with moderate peritumoral lymphoid infiltrate. Hormone receptors were weakly positive for estrogen receptor (ER) (H score 15), weakly positive for progesterone receptor (PR) (H score 30), and negative for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/NEU). The patient underwent a localized segmental mastectomy but declined any further adjuvant treatment. Three years after being diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, she developed progressive oropharyngeal dysphagia that warranted percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube placement. Testing for onconeural antibodies was positive for voltage-gated calcium channel antibody. An extensive workup was negative for any alternative etiology that would explain her neurological symptoms. The patient declined further treatment and eventually succumbed to her illness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.13677DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8012257PMC
March 2021

Urgent Need for Field Surveys of Coronaviruses in Southeast Asia to Understand the SARS-CoV-2 Phylogeny and Risk Assessment for Future Outbreaks.

Biomolecules 2021 03 9;11(3). Epub 2021 Mar 9.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Phylogenetic analysis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is focused on a single isolate of bat coronaviruses (bat CoVs) which does not adequately represent genetically related coronaviruses (CoVs) [...].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biom11030398DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7999587PMC
March 2021

Comparative effectiveness of first-line palbociclib plus letrozole versus letrozole alone for HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer in US real-world clinical practice.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 Mar 24;23(1):37. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, 2825 Santa Monica Blvd, Suite 200, Santa Monica, CA, 90404, USA.

Background: Findings from randomized clinical trials may have limited generalizability to patients treated in routine clinical practice. This study examined the effectiveness of first-line palbociclib plus letrozole versus letrozole alone on survival outcomes in patients with hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/human epidermal growth factor receptor-negative (HER2-) metastatic breast cancer (MBC) treated in routine clinical practice in the USA.

Patients And Methods: This was a retrospective observational analysis of electronic health records within the Flatiron Health Analytic Database. A total of 1430 patients with ≥ 3 months of follow-up received palbociclib plus letrozole or letrozole alone in the first-line setting between February 3, 2015, and February 28, 2019. Stabilized inverse probability treatment weighting (sIPTW) was used to balance baseline demographic and clinical characteristics. Real-world progression-free survival (rwPFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed.

Results: After sIPTW adjustment, median follow-up was 24.2 months (interquartile range [IQR], 14.2-34.9) in the palbociclib group and 23.3 months (IQR, 12.7-34.3) in those taking letrozole alone. Palbociclib combination treatment was associated with significantly longer median rwPFS compared to letrozole alone (20.0 vs 11.9 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.58; 95% CI, 0.49-0.69; P < 0.0001). Median OS was not reached in the palbociclib group and was 43.1 months with letrozole alone (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.53-0.82; P = 0.0002). The 2-year OS rate was 78.3% in the palbociclib group and 68.0% with letrozole alone. A propensity score matching analysis showed similar results.

Conclusions: In this "real-world" population of patients with HR+/HER2- MBC, palbociclib in combination with endocrine therapy was associated with improved survival outcomes compared with patients treated with letrozole alone in the first-line setting.

Trial Registration: Clinicaltrials.gov; NCT04176354.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01409-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7989035PMC
March 2021

Clinical Outcomes With Abemaciclib After Prior CDK4/6 Inhibitor Progression in Breast Cancer: A Multicenter Experience.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2021 Mar 24:1-8. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

1Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and.

Background: Inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6i) are widely used as first-line therapy for hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer (HR+ MBC). Although abemaciclib monotherapy is also FDA-approved for treatment of disease progression on endocrine therapy, there is limited insight into the clinical activity of abemaciclib after progression on prior CDK4/6i.

Patients And Methods: We identified patients with HR+ MBC from 6 cancer centers in the United States who received abemaciclib after disease progression on prior CDK4/6i, and abstracted clinical features, outcomes, toxicity, and predictive biomarkers.

Results: In the multicenter cohort, abemaciclib was well tolerated after a prior course of CDK4/6i (palbociclib)-based therapy; a minority of patients discontinued abemaciclib because of toxicity without progression (9.2%). After progression on palbociclib, most patients (71.3%) received nonsequential therapy with abemaciclib (with ≥1 intervening non-CDK4/6i regimens), with most receiving abemaciclib with an antiestrogen agent (fulvestrant, 47.1%; aromatase inhibitor, 27.6%), and the remainder receiving abemaciclib monotherapy (19.5%). Median progression-free survival for abemaciclib in this population was 5.3 months and median overall survival was 17.2 months, notably similar to results obtained in the MONARCH-1 study of abemaciclib monotherapy in heavily pretreated HR+/HER2-negative CDK4/6i-naïve patients. A total of 36.8% of patients received abemaciclib for ≥6 months. There was no relationship between the duration of clinical benefit while on palbociclib and the subsequent duration of treatment with abemaciclib. RB1, ERBB2, and CCNE1 alterations were noted among patients with rapid progression on abemaciclib.

Conclusions: A subset of patients with HR+ MBC continue to derive clinical benefit from abemaciclib after progression on prior palbociclib. These results highlight the need for future studies to confirm molecular predictors of cross-resistance to CDK4/6i therapy and to better characterize the utility of abemaciclib after disease progression on prior CDK4/6i.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2020.7662DOI Listing
March 2021

Considerations of the effects of commonly investigated drugs for COVID-19 in the cholesterol synthesis pathway.

Expert Opin Pharmacother 2021 Mar 11:1-6. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Magee Women's Hospital Suite 4628,Pittsburgh, PA USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14656566.2021.1897104DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7967711PMC
March 2021

Baseline characteristics and first-line treatment patterns in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer in the SystHERs registry.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Feb 28. Epub 2021 Feb 28.

Florida Precision Oncology, a Division of 21st Century Oncology, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

Background: Systemic Therapies for HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Study (SystHERs, NCT01615068) was a prospective, observational disease registry designed to identify treatment patterns and clinical outcomes in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in real-world treatment settings.

Methods: SystHERs enrolled patients aged ≥ 18 years with recently diagnosed HER2-positive MBC. Treatment regimens and clinical management were determined by the treating physician. In this analysis, patients were compared descriptively by first-line treatment, age, or race. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the associations between baseline variables and treatment selections. Clinical outcomes were assessed in patients treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin [H]) + pertuzumab (Perjeta [P]).

Results: Patients were enrolled from June 2012 to June 2016. As of February 22, 2018, 948 patients from 135 US treatment sites had received first-line treatment, including HP (n = 711), H without P (n = 175), or no H (n = 62) (with or without chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy). Overall, 68.7% received HP + taxane and 9.3% received H without P + taxane. Patients aged < 50 years received HP (versus H without P) more commonly than those ≥ 70 years (odds ratio 4.20; 95% CI, 1.62-10.89). Chemotherapy was less common in patients ≥ 70 years (68.2%) versus those < 50 years (88.0%) or 50-69 years (87.4%). Patients treated with HP had median overall survival of 53.8 months and median progression-free survival of 15.8 months.

Conclusions: Our analysis of real-world data shows that most patients with HER2-positive MBC received first-line treatment with HP + taxane. However, older patients were less likely to receive dual HER2-targeted therapy and chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06103-zDOI Listing
February 2021

Multifaceted highly targeted sequential multidrug treatment of early ambulatory high-risk SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19).

Rev Cardiovasc Med 2020 12;21(4):517-530

Emergency Medicine, Phoenix, 85016, AZ, USA.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus spreading across the world has led to surges of COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations, and death. The complex and multifaceted pathophysiology of life-threatening COVID-19 illness including viral mediated organ damage, cytokine storm, and thrombosis warrants early interventions to address all components of the devastating illness. In countries where therapeutic nihilism is prevalent, patients endure escalating symptoms and without early treatment can succumb to delayed in-hospital care and death. Prompt early initiation of sequenced multidrug therapy (SMDT) is a widely and currently available solution to stem the tide of hospitalizations and death. A multipronged therapeutic approach includes 1) adjuvant nutraceuticals, 2) combination intracellular anti-infective therapy, 3) inhaled/oral corticosteroids, 4) antiplatelet agents/anticoagulants, 5) supportive care including supplemental oxygen, monitoring, and telemedicine. Randomized trials of individual, novel oral therapies have not delivered tools for physicians to combat the pandemic in practice. No single therapeutic option thus far has been entirely effective and therefore a combination is required at this time. An urgent immediate pivot from single drug to SMDT regimens should be employed as a critical strategy to deal with the large numbers of acute COVID-19 patients with the aim of reducing the intensity and duration of symptoms and avoiding hospitalization and death.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.31083/j.rcm.2020.04.264DOI Listing
December 2020

Reply to T. J. A. Dekker, D.-C. Mo et al, and A. Seidman et al.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Jan 17;39(3):254-255. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Cristina Saura, MD, PhD and Mafalda Oliveira, MD, PhD, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), SOLTI Breast Cancer Cooperative Group, Barcelona, Spain; Sung-Bae Kim, MD, PhD, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Thomas Yau, MD, MBBS, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, Toshimi Takano, MD, Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan; and Adam Brufsky, MD, PhD, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02963DOI Listing
January 2021

Dysregulation of the mevalonate pathway during SARS-CoV-2 infection: An in silico study.

J Med Virol 2021 04 29;93(4):2396-2405. Epub 2020 Dec 29.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

SARS-CoV-2 triggers a dysregulated innate immune system activation. As the mevalonate pathway (MVP) prevents the activation of inflammasomes and cytokine release and regulates endosomal transport, compromised signaling could be associated with the pathobiology of COVID-19. Prior transcriptomic studies of host cells in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection have not reported to date the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the MVP. In this study, we accessed public data sets to report in silico investigations into gene expression. In addition, we proposed candidate genes that are thought to have a direct association with the pathogenesis of COVID-19, and which may be dependent on signals derived from the MVP. Our results revealed dysregulation of genes involved in the MVP. These results were not found when investigating the gene expression data from host cells infected with H3N2 influenza virus, H1N1 influenza virus, or respiratory syncytial virus. Our manually curated gene set showed significant gene expression variability in A549 cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, as per Blanco-Melo et al. data set (GSE147507). In light of the present findings, SARS-CoV-2 could hijack the MVP, leading to hyperinflammatory responses. Prompt reconstitution of this pathway with available agents should be considered in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26743DOI Listing
April 2021

Possible Transmission Flow of SARS-CoV-2 Based on ACE2 Features.

Molecules 2020 Dec 13;25(24). Epub 2020 Dec 13.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the cellular receptor for the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that is engendering the severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 binds to the three sub-domains viz. amino acids (aa) 22-42, aa 79-84, and aa 330-393 of ACE2 on human cells to initiate entry. It was reported earlier that the receptor utilization capacity of ACE2 proteins from different species, such as cats, chimpanzees, dogs, and cattle, are different. A comprehensive analysis of ACE2 receptors of nineteen species was carried out in this study, and the findings propose a possible SARS-CoV-2 transmission flow across these nineteen species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/molecules25245906DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763092PMC
December 2020

The structural basis of accelerated host cell entry by SARS-CoV-2†.

FEBS J 2020 Dec 2. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of the pandemic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that exhibits an overwhelming contagious capacity over other human coronaviruses (HCoVs). This structural snapshot describes the structural bases underlying the pandemic capacity of SARS-CoV-2 and explains its fast motion over respiratory epithelia that allow its rapid cellular entry. Based on notable viral spike (S) protein features, we propose that the flat sialic acid-binding domain at the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the S1 subunit leads to more effective first contact and interaction with the sialic acid layer over the epithelium, and this, in turn, allows faster viral 'surfing' of the epithelium and receptor scanning by SARS-CoV-2. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) protein on the epithelial surface is the primary entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2, and protein-protein interaction assays demonstrate high-affinity binding of the spike protein (S protein) to ACE-2. To date, no high-frequency mutations were detected at the C-terminal domain of the S1 subunit in the S protein, where the receptor-binding domain (RBD) is located. Tight binding to ACE-2 by a conserved viral RBD suggests the ACE2-RBD interaction is likely optimal. Moreover, the viral S subunit contains a cleavage site for furin and other proteases, which accelerates cell entry by SARS-CoV-2. The model proposed here describes a structural basis for the accelerated host cell entry by SARS-CoV-2 relative to other HCoVs and also discusses emerging hypotheses that are likely to contribute to the development of antiviral strategies to combat the pandemic capacity of SARS-CoV-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/febs.15651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753708PMC
December 2020

Physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and cognitive function in postmenopausal women with breast cancer.

Support Care Cancer 2020 Nov 19. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Physical activity may improve cognitive function in women with breast cancer. In a cross-sectional study, we explored the relationship between cognitive function and physical activity (actigraph) and cardiorespiratory fitness (sub-maximal graded exercise test) in 73 postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer prior to the initiation of systemic adjuvant therapy. Cognitive function was assessed with a standardized battery of neurocognitive measures assessing eight domains. Data were analyzed using partial correlations, controlling for age and total hours of actigraph wear-time. Women were, on average, 63.71 (± 5.3) years of age with 15.47 (± 2.48) years of education. For physical activity, greater average number of steps per day were associated with better attention (r = .262, p = .032) and psychomotor speed (r = .301, p = .011); greater average hours of moderate and moderate/vigorous intensity physical activity were associated with better visual memory (r = .241, p = .049; r = .241, p = .049, respectively); and greater average daily energy expenditure was associated with better visual memory (r = .270, p = .027) and psychomotor speed (r = .292, p = .017). For fitness, higher peak maximum VO was associated with better concentration (r = .330, p = .006), verbal memory (r = .241, p = .048), and working memory (r = .281, p = .019). These results suggest that higher levels of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with better cognitive function in postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Randomized controlled trials (RCT) to examine whether physical activity improves cognitive function in women with breast cancer are warranted. These RCTs should also determine the mechanisms of the influence of physical activity on cognitive function. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT02793921; Date: May 20, 2016.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05865-4DOI Listing
November 2020

TBCRC 048: Phase II Study of Olaparib for Metastatic Breast Cancer and Mutations in Homologous Recombination-Related Genes.

J Clin Oncol 2020 12 29;38(36):4274-4282. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Purpose: Olaparib, a poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor (PARPi), is approved for the treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in germline (g)/ mutation carriers. Olaparib Expanded, an investigator-initiated, phase II study, assessed olaparib response in patients with MBC with somatic (s)/ mutations or g/s mutations in homologous recombination (HR)-related genes other than 2.

Methods: Eligible patients had MBC with measurable disease and germline mutations in non-/ HR-related genes (cohort 1) or somatic mutations in these genes or / (cohort 2). Prior PARPi, platinum-refractory disease, or progression on more than two chemotherapy regimens (metastatic setting) was not allowed. Patients received olaparib 300 mg orally twice a day until progression. A single-arm, two-stage design was used. The primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR); the null hypothesis (≤ 5% ORR) would be rejected within each cohort if there were four or more responses in 27 patients. Secondary endpoints included clinical benefit rate and progression-free survival (PFS).

Results: Fifty-four patients enrolled. Seventy-six percent had estrogen receptor-positive HER2-negative disease. Eighty-seven percent had mutations in s/, or . In cohort 1, ORR was 33% (90% CI, 19% to 51%) and in cohort 2, 31% (90% CI, 15% to 49%). Confirmed responses were seen only with g (ORR, 82%) and s/ (ORR, 50%) mutations. Median PFS was 13.3 months (90% CI, 12 months to not available/computable [NA]) for g and 6.3 months (90% CI, 4.4 months to NA) for s/ mutation carriers. No responses were observed with or mutations alone.

Conclusion: PARP inhibition is an effective treatment for patients with MBC and g or s/ mutations, significantly expanding the population of patients with breast cancer likely to benefit from PARPi beyond g/ mutation carriers. These results emphasize the value of molecular characterization for treatment decisions in MBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02151DOI Listing
December 2020

Viewpoint: Origin of SARS-CoV-2.

Viruses 2020 10 22;12(11). Epub 2020 Oct 22.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

The origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet been fully determined. Despite the consensus about the SARS-CoV-2 origin from bat CoV RaTG13, discrepancy to host tropism to other human Coronaviruses exist. SARS-CoV-2 also possesses some differences in its S protein receptor-binding domain, glycan-binding N-terminal domain and the surface of the sialic acid-binding domain. Despite similarities based on cryo-EM and biochemical studies, the SARS-CoV-2 shows higher stability and binding affinity to the ACE2 receptor. The SARS-CoV-2 does not appear to present a mutational "hot spot" as only the D614G mutation has been identified from clinical isolates. As laboratory manipulation is highly unlikely for the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the current possibilities comprise either natural selection in animal host before zoonotic transfer or natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer. In the former case, despite SARS-CoV-2 and bat RaTG13 showing 96% identity some pangolin Coronaviruses exhibit very high similarity to particularly the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2. In the latter case, it can be hypothesized that the SARS-CoV-2 genome has adapted during human-to-human transmission and based on available data, the isolated SARS-CoV-2 genomes derive from a common origin. Before the origin of SARS-CoV-2 can be confirmed additional research is required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12111203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7690418PMC
October 2020

Race, Ethnicity, and Clinical Outcomes in Hormone Receptor-Positive, HER2-Negative, Node-Negative Breast Cancer in the Randomized TAILORx Trial.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Apr;113(4):390-399

Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.

Background: Black race is associated with worse outcomes in early breast cancer. We evaluated clinicopathologic characteristics, the 21-gene recurrence score (RS), treatment delivered, and clinical outcomes by race and ethnicity among women who participated in the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment.

Methods: The association between clinical outcomes and race (White, Black, Asian, other or unknown) and ethnicity (Hispanic vs non-Hispanic) was examined using proportional hazards models. All P values are 2-sided.

Results: Of 9719 eligible women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, node-negative breast cancer, there were 8189 (84.3%) Whites, 693 (7.1%) Blacks, 405 (4.2%) Asians, and 432 (4.4%) with other or unknown race. Regarding ethnicity, 889 (9.1%) were Hispanic. There were no substantial differences in RS or ESR1, PGR, or HER2 RNA expression by race or ethnicity. After adjustment for other covariates, compared with White race, Black race was associated with higher distant recurrence rates (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.60, 95% confidence intervals [CI] = 1.07 to 2.41) and worse overall survival in the RS 11-25 cohort (HR = 1.51, 95% CI = 1.06 to 2.15) and entire population (HR = 1.41, 95% CI = 1.05 to 1.90). Hispanic ethnicity and Asian race were associated with better outcomes. There was no evidence of chemotherapy benefit for any racial or ethnic group in those with a RS of 11-25.

Conclusions: Black women had worse clinical outcomes despite similar 21-gene assay RS results and comparable systemic therapy in the Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment. Similar to Whites, Black women did not benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy if the 21-gene RS was 11-25. Further research is required to elucidate the basis for this racial disparity in prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa148DOI Listing
April 2021

Potential interventions for SARS-CoV-2 infections: Zinc showing promise.

J Med Virol 2021 03 5;93(3):1201-1203. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Division of Hematology - Oncology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Magee Women's Hospital, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.26523DOI Listing
March 2021

The Evolving Landscape of HER2-Directed Breast Cancer Therapy.

Curr Treat Options Oncol 2020 Aug 7;21(10):82. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Magee Women's Hospital, Suite 4628, 300 Halket Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213, USA.

Opinion Statement: The management of patients with HER2+ breast cancer has evolved significantly over the preceding decades. HER2 targeting strategies have advanced beyond focusing on the receptor alone to encompass a range of approaches. Current standard of care practices in these patients relies upon dual HER2 blockade with trastuzumab and pertuzumab in the adjuvant and metastatic settings. T-DM1 has proven particularly efficacious in patients with residual disease status post neoadjuvant therapy, with additional therapies approved in the subsequent lines to address recurrent and resistant disease. Advances continue to be made in HER2+ breast cancer with multiple novel agents on the horizon, employing diverse mechanisms of action that are described in this review.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11864-020-00780-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Outcome of Everolimus-Based Therapy in Hormone-Receptor-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients After Progression on Palbociclib.

Breast Cancer (Auckl) 2020 23;14:1178223420944864. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Department of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Background: Despite the approval of mTOR inhibitor everolimus and CDK4/6 inhibitors in the management of hormone-receptor-positive HER2 non-amplified metastatic breast cancer (HR+ HER2-MBC), the optimal sequence of therapy is unclear. There are no clinical data on efficacy of everolimus in HR+ HER2-MBC after cancer progresses on CDK4/6 inhibitors.

Objective: The objective of this study is to find the efficacy of everolimus in HR+ HER2-MBC after they progress on a CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib.

Methods: This is a retrospective, 2-institute review of HR+ HER2-MBC from Jan 2015 to March 2018 treated with everolimus after progression on palbociclib. Primary end point was median progression-free survival (PFS), secondary end points objective response rate (ORR), clinical benefit ratio (CBR), and overall survival (OS).

Results: Out of 41 women with median age 61 years (33, 87) enrolled, 66% had received adjuvant systemic therapy, 61% had visceral disease, and 95% had prior nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors. About 83% women had 3 or more chemotherapy or hormonal therapies prior to everolimus. Kaplan-Meier estimates showed a median PFS of 4.2 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.2-6.2). The median OS was 18.7 months (95% CI 9.5 to not reached). Objective response rate and CBR were both 17.1%.

Conclusion: Everolimus was associated with modest PFS and ORR in HR+ HER2-MBCs postprogression on palbociclib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1178223420944864DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7378710PMC
July 2020

Neratinib Plus Capecitabine Versus Lapatinib Plus Capecitabine in HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Previously Treated With ≥ 2 HER2-Directed Regimens: Phase III NALA Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2020 09 17;38(27):3138-3149. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Graduate School of Medicine, Gunma University, Gunma, Japan.

Purpose: NALA (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01808573) is a randomized, active-controlled, phase III trial comparing neratinib, an irreversible pan-HER tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), plus capecitabine (N+C) against lapatinib, a reversible dual TKI, plus capecitabine (L+C) in patients with centrally confirmed HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer (MBC) with ≥ 2 previous HER2-directed MBC regimens.

Methods: Patients, including those with stable, asymptomatic CNS disease, were randomly assigned 1:1 to neratinib (240 mg once every day) plus capecitabine (750 mg/m twice a day 14 d/21 d) with loperamide prophylaxis, or to lapatinib (1,250 mg once every day) plus capecitabine (1,000 mg/m twice a day 14 d/21 d). Coprimary end points were centrally confirmed progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). NALA was considered positive if either primary end point was met (α split between end points). Secondary end points were time to CNS disease intervention, investigator-assessed PFS, objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DoR), clinical benefit rate, safety, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Results: A total of 621 patients from 28 countries were randomly assigned (N+C, n = 307; L+C, n = 314). Centrally reviewed PFS was improved with N+C (hazard ratio [HR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.93; stratified log-rank 0059). The OS HR was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.72 to 1.07; 2098). Fewer interventions for CNS disease occurred with N+C versus L+C (cumulative incidence, 22.8% 29.2%; 043). ORRs were N+C 32.8% (95% CI, 27.1 to 38.9) and L+C 26.7% (95% CI, 21.5 to 32.4; 1201); median DoR was 8.5 versus 5.6 months, respectively (HR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.74; .0004). The most common all-grade adverse events were diarrhea (N+C 83% L+C 66%) and nausea (53% 42%). Discontinuation rates and HRQoL were similar between groups.

Conclusion: N+C significantly improved PFS and time to intervention for CNS disease versus L+C. No new N+C safety signals were observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.00147DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499616PMC
September 2020

Magee Equations™ and response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in ER+/HER2-negative breast cancer: a multi-institutional study.

Mod Pathol 2021 01 13;34(1):77-84. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

John A. Burns University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI, USA.

Magee Equations™ (ME) are multivariable models that can estimate oncotype DX recurrence score. One of the equations, Magee Equation 3 (ME3) which utilizes only semi-quantitative receptor results has been shown to provide chemopredictive value in the neoadjuvant setting in a single institutional study. This multi-institutional study (seven institutions contributed cases) was undertaken to examine the validity of ME3 in predicting response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in estrogen receptor positive, HER2-negative breast cancers. Stage IV cases were excluded. The primary endpoint was the pathologic complete response (pCR) rate in different categories of ME3 scores calculated based on receptor results in the pre-therapy core biopsy. A total of 166 cases met the inclusion criteria. The patient age ranged from 24 to 83 years (median 53 years). The average pre-therapy tumor size was 3.9 cm, and axillary lymph nodes were confirmed positive by pre-therapy core biopsy in 85 of 166 cases (51%). The pCR rate according to ME3 scores was 0% (0 of 64) in ME3 < 18, 0% (0 of 46) in ME3 18-25, 14% (3 of 21) in ME3 > 25 to <31, and 40% (14 of 35) in ME3 score 31 or higher (p value: <0.0001). There were no distant recurrences and no deaths in the 17 patients with pCR. In the remaining 149 cases with residual disease, ME3 score of >25 was significantly associated with shorter distant recurrence-free survival and showed a trend for shorter breast cancer-specific survival. The results of this multi-institutional study are similar to previously published data from a single institution (PMID: 28548119) and confirm the chemo-predictive value of ME3 in the neoadjuvant setting. In addition, ME3 may provide prognostic information in patients with residual disease which should be further evaluated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-0620-2DOI Listing
January 2021

Leveraging Bayesian networks and information theory to learn risk factors for breast cancer metastasis.

BMC Bioinformatics 2020 Jul 10;21(1):298. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.

Background: Even though we have established a few risk factors for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) through epidemiologic studies, these risk factors have not proven to be effective in predicting an individual's risk of developing metastasis. Therefore, identifying critical risk factors for MBC continues to be a major research imperative, and one which can lead to advances in breast cancer clinical care. The objective of this research is to leverage Bayesian Networks (BN) and information theory to identify key risk factors for breast cancer metastasis from data.

Methods: We develop the Markov Blanket and Interactive risk factor Learner (MBIL) algorithm, which learns single and interactive risk factors having a direct influence on a patient's outcome. We evaluate the effectiveness of MBIL using simulated datasets, and compare MBIL with the BN learning algorithms Fast Greedy Search (FGS), PC algorithm (PC), and CPC algorithm (CPC). We apply MBIL to learn risk factors for 5 year breast cancer metastasis using a clinical dataset we curated. We evaluate the learned risk factors by consulting with breast cancer experts and literature. We further evaluate the effectiveness of MBIL at learning risk factors for breast cancer metastasis by comparing it to the BN learning algorithms Necessary Path Condition (NPC) and Greedy Equivalent Search (GES).

Results: The averages of the Jaccard index for the simulated datasets containing 2000 records were 0.705, 0.272, 0.228, and 0.147 for MBIL, FGS, PC, and CPC respectively. MBIL, NPC, and GES all learned that grade and lymph_nodes_positive are direct risk factors for 5 year metastasis. Only MBIL and NPC found that surgical_margins is a direct risk factor. Only NPC found that invasive is a direct risk factor. MBIL learned that HER2 and ER interact to directly affect 5 year metastasis. Neither GES nor NPC learned that HER2 and ER are direct risk factors.

Discussion: The results involving simulated datasets indicated that MBIL can learn direct risk factors substantially better than standard Bayesian network learning algorithms. An application of MBIL to a real breast cancer dataset identified both single and interactive risk factors that directly influence breast cancer metastasis, which can be investigated further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12859-020-03638-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7350636PMC
July 2020