Publications by authors named "Alain Gelibter"

70 Publications

Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Management: From Molecular Mechanism to Clinical Practice.

Front Oncol 2021 22;11:657639. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

The therapeutic sc"enario of metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) has noticeably increased, ranging from the most studied molecular target therapies to those most recently introduced, up to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). The most recent clinical trials with an ICI-based combination of molecular targeted agents and ICI show how, by restoring an efficient immune response against cancer cells and by establishing an immunological memory, it is possible to obtain not only a better radiological response but also a longer progression-free and overall survival. However, the role of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) remains of fundamental importance, especially in patients who, for clinical characteristics, tumor burden and comorbidity, could have greater benefit from the use of TKIs in monotherapy rather than in combination with other therapies. However, to use these novel options in the best possible way, knowledge is required not only of the data from the large clinical trials but also of the biological mechanisms, molecular pathways, immunological mechanisms, and methodological issues related to both new response criteria and endpoints. In this complex scenario, we review the latest results of the latest clinical trials and provide guidance for overcoming the barriers to decision-making to offer a practical approach to the management of mRCC in daily clinical practice. Moreover, based on recent literature, we discuss the most innovative combination strategies that would allow us to achieve the best clinical therapeutic results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.657639DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8100507PMC
April 2021

Predictive ability of a drug-based score in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer receiving first-line immunotherapy.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Apr 29;150:224-231. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: We previously demonstrated the cumulative poor prognostic role of concomitant medications on the clinical outcome of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, creating and validating a drug-based prognostic score to be calculated before immunotherapy initiation in patients with advanced solid tumours. This 'drug score' was calculated assigning score 1 for each between proton-pump inhibitor and antibiotic administration until a month before cancer therapy initiation and score 2 in case of corticosteroid intake. The good risk group included patients with score 0, intermediate risk with score 1-2 and poor risk with score 3-4.

Methods: Aiming at validating the prognostic and putative predictive ability depending on the anticancer therapy, we performed the present comparative analysis in two cohorts of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), respectively, receiving first-line pembrolizumab or chemotherapy through a random case-control matching and through a pooled multivariable analysis including the interaction between the computed score and the therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy).

Results: Nine hundred fifty and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. After the case-control random matching, 589 patients from the pembrolizumab cohort and 589 from the chemotherapy cohort were paired, with no statistically significant differences between the characteristics of the matched subjects. Among the pembrolizumab-treated group, good, intermediate and poor risk evaluable patients achieved an objective response rate (ORR) of 50.0%, 37.7% and 23.4%, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated group, patients achieved an ORR of 37.0%, 40.0% and 32.4%, respectively (p = 0.4346). The median progression-free survival (PFS) of good, intermediate and poor risk groups was 13.9 months, 6.3 months and 2.8 months, respectively, within the pembrolizumab cohort (p < 0.0001), and 6.2 months, 6.2 months and 4.3 months, respectively, within the chemotherapy cohort (p = 0.0280). Among the pembrolizumab-treated patients, the median overall survival (OS) for good, intermediate and poor risk patients was 31.4 months, 14.5 months and 5.8 months, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated patients, it was 18.3 months, 16.8 months and 10.6 months, respectively (p = 0.0003). A similar trend was reported considering the two entire populations. At the pooled analysis, the interaction term between the score and the therapeutic modality was statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0052), PFS (p = 0.0003) and OS (p < 0.0001), confirming the significantly different effect of the score within the two cohorts.

Conclusion: Our 'drug score' showed a predictive ability with respect to ORR in the immunotherapy cohort only, suggesting it might be a useful tool for identifying patients unlikely to benefit from first-line single-agent pembrolizumab. In addition, the prognostic stratification in terms of PFS and OS was significantly more pronounced among the pembrolizumab-treated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.041DOI Listing
April 2021

Differential influence of antibiotic therapy and other medications on oncological outcomes of patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with first-line pembrolizumab versus cytotoxic chemotherapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Apr;9(4)

Pneumo-Oncology Unit, Ospedali dei Colli Monaldi Cotugno CTO, Napoli, Italy.

Background: Some concomitant medications including antibiotics (ATB) have been reproducibly associated with worse survival following immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in unselected patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (according to programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression and treatment line). Whether such relationship is causative or associative is matter of debate.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to concomitant baseline medications (prior to ICI initiation) with putative immune-modulatory effects in a large cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy. We also evaluated a control cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC treated with first-line chemotherapy. The interaction between key medications and therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) was validated in pooled multivariable analyses.

Results: 950 and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Corticosteroid and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy but not ATB therapy was associated with poorer performance status at baseline in both the cohorts. No association with clinical outcomes was found according to baseline statin, aspirin, β-blocker and metformin within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the multivariable analysis, ATB emerged as a strong predictor of worse overall survival (OS) (HR=1.42 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.79); p=0.0024), and progression free survival (PFS) (HR=1.29 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.59); p=0.0192) in the pembrolizumab but not in the chemotherapy cohort. Corticosteroids were associated with shorter PFS (HR=1.69 (95% CI 1.42 to 2.03); p<0.0001), and OS (HR=1.93 (95% CI 1.59 to 2.35); p<0.0001) following pembrolizumab, and shorter PFS (HR=1.30 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.56), p=0.0046) and OS (HR=1.58 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.94), p<0.0001), following chemotherapy. PPIs were associated with worse OS (HR=1.49 (95% CI 1.26 to 1.77); p<0.0001) with pembrolizumab and shorter OS (HR=1.12 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.24), p=0.0139), with chemotherapy. At the pooled analysis, there was a statistically significant interaction with treatment (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) for corticosteroids (p=0.0020) and PPIs (p=0.0460) with respect to OS, for corticosteroids (p<0.0001), ATB (p=0.0290), and PPIs (p=0.0487) with respect to PFS, and only corticosteroids (p=0.0033) with respect to objective response rate.

Conclusion: In this study, we validate the significant negative impact of ATB on pembrolizumab monotherapy but not chemotherapy outcomes in NSCLC, producing further evidence about their underlying immune-modulatory effect. Even though the magnitude of the impact of corticosteroids and PPIs is significantly different across the cohorts, their effects might be driven by adverse disease features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8031700PMC
April 2021

Systemic effect of radiotherapy before or after nivolumab in lung cancer: an observational, retrospective, multicenter study.

Tumori 2021 Apr 4:3008916211004733. Epub 2021 Apr 4.

Department of Oncology, San Camillo de Lellis Hospital, Rieti, Italy.

Background: The combination of radiotherapy (RT) and programmed death 1 inhibitors seems to increase antitumor immune responses.

Objective: To assess the outcome and the role of the best combination sequence, i.e. immunotherapy given before, during, and/or after RT, in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: We conducted an observational, retrospective analysis of 95 consecutive patients with advanced NSCLC who received any radiotherapy treatment and nivolumab, as clinically indicated. Median overall survival (OS) and the 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox model was used to obtain hazard ratio (HR) and associated 95% CI with statistical inference by log-rank statistic.

Results: Median OS was 11.9 months (95% CI, 6.6-17.2). Patients who received radiotherapy during an immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment started more than 60 days before showed a better outcome than patients who started immunotherapy over 60 days after RT ending (HR, 2.90 [1.37-6.12], = 0.005; median OS, 22.4 months vs 8.6 months, = 0.005). Median progression-free survival was 6.3 months (95% CI, 4.6-8.0).

Conclusions: This study shows that combining irradiation with nivolumab for the treatment of advanced NSCLC leads to improved OS. The optimal time window for the combination of RT and immunotherapy seems to play a critical role for therapeutic antitumor response derived by abscopal effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/03008916211004733DOI Listing
April 2021

The role of opioids in cancer response to immunotherapy.

J Transl Med 2021 03 23;19(1):119. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185, Rome, Italy.

Background: The response to immunotherapy can be impaired by several factors including external intervention such as drug interactions with immune system. We aimed to examine the immunomodulatory action of opioids, since immune cells express opioid receptors able to negatively influence their activities.

Methods: This observational, multicenter, retrospective study, recruited patients with different metastatic solid tumors, who have received immunotherapy between September 2014 and September 2019. Immunotherapy was administered according to the standard schedule approved for each primary tumor and line of treatment. The concomitant intake of antibiotics, antifungals, corticosteroids and opioids were evaluated in all included patients. The relationship between tumor response to immunotherapy and the oncological outcomes were evaluated. A multivariate Cox-proportional hazard model was used to identify independent prognostic factors for survival.

Results: One hundred ninety-three patients were recruited. Overall, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were significantly shorter in those patients taking opioids than in those who didn't (median PFS, 3 months vs. 19 months, HR 1.70, 95% CI 1.37-2.09, p < 0.0001; median OS, 4 months vs. 35 months, HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.26-2.02, p < 0.0001). In addition, PFS and OS were significantly impaired in those patients taking corticosteroids, antibiotics or antifungals, in those patients with an ECOG PS ≥ 1 and in patients with a high tumor burden. Using the multivariate analyses, opioids and ECOG PS were independent prognostic factors for PFS, whereas only ECOG PS resulted to be an independent prognostic factor for OS, with trend toward significance for opioids as well as tumor burden.

Discussion: Our study suggests that the concomitant administration of drugs as well as some clinical features could negatively predict the outcomes of cancer patients receiving immunotherapy. In particular, opioids use during immunotherapy is associated with early progression, potentially representing a predictive factor for PFS and negatively influencing OS as well.

Conclusions: A possible negative drug interaction able to impair the immune response to anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents has been highlighted. Our findings suggest the need to further explore the impact of opioids on immune system modulation and their role in restoring the response to immunotherapy treatment, thereby improving patients' outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02784-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7988927PMC
March 2021

Post-progression outcomes of NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% receiving first-line single-agent pembrolizumab in a large multicentre real-world study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 12;148:24-35. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: Treatment sequencing with first-line immunotherapy, followed by second-line chemotherapy, is still a viable option for NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50%.

Methods: We evaluated post-progression treatment pathways in a large real-world cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% treated with first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy.

Results: Overall, 974 patients were included. With a median follow-up of 22.7 months (95%CI: 21.6-38.2), the median overall survival (OS) of the entire population was 15.8 months (95%CI: 13.5-17.5; 548 events). At the data cutoff, among the 678 patients who experienced disease progression, 379 (55.9%) had not received any further treatment, and 359 patients (52.9%) had died. Patients who did not receive post-progression therapies were older (p = 0.0011), with a worse ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and were on corticosteroids prior to pembrolizumab (p = 0.0024). At disease progression, 198 patients (29.2%) received a switched approach and 101 (14.9%) received pembrolizumab ByPD either alone (64 [9.4%]) or in combination with local ablative treatments (37 [5.5%]) (LATs). After a random-case control matching according to ECOG-PS, CNS metastases, bone metastases, and (previous) best response to pembrolizumab, patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD plus LATs were confirmed to have a significantly longer post-progression OS compared to patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD alone 13.9 months versus 7.8 months (p = 0.0179) 241 patients (35.5%) among the 678 who had experienced PD, received a second-line systemic treatment (regardless of previous treatment beyond PD). As compared to first-line treatment commencement, patients' features at the moment of second-line initiation showed a significantly higher proportion of patients aged under 70 years (p = 0.0244), with a poorer ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and having CNS (p = 0.0001), bone (p = 0.0266) and liver metastases (p = 0.0148).

Conclusions: In the real-world scenario NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% treated with first-line single-agent pembrolizumab achieve worse outcomes as compared to the Keynote-024 trial. Poor post-progression outcomes are major determinants of the global results that should be considered when counselling patients for first-line treatment choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.005DOI Listing
May 2021

Smoking status during first-line immunotherapy and chemotherapy in NSCLC patients: A case-control matched analysis from a large multicenter study.

Thorac Cancer 2021 03 1;12(6):880-889. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Thoracic Oncology Unit, Clinical Cancer Center IRCCS Istituto Tumori "Giovanni Paolo II", Bari, Italy.

Background: Improved outcome in tobacco smoking patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following immunotherapy has previously been reported. However, little is known regarding this association during first-line immunotherapy in patients with high PD-L1 expression. In this study we compared clinical outcomes according to the smoking status of two large multicenter cohorts.

Methods: We compared clinical outcomes according to the smoking status (never smokers vs. current/former smokers) of two retrospective multicenter cohorts of metastatic NSCLC patients, treated with first-line pembrolizumab and platinum-based chemotherapy.

Results: A total of 962 NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% who received first-line pembrolizumab and 462 NSCLC patients who received first-line platinum-based chemotherapy were included in the study. Never smokers were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of disease progression (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.49 [95% CI: 1.15-1.92], p = 0.0022) and death (HR = 1.38 [95% CI: 1.02-1.87], p = 0.0348) within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the contrary, a nonsignificant trend towards a reduced risk of disease progression (HR = 0.74 [95% CI: 0.52-1.05], p = 0.1003) and death (HR = 0.67 [95% CI: 0.45-1.01], p = 0.0593) were reported for never smokers within the chemotherapy cohort. After a random case-control matching, 424 patients from both cohorts were paired. Within the matched pembrolizumab cohort, never smokers had a significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 1.68 [95% CI: 1.17-2.40], p = 0.0045) and a nonsignificant trend towards a shortened overall survival (OS) (HR = 1.32 [95% CI: 0.84-2.07], p = 0.2205). On the contrary, never smokers had a significantly longer PFS (HR = 0.68 [95% CI: 0.49-0.95], p = 0.0255) and OS (HR = 0.66 [95% CI: 0.45-0.97], p = 0,0356) compared to current/former smoker patients within the matched chemotherapy cohort. On pooled multivariable analysis, the interaction term between smoking status and treatment modality was concordantly statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0074), PFS (p = 0.0001) and OS (p = 0.0020), confirming the significantly different impact of smoking status across the two cohorts.

Conclusions: Among metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab, current/former smokers experienced improved PFS and OS. On the contrary, worse outcomes were reported among current/former smokers receiving first-line chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952794PMC
March 2021

Effect of concomitant medications with immune-modulatory properties on the outcomes of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors: development and validation of a novel prognostic index.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 16;142:18-28. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Clinical Oncology Unit, S.S. Annunziata Hospital, Chieti, Italy.

Background: Concomitant medications are known to impact on clinical outcomes of patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). We aimed weighing the role of different concomitant baseline medications to create a drug-based prognostic score.

Methods: We evaluated concomitant baseline medications at immunotherapy initiation for their impact on objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in a single-institution cohort of patients with advanced cancer treated with ICIs (training cohort, N = 217), and a drug-based prognostic score with the drugs resulting significantly impacting the OS was computed. Secondly, we externally validated the score in a large multicenter external cohort (n = 1012).

Results: In the training cohort (n = 217), the median age was 69 years (range: 32-89), and the primary tumours were non-small-cell lung cancer (70%), melanoma (14.7%), renal cell carcinoma (9.2%) and others (6%). Among baseline medications, corticosteroids (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.60-3.30), systemic antibiotics (HR = 2.07; 95% CI: 1.31-3.25) and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) (HR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.13-2.18) were significantly associated with OS. The prognostic score was calculated using these three drug classes, defining good, intermediate and poor prognosis patients. Within the training cohort, OS (p < 0.0001), PFS (p < 0.0001) and ORR (p = 0.0297) were significantly distinguished by the score stratification. The prognostic value of the score was also demonstrated in terms of OS (p < 0.0001), PFS (p < 0.0001) and ORR (p = 0.0006) within the external cohort.

Conclusion: Cumulative exposure to corticosteroids, antibiotics and PPIs (three likely microbiota-modulating drugs) leads to progressively worse outcomes after ICI therapy. We propose a simple score that can help stratifying patients in routine practice and clinical trials of ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.09.033DOI Listing
January 2021

Integrated analysis of concomitant medications and oncological outcomes from PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in clinical practice.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria, Terni, Italy.

Background: Concomitant medications, such as steroids, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and antibiotics, might affect clinical outcomes with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter observational retrospective study aimed at evaluating the impact of concomitant medications on clinical outcomes, by weighing their associations with baseline clinical characteristics (including performance status, burden of disease and body mass index) and the underlying causes for their prescription. This analysis included consecutive stage IV patients with cancer, who underwent treatment with single agent antiprogrammed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) with standard doses and schedules at the medical oncology departments of 20 Italian institutions. Each medication taken at the immunotherapy initiation was screened and collected into key categories as follows: corticosteroids, antibiotics, gastric acid suppressants (including proton pump inhibitors - PPIs), statins and other lipid-lowering agents, aspirin, anticoagulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ACE inhibitors/Angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium antagonists, β-blockers, metformin and other oral antidiabetics, opioids.

Results: From June 2014 to March 2020, 1012 patients were included in the analysis. Primary tumors were: non-small cell lung cancer (52.2%), melanoma (26%), renal cell carcinoma (18.3%) and others (3.6%). Baseline statins (HR 1.60 (95% CI 1.14 to 2.25), p=0.0064), aspirin (HR 1.47 (95% CI 1.04 to 2.08, p=0.0267) and β-blockers (HR 1.76 (95% CI 1.16 to 2.69), p=0.0080) were confirmed to be independently related to an increased objective response rate. Patients receiving cancer-related steroids (HR 1.72 (95% CI 1.43 to 2.07), p<0.0001), prophylactic systemic antibiotics (HR 1.85 (95% CI 1.23 to 2.78), p=0.0030), prophylactic gastric acid suppressants (HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.53), p=0.0021), PPIs (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.48), p=0.0050), anticoagulants (HR 1.43 (95% CI: 1.16 to 1.77), p=0.0007) and opioids (HR 1.71 (95% CI 1.28 to 2.28), p=0.0002) were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of disease progression. Patients receiving cancer-related steroids (HR 2.16 (95% CI 1.76 to 2.65), p<0.0001), prophylactic systemic antibiotics (HR 1.93 (95% CI 1.25 to 2.98), p=0.0030), prophylactic gastric acid suppressants (HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.57), p=0.0091), PPI (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.52), p=0.0172), anticoagulants (HR 1.45 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.84), p=0.0024) and opioids (HR 1.53 (95% CI 1.11 to 2.11), p=0.0098) were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of death.

Conclusion: We confirmed the association between baseline steroids administered for cancer-related indication, systemic antibiotics, PPIs and worse clinical outcomes with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors, which can be assumed to have immune-modulating detrimental effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001361DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646355PMC
November 2020

Baseline BMI and BMI variation during first line pembrolizumab in NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%: a multicenter study with external validation.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Medical Oncology Unit, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Roma, Lazio, Italy.

Background: The association between obesity and outcomes in patients receiving programmed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors has already been confirmed in pre-treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, regardless of PD-L1 tumor expression.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to baseline body mass index (BMI) and BMI variation in a large cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first line pembrolizumab. We also evaluated a control cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients treated with first line platinum-based chemotherapy. Normal weight was set as control group.

Results: 962 patients and 426 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Obese patients had a significantly higher objective response rate (ORR) (OR=1.61 (95% CI: 1.04-2.50)) in the pembrolizumab cohort, while overweight patients had a significantly lower ORR (OR=0.59 (95% CI: 0.37-0.92)) within the chemotherapy cohort. Obese patients had a significantly longer progression-free survival (PFS) (HR=0.61 (95% CI: 0.45-0.82)) in the pembrolizumab cohort. Conversely, they had a significantly shorter PFS in the chemotherapy cohort (HR=1.27 (95% CI: 1.01-1.60)). Obese patients had a significantly longer overall survival (OS) within the pembrolizumab cohort (HR=0.70 (95% CI: 0.49-0.99)), while no significant differences according to baseline BMI were found in the chemotherapy cohort. BMI variation significantly affected ORR, PFS and OS in both the pembrolizumab and the chemotherapy cohorts.

Conclusions: Baseline obesity is associated to significantly improved ORR, PFS and OS in metastatic NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression of ≥50%, receiving first line pembrolizumab, but not among patients treated with chemotherapy. BMI variation is also significantly related to clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7574933PMC
October 2020

Exploratory Pilot Study of Circulating Biomarkers in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 14;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Cell Therapy, Department of Experimental Medicine, Policlinico Umberto I, "Sapienza" University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy.

With the introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and next-generation vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (VEGFR-TKIs), the survival of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has improved remarkably. However, not all patients have benefited from treatments, and to date, there are still no validated biomarkers that can be included in the therapeutic algorithm. Thus, the identification of predictive biomarkers is necessary to increase the number of responsive patients and to understand the underlying immunity. The clinical outcome of RCC patients is, in fact, associated with immune response. In this exploratory pilot study, we assessed the immune effect of TKI therapy in order to evaluate the immune status of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) patients so that we could define a combination of immunological biomarkers relevant to improving patient outcomes. We profiled the circulating levels in 20 mRCC patients of exhausted/activated/regulatory T cell subsets through flow cytometry and of 14 immune checkpoint-related proteins and 20 inflammation cytokines/chemokines using multiplex Luminex assay, both at baseline and during TKI therapy. We identified the CD3CD8CD137 and CD3CD137PD1 T cell populations, as well as seven soluble immune molecules (i.e., IFNγ, sPDL2, sHVEM, sPD1, sGITR, sPDL1, and sCTLA4) associated with the clinical responses of mRCC patients, either modulated by TKI therapy or not. These results suggest an immunological profile of mRCC patients, which will help to improve clinical decision-making for RCC patients in terms of the best combination of strategies, as well as the optimal timing and therapeutic sequence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563741PMC
September 2020

Efficacy and Tolerability of Selective Internal Radiotherapy With Yttrium-90 as Consolidation Treatment After Chemotherapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2020 12 30;19(4):e272-e276. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Santa Maria Goretti General Hospital, Latina, Italy.

Background: Selective internal radiotherapy (SIRT) with yttrium-90 (Y-90)-labeled resin microspheres may have a role in consolidating the response to chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer unamenable to resection after assessment of the best response to first-line chemotherapy.

Patients And Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of outcomes in patients who had received SIRT as consolidation therapy after one or more lines of chemotherapy. Eligible patients were 18 years or older, had confirmed colorectal liver metastases, and had disease unsuitable for surgical resection or local ablation with curative intent. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival.

Results: Sixty-eight patients with colorectal liver metastases were treated with at least one SIRT procedure after receiving one or more lines of chemotherapy. Median progression-free survival was significantly longer in patients who received SIRT after prior first-line chemotherapy compared to those who received SIRT after two or more lines of chemotherapy (9 vs. 3 months, respectively; hazard ratio = 0.07; 95% confidence interval, 0.02854‒0.2039; P < .001), and in patients with liver-only disease compared to those who had extrahepatic metastases (6.4 vs. 4.1 months, respectively; hazard ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.95; P = .0318). There were no grade 3 or higher adverse events.

Conclusion: SIRT represents a valid option for the treatment of colorectal liver metastases. Earlier use of SIRT may provide a greater survival benefit compared to that afforded by the procedure when used in salvage settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2020.06.008DOI Listing
December 2020

Efficacy of immunotherapy in lung cancer with co-occurring mutations in NOTCH and homologous repair genes.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 08;8(2)

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) provide significant survival benefits in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Nevertheless, while some patients obtain a prolonged benefit, a non-negligible fraction of patients experiences an ultrarapid disease progression. Identifying specific molecular backgrounds predicting opposite outcomes is instrumental to optimize the use of these agents in clinical practice.

Methods: We carried out an observational study with prospective design envisioning targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) with an approved assay in 55 patients with metastatic NSCLC (Rome cohort), of whom 35 were treated with ICIs. Data from three clinically comparable datasets were collected and combined into a metadataset containing 779 patients. The datasets were related to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) cohort (tissue-based NGS) and the randomized phase II and III POPLAR and OAK trials (blood-based NGS).

Results: In patients treated with ICIs in the Rome cohort, co-occurring mutations in NOTCH1-3 and homologous repair (HR) genes were associated with durable clinical benefit. Using the MSKCC/POPLAR/OAK metadaset, we confirmed the relationship between the NOTCH/HR signature and longer progression-free survival (PFS) in ICI-treated patients (multivariate Cox: HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.76, p=0.001). The NOTCH/HR genomic predictor was also associated with longer survival (log-rank p=0.008), despite patients whose tumors carried the NOTCH/HR signature had higher metastatic burden as compared with their negative counterpart. Finally, we observed that this genomic predictor was also associated with longer survival in patients with other tumor types treated with ICIs (n=1311, log-rank p=0.002).

Conclusions: Co-occurring mutations in the NOTCH and HR pathways are associated with increased efficacy of immunotherapy in advanced NSCLC. This genomic predictor deserves further investigation to fully assess its potential in informing therapeutic decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-000946DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7409965PMC
August 2020

Immune-related Adverse Events of Pembrolizumab in a Large Real-world Cohort of Patients With NSCLC With a PD-L1 Expression ≥ 50% and Their Relationship With Clinical Outcomes.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 11 21;21(6):498-508.e2. Epub 2020 Jun 21.

Department of Oncology, Macerata Hospital, Macerata, Italy.

Background: The role of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), as a surrogate predictor of the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, has not yet been described in the setting of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung-cancer (NSCLC) with a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Patients And Methods: We previously conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis in patients with treatment-naive metastatic NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab. Here, we report the results of the irAE analysis and the potential correlation between irAEs and clinical outcomes.

Results: A total of 1010 patients were included in this analysis; after a 6-week landmark selection, 877 (86.8%) patients were included in the efficacy analysis. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), grade 3/4 irAEs (P = .0025), leading to discontinuation irAEs (P = .0144), multiple-site and single-site irAEs (P < .0001), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0001), endocrine irAEs (P = .0227), pulmonary irAEs (P = .0479), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0018) were significantly related to a higher objective response rate. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0005), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0042), endocrine irAEs (P < .0001), gastrointestinal irAEs (P = .0391), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0086) were significantly related to progression-free survival. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0003), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0002), endocrine irAEs (P = .0001), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0214) were significantly related to overall survival.

Conclusions: This study confirms the feasibility and the safety of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab, in a large, real-world cohort of patients with NSCLC with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%. The occurrence of irAEs may be a surrogate of clinical activity and improved outcomes in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.06.010DOI Listing
November 2020

Clinicopathologic correlates of first-line pembrolizumab effectiveness in patients with advanced NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2020 Nov 30;69(11):2209-2221. Epub 2020 May 30.

Medical Oncology, F. Spaziani Hospital, Frosinone, Italy.

Background: Single-agent pembrolizumab represents the standard first-line option for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter retrospective study aimed at evaluating the clinicopathologic correlates of pembrolizumab effectiveness in patients with treatment-naïve NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50%.

Results: One thousand and twenty-six consecutive patients were included. The objective response rate (ORR) was 44.5% (95% CI 40.2-49.1), while the median progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 7.9 months (95% CI 6.9-9.5; 599 events) and 17.2 months (95% CI 15.3-22.3; 598 censored patients), respectively. ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (p < 0.0001) and bone metastases (p = 0.0003) were confirmed to be independent predictors of a worse ORR. Former smokers (p = 0.0002), but not current smokers (p = 0.0532) were confirmed to have a significantly prolonged PFS compared to never smokers at multivariate analysis. ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001), bone metastases (p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (p < 0.0001) were also confirmed to be independent predictors of a worse PFS. Previous palliative RT was significantly related to a shortened OS (p = 0.0104), while previous non-palliative RT was significantly related to a prolonged OS (p = 0.0033). Former smokers (p = 0.0131), but not current smokers (p = 0.3433) were confirmed to have a significantly prolonged OS compared to never smokers. ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001), bone metastases (p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (p < 0.0001) were also confirmed to be independent predictors of a shortened OS. A PD-L1 expression of ≥ 90%, as assessed by recursive partitioning, was associated with significantly higher ORR (p = 0.0204), and longer and OS (p = 0.0346) at multivariable analysis.

Conclusion: Pembrolizumab was effective in a large cohort of NSCLC patients treated outside of clinical trials. Questions regarding the effectiveness in clinical subgroups, such as patients with poorer PS and with liver/bone metastases, still remain to be addressed. We confirmed that the absence of tobacco exposure, and the presence of bone and liver metastasis are associated with worse clinical outcomes to pembrolizumab. Increasing levels of PD-L1 expression may help identifying a subset of patients who derive a greater benefit from pembrolizumab monotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02613-9DOI Listing
November 2020

The Agnostic Role of Site of Metastasis in Predicting Outcomes in Cancer Patients Treated with Immunotherapy.

Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Apr 28;8(2). Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Clinical and molecular oncology, University of Rome "Sapienza", 00185 Rome, Italy.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized treatment and outcome of melanoma and many other solid malignancies including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Unfortunately, only a minority of patients have a long-term benefit, while the remaining demonstrate primary or acquired resistance. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the prevalence of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) varies based on the anatomical site of metastases. In particular, liver seems to have more immunosuppressive microenvironment while both the presence of lymph nodal disease and lung metastases seem to have the highest prevalence of PD-L1 and TILs. The aim of the present study is to investigate the possible role of site of metastases as a predictive factor for response or resistance to immunotherapy in several types of cancer. In this multicenter retrospective study, we enrolled patients with metastatic NSCLC, melanoma, RCC, urothelial, merkel carcinoma, and colon cancer who received immunotherapy from April 2015 to August 2019. Major clinicopathological parameters were retrieved and correlated with patients' survival outcomes in order to assess their prognostic value and build a useful tool to assist in the decision-making process. A total of 291 patients were included in this study. One hundred eighty-seven (64%) patients were male and 104 (36%) female. The tumor histology was squamous NSCLC in 56 (19%) patients, non-squamous NSCLC in 99 (34%) patients, melanoma in 101 (35%) patients, RCC in 28 (10%) patients, and other tumors in the remaining 7 (2%) patients. The number of metastatic sites was 1 in 103 patients (35%), 2 in 104 patients (36%) and 3 in 84 patients (29%). Out of 183 valuable patients, the entity of response was complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD), and progression disease (PD) in 15, 53, 31, and 79 patients, respectively. Using an univariate analysis (UVA), tumor burden ( = 0.0004), the presence of liver ( = 0.0009), bone ( = 0.0016), brain metastases ( < 0.0001), the other metastatic sites ( = 0.0375), the number of metastatic sites ( = 0.0039), the histology ( = 0.0034), the upfront use of immunotherapy ( = 0.0032), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Perfomance status (PS) ≥ 1 ( < 0.0001) were significantly associated with poor overall survival (OS). Using a multivariate analysis (MVA) the presence of liver ( = 0.0105) and brain ( = 0.0026) metastases, the NSCLC diagnosis ( < 0.0001) and the ECOG PS ( < 0.0001) resulted as significant prognostic factors of survival. Regarding the progression free survival (PFS), using a UVA of the tumor burden ( = 0.0004), bone ( = 0.0098) and brain ( = 0.0038) metastases, the presence of other metastatic sites ( = 0.0063), the number of metastatic sites ( = 0.0007), the histology ( = 0.0007), the use of immunotherapy as first line ( = 0.0031), and the ECOG PS ≥ 1 ( ≤ 0.0001) were associated with a lower PFS rate. Using an MVA, the presence of brain ( = 0.0088) and liver metastases ( = 0.024) and the ECOG PS ( < 0.0001) resulted as predictors of poor PFS. Our study suggests that the site of metastases could have a role as prognostic and predictive factor in patients treated with immunotherapy. Indeed, regardless of the histology, the presence of liver and brain metastases was associated with a shorter PFS and OS, but these results must be confirmed in further studies. In this context, a deep characterization of microenvironment could be crucial to prepare patients through novel strategies with combination or sequential immunotherapy in order to improve treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349154PMC
April 2020

Status of correlation between BMI and response to immunocheck-point inhibitor in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Manag 2020 Feb 25;9(2):LMT26. Epub 2020 Feb 25.

Medical Oncology Unit, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/lmt-2019-0016DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186849PMC
February 2020

Another side of the association between body mass index (BMI) and clinical outcomes of cancer patients receiving programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/ Programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors: A multicentre analysis of immune-related adverse events.

Eur J Cancer 2020 03 5;128:17-26. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS Fondazione "G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.

Background: Several studies have found an association between higher body mass index (BMI) and improved clinical outcomes in cancer patients receiving programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors. In a previous study, we found that overweight/obese patients were significantly more likely to experience any grade immune-related adverse events (irAEs) compared to non-overweight patients.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a 'real-life', multi centre, retrospective observational study aimed at comparing the incidence of irAEs among cancer patients treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors according to baseline BMI.

Results: One thousand and seventy advanced cancer patients were evaluated. The median age was 68 years (range: 21-92), male/female ratio was 724/346. Primary tumours were: non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) (653 patients), melanoma (233 patients), renal cell carcinoma (RCC) (152 patients) and others (29 patients). Median BMI was 25 (13.6-46.6); according to World Health Organisation (WHO) classification, 44 patients (4.1%) were defined as underweight, 480 patients (44.9%) as having a normal weight, 416 patients (38.9%) as overweight and 130 patients (12.1%) as obese. Higher BMI was significantly related to higher occurrence of any grade immune-related adverse events [irAEs] (p < 0.0001), G3/G4 irAEs (p < 0.0001) and irAEs leading to discontinuation (LTD) (p < 0.0001). Overweight and obesity were confirmed predictors for irAEs of any grade at both univariate and multivariate analysis. The adjusted odds ratios (ORs) (compared to normal-weight) were 10.6; 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 7.5-14.9 for overweight, and 16.6 (95%CI: 10.3-26.7) for obese patients. Obesity was the only factor significantly related to a higher incidence of G3/G4 irAEs (OR = 11.9 [95%CI: 6.4-22.3], p < 0.0001) and LTD irAEs (OR = 8.8 [95%CI: 4.3-18.2], p < 0.0001). Overweight and obese patients experienced a significantly higher occurrence of cutaneous, endocrine, gastro-intestinal (GI), hepatic and 'others' irAEs, compared to normal-weight patients. Only obese patients experienced a significantly higher occurrence of pulmonary and rheumatic irAEs, compared to normal-weight patients.

Conclusions: Considering the previously evidenced association between higher BMI and better outcome, the current finding about the relationship between BMI and irAEs occurrence can contribute to consideration of these findings as the upside of the downside, which underlies an 'immunogenic phenotype'.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2019.12.031DOI Listing
March 2020

Prognostic clinical factors in patients affected by non-small-cell lung cancer receiving Nivolumab.

Expert Opin Biol Ther 2020 03 6;20(3):319-326. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Unit of Oncology 2, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy.

: Immune-checkpoint inhibitors have radically changed the treatment landscape of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). It is still unclear whether specific clinical characteristics might identify those patients benefiting from immunotherapy more than others. The aim of this study was to identify clinical characteristics associated with disease-specific survival (DSS), time-to-treatment failure (TTF), objective responses (OR) and progressive disease (PD) in NSCLC patients treated with Nivolumab.: This was a multicenter retrospective study conducted on 294 patients treated with Nivolumab for advanced NSCLC.: Of the more than 50 variables analyzed, five showed a significant correlation with DSS: ECOG PS, size of the biggest brain metastasis, number of metastatic sites, toxicity, and malignant pleural effusion. Three variables significantly correlated with TTF: malignant pleural effusion, number of metastatic sites, number of liver metastases. Malignant pleural effusion was the only variable showing a significant correlation with OR, as well as the only one correlating with all the endpoints of the study.: This study identified clinical characteristics associated with survival and response during treatment with Nivolumab in NSCLC patients. The unfavorable association between malignant pleural effusion and objective response is a novel finding with important translational implications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14712598.2020.1724953DOI Listing
March 2020

Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR), Platelet-to-Lymphocyte Ratio (PLR), and Outcomes with Nivolumab in Pretreated Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): A Large Retrospective Multicenter Study.

Adv Ther 2020 03 30;37(3):1145-1155. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: Immune checkpoint inhibitors have provided substantial benefit in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with unprecedented results in terms of survival. However, the identification of reliable predictive biomarkers to these agents is lacking and multiple clinicopathological factors have been evaluated. The aim of this study was to analyze the potential role of neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels in patients with pretreated NSCLC receiving nivolumab.

Methods: This was a retrospective multicenter study involving 14 Italian centers, evaluating the role of some laboratory results in patients with NSCLC treated with nivolumab in the second or later lines of therapy for at least four doses and with a disease re-staging.

Results: A total of 187 patients with available pretreatment laboratory results were included. NLR levels below 5 were associated with an improvement in terms of both progression-free survival (PFS) (p = 0.028) and overall survival (OS) (p = 0.001), but not in terms of overall response rate (ORR) or disease control rate (DCR). Moreover, PLR levels below 200 were associated with longer PFS (p = 0.0267) and OS (p = 0.05), as well as higher ORR (p = 0.04) and DCR (p = 0.001). In contrast, LDH levels above the upper normal limit (UNL) were not associated with significant impact on patient outcomes.

Conclusions: Patients with pretreated NSCLC and high pretreatment levels of NLR and PLR may experience inferior outcomes with nivolumab. Therefore, in this subgroup of patients with poor prognosis the use of alternative therapeutic strategies may be a valuable option, especially in programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-negative patients and/or in the presence of other additional poor prognostic factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-020-01229-wDOI Listing
March 2020

Evaluating the role of FAMIly history of cancer and diagnosis of multiple neoplasms in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: the multicenter FAMI-L1 study.

Oncoimmunology 2020 7;9(1):1710389. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Medical Oncology Unit, University Hospital of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

: We investigate the role of family history of cancer (FHC) and diagnosis of metachronous and/or synchronous multiple neoplasms (MN), during anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. : This was a multicenter retrospective study of advanced cancer patients treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. FHC was collected in lineal and collateral lines, and patients were categorized as follows: FHC-high (in case of cancer diagnoses in both the lineal and collateral family lines), FHC-low (in case of cancer diagnoses in only one family line), and FHC-negative. Patients were also categorized according to the diagnosis of MN as follows: MN-high (>2 malignancies), MN-low (two malignancies), and MN-negative. Objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and incidence of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) of any grade were evaluated. : 822 consecutive patients were evaluated. 458 patients (55.7%) were FHC-negative, 289 (35.2%) were FHC-low, and 75 (9.1%) FHC-high, respectively. 29 (3.5%) had a diagnosis of synchronous MN and 94 (11.4%) of metachronous MN. 108 (13.2%) and 15 (1.8%) patients were MN-low and MN-high, respectively. The median follow-up was 15.6 months. No significant differences were found regarding ORR among subgroups. FHC-high patients had a significantly longer PFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.69 [95% CI: 0.48-0.97], = .0379) and OS (HR = 0.61 [95% CI: 0.39-0.93], = .0210), when compared to FHC-negative patients. FHC-high was confirmed as an independent predictor for PFS and OS at multivariate analysis. No significant differences were found according to MN categories. FHC-high patients had a significantly higher incidence of irAEs of any grade, compared to FHC-negative patients ( = .0012). : FHC-high patients seem to benefit more than FHC-negative patients from anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2019.1710389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959456PMC
January 2020

Impact of BMI on HER2+ metastatic breast cancer patients treated with pertuzumab and/or trastuzumab emtansine. Real-world evidence.

J Cell Physiol 2020 11 15;235(11):7900-7910. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Medical Oncology Unit, Belcolle Hospital, Viterbo, Italy.

Body mass index (BMI) is a main indicator of obesity and its association with breast cancer is well established. However, little is known in the metastatic setting, especially in HER2-positive patients. We assessed the influence of BMI on clinical outcomes of patients treated with pertuzumab and/or trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer (mBC). BMI was addressed as a categorical variable, being classified on the basis of the following ranges, that is, 18.5-24.9, 25-29.9, and 30.0-34.9, namely, normal weight, overweight, and Class I obesity. The outcomes chosen were progression-free survival to first-line chemotherapy (PFS1) and overall survival (OS). Overall (N = 709), no impact of BMI was observed on PFS1 (p = .15), while BMI ≥ 30 was associated with worse OS (p = .003). In subjects who progressed to first line (N = 575), analyzing data across PFS1 quartiles and strata of disease burden, BMI predicted lower PFS1 in patients within the I PFS1 quartile and with the lowest disease burden (p = .001). Univariate analysis showed a detrimental effect of BMI ≥ 30 on OS for women within the I PFS1 quartile (p = .03). Results were confirmed in multivariate analysis. According to PFS1 quartiles a higher percentage of patients with high BMI and low disease burden progressed within 6 months of therapy. The effect of BMI on prognosis was also confirmed in multivariate analysis of OS for overall population. In our cohort, a BMI ≥ 30 correlated with worse OS in patients with HER2+ mBC who received pertuzumab and/or T-DM1 but had no impact on PFS to first line. BMI predicted worse I PFS1 quartile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29445DOI Listing
November 2020

[Immunotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer patients: back to the future.]

Recenti Prog Med 2019 12;110(12):587-593

Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Sant'Andrea, Roma - Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Policlinico Umberto I, Roma.

With the advent of immunotherapy, the life expectancy of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is dramatically improved. As described in the most recent clinical trials, the addition of immunotherapy to the available therapeutic strategies, restoring an efficient immune response against neoplasms and establishing an immunological memory, is able to improve both patient's survival and quality of life. This paved the way for new therapeutic algorithms, new combination strategies, as well as the possible use of adoptive immunotherapy. Although the use of immunotherapy is now widely employed in the different phases of lung cancer, we have not yet fully understood what are both the actual mechanisms of action and resistance to checkpoint inhibitors, predictive factors of response, immuno-related response criteria, and interferences between immunotherapy and tumor microenvironment, as well as angiogenesis and its interactions with conventional therapies, such as chemotherapy. The objective of this critical review is to frame the relevant results obtained with immunotherapy in NSCLC, providing insights to help overcome decision-making for a better therapeutic choice. In addition, returning to the study of pulmonary physiology and preclinical data, we will address the new issues on the heterogeneity of response to anti-PD1/anti-PD-L1, including their combinations, in NSCLC. Moreover, to date, we are facing with patterns of response different from those previously seen with cytotoxic or target therapies. Indeed, different radiological evaluation criteria have been proposed to evaluate response to immunotherapy and further efforts are needed to identify a unique system of evaluation and other than PDL1 biomarkers, to integrate radiology in the assessment of response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1701/3278.32517DOI Listing
December 2019

'Immune checkpoint inhibitor-induced inflammatory arthritis persists after immunotherapy cessation' by Braaten : another point of view.

Ann Rheum Dis 2020 Jan 6. Epub 2020 Jan 6.

Arthritis Center, Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche Internistiche, Anestesiologiche e Cardiovascolari, Sapienza Università di Roma, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-216867DOI Listing
January 2020

Real-World Data on Cabozantinib in Previously Treated Patients with Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Focus on Sequences and Prognostic Factors.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Dec 30;12(1). Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Urologic Oncology, Champalimaud Clinical Center, 1400-038 Lisbon, Portugal.

Cabozantinib is approved for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, prognostic factors are still lacking in this context. The aim of this study was to evaluate prognostic factors in RCC patients treated with second- or third-line cabozantinib. A multicenter retrospective real-world study was conducted, involving 32 worldwide centers. A total of 237 patients with histologically confirmed clear-cell and non-clear-cell RCC who received cabozantinib as second- or third-line therapy for metastatic disease were included. We analyzed overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS) and time-to-strategy failure (TTSF) using Kaplan-Meier curves. Cox proportional models were used at univariate and multivariate analyses.The median PFS and OS of cabozantinib were 7.76 months (95% CI 6.51-10.88) and 11.57 months (95% CI 10.90-not reached (NR)) as second-line and 11.38 months (95% CI 5.79-NR) and NR (95% CI 11.51-NR) as third-line therapy. The median TTSF and OS were 11.57 and 15.52 months with the sequence of cabozantinib-nivolumab and 25.64 months and NR with nivolumab-cabozantinib, respectively. The difference between these two sequences was statistically significant only in good-risk patients. In the second-line setting, hemoglobin (Hb) levels (HR= 2.39; 95% CI 1.24-4.60, = 0.009) and IMDC (International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium) group (HR = 1.72, 95% CI 1.04-2.87, = 0.037) were associated with PFS while ECOG-PS (HR = 2.33; 95%CI, 1.16-4.69, = 0.018) and Hb levels (HR = 3.12; 95%CI 1.18-8.26, = 0.023) correlated with OS at multivariate analysis, while in the third-line setting, only Hb levels (HR = 2.72; 95%CI 1.04-7.09, = 0.042) were associated with OS. Results are limited by the retrospective nature of the study.This real-world study provides evidence on the presence of prognostic factors in RCC patients receiving cabozantinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12010084DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7016527PMC
December 2019

Be-TeaM: An Italian real-world observational study on second-line therapy for EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients.

Lung Cancer 2020 02 16;140:71-79. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Viale Cappuccini, 1, 71013, San Giovanni Rotondo, FG, Italy. Electronic address:

Objectives: Molecular diagnostics and care of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are continuously evolving. Few data document the current strategies to manage advanced NSCLC patients beyond progression in clinical practice.

Patients And Methods: Be-TeaM is an Italian multi-center observational study conducted on consecutive EGFR-mutated stage IV NSCLC patients, progressed during/after a first-line EGFR-TKI. It consists of a retrospective phase, from first-line EGFR-TKI therapy start until study entry (i.e. beginning of the diagnostic process), and a prospective phase, until treatment choice or for 3 months if no therapy was prescribed. Primary objective was to describe the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches adopted after progression in a real-world setting.

Results: Of 308 patients enrolled in 63 centers from July 2017 to June 2018, 289 were included in the analysis. In first line, 53.3 % received gefitinib, 32.5 % afatinib and 14.2 % erlotinib. The testing rate (i.e. rate of all patients undergone any biopsy -liquid and/or tissue- for the T790 M detection) was 90.7 %, with liquid biopsy being the most frequently executed. Of 262 biopsied patients, 64.5 % underwent only 1 liquid biopsy, 10.7 % only 1 tissue biopsy and 18.3 % >1 biopsy, both liquid and solid in 85.4 %. The T790M positivity rate was 45.3 %; of 166 patients undergone only a liquid biopsy and tested for the mutation, 39.8 % were T790M+ and 60.2 % T790M-/undetermined. By the observation end, 87.9 % patients had a post-progression treatment chosen, osimertinib being the most frequent among the T790M+.

Conclusion: Be-TeaM provides the first snapshot of current practices for the management of NSCLC patients beyond progression in Italy; in clinical practice, assessing the T790M status is not always feasible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2019.12.006DOI Listing
February 2020

Thyroid disorders in programmed death 1 inhibitor-treated patients: Is previous therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors a predisposing factor?

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2020 03 1;92(3):258-265. Epub 2020 Jan 1.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Background: Programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitors are frequently associated with thyroid-related adverse events (TAEs), but many aspects remain unclear. This study aims to evaluate the incidence and characteristics of such events and to find any predictive factor for its development.

Methods: We retrospectively analysed data from patients with advanced solid tumours (non-small-cell lung carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, metastatic melanoma) treated with PD-1 inhibitors (nivolumab, pembrolizumab) in Oncology Unit B, Policlinico Umberto I of Rome, from June 2015 to December 2018. All patients underwent baseline thyroid function evaluations repeated monthly.

Results: The cohort consisted of 126 patients (66.7% male, mean age 66.4 ± 9.7 years). One hundred and seven received nivolumab and 19 pembrolizumab. Twenty-three per cent of patients experienced TAEs (mainly CTCAE grade 1), with hypothyroidism in 15.1% (subclinical: 11.9%, overt: 3.2%) and hyperthyroidism in 8.0% (subclinical: 4.8%, overt: 3.2%). Median time to TAE onset was 8.7 ± 6.8 weeks (10.4 ± 7.6 weeks for hypothyroidism, 5.4 ± 3.0 weeks for hyperthyroidism). Most TAEs (89.7%) appeared within the first 3 months, none after 8 months. Most hypothyroid patients (63.2%) had previously been treated with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). Logistic regression analysis showed that pretreatment with a TKI was a major predisposing factor for the development of hypothyroidism (OR 9.2, 95% CI: 1.4-59.9, P = .020).

Conclusions: TAEs are common during anti-PD-1 therapy and usually occur within the first 3 months of treatment. This is the first study evaluating the impact of previous oncologic therapies on TAEs, identifying TKI as a major risk factor for the development of hypothyroidism in patients treated with anti-PD-1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cen.14135DOI Listing
March 2020

Bone metastases and immunotherapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

J Immunother Cancer 2019 11 21;7(1):316. Epub 2019 Nov 21.

Department of Oncology and Hematology, AUSL Romagna, Ravenna, Italy.

Background: Bone metastases (BoM) are a negative prognostic factor in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Beyond its supportive role, bone is a hematopoietic organ actively regulating immune system. We hypothesized that BoM may influence sensitivity to immunotherapy.

Methods: Pretreated non-squamous (cohort A) and squamous (cohort B) NSCLCs included in the Italian Expanded Access Program were evaluated for nivolumab efficacy according to BoM.

Results: Cohort A accounted for 1588 patients with non-squamous NSCLC, including 626 (39%) with (BoM+) and 962 (61%) without BoM (BoM-). Cohort B accounted for 371 patients with squamous histology including 120 BoM+ (32%) and 251 (68%) BoM- cases. BoM+ had lower overall response rate (ORR; Cohort A: 12% versus 23%, p <  0.0001; Cohort B: 13% versus 22%, p = 0.04), shorter progression free survival (PFS; Cohort A: 3.0 versus 4.0 months, p <  0.0001; Cohort B: 2.7 versus 5.2 months, p <  0.0001) and overall survival (OS; Cohort A: 7.4 versus 15.3 months, p <  0.0001; Cohort B: 5.0 versus 10.9 months, p < 0.0001). Moreover, BoM negatively affected outcome irrespective of performance status (PS; OS in both cohorts: p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (OS cohort A: p < 0.0001; OS Cohort B: p = 0.48). At multivariate analysis, BoM independently associated with higher risk of death (cohort A: HR 1.50; cohort B: HR 1.78).

Conclusions: BoM impairs immunotherapy efficacy. Accurate bone staging should be included in clinical trials with immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0793-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6868703PMC
November 2019

Early fatigue in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: an insight from clinical practice.

J Transl Med 2019 11 15;17(1):376. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS Fondazione "G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.

Background: Fatigue was reported as the most common any-grade adverse event (18.3%), and the most common grade 3 or higher immune-related adverse event (irAE) (0.89%) in patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in clinical trial.

Methods: The aim of this retrospective multicenter study was to evaluate the correlations between "early ir-fatigue", "delayed ir-fatigue", and clinical outcomes in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in clinical practice.

Results: 517 patients were evaluated. After the 12-weeks landmark selection, 386 (74.7%) patients were eligible for the clinical outcomes analysis. 40.4% were NSCLC, 42.2% were melanoma, 15.3% renal cell carcinoma and 2.1% other malignancies. 76 patients (19.7%) experienced early ir-fatigue (within 1 month from treatment commencement), while 150 patients (38.9%) experienced delayed ir-fatigue. Early ir-fatigue was significantly related to shortened PFS (HR = 2.29 [95% CI 1.62-3.22], p < 0.0001) and OS (HR = 2.32 [95% CI 1.59-3.38], p < 0.0001) at the multivariate analysis. On the other hand, we found a significant association between the occurrence of early ir-fatigue, ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (p < 0.0001), and disease burden (p = 0.0003). Delayed ir-fatigue was not significantly related to PFS nor OS.

Conclusions: Early ir-fatigue seems to be negative prognostic parameter, but to proper weight its role we must to consider the predominant role of performance status, which was related to early ir-fatigue in the study population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-019-02132-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6857130PMC
November 2019

Women With Synchronous or Metachronous Lung and Ovarian Cancer: A Multi-Institutional Report.

In Vivo 2019 Nov-Dec;33(6):2021-2026

Department of Oncology, University of Torino at San Luigi University Hospital, Orbassano, Italy.

Background/aim: Double diagnosis of lung cancer (LC) and ovarian cancer (OC) is rare. Here, we describe patients with synchronous/metachronous LC and OC to identify common clinical and pathological patterns.

Patients And Methods: Clinical, pathological and molecular data of patients diagnosed and treated at 30 European Institutions from 2008 to 2018 were retrieved and analysed. Whenever tissue was available, centralized pathology revision was performed.

Results: A total of 19 cases were found; one was excluded at pathology revision. Most LCs were adenocarcinomas (15/18) and most OCs were high-grade serous (15/18) carcinomas. Of the 9 patients analysed, 7 carried oncogene-addicted LC (4 EGFR, 1 B-RAF and 2 ALK) and five out of 7 carried BRCA mutations. One patient with a germline-BRCA1 mutation received olaparib, resulting in a durable response of both malignancies. Median overall survival was 33 months.

Conclusion: In our series, most synchronous/metachronous LCs and OCs showed genetic alterations. Further analyses with wide NGS panel could shed light on the biological mechanisms driving their occurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21873/invivo.11699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6899106PMC
March 2020