Publications by authors named "Alexander J Lazar"

350 Publications

Overview of the TREC 2019 Precision Medicine Track.

Text Retr Conf 2019 Nov;1250

Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8629155PMC
November 2019

Short-term treatment with multi-drug regimens combining BRAF/MEK-targeted therapy and immunotherapy results in durable responses in -mutated melanoma.

Oncoimmunology 2021 6;10(1):1992880. Epub 2021 Nov 6.

Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Targeted and immunotherapy regimens have revolutionized the treatment of advanced melanoma patients. Despite this, only a subset of patients respond durably. Recently, combination strategies of BRAF/MEK inhibitors with immune checkpoint inhibitor monotherapy (α-CTLA-4 or α-PD-1) have increased the rate of durable responses. Based on evidence from our group and others, these therapies appear synergistic, but at the cost of significant toxicity. We know from other treatment paradigms (e.g. hematologic malignancies) that combination strategies with multi-drug regimens (>4 drugs) are associated with more durable disease control. To better understand the mechanism of these improved outcomes, and to identify and prioritize new strategies for testing, we studied several multi-drug regimens combining BRAF/MEK targeted therapy and immunotherapy combinations in a -mutant murine melanoma model ( ). Short-term treatment with α-PD-1 and α-CTLA-4 monotherapies were relatively ineffective, while treatment with α-OX40 demonstrated some efficacy [17% of mice with no evidence of disease, (NED), at 60-days]. Outcomes were improved in the combined α-OX40/α-PD-1 group (42% NED). Short-term treatment with quadruplet therapy of immunotherapy doublets in combination with targeted therapy [dabrafenib and trametinib (DT)] was associated with excellent tumor control, with 100% of mice having NED after combined DT/α-CTLA-4/α-PD-1 or DT/α-OX40/α-PD-1. Notably, tumors from mice in these groups demonstrated a high proportion of effector memory T cells, and immunologic memory was maintained with tumor re-challenge. Together, these data provide important evidence regarding the potential utility of multi-drug therapy in treating advanced melanoma and suggest these models can be used to guide and prioritize combinatorial treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2021.1992880DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8583008PMC
November 2021

Identification of MicroRNA-mRNA Networks in Melanoma and Their Association with PD-1 Checkpoint Blockade Outcomes.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Oct 22;13(21). Epub 2021 Oct 22.

Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Metastatic melanoma is a deadly malignancy with poor outcomes historically. Immuno-oncology (IO) agents, targeting immune checkpoint molecules such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein-4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1), have revolutionized melanoma treatment and outcomes, achieving significant response rates and remarkable long-term survival. Despite these vast improvements, roughly half of melanoma patients do not achieve long-term clinical benefit from IO therapies and there is an urgent need to understand and mitigate mechanisms of resistance. MicroRNAs are key post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that regulate many aspects of cancer biology, including immune evasion. We used network analysis to define two core microRNA-mRNA networks in melanoma tissues and cell lines corresponding to 'MITF-low' and 'Keratin' transcriptomic subsets of melanoma. We then evaluated expression of these core microRNAs in pre-PD-1-inhibitor-treated melanoma patients and observed that higher expression of miR-100-5p and miR-125b-5p were associated with significantly improved overall survival. These findings suggest that miR-100-5p and 125b-5p are potential markers of response to PD-1 inhibitors, and further evaluation of these microRNA-mRNA interactions may yield further insight into melanoma resistance to PD-1 inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13215301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8582574PMC
October 2021

The 2021 WHO Classification of Tumors of the Thymus and Mediastinum: What Is New in Thymic Epithelial, Germ Cell, and Mesenchymal Tumors?

J Thorac Oncol 2021 Oct 22. Epub 2021 Oct 22.

Institute of Pathology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.

This overview of the fifth edition of the WHO classification of thymic epithelial tumors (including thymomas, thymic carcinomas, and thymic neuroendocrine tumors [NETs]), mediastinal germ cell tumors, and mesenchymal neoplasms aims to (1) list established and new tumor entities and subtypes and (2) focus on diagnostic, molecular, and conceptual advances since publication of the fourth edition in 2015. Diagnostic advances are best exemplified by the immunohistochemical characterization of adenocarcinomas and the recognition of genetic translocations in metaplastic thymomas, rare B2 and B3 thymomas, and hyalinizing clear cell carcinomas. Advancements at the molecular and tumor biological levels of utmost oncological relevance are the findings that thymomas and most thymic carcinomas lack currently targetable mutations, have an extraordinarily low tumor mutational burden, but typically have a programmed death-ligand 1 phenotype. Finally, data underpinning a conceptual advance are illustrated for the future classification of thymic NETs that may fit into the classification scheme of extrathoracic NETs. Endowed with updated clinical information and state-of-the-art positron emission tomography and computed tomography images, the fifth edition of the WHO classification of thymic epithelial tumors, germ cell tumors, and mesenchymal neoplasms with its wealth of new diagnostic and molecular insights will be a valuable source for pathologists, radiologists, surgeons, and oncologists alike. Therapeutic perspectives and research challenges will be addressed as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2021.10.010DOI Listing
October 2021

Appropriate use criteria for ancillary diagnostic testing in dermatopathology: New recommendations for 11 tests and 220 clinical scenarios from the American Society of Dermatopathology Appropriate Use Criteria Committee.

J Cutan Pathol 2021 Sep 18. Epub 2021 Sep 18.

Department of Pathology, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Background: Appropriate use criteria (AUC) provide patient-centered physician guidance in test selection. An initial set of AUC was reported by the American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP) in 2018. AUC reflect evidence collected at single timepoints and may be affected by evolving evidence and experience. The objective of this study was to update and expand AUC for selected tests.

Methods: RAND/UCLA (RAND Corporation [Santa Monica, CA]/University of California Los Angeles) methodology used includes the following: (a) literature review; (b) review of previously rated tests and previously employed clinical scenarios; (c) selection of previously rated tests for new ratings; (d) development of new clinical scenarios; (e) selection of additional tests; (f) three rating rounds with feedback and group discussion after rounds 1 and 2.

Results: For 220 clinical scenarios comprising lymphoproliferative (light chain clonality), melanocytic (comparative genomic hybridization, fluorescence in situ hybridization, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter), vascular disorders (MYC), and inflammatory dermatoses (periodic acid-Schiff, Gömöri methenamine silver), consensus by panel raters was reached in 172 of 220 (78%) scenarios, with 103 of 148 (70%) rated "usually appropriate" or "rarely appropriate" and 45 of 148 (30%), "appropriateness uncertain."

Limitations: The study design only measures appropriateness. Cost, availability, test comparison, and additional clinical considerations are not measured. The possibility that the findings of this study may be influenced by the inherent biases of the dermatopathologists involved in the study cannot be excluded.

Conclusions: AUC are reported for selected diagnostic tests in clinical scenarios that occur in dermatopathology practice. Adhering to AUC may reduce inappropriate test utilization and improve healthcare delivery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cup.14135DOI Listing
September 2021

Reprogramming of bivalent chromatin states in NRAS mutant melanoma suggests PRC2 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy.

Cell Rep 2021 Jul;36(3):109410

Department of Genomic Medicine, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77054, USA. Electronic address:

The dynamic evolution of chromatin state patterns during metastasis, their relationship with bona fide genetic drivers, and their therapeutic vulnerabilities are not completely understood. Combinatorial chromatin state profiling of 46 melanoma samples reveals an association of NRAS mutants with bivalent histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) and Polycomb repressive complex 2. Reprogramming of bivalent domains during metastasis occurs on master transcription factors of a mesenchymal phenotype, including ZEB1, TWIST1, and CDH1. Resolution of bivalency using pharmacological inhibition of EZH2 decreases invasive capacity of melanoma cells and markedly reduces tumor burden in vivo, specifically in NRAS mutants. Coincident with bivalent reprogramming, the increased expression of pro-metastatic and melanocyte-specific cell-identity genes is associated with exceptionally wide H3K4me3 domains, suggesting a role for this epigenetic element. Overall, we demonstrate that reprogramming of bivalent and broad domains represents key epigenetic alterations in metastatic melanoma and that EZH2 plus MEK inhibition may provide a promising therapeutic strategy for NRAS mutant melanoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109410DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8369408PMC
July 2021

Enhancer reprogramming in PRC2-deficient malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors induces a targetable de-differentiated state.

Acta Neuropathol 2021 09 20;142(3):565-590. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Department of Neurosurgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are soft tissue sarcomas that frequently harbor genetic alterations in polycomb repressor complex 2 (PRC2) components-SUZ12 and EED. Here, we show that PRC2 loss confers a dedifferentiated early neural-crest phenotype which is exclusive to PRC2-mutant MPNSTs and not a feature of neurofibromas. Neural crest phenotype in PRC2 mutant MPNSTs was validated via cross-species comparative analysis using spontaneous and transgenic MPNST models. Systematic chromatin state profiling of the MPNST cells showed extensive epigenomic reprogramming or chromatin states associated with PRC2 loss and identified gains of active enhancer states/super-enhancers on early neural crest regulators in PRC2-mutant conditions around genomic loci that harbored repressed/poised states in PRC2-WT MPNST cells. Consistently, inverse correlation between H3K27me3 loss and H3K27Ac gain was noted in MPNSTs. Epigenetic editing experiments established functional roles for enhancer gains on DLX5-a key regulator of neural crest phenotype. Consistently, blockade of enhancer activity by bromodomain inhibitors specifically suppressed this neural crest phenotype and tumor burden in PRC2-mutant PDXs. Together, these findings reveal accumulation of dedifferentiated neural crest like state in PRC2-mutant MPNSTs that can be targeted by enhancer blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-021-02341-zDOI Listing
September 2021

Gut microbiota signatures are associated with toxicity to combined CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade.

Nat Med 2021 08 8;27(8):1432-1441. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Department of Surgery, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA.

Treatment with combined immune checkpoint blockade (CICB) targeting CTLA-4 and PD-1 is associated with clinical benefit across tumor types, but also a high rate of immune-related adverse events. Insights into biomarkers and mechanisms of response and toxicity to CICB are needed. To address this, we profiled the blood, tumor and gut microbiome of 77 patients with advanced melanoma treated with CICB, with a high rate of any ≥grade 3 immune-related adverse events (49%) with parallel studies in pre-clinical models. Tumor-associated immune and genomic biomarkers of response to CICB were similar to those identified for ICB monotherapy, and toxicity from CICB was associated with a more diverse peripheral T-cell repertoire. Profiling of gut microbiota demonstrated a significantly higher abundance of Bacteroides intestinalis in patients with toxicity, with upregulation of mucosal IL-1β in patient samples of colitis and in pre-clinical models. Together, these data offer potential new therapeutic angles for targeting toxicity to CICB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01406-6DOI Listing
August 2021

The clear cell sarcoma functional genomic landscape.

J Clin Invest 2021 08;131(15)

Departments of Orthopaedics and Oncological Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Clear cell sarcoma (CCS) is a deadly malignancy affecting adolescents and young adults. It is characterized by reciprocal translocations resulting in expression of the chimeric EWSR1-ATF1 or EWSR1-CREB1 fusion proteins, driving sarcomagenesis. Besides these characteristics, CCS has remained genomically uncharacterized. Copy number analysis of human CCSs showed frequent amplifications of the MITF locus and chromosomes 7 and 8. Few alterations were shared with Ewing sarcoma or desmoplastic, small round cell tumors, which are other EWSR1-rearranged tumors. Exome sequencing in mouse tumors generated by expression of EWSR1-ATF1 from the Rosa26 locus demonstrated no other repeated pathogenic variants. Additionally, we generated a new CCS mouse by Cre-loxP-induced chromosomal translocation between Ewsr1 and Atf1, resulting in copy number loss of chromosome 6 and chromosome 15 instability, including amplification of a portion syntenic to human chromosome 8, surrounding Myc. Additional experiments in the Rosa26 conditional model demonstrated that Mitf or Myc can contribute to sarcomagenesis. Copy number observations in human tumors and genetic experiments in mice rendered, for the first time to our knowledge, a functional landscape of the CCS genome. These data advance efforts to understand the biology of CCS using innovative models that will eventually allow us to validate preclinical therapies necessary to achieve longer and better survival for young patients with this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI146301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8321568PMC
August 2021

Prognostic relevance of the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway activation in leiomyosarcoma.

NPJ Genom Med 2021 May 3;6(1):30. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Metabolic reprogramming of tumor cells and the increase of glucose uptake is one of the hallmarks of cancer. In order to identify metabolic pathways activated in leiomyosarcoma (LMS), we analyzed transcriptomic profiles of distinct subtypes of LMS in several datasets. Primary, recurrent and metastatic tumors in the subtype 2 of LMS showed consistent enrichment of genes involved in hexosamine biosynthesis pathway (HBP). We demonstrated that glutamine-fructose-6-phosphate transaminase 2 (GFPT2), the rate-limiting enzyme in HBP, is expressed on protein level in a subset of LMS and the expression of this enzyme is frequently retained in patient-matched primary and metastatic tumors. In a new independent cohort of 327 patients, we showed that GFPT2 is associated with poor outcome of uterine LMS but not extra-uterine LMS. Based on the analysis of a small group of patients studied by F-FDG-PET imaging, we propose that strong expression of GFPT2 in primary LMS may be associated with high metabolic activity. Our data suggest that HBP is a potential new therapeutic target in one of the subtypes of LMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41525-021-00193-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093268PMC
May 2021

Combined VEGFR and MAPK pathway inhibition in angiosarcoma.

Sci Rep 2021 04 30;11(1):9362. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine and Center for RNA Interference and Non-Coding RNA, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.

Angiosarcoma is an aggressive malignancy of endothelial cells that carries a high mortality rate. Cytotoxic chemotherapy can elicit clinical responses, but the duration of response is limited. Sequencing reveals multiple mutations in angiogenesis pathways in angiosarcomas, particularly in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFR) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling. We aimed to determine the biological relevance of these pathways in angiosarcoma. Tissue microarray consisting of clinical formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue archival samples were stained for phospho- extracellular signal-regulated kinase (p-ERK) with immunohistochemistry. Angiosarcoma cell lines were treated with the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor trametinib, pan-VEGFR inhibitor cediranib, or combined trametinib and cediranib and viability was assessed. Reverse phase protein array (RPPA) was performed to assess multiple oncogenic protein pathways. SVR angiosarcoma cells were grown in vivo and gene expression effects of treatment were assessed with whole exome RNA sequencing. MAPK signaling was found active in over half of clinical angiosarcoma samples. Inhibition of MAPK signaling with the MEK inhibitor trametinib decreased the viability of angiosarcoma cells. Combined inhibition of the VEGF and MAPK pathways with cediranib and trametinib had an additive effect in in vitro models, and a combinatorial effect in an in vivo model. Combined treatment led to smaller tumors than treatment with either agent alone. RNA-seq demonstrated distinct expression signatures between the trametinib treated tumors and those treated with both trametinib and cediranib. These results indicate a clinical study of combined VEGFR and MEK inhibition in angiosarcoma is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-88703-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8087824PMC
April 2021

Synovial Sarcoma of the Hand and Foot: An Institutional Review.

Am J Clin Oncol 2021 07;44(7):361-368

Departments of Sarcoma Medical Oncology.

Objectives: Synovial sarcomas (SS) arising in distal extremities are rare and have been studied using mostly case reports and small series. We aimed to evaluate clinical presentation and survival outcomes for patients with hand or foot SS.

Materials And Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of 84 patients diagnosed with primary hand (n=20) and foot (n=64) SS between 1979 and 2019. Progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), local recurrence-free survival and metastasis-free survival were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. Cox-proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the hazard ratios.

Results: Of 84 patients, 63 (75%) presented with localized disease with 36 years median age at diagnosis (range: 4 to 76) and 21 (25%) with metastasis with 30 years median age at diagnosis (range: 15 to 64). Among patients presenting with localized disease, (1) 5 years-PFS, OS, local recurrence-free survival, and metastasis-free survival rates were 82%, 88%, 100%, and 86%, respectively. (2) Tumor size <3.0 cm corresponded to 95% 5 years-PFS (vs. 84% for 3.0 to 4.9 cm, 53% for ≥5.0 cm; P=0.007) and 100% 5 years-OS (vs. 77% for ≥3.0 cm; P=0.04). (3) Patients with ≥5.0 cm (vs. <3.0 cm) tumor size had 7.99 (95% confidence interval: 1.68, 37.91) times higher hazard of progression. Remarkably, patients presenting with metastasis had 50% 5 years-OS rate. Also, younger age (15 to 39 vs. 40 y and above) predicted better OS among patients presenting with localized disease (P=0.04) and with metastasis (P=0.03).

Conclusions: Survival outcomes are favorable for younger patients with <3.0 cm hand or foot SS. Local control is excellent, but we observed larger tumor size to be associated with poorer outcomes. Therefore, we recommend consideration of systemic therapy for patients with ≥3.0 cm hand or foot SS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000822DOI Listing
July 2021

Relationships between highly recurrent tumor suppressor alterations in 489 leiomyosarcomas.

Cancer 2021 Aug 31;127(15):2666-2673. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is the most common soft tissue and uterine sarcoma, but no standard therapy is available for recurrent or metastatic LMS. TP53, p16/RB1, and PI3K/mTOR pathway dysregulations are recurrent events, and some LMS express estrogen receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR). To characterize relationships between these pathway perturbations, the authors evaluated protein expression in soft tissue and uterine nonprimary leiomyosarcoma (np-LMS), including local recurrences and distant metastases.

Methods: TP53, RB1, p16, and PTEN expression aberrations were determined by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in tissue microarrays (TMAs) from 227 np-LMS and a comparison group of 262 primary leiomyosarcomas (p-LMS). Thirty-five of the np-LMS had a matched p-LMS specimen in the TMAs. Correlative studies included differentiation scoring, ER and PR IHC, and CDKN2A/p16 fluorescence in situ hybridization.

Results: Dysregulation of TP53, p16/RB1, and PTEN was demonstrated in 90%, 95%, and 41% of np-LMS, respectively. PTEN inactivation was more common in soft tissue np-LMS than uterine np-LMS (55% vs 31%; P = .0005). Moderate-strong ER expression was more common in uterine np-LMS than soft tissue np-LMS (50% vs 7%; P < .0001). Co-inactivation of TP53 and RB1 was found in 81% of np-LMS and was common in both soft tissue and uterine np-LMS (90% and 74%, respectively). RB1, p16, and PTEN aberrations were nearly always conserved in p-LMS and np-LMS from the same patients.

Conclusions: These studies show that nearly all np-LMS have TP53 and/or RB1 aberrations. Therefore, therapies targeting cell cycle and DNA damage checkpoint vulnerabilities should be prioritized for evaluations in LMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33542DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8277678PMC
August 2021

A common classification framework for histone sequence alterations in tumours: an expert consensus proposal.

J Pathol 2021 Jun 7;254(2):109-120. Epub 2021 May 7.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization, Lyon, France.

The description of genetic alterations in tumours is of increasing importance. In human genetics, and in pathology reports, sequence alterations are given using the human genome variation society (HGVS) guidelines for the description of such variants. However, there is less adherence to these guidelines for sequence variations in histone genes. Due to early cleavage of the N-terminal methionine in most histones, the description of histone sequence alterations follows their own nomenclature and differs from the HGVS-compliant numbering by omitting this first amino acid. Next generation sequencing reports, however, follow the HGVS guidelines and as a result, an unambiguous description of sequence variants in histones cannot be provided. The coexistence of these two nomenclatures leads to confusions for pathologists, oncologists, and researchers. This review provides an overview of tumour entities with sequence alterations of the H3-3A gene (HGNC ID = HGNC:4764), highlights the problems associated with the coexistence of these two nomenclatures, and proposes a standard for the reporting of histone sequence variants that allows an unambiguous description of these variants according to HGVS principles. We hope that scientific journals will adopt the new notation, and that both geneticists and pathologists will include it in their reports. © 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/path.5666DOI Listing
June 2021

Comparison of Cancer Prevalence in Patients With Neurofibromatosis Type 1 at an Academic Cancer Center vs in the General Population From 1985 to 2020.

JAMA Netw Open 2021 03 1;4(3):e210945. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Surgical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Importance: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a complex genetic disorder that is associated with not only neurofibromas, but also an increased susceptibility to other neoplasms.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of neoplasia and outcomes among patients with NF1.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study was conducted among patients with NF1 at a single academic cancer center from 1985 to 2020 with median (range) follow-up of 2.9 years (36 days to 30.5 years). Of 2427 patients evaluated for NF1, 1607 patients who met the National Institutes of Health consensus criteria for NF1 were included. This group was compared with estimates from Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Cancer Statistics Review 1975 to 2015 and SEER participants database unless otherwise specified. Data were analyzed from August 2018 to March 2020.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Disease-specific survival (DSS) was measured from diagnosis date to date of neoplasm-specific death or censorship and calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Survival curves were compared using the log-rank test. Deaths from disease were considered a DSS end point; other deaths were considered censored observations. Secondary outcome measures were comparisons of (1) overall survival of patients with NF1 with neurofibroma neoplasms vs those without nonneurofibroma neoplasms, (2) neoplasm prevalence in the NF1 group vs general population estimates, and (3) age at diagnosis in the NF1 group vs general population estimates for the most common neoplasms in the NF1 group.

Results: Among 1607 patients with NF1, the median (range) age at initial visit was 19 years (1 month to 83 years) and 840 (52.3%) were female patients. Among 666 patients who developed other neoplasms in addition to neurofibromas (41.4%), 295 patients (18.4%) developed glioma and 243 patients (15.1%) developed malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST), the most common neoplasms. Patients with NF1, compared with the general population, developed several neoplasms at a younger mean (SD) age (low-grade glioma: 12.98 [11.09] years vs 37.76 [24.53] years; P < .0001; high-grade glioma [HGG]: 27.31 [15.59] years vs 58.42 [19.09] years; P < .0001; MPNST: 33.88 [14.80] years vs 47.06 [20.76] years; P < .0001; breast cancer: 46.61 [9.94] years vs 61.71 [13.85] years; P < .0001). Patients with NF1 developed neoplasms more frequently compared with the general population (odds ratio, 9.5; 95% CI, 8.5-10.5; P < .0001). Among patients with NF1, significantly lower 5-year DSS rates were found among those with undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma (1 of 5 patients [20.0%]), HGG (8 of 34 patients [23.1%]), MPNST (72 of 228 patients [31.6%]), ovarian carcinoma (4 of 7 patients [57.1%]), and melanoma (8 of 12 patients [66.7%]) compared with those who had neoplasms classified as other (110 of 119 patients [92.4%]) (all P < .001) .

Conclusions And Relevance: This cohort study found that among patients with NF1, those who developed undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, HGG, MPNST, ovarian carcinoma, or melanoma had significantly lower DSS rates compared with those who developed other neoplasms. This study also found that patients with NF1 developed some neoplasms more frequently and at a younger age compared with individuals without NF1. HGGs and MPNST were noteworthy causes of death among patients NF1. This information may be useful for NF1 patient counseling and follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7974640PMC
March 2021

iNOS Associates With Poor Survival in Melanoma: A Role for Nitric Oxide in the PI3K-AKT Pathway Stimulation and PTEN S-Nitrosylation.

Front Oncol 2021 12;11:631766. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, United States.

We previously showed that inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein expression in melanoma tumor cells is associated with poor patient prognosis. Here, we analyzed the association between iNOS and the oncogenic PI3K-AKT pathway. TCGA data show that iNOS and phospho-Akt Ser473 expression were associated significantly only in the subset of tumors with genetically intact PTEN. Employing a stage III melanoma TMA, we showed that iNOS protein presence is significantly associated with shorter survival only in tumors with PTEN protein expression. These findings led to our hypothesis that the iNOS product, nitric oxide (NO), suppresses the function of PTEN and stimulates PI3K-Akt activation. Melanoma cells in response to NO exposure exhibited enhanced AKT kinase activity and substrate phosphorylation, as well as attenuated PTEN phosphatase activity. Biochemical analysis showed that NO exposure resulted in a post-translationally modified S-Nitrosylation (SNO) PTEN, which was also found in cells expressing iNOS. Our findings provide evidence that NO-rich cancers may exhibit AKT activation due to post-translational inactivation of PTEN. This unique activation of oncogenic pathway under nitrosative stress may contribute to the pathogenesis of iNOS in melanoma. Our study shows that iNOS expression is associated with increased PI3K-AKT signaling and worse clinical outcomes in melanoma patients with wt (intact) PTEN. Mutated PTEN is already inactivated. We also demonstrate that NO activates the PI3K-AKT pathway by suppressing PTEN suppressor function concurrent with the formation of PTEN-SNO. This discovery provides insight into the consequences of inflammatory NO produced in human melanoma and microenvironmental cells. It suggests that NO-driven modification provides a marker of PTEN inactivation, and represents a plausible mechanism of tumor suppressor inactivation in iNOS expressing subset of cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.631766DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7907506PMC
February 2021

Clinical, molecular, metabolic, and immune features associated with oxidative phosphorylation in melanoma brain metastases.

Neurooncol Adv 2021 Jan-Dec;3(1):vdaa177. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Department of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Background: Recently, we showed that melanoma brain metastases (MBMs) are characterized by increased utilization of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) metabolic pathway compared to melanoma extracranial metastases (ECMs). MBM growth was inhibited by a potent direct OXPHOS inhibitor, but observed toxicities support the need to identify alternative therapeutic strategies. Thus, we explored the features associated with OXPHOS to improve our understanding of the pathogenesis and potential therapeutic vulnerabilities of MBMs.

Methods: We applied an OXPHOS gene signature to our cohort of surgically resected MBMs that had undergone RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) ( = 88). Clustering by curated gene sets identified MBMs with significant enrichment (High-OXPHOS; = 21) and depletion (Low-OXPHOS; = 25) of OXPHOS genes. Clinical data, RNA-seq analysis, and immunohistochemistry were utilized to identify significant clinical, molecular, metabolic, and immune associations with OXPHOS in MBMs. Preclinical models were used to further compare melanomas with High- and Low-OXPHOS and for functional validation.

Results: High-OXPHOS MBMs were associated with shorter survival from craniotomy compared to Low-OXPHOS MBMs. High-OXPHOS MBMs exhibited an increase in glutamine metabolism, and treatment with the glutaminase inhibitor CB839 improved survival in mice with MAPKi-resistant, High-OXPHOS intracranial xenografts. High-OXPHOS MBMs also exhibited a transcriptional signature of deficient immune activation, which was reversed in B16-F10 intracranial tumors with metformin treatment, an OXPHOS inhibitor.

Conclusions: OXPHOS is associated with distinct clinical, molecular, metabolic, and immune phenotypes in MBMs. These associations suggest rational therapeutic strategies for further testing to improve outcomes in MBM patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/noajnl/vdaa177DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865080PMC
January 2021

Metabolic compensation activates pro-survival mTORC1 signaling upon 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase inhibition in osteosarcoma.

Cell Rep 2021 01;34(4):108678

Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA; Siteman Cancer Center, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA. Electronic address:

Osteosarcoma is the most common pediatric and adult primary malignant bone cancer. Curative regimens target the folate pathway, downstream of serine metabolism, with high-dose methotrexate. Here, the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of serine from glucose, 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PHGDH), is examined, and an inverse correlation between PHGDH expression and relapse-free and overall survival in osteosarcoma patients is found. PHGDH inhibition in osteosarcoma cell lines attenuated cellular proliferation without causing cell death, prompting a robust metabolic analysis to characterize pro-survival compensation. Using metabolomic and lipidomic profiling, cellular response to PHGDH inhibition is identified as accumulation of unsaturated lipids, branched chain amino acids, and methionine cycle intermediates, leading to activation of pro-survival mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling. Increased mTORC1 activation sensitizes cells to mTORC1 pathway inhibition, resulting in significant, synergistic cell death in vitro and in vivo. Identifying a therapeutic combination for PHGDH-high cancers offers preclinical justification for a dual metabolism-based combination therapy for osteosarcoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108678DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8552368PMC
January 2021

Single-cell dissection of intratumoral heterogeneity and lineage diversity in metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma.

Nat Med 2021 01 4;27(1):141-151. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) is a fundamental property of cancer; however, the origins of ITH remain poorly understood. We performed single-cell transcriptome profiling of peritoneal carcinomatosis (PC) from 15 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma (GAC), constructed a map of 45,048 PC cells, profiled the transcriptome states of tumor cell populations, incisively explored ITH of malignant PC cells and identified significant correlates with patient survival. The links between tumor cell lineage/state compositions and ITH were illustrated at transcriptomic, genotypic, molecular and phenotypic levels. We uncovered the diversity in tumor cell lineage/state compositions in PC specimens and defined it as a key contributor to ITH. Single-cell analysis of ITH classified PC specimens into two subtypes that were prognostically independent of clinical variables, and a 12-gene prognostic signature was derived and validated in multiple large-scale GAC cohorts. The prognostic signature appears fundamental to GAC carcinogenesis and progression and could be practical for patient stratification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1125-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8074162PMC
January 2021

Evaluating the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Paradigm for the Local Management of Extraskeletal Ewing Sarcoma.

Oncologist 2021 03 14;26(3):250-260. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Departments of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.

Objectives: We reviewed our experience treating patients with localized extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma (EES) to determine optimal local management strategies for this rare disease.

Methods: Sixty patients with localized EES treated at our institution between 1994 and 2018 were reviewed. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimates disease outcomes.

Results: The median follow-up time was 74 months (interquartile range [IQR], 17-121). Half the patients (n = 30) received combined-modality local therapy (CMT) with both surgery and radiation therapy (RT), whereas the other half received single-modality local therapy (SMT) with either surgery or RT. All patients received chemotherapy. The 5-year overall survival was 76%. Twenty-two patients (37%) developed recurrence at a median time of 15 months (IQR, 5-56 months) resulting in 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) of 65%. On univariate analysis, the use of both neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy was associated with improved 5-year PFS (71% vs. 50%, p = .04) compared with those who received one or the other. Furthermore, 11 patients (18%) developed local recurrences at a median time of 14 months (IQR, 2-19 months), resulting in a 5-year local control (LC) rate of 77%. Use of CMT was not associated with improved LC (83% vs. 72% SMT, p = .41). Also, use of CMT was the only factor associated with poorer disease-specific survival (vs. SMT; hazard ratio, 3.4; p = .047; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-11.4).

Conclusion: For patients with EES, CMT was not associated with a decreased rate of local relapse. These data suggest that SMT alone may be sufficient for LC in select patients. A multi-institutional collaborative effort should be considered to validate these findings.

Implications For Practice: Extraskeletal Ewing sarcoma is a rare chemosensitive sarcoma whose clinical course more closely follows Ewing sarcoma of bone rather than that of other soft tissue sarcomas. Based on this study, combined-modality local therapy did not confer a local control advantage compared with single-modality local therapy. Therefore, single-modality local therapy is likely adequate in select patients with favorable disease features, which has the advantage of ensuring prompt administration of systemic therapy. A multi-institutional collaborative effort is warranted to determine which patients may benefit from de-escalated local therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/onco.13616DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7930399PMC
March 2021

AXL Inhibition Enhances MEK Inhibitor Sensitivity in Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors.

J Cancer Sci Clin Ther 2020 27;4(4):511-525. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Dysregulation of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL is known to promote cancer cell growth and survival in many sarcomas, including the rare subtype, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). MPNSTs are largely chemoresistant and carry a poor prognosis. AXL is an attractive potential therapeutic target, as it is aberrantly expressed, and its activation may be an early event in MPNST. However, the effect of AXL inhibition on MPNST development and progression is not known. Here, we investigated the role of AXL in MPNST development and the effects of AXL and MEK1/2 co-inhibition on MPNSTs. We used western blotting to examine AXL expression and activation in MPNST cell lines. We analyzed the effects of exogenous growth arrest-specific 6 (GAS6) expression on downstream signaling and the proliferation, migration, and invasion of MPNST cells. The effect of AXL knockdown with or without mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibition on downstream signal transduction and tumorigenesis was also examined and . We found that AXL knockdown increased MAPK pathway signaling. This compensation, in turn, abrogated the antitumorigenic effects linked to AXL knockdown . AXL knockdown, combined with pharmacological MEK inhibition, reduced the proliferation and increased the apoptosis of MPNST cells both and . The pharmacological co-inhibition of AXL and MEK1/2 reduced MPNST volumes. Together these findings suggest that AXL inhibition enhances the sensitivity of MPNST to other small molecule inhibitors. We conclude that combination therapy with AXL inhibitor may be a therapeutic option for MPNST.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.26502/jcsct.5079091DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7717506PMC
October 2020

INSM1 Expression in Angiosarcoma.

Am J Clin Pathol 2021 03;155(4):575-580

Departments of Pathology.

Objectives: Aberrant expression of neuroendocrine markers has been reported in angiosarcomas and can occasionally result in diagnostic confusion. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of insulinoma-associated protein 1 (INSM1), a marker for neuroendocrine differentiation, in angiosarcomas as well as other sarcomas.

Methods: Tissue microarrays, including angiosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT), clear cell sarcoma, synovial sarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, alveolar soft part sarcoma, epithelioid sarcoma, and undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma, were evaluated for expression of INSM1. The extent of immunoreactivity was graded according to the percentage of positive tumor cell nuclei (0, no staining; 1+, <5%; 2+, 5%-25%; 3+, 26%-50%; 4+, 51%-75%; and 5+, 76%-100%), and the intensity of staining was graded as weak, moderate, or strong.

Results: INSM1 expression was found in a subset of angiosarcomas (n = 24/94, 26%; majority 5+, weak to moderate), as well as DSRCTs (n = 7/62, 11%; 2+, weak to strong) and rarely synovial sarcomas (n = 3/76, 4%; 2+, moderate to strong). No INSM1 expression was detected in the other sarcomas.

Conclusions: Aberrant expression of INSM1 can be seen in a subset of angiosarcomas often with diffuse labeling. Other sarcomas that can rarely demonstrate small cell morphology and focal INSM1 expression include DSRCT and synovial sarcoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcp/aqaa168DOI Listing
March 2021

Immune profiling of uveal melanoma identifies a potential signature associated with response to immunotherapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Melanoma Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Background: To date, no systemic therapy, including immunotherapy, exists to improve clinical outcomes in metastatic uveal melanoma (UM) patients. To understand the role of immune infiltrates in the genesis, metastasis, and response to treatment for UM, we systematically characterized immune profiles of UM primary and metastatic tumors, as well as samples from UM patients treated with immunotherapies.

Methods: Relevant immune markers (CD3, CD8, FoxP3, CD68, PD-1, and PD-L1) were analyzed by immunohistochemistry on 27 primary and 31 metastatic tumors from 47 patients with UM. Immune gene expression profiling was conducted by NanoString analysis on pre-treatment and post-treatment tumors from patients (n=6) receiving immune checkpoint blockade or 4-1BB and OX40 dual costimulation. The immune signature of UM tumors responding to immunotherapy was further characterized by Ingenuity Pathways Analysis and validated in The Cancer Genome Atlas data set.

Results: Both primary and metastatic UM tumors showed detectable infiltrating lymphocytes. Compared with primary tumors, treatment-naïve metastatic UM showed significantly higher levels of CD3+, CD8+, FoxP3+ T cells, and CD68+ macrophages. Notably, levels of PD-1+ infiltrates and PD-L1+ tumor cells were low to absent in primary and metastatic UM tumors. No metastatic organ-specific differences were seen in immune infiltrates. Our NanoString analysis revealed significant differences in a set of immune markers between responders and non-responders. A group of genes relevant to the interferon-γ signature was differentially up-expressed in the pre-treatment tumors of responders. Among these genes, suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 was identified as a marker potentially contributing to the response to immunotherapy. A panel of genes that encoded pro-inflammatory cytokines and molecules were expressed significantly higher in pre-treatment tumors of non-responders compared with responders.

Conclusion: Our study provides critical insight into immune profiles of UM primary and metastatic tumors, which suggests a baseline tumor immune signature predictive of response and resistance to immunotherapy in UM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-000960DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7674090PMC
November 2020

Utilization of cytology smears improves success rates of RNA-based next-generation sequencing gene fusion assays for clinically relevant predictive biomarkers.

Cancer Cytopathol 2021 05 29;129(5):374-382. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: The use of RNA-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) assays to detect gene fusions for targeted therapy has rapidly become an essential component of comprehensive molecular profiling. For cytology specimens, the cell block (CB) is most commonly used for fusion testing; however, insufficient cellularity and/or suboptimal RNA quality are often limiting factors. In the current study, the authors evaluated the factors affecting RNA fusion testing in cytology and the added value of smears in cases with a suboptimal or inadequate CB.

Methods: A 12-month retrospective review was performed to identify cytology cases that were evaluated by a targeted RNA-based NGS assay. Samples were sequenced by targeted amplicon-based NGS for 51 clinically relevant genes on a proprietary platform. Preanalytic factors and NGS quality parameters were correlated with the results of RNA fusion testing.

Results: The overall success rate of RNA fusion testing was 92%. Of the 146 cases successfully sequenced, 14% had a clinically relevant fusion detected. NGS testing success positively correlated with RNA yield (P = .03) but was independent of the tumor fraction, the tumor size, or the number of slides used for extraction. CB preparations were adequate for testing in 45% cases, but the inclusion of direct smears increased the adequacy rate to 92%. There was no significant difference in testing success rates between smears and CB preparations.

Conclusions: The success of RNA-based NGS fusion testing depends on the quality and quantity of RNA extracted. The use of direct smears significantly improves the adequacy of cytologic samples for RNA fusion testing for predictive biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncy.22381DOI Listing
May 2021

Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Protein Expression Is More Frequent in Acral Lentiginous Melanoma Than in Other Types of Cutaneous Melanoma.

Arch Pathol Lab Med 2021 07;145(7):842-850

From the Departments of Pathology (Cho, Wang, Nagarajan, Curry, Ivan, Lazar, Prieto, Torres-Cabala, Aung), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

Context.—: Molecularly distinct from cutaneous melanomas arising from sun-exposed sites, acral lentiginous melanomas (ALMs) typically lack ultraviolet-signature mutations, such as telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations. Instead, ALMs show a high degree of copy number alterations, often with multiple amplifications of TERT, which are associated with adverse prognosis. The prognostic value of TERT protein expression in acral melanomas, however, is not established.

Objective.—: To evaluate the frequency and pattern of TERT immunoreactivity and assess the potential utility of TERT expression as a prognostic indicator in ALMs.

Design.—: TERT expression by immunohistochemistry was analyzed in a series of 57 acral and nonacral melanocytic lesions, including 24 primary and 6 metastatic ALMs. Clinical outcome in patients with ALMs by TERT expression was assessed.

Results.—: TERT expression was more frequent in ALMs than in nonlentiginous acral melanomas and nonacral cutaneous melanomas, and was absent in acral nevi (P = .01). When present, TERT expression in ALMs was cytoplasmic and more intense than TERT expression in other melanocytic lesions (P = .05) with a higher H-score (P = .01). There was a trend toward decreased overall survival in patients with ALMs with TERT immunoreactivity, but it did not reach statistical significance. Furthermore, no correlation was found between TERT expression and disease-specific survival in patients with ALMs.

Conclusions.—: Although TERT protein expression was frequently detected in both primary and metastatic ALMs, TERT immunoreactivity in ALMs did not correlate with survival in our study. Further studies with larger cohorts are needed to elucidate the prognostic value of TERT expression in ALMs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5858/arpa.2020-0330-OADOI Listing
July 2021

Molecular and immunological associations of elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase in metastatic melanoma patients: A fresh look at an old biomarker.

Cancer Med 2020 11 5;9(22):8650-8661. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Departments of Translational Molecular Pathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase (sLDH) is associated with poor clinical outcomes in patients with stage IV metastatic melanoma (MM). It is currently unknown if sLDH elevation correlates with distinct molecular, metabolic, or immune features of melanoma metastases. The identification of such features may identify rational therapeutic strategies for patients with elevated sLDH. Thus, we obtained sLDH levels for melanoma patients with metastases who had undergone molecular and/or immune profiling. Our analysis of multi-omics data from independent cohorts of melanoma metastases showed that elevated sLDH was not significantly associated with differences in immune cell infiltrate, point mutations, DNA copy number variations, promoter methylation, RNA expression, or protein expression in melanoma metastases. The only significant association observed for elevated sLDH was with the number of metastatic sites of disease. Our data support that sLDH correlates with disease burden, but not specific molecular or immunological phenotypes, in metastatic melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3474DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666738PMC
November 2020

The International Collaboration for Cancer Classification and Research.

Int J Cancer 2021 02 9;148(3):560-571. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

American Society of Clinical Oncology, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

Gaps in the translation of research findings to clinical management have been recognized for decades. They exist for the diagnosis as well as the management of cancer. The international standards for cancer diagnosis are contained within the World Health Organization (WHO) Classification of Tumours, published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and known worldwide as the WHO Blue Books. In addition to their relevance to individual patients, these volumes provide a valuable contribution to cancer research and surveillance, fulfilling an important role in scientific evidence synthesis and international standard setting. However, the multidimensional nature of cancer classification, the way in which the WHO Classification of Tumours is constructed, and the scientific information overload in the field pose important challenges for the translation of research findings to tumour classification and hence cancer diagnosis. To help address these challenges, we have established the International Collaboration for Cancer Classification and Research (IC R) to provide a forum for the coordination of efforts in evidence generation, standard setting and best practice recommendations in the field of tumour classification. The first IC R meeting, held in Lyon, France, in February 2019, gathered representatives of major institutions involved in tumour classification and related fields to identify and discuss translational challenges in data comparability, standard setting, quality management, evidence evaluation and copyright, as well as to develop a collaborative plan for addressing these challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33260DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756795PMC
February 2021

Radiation-associated sarcomas other than malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours demonstrate loss of histone H3K27 trimethylation.

Histopathology 2021 Jan 6;78(2):321-326. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Departments of Translational Molecular Pathology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Background And Aims: Complete loss of histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) has recently emerged as a biomarker for malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumours (MPNST). Loss of H3K27me3 staining has also been reported in post-radiation MPNST; however, it has not been evaluated in a large series of radiation-associated sarcomas of different histological subtypes. The aim of this study was to assess H3K27me3 labelling by immunohistochemistry in radiation-associated sarcomas and to determine the prevalence of H3K27me3 loss in these tumours.

Methods And Results: Radiation-associated sarcomas (n = 119) from two tertiary care referral centres were evaluated for loss of H3K27me3, defined as complete loss of staining within tumour cells in the presence of a positive internal control. Twenty-three cases (19%) showed H3K27me3 loss, including nine of 10 (90%) MPNST, seven of 77 (9%) undifferentiated spindle cell/pleomorphic sarcomas, five of 25 (20%) angiosarcomas, one of five (20%) leiomyosarcomas and one of two (50%) osteosarcomas.

Conclusions: Complete H3K27me3 loss was present in 19% of radiation-associated sarcomas in our series. Our findings demonstrate that loss of H3K27me3 is not specific for radiation-associated MPNST and may also occur in other histological subtypes of RAS, including radiation-associated undifferentiated spindle cell/pleomorphic sarcoma, angiosarcoma, leiomyosarcoma and osteosarcoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/his.14223DOI Listing
January 2021

Diagnosis of digestive system tumours.

Int J Cancer 2021 03 19;148(5):1040-1050. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

WHO Classification of Tumours Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), World Health Organization, Lyon, France.

The WHO Classification of Tumours provides the international standards for the classification and diagnosis of tumours. It enables direct comparisons to be made between different countries. In the new fifth edition, the series has gone digital with the launch of a website as well as a series of books, known widely as the WHO Blue Books. The first volume to be produced is on the classification of Digestive System tumours, replacing the successful 2010 version. It has been rewritten and updated accordingly. This article summarises the major diagnostic innovations that have occurred over the last decade and that have now been incorporated in the classification. As an example, it incorporates the recently proposed classification of neuroendocrine tumours, based on the recognition that neuroendocrine tumours and carcinomas differ substantially in the genetic abnormalities that drive their growth, findings relevant to treatment selection and outcome prediction. Several themes have emerged during the production process. One is the importance of the progression from hyperplasia to dysplasia to carcinoma in the evolution of the malignant process. Advances in imaging techniques and endoscopy have resulted in enhanced access to precancerous lesions in the gastrointestinal and biliary tract, necessitating both changes in classification schema and clinical practice. Diagnosis of tumours is no longer the sole purview of pathologists, and some patients now receive treatment before tissue is obtained, based on clinical, radiological and liquid biopsy results. This makes the classification relevant to many disciplines involved in the care of patients with tumours of the digestive system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33210DOI Listing
March 2021

IGF-1R/mTOR Targeted Therapy for Ewing Sarcoma: A Meta-Analysis of Five IGF-1R-Related Trials Matched to Proteomic and Radiologic Predictive Biomarkers.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jul 2;12(7). Epub 2020 Jul 2.

Department of Sarcoma Medical Oncology, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

: Ten to fourteen percent of Ewing sarcoma (ES) study participants treated nationwide with IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R)-targeted antibodies achieved tumor regression. Despite this success, low response rates and short response durations (approximately 7-weeks) have slowed the development of this therapy. : We performed a meta-analysis of five phase-1b/2 ES-oriented trials that evaluated the anticancer activity of IGF-1R antibodies +/- mTOR inhibitors (mTORi). Our meta-analysis provided a head-to-head comparison of the clinical benefits of IGF-1R antibodies vs. the IGF-1R/mTOR-targeted combination. Available pretreatment clinical samples were semi-quantitatively scored using immunohistochemistry to detect proteins in the IGF-1R/PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway linked to clinical response. Early PET/CT imaging, obtained within the first 2 weeks (median 10 days), were examined to determine if reduced FDG avidity was predictive of progression-free survival (PFS). : Among 56 ES patients treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) with IGF-1R antibodies, our analysis revealed a significant ~two-fold improvement in PFS that favored a combination of IGF-1R/mTORi therapy (1.6 vs. 3.3-months, = 0.042). Low pIGF-1R in the pretreatment specimens was associated with treatment response. Reduced total-lesion glycolysis more accurately predicted the IGF-1R response than other previously reported radiological biomarkers. : Synergistic drug combinations, and newly identified proteomic or radiological biomarkers of IGF-1R response, may be incorporated into future IGF-1R-related trials to improve the response rate in ES patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12071768DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7408058PMC
July 2020
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