Publications by authors named "Andrea Botticelli"

94 Publications

The Challenge of ICIs Resistance in Solid Tumours: Could Microbiota and Its Diversity Be Our Secret Weapon?

Front Immunol 2021 20;12:704942. Epub 2021 Aug 20.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sant' Andrea University Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

The human microbiota and its functional interaction with the human body were recently returned to the spotlight of the scientific community. In light of the extensive implementation of newer and increasingly precise genome sequencing technologies, bioinformatics, and culturomic, we now have an extraordinary ability to study the microorganisms that live within the human body. Most of the recent studies only focused on the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and one other factor. Considering the complexity of gut microbiota and its role in the pathogenesis of numerous cancers, our aim was to investigate how microbiota is affected by intestinal microenvironment and how microenvironment alterations may influence the response to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). In this context, we show how diet is emerging as a fundamental determinant of microbiota's community structure and function. Particularly, we describe the role of certain dietary factors, as well as the use of probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, and antibiotics in modifying the human microbiota. The modulation of gut microbiota may be a secret weapon to potentiate the efficacy of immunotherapies. In addition, this review sheds new light on the possibility of administering fecal microbiota transplantation to modulate the gut microbiota in cancer treatment. These concepts and how these findings can be translated into the therapeutic response to cancer immunotherapies will be presented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.704942DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8417795PMC
August 2021

Role of Chemotherapy in Vulvar Cancers: Time to Rethink Standard of Care?

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Aug 12;13(16). Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Sperimentazioni di Fase IV, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

The actual role of chemotherapy in vulvar cancer is undeniably a niche topic. The low incidence of the disease limits the feasibility of randomized trials. Decision making is thus oriented by clinical and pathological features, whose relevance is generally weighted against evidence from observational studies and clinical practice. The therapeutic management of vulvar cancer is increasingly codified and refined at an individual patient level. It is of note that the attitude towards evidence sharing and discussion within a multidisciplinary frame is progressively consolidating. Viable options included in the therapeutic armamentarium available for vulvar cancer patients are frequently an adaption from standards used for cervical or anal carcinoma. Chemotherapy is more frequently combined with radiotherapy as neo-/adjuvant or definitive treatment. Drugs commonly used are platinum derivative, 5-fluorouracil and mitomicin C, mostly in combination with radiotherapy for radiosensitization. Exclusive chemotherapy in the neo-/adjuvant setting comprises platinum-derivative, combined with bleomicin and methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil, ifosfamide or taxanes. In advanced disease, current regimens include cisplatin-based chemoradiation, with or without 5-fluorouracil, or doublets with platinum in combination with a taxane. Our work is also enriched by a concise excursus on the biologic pathways underlying vulvar cancer. Introductory hints are also provided on targeted agents, a rapidly evolving research field.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13164061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8391130PMC
August 2021

Anti-PD-1 and Anti-PD-L1 in Head and Neck Cancer: A Network Meta-Analysis.

Front Immunol 2021 9;12:705096. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Oncology, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Objective: The monoclonal antibodies anti-programmed death protein-1 (anti-PD-1) nivolumab and pembrolizumab are the first immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) approved for treatment of recurrent/metastatic head and neck carcinoma R/M HNSCC in first line and in platinum refractory disease. This network meta-analysis aims to investigate the efficacy of anti-PD-1- anti-PD-L1-based therapy in R/M HNSCC cancer patients through a systematic review of the literature to provide support for evidence-based treatment decisions. In particular, the effectiveness of ICIs for R/M HNSCC is analyzed according to the different mechanisms of action of the check-points inhibitory drugs in different subgroups of patients.

Methods: We did a systematic literature review and network meta-analysis (NMA) of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, Embase, Medline, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science. Our search identified a total of five randomized controlled trials: Keynote 040, Keynote 048, Eagle, Condor, Checkmate 141. These trials included 3001 patients. Treatment was sub-categorized into PD-L1-based, PD-1-based, and standard chemotherapy. Treatments were indirectly compared with anti-PD-L1-based therapy.

Results: The network meta-analysis demonstrated no significant differences in OS between different subgroups except for the metastatic patients in which anti-PD-1-based therapy was associated with significantly less risk of death. Furthermore, anti-PD-1-based therapy appeared to be effective in smoker patients and in human papilloma-negative (HPV) patients. Conversely, anti-PD-L1-based therapy seems to be better efficient in female patients, in locally recurrent setting and in HPV positive patients.

Conclusion: This is the first NMA study that aimed to indirectly compare anti-PD-1- and anti-PD-L1-based therapy in HNSCC patients. The results of our NMA could help define a profile of patient responder or resistant to specific classes of immune drugs and can be used to guide/design future studies in the novel scenario of precision immune-oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.705096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8380817PMC
August 2021

The Role of Soluble LAG3 and Soluble Immune Checkpoints Profile in Advanced Head and Neck Cancer: A Pilot Study.

J Pers Med 2021 Jul 10;11(7). Epub 2021 Jul 10.

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

Unresectable recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/M HNSCC) has a very poor prognosis. Soluble immune checkpoints (sICs) are circulating proteins that result from the alternative splicing of membrane proteins and can modulate the immune response to cancer cells. The aim of our pilot study was to determine the possible role of a comprehensive evaluation of sICs in the classification of prognosis and response to treatment in patients with advanced disease. We evaluated several sICs (CD137, CTLA-4, PD-1, PD-L1, PD-L2, TIM3, LAG3, GITR, HVEM, BTLA, IDO, CD80, CD27, and CD28) from peripheral blood at baseline and investigated the association with clinical characteristics and outcomes. A high baseline soluble LAG3 (sLAG3 > 377 pg/mL) resulted in an association with poor PFS and OS ( = 0.047 and = 0.003, respectively). Moreover, sLAG3 emerged as an independent prognostic factor using an MVA ( = 0.005). The evaluation of sICs, in particular sLAG3, may be relevant for identifying patients with worse prognoses, or resistance to treatments, and may lead to the development of novel targeted strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm11070651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8304359PMC
July 2021

Weekly chemotherapy as first line treatment in frail head and neck cancer patients in the immunotherapy era.

J Transl Med 2021 07 12;19(1):303. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

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

Objective: First-line therapy for metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (R/M HNSCC) has been revolutionized by the introduction of anti-checkpoint monoclonal antibodies, which have shown a significant improvement in overall survival (OS) gaining approval in a first line setting. Efficacy and safety of first-line weekly chemotherapy, compared to 3-weeks treatment, was retrospectively evaluated in a frail patient population with R/M HNSCC with the aim to evaluate its role as part of a personalized first-line approach.

Methods: A total of 124 patients with locally incurable R/M HNSCC receiving weekly (21) or three-weekly (103) chemotherapy plus cetuximab in a first line setting from December 2010 to September 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Treatment outcomes in terms of objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and toxicities were analysed.

Results: Patients in the three-week subgroup were ECOG PS 0 (39) and 1 (64) while patients in weekly group (21) were all PS 2. No significant differences were reported in terms of age, sex, smoking and previous alcohol abuse considering the two distinct subgroups. Moreover, no statistically significant difference was found in PFS and OS between the two treatment subgroups. The response rate was 35% (36 patients) and 34% (7 patients) in three-week and weekly treatment group, respectively. Seventy patients (68%) in the three-week group experienced chemotherapy-related toxicities, predominantly G3. In the weekly group a predominantly low-grade toxicity was found in a lower number of patients (52%).

Conclusion: The weekly schedule appears to be an active and safe strategy in frail patients with R/M HNSCC. Based on these data, a weekly schedule could be considered as a first line treatment in all frail patients excluded from pembrolizumab treatment and a study on the combination of weekly chemotherapy and immunotherapy should be performed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02975-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8274020PMC
July 2021

The prognostic relevance of HER2-positivity gain in metastatic breast cancer in the ChangeHER trial.

Sci Rep 2021 Jul 2;11(1):13770. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Department of Ematology and Oncology, Pugliese-Ciaccio Hospital, Catanzaro, Italy.

In metastatic breast cancer (mBC), the change of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status between primary and metastatic lesions is widely recognized, however clinical implications are unknown. Our study address the question if relevant differences exist between subjects who preserve the HER2 status and those who gain the HER2 positivity when relapsed. Data of patients affected by HER2-positive mBC, treated with pertuzumab and/or trastuzumab-emtansine (T-DM1) in a real-world setting at 45 Italian cancer centers were retrospectively collected and analyzed. From 2003 to 2017, 491 HER2-positive mBC patients were included. Of these, 102 (20.7%) had been initially diagnosed as HER2-negative early BC. Estrogen and/or progesterone receptor were more expressed in patients with HER2-discordance compared to patients with HER2-concordant status (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.006, respectively). HER2-discordant tumors were characterized also by a lower rate of brain metastases (p = 0.01) and a longer disease free interval (p < 0.0001). Median overall survival was longer, although not statistically significant, in the subgroup of patients with HER2-discordant cancer with respect to patients with HER2-concordant status (140 vs 78 months, p = 0.07). Our findings suggest that patients with HER2-positive mBC with discordant HER2 status in early BC may have different clinical, biological and prognostic behavior compared to HER2-concordant patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92774-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8253801PMC
July 2021

PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors during late stages of life: an ad-hoc analysis from a large multicenter cohort.

J Transl Med 2021 06 24;19(1):270. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Division of Medical Oncology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.

Background: The favourable safety profile and the increasing confidence with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) might have boosted their prescription in frail patients with short life expectancies, who usually are not treated with standard chemotherapy.

Methods: The present analysis aims to describe clinicians' attitudes towards ICIs administration during late stages of life within a multicenter cohort of advanced cancer patients treated with single agent PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in Italy.

Results: Overall, 1149 patients with advanced cancer who received single agent PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors were screened. The final study population consisted of 567 deceased patients. 166 patients (29.3%) had received ICIs within 30 days of death; among them there was a significantly higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (28.3% vs 11.5%, p < 0.0001) and with a higher burden of disease (69.3% vs 59.4%, p = 0.0266). In total, 35 patients (6.2%) started ICIs within 30 days of death; among them there was a higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (45.7% vs 14.5%, p < 0.0001) and with a higher burden of disease (82.9% vs 60.9%, p = 0.0266). Primary tumors were significantly different across subgroups (p = 0.0172), with a higher prevalence of NSCLC patients (80% vs 60.9%) among those who started ICIs within 30 days of death. Lastly, 123 patients (21.7%) started ICIs within 3 months of death. Similarly, within this subgroup there was a higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (29.3% vs 12.8%, p < 0.0001), with a higher burden of disease (74.0% vs 59.0%, p = 0.0025) and with NSCLC (74.0% vs 58.8%, p = 0.0236).

Conclusion: Our results confirmed a trend toward an increasing ICIs prescription in frail patients, during the late stages of life. Caution should be exercised when evaluating an ICI treatment for patients with a poor PS and a high burden of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02937-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223272PMC
June 2021

Precision medicine in breast cancer: From clinical trials to clinical practice.

Cancer Treat Rev 2021 Jul 12;98:102223. Epub 2021 May 12.

European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, 20141 Milan, Italy; Department of Oncology and Hematology (DIPO), University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women and, despite the undeniable improvements in the outcome of these patients obtained in the last decade, the discovery and the validation of new actionable molecular targets represent a priority. ESCAT permits to rank molecular alterations in different classes according to their evidence of actionability in a specific cancer type, assisting clinicians in their therapeutical decisions. MAIN: ERBB2, PIK3CA and germline BRCA1/2 alterations are biomarkers prospectively validated in BC, driving the selection of targeted therapies, and are therefore classified in the highest level of evidence (Ia). Agnostic biomarkers, namely microsatellite instability, NTRK fusions and high tumor mutational burden, demonstrated similar activity across different tumor types and are consequently ranked in tier Ic. In tier II are classified alterations that still need confirmatory prospective studies but for which evidence of efficacy is available. Somatic BRCA1/2 mutations, germline PALB2 mutations, HER2-low expression, ERBB2 mutations, PTEN deletions, AKT1 mutations, ESR1 resistance mutations satisfy the requirements to be classified in this tier. In tier III are ranked various molecular alterations for which there is evidence of actionability in other tumors (IIIa) or that have similar functional impact in the same gene or pathway of a tier I alteration, without clinical data (IIIb). In tier IV are listed the molecular alterations for which only preclinical studies are available.

Conclusion: In this review we report the most relevant molecular targets in BC, ordered pursuant to their pathway and classified in concordance with ESCAT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2021.102223DOI Listing
July 2021

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

How to Best Exploit Immunotherapeutics in Advanced Gastric Cancer: Between Biomarkers and Novel Cell-Based Approaches.

J Clin Med 2021 Apr 1;10(7). Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital, London and Surrey, Sutton SM25PT, UK.

Despite extensive research efforts, advanced gastric cancer still has a dismal prognosis with conventional treatment options. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment landscape for many solid tumors. Amongst gastric cancer subtypes, tumors with microsatellite instability and Epstein Barr Virus positive tumors provide the strongest rationale for responding to immunotherapy. Various predictive biomarkers such as mismatch repair status, programmed death ligand 1 expression, tumor mutational burden, assessment of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes and circulating biomarkers have been evaluated. However, results have been inconsistent due to different methodologies and thresholds used. Clinical implementation therefore remains a challenge. The role of immune checkpoint inhibitors in gastric cancer is emerging with data from monotherapy in the heavily pre-treated population already available and studies in earlier disease settings with different combinatorial approaches in progress. Immune checkpoint inhibitor combinations with chemotherapy (CT), anti-angiogenics, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, anti-Her2 directed therapy, poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors or dual checkpoint inhibitor strategies are being explored. Moreover, novel strategies including vaccines and CAR T cell therapy are also being trialed. Here we provide an update on predictive biomarkers for response to immunotherapy with an overview of their strengths and limitations. We discuss clinical trials that have been reported and trials in progress whilst providing an account of future steps needed to improve outcome in this lethal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071412DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037391PMC
April 2021

Standard of Care and Promising New Agents for the Treatment of Mesenchymal Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 3;13(5). Epub 2021 Mar 3.

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

The pathologic definition of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) relies on the absence of expression of estrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptors. However, this BC subgroup is distinguished by a wide biological, molecular and clinical heterogeneity. Among the intrinsic TNBC subtypes, the mesenchymal type is defined by the expression of genes involved in the epithelial to mesenchymal transition, stromal interaction and cell motility. Moreover, it shows a high expression of genes involved in proliferation and an immune-suppressive microenvironment. Several molecular alterations along different pathways activated during carcinogenesis and tumor progression have been outlined and could be involved in immune evasion mechanisms. Furthermore, reverting epithelial to mesenchymal transition process could lead to the overcoming of immune-resistance. This paper reviews the current knowledge regarding the mesenchymal TNBC subtype and its response to conventional therapeutic strategies, as well as to some promising molecular target agents and immunotherapy. The final goal is a tailored combination of cytotoxic drugs, target agents and immunotherapy in order to restore immunocompetence in mesenchymal breast cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13051080DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7959307PMC
March 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

CDK4/6 Inhibitor Treatments in Patients with Hormone Receptor Positive, Her2 Negative Advanced Breast Cancer: Potential Molecular Mechanisms, Clinical Implications and Future Perspectives.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 18;13(2). Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Oncology Unit, Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039, 00189 Rome, Italy.

Hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer is the most common breast cancer subtype, and endocrine therapy (ET) remains its therapeutic backbone. Although anti-estrogen therapies are usually effective initially, approximately 50% of HR+ patients develop resistance to ET within their lifetime, ultimately leading to disease recurrence and limited clinical benefit. The recent addition of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and CDK6 inhibitors (palbociclib, ribociclib, abemaciclib) to ET have remarkably improved the outcome of patients with HR+ advanced breast cancer (ABC) compared with anti-estrogens alone, by targeting the cell-cycle machinery and overcoming some aspects of endocrine resistance. However, which patients are the better candidates for these drugs, which are the main characteristics for a better selection of patients or if there are predictive biomarkers of response, is still unknown. In this review we reported the mechanism of action of CDK4/6 inhibitors as well as their potential mechanism of resistance, their implications in clinical practice and the forthcoming strategies to enhance their efficacy in improving survival and quality of life of patients affected with HR+, HER2-, ABC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7830463PMC
January 2021

Palbociclib Plus Fulvestrant or Everolimus Plus Exemestane for Pretreated Advanced Breast Cancer with Lobular Histotype in ER+/HER2- Patients: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of a Multicenter Retrospective Patient Series.

J Pers Med 2020 Dec 18;10(4). Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Comprehensive Cancer Center, UOC di Oncologia Medica, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Rome, Italy.

Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i) in combination with endocrine therapy (ET) show meaningful efficacy and tolerability in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), but the optimal sequence of ET has not been established. It is not clear if patients with lobular breast carcinomas (LBC) derive the same benefits when receiving second line CDK4/6i. This retrospective study compared the efficacy of palbociclib plus fulvestrant (PALBO-FUL) with everolimus plus exemestane (EVE-EXE) as second-line ET for hormone-resistant metastatic LBC. From 2013 to 2018, patients with metastatic LBC positivity for estrogen and/or progesterone receptors and HER2/neu negativity, who had relapsed during adjuvant hormonal therapy or first-line hormonal treatment, were enrolled from six centers in Italy in this retrospective study. A total of 74 out of 376 patients (48 treated with PALBO-FUL and 26 with EVE-EXE) with metastatic LBC were eligible for inclusion. Progression-free survival (PFS) was longer in patients receiving EVE-EXE compared with PALBO-FUL (6.1 vs. 4.5 months, univariate HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.96; = 0.025). On the propensity score (PS) analysis, PFS was confirmed to be significantly longer for patients treated with EVE-EXE compared to PALBO-FUL (6.0 vs. 4.6 months, = 0.04). This retrospective analysis suggests that EVE-EXE is more effective than PALBO-FUL for second line ET of metastatic LBC, allowing us to speculate on the optimal therapeutic sequence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7766166PMC
December 2020

Primary squamous cell carcinoma of major salivary gland: "Sapienza Head and Neck Unit" clinical recommendations.

Rare Tumors 2020 24;12:2036361320973526. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

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

Primary squamous cell carcinoma of salivary gland (SCG) is an extremely rare type of malignant salivary gland tumor, which in turn results in scarcity of data available regarding both its treatment and associated genetic alterations. A retrospective analysis of 12 patients with primary SCG was conducted, along with analysis of the association between treatment, clinical/pathological characteristics, and outcomes. Most patients (8) were staged IVa, with the majority of them (10) having G3 fast growing cancer. Local and systemic recurrence were reported in only three out of nine parotid cases (0 out of 2 submandibular SCGs). In two out of eight patients local relapse occurred after integrated treatment, while recurrence occurred in two out of three patients undergoing exclusive surgery. Five patients eventually died. Treatment of resectable disease must be aggressive and multimodal, with achievement of loco-regional control in order to reduce rate of recurrence and improve outcomes. Metastatic disease would require a therapeutic strategy tailored to the molecular profile in order to improve the currently disappointing results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2036361320973526DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7691911PMC
November 2020

Agnostic evaluation of ipilimumab and nivolumab association: a metanalysis.

J Transl Med 2020 11 25;18(1):446. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Biostatistics Unit, National Cancer Institute Regina Elena IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

Background: Ipilimumab and Nivolumab, targeting the molecules CTLA-4, PD-1, respectively,have shown efficacy against several types of cancer. Despite these results, only a small percentage of patients maintains a long-lasting effect. Even Ipilimumab, in combination with nivolumab, has demonstrated a significant clinical benefit in multiple tumor types. However, no trial has been designed with the primary endpoint to compare the efficacy of nivolumab plus ipilimumab combined, compared to nivolumab alone. Hence, the added value of ipilimumab in the combination has not clearly been established yet. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the superiority of the combination strategy compared to the single agent therapy.

Materials And Methods: We performed a meta-analysis of Phase I-II-III Clinical Trials, published from 2010 up to 2020, in which the combination of ipilimumab plus nivolumab was compared to nivolumab alone. We extracted ORR, OS and PFS HR on the basis of treatment from the subgroup analysis of each trial.

Results: A total of 7 trials were included in the present meta-analysis. Overall, 1313 patients were treated with the nivolumab plus ipilimumab combination compared to 1110 patients treated with nivolumabalone. All trials reported the Objective response rate(ORR), no heterogeneity was found among studies and the pooled Odds Ratio was highly in favor of the nivolumab plus ipilimumab combination with respect to nivolumab alone (1.683; 95% CI: 1.407-2.012; P < 0.0001). Three studies were considered for Progression free survival (PFS) analysis, and the pooled Hazard Ratio favored the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab with respect to nivolumab alone (0.807; 95% CI: 0.719-0.907; P < 0.0001). The Overall survival(OS) endpoint was considered only in 2 trials, and the pooled HR favored, also in this case, the combination of nivolumab plus ipilimumab with respect to nivolumab alone (0.87; 95% CI: 0.763-0.997; P = 0.045).

Conclusions: The combination of ipilimumab plus nivolumab seems to be superior to nivolumab alone in cancer patients, regardless of histology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-020-02588-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7688006PMC
November 2020

Network Analysis of Gut Microbiome and Metabolome to Discover Microbiota-Linked Biomarkers in Patients Affected by Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Nov 19;21(22). Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Diagnostic and Laboratory Medicine, Unit of Parasitology and Area of Genetics and Rare Diseases, Unit of Human Microbiome, Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, IRCCS, 00165 Rome, Italy.

Several studies in recent times have linked gut microbiome (GM) diversity to the pathogenesis of cancer and its role in disease progression through immune response, inflammation and metabolism modulation. This study focused on the use of network analysis and weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to identify the biological interaction between the gut ecosystem and its metabolites that could impact the immunotherapy response in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients undergoing second-line treatment with anti-PD1. Metabolomic data were merged with operational taxonomic units (OTUs) from 16S RNA-targeted metagenomics and classified by chemometric models. The traits considered for the analyses were: (i) condition: disease or control (CTRLs), and (ii) treatment: responder (R) or non-responder (NR). Network analysis indicated that indole and its derivatives, aldehydes and alcohols could play a signaling role in GM functionality. WGCNA generated, instead, strong correlations between short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and a healthy GM. Furthermore, commensal bacteria such as , Rikenellaceae, , Peptostreptococcaceae, Mogibacteriaceae and Clostridiaceae were found to be more abundant in CTRLs than in NSCLC patients. Our preliminary study demonstrates that the discovery of microbiota-linked biomarkers could provide an indication on the road towards personalized management of NSCLC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21228730DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699235PMC
November 2020

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

IgM-Rheumatoid factor confers primary resistance to anti-PD-1 immunotherapies in NSCLC patients by reducing CD137T-cells.

EBioMedicine 2020 Dec 6;62:103098. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Viale Regina Elena 324, 00161 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: ICIs have strongly improved the outcome of NSCLC patients. However, primary and secondary resistance occur during treatment in most of the patients, with several of them developing fast progressions. Autoantibodies can be related with a dysfunctional immune system, although their association with immune-based anti-cancer therapies has never been investigated. Moreover, so far no reliable predictive factor is currently available to aid in treatment selection. CD137T-cells are largely known to be the anti-tumor activated effector cells, but they have never been associated with the response to immunotherapies.

Methods: Forty-two patients with metastatic NSCLC receiving anti-PD-1 ICIs at Sant'Andrea Hospital and Policlinico Umberto I, from June 2016 to September 2018 were enrolled. Circulating levels of IgM-Rheumatoid Factor were evaluated at baseline and correlated with patients clinical response following the anti-PD-1 treatment. IgM-RF interaction and effect on T-cells in vivo and in vitro were investigated.

Findings: IgM-RF in NSCLC patient sera strongly predicted the development of early progression to ICIs. Also, a significant reduction of progression-free survival rate in anti-PD-1 treated patients could be identified when patients were stratified based on IgM-RF positivity and titers. IgM-RF bound preferentially circulating naïve and central memory T-cells and a significant reduction of CD137 anti-tumor T effector cells was found in IgM-RF positive patients. In addition, a higher percentage of CD137T-cells in peripheral blood of NSCLC patients at baseline resulted as a strong independent prognostic factor for a better outcome in terms of PFS and OS after the anti-PD-1 treatment. Furthermore, T-cells exposed to IgM-RF showed a robust defect in their migratory ability in response to CCL19 chemokine.

Interpretation: In this study we showed that serum IgM-RF can be regarded as predictive factor for the development of early progression and prognostic factor of a reduced progression-free survival and overall-survival in anti-PD-1 treated NSCLC patients. The ability of IgM-RF to bind naïve and central memory T-cells and impair their migration could make account for the reduction of the tumor-reactive CD137 T-cells population that may cause a non-effectiveness of these T-cells targeting drugs.

Fundings: AIRC, MIUR and Sapienza University of Rome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.103098DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7658668PMC
December 2020

Soluble Immune Checkpoints, Gut Metabolites and Performance Status as Parameters of Response to Nivolumab Treatment in NSCLC Patients.

J Pers Med 2020 11 4;10(4). Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy.

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have been shown to benefit from the introduction of anti-PD1 treatment. However, not all patients experience tumor regression and durable response. The identification of a string of markers that are direct or indirect indicators of the immune system fitness is needed to choose optimal therapeutic schedules in the management of NSCLC patients. We analyzed 34 immuno-related molecules (14 soluble immune checkpoints, 17 cytokines/chemokines, 3 adhesion molecules) released in the serum of 22 NSCLC patients under Nivolumab treatment and the gut metabolomic profile at baseline. These parameters were correlated with performance status (PS) and/or response to treatment. Nivolumab affected the release of soluble immune checkpoints (sICs). Patients with a better clinical outcome and with an optimal PS (PS = 0) showed a decreased level of PD1 and maintained low levels of several sICs at first clinical evaluation. Low levels of PDL1, PDL2, Tim3, CD137 and BTLA4 were also correlated with a long response to treatment. Moreover, responding patients showed a high proportion of eubiosis-associated gut metabolites. In this exploratory study, we propose a combination of immunological and clinical parameters (sICs, PS and gut metabolites) for the identification of patients more suitable for Nivolumab treatment. This string of parameters validated in a network analysis on a larger cohort of patients could help oncologists to improve their decision-making in an NSCLC setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7712566PMC
November 2020

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

Tissue Immune Profile: A Tool to Predict Response to Neoadjuvant Therapy in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 16;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 16.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, 00187 Rome, Italy.

Pathological complete response (pCR) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) can predict better survival outcomes in patients with early triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), Programmed Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1), and Cluster of Differentiation 73 (CD73) are immune-related biomarkers that can be evaluated in the tumor microenvironment. We investigated if the contemporary expression of these biomarkers combined in a tissue immune profile (TIP) can predict pCR better than single biomarkers in TNBC. Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), CD73 expression by cancer cells (CC), and PD-L1 expression by immune cells (IC) were evaluated on pre-NACT biopsies. We defined TIP positive (TIP+) as the simultaneous presence of TILS ≥ 50%, PD-L1 ≥ 1%, and CD73 ≤ 40%. To consider the effects of all significant variables on the pCR, multivariate analysis was performed. Akaike information criterion (AIC) and Bayesian information criterion (BIC) were used for model selection. We retrospectively analyzed 60 biopsies from patients with TNBC who received standard NACT. Pathological complete response was achieved in 23 patients (38.0%). Twelve (20.0%) cases resulted to be TIP+. The pCR rate was significantly different between TIP+ (91.7%) and TIP- (25.0%) ( < 0.0001). Using a multivariate analysis, TIP was confirmed as an independent predictive factor of pCR (OR 49.7 (6.30-392.4), < 0.0001). Finally, we compared the efficacy of TIP versus each single biomarker in predicting pCR by AIC and BIC. The combined immune profile is more accurate in predicting pCR (AIC 68.3; BIC 74.5) as compared to single biomarkers. The association between TIP+ and pCR can be proposed as a novel link between immune background and response to chemotherapy in TNBC, highlighting the need to consider an immunological patients' profile rather than single biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092648DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7565153PMC
September 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

Induction chemotherapy in nonlaryngeal human papilloma virus-negative high-risk head and neck cancer: a real-world experience.

Anticancer Drugs 2020 11;31(10):1074-1083

Clinical and Molecular Medicine.

The role of induction chemotherapy in the multidisciplinary treatment of locally advanced, nonlaryngeal high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV)-negative head and neck squamous cells carcinoma (HNSCC) is uncertain in terms of overall survival (OS). The primary objective of this study was to identify possible predictive factors of survival and outcome in patients with HNSCC who were treated with induction chemotherapy. Fifty-nine patients with stage IVa/b HPV-negative non-laryngeal HNSCC (mostly originating from the oral cavity) who underwent induction chemotherapy at Policlinico Umberto I were reviewed. Treatment outcomes in term of objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), OS and toxicities were analyzed. A significant association between nodal status, ORR, ongoing smoking use, toxicities and OS was demonstrated. ORR (obtained in 61% of patients) was associated with a reduction in mortality of 80% (P< 0.0001). Early discontinuation after just one cycle of induction chemotherapy was associated to a significantly shorter OS. In oral cavity radical surgery with negative margins was obtained in 15/16 patients. In 42% of patients G3-G4 toxicity occurred. Toxicity requiring hospitalization occurred in 42% and 21% of patients with oropharyngeal and oral cavity carcinoma, respectively. Five patients died of treatment-related causes. No treatment-related mortality occurred in oral cavity patients. G5 toxicities were different according to the sub-sites of disease (P = 0.05). Induction chemotherapy in non-laryngeal high-risk HNSCC is an active strategy, most importantly in oral cavity cancer, even though burdened with a high (G ≥ 3) toxicity and early discontinuation rate. These data will however need to be confirmed in further and larger studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000000977DOI Listing
November 2020

Neoadjuvant Immune-Checkpoint Blockade in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Current Evidence and Literature-Based Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 3;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Chemotherapy based on the sequential use of anthracyclines and taxanes has long represented the most efficacious approach in the management of early-stage, triple-negative breast cancer, whose aggressive behavior is widely renowned. This standard chemotherapy backbone was subsequently enriched by the use of carboplatin, based on its association with increased pathologic complete response and efficacy in the metastatic setting. Following the results from the IMpassion130 trial, the recent approval of the immunotherapic agent atezolizumab in combination with chemotherapy as first-line treatment for programmed-death ligand 1-positive, unresectable locally advanced, or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer increasingly fueled the flourishing of trials of immune-checkpoint inhibitors in the early setting. In this work, we review the most recent inherent literature in light of key methodological issues and provide a quantitative summary of the results from phase II-III randomized trials of immunotherapic agents combined with chemotherapy in the setting of interest. Hints regarding future directions are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092497DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7565914PMC
September 2020

Management of myelofibrosis and concomitant advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma with ruxolitinib associated with cemiplimab.

Ann Hematol 2021 Aug 27;100(8):2117-2119. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Hematology, Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, Azienda Ospedaliera Policlinico Umberto 1, Sapienza University, Via Benevento 6, 00161, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00277-020-04236-7DOI Listing
August 2021

Retrospective Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Synthetic Glue and a Fibrin-Based Sealant for the Prevention of Seroma Following Axillary Dissection in Breast Cancer Patients.

Front Oncol 2020 17;10:1061. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Department of Surgical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Seroma formation represents one of the most frequent postoperative complications of axillary dissection in breast cancer (BC) patients. We aimed to retrospectively explore the effectiveness of the intraoperative use of a synthetic cyanoacrylate glue (specifically Glubran®2) vs. the intraoperative use of a fibrin sealant (specifically Tisseel) in reducing seroma formation compared to the use of nonsealant in BC patients who underwent breast surgery and axillary dissection. We conducted a retrospective, monocentric observational study on BC patients who underwent axillary dissection associated with breast surgery. The axillary dissection was completed with the application of a closed suction drain and was preceded by the application of either Glubran®2 glue or Tisseel sealant or nonsealant. We analyzed the quantity of serum drained in the first 3 postoperative days, length of hospitalization, days of permanence of axillary drain, seroma development, and presence of postoperative infection signs. Forty-one BC patients were considered. Based on the device used during the surgical treatment, the patients were divided into three groups: group A (17 patients), to whom suction axillary drain was applied; group B (7 patients), to whom Tisseel and axillary suction drain were applied; and group C (17 patients), to whom Glubran®2 and axillary suction drain were applied. Among the three groups, we did not find significant differences in terms of amount of serum drained in the first 3 postoperative days, length of hospitalization, and incidence of seroma. Group C maintained the axillary drain in a significantly lower number of days compared to the other two groups ( = 0.02); it also had a lower incidence of postoperative infections (6%) compared to group A (23%) and group B (57%) ( = 0.02). We did not find any evidence that the use of surgical glues may reduce the formation of seroma following axillary dissection in BC patients. Nevertheless, the use of cyanoacrylate glue in association with closed suction axillary drain seems to contribute to the reduction in days of axillary drain permanence and of postoperative infections, which are known factors delaying the schedule of any adjuvant oncological therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.01061DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7379884PMC
July 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

Tryptophan Catabolism as Immune Mechanism of Primary Resistance to Anti-PD-1.

Front Immunol 2020 7;11:1243. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

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

Clinical trials showed that only a subset of patients benefits from immunotherapy, suggesting the need to identify new predictive biomarker of resistance. Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) has been proposed as a mechanism of resistance to anti-PD-1 treatment, and serum kynurenine/tryptophan (kyn/trp) ratio represents a possible marker of IDO activity. Metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) treated with nivolumab as second-line treatment were included in this prospective study. Baseline serum kyn and trp levels were measured by high-performance liquid chromatography to define the kyn/trp ratio. The χ-test and -test were applied to compare frequencies and mean values of kyn/trp ratio between subgroups with distinct clinical/pathological features, respectively. Median baseline kyn/trp ratio was defined and used as cutoff in order to stratify the patients. The association between kyn/trp ratio, clinical/pathological characteristics, response, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) was analyzed. Fifty-five patients were included. Mean baseline serum kyn/trp ratio was significantly lower in female than in male patients (0.048 vs. 0.059, respectively, = 0.044) and in patients with lung metastasis than in others (0.053 vs. 0.080, respectively, = 0.017). Mean baseline serum kyn/trp ratio was significantly higher in early progressor patients with both squamous and non-squamous NSCLC ( = 0.003) and with a squamous histology cancer (19 squamous NSCLC and 14 HNSCC, = 0.029). The median value of kyn/trp ratio was 0.06 in the overall population. With the use of median value as cutoff, patients with kyn/trp ratio > 0.06 had a higher risk to develop an early progression (within 3 months) to nivolumab with a trend toward significance ( = 0.064 at multivariate analysis). Patients presenting a baseline kyn/trp ratio ≤0.06 showed a longer PFS [median 8 vs. 3 months; hazard ratio (HR): 0.49; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.24-1.02; = 0.058] and a significantly better OS than did those with a kyn/trp ratio > 0.06 (median 16 vs. 4 months; HR: 0.39; 95% CI 0.19-0.82; = 0.013). Serum kyn/trp ratio could have both prognostic and predictive values in patients with solid tumor treated with immunotherapy, probably reflecting a primary immune-resistant mechanism regardless of the primary tumor histology. Its relative weight is significantly related to gender, site of metastasis, NSCLC, and squamous histology, although these suggestive data need to be confirmed in larger studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7358280PMC
April 2021
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