Publications by authors named "Andrew Haydon"

78 Publications

Ipilimumab alone or ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with metastatic melanoma resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 monotherapy: a multicentre, retrospective, cohort study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Melanoma Institute Australia, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Mater Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Anti-PD-1 therapy (hereafter referred to as anti-PD-1) induces long-term disease control in approximately 30% of patients with metastatic melanoma; however, two-thirds of patients are resistant and will require further treatment. We aimed to determine the efficacy and safety of ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (pembrolizumab or nivolumab) compared with ipilimumab monotherapy in patients who are resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 therapy (hereafter referred to as anti-PD-[L]1).

Methods: This multicentre, retrospective, cohort study, was done at 15 melanoma centres in Australia, Europe, and the USA. We included adult patients (aged ≥18 years) with metastatic melanoma (unresectable stage III and IV), who were resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 (innate or acquired resistance) and who then received either ipilimumab monotherapy or ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (pembrolizumab or nivolumab), based on availability of therapies or clinical factors determined by the physician, or both. Tumour response was assessed as per standard of care (CT or PET-CT scans every 3 months). The study endpoints were objective response rate, progression-free survival, overall survival, and safety of ipilimumab compared with ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1.

Findings: We included 355 patients with metastatic melanoma, resistant to anti-PD-(L)1 (nivolumab, pembrolizumab, or atezolizumab), who had been treated with ipilimumab monotherapy (n=162 [46%]) or ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (n=193 [54%]) between Feb 1, 2011, and Feb 6, 2020. At a median follow-up of 22·1 months (IQR 9·5-30·9), the objective response rate was higher with ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (60 [31%] of 193 patients) than with ipilimumab monotherapy (21 [13%] of 162 patients; p<0·0001). Overall survival was longer in the ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 group (median overall survival 20·4 months [95% CI 12·7-34·8]) than with ipilimumab monotherapy (8·8 months [6·1-11·3]; hazard ratio [HR] 0·50, 95% CI 0·38-0·66; p<0·0001). Progression-free survival was also longer with ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 (median 3·0 months [95% CI 2·6-3·6]) than with ipilimumab (2·6 months [2·4-2·9]; HR 0·69, 95% CI 0·55-0·87; p=0·0019). Similar proportions of patients reported grade 3-5 adverse events in both groups (59 [31%] of 193 patients in the ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 group vs 54 [33%] of 162 patients in the ipilimumab group). The most common grade 3-5 adverse events were diarrhoea or colitis (23 [12%] of 193 patients in the ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 group vs 33 [20%] of 162 patients in the ipilimumab group) and increased alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase (24 [12%] vs 15 [9%]). One death occurred with ipilimumab 26 days after the last treatment: a colon perforation due to immune-related pancolitis.

Interpretation: In patients who are resistant to anti-PD-(L)1, ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 seemed to yield higher efficacy than ipilimumab with a higher objective response rate, longer progression-free, and longer overall survival, with a similar rate of grade 3-5 toxicity. Ipilimumab plus anti-PD-1 should be favoured over ipilimumab alone as a second-line immunotherapy for these patients with advanced melanoma.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00097-8DOI Listing
May 2021

The role of local therapy in the treatment of solitary melanoma progression on immune checkpoint inhibition: A multicentre retrospective analysis.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 7;151:72-83. Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Division of Molecular Oncology and Immunology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Albinusdreef 2, 2333 AZ Leiden, the Netherlands.

Introduction: In patients with metastatic melanoma, progression of a single tumour lesion (solitary progression) after response to immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) is increasingly treated with local therapy. We evaluated the role of local therapy for solitary progression in melanoma.

Patients And Methods: Patients with metastatic melanoma treated with ICI between 2010 and 2019 with solitary progression as first progressive event were included from 17 centres in 9 countries. Follow-up and survival are reported from ICI initiation.

Results: We identified 294 patients with solitary progression after stable disease in 15%, partial response in 55% and complete response in 30%. The median follow-up was 43 months; the median time to solitary progression was 13 months, and the median time to subsequent progression after treatment of solitary progression (TTSP) was 33 months. The estimated 3-year overall survival (OS) was 79%; median OS was not reached. Treatment consisted of systemic therapy (18%), local therapy (36%), both combined (42%) or active surveillance (4%). In 44% of patients treated for solitary progression, no subsequent progression occurred. For solitary progression during ICI (n = 143), the median TTSP was 29 months. Both TTSP and OS were similar for local therapy, ICI continuation and both combined. For solitary progression post ICI (n = 151), the median TTSP was 35 months. TTSP was higher for ICI recommencement plus local therapy than local therapy or ICI recommencement alone (p = 0.006), without OS differences.

Conclusion: Almost half of patients with melanoma treated for solitary progression after initial response to ICI had no subsequent progression. This study suggests that local therapy can benefit patients and is associated with favourable long-term outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.04.003DOI Listing
May 2021

Combination anti-PD1 and ipilimumab therapy in patients with advanced melanoma and pre-existing autoimmune disorders.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 May;9(5)

Department of Medical Oncology, Westmead and Blacktown Hospital, New South Wales, New South Wales, Australia

Background: Clinical trials of immunotherapy have excluded patients with pre-existing autoimmune disease. While the safety and efficacy of single agent ipilimumab and anti-PD1 antibodies in patients with autoimmune disease has been examined in retrospective studies, no data are available for combination therapy which has significantly higher toxicity risk. We sought to establish the safety and efficacy of combination immunotherapy for patients with advanced melanoma and pre-existing autoimmune diseases.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients with advanced melanoma and pre-existing autoimmune disease who received combination ipilimumab and anti-PD1 at 10 international centers from March 2015 to February 2020. Data regarding the autoimmune disease, treatment, toxicity and outcomes were examined in patients.

Results: Of the 55 patients who received ipilimumab and anti-PD1, the median age was 63 years (range 23-83). Forty-six were treated with ipilimumab and nivolumab and nine with ipilimumab and pembrolizumab.Eighteen patients (33%) had a flare of their autoimmune disease including 4 of 7 with rheumatoid arthritis, 3 of 6 with psoriasis, 5 of 10 with inflammatory bowel disease, 3 of 19 with thyroiditis, 1 of 1 with Sjogren's syndrome, 1 of 1 with polymyalgia and 1 of 1 with Behcet's syndrome and psoriasis. Eight (44%) patients ceased combination therapy due to flare. Thirty-seven patients (67%) had an unrelated immune-related adverse event (irAE), and 20 (36%) ceased combination immunotherapy due to irAEs. There were no treatment-related deaths. Patients on immunosuppression (OR 4.59; p=0.03) had a higher risk of flare.The overall response rate was 55%, with 77% of responses ongoing. Median progression free survival and overall survival were 10 and 24 months, respectively. Patients on baseline immunosuppression had an overall survival of 11 months (95% CI 3.42 to 18.58) compared with 31 months without (95% CI 20.89 to 41.11, p=0.005).

Conclusions: In patients with pre-existing autoimmune disease, not on immunosuppression and advanced melanoma, combination ipilimumab and anti-PD1 has similar efficacy compared with previously reported trials. There is a risk of flare of pre-existing autoimmune disorders, particularly in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatologic conditions, and patients on baseline immunosuppression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002121DOI Listing
May 2021

Adapting pharmacy experiential education during COVID-19: Innovating remote preceptor resources, tools, and patient care delivery beyond virtual meetings.

Am J Health Syst Pharm 2021 May 5. Epub 2021 May 5.

Department of Pharmacy Practice, Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA, USA.

Disclaimer: In an effort to expedite the publication of articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, AJHP is posting these manuscripts online as soon as possible after acceptance. Accepted manuscripts have been peer-reviewed and copyedited, but are posted online before technical formatting and author proofing. These manuscripts are not the final version of record and will be replaced with the final article (formatted per AJHP style and proofed by the authors) at a later time.

Purpose: To describe the innovative teaching practices, tools, and resources for remote learning developed by a school of pharmacy with a decentralized experiential program to empower and support preceptors in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Summary: As the pandemic has continued, there have been significant shifts in pharmacy workflow, staffing, and patient care delivery. Pharmacy students are slowly being reintegrated into these learning environments. Although preceptors are willing and eager to teach, many lack the resources, tools, and support to create remote learning experiences at their facilities. The University of the Pacific Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy has a decentralized experiential education model in which faculty regional coordinators with clinical practices and diverse expertise are disseminated throughout California. This model allowed us to collaborate and understand preceptor needs from a local level. We created a preceptor COVID-19 guidance document, introduced innovative virtual playbooks to pivot up to 100% remote rotations, and promoted the layered learning model to integrate pharmacy residents into the remote teaching space. Communication and flexibility are key to ensure student and preceptor safety while maintaining high-quality advanced pharmacy practice experiences and preserving patient-student relationships in telehealth.

Conclusion: Overall, we successfully created innovative solutions and leveraged our decentralized experiential model to meet the teaching and learning demands during an unanticipated crisis. We continue to adapt and plan to assess the effectiveness of the tools by administering surveys of preceptors and pharmacy students.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajhp/zxab192DOI Listing
May 2021

Circulating tumor DNA dynamics and recurrence risk in patients undergoing curative intent resection of colorectal cancer liver metastases: A prospective cohort study.

PLoS Med 2021 May 3;18(5):e1003620. Epub 2021 May 3.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: In patients with resectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM), the role of pre- and postoperative systemic therapy continues to be debated. Previous studies have shown that circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis, as a marker of minimal residual disease, is a powerful prognostic factor in patients with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Serial analysis of ctDNA in patients with resectable CRLM could inform the optimal use of perioperative chemotherapy. Here, we performed a validation study to confirm the prognostic impact of postoperative ctDNA in resectable CRLM observed in a previous discovery study.

Methods And Findings: We prospectively collected plasma samples from patients with resectable CRLM, including presurgical and postsurgical samples, serial samples during any pre- or postoperative chemotherapy, and serial samples in follow-up. Via targeted sequencing of 15 genes commonly mutated in CRC, we identified at least 1 somatic mutation in each patient's tumor. We then designed a personalized assay to assess 1 mutation in plasma samples using the Safe-SeqS assay. A total of 380 plasma samples from 54 patients recruited from July 2011 to Dec 2014 were included in our analysis. Twenty-three (43%) patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 42 patients (78%) received adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery. Median follow-up was 51 months (interquartile range, 31 to 60 months). At least 1 somatic mutation was identified in all patients' tumor tissue. ctDNA was detectable in 46/54 (85%) patients prior to any treatment and 12/49 (24%) patients after surgery. There was a median 40.93-fold (19.10 to 87.73, P < 0.001) decrease in ctDNA mutant allele fraction with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, but ctDNA clearance during neoadjuvant chemotherapy was not associated with a better recurrence-free survival (RFS). Patients with detectable postoperative ctDNA experienced a significantly lower RFS (HR 6.3; 95% CI 2.58 to 15.2; P < 0.001) and overall survival (HR 4.2; 95% CI 1.5 to 11.8; P < 0.001) compared to patients with undetectable ctDNA. For the 11 patients with detectable postoperative ctDNA who had serial ctDNA sampling during adjuvant chemotherapy, ctDNA clearance was observed in 3 patients, 2 of whom remained disease-free. All 8 patients with persistently detectable ctDNA after adjuvant chemotherapy have recurred. End-of-treatment (surgery +/- adjuvant chemotherapy) ctDNA detection was associated with a 5-year RFS of 0% compared to 75.6% for patients with an undetectable end-of-treatment ctDNA (HR 14.9; 95% CI 4.94 to 44.7; P < 0.001). Key limitations of the study include the small sample size and the potential for false-positive findings with multiple hypothesis testing.

Conclusions: We confirmed the prognostic impact of postsurgery and posttreatment ctDNA in patients with resected CRLM. The potential utility of serial ctDNA analysis during adjuvant chemotherapy as an early marker of treatment efficacy was also demonstrated. Further studies are required to define how to optimally integrate ctDNA analyses into decision-making regarding the use and timing of adjuvant therapy for resectable CRLM.

Trial Registration: ACTRN12612000345886.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003620DOI Listing
May 2021

Prediagnosis alcohol intake and metachronous cancer risk in cancer survivors: A prospective cohort study.

Int J Cancer 2021 Apr 19. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Alcohol consumption is a known cause of cancer, but its role in the etiology of second primary (metachronous) cancer is uncertain. Associations between alcohol intake up until study enrollment (prediagnosis) and risk of metachronous cancer were estimated using 9435 participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study who were diagnosed with their first invasive cancer after enrollment (1990-1994). Follow-up was from date of first invasive cancer until diagnosis of metachronous cancer, death or censor date (February 2018), whichever came first. Alcohol intake for 10-year periods from age 20 until decade encompassing baseline using recalled beverage-specific frequency and quantity was used to calculate baseline and lifetime intakes, and group-based intake trajectories. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for potential confounders. After a mean follow-up of 7 years, 1512 metachronous cancers were identified. A 10 g/d increment in prediagnosis lifetime alcohol intake (HR = 1.03, 95% CI = 1.00-1.06; P = .02) and an intake of ≥60 g/d (HR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.01-1.73) were associated with increased metachronous cancer risk. We observed positive associations (per 10 g/d increment) for metachronous colorectal (HR = 1.07, 95% CI = 1.00-1.14), upper aero-digestive tract (UADT) (HR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.00-1.34) and kidney cancer (HR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.10-1.39). Although these findings were partly explained by effects of smoking, the association for kidney cancer remained unchanged when current smokers or obese individuals were excluded. Alcohol intake trajectories over the life course confirmed associations with metachronous cancer risk. Prediagnosis long-term alcohol intake, and particularly heavy drinking, may increase the risk of metachronous cancer, particularly of the colorectum, UADT and kidney.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33603DOI Listing
April 2021

Adjuvant pembrolizumab versus placebo in resected stage III melanoma (EORTC 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054): health-related quality-of-life results from a double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2021 05 12;22(5):655-664. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

EORTC Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054 trial in patients with resected, high-risk stage III melanoma demonstrated improved recurrence-free survival with adjuvant pembrolizumab compared with placebo (hazard ratio 0·57 [98·4% CI 0·43-0·74]; p<0·0001). This study reports the results from the health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) exploratory endpoint.

Methods: This double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial was done at 123 academic centres and community hospitals across 23 countries. Patients aged 18 years or older with previously untreated histologically confirmed stage IIIA, IIIB, or IIIC resected cutaneous melanoma, and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score of 1 or 0 were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) using a central interactive voice-response system on the basis of a minimisation technique stratified for stage and geographic region to receive intravenously 200 mg pembrolizumab or placebo. Treatment was administered every 3 weeks for 1 year, or until disease recurrence, unacceptable toxicity, or death. The primary endpoint of the trial was recurrence-free survival (reported elsewhere). HRQOL was a prespecified exploratory endpoint, with global health/quality of life (GHQ) over 2 years measured by the EORTC QLQ-C30 as the primary analysis. Analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02362594, and EudraCT, 2014-004944-37, and long-term follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between Aug 26, 2015, and Nov 14, 2016, 1019 patients were assigned to pembrolizumab (n=514) or placebo (n=505). Median follow-up was 15·1 months (IQR 12·8-16·9) at the time of this analysis. HRQOL compliance was greater than 90% at baseline, greater than 70% during the first year, and greater than 60% thereafter for both groups. Because of low absolute compliance numbers at later follow-up, the analysis was truncated to week 84. Baseline GHQ scores were similar between groups (77·55 [SD 18·20] in the pembrolizumab group and 76·54 [17·81] in the placebo group) and remained stable over time. The difference in average GHQ score between the two groups over the 2 years was -2·2 points (95% CI -4·3 to -0·2). The difference in average score during treatment was -1·1 points (95% CI -3·2 to 0·9) and the difference in average score after treatment was -2·2 points (-4·8 to 0·4). These differences are within the 5-point clinical relevance threshold for the QLQ-C30 and are therefore clinically non-significant.

Interpretation: Pembrolizumab does not result in a clinically significant decrease in HRQOL compared with placebo when given as adjuvant therapy for patients with resected, high-risk stage III melanoma. These results support the use of adjuvant pembrolizumab in this setting.

Funding: Merck Sharp & Dohme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00081-4DOI Listing
May 2021

Adjuvant pembrolizumab versus placebo in resected stage III melanoma (EORTC 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054): distant metastasis-free survival results from a double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2021 05 12;22(5):643-654. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

EORTC Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 1325/KEYNOTE-054 trial assessed pembrolizumab versus placebo in patients with resected high-risk stage III melanoma. At 15-month median follow-up, pembrolizumab improved recurrence-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0·57 [98·4% CI 0·43-0·74], p<0·0001) compared with placebo, leading to its approval in the USA and Europe. This report provides the final results for the secondary efficacy endpoint, distant metastasis-free survival and an update of the recurrence-free survival results.

Methods: This double-blind, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial was done at 123 academic centres and community hospitals across 23 countries. Patients aged 18 years or older with complete resection of cutaneous melanoma metastatic to lymph node, classified as American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system, seventh edition (AJCC-7) stage IIIA (at least one lymph node metastasis >1 mm), IIIB, or IIIC (without in-transit metastasis), and with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1 were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) via a central interactive voice response system to receive intravenous pembrolizumab 200 mg or placebo every 3 weeks for up to 18 doses or until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity. Randomisation was stratified according to disease stage and region, using a minimisation technique, and clinical investigators, patients, and those collecting or analysing the data were masked to treatment assignment. The two coprimary endpoints were recurrence-free survival in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population and in patients with PD-L1-positive tumours. The secondary endpoint reported here was distant metastasis-free survival in the ITT and PD-L1-positive populations. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02362594, and EudraCT, 2014-004944-37.

Findings: Between Aug 26, 2015, and Nov 14, 2016, 1019 patients were assigned to receive either pembrolizumab (n=514) or placebo (n=505). At an overall median follow-up of 42·3 months (IQR 40·5-45·9), 3·5-year distant metastasis-free survival was higher in the pembrolizumab group than in the placebo group in the ITT population (65·3% [95% CI 60·9-69·5] in the pembrolizumab group vs 49·4% [44·8-53·8] in the placebo group; HR 0·60 [95% CI 0·49-0·73]; p<0·0001). In the 853 patients with PD-L1-positive tumours, 3·5-year distant metastasis-free survival was 66·7% (95% CI 61·8-71·2) in the pembrolizumab group and 51·6% (46·6-56·4) in the placebo group (HR 0·61 [95% CI 0·49-0·76]; p<0·0001). Recurrence-free survival remained longer in the pembrolizumab group 59·8% (95% CI 55·3-64·1) than the placebo group 41·4% (37·0-45·8) at this 3·5-year follow-up in the ITT population (HR 0·59 [95% CI 0·49-0·70]) and in those with PD-L1-positive tumours 61·4% (56·3-66·1) in the pembrolizumab group and 44·1% (39·2-48·8) in the placebo group (HR 0·59 [95% CI 0·49-0·73]).

Interpretation: Pembrolizumab adjuvant therapy provided a significant and clinically meaningful improvement in distant metastasis-free survival at a 3·5-year median follow-up, which was consistent with the improvement in recurrence-free survival. Therefore, the results of this trial support the indication to use adjuvant pembrolizumab therapy in patients with resected high risk stage III cutaneous melanoma.

Funding: Merck Sharp & Dohme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00065-6DOI Listing
May 2021

Salvage Treatment Using Anti-PD-1/CTLA-4 Immunotherapy After Failure of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Microsatellite Instable Gastroesophageal Carcinoma.

Oncologist 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Medical Oncology, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Perioperative chemotherapy is standard treatment for patients with early high-risk gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma independent of molecular subtype. Approximately 8% of gastroesophageal cancers have a microsatellite instable phenotype (MSI-H), and retrospective analyses of neoadjuvant/adjuvant chemotherapy trials suggests no survival benefit in this patient population compared with surgery alone. Patients with advanced MSI-H malignancies obtain durable responses with immunotherapy using anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) checkpoint blockade. We describe a case of a patient with an early MSI-H gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma who progressed on neoadjuvant chemotherapy precluding subsequent surgical resection. The patient was subsequently treated with immunotherapy using the anti-PD-1 antibody nivolumab and the anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) antibody ipilimumab leading to a complete remission with biopsies of the residual tumor mass and regional lymph nodes revealing no residual tumor. This case highlights the lack of benefit from neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with MSI-H gastroesophageal cancers and suggests that perioperative anti-PD-1-based immunotherapy should be further investigated in this patient population. KEY POINTS: This report describes the successful salvage treatment of a patient with an early high-risk MSI-H gastroesophageal carcinoma who progressed through neoadjuvant chemotherapy using combination immunotherapy of the anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibody nivolumab and the anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) antibody ipilimumab, leading to an ongoing complete remission. The case is in keeping with retrospective analyses of perioperative treatment trials demonstrating a lack of chemotherapy benefit in patients with MSI-H gastroesophageal carcinoma and supports the further investigation of anti-PD-1-based immunotherapy as a treatment modality in this patient population. The case highlights the potential difficulties that may be encountered in the surgical management of patients treated with neoadjuvant immunotherapy with reactive dense fibrotic changes precluding surgical resection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/onco.13793DOI Listing
April 2021

Chronic Immune-Related Adverse Events Following Adjuvant Anti-PD-1 Therapy for High-risk Resected Melanoma.

JAMA Oncol 2021 Mar 25. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.

Importance: Agents targeting programmed cell death 1 (PD-1)/PD ligand 1 (PD-L1) improve long-term survival across many advanced cancers and are now used as adjuvant therapy for resected stage III and IV melanomas. The incidence and spectrum of chronic immune-related adverse events (irAEs) have not been well defined.

Objective: To determine the incidence, time course, spectrum, and associations of chronic irAEs arising from adjuvant anti-PD-1 therapy.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This retrospective multicenter cohort study was conducted between 2015 and 2020 across 8 academic medical centers in the United States and Australia. Patients with stage III to IV melanomas treated with anti-PD-1 in the adjuvant setting were included.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Incidence, types, and time course of chronic irAEs (defined as irAEs persisting at least 12 weeks after therapy cessation).

Results: Among 387 patients, the median (range) age was 63 (17-88) years, and 235 (60.7%) were male. Of these patients, 267 (69.0%) had any acute irAE, defined as those arising during treatment with anti-PD-1, including 52 (19.5%) with grades 3 through 5 events; 1 patient each had fatal myocarditis and neurotoxicity. Chronic irAEs, defined as those that persisted beyond 12 weeks of anti-PD-1 discontinuation, developed in 167 (43.2%) patients, of which most (n = 161; 96.4%) were mild (grade 1 or 2) and most persisted until last available follow-up (n = 143; 85.6%). Endocrinopathies (73 of 88; 83.0%), arthritis (22 of 45; 48.9%), xerostomia (9 of 17; 52.9%), neurotoxicities (11 of 15; 73.3%), and ocular events (5 of 8; 62.5%) were particularly likely to become chronic. In contrast, irAEs affecting visceral organs (liver, colon, lungs, kidneys) had much lower rates of becoming chronic irAEs; for example, colitis became chronic in 6 of 44 (13.6%) cases, of which 4 of 6 (66.7%) resolved with prolonged follow-up. Age, gender, time of onset, and need for steroids were not associated with the likelihood of chronicity of irAEs.

Conclusion And Relevance: In this multicenter cohort study, chronic irAEs associated with anti-PD-1 therapy appear to be more common than previously recognized and frequently persisted even with prolonged follow-up, although most were low grade. The risks of chronic irAEs should be integrated into treatment decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.0051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7995124PMC
March 2021

Findings and Resolution of Melanoma Perineural Spread Along the Greater Auricular Nerve on FDG PET/CT and MRI.

Clin Nucl Med 2021 06;46(6):e329-e331

From the Victorian Melanoma Service.

Abstract: We report an unusual case of a 59-year-old man with recurrent right ear melanoma resulting in perineural spread to the right greater auricular nerve. Direct perineural spread to the greater auricular nerve is not commonly reported in melanoma. Our case demonstrates perineural spread along the greater auricular nerve on 18F-FDG PET/CT and MRI. This finding was supported by intraneural invasion noted at the surgical margin of the wide local excision of the right helix melanoma. Resolution of FDG activity and improved MRI appearances of the right greater auricular nerve were seen after immunotherapy treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/RLU.0000000000003534DOI Listing
June 2021

Lifetime alcohol intake, drinking patterns over time and risk of stomach cancer: A pooled analysis of data from two prospective cohort studies.

Int J Cancer 2021 Jun 22;148(11):2759-2773. Epub 2021 Feb 22.

Hellenic Health Foundation, Athens, Greece.

Alcohol consumption is causally linked to several cancers but the evidence for stomach cancer is inconclusive. In our study, the association between long-term alcohol intake and risk of stomach cancer and its subtypes was evaluated. We performed a pooled analysis of data collected at baseline from 491 714 participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition and the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated for incident stomach cancer in relation to lifetime alcohol intake and group-based life course intake trajectories, adjusted for potential confounders including Helicobacter pylori infection. In all, 1225 incident stomach cancers (78% noncardia) were diagnosed over 7 094 637 person-years; 984 in 382 957 study participants with lifetime alcohol intake data (5 455 507 person-years). Although lifetime alcohol intake was not associated with overall stomach cancer risk, we observed a weak positive association with noncardia cancer (HR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.00-1.06 per 10 g/d increment), with a HR of 1.50 (95% CI: 1.08-2.09) for ≥60 g/d compared to 0.1 to 4.9 g/d. A weak inverse association with cardia cancer (HR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.87-1.00) was also observed. HRs of 1.48 (95% CI: 1.10-1.99) for noncardia and 0.51 (95% CI: 0.26-1.03) for cardia cancer were observed for a life course trajectory characterized by heavy decreasing intake compared to light stable intake (P = .02). These associations did not differ appreciably by smoking or H pylori infection status. Limiting alcohol use during lifetime, particularly avoiding heavy use during early adulthood, might help prevent noncardia stomach cancer. Heterogeneous associations observed for cardia and noncardia cancers may indicate etiologic differences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33504DOI Listing
June 2021

Reduced melanoma referrals during COVID-19 lockdown.

Aust J Gen Pract 2021 Jan 22. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

MBBS, FACD, PhD, Director, Victorian Melanoma Service, Alfred Hospital, Vic; Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Vic.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced face-to-face medical consultations, reduced diagnoses of thin melanomas and delayed presentations of thick melanomas were anticipated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.31128/AJGP-COVID-45DOI Listing
January 2021

Reply to E. Hindié.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Mar 25;39(8):944-946. Epub 2021 Jan 25.

Alexander M. M. Eggermont, MD, PhD, Princess Máxima Center, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Christian U. Blank, MD, PhD, The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Mario Mandala, MD, Azienda Ospedaliera Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Italy; Georgina V. Long, BSc, MBBS, Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, and Mater and Royal North Shore Hospitals, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Victoria G. Atkinson, MBBS, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; St 00B4ephane Dalle, MD, PhD, Hospices Civils de Lyon Cancer Institute, Lyon, France; Andrew M. Haydon, MBBS, PhD, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Andrey Meshcheryakov, MD, PhD, N.N. Blokhin Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russian Federation; Adnan Khattak, MD, Fiona Stanley Hospital and Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia; Matteo S. Carlino, BMedSc, MBBS, Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals, Melanoma Institute Australia, and The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Shahneen Sandhu, MD, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; James Larkin, PhD, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, United Kingdom; Susana Puig, MD, PhD, Hospital Clinic Universitari de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; Paolo A. Ascierto, MD, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS "Fondazione G. Pascale," Naples, Italy; Piotr Rutkowski, MD, PhD, Maria Skłodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology, Warsaw, Poland; Dirk Schadendorf, MD, PhD, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany; German Cancer Consortium, Heidelberg, Germany; Rutger Koornstra, MD, PhD, Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; Leonel Hernandez-Aya, MD, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO; Anna Maria Di Giacomo, MD, Center for Immuno-Oncology, University Hospital of Siena, Siena, Italy; Alfonsus J. M. van den Eertwegh, MD, PhD, Amsterdam University Medical Center, location VUMC, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Jean-Jacques Grob, MD, Aix Marseille University, Hôpital de la Timone, Marseille, France; Ralf Gutzmer, MD, Skin Cancer Center, Hannover Medical School, Hanover, Germany; Rahima Jamal, MD, BSc, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montreal (CHUM), Centre de recherche du CHUM, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Paul C. Lorigan, MD, Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom; Alexander C. J. van Akkooi, MD, PhD, The Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Clemens Krepler, MD, Merck & Co, Inc, Kenilworth, NJ; Nageatte Ibrahim, MD, Merck & Co, Inc, Kenilworth, NJ; Sandrine Marreaud, MD, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium; Michal Kicinski, PhD, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium; Stefan Suciu, PhD, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium; and Caroline Robert, MD, PhD, Gustave Roussy and Paris-Saclay University, Villejuif, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03463DOI Listing
March 2021

Diet and risk of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.

Public Health Nutr 2021 Jan 21:1-13. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Objective: To examine associations between diet and risk of developing gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Design: Prospective cohort with a median follow-up of 15·8 years. Baseline diet was measured using a FFQ. GERD was defined as self-reported current or history of daily heartburn or acid regurgitation beginning at least 2 years after baseline. Sex-specific logistic regressions were performed to estimate OR for GERD associated with diet quality scores and intakes of nutrients, food groups and individual foods and beverages. The effect of substituting saturated fat for monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat on GERD risk was examined.

Setting: Melbourne, Australia.

Participants: A cohort of 20 926 participants (62 % women) aged 40-59 years at recruitment between 1990 and 1994.

Results: For men, total fat intake was associated with increased risk of GERD (OR 1·05 per 5 g/d; 95 % CI 1·01, 1·09; P = 0·016), whereas total carbohydrate (OR 0·89 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·82, 0·98; P = 0·010) and starch intakes (OR 0·84 per 30 g/d; 95 % CI 0·75, 0·94; P = 0·005) were associated with reduced risk. Nutrients were not associated with risk for women. For both sexes, substituting saturated fat for polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat did not change risk. For both sexes, fish, chicken, cruciferous vegetables and carbonated beverages were associated with increased risk, whereas total fruit and citrus were associated with reduced risk. No association was observed with diet quality scores.

Conclusions: Diet is a possible risk factor for GERD, but food considered as triggers of GERD symptoms might not necessarily contribute to disease development. Potential differential associations for men and women warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980021000197DOI Listing
January 2021

Eftilagimod alpha, a soluble lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3) protein plus pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic melanoma.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Research and Development, Immutep SAS, Orsay, France

Background: To evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of eftilagimod alpha (efti), a soluble lymphocyte activation gene-3 protein, in combination with the programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) antagonist pembrolizumab.

Methods: The study was divided into two parts; parts A and B, where part A was the dose escalation part and part B was an extension part of the study. Patients with metastatic melanoma were treated with efti plus the standard dose of pembrolizumab. Blood samples were assayed to determine plasma pharmacokinetic parameters, detect efti antibody formation and determine long-lived CD8 T cell responses and associated pharmacodynamic parameters.

Results: Twenty-four patients with melanoma received pembrolizumab and bi-weekly subcutaneous (s.c.) injections of efti at doses 1 mg, 6 mg or 30 mg/injection for up to 6 months (part A) or 30 mg/injection for up 12 months (part B). No dose-limiting toxicities were reported and the main adverse event for efti was injection site reactions. Sustained systemic exposure to the product was obtained in all patients following s.c. injections of 30 mg dose. Treatment induced an increase in activated CD8 and CD4 T cell counts, and in some of the soluble biomarkers, particularly interferon (IFN)-γ, a Th1 signature cytokine. An overall response rate (ORR) of 33% was observed in patients partly with pembrolizumab-refractory of part A and ORR of 50% was observed in patients with PD-1 naïve of part B.

Conclusions: Efti was well tolerated in combination with pembrolizumab with encouraging antitumor activity. This warrants further clinical studies of this new combination therapy combining an antigen-presenting cell activator with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001681DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682474PMC
November 2020

Melanoma recurrence patterns and management after adjuvant targeted therapy: a multicentre analysis.

Br J Cancer 2021 Feb 22;124(3):574-580. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Department of Medical Oncology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: Adjuvant targeted therapy (TT) improves relapse free survival in patients with resected BRAF mutant stage III melanoma. The outcomes and optimal management of patients who relapse after adjuvant TT is unknown.

Methods: Patients from twenty-one centres with recurrent melanoma after adjuvant TT were included. Disease characteristics, adjuvant therapy, recurrence, treatment at relapse and outcomes were examined.

Results: Eighty-five patients developed recurrent melanoma; nineteen (22%) during adjuvant TT. Median time to first recurrence was 18 months and median follow-up from first recurrence was 31 months. Fifty-eight (68%) patients received immunotherapy (IT) or TT as 1st line systemic therapy at either first or subsequent recurrence and had disease that was assessable for response. Response to anti-PD-1 (±trial agent), combination ipilimumab-nivolumab, TT rechallenge and ipilimumab monotherapy was 63%, 62% 25% and 10% respectively. Twenty-eight (33%) patients had died at census, all from melanoma. Two-year OS was 84% for anti-PD-1 therapy (±trial agent), 92% for combination ipilimumab and nivolumab, 49% for TT and 45% for ipilimumab monotherapy (p = 0.028).

Conclusions: Patients who relapse after adjuvant TT respond well to subsequent anti-PD-1 based therapy and have outcomes similar to those seen when first line anti-PD-1 therapy is used in stage IV melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01121-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851118PMC
February 2021

Prognostic significance of postsurgery circulating tumor DNA in nonmetastatic colorectal cancer: Individual patient pooled analysis of three cohort studies.

Int J Cancer 2021 Feb 6;148(4):1014-1026. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Division of Personalised Oncology, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Studies in multiple solid tumor types have demonstrated the prognostic significance of ctDNA analysis after curative intent surgery. A combined analysis of data across completed studies could further our understanding of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as a prognostic marker and inform future trial design. We combined individual patient data from three independent cohort studies of nonmetastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Plasma samples were collected 4 to 10 weeks after surgery. Mutations in ctDNA were assayed using a massively parallel sequencing technique called SafeSeqS. We analyzed 485 CRC patients (230 Stage II colon, 96 Stage III colon, and 159 locally advanced rectum). ctDNA was detected after surgery in 59 (12%) patients overall (11.0%, 12.5% and 13.8% for samples taken at 4-6, 6-8 and 8-10 weeks; P = .740). ctDNA detection was associated with poorer 5-year recurrence-free (38.6% vs 85.5%; P < .001) and overall survival (64.6% vs 89.4%; P < .001). The predictive accuracy of postsurgery ctDNA for recurrence was higher than that of individual clinicopathologic risk features. Recurrence risk increased exponentially with increasing ctDNA mutant allele frequency (MAF) (hazard ratio, 1.2, 2.5 and 5.8 for MAF of 0.1%, 0.5% and 1%). Postsurgery ctDNA was detected in 3 of 20 (15%) patients with locoregional and 27 of 60 (45%) with distant recurrence (P = .018). This analysis demonstrates a consistent long-term impact of ctDNA as a prognostic marker across nonmetastatic CRC, where ctDNA outperforms other clinicopathologic risk factors and MAF further stratifies recurrence risk. ctDNA is a better predictor of distant vs locoregional recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33312DOI Listing
February 2021

Towards new models of cancer care in Australia: lessons from Victoria's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intern Med J 2020 Oct 20;50(10):1282-1285. Epub 2020 Sep 20.

Department of Oncology, Monash University and Monash Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria (DHHS), the Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC) and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) pooled their combined infrastructure to establish the Victorian COVID-19 Cancer Network (VCCN) backed by a Taskforce of expert members. In a few short months, this state-wide clinical network implemented a number of new models of care including clinics to manage acutely presenting cancer patients away from emergency departments, chemotherapy in the home, telehealth models and addressing sustainability of clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imj.15012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7537092PMC
October 2020

Longer Follow-Up Confirms Recurrence-Free Survival Benefit of Adjuvant Pembrolizumab in High-Risk Stage III Melanoma: Updated Results From the EORTC 1325-MG/KEYNOTE-054 Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2020 11 18;38(33):3925-3936. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

Purpose: We conducted the phase III double-blind European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) 1325/KEYNOTE-054 trial to evaluate pembrolizumab versus placebo in patients with resected high-risk stage III melanoma. On the basis of 351 recurrence-free survival (RFS) events at a 1.25-year median follow-up, pembrolizumab prolonged RFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.57; < .0001) compared with placebo. This led to the approval of pembrolizumab adjuvant treatment by the European Medicines Agency and US Food and Drug Administration. Here, we report an updated RFS analysis at the 3.05-year median follow-up.

Patients And Methods: A total of 1,019 patients with complete lymph node dissection of American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging Manual (seventh edition; AJCC-7), stage IIIA (at least one lymph node metastasis > 1 mm), IIIB, or IIIC (without in-transit metastasis) cutaneous melanoma were randomly assigned to receive pembrolizumab at a flat dose of 200 mg (n = 514) or placebo (n = 505) every 3 weeks for 1 year or until disease recurrence or unacceptable toxicity. The two coprimary end points were RFS in the overall population and in those with programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive tumors.

Results: Pembrolizumab (190 RFS events) compared with placebo (283 RFS events) resulted in prolonged RFS in the overall population (3-year RFS rate, 63.7% 44.1% for pembrolizumab placebo, respectively; HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.68) and in the PD-L1-positive tumor subgroup (HR, 0.57; 99% CI, 0.43 to 0.74). The impact of pembrolizumab on RFS was similar in subgroups, in particular according to AJCC-7 and AJCC-8 staging, and mutation status (HR, 0.51 [99% CI, 0.36 to 0.73] 0.66 [99% CI, 0.46 to 0.95] for V600 wild type).

Conclusion: In resected high-risk stage III melanoma, pembrolizumab adjuvant therapy provided a sustained and clinically meaningful improvement in RFS at 3-year median follow-up. This improvement was consistent across subgroups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02110DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7676886PMC
November 2020

The acceleration of ageing in older patients with cancer.

J Geriatr Oncol 2021 Apr 12;12(3):343-351. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Medical Oncology, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Older cancer survivors may experience ageing at an accelerated rate when compared to their similar-aged, cancer-free counterparts. Ageing is undoubtedly a significant risk factor for cancer. There is evidence to suggest, however, that this relationship may in fact be bidirectional, with cancer and its treatments contributing to the ageing process. In this review, we outline the current literature linking cancer and anti-cancer therapy to adverse ageing outcomes and explore what additional research is needed in order to conclusively define cancer and its treatment as an accelerator of ageing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jgo.2020.09.010DOI Listing
April 2021

Five-Year Analysis of Adjuvant Dabrafenib plus Trametinib in Stage III Melanoma.

N Engl J Med 2020 09 2;383(12):1139-1148. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

From University Hospital Zurich Skin Cancer Center, Zurich, Switzerland (R.D.); University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel (A. Hauschild), University Hospital Essen, Essen (D.S.), and German Cancer Consortium, Heidelberg (D.S.) - all in Germany; Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan (M.S.), Papa Giovanni XXIII Cancer Center Hospital, Bergamo (M.M.), and the Melanoma Oncology Unit, Veneto Oncology Institute-IRCCS, Padua (V.C.S.) - all in Italy; Princess Alexandra Hospital, Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, University of Queensland, Brisbane (V.A.), Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC (A. Haydon), and Melanoma Institute Australia, University of Sydney, and Royal North Shore and Mater Hospitals, Sydney (G.V.L.) - all in Australia; the Melanoma Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh (J.M.K.); Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London (J.L.), and the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital and Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne (R.P.) - both in the United Kingdom; Oslo University Hospital, the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo (M.N.); Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bordeaux, Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux (C.D.), Gustave Roussy and Paris-Sud-Paris-Saclay University, Villejuif (C.R.), Université de Lille, INSERM Unité 1189, Lille (L.M.), and the Medical Oncology Department, Centre Eugène Marquis, Rennes (T.L.) - all in France; Ella Lemelbaum Institute for Immuno-Oncology and Melanoma, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv - both in Israel (J.S.); Novartis Healthcare, Hyderabad, India (K.D.); and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ (E.G., M.T.).

Background: In the previously reported primary analysis of this phase 3 trial, 12 months of adjuvant dabrafenib plus trametinib resulted in significantly longer relapse-free survival than placebo in patients with resected stage III melanoma with V600E or V600K mutations. To confirm the stability of the relapse-free survival benefit, longer-term data were needed.

Methods: We randomly assigned 870 patients who had resected stage III melanoma with V600E or V600K mutations to receive 12 months of oral dabrafenib (at a dose of 150 mg twice daily) plus trametinib (2 mg once daily) or two matched placebos. The primary end point was relapse-free survival. Here, we report 5-year results for relapse-free survival and survival without distant metastasis as the site of the first relapse. Overall survival was not analyzed, since the required number of events to trigger the final overall survival analysis had not been reached.

Results: The minimum duration of follow-up was 59 months (median patient follow-up, 60 months for dabrafenib plus trametinib and 58 months for placebo). At 5 years, the percentage of patients who were alive without relapse was 52% (95% confidence interval [CI], 48 to 58) with dabrafenib plus trametinib and 36% (95% CI, 32 to 41) with placebo (hazard ratio for relapse or death, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.42 to 0.61). The percentage of patients who were alive without distant metastasis was 65% (95% CI, 61 to 71) with dabrafenib plus trametinib and 54% (95% CI, 49 to 60) with placebo (hazard ratio for distant metastasis or death, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.44 to 0.70). No clinically meaningful between-group difference in the incidence or severity of serious adverse events was reported during the follow-up period.

Conclusions: In the 5-year follow-up of a phase 3 trial involving patients who had resected stage III melanoma with V600E or V600K mutations, 12 months of adjuvant therapy with dabrafenib plus trametinib resulted in a longer duration of survival without relapse or distant metastasis than placebo with no apparent long-term toxic effects. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis; COMBI-AD ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01682083; EudraCT number, 2012-001266-15.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2005493DOI Listing
September 2020

Effect of Aspirin on Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Older Adults.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Mar;113(3):258-265

Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of daily low-dose aspirin (100 mg) in older adults, showed an increase in all-cause mortality, primarily due to cancer. In contrast, prior randomized controlled trials, mainly involving younger individuals, demonstrated a delayed cancer benefit with aspirin. We now report a detailed analysis of cancer incidence and mortality.

Methods: 19 114 Australian and US community-dwelling participants aged 70 years and older (US minorities 65 years and older) without cardiovascular disease, dementia, or physical disability were randomly assigned and followed for a median of 4.7 years. Fatal and nonfatal cancer events, a prespecified secondary endpoint, were adjudicated based on clinical records.

Results: 981 cancer events occurred in the aspirin and 952 in the placebo groups. There was no statistically significant difference between groups for all incident cancers (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.95 to 1.14), hematological cancer (HR = 0.98, 95% CI = 0.73 to 1.30), or all solid cancers (HR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.95 to 1.15), including by specific tumor type. However, aspirin was associated with an increased risk of incident cancer that had metastasized (HR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.00 to 1.43) or was stage 4 at diagnosis (HR = 1.22, 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.45), and with higher risk of death for cancers that presented at stages 3 (HR = 2.11, 95% CI = 1.03 to 4.33) or 4 (HR = 1.31, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.64).

Conclusions: In older adults, aspirin treatment had an adverse effect on later stages of cancer evolution. These findings suggest that in older persons, aspirin may accelerate the progression of cancer and, thus, suggest caution with its use in this age group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa114DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7936068PMC
March 2021

Impact of Radiotherapy on the Efficacy and Toxicity of anti-PD-1 Inhibitors in Metastatic NSCLC.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 Jun 10. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Department of Medical Oncology, Monash Health, Clayton, Melbourne, Australia; School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: The impact of radiotherapy (RT) on the efficacy and toxicity of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unclear.

Materials And Methods: We identified patients with metastatic NSCLC treated with the anti-programmed death 1 antibodies nivolumab or pembrolizumab between January 2016 and May 2019 at 3 tertiary centers, who were also treated with palliative RT either during or within 3 months of starting anti-programmed death 1 treatment. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and treatment history were collected. Response rates, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were analyzed and correlated with RT use.

Results: A total of 269 patients were identified, with a median follow-up of 19.4 months. The median age was 70 years (range, 35-90 years), and they were 63% male, 60% smokers, and 65% had adenocarcinoma histology. At the commencement of ICI treatment, the majority (86%) had ≥ 1 line of prior therapy and 34% had brain metastases. A total of 102 (38%) patients received RT within 3 months of starting ICI or subsequently during ICI treatment. Of patients that received RT, 86 (84%) received conventional hypofractionated RT, and, in the majority, 81 (79%) the intent of RT was symptom control. The use of RT did not increase grade 3/4 immune-related adverse events. The overall median PFS was 2.0 months (95% confidence interval, 1.3-2.6 months) and the median OS was 9.0 months (95% confidence interval, 6.4-9.5 months). There were no significant differences in median PFS (3.0 vs. 2.0 months; P = .515) and median OS (9.0 vs. 9.0 months; P = .917) in the patients who received RT versus those that did not.

Conclusions: In patients with metastatic NSCLC, the addition of RT to ICI was not associated with increased toxicity or improved survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.06.001DOI Listing
June 2020

Cancer history and risk factors in healthy older people enrolling in the ASPREE clinical trial.

Contemp Clin Trials 2020 09 31;96:106095. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia. Electronic address:

Background: Cancer is a leading cause of death globally. Given the elevated risk of cancer with age and an ageing population, it is important to understand the changing burden of cancer in older populations. The ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study randomised healthy older individuals to 100 mg aspirin or placebo, with clinical outcomes and disability-free survival endpoints. Detailed baseline data provides a rare opportunity to explore cancer burden in a uniquely healthy older population.

Methods: At study enrolment (2010-2014), self-reported personal cancer history, cancer type and cancer risk factor data were sought from 19,114 participants (Australia, n = 16,703; U.S., n = 2411). Eligible participants were healthy, free of major diseases and expected to survive 5 years.

Results: Nearly 20% of enrolling ASPREE participants reported a prior cancer diagnosis; 18% of women and 22% of men, with women diagnosed younger (16% vs 6% of diagnoses <50 years). Cancer prevalence increased with age. Prevalence of prostate and breast cancer history were higher in U.S. participants; melanoma and colorectal cancer were higher in Australian participants. Cancer history prevalence was not associated with contemporary common risk factors nor previous aspirin use, but was associated with poor health ratings in men. Blood and breast cancer history were more common with past aspirin use.

Conclusions: Personal cancer history in healthy older ASPREE participants was as expected for the most common cancer types in the respective populations, but was not necessarily aligned with known risk factors. We attribute this to survivor bias, likely driven by entry criteria.

Trial Registration: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register (ISRCTN83772183) and clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01038583).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2020.106095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009087PMC
September 2020

Caution in the age of optimism; a salient lesson in advanced melanoma.

Ann Transl Med 2020 Jun;8(11):720

Department of Medical Oncology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/atm.2020.01.125DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7327371PMC
June 2020

Stereotactic Radiation Therapy Combined With Immunotherapy Against Metastatic Melanoma: Long-Term Results of a Phase 1 Clinical Trial.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 09 22;108(1):150-156. Epub 2020 May 22.

Alfred Health Radiation Oncology, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Purpose: To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR) in combination with immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma. The study also investigates the effects of timing and dosing of SABR on clinical efficacy.

Methods: Metastatic melanoma patients with at least 2 metastases received SABR to a single metastatic site. All patients had standard dose immunotherapy with anti-PD1 or anti-CTLA4 at the discretion of their treating clinician. Following a standard 3 + 3 design, patients were escalated through 3 SABR doses (10 Gy, 15 Gy, and 20 Gy) delivered at 3 different time points (with cycle 1, 2, or 3 of immunotherapy). Dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) were defined as grade 3 or higher toxicity within 3 months of first treatment and assessed by an independent data safety monitoring committee (IDSMC). Logistic or Cox regressions were used to assess the impact of SABR dose and timing on the progression free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of this cohort.

Results: Twenty-four patients were enrolled with a median clinical follow-up of 28 months. Four patients (16.7%) developed DLTs; 1 DLT occurred at a SABR-treated site, and all patients received 15 Gy. On this basis the IDSMC recommended stopping the trial and the MTD was defined at 10 Gy. The 2-year PFS was 21.9% (95% CI, 7.1%-41.8%) and 2-year OS was 49.6% (95% CI, 28.7%-67.6%). The median PFS for those receiving 10 Gy was numerically higher than for those receiving 15 Gy, 8.3 months versus 2.1 months (P = .38). The only treatment-related factor associated with both improved PFS (HR 0.08, P < .01) and OS (HR 0.008, P ≤ .01) was receiving SABR with cycle 3. SABR dose (PFS P = .17, OS P = .50) was not significant.

Conclusions: SABR at 10 Gy can be safely combined with immunotherapy. SABR timing appears to influence efficacy more than dose and warrants consideration in research attempting to optimize synergism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.05.022DOI Listing
September 2020

Treatment of High Risk Resected Melanoma in Australia: Current Landscape and Practises.

Australas J Dermatol 2020 Aug 13;61(3):203-209. Epub 2020 May 13.

Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Stage III melanoma involves regional lymph nodes and/or in-transit or satellite disease, without spread to distant metastatic sites. Stage IIIA melanoma includes a T1a-T2a primary lesion with N1a or N2a nodal involvement, whilst stage IIID melanoma includes a T4b primary lesion with N3a-N3c nodal involvement. With surgery alone, patients with stage IIIA melanoma have 10-year survival rates of ~88%; however, patients with stage IIID melanoma have 10-year survival rates of only ~24%. Targeted therapy and immunotherapy are being explored in stage III disease as adjuvant therapy after surgical resection, to eliminate micro-metastatic disease and thereby prevent relapse of melanoma and increase patient survival. A number of pivotal trials published in the last two years have shown improved relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival in patients with stage III melanoma treated with adjuvant therapy. COMBI-AD showed adjuvant dabrafenib and trametinib improving RFS compared with placebo (HR 0.49; 95% CI 0.40-0.59). Checkmate-238 demonstrated an improvement in RFS of adjuvant nivolumab over ipilimumab (HR 0.68, P < 0.001) whilst Keynote-054 demonstrated an improvement in RFS with adjuvant pembrolizumab over placebo (HR 0.57, P < 0.001). Many nuances need to be considered when interpreting this data, including implications of an updated staging system, which patients are suitable for adjuvant therapy and the choice between adjuvant targeted therapy and immunotherapy in BRAF mutant patients. This review article summaries the currently available literature on adjuvant targeted therapy and provides a guide on applying this data in everyday practise.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajd.13309DOI Listing
August 2020

Metastatic melanoma presenting as intravenous tumour thrombus.

J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol 2020 Dec 30;64(6):814-816. Epub 2020 Mar 30.

Department of Medical Oncology, Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Tumour thrombus is a complication that occurs when a malignancy invades into the vasculature, occluding its lumen. Here, we present a rare case of melanoma tumour thrombus of the great saphenous vein of the left thigh, which was diagnosed on F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography and ultrasound-guided biopsy, and responded well to immunotherapy with pembrolizumab.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1754-9485.13019DOI Listing
December 2020

Phase I, Open-Label, Dose-Escalation/Dose-Expansion Study of Lifirafenib (BGB-283), an RAF Family Kinase Inhibitor, in Patients With Solid Tumors.

J Clin Oncol 2020 07 17;38(19):2140-2150. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Purpose: Lifirafenib is an investigational, reversible inhibitor of B-RAF, wild-type A-RAF, B-RAF, C-RAF, and EGFR. This first-in-human, phase I, dose-escalation/dose-expansion study evaluated the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of lifirafenib in patients with - or -mutated solid tumors.

Methods: During dose escalation, adult patients with histologically/cytologically confirmed advanced solid tumors received escalating doses of lifirafenib. Primary end points were safety/tolerability during dose escalation and objective response rate in preselected patients with and mutations during dose expansion.

Results: The maximum tolerated dose was established as 40 mg/d; dose-limiting toxicities included reversible thrombocytopenia and nonhematologic toxicity. Across the entire study, the most common grade ≥ 3 treatment-emergent adverse events were hypertension (n = 23; 17.6%) and fatigue (n = 13; 9.9%). One patient with -mutated melanoma achieved complete response, and 8 patients with mutations had confirmed objective responses: melanoma (n = 5, including 1 patient treated with prior B-RAF/MEK inhibitor therapy), thyroid cancer/papillary thyroid cancer (PTC; n = 2), and low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC; n = 1). One patient with -mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had unconfirmed partial response (PR). Patients with -mutated endometrial cancer and codon 12-mutated NSCLC had confirmed PR (n = 1 each). No responses were seen in patients with -mutated colorectal cancer (n = 20).

Conclusion: Lifirafenib is a novel inhibitor of key RAF family kinases and EGFR, with an acceptable risk-benefit profile and antitumor activity in patients with -mutated solid tumors, including melanoma, PTC, and LGSOC, as well as -mutated NSCLC and endometrial carcinoma. Future comparisons with first-generation B-RAF inhibitors and exploration of lifirafenib alone or as combination therapy in patients with selected mutations who are resistant/refractory to first-generation B-RAF inhibitors are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.02654DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325368PMC
July 2020