Publications by authors named "Angela DeMichele"

186 Publications

Circulating tumor cell number and endocrine therapy index in ER positive metastatic breast cancer patients.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 Jun 11;7(1):77. Epub 2021 Jun 11.

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Circulating tumor cells (CTC) are prognostic in metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The CTC-endocrine therapy index (CTC-ETI), consisting of CTC-ER (estrogen receptor), BCL2, human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER2), and Ki67 expression, might predict resistance to endocrine therapy (ET) in patients with ER-positive MBC. One hundred twenty-one patients with ER-positive/HER2-negative MBC initiating a new ET after ≥1 lines of ET were enrolled in a prospective, multi-institutional clinical trial. CTC-ETI and clinical/imaging follow-up were performed at baseline and serial time points. Progression-free survival (PFS) and rapid progression (RP; determined at the 3-month time point) were primary endpoints. Associations with clinical outcomes used logrank and Fisher's exact tests. At baseline, 36% (38/107) of patients had ≥5 CTC/7.5 ml whole blood (WB). Patients with ≥5 vs. <5 CTC/7.5 ml WB had significantly worse PFS (median 3.3 vs. 5.9 months, P = 0.03). Elevated CTC at 1 month was associated with even worse PFS (1.9 vs. 5.0 months from the 1-month sample, P < 0.001). Low, intermediate, and high CTC-ETI were observed in 71 (66%), 8 (8%), and 28 (26%) patients, with median PFS of 6.9, 8.5, and 2.8 months, respectively (P = 0.008). Patients with high vs. low CTC and CTC-ETI more frequently experienced RP (CTC: 66% vs. 41%; P = 0.03; CTC-ETI: 79% vs. 40%; P = 0.002). In conclusion, CTC enumeration and the CTC-ETI assay are prognostic at baseline and follow-up in patients with ER-positive/HER2-negative MBC starting new ET. CTC at first follow-up might identify a group of patients with ER-positive MBC that could forego ET, but CTC-ETI did not contribute further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-021-00281-1DOI Listing
June 2021

Randomized Phase III Postoperative Trial of Platinum-Based Chemotherapy Versus Capecitabine in Patients With Residual Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Following Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: ECOG-ACRIN EA1131.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Jun 6:JCO2100976. Epub 2021 Jun 6.

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center, Indianapolis, IN.

Purpose: Patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and residual invasive disease (RD) after completion of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) have a high-risk for recurrence, which is reduced by adjuvant capecitabine. Preclinical models support the use of platinum agents in the TNBC basal subtype. The EA1131 trial hypothesized that invasive disease-free survival (iDFS) would not be inferior but improved in patients with basal subtype TNBC treated with adjuvant platinum compared with capecitabine.

Patients And Methods: Patients with clinical stage II or III TNBC with ≥ 1 cm RD in the breast post-NAC were randomly assigned to receive platinum (carboplatin or cisplatin) once every 3 weeks for four cycles or capecitabine 14 out of 21 days every 3 weeks for six cycles. TNBC subtype (basal nonbasal) was determined by PAM50 in the residual disease. A noninferiority design with superiority alternative was chosen, assuming a 4-year iDFS of 67% with capecitabine.

Results: Four hundred ten of planned 775 participants were randomly assigned to platinum or capecitabine between 2015 and 2021. After median follow-up of 20 months and 120 iDFS events (61% of full information) in the 308 (78%) patients with basal subtype TNBC, the 3-year iDFS for platinum was 42% (95% CI, 30 to 53) versus 49% (95% CI, 39 to 59) for capecitabine. Grade 3 and 4 toxicities were more common with platinum agents. The Data and Safety Monitoring Committee recommended stopping the trial as it was unlikely that further follow-up would show noninferiority or superiority of platinum.

Conclusion: Platinum agents do not improve outcomes in patients with basal subtype TNBC RD post-NAC and are associated with more severe toxicity when compared with capecitabine. Participants had a lower than expected 3-year iDFS regardless of study treatment, highlighting the need for better therapies in this high-risk population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00976DOI Listing
June 2021

A randomized trial of exercise and diet on body composition in survivors of breast cancer with overweight or obesity.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Jun 5. Epub 2021 Jun 5.

Penn State College of Medicine, 400 University Drive, Hershey, PA, 17033, USA.

Purpose: Obesity increases the risk of cancer recurrence and death in survivors of breast cancer. This study tested the hypothesis that exercise alone, diet alone, and the combination of exercise plus diet reduce body weight and improve body composition in survivors of breast cancer.

Methods: In this 2 × 2 factorial trial, 351 survivors of breast cancer with overweight or obesity were randomized to one of four treatment groups for 52 weeks: control, exercise alone, diet alone, or exercise plus diet. Endpoints included body weight and body composition measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

Results: After 52 weeks, compared with control, diet alone [- 5.39 kg (95% CI - 7.24, - 3.55);- 6.0% (95% CI - 8.0, - 3.9)] and exercise plus diet [- 6.68 kg (95% CI - 8.46, - 4.90);- 7.4% (95% CI - 9.4, - 5.4)] reduced body weight; exercise alone did not change body weight. Compared with control, diet alone [- 3.59 kg (95% CI - 5.00, - 2.17)] and exercise plus diet [- 4.28 kg (95% CI - 5.71, - 2.84)] reduced fat mass; exercise alone did not change fat mass. Compared with control, diet alone [- 0.82 kg (95% CI - 1.50, - 0.15)] and exercise plus diet [- 1.24 kg (95% CI - 1.92, - 0.56)] reduced lean mass; exercise alone did not change lean mass. Compared with control, exercise alone, diet alone, and exercise plus diet did not change bone mineral density.

Conclusion: In survivors of breast cancer with overweight or obesity, diet alone or diet plus exercise produced clinically meaningful weight loss at week 52. The majority of weight loss was fat mass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06284-7DOI Listing
June 2021

Prognostic Factors for Overall Survival in Patients with Hormone Receptor-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer: Analyses From PALOMA-3.

Oncologist 2021 May 26. Epub 2021 May 26.

Department of Molecular Oncology, Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom.

Background: This analysis investigated whether baseline characteristics affect the survival benefit derived from palbociclib-fulvestrant and the optimal timing of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor therapy for advanced breast cancer (ABC) in patients from PALOMA-3.

Patients And Methods: In total, 521 patients were randomized 2:1 to receive palbociclib (125 mg/day, 3/1 schedule)-fulvestrant (500 mg, intramuscular injection, on days 1 and 15 of cycle 1, and then day 1 of each subsequent cycle) or matching placebo-fulvestrant. Median overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: Multivariable analysis identified endocrine sensitivity, nonvisceral disease, no prior chemotherapy for ABC, and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) of 0 as significant prognostic factors for OS. Patients without chemotherapy for ABC had fewer prior lines of treatment in any setting and in the ABC setting versus patients with prior chemotherapy for ABC (two or fewer prior systemic therapies: 69% vs. 42%; no more than one prior line for ABC: 82% vs. 33%, respectively). Median OS was prolonged with palbociclib-fulvestrant in patients without prior chemotherapy for ABC (39.7 vs. 29.5 months; hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.56-1.01) and was similar in patients with prior chemotherapy for ABC (25.6 vs. 26.2 months; hazard ratio, 0.91 [95% CI: 0.63-1.32]) versus placebo-fulvestrant.

Conclusion: Prognostic factors for OS included endocrine sensitivity, nonvisceral disease, ECOG PS of 0, and no prior chemotherapy for ABC. Exploratory analyses suggest improved OS with palbociclib-fulvestrant versus placebo-fulvestrant in patients with no prior chemotherapy for ABC, prior endocrine sensitivity, and fewer prior regimens of systemic therapy. (Clinical trial identification number: NCT01942135).

Implications For Practice: Prognostic factors for overall survival in HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer (ABC) include the absence of prior chemotherapy in the advanced setting, endocrine sensitivity, nonvisceral disease, and an ECOG performance status of 0. Improved overall survival benefit was observed with palbociclib-fulvestrant versus placebo-fulvestrant in patients (regardless of menopausal status or visceral involvement) with no prior chemotherapy for ABC, with prior endocrine sensitivity, and fewer prior regimens of systemic therapy. Progression-free survival was prolonged with palbociclib across subgroups (regardless of chemotherapy exposure in ABC). These exploratory findings suggest that patients may receive greater clinical benefit from palbociclib-fulvestrant if they receive the combination before chemotherapy in the advanced setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/onco.13833DOI Listing
May 2021

CD8 T cells contribute to survival in patients with COVID-19 and hematologic cancer.

Nat Med 2021 May 20. Epub 2021 May 20.

Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Patients with cancer have high mortality from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the immune parameters that dictate clinical outcomes remain unknown. In a cohort of 100 patients with cancer who were hospitalized for COVID-19, patients with hematologic cancer had higher mortality relative to patients with solid cancer. In two additional cohorts, flow cytometric and serologic analyses demonstrated that patients with solid cancer and patients without cancer had a similar immune phenotype during acute COVID-19, whereas patients with hematologic cancer had impairment of B cells and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific antibody responses. Despite the impaired humoral immunity and high mortality in patients with hematologic cancer who also have COVID-19, those with a greater number of CD8 T cells had improved survival, including those treated with anti-CD20 therapy. Furthermore, 77% of patients with hematologic cancer had detectable SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses. Thus, CD8 T cells might influence recovery from COVID-19 when humoral immunity is deficient. These observations suggest that CD8 T cell responses to vaccination might provide protection in patients with hematologic cancer even in the setting of limited humoral responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01386-7DOI Listing
May 2021

Patient perspectives on chemotherapy de-escalation in breast cancer.

Cancer Med 2021 05 1;10(10):3288-3298. Epub 2021 May 1.

Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Background: Given excellent survival outcomes in breast cancer, there is interest in de-escalating the amount of chemotherapy delivered to patients. This approach may be of even greater importance in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: This concurrent mixed methods study included (1) interviews with patients and patient advocates and (2) a cross-sectional survey of women with breast cancer served by a charitable nonprofit organization. Questions evaluated interest in de-escalation trial participation, perceived barriers/facilitators to participation, and language describing de-escalation.

Results: Sixteen patient advocates and 24 patients were interviewed. Key barriers to de-escalation included fear of recurrence, worry about decision regret, lack of clinical trial interest, and dislike for focus on less treatment. Facilitators included trust in physician recommendation, toxicity avoidance, monitoring for progression, perception of good prognosis, and impact on daily life. Participants reported that the COVID-19 pandemic made them more likely to avoid chemotherapy if possible. Of 91 survey respondents, many (43%) patients would have been unwilling to participation in a de-escalation clinical trial. The most commonly reported barrier to participation was fear of recurrence (85%). Few patients (19%) considered clinical trials themselves as a barrier to de-escalation trial participation. The most popular terminology describing chemotherapy de-escalation was "lowest effective chemotherapy dose" (53%); no patients preferred the term "de-escalation."

Conclusions: Fear of recurrence is a common concern among breast cancer survivors and patient advocates, contributing to resistance to de-escalation clinical trial participation. Additional research is needed to understand how to engage patients in de-escalation trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3891DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8124110PMC
May 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Identification of Patient-Reported Outcome Phenotypes Among Oncology Patients With Palliative Care Needs.

JCO Oncol Pract 2021 Mar 24:OP2000849. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Division of Hematology and Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Purpose: Despite evidence-based guidelines recommending early palliative care, it remains unclear how to identify and refer oncology patients, particularly in settings with constrained access to palliative care. We hypothesize that patient-reported outcome (PRO) data can be used to characterize patients with palliative care needs. To determine if PRO data can identify latent phenotypes that characterize indications for specialty palliative care referral.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of self-reported symptoms on the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System collected from solid tumor oncology patients (n = 745) referred to outpatient palliative care. Data were collected as part of routine clinical care from October 2012 to March 2018 at eight community and academic sites. We applied latent profile analysis to identify PRO phenotypes and examined the association of phenotypes with clinical and demographic characteristics using multinomial logistic regression.

Results: We identified four PRO phenotypes: (1) Low Symptoms (n = 295, 39.6%), (2) Moderate Pain/Fatigue + Mood (n = 180, 24.2%), (3) Moderate Pain/Fatigue + Appetite + Dyspnea (n = 201, 27.0%), and (4) High Symptoms (n = 69, 9.3%). In a secondary analysis of 421 patients, we found that two brief items assessing social and existential needs aligned with higher severity symptom and psychological distress phenotypes.

Conclusion: Oncology patients referred to outpatient palliative care in a real-world setting can be differentiated into clinically meaningful phenotypes using brief, routinely collected PRO measures. Latent modeling provides a mechanism to use patient-reported data on a population level to identify distinct subgroups of patients with unmet palliative needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/OP.20.00849DOI Listing
March 2021

Phase I/II trial of exemestane, ribociclib, and everolimus in women with HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer after progression on CDK4/6 inhibitors (TRINITI-1).

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Mar 15. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Breast Medical Oncolohy, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

PURPOSE Standard-of-care treatment for metastatic hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer includes endocrine therapy (ET) combined with a cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor (CDK4/6i). Optimal treatment after progression on CDK4/6i is unknown. The TRINITI-1 trial investigated ribociclib, a CDK4/6i which has recently demonstrated significant OS benefit in 2 phase III trials, in combination with everolimus and exemestane in patients with HR+, HER2- advanced breast cancer (ABC) after progression on a CDK4/6i. METHODS This multicenter, open-label, single-arm, phase I/II study included patients with locally advanced/metastatic HR+/HER2- BC. The primary endpoint was clinical benefit rate (CBR) at week 24 among patients with ET-refractory disease with progression on a CDK4/6i. Other endpoints included safety and biomarker analysis. RESULTS Of 104 patients enrolled (phases I and II), 96 had prior CDK4/6i. Recommended phase II doses (all once daily days 1-28 of 28-day cycle) were ribociclib 300 mg, everolimus 2.5 mg, and exemestane 25 mg (group 1) and ribociclib 200 mg, everolimus 5 mg, and exemestane 25 mg (group 2). CBR among 95 efficacy-evaluable patients (phases I and II) at week 24 was 41.1% (95% CI, 31.1%-51.6%), which met the primary endpoint (predetermined threshold: 10%). Common adverse events included neutropenia (69.2%) and stomatitis (40.4%). No new safety signals were observed; no grade 3/4 QTc prolongation was reported. CONCLUSION Preliminary TRINITI-1 safety and efficacy results support further investigation of CDK4/6 blockade and targeting of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in patients with ETrefractory HR+/HER2- ABC after progression on a CDK4/6i.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2114DOI Listing
March 2021

CD8 T cells compensate for impaired humoral immunity in COVID-19 patients with hematologic cancer.

Res Sq 2021 Feb 2. Epub 2021 Feb 2.

Cancer patients have increased morbidity and mortality from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the underlying immune mechanisms are unknown. In a cohort of 100 cancer patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, we found that patients with hematologic cancers had a significantly higher mortality relative to patients with solid cancers after accounting for confounders including ECOG performance status and active cancer status. We performed flow cytometric and serologic analyses of 106 cancer patients and 113 non-cancer controls from two additional cohorts at Penn and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Patients with solid cancers exhibited an immune phenotype similar to non-cancer patients during acute COVID-19 whereas patients with hematologic cancers had significant impairment of B cells and SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses. High dimensional analysis of flow cytometric data revealed 5 distinct immune phenotypes. An immune phenotype characterized by CD8 T cell depletion was associated with a high viral load and the highest mortality of 71%, among all cancer patients. In contrast, despite impaired B cell responses, patients with hematologic cancers and preserved CD8 T cells had a lower viral load and mortality. These data highlight the importance of CD8 T cells in acute COVID-19, particularly in the setting of impaired humoral immunity. Further, depletion of B cells with anti-CD20 therapy resulted in almost complete abrogation of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG and IgM antibodies, but was not associated with increased mortality compared to other hematologic cancers, when adequate CD8 T cells were present. Finally, higher CD8 T cell counts were associated with improved overall survival in patients with hematologic cancers. Thus, CD8 T cells likely compensate for deficient humoral immunity and influence clinical recovery of COVID-19. These observations have important implications for cancer and COVID-19-directed treatments, immunosuppressive therapies, and for understanding the role of B and T cells in acute COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-162289/v1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7872363PMC
February 2021

Rates of COVID-19-Related Outcomes in Cancer Compared With Noncancer Patients.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2021 Feb 21;5(1):pkaa120. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Cancer patients are a vulnerable population postulated to be at higher risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in cancer patients may be attributable to age, comorbidities, smoking, health care exposure, and cancer treatments, and partially to the cancer itself. Most studies to date have focused on hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, thereby limiting the generalizability and interpretability of the association between cancer and COVID-19 severity. We compared outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in 323 patients enrolled in a population-based study before the pandemic (n = 67 cancer patients; n = 256 noncancer patients). After adjusting for demographics, smoking status, and comorbidities, a diagnosis of cancer was independently associated with higher odds of hospitalization (odds ratio = 2.16, 95% confidence interval = 1.12 to 4.18) and 30-day mortality (odds ratio = 5.67, 95% confidence interval = 1.49 to 21.59). These associations were primarily driven by patients with active cancer. These results emphasize the critical importance of preventing SARS-CoV-2 exposure and mitigating infection in cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa120DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7853171PMC
February 2021

Effects of systemic inflammation on relapse in early breast cancer.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 Jan 22;7(1). Epub 2021 Jan 22.

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.

Chronic inflammation has been a proposed mechanism of resistance to aromatase inhibitors in breast cancer. Stratifying by HER2 status, a matched case-control study from the Wellness After Breast Cancer-II cohort was performed to assess whether or not elevated serum inflammatory biomarkers (C-Reactive protein [CRP], interleukin-6 [IL-6], and serum amyloid A [SAA]) and/or the presence of a high-risk IL-6 promoter genotype were associated with recurrence of hormone receptor positive (HR+) early breast cancer. Estrogen levels were also measured and correlated with biomarkers and disease outcomes. CRP and SAA were significantly associated with an increased risk of recurrence in the HR+/HER2- group, but not the HR+/HER2+ group. Mean serum estrogen levels were non-significantly elevated in patients who relapsed vs. non-relapsed patients. Surprisingly, high-risk IL-6 promoter polymorphisms were strongly associated with HER2+ breast cancer relapse, which has potential therapeutic implications, as elevated intracellular IL-6 has been associated with trastuzumab resistance in pre-clinical models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00212-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7822844PMC
January 2021

SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity and seroconversion in patients undergoing active cancer-directed therapy.

medRxiv 2021 Jan 16. Epub 2021 Jan 16.

Multiple studies have demonstrated the negative impact of cancer care delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, and transmission mitigation techniques are imperative for continued cancer care delivery. To gauge the effectiveness of these measures at the University of Pennsylvania, we conducted a longitudinal study of SARS-CoV-2 antibody seropositivity and seroconversion in patients presenting to infusion centers for cancer-directed therapy between 5/21/2020 and 10/8/2020. Participants completed questionnaires and had up to five serial blood collections. Of 124 enrolled patients, only two (1.6%) had detectable SARS-CoV-2 antibodies on initial blood draw, and no initially seronegative patients developed newly detectable antibodies on subsequent blood draw(s), corresponding to a seroconversion rate of 0% (95%CI 0.0-4.1%) over 14.8 person-years of follow up, with a median of 13 healthcare visits per patient. These results suggest that cancer patients receiving in-person care at a facility with aggressive mitigation efforts have an extremely low likelihood of COVID-19 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.15.21249810DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7814843PMC
January 2021

Palbociclib with adjuvant endocrine therapy in early breast cancer (PALLAS): interim analysis of a multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 02 15;22(2):212-222. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Orlando Health, Orlando, FL, USA.

Background: Palbociclib added to endocrine therapy improves progression-free survival in hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer. The PALLAS trial aimed to investigate whether the addition of 2 years of palbociclib to adjuvant endocrine therapy improves invasive disease-free survival over endocrine therapy alone in patients with hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative, early-stage breast cancer.

Methods: PALLAS is an ongoing multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 study that enrolled patients at 406 cancer centres in 21 countries worldwide with stage II-III histologically confirmed hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, within 12 months of initial diagnosis. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance score of 0 or 1. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) in permuted blocks of random size (4 or 6), stratified by anatomic stage, previous chemotherapy, age, and geographical region, by use of central telephone-based and web-based interactive response technology, to receive either 2 years of palbociclib (125 mg orally once daily on days 1-21 of a 28-day cycle) with ongoing standard provider or patient-choice adjuvant endocrine therapy (tamoxifen or aromatase inhibitor, with or without concurrent luteinising hormone-releasing hormone agonist), or endocrine therapy alone, without masking. The primary endpoint of the study was invasive disease-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was assessed in all randomly assigned patients who started palbociclib or endocrine therapy. This report presents results from the second pre-planned interim analysis triggered on Jan 9, 2020, when 67% of the total number of expected invasive disease-free survival events had been observed. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02513394) and EudraCT (2014-005181-30).

Findings: Between Sept 1, 2015, and Nov 30, 2018, 5760 patients were randomly assigned to receive palbociclib plus endocrine therapy (n=2883) or endocrine therapy alone (n=2877). At the time of the planned second interim analysis, at a median follow-up of 23·7 months (IQR 16·9-29·2), 170 of 2883 patients assigned to palbociclib plus endocrine therapy and 181 of 2877 assigned to endocrine therapy alone had invasive disease-free survival events. 3-year invasive disease-free survival was 88·2% (95% CI 85·2-90·6) for palbociclib plus endocrine therapy and 88·5% (85·8-90·7) for endocrine therapy alone (hazard ratio 0·93 [95% CI 0·76-1·15]; log-rank p=0·51). As the test statistic comparing invasive disease-free survival between groups crossed the prespecified futility boundary, the independent data monitoring committee recommended discontinuation of palbociclib in patients still receiving palbociclib and endocrine therapy. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were neutropenia (1742 [61·3%] of 2840 patients on palbociclib and endocrine therapy vs 11 [0·3%] of 2903 on endocrine therapy alone), leucopenia (857 [30·2%] vs three [0·1%]), and fatigue (60 [2·1%] vs ten [0·3%]). Serious adverse events occurred in 351 (12·4%) of 2840 patients on palbociclib plus endocrine therapy versus 220 (7·6%) of 2903 patients on endocrine therapy alone. There were no treatment-related deaths.

Interpretation: At the planned second interim analysis, addition of 2 years of adjuvant palbociclib to adjuvant endocrine therapy did not improve invasive disease-free survival compared with adjuvant endocrine therapy alone. On the basis of these findings, this regimen cannot be recommended in the adjuvant setting. Long-term follow-up of the PALLAS population and correlative studies are ongoing.

Funding: Pfizer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30642-2DOI Listing
February 2021

Predicting breast cancer response to neoadjuvant treatment using multi-feature MRI: results from the I-SPY 2 TRIAL.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 Nov 27;6(1):63. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) MRI provides both morphological and functional information regarding breast tumor response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC). The purpose of this retrospective study is to test if prediction models combining multiple MRI features outperform models with single features. Four features were quantitatively calculated in each MRI exam: functional tumor volume, longest diameter, sphericity, and contralateral background parenchymal enhancement. Logistic regression analysis was used to study the relationship between MRI variables and pathologic complete response (pCR). Predictive performance was estimated using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC). The full cohort was stratified by hormone receptor (HR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status (positive or negative). A total of 384 patients (median age: 49 y/o) were included. Results showed analysis with combined features achieved higher AUCs than analysis with any feature alone. AUCs estimated for the combined versus highest AUCs among single features were 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.76, 0.86) versus 0.79 (95% CI: 0.73, 0.85) in the full cohort, 0.83 (95% CI: 0.77, 0.92) versus 0.73 (95% CI: 0.61, 0.84) in HR-positive/HER2-negative, 0.88 (95% CI: 0.79, 0.97) versus 0.78 (95% CI: 0.63, 0.89) in HR-positive/HER2-positive, 0.83 (95% CI not available) versus 0.75 (95% CI: 0.46, 0.81) in HR-negative/HER2-positive, and 0.82 (95% CI: 0.74, 0.91) versus 0.75 (95% CI: 0.64, 0.83) in triple negatives. Multi-feature MRI analysis improved pCR prediction over analysis of any individual feature that we examined. Additionally, the improvements in prediction were more notable when analysis was conducted according to cancer subtype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-020-00203-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7695723PMC
November 2020

Neoadjuvant Therapy for Melanoma: A U.S. Food and Drug Administration-Melanoma Research Alliance Public Workshop.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jan 13;27(2):394-401. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Melanoma Research Alliance, Washington, DC.

Tremendous progress has been made in treating patients with metastatic melanoma over the past decade. In that timeframe, the FDA has approved 12 novel treatments for patients with advanced unresectable melanoma, comprising both kinase-targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), and five treatments for adjuvant (postoperative) use in patients with high-risk resectable stage III melanoma. It is not known whether outcomes can be further improved by administering kinase inhibitors or ICI in the neoadjuvant (presurgical) setting in patients with high-risk resectable melanomas. Noting research community interest in exploring the neoadjuvant approach for treating melanoma and recognizing that early harmonization of methodologies may expedite the development of therapeutics in this space, the FDA and Melanoma Research Alliance convened a public workshop on November 6, 2019, in National Harbor, Maryland, to discuss key issues. The workshop consisted of 23 faculty and included more than 250 live participants. Topics discussed included opportunities for advancing novel endpoints for regulatory purposes as well as translational research, clinical trial design considerations, and strategies for optimizing patient selection while mitigating risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3285DOI Listing
January 2021

Setting the Pick: Can PI3K Inhibitors Circumvent CDK4/6 Inhibitor Resistance?

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jan 3;27(2):371-373. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

PI3K and CDK4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i) are targeted therapies approved to treat advanced breast cancer; CDK4/6is are more widely used. Here, we discuss trials that examine PI3K inhibitors with novel drug combinations, including a CDK4/6i, given data implicating the pathway in CDK 4/6 resistance..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3624DOI Listing
January 2021

Mutation Rates in Cancer Susceptibility Genes in Patients With Breast Cancer With Multiple Primary Cancers.

JCO Precis Oncol 2020 19;4. Epub 2020 Aug 19.

Basser Center for BRCA and Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Purpose: Women with breast cancer have a 4%-16% lifetime risk of a second primary cancer. Whether mutations in genes other than are enriched in patients with breast and another primary cancer over those with a single breast cancer (S-BC) is unknown.

Patients And Methods: We identified pathogenic germline mutations in 17 cancer susceptibility genes in patients with -negative breast cancer in 2 different cohorts: cohort 1, high-risk breast cancer program (multiple primary breast cancer [MP-BC], n = 551; S-BC, n = 449) and cohort 2, familial breast cancer research study (MP-BC, n = 340; S-BC, n = 1,464). Mutation rates in these 2 cohorts were compared with a control data set (Exome Aggregation Consortium [ExAC]).

Results: Overall, pathogenic mutation rates for autosomal, dominantly inherited genes were higher in patients with MP-BC versus S-BC in both cohorts (8.5% 4.9% [ = .02] and 7.1% 4.2% [ = .03]). There were differences in individual gene mutation rates between cohorts. In both cohorts, younger age at first breast cancer was associated with higher mutation rates; the age of non-breast cancers was unrelated to mutation rate. and mutations were significantly enriched in patients with MP-BC but not S-BC, whereas and mutations were significantly enriched in both groups compared with ExAC.

Conclusion: Mutation rates are at least 7% in all patients with mutation-negative MP-BC, regardless of age at diagnosis of breast cancer, with mutation rates up to 25% in patients with a first breast cancer diagnosed at age < 30 years. Our results suggest that all patients with breast cancer with a second primary cancer, regardless of age of onset, should undergo multigene panel testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.19.00301DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7496037PMC
August 2020

Rates of COVID-19-related Outcomes in Cancer compared to non-Cancer Patients.

medRxiv 2020 Aug 15. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104.

Cancer patients are a vulnerable population postulated to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infection. Increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in cancer patients may be attributable to age, comorbidities, smoking, healthcare exposure, and cancer treatments, and partially to the cancer itself. Most studies to date have focused on hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, thereby limiting the generalizability and interpretability of the association between cancer and COVID-19 severity. We compared outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in 323 patients enrolled prior to the pandemic in a large academic biobank (n=67 cancer patients and n=256 non-cancer patients). After adjusting for demographics, smoking status, and comorbidities, a diagnosis of cancer was independently associated with higher odds of hospitalization (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.12-4.18) and 30-day mortality (OR 5.67, CI 1.49-21.59). These associations were primarily driven by patients with active cancer. These results emphasize the critical importance of preventing SARS-CoV-2 exposure and mitigating infection in cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.14.20174961DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430598PMC
August 2020

Association of Event-Free and Distant Recurrence-Free Survival With Individual-Level Pathologic Complete Response in Neoadjuvant Treatment of Stages 2 and 3 Breast Cancer: Three-Year Follow-up Analysis for the I-SPY2 Adaptively Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 09;6(9):1355-1362

Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California, San Francisco.

Importance: Pathologic complete response (pCR) is a known prognostic biomarker for long-term outcomes. The I-SPY2 trial evaluated if the strength of this clinical association persists in the context of a phase 2 neoadjuvant platform trial.

Objective: To evaluate the association of pCR with event-free survival (EFS) and pCR with distant recurrence-free survival (DRFS) in subpopulations of women with high-risk operable breast cancer treated with standard therapy or one of several novel agents.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Multicenter platform trial of women with operable clinical stage 2 or 3 breast cancer with no prior surgery or systemic therapy for breast cancer; primary tumors were 2.5 cm or larger. Women with tumors that were ERBB2 negative/hormone receptor (HR) positive with low 70-gene assay score were excluded. Participants were adaptively randomized to one of several different investigational regimens or control therapy within molecular subtypes from March 2010 through 2016. The analysis included participants with follow-up data available as of February 26, 2019.

Interventions: Standard-of-care neoadjuvant therapy consisting of taxane treatment with or without (as control) one of several investigational agents or combinations followed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Pathologic complete response and 3-year EFS and DRFS.

Results: Of the 950 participants (median [range] age, 49 [23-77] years), 330 (34.7%) achieved pCR. Three-year EFS and DRFS for patients who achieved pCR were both 95%. Hazard ratios for pCR vs non-pCR were 0.19 for EFS (95% CI, 0.12-0.31) and 0.21 for DRFS (95% CI, 0.13-0.34) and were similar across molecular subtypes, varying from 0.14 to 0.18 for EFS and 0.10 to 0.20 for DRFS.

Conclusions And Relevance: The 3-year outcomes from the I-SPY2 trial show that, regardless of subtype and/or treatment regimen, including 9 novel therapeutic combinations, achieving pCR after neoadjuvant therapy implies approximately an 80% reduction in recurrence rate. The goal of the I-SPY2 trial is to rapidly identify investigational therapies that may improve pCR when validated in a phase 3 confirmatory trial. Whether pCR is a validated surrogate in the sense that a therapy that improves pCR rate can be assumed to also improve long-term outcome requires further study.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01042379.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7378873PMC
September 2020

Genomic landscape of metastatic breast cancer identifies preferentially dysregulated pathways and targets.

J Clin Invest 2020 08;130(8):4252-4265

Secondary Prevention through Surveillance and Intervention (2-PREVENT) Translational Center of Excellence.

Nearly all breast cancer deaths result from metastatic disease. Despite this, the genomic events that drive metastatic recurrence are poorly understood. We performed whole-exome and shallow whole-genome sequencing to identify genes and pathways preferentially mutated or copy-number altered in metastases compared with the paired primary tumors from which they arose. Seven genes were preferentially mutated in metastases - MYLK, PEAK1, SLC2A4RG, EVC2, XIRP2, PALB2, and ESR1 - 5 of which are not significantly mutated in any type of human primary cancer. Four regions were preferentially copy-number altered: loss of STK11 and CDKN2A/B, as well as gain of PTK6 and the membrane-bound progesterone receptor, PAQR8. PAQR8 gain was mutually exclusive with mutations in the nuclear estrogen and progesterone receptors, suggesting a role in treatment resistance. Several pathways were preferentially mutated or altered in metastases, including mTOR, CDK/RB, cAMP/PKA, WNT, HKMT, and focal adhesion. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that metastases preferentially inactivate pRB, upregulate the mTORC1 and WNT signaling pathways, and exhibit nuclear localization of activated PKA. Our findings identify multiple therapeutic targets in metastatic recurrence that are not significantly mutated in primary cancers, implicate membrane progesterone signaling and nuclear PKA in metastatic recurrence, and provide genomic bases for the efficacy of mTORC1, CDK4/6, and PARP inhibitors in metastatic breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI129941DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7410083PMC
August 2020

Early treatment-related neutropenia predicts response to palbociclib.

Br J Cancer 2020 09 9;123(6):912-918. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Palbociclib is highly active in oestrogen-receptor positive (ER+) metastatic breast cancer, but neutropenia is dose limiting. The goal of this study was to determine whether early neutropenia is associated with disease response to single-agent palbociclib.

Methods: Blood count and disease-response data were analysed from two Phase 2 clinical trials at different institutions using single-agent palbociclib: advanced solid tumours positive for retinoblastoma protein and advanced liposarcoma. The primary endpoint was PFS. The primary exposure variable was the nadir absolute neutrophil count (ANC) during the first two cycles of treatment.

Results: One hundred and ninety-six patients (61 breast, 135 non-breast) were evaluated between the two trials. Development of any grade neutropenia was significantly associated with longer median PFS in both the breast cancer (HR 0.29, 95% CI 0.11-0.74, p = 0.010) and non-breast cancer (HR 0.57, 95% CI 0.38-0.85, p = 0.006) cohorts. Grade 3-4 neutropenia was significantly associated with prolonged PFS in the non-breast cohort (HR 0.57, 95% CI 0.38-0.85, p = 0.006) but not in the breast cohort (HR 0.87, 95% CI 0.51-1.47, p = 0.596). Multivariate analysis yielded similar results.

Conclusions: Treatment-related neutropenia in the first two cycles was significantly and independently associated with prolonged PFS, suggesting that neutropenia may be a useful pharmacodynamic marker to guide individualised palbociclib dosing.

Clinical Trials Registration Information: Basket Trial: NCT01037790; Sarcoma Trial: NCT01209598.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-0967-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7492243PMC
September 2020

Drug metabolising enzyme polymorphisms and chemotherapy-related ovarian failure in young breast cancer survivors.

J Obstet Gynaecol 2021 Apr 4;41(3):447-452. Epub 2020 Jun 4.

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.

Cyclophosphamide is associated with chemotherapy-related ovarian failure (CROF) in breast cancer survivors, however little is known about predicting individual risks. We sought to identify genetic alleles as biomarkers for risk of CROF after cyclophosphamide treatment. One hundred fifteen premenopausal women with newly diagnosed breast cancer were genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in cyclophosphamide activation ( and and detoxification ( and ). Patients prospectively completed menstrual diaries. With median follow up of 808 days, 28% experienced CROF. Survivors homozygous for the minor allele had lower hazards for developing CROF (HR 0.22 [95% CI 0.05-0.94], =.04), while survivors homozygous for the minor allele had higher hazards for developing CROF (HR 4.5 [95% CI 1.5-13.4], =.007) compared to patients with at least one major allele. In separate multivariable models adjusting for age and tamoxifen use, the associations were no longer statistically significant ( HR 0.24 [95% CI 0.06-1.0], =.05; HR 2.5 [0.8-7.6], =.11). and SNPs were not significantly related to CROF. In younger breast cancer survivors undergoing cyclophosphamide-based chemotherapy, genetic variation in and merits further study to determine its relationship with CROF.IMPACT STATEMENT Young breast cancer survivors face important potential implications of chemotherapy-related ovarian failure (CROF). Little is known about individual risk for CROF. Cyclophosphamide, a particularly gonadotoxic drug commonly used in breast cancer treatment, is metabolised by various cytochrome p450 enzymes. Studies have shown genetic variation in p450 enzymes is associated with differential clinical outcomes after cyclophosphamide treatment: breast cancer patients homozygous for minor allele had improved overall survival; lupus patients homozygous for minor allele had increased risk for CROF; and was associated with decreased risk for CROF. We show a surprising opposite trend for the risk of CROF in breast cancer patients with and variants, while we did not show a significant risk for genetic variation in (which had previously been shown to have a protective effect) or . This study shows the complexity of genetic variation in predicting outcomes to treatment. We advocate for future replicative studies to potentially validate and and definitively negate and as biomarkers for risk of CROF after cyclophosphamide treatment. Understanding genetic variation in chemotherapy metabolism has the potential to individualise treatment regimens to maximise efficacy and minimise toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01443615.2020.1754369DOI Listing
April 2021

Toronto Workshop on Late Recurrence in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: Part 1: Late Recurrence: Current Understanding, Clinical Considerations.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2019 Dec 10;3(4):pkz050. Epub 2019 Aug 10.

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Sinai Health System, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Disease recurrence (locoregional, distant) exerts a significant clinical impact on the survival of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patients. Many of these recurrences occur late, more than 5 years after original diagnosis, and represent a major obstacle to the effective treatment of this disease. Indeed, methods to identify patients at risk of late recurrence and therapeutic strategies designed to avert or treat these recurrences are lacking. Therefore, an international workshop was convened in Toronto, Canada, in February 2018 to review the current understanding of late recurrence and to identify critical issues that require future study. In this article, the major issues surrounding late recurrence are defined and current approaches that may be applicable to this challenge are discussed. Specifically, diagnostic tests with potential utility in late-recurrence prediction are described as well as a variety of patient-related factors that may influence recurrence risk. Clinical and therapeutic approaches are also reviewed, with a focus on patient surveillance and the implementation of extended endocrine therapy in the context of late-recurrence prevention. Understanding and treating late recurrence in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer is a major unmet clinical need. A concerted effort of basic and clinical research is required to confront late recurrence and improve disease management and patient survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkz050DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7049988PMC
December 2019

Toronto Workshop on Late Recurrence in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer: Part 2: Approaches to Predict and Identify Late Recurrence, Research Directions.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2019 Dec 10;3(4):pkz049. Epub 2019 Aug 10.

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Sinai Health System, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Late disease recurrence (more than 5 years after initial diagnosis) represents a clinical challenge in the treatment and management of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (BC). An international workshop was convened in Toronto, Canada, in February 2018 to review the current understanding of late recurrence and to identify critical issues that require future study. The underlying biological causes of late recurrence are complex, with the processes governing cancer cell dormancy, including immunosurveillance, cell proliferation, angiogenesis, and cellular stemness, being integral to disease progression. These critical processes are described herein as well as their role in influencing risk of recurrence. Moreover, observational and interventional clinical trials are proposed, with a focus on methods to identify patients at risk of recurrence and possible strategies to combat this in patients with estrogen receptor-positive BC. Because the problem of late BC recurrence of great importance, recent advances in disease detection and patient monitoring should be incorporated into novel clinical trials to evaluate approaches to enhance patient management. Indeed, future research on these issues is planned and will offer new options for effective late recurrence treatment and prevention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkz049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7050024PMC
December 2019

Effect of Pembrolizumab Plus Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy on Pathologic Complete Response in Women With Early-Stage Breast Cancer: An Analysis of the Ongoing Phase 2 Adaptively Randomized I-SPY2 Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 05;6(5):676-684

Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, San Francisco, California.

Importance: Approximately 25% of patients with early-stage breast cancer who receive (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy experience a recurrence within 5 years. Improvements in therapy are greatly needed.

Objective: To determine if pembrolizumab plus neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) in early-stage breast cancer is likely to be successful in a 300-patient, confirmatory randomized phase 3 neoadjuvant clinical trial.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The I-SPY2 study is an ongoing open-label, multicenter, adaptively randomized phase 2 platform trial for high-risk, stage II/III breast cancer, evaluating multiple investigational arms in parallel. Standard NACT serves as the common control arm; investigational agent(s) are added to this backbone. Patients with ERBB2 (formerly HER2)-negative breast cancer were eligible for randomization to pembrolizumab between November 2015 and November 2016.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to receive taxane- and anthracycline-based NACT with or without pembrolizumab, followed by definitive surgery.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was pathologic complete response (pCR). Secondary end points were residual cancer burden (RCB) and 3-year event-free and distant recurrence-free survival. Investigational arms graduated when demonstrating an 85% predictive probability of success in a hypothetical confirmatory phase 3 trial.

Results: Of the 250 women included in the final analysis, 181 were randomized to the standard NACT control group (median [range] age, 47 [24.77] years). Sixty-nine women (median [range] age, 50 [27-71] years) were randomized to 4 cycles of pembrolizumab in combination with weekly paclitaxel followed by AC; 40 hormone receptor (HR)-positive and 29 triple-negative. Pembrolizumab graduated in all 3 biomarker signatures studied. Final estimated pCR rates, evaluated in March 2017, were 44% vs 17%, 30% vs 13%, and 60% vs 22% for pembrolizumab vs control in the ERBB2-negative, HR-positive/ERBB2-negative, and triple-negative cohorts, respectively. Pembrolizumab shifted the RCB distribution to a lower disease burden for each cohort evaluated. Adverse events included immune-related endocrinopathies, notably thyroid abnormalities (13.0%) and adrenal insufficiency (8.7%). Achieving a pCR appeared predictive of long-term outcome, where patients with pCR following pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy had high event-free survival rates (93% at 3 years with 2.8 years' median follow-up).

Conclusions And Relevance: When added to standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy, pembrolizumab more than doubled the estimated pCR rates for both HR-positive/ERBB2-negative and triple-negative breast cancer, indicating that checkpoint blockade in women with early-stage, high-risk, ERBB2-negative breast cancer is highly likely to succeed in a phase 3 trial. Pembrolizumab was the first of 10 agents to graduate in the HR-positive/ERBB2-negative signature.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01042379.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.6650DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7058271PMC
May 2020

MK-2206 and Standard Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Improves Response in Patients With Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Positive and/or Hormone Receptor-Negative Breast Cancers in the I-SPY 2 Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2020 04 7;38(10):1059-1069. Epub 2019 Feb 7.

Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Purpose: The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin is a key pathway of survival and therapeutic resistance in breast cancer. We evaluated the pan-Akt inhibitor MK-2206 in combination with standard therapy in patients with high-risk early-stage breast cancer.

Patients And Methods: I-SPY 2 is a multicenter, phase II, open-label, adaptively randomized neoadjuvant platform trial that screens experimental therapies and efficiently identifies potential predictive biomarker signatures. Patients are categorized by human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), hormone receptor (HR), and MammaPrint statuses in a 2 × 2 × 2 layout. Patients within each of these 8 biomarker subtypes are adaptively randomly assigned to one of several experimental therapies, including MK-2206, or control. Therapies are evaluated for 10 biomarker signatures, each of which is a combination of these subtypes. The primary end point is pathologic complete response (pCR). A therapy graduates with one or more of these signatures if and when it has an 85% Bayesian predictive probability of success in a hypothetical phase III trial, adjusting for biomarker covariates. Patients in the current report received standard taxane- and anthracycline-based neoadjuvant therapy without (control) or with oral MK-2206 135 mg/week.

Results: MK-2206 graduated with 94 patients and 57 concurrently randomly assigned controls in 3 graduation signatures: HR-negative/HER2-positive, HR-negative, and HER2-positive. Respective Bayesian mean covariate-adjusted pCR rates and percentage probability that MK-2206 is superior to control were 0.48:0.29 (97%), 0.62:0.36 (99%), and 0.46:0.26 (94%). In exploratory analyses, MK-2206 evinced a numerical improvement in event-free survival in its graduating signatures. The most significant grade 3-4 toxicity was rash (14% maculopapular, 8.6% acneiform).

Conclusion: The Akt inhibitor MK-2206 combined with standard neoadjuvant therapy resulted in higher estimated pCR rates in HR-negative and HER2-positive breast cancer. Although MK-2206 is not being further developed at this time, this class of agents remains of clinical interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.01027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7106976PMC
April 2020

Changes in Cardiovascular Biomarkers With Breast Cancer Therapy and Associations With Cardiac Dysfunction.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 01 21;9(2):e014708. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Department of Medicine Division of Cardiology Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia PA.

Background We examined the longitudinal associations between changes in cardiovascular biomarkers and cancer therapy-related cardiac dysfunction (CTRCD) in patients with breast cancer treated with cardotoxic cancer therapy. Methods and Results Repeated measures of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT), NT-proBNP (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide), myeloperoxidase, placental growth factor, and growth differentiation factor 15 were assessed longitudinally in a prospective cohort of 323 patients treated with anthracyclines and/or trastuzumab followed over a maximum of 3.7 years with serial echocardiograms. CTRCD was defined as a ≥10% decline in left ventricular ejection fraction to a value <50%. Associations between changes in biomarkers and left ventricular ejection fraction were evaluated in repeated-measures linear regression models. Cox regression models assessed the associations between biomarkers and CTRCD. Early increases in all biomarkers occurred with anthracycline-based regimens. hs-cTnT levels >14 ng/L at anthracycline completion were associated with a 2-fold increased CTRCD risk (hazard ratio, 2.01; 95% CI, 1.00-4.06). There was a modest association between changes in NT-proBNP and left ventricular ejection fraction in the overall cohort; this was most pronounced with sequential anthracycline and trastuzumab (1.1% left ventricular ejection fraction decline [95% CI, -1.8 to -0.4] with each NT-proBNP doubling). Increases in NT-proBNP were also associated with CTRCD (hazard ratio per doubling, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.32-1.84). Increases in myeloperoxidase were associated with CTRCD in patients who received sequential anthracycline and trastuzumab (hazard ratio per doubling, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.04-1.58). Conclusions Cardiovascular biomarkers may play an important role in CTRCD risk prediction in patients with breast cancer who receive cardiotoxic cancer therapy, particularly in those treated with sequential anthracycline and trastuzumab therapy. Clinical Trial Registration URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/. Unique identifier: NCT01173341.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.014708DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7033834PMC
January 2020

Breast Cancer F-ISO-1 Uptake as a Marker of Proliferation Status.

J Nucl Med 2020 05 13;61(5):665-670. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Department of Radiology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The σ receptor is a potential in vivo target for measuring proliferative status in cancer. The feasibility of using -(4-(6,7-dimethoxy-3,4-dihydroisoquinolin-2(1)-yl)butyl)-2-(2-F-fluoroethoxy)-5-methylbenzamide (F-ISO-1) to image solid tumors in lymphoma, breast cancer, and head and neck cancer has been previously established. Here, we report the results of the first dedicated clinical trial of F-ISO-1 in women with primary breast cancer. Our study objective was to determine whether F-ISO-1 PET could provide an in vivo measure of tumor proliferative status, and we hypothesized that uptake would correlate with a tissue-based assay of proliferation, namely Ki-67 expression. Twenty-eight women with 29 primary invasive breast cancers were prospectively enrolled in a clinical trial (NCT02284919) between March 2015 and January 2017. Each received an injection of 278-527 MBq of F-ISO-1 and then underwent PET/CT imaging of the breasts 50-55 min later. In vivo uptake of F-ISO-1 was quantitated by SUV and distribution volume ratios and was compared with ex vivo immunohistochemistry for Ki-67. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests assessed uptake differences across Ki-67 thresholds, and Spearman correlation tested associations between uptake and Ki-67. Tumor SUV (median, 2.0 g/mL; range, 1.3-3.3 g/mL), partial-volume-corrected SUV, and SUV ratios were tested against Ki-67. Tumors stratified into the high-Ki-67 (≥20%) group had SUV greater than the low-Ki-67 (<20%) group ( = 0.02). SUV exhibited a positive correlation with Ki-67 across all breast cancer subtypes (ρ = 0.46, = 0.01, = 29). Partial-volume-corrected SUV was positively correlated with Ki-67 for invasive ductal carcinoma (ρ = 0.51, = 0.02, = 21). Tumor-to-normal-tissue ratios and tumor distribution volume ratio did not correlate with Ki-67 ( > 0.05). F-ISO-1 uptake in breast cancer modestly correlates with an in vitro assay of proliferation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2967/jnumed.119.232363DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198384PMC
May 2020

Clinical and genetic risk factors for aromatase inhibitor-associated arthralgia in breast cancer survivors.

Breast 2020 Feb 22;49:48-54. Epub 2019 Oct 22.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Bendheim Integrative Medicine Center, 1429 First Avenue, New York, NY, 10021, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Arthralgia is a common and debilitating toxicity of aromatase inhibitors (AI) that leads to premature drug discontinuation. We sought to evaluate the clinical and genetic risk factors associated with AI-associated arthralgia (AIAA).

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study among postmenopausal women with stage 0-III breast cancer who were prescribed a third-generation AI for adjuvant therapy. The primary outcome was patient-reported AIAA occurrence. We extracted and assayed germline DNA for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes implicated in estrogen and inflammation pathways. Multivariable logistic regression models examined the association between demographic, clinical, and genetic factors and AIAA. Analyses were restricted to White participants.

Results: Among 1049 White participants, 543 (52%) reported AIAA. In multivariable analyses, women who had a college education [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 1.49, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 1.00-2.20], had a more recent transition into menopause (<10 years) (5-10 years AOR 1.55, 95% CI 1.09-2.22; <5 years AOR 1.78, 95% CI 1.18-2.67), were within one year of starting AIs (AOR 1.61, 95% CI 1.08-2.40), and those who received chemotherapy (AOR 1.38, 95% CI 1.02-1.88) were significantly more likely to report AIAA. Additionally, SNP rs11648233 (HSD17B2) was significantly associated with higher odds of AIAA (AOR 2.21, 95% CI 1.55-3.16).

Conclusions: Time since menopause and start of AIs, prior chemotherapy, and SNP rs11648233 within the HSD17B2 gene in the estrogen pathway were significantly associated with patient-reported AIAA. These findings suggest that clinical and genetic factors involved in estrogen withdrawal increase the risk of AIAA in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2019.10.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7375589PMC
February 2020