Publications by authors named "Christoph Mancao"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

RNA-Binding Protein Polymorphisms as Novel Biomarkers to Predict Outcomes of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-analysis from TRIBE, FIRE-3, and MAVERICC.

Mol Cancer Ther 2021 Mar 30. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

Division of Medical Oncology, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) regulate many posttranscriptional cellular activities. Accumulating evidence suggests associations between RBPs with colonic tumorigenesis and chemosensitivity. We investigated the prognostic and predictive values of SNPs of genes encoding RBPs in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), using clinical and genomic data from three randomized clinical trials of standard first-line chemotherapy for mCRC (TRIBE, FIRE-3, and MAVERICC). Genomic DNA extracted from blood samples was genotyped using an OncoArray. We tested 30 candidate SNPs of 10 major RBP-related genes with additive models. Prognostic values were estimated by meta-analysis approach. Treatment-by-SNP interactions were tested to estimate predictive values for targeted drugs and cytotoxic backbone chemotherapies. This study included 884 patients. The meta-analysis revealed prognostic values of rs314277 [HR, 1.26; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.06-1.49, = 0.005, FDR-adjusted = 0.072 for overall survival (OS)] and rs314276 (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.08-1.44, = 0.002, FDR-adjusted = 0.062 for OS). Although some SNPs showed potentially predictive values, these associations were not confirmed after FDR adjustment. In conclusion, the results of this study are warranting additional studies to provide the evidence that RBP-related SNPs may be associated with the prognosis of patients with mCRC treated with standard first-line chemotherapies. In addition, further studies are warranted to study the predictive value.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0649DOI Listing
March 2021

Immunogenic cell death pathway polymorphisms for predicting oxaliplatin efficacy in metastatic colorectal cancer.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Division of Medical Oncology, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Background: Immunogenic cell death (ICD) is a tumor cell death involving both innate and adaptive immune responses. Given published findings that oxaliplatin, but not irinotecan, drives ICD, we investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ICD pathway are associated with the efficacy of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

Methods: Two randomized clinical trials data were analyzed: discovery cohort, FOLFOX/bevacizumab arm (MAVERICC); validation cohort, FOLFOXIRI/bevacizumab arm (TRIBE); and two control cohorts, FOLFIRI/bevacizumab arms (both trials). Genomic DNA extracted from blood samples was genotyped. Ten SNPs in the ICD pathway were tested for associations with clinical outcomes.

Results: In total, 648 patients were included. In the discovery cohort, three SNPs were significantly associated with clinical outcomes in univariate analysis: rs1010222 with progression-free survival (G/G vs any A, HR=0.61, 95% CI 0.43-0.88), rs1050305 with overall survival (OS) (A/A vs any G, HR=1.87, 95% CI 1.04-3.35), and rs1799986 with OS (C/C vs any T, HR=1.69, 95% CI 1.07-2.70). Multivariate analysis confirmed the trend, but statistical significance was not reached. In the validation cohort, rs1050305, and rs1799986 were validated to have the significant associations with clinical outcome. No significant associations of these SNPs were observed in the two control cohorts. Treatment-by-SNP interaction test confirmed the predictive values.

Conclusions: The predictive utility of ICD-related SNPs for the efficacy of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy was demonstrated, warranting further validation studies to be translated into personalized treatment strategies using conventional cytotoxic agents in mCRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7656952PMC
November 2020

Development of a gene expression-based prognostic signature for IDH wild-type glioblastoma.

Neuro Oncol 2020 12;22(12):1742-1756

Global Clinical Development, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: We aimed to develop a gene expression-based prognostic signature for isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) wild-type glioblastoma using clinical trial datasets representative of glioblastoma clinical trial populations.

Methods: Samples were collected from newly diagnosed patients with IDH wild-type glioblastoma in the ARTE, TAMIGA, EORTC 26101 (referred to as "ATE"), AVAglio, and GLARIUS trials, or treated at UCLA. Transcriptional profiling was achieved with the NanoString gene expression platform. To identify genes prognostic for overall survival (OS), we built an elastic net penalized Cox proportional hazards regression model using the discovery ATE dataset. For validation in independent datasets (AVAglio, GLARIUS, UCLA), we combined elastic net-selected genes into a robust z-score signature (ATE score) to overcome gene expression platform differences between discovery and validation cohorts.

Results: NanoString data were available from 512 patients in the ATE dataset. Elastic net identified a prognostic signature of 9 genes (CHEK1, GPR17, IGF2BP3, MGMT, MTHFD1L, PTRH2, SOX11, S100A9, and TFRC). Translating weighted elastic net scores to the ATE score conserved the prognostic value of the genes. The ATE score was prognostic for OS in the ATE dataset (P < 0.0001), as expected, and in the validation cohorts (AVAglio, P < 0.0001; GLARIUS, P = 0.02; UCLA, P = 0.004). The ATE score remained prognostic following adjustment for O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation status and corticosteroid use at baseline. A positive correlation between ATE score and proneural/proliferative subtypes was observed in patients with MGMT non-methylated promoter status.

Conclusions: The ATE score showed prognostic value and may enable clinical trial stratification for IDH wild-type glioblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/noaa157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7746941PMC
December 2020

Combination of variations in inflammation- and endoplasmic reticulum-associated genes as putative biomarker for bevacizumab response in KRAS wild-type colorectal cancer.

Sci Rep 2020 06 17;10(1):9778. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Centre for Systems Medicine and Department of Physiology & Medical Physics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

Chemotherapy combined with the angiogenesis inhibitor bevacizumab (BVZ) is approved as a first-line treatment in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Limited clinical benefit underpins the need for improved understanding of resistance mechanisms and the elucidation of novel predictive biomarkers. We assessed germline single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 180 mCRC patients (Angiopredict [APD] cohort) treated with combined BVZ + chemotherapy and investigated previously reported predictive SNPs. We further employed a machine learning approach to identify novel associations. In the APD cohort IL8 rs4073 any A carriers, compared to TT carriers, were associated with worse progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 1.51, 95% CI:1.03-2.22, p-value = 0.037) and TBK1 rs7486100 TT carriers, compared to any A carriers, were associated with worse PFS in KRAS wild-type (wt) patients (HR = 1.94, 95% CI:1.04-3.61, p-value = 0.037), replicating previous findings. Machine learning identified novel associations in genes encoding the inflammasome protein NLRP1 and the ER protein Sarcalumenin (SRL). A negative association between PFS and carriers of any A at NLRP1 rs12150220 and AA for SRL rs13334970 in APD KRAS wild-type patients (HR = 4.44, 95% CI:1.23-16.13, p-value = 0.005), which validated in two independent clinical cohorts involving BVZ, MAVERICC and TRIBE. Our findings highlight a key role for inflammation and ER signalling underpinning BVZ + chemotherapy responsiveness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65869-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7299973PMC
June 2020

Disease Monitoring Using Post-induction Circulating Tumor DNA Analysis Following First-Line Therapy in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 08 27;26(15):4010-4017. Epub 2020 Mar 27.

Medical Scientific Affairs, Roche Sequencing Solutions, Inc., Pleasanton, California.

Purpose: We assessed plasma circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) level as a prognostic marker for progression-free survival (PFS) following first-line metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) therapy.

Experimental Design: The Sequencing Triplet With Avastin and Maintenance (STEAM) was a randomized, phase II trial investigating efficacy of bevacizumab (BEV) plus 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin/oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) and 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin/irinotecan (FOLFIRI), administered concurrently or sequentially, versus FOLFOX-BEV in first-line mCRC. Evaluation of biomarkers associated with treatment outcomes was an exploratory endpoint. Patients in the biomarker-evaluable population (BEP) had 1 tissue sample, 1 pre-induction plasma sample, and 1 post-induction plasma sample collected ≤60 days of induction from last drug date.

Results: Among the 280 patients enrolled in STEAM, 183 had sequenced and evaluable tumor tissue, 118 had matched pre-induction plasma, and 54 (BEP) had ctDNA-evaluable sequencing data for pre- and post-induction plasma. The most common somatic variants in tumor tissue and pre-induction plasma were , and . Patients with lower-than-median versus higher-than-median post-induction mean allele fraction (mAF) levels had longer median PFS (17.7 vs. 7.5 months, HR, 0.33; 95% confidence interval, 0.17-0.63). Higher levels of post-induction mAF and post-induction mean mutant molecules per milliliter (mMMPM), and changes in ctDNA (stratified by a 10-fold or 100-fold reduction in mAF between pre- and post-induction plasma), were associated with shorter PFS. Post-induction mAF and mMMPM generally correlated with each other ( = 0.987, < 0.0001).

Conclusions: ctDNA quantification in post-induction plasma may serve as a prognostic biomarker for mCRC post-treatment outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-1209DOI Listing
August 2020

Cumulative Burden of Colorectal Cancer-Associated Genetic Variants Is More Strongly Associated With Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2020 04 19;158(5):1274-1286.e12. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington.

Background & Aims: Early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC, in persons younger than 50 years old) is increasing in incidence; yet, in the absence of a family history of CRC, this population lacks harmonized recommendations for prevention. We aimed to determine whether a polygenic risk score (PRS) developed from 95 CRC-associated common genetic risk variants was associated with risk for early-onset CRC.

Methods: We studied risk for CRC associated with a weighted PRS in 12,197 participants younger than 50 years old vs 95,865 participants 50 years or older. PRS was calculated based on single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CRC in a large-scale genome-wide association study as of January 2019. Participants were pooled from 3 large consortia that provided clinical and genotyping data: the Colon Cancer Family Registry, the Colorectal Transdisciplinary Study, and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium and were all of genetically defined European descent. Findings were replicated in an independent cohort of 72,573 participants.

Results: Overall associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS were significant for early-onset cancer, and were stronger compared with late-onset cancer (P for interaction = .01); when we compared the highest PRS quartile with the lowest, risk increased 3.7-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.28-4.24) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.80-3.04). This association was strongest for participants without a first-degree family history of CRC (P for interaction = 5.61 × 10). When we compared the highest with the lowest quartiles in this group, risk increased 4.3-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.61-5.01) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.70-3.00). Sensitivity analyses were consistent with these findings.

Conclusions: In an analysis of associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS, we found the cumulative burden of CRC-associated common genetic variants to associate with early-onset cancer, and to be more strongly associated with early-onset than late-onset cancer, particularly in the absence of CRC family history. Analyses of PRS, along with environmental and lifestyle risk factors, might identify younger individuals who would benefit from preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7103489PMC
April 2020

Stromal organization as predictive biomarker for the treatment of colon cancer with adjuvant bevacizumab; a post-hoc analysis of the AVANT trial.

Cell Oncol (Dordr) 2019 Oct 17;42(5):717-725. Epub 2019 May 17.

Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, Netherlands.

Purpose: Intra-tumoral stroma has become increasingly important in understanding tumor biology, tumor progression and clinical outcome. The amount itself, quantified as the tumor-stroma ratio (TSR), has proven to be prognostic in stage I-III colon cancer. Also, alterations in stromal organization have been found to provide prognostic and predictive information in certain cancers. Here, we evaluated the predictive value of stromal organization in high-risk stage II and III colon cancer with respect to adjuvant bevacizumab and chemotherapy.

Methods: In a post-hoc analysis, stromal organization was microscopically determined in hematoxylin and eosin-stained primary tumor tissue samples of 1226 patients enrolled in the AVANT trial.

Results: We found that patients with tumors with a disorganized stroma showed different survival rates after the addition of bevacizumab compared to standard oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy regimens. However, overall this difference was not significant with a HR of 0.94 (95% CI 0.57-1.55; p = 0.80) for disease-free survival (DFS) and 1.01 (95% CI 0.51-1.99; p = 0.99) for overall survival (OS). Subgroup analysis, however, revealed that stromal organization combined with TSR allowed the identification of stroma-high patients with absolute cumulative survival benefits up to 15% when bevacizumab was added to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy regimens.

Conclusions: In high-risk stage II and stage III colon cancer, we found that subgroup analysis of the combined parameters stromal organization and TSR allows for the identification of patients with absolute cumulative DFS and OS benefits of up to 15%, when adding bevacizumab to the currently recommended oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy. Stromal organization itself does, however, not serve as an independent prognostic or predictive parameter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13402-019-00449-9DOI Listing
October 2019

AMPK variant, a candidate of novel predictor for chemotherapy in metastatic colorectal cancer: A meta-analysis using TRIBE, MAVERICC and FIRE3.

Int J Cancer 2019 10 26;145(8):2082-2090. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

Division of Medical Oncology, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a key sensor of energy homeostasis and regulates cell metabolism, proliferation and chemotherapy/radiotherapy sensitivities. This study aimed to explore the relationship between the AMPK pathway-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and clinical outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). We analyzed a total of 884 patients with mCRC enrolled in three randomized clinical trials (TRIBE, MAVERICC and FIRE-3: where patients were treated with FOLFIRI, mFOLFOX6 or FOLFOXIRI combined with bevacizumab or cetuximab as the first-line chemotherapy). The association between AMPK pathway-related SNPs and clinical outcomes was analyzed across the six treatment cohorts, using a meta-analysis approach. Our meta-analysis showed that AMPK pathway had significant associations with progression-free survival (PFS; p < 0.001) and overall survival (OS; p < 0.001), but not with tumor response (TR; p = 0.220): PRKAA1 rs13361707 was significantly associated with favorable PFS (log HR = -0.219, SE = 0.073, p = 0.003), as well as PRKAA1 rs10074991 (log HR = -0.215, SE = 0.073, p = 0.003), and there were suggestive associations of PRKAG1 rs1138908 with unfavorable OS (log HR = 0.170, SE = 0.083, p = 0.041), and of UBE2O rs3803739 with unfavorable PFS (log HR = 0.137, SE = 0.068, p = 0.042) and OS (log HR = 0.210, SE = 0.077, p = 0.006), although these results were not significant after false discovery rate adjustment. AMPK pathway-related SNPs may be predictors for chemotherapy in mCRC. Upon validation, our findings would provide novel insight for selecting treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32261DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7491977PMC
October 2019

Impact of polymorphisms within genes involved in regulating DNA methylation in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer enrolled in three independent, randomised, open-label clinical trials: a meta-analysis from TRIBE, MAVERICC and FIRE-3.

Eur J Cancer 2019 04 7;111:138-147. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Division of Medical Oncology, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Department of Preventive Medicine, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA. Electronic address:

Background: CpG island DNA hypermethylation and global DNA hypomethylation are hallmark characteristics of colorectal cancer (CRC). Therefore, we aim to explore the effect of genetic variations within the genes that regulate the DNA methylation and demethylation pathways on outcomes in patients with metastatic CRC (mCRC) treated with first-line therapy and enrolled in three independent, randomised, open-label clinical trials.

Methods: A total of 884 patients with mCRC enrolled in TRIBE, MAVERICC and FIRE-3 trials were included. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within genes involved in DNA methylation and demethylation pathways were analysed. The prognostic value of each SNP across all treatment arms was quantified using the inverse-variance-weighted effect size, a meta-analysis approach implemented in the METASOFT software.

Results: In the meta-analysis, DNMT3A rs11681717 was significantly associated with overall survival (hazard ratio = 1.26; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08-1.46; P = 0.002; false discovery rate [FDR] = 0.016), accounting for seven tests in the DNA methylation pathway. In addition, there was suggestive evidence of association for ten-eleven translocation (TET) genes variance with tumour response (TET1 rs3814177, odds ratio [OR] = 0.76, 95% CI 0.59-0.97, P = 0.025, FDR = 0.087; TET3 rs7560668, OR = 1.44; 95% CI 1.10-1.89; P = 0.009; FDR = 0.062).

Conclusions: We showed that polymorphisms within the genes responsible for the DNA methylation and demethylation machineries are correlated with outcomes in patients with mCRC who were enrolled in three independent, randomised, open-label, phase II/III clinical trials. In addition, we demonstrated the feasibility of a meta-analysis approach to identify stronger and more convincing association between gene polymorphisms and outcome, potentially leading the way to a new method of analysis for similar data set.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2019.01.105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6436973PMC
April 2019

Zr-atezolizumab imaging as a non-invasive approach to assess clinical response to PD-L1 blockade in cancer.

Nat Med 2018 12 26;24(12):1852-1858. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Programmed cell death protein-1/ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) blockade is effective in a subset of patients with several tumor types, but predicting patient benefit using approved diagnostics is inexact, as some patients with PD-L1-negative tumors also show clinical benefit. Moreover, all biopsy-based tests are subject to the errors and limitations of invasive tissue collection. Preclinical studies of positron-emission tomography (PET) imaging with antibodies to PD-L1 suggested that this imaging method might be an approach to selecting patients. Such a technique, however, requires substantial clinical development and validation. Here we present the initial results from a first-in-human study to assess the feasibility of imaging with zirconium-89-labeled atezolizumab (anti-PD-L1), including biodistribution, and secondly test its potential to predict response to PD-L1 blockade (ClinicalTrials.gov identifiers NCT02453984 and NCT02478099). We imaged 22 patients across three tumor types before the start of atezolizumab therapy. The PET signal, a function of tracer exposure and target expression, was high in lymphoid tissues and at sites of inflammation. In tumors, uptake was generally high but heterogeneous, varying within and among lesions, patients, and tumor types. Intriguingly, clinical responses in our patients were better correlated with pretreatment PET signal than with immunohistochemistry- or RNA-sequencing-based predictive biomarkers, encouraging further development of molecular PET imaging for assessment of PD-L1 status and clinical response prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-018-0255-8DOI Listing
December 2018

MAVERICC, a Randomized, Biomarker-stratified, Phase II Study of mFOLFOX6-Bevacizumab versus FOLFIRI-Bevacizumab as First-line Chemotherapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2019 05 17;25(10):2988-2995. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

Purpose: MAVERICC compared the efficacy and safety of modified leucovorin/5-fluorouracil/oxaliplatin plus bevacizumab (mFOLFOX6-BV) with leucovorin/5-fluorouracil/irinotecan plus bevacizumab (FOLFIRI-BV) in patients with previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). MAVERICC was a global, randomized, open-label, phase II study. Primary objectives were to assess associations between (i) excision repair cross-complementing 1 (ERCC1) expression with progression-free survival (PFS), and (ii) plasma VEGF A (VEGF-A) with PFS in patients with previously untreated mCRC receiving mFOLFOX6-BV or FOLFIRI-BV. Before randomization, patients were stratified by tumoral ERCC1/β-actin mRNA expression level and region.

Results: Of 376 enrolled patients, 188 each received mFOLFOX6-BV and FOLFIRI-BV. PFS and overall survival (OS) were comparable between FOLFIRI-BV and mFOLFOX6-BV, with numerically higher PFS [HR = 0.79; 95% CI (confidence interval): 0.61-1.01; = 0.06] and OS (HR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.56-1.04; = 0.09) observed for FOLFIRI-BV. In the high ERCC1 subgroup, PFS and OS were comparable between treatment groups (PFS, HR = 0.84; 95% CI: 0.56-1.26; = 0.40; OS, HR = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.51-1.26; = 0.33). Across treatment groups, high plasma VEGF-A levels (>5.1 pg/mL) were observed with shorter PFS (HR = 1.19; 95% CI: 0.93-1.53; = 0.17) and significantly shorter OS (HR = 1.64; 95% CI: 1.20-2.24; < 0.01) versus low levels (≤5.1 pg/mL). Safety findings for FOLFIRI-BV or mFOLFOX6-BV were comparable with those reported previously.

Conclusions: First-line FOLFIRI-BV and mFOLFOX6-BV had comparable PFS and OS, similar to results in patients with high baseline tumor ERCC1 levels. There were no new safety signals with these bevacizumab-containing regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-1221DOI Listing
May 2019

Novel Common Genetic Susceptibility Loci for Colorectal Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 02;111(2):146-157

Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of Northern California, Oakland, CA.

Background: Previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 42 loci (P < 5 × 10-8) associated with risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Expanded consortium efforts facilitating the discovery of additional susceptibility loci may capture unexplained familial risk.

Methods: We conducted a GWAS in European descent CRC cases and control subjects using a discovery-replication design, followed by examination of novel findings in a multiethnic sample (cumulative n = 163 315). In the discovery stage (36 948 case subjects/30 864 control subjects), we identified genetic variants with a minor allele frequency of 1% or greater associated with risk of CRC using logistic regression followed by a fixed-effects inverse variance weighted meta-analysis. All novel independent variants reaching genome-wide statistical significance (two-sided P < 5 × 10-8) were tested for replication in separate European ancestry samples (12 952 case subjects/48 383 control subjects). Next, we examined the generalizability of discovered variants in East Asians, African Americans, and Hispanics (12 085 case subjects/22 083 control subjects). Finally, we examined the contributions of novel risk variants to familial relative risk and examined the prediction capabilities of a polygenic risk score. All statistical tests were two-sided.

Results: The discovery GWAS identified 11 variants associated with CRC at P < 5 × 10-8, of which nine (at 4q22.2/5p15.33/5p13.1/6p21.31/6p12.1/10q11.23/12q24.21/16q24.1/20q13.13) independently replicated at a P value of less than .05. Multiethnic follow-up supported the generalizability of discovery findings. These results demonstrated a 14.7% increase in familial relative risk explained by common risk alleles from 10.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 7.9% to 13.7%; known variants) to 11.9% (95% CI = 9.2% to 15.5%; known and novel variants). A polygenic risk score identified 4.3% of the population at an odds ratio for developing CRC of at least 2.0.

Conclusions: This study provides insight into the architecture of common genetic variation contributing to CRC etiology and improves risk prediction for individualized screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6555904PMC
February 2019

Predictive potential of tumour-stroma ratio on benefit from adjuvant bevacizumab in high-risk stage II and stage III colon cancer.

Br J Cancer 2018 07 14;119(2):164-169. Epub 2018 May 14.

Department of Surgery, Leiden University Medical Centre, Albinusdreef 2, 2300 RC, Leiden, Netherlands.

Background: The tumour-stroma ratio (TSR) has proven to be an independent prognostic factor in colon cancer.

Methods: Haematoxylin eosin tissue slides of patients from the AVANT trial were microscopically scored for TSR and categorised as stroma -low or stroma -high. Scores were correlated to the primary and secondary endpoint disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results: Patients with stroma-high tumours (N = 339, 28%) had a significantly shorter DFS (p < 0.001) compared to stroma-low tumours (N = 824, 68%). In the bevacizumab-FOLFOX-4 arm, DFS was significantly shorter compared to FOLFOX-4 in stroma-low tumours, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.94 (95% CI 1.24-3.04; p = 0.004). In stroma-high tumours a trend for better DFS was seen in bevacizumab-FOLFOX-4 vs. FOLFOX-4 (HR 0.61 (95% CI 0.35-1.07; p = 0.08)). For bevacizumab-XELOX vs. FOLFOX-4, this was not seen (stroma-low HR 1.07 (95% CI 0.64-1.77; p = 0.80); stroma-high HR 0.78 (95% CI 0.47-1.30; p = 0.35)). OS showed the same pattern for bevacizumab-FOLFOX-4 vs. FOLFOX-4 with a HR of 2.53 (95% CI 1.36-4.71; p = 0.003) for stroma-low and HR 0.50 (95% CI 0.22-1.14; p = 0.10) for stroma-high tumours. For bevacizumab-XELOX vs. FOLFOX-4, HR 1.13 (95% CI 0.55-2.31; p = 0.74) for stroma-low tumours and HR 0.74 (95% CI 0.37-1.51; p = 0.41) for stroma-high tumours.

Conclusions: This exploratory analysis suggests a significantly shorter DFS and OS in stroma-low tumours with addition of bevacizumab to intravenous oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy, contrary to stroma-high tumours, where a beneficial trend is observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-018-0083-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048031PMC
July 2018

MODUL-a multicenter randomized clinical trial of biomarker-driven maintenance therapy following first-line standard induction treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer: an adaptable signal-seeking approach.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2018 Jun 11;144(6):1197-1204. Epub 2018 Apr 11.

Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Purpose: The old approach of one therapeutic for all patients with mCRC is evolving with a need to target specific molecular aberrations or cell-signalling pathways. Molecular screening approaches and new biomarkers are required to fully characterize tumours, identify patients most likely to benefit, and predict treatment response.

Methods: MODUL is a signal-seeking trial with a design that is highly adaptable, permitting modification of different treatment cohorts and inclusion of further additional cohorts based on novel evidence on new compounds/combinations that emerge during the study.

Results: MODUL is ongoing and its adaptable nature permits timely and efficient recruitment of patients into the most appropriate cohort. Recruitment will take place over approximately 5 years in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. The design of MODUL with ongoing parallel/sequential treatment cohorts means that the overall size and duration of the trial can be modified/prolonged based on accumulation of new data.

Conclusions: The early success of the current trial suggests that the design may provide definitive leads in a patient-friendly and relatively economical trial structure. Along with other biomarker-driven trials that are currently underway, it is hoped that MODUL will contribute to the continuing evolution of clinical trial design and permit a more 'tailored' approach to the treatment of patients with mCRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-018-2632-6DOI Listing
June 2018

Predictive markers of anti-VEGF and emerging role of angiogenesis inhibitors as immunotherapeutics.

Semin Cancer Biol 2018 10 8;52(Pt 2):117-124. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

Genentech, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.

The critical role of angiogenesis in promoting tumor growth and metastasis has been well established scientifically, and consequently blocking this pathway as a therapeutic strategy has demonstrated great clinical success for the treatment of cancer. The holy grail however, has been the identification of patients who derive significant survival benefit from this class of agents. Here we attempt to delineate the diverse mechanisms related to anti-VEGF including its role as an anti-vascular, anti-angiogenic or an anti-permeability factor and review the most promising predictive biomarkers interrogated in large clinical trials, that identify patients who may derive significant survival advantage with VEGF inhibition. Lastly, we describe the function of VEGF as an immunomodulator and illustrate the evidence for anti-VEGF in reprogramming the tumor milieu from an immunosuppressive to an immune permissive microenvironment in human cancers, thus elucidating the role of anti-VEGF as an optimal combination partner for immune checkpoint inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcancer.2017.12.002DOI Listing
October 2018

Characterization of PD-L1 expression and immune cell infiltration in nasopharyngeal cancer.

Oral Oncol 2017 04 13;67:52-60. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

Oncology Biomarker Development, Genentech Inc., CH-4070 Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Objectives: Locally recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) remains an important challenge, with more effective and durable therapeutic options needed. Cancer immunotherapy, and in particular therapies that target the PD-L1/PD-1 immune checkpoint pathway, may provide new options to treat NPC patients. This study evaluated PD-L1 and CD8 expression levels and the respective associations with clinical and histopathological characteristics of patients with NPC.

Materials And Methods: Diagnostic tumour biopsies were obtained before radical radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy from 161 patients with NPC. These biopsies were analysed for PD-L1 expression levels on tumour cells (TC) and tumour-infiltrating immune cells (IC), and for CD8 T-cell infiltration. Results were correlated with baseline characteristics and clinical outcomes with standard-of-care treatment regimens. Additionally, pre- and post-treatment-paired tumour samples were analysed (n=146).

Results: 75% of tumours expressed PD-L1 on IC and 24% on TC. Baseline clinical characteristics of stage, sex and age did not correlate with PD-L1 expression. Additionally, overall survival and progression-free survival of standard-of-care treatment did not correlate with baseline PD-L1 expression. CD8 levels did correlate with clinical outcomes; however, results were confounded by other baseline characteristics. After treatment, PD-L1 expression dropped a median of 1.5% on IC and a median of 2.75% on TC. Median CD8 expression dropped 1.9%.

Conclusions: Majority of NPC biopsy samples demonstrated PD-L1 expression on ⩾1% of IC, with fewer expressing PD-L1 on TC. In contrast to previous smaller studies, no prognostic value was observed for PD-L1 expression levels in patients with NPC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2017.02.002DOI Listing
April 2017

Optimization of methodology for production of CD25/CD71 allodepleted donor T cells for clinical use.

Cytotherapy 2013 Jan;15(1):109-21

Molecular Immunology Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK.

Background Aims: Immunotherapy with allodepleted donor T cells improves immunity after T cell-depleted hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We developed a methodology for selective depletion of alloreactive T cells after activation with host antigen-presenting cells by targeting T cells up-regulating CD25 and CD71. Combined depletion of these cells yields a pool of allodepleted donor T cells with antiviral properties with minimal capacity to cause graft-versus-host disease.

Methods: Mature dendritic cells were irradiated and used to stimulate donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells for 4 days. The co-culture was stained with anti-CD71-biotin followed by CliniMACS CD25 and Anti-Biotin Reagents (Miltenyi Biotec GmbH; Bergisch Gladbach, Germany) before depletion on the CliniMACS Plus (Miltenyi Biotec GmbH). Residual alloreactivity was tested by flow cytometry, a secondary mixed lymphocyte reaction and limiting dilution analysis, and specific anti-viral immunity with pentamer staining. The large-scale protocol was tested under current good manufacturing practice conditions in five donor-recipient pairs of human leukocyte antigen-matched volunteer donors.

Results: We developed a closed-system methodology using cell differentiation bags for cell culture and the COBE2991 Cell Processor (CaridianBCT, Lakewood, CO, USA). We also validated an anti-CD71-biotin generated for ex vivo clinical use. In five large-scale runs, the depleted fraction demonstrated excellent viability (99.9%), minimal residual expression of CD3/CD25 and CD3/CD71 (<0.2%) and passed tests for Mycoplasma, endotoxin, bacterial and fungal sterility. In secondary mixed lymphocyte reaction assays, the median response to host after allodepletion was 0%, whereas responses to third-party peripheral blood mononuclear cells were preserved (median, 105%; range 37%-350%). Limiting dilution analysis assays also demonstrated a reduction in response to host (median, -1.11 log) with preservation of third-party responses, and testing with human leukocyte antigen-restricted pentamers showed that populations of Epstein-Barr virus-specific and cytomegalovirus-specific CD8(+) T cells were retained after depletion.

Conclusions: We optimized a protocol for the combined immunomagnetic depletion of alloreactive CD25/CD71 T cells under current good manufacturing practice conditions and tested the efficacy in five donor-recipient pairs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcyt.2012.10.007DOI Listing
January 2013

Functional characterization of alloreactive T cells identifies CD25 and CD71 as optimal targets for a clinically applicable allodepletion strategy.

Blood 2010 Jan 4;115(2):396-407. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Department of Molecular Immunology, Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom.

Immunotherapy with allodepleted donor T cells (ADTs) improves immunity after T cell-depleted stem cell transplantation, but infection/relapse remain problematic. To refine this approach, we characterized the expression of surface markers/cytokines on proliferating alloreactive T cells (ATs). CD25 was expressed on 83% of carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester(dim) ATs, confirming this as an excellent target for allodepletion. Seventy percent of CD25(-) ATs expressed CD71 (transferrin receptor), identifying this as a novel marker to target ATs persisting after CD25 depletion. Comparison of residual alloreactivity after combined CD25/71 versus CD25 immunomagnetic depletion showed enhanced depletion of alloreactivity to host with CD25/71 depletion in both secondary (2 degrees) mixed lymphocyte reactions (P < .01) and interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assays (P < .05) with no effect on third-party responses. In pentamer/interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assays, antiviral responses to cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and adenovirus were preserved after CD25/71 allodepletion. CD25/71 ADTs can be redirected to recognize leukemic targets through lentiviral transfer of a chimeric anti-CD19zeta T-cell receptor. Finally, we have established conditions for clinically applicable CD25/71 allodepletion under European Union Good Manufacturing Practice conditions, resulting in highly effective, reproducible, and selective depletion of ATs (median residual alloreactivity to host in 2 degrees mixed lymphocyte reaction of 0.39% vs third-party response of 62%, n = 5). This strategy enables further clinical studies of adoptive immunotherapy with larger doses of ADTs to enhance immune reconstitution after T cell-depleted stem cell transplantation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2009-08-235895DOI Listing
January 2010

Generation of EBV-specific cytotoxic T cells that are resistant to calcineurin inhibitors for the treatment of posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disease.

Blood 2009 Nov 21;114(23):4792-803. Epub 2009 Sep 21.

Molecular Immunology Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-driven posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) is a serious complication of immunosuppression after either stem cell transplantation (SCT) or solid organ transplantation (SOT). Adoptive transfer of EBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (EBV-CTLs) is an effective prophylaxis and treatment for PTLD after SCT, but not for PTLD after SOT when pharmacologic immunosuppression cannot be discontinued. We report the generation of calcineurin (CN) mutants that render EBV-CTL resistant to the immunosuppressants tacrolimus (FK506) and cyclosporin A (CsA): mutant CNa12 confers resistance to CsA but not FK506, and mutant CNa22 confers resistance to FK506 but not CsA, whereas mutant CNb30 renders CTLs resistant to both calcineurin inhibitors. Untransduced EBV-CTLs do not proliferate in the presence of FK506/CsA. However, EBV-CTLs transduced with a retroviral vector coding for these mutants retain the ability to both proliferate and secrete normal levels of interferon-gamma in the presence therapeutic levels of FK506 (CNa12), CsA (CNa22), or both (CNb30). The cytotoxicity and phenotype of EBV-CTL lines were unaffected by expression of these mutant CNs. This approach should allow effective immunotherapy with EBV-CTLs in the SOT setting without risking the graft by reduction in immunosuppression, and represents a generic approach to improving immunotherapy in the face of immunosuppression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2009-07-228387DOI Listing
November 2009

Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 2A is a B-cell receptor mimic and essential for B-cell survival.

Blood 2007 Nov 6;110(10):3715-21. Epub 2007 Aug 6.

GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health Department of Gene Vectors, Munich, Germany.

Many cells latently infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), including certain virus-associated tumors, express latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A), suggesting an important role for this protein in viral latency and oncogenesis. LMP2A mimics B-cell receptor signaling but can also act as a decoy receptor blocking B-cell receptor (BCR) activation. Studies of peripheral B cells have not resolved this apparent contradiction because LMP2A seems to be dispensable for EBV-induced transformation of these B cells in vitro. We show here that LMP2A is essential for growth transformation of germinal center B cells, which do not express the genuine BCR because of deleterious somatic hypermutations in their immunoglobulin genes. BCR-positive (BCR(+)) and BCR-negative (BCR(-)) B cells are readily transformed with a recombinant EBV encoding a conditional, floxed LMP2A allele, but the survival and continued proliferation of both BCR(+) and BCR(-) B cells is strictly dependent on LMP2A. These findings indicate that LMP2A has potent, distinct antiapoptotic and/or transforming characteristics and point to its role as an indispensable BCR mimic in certain B cells from which human B-cell tumors such as Hodgkin lymphoma originate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2007-05-090142DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077319PMC
November 2007

Rescue of "crippled" germinal center B cells from apoptosis by Epstein-Barr virus.

Blood 2005 Dec 2;106(13):4339-44. Epub 2005 Aug 2.

GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Department of Gene Vectors, Marchioninistr 25, D-81377 Munich, Germany.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with B-cell lymphomas such as Hodgkin lymphoma, Burkitt lymphoma, and post-transplantation lymphoma, which originate from clonal germinal center (GC) B cells. During the process of somatic hypermutation, GC B cells can acquire deleterious or nonsense mutations in the heavy and light immunoglobulin genes. Such mutations abrogate the cell surface expression of the B-cell receptor (BCR), which results in the elimination of these nonfunctional B cells by immediate apoptosis. EBV encodes several latent genes, among them latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) and LMP2A, which are regularly expressed in EBV-positive Hodgkin lymphoma and posttransplantation lymphomas. Since LMP1 and LMP2A mimic the function of 2 key receptors on B cells, CD40 and BCR, respectively, we wanted to learn whether EBV infection can rescue proapoptotic GC B cells with crippling mutations in the heavy chain immunoglobulin locus from apoptosis. We show here that BCR-negative GC B cells readily enter the cell cycle upon infection with EBV in vitro and yield clonal lymphoblastoid cell lines that are incapable of expressing a functional BCR because the rearranged and formerly functional heavy chain immunoglobulin alleles carry deleterious mutations. Our findings imply an important role for EBV in the process of lymphomagenesis in certain cases of Hodgkin lymphoma and posttransplantation lymphomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2005-06-2341DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1895254PMC
December 2005