Publications by authors named "Christophe Le Tourneau"

159 Publications

Avelumab for platinum-ineligible/refractory recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: phase Ib results from the JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Oct;9(10)

Department of Medical Oncology, Lille University & Oscar Lambret Cancer Center, Lille, France.

Background: Recurrent and/or metastatic (R/M) disease develops in approximately 65% of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) and is associated with a poor prognosis. Immune checkpoint inhibitors have proven effective in multiple tumor types, including R/M SCCHN. We report the efficacy and safety of avelumab (antiprogrammed death ligand 1 antibody) in an expansion cohort of patients with platinum-refractory/ineligible R/M SCCHN enrolled in the phase I JAVELIN Solid Tumor trial (NCT01772004).

Methods: Eligible patients with R/M SCCHN were aged ≥18 years and had received ≥1 line of platinum-based chemotherapy with disease progression or recurrence within 6 months of the last dose or were ineligible for platinum-based chemotherapy. All patients received avelumab 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks. Tumor assessments were carried out by a blinded independent review committee (IRC) and investigators according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors V.1.1 (RECIST 1.1). Key endpoints included best overall response, duration of response (DOR) and progression-free survival (PFS) assessed by IRC and investigator per RECIST 1.1, overall survival (OS), and safety.

Results: Between April 24, 2015, and November 13, 2015, 153 patients were enrolled. Patients had a median of two prior lines of therapy for metastatic or locally advanced disease (range 0-6); 12 patients (7.8%) were not eligible for platinum-based chemotherapy. At data cut-off (December 31, 2017), the confirmed objective response rate was 9.2% (95% CI 5.1% to 14.9%) assessed by IRC and 13.1% (95% CI 8.2% to 19.5%) assessed by investigator. Median DOR was not reached (95% CI 4.2 to not estimable) based on IRC assessment. Median PFS was 1.4 months (95% CI 1.4 to 2.6) assessed by IRC and 1.8 months (95% CI 1.4 to 2.7) assessed by investigator; median OS was 8.0 months (95% CI 6.5 to 10.2). Any-grade treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) occurred in 83 patients (54.2%) and were grade ≥3 in 10 patients (6.5%). The most common TRAEs were fatigue (n=19, 12.4%), fever (n=14, 9.2%), pruritus (n=12, 7.8%), and chills (n=11, 7.2%), and there were no treatment-related deaths.

Conclusion: Avelumab showed clinical activity and was associated with a low rate of grade ≥3 TRAEs in heavily pretreated patients with platinum-refractory/ineligible R/M SCCHN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002998DOI Listing
October 2021

A phase II study of monalizumab in patients with recurrent/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: The I1 cohort of the EORTC-HNCG-1559 UPSTREAM trial.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Oct 9;158:17-26. Epub 2021 Oct 9.

Service d'Oncologie Médicale, Institut Roi Albert II, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc and Institut de Recherche Clinique et Expérimentale, Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Avenue Hippocrate 10, 1200 Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

Purpose: Monalizumab is a monoclonal antibody targeting the inhibitory natural killer group 2A (NKG2A) receptor localised on natural killer (NK) and T cells. Its ligand, the human leukocyte antigen E (HLA-E), is overexpressed in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN). By targeting the HLA-E-NKG2A pathway, monalizumab may enhance NK and T cell activity.

Experimental Design: The UPSTREAM trial is a biomarker-driven umbrella trial studying targeted therapies and immunotherapies in patients with recurrent/metastatic (R/M) SCCHN progressing after platinum therapy. The immunotherapy 1 (I1) cohort was a phase II, single-arm substudy evaluating monalizumab (10 mg/kg intravenously on day 1 of a 14-day cycle). The primary end-point was the objective response (OR) rate (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours 1.1) over the first 16 weeks. A two-stage Simon design was used (H1 15%, H0 3%, α 8%, power 90%) with pre-planned interruption of accrual if no OR was observed after the first 25 patients.

Results: Twenty-six eligible patients were enrolled. Seventeen (65%) patients had received ≥2 previous lines of systemic treatment, and 15 (58%) patients were PD(-L)1 inhibitor pretreated. No OR was observed. Stable disease was observed in 6 patients (23%) with a median duration of 3.8 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.7-NE). The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 1.7 months (95% CI: 1.5-1.8) and 6.7 months (95% CI: 3.0-9.6), respectively. The most frequent treatment-related adverse event was grade I/II fatigue (19%).

Conclusions: Monalizumab monotherapy has limited activity in R/M SCCHN. The I1 cohort did not meet its primary objective. Monalizumab combined with durvalumab is under investigation within UPSTREAM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.09.003DOI Listing
October 2021

Dissociated Responses in Patients with Metastatic Solid Tumors Treated with Immunotherapy.

Drugs R D 2021 Sep 25. Epub 2021 Sep 25.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris and Saint-Cloud, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75005, Paris, France.

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors have been demonstrated to improve overall survival. Atypical patterns of response have been reported, including dissociated response (DR). We evaluated the prevalence of DR.

Patients And Methods: Patients had to have a baseline computed tomography (CT) scan and at least one follow-up CT scan and two target lesions (TLs). Three types of DR were evaluated using RECIST1.1: DR1, defined as at least one progressive and one responding TL; DR2, defined as at least one progressive and one stable TL; and DR3, defined as at least one stable and one responding TL.

Results: A total of 1244 measurements of 272 TLs were performed in 100 patients. Forty-nine out of the 272 TLs (18%) had received old or recent radiotherapy, and 42 (15%) had been biopsied. An objective response was observed in 22 patients (22%) and on 52 TLs (19%). DR1 were observed in 8% of patients. At the tumor measurement level, the response rate was lower in the case of prior radiotherapy (29% vs 34%, p = 0.01) and higher in the case of prior biopsy (40% vs 32%, p = 0.02).

Conclusions: A DR was observed in 8% of patients. Response rate was lower in the case of prior radiotherapy and higher in the case of prior biopsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40268-021-00362-3DOI Listing
September 2021

Efficacy and safety of immune checkpoint inhibitors in elderly patients (≥70 years) with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Sep 15;157:190-197. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus, Villejuif, France.

Background: Recent meta-analysis showed that immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have comparable activity between younger and older patients. However, little is known about efficacy and safety of ICI in elderly patients with relapsed/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (R/M SCCHN). The aim of this study is to compare the efficacy of ICI for patients aged ≥70 y to that for younger patients, while taking into account potential confounding factors.

Methods: A retrospective study was conducted at four hospitals in France. Patients treated with ICI for R/M SCCHN between September 2014 and December 2018 were eligible. Patients' charts were reviewed for clinical and radiological data as well as oncologic outcomes.

Results: We included 226 patients, of whom 67 were aged ≥70 years. Objective response rate (ORR), median overall survival (OS) and median progression-free survival (PFS) were 23%, 9.7 months and 2.7 months, respectively, for elderly patients, compared to 13%, 8.7 months and 1.9 months for younger patients (respective p-values: 0.071, 0.87 and 0.21). After adjustment for performance status, site of progression, number of ICI drugs, time between initial diagnosis and ICI start and number of previous lines, age ≥70 years was significantly associated with a better PFS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.66; p = 0.021) but not OS (HR, 0.91; p = 0.59). Grade 3-5 adverse events (AEs) occurred in 15% of patients aged ≥70 years and in 8% of younger patients (p = 0.13).

Conclusion: Patients aged ≥70 years with R/M SCCHN may respond to ICI similarly as younger patients in terms of ORR, OS and PFS, while maintaining comparable rate of AEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.08.030DOI Listing
September 2021

Identification of Tissue of Origin and Guided Therapeutic Applications in Cancers of Unknown Primary Using Deep Learning and RNA Sequencing (TransCUPtomics).

J Mol Diagn 2021 10 26;23(10):1380-1392. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

INSERM U830, Équipe Labellisée Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, Diversity and Plasticity of Childhood Tumors Lab, PSL Research University, Institut Curie Research Center, Paris, France; Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Curie Hospital, Paris, France. Electronic address:

Cancers of unknown primary (CUP) are metastatic cancers for which the primary tumor is not found despite thorough diagnostic investigations. Multiple molecular assays have been proposed to identify the tissue of origin (TOO) and inform clinical care; however, none has been able to combine accuracy, interpretability, and easy access for routine use. We developed a classifier tool based on the training of a variational autoencoder to predict tissue of origin based on RNA-sequencing data. We used as training data 20,918 samples corresponding to 94 different categories, including 39 cancer types and 55 normal tissues. The TransCUPtomics classifier was applied to a retrospective cohort of 37 CUP patients and 11 prospective patients. TransCUPtomics exhibited an overall accuracy of 96% on reference data for TOO prediction. The TOO could be identified in 38 (79%) of 48 CUP patients. Eight of 11 prospective CUP patients (73%) could receive first-line therapy guided by TransCUPtomics prediction, with responses observed in most patients. The variational autoencoder added further utility by enabling prediction interpretability, and diagnostic predictions could be matched to detection of gene fusions and expressed variants. TransCUPtomics confidently predicted TOO for CUP and enabled tailored treatments leading to significant clinical responses. The interpretability of our approach is a powerful addition to improve the management of CUP patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2021.07.009DOI Listing
October 2021

Phase I trial of copanlisib, a selective PI3K inhibitor, in combination with cetuximab in patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Invest New Drugs 2021 Dec 28;39(6):1641-1648. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris & Saint-Cloud, France.

Background The phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase pathway is often altered in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and is involved in the resistance to EGFR inhibitors. Objective We investigated the dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), maximum tolerated dose, pharmacokinetics, and preliminary efficacy of the combination of copanlisib, an intravenous, pan-class I PI3K inhibitor, with the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab in recurrent and/or metastatic HNSCC patients in a phase I dose-escalation trial. Patients and methods Copanlisib was given intravenously on days 1, 8, and 15 of 28-day cycles at the dose of 45 mg and 30 mg, in combination with standard doses of weekly cetuximab (400 mg/m loading dose followed by 250 mg/m on days 8, 15, and 22, and weekly thereafter). Results Three patients received copanlisib 45 mg, of whom two experienced grade 3 hyperglycemia during Cycle 1 that met the DLT criteria. Eight patients were then treated with copanlisib at the dose of 30 mg. Because of the occurrence of hyperglycemia, a premedication with metformine was introduced on the day of the injections. No DLTs were reported at this dose level. The trial was stopped early because of the unfavourable toxicity profile of the combination. Among eight evaluable patients for response, four patients (50%) had disease stabilization according to RECIST1.1 as best response. Conclusion Copanlisib combined with cetuximab demonstrated unfavorable toxicity and limited efficacy in heavily pretreated recurrent and/or metastatic HNSCC patients.Trial registration NCT02822482, Date of registration: June 2016.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-021-01152-zDOI Listing
December 2021

Circulating HPV DNA as a Marker for Early Detection of Relapse in Patients with Cervical Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jul 1. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris and Saint-Cloud, France.

Purpose: Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and patients with advanced stage are at high risk for relapse. Circulating HPV DNA (HPV ctDNA) may serve as a residual tumor marker at the end of chemoradiation or to predict relapse during the follow-up period.

Experimental Design: We analyzed serum samples from 94 HPV16- or HPV18-related CCs from the BioRAIDs prospective cohort. Samples were collected before and after treatment and during an 18-month follow-up period. Using digital droplet PCR (ddPCR), we assessed the relevance of circulating HPV gene as a marker for residual disease compared to HPV integration site and mutations. Finally, the prognostic impact of circulating HPV gene was assessed with its prediction value of relapse.

Results: HPV gene was the most sensitive tumor marker, superior to both HPV integration sites and mutations in serum. Circulating HPV DNA (HPV ctDNA) was detected in 63% (59/94) of patients, before treatment. HPV ctDNA detection in serum sample was associated with high FIGO stage ( = 0.02) and para-aortic lymph node involvement ( = 0.01). The level of HPV ctDNA was positively correlated with HPV copy number in the tumor ( = 0.39, < 0.001). Complete clearance of HPV ctDNA by the end of treatment was significantly associated with a longer PFS ( < 0.0001). Patients with persistent HPV ctDNA in serum relapsed with a median time of 10 months (range, 2-15) from HPV ctDNA detection.

Conclusions: HPV ctDNA detection is a useful marker to predict relapse in cervical cancer..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-0625DOI Listing
July 2021

Drug Development in Tissue-Agnostic Indications.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jun 2;13(11). Epub 2021 Jun 2.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, 75005 Paris, France.

A better understanding of cancer biology has led to the development of targeted therapies specifically designed to modulate an altered molecular pathway in the cancer cells or their microenvironment. Despite the identification of molecular targets across cancer types, most of targeted therapies were developed per cancer type. In this ancestral paradigm, randomization was the gold-standard approach for market access. Randomization of large patient populations was feasible for drugs developed in common cancer types but more challenging in rare cancer types. The traditional paradigm of drug development in oncology was further challenged by the ever-expanding molecular segmentation of cancer with ever-smaller subgroups of patients who might benefit from specific targeted therapies or immunotherapies and the identification of molecular alterations against which drugs may be effective across cancer types. In this novel drug development paradigm, novel ways of evaluating the efficacy of drugs are highly needed in these small patient populations. One approach is to use each patient as his/her own control by comparing the efficacy of a drug to the efficacy of prior treatments received. This approach allows to overcome patient heterogeneity, especially in a tissue-agnostic drug development paradigm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112758DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8199632PMC
June 2021

A computational method for prioritizing targeted therapies in precision oncology: performance analysis in the SHIVA01 trial.

NPJ Precis Oncol 2021 Jun 23;5(1):59. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institute Curie, Paris & Saint-Cloud, France.

Precision oncology is currently based on pairing molecularly targeted agents (MTA) to predefined single driver genes or biomarkers. Each tumor harbors a combination of a large number of potential genetic alterations of multiple driver genes in a complex system that limits the potential of this approach. We have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted computational method, the digital drug-assignment (DDA) system, to prioritize potential MTAs for each cancer patient based on the complex individual molecular profile of their tumor. We analyzed the clinical benefit of the DDA system on the molecular and clinical outcome data of patients treated in the SHIVA01 precision oncology clinical trial with MTAs matched to individual genetic alterations or biomarkers of their tumor. We found that the DDA score assigned to MTAs was significantly higher in patients experiencing disease control than in patients with progressive disease (1523 versus 580, P = 0.037). The median PFS was also significantly longer in patients receiving MTAs with high (1000+ <) than with low (<0) DDA scores (3.95 versus 1.95 months, P = 0.044). Our results indicate that AI-based systems, like DDA, are promising new tools for oncologists to improve the clinical benefit of precision oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41698-021-00191-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8222375PMC
June 2021

["Immunotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma"].

Rev Prat 2021 Apr;71(4):396-399

"Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris et Saint-Cloud, France" - "Inserm U900, Institut Curie, Mines Paris Tech, Saint-Cloud, France" - "Université Paris-Saclay, Paris, France".

"Immunotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.Immune checkpoint inhibitors became recently the standard of care for recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma not amenable to surgery and/or radiotherapy. Nivolumab as single agent is approved regardless of PD-L1 expression for recurrent and/or metastatic patients following progression within 6 months of platinum therapy administered either in the first line recurrent setting, or concomitantly with radiotherapy. Pembrolizumab in combination with platinum and 5-FU and pembrolizumab a single agent are two approved regimens in the first line recurrent and/or metastatic setting, provided: PD-L1 expression on tumour cells and/or inflammatory cells, and lack of disease progression within 6 months of platinum therapy given concomitantly with radiotherapy."
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April 2021

Observational, prospective, phase 4 study in patients with first-line recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck treated with cetuximab and platinum-based therapy: DIRECT.

Cancer Rep (Hoboken) 2021 Jun 22:e1467. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Saint-Cloud, France.

Background: Cetuximab plus platinum-based therapy (PBT) followed by cetuximab maintenance until progression (EXTREME) is a guideline-recommended first-line treatment option in recurrent/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (R/M SCCHN). DIRECT (Dose Intensity RElative to CeTuximab) was the first phase 4 observational study evaluating EXTREME administration in the real-world setting.

Aims: The primary aim of this study was to assess the relative dose intensity of cetuximab in patients with R/M SCCHN treated with first-line cetuximab according to the EXTREME regimen.

Methods And Results: Patients were ≥18 years old and eligible to receive cetuximab/PBT. Primary endpoint was cetuximab relative dose intensity (RDI). Of prospectively enrolled patients (n = 157), 119 received ≥1 cycle of EXTREME. Practices differing from the EXTREME trial were 5-fluorouracil omission (14%), maintenance cetuximab given every other week (54%), prior cetuximab, disease-free interval <6 months. 64% of patients reached cetuximab RDI ≥80%; mean cetuximab RDI was 88%. 46% of patients received maintenance cetuximab (mean RDI, 91%). Median progression-free survival and overall survival were 4.5 and 9.4 months. No new/unexpected safety findings were observed.

Conclusions: The DIRECT study showed that first-line cetuximab plus PBT was a feasible, beneficial first-line treatment regimen in patients with R/M SCCHN in the real-world setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cnr2.1467DOI Listing
June 2021

Longitudinal assessment of PD-L1 expression and gene expression profiles in patients with head and neck cancer reveals temporal heterogeneity.

Oral Oncol 2021 Aug 7;119:105368. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France; Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, INSERM 1052, CNRS 5286, Centre Léon Bérard, Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Lyon, Lyon 69008, France. Electronic address:

Background: Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) is the most validated predictive biomarker used for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI). Several gene expression-based signatures surrogate of the activation of IFN-gamma pathway and of the presence of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) have also been proposed as potential biomarkers. While they may have a potential therapeutic implication, the longitudinal changes of either PD-L1 or gene expression profiles between the initial and recurrent HNSCC lesions is unknown.

Methods: PD-L1 immunohistochemistry (IHC) and targeted RNA-sequencing of 2,549 transcripts were analyzed on paired specimens from the initial diagnosis and recurrent HNSCC. PD-L1 status was defined using the combined positive score (CPS). PD-L1 mRNA levels were compared with protein expression levels by IHC. Enrichment scores of surrogate signatures for TLS and IFN-gamma (IFN-γ) pathway activation were computed using the single sample gene set enrichment analysis (ssGSEA).

Results: PD-L1 status was 64% (21/33) concordant between the initial and recurrent lesions using a CPS 1 threshold and 67% (22/33) concordant using a CPS 20 threshold. CPS score was associated with PD-L1 gene expression levels. There was a 43% (15/35) and 66% (23/35) concordance for the IFN-γ and TLS signature scores, respectively.

Conclusion: Our study reveals temporal heterogeneity of PD-L1 status and TLS/IFN-γ gene expression surrogates in HNSCC that need to be considered when interpreting biomarker studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.oraloncology.2021.105368DOI Listing
August 2021

Cetuximab combined with paclitaxel or paclitaxel alone for patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma progressing after EXTREME.

Cancer Med 2021 06 25;10(12):3952-3963. Epub 2021 May 25.

Department of Medical Oncology, CHU la Timone, AP-HM, Marseille, France.

Background: Prognosis of recurrent or metastatic (R/M) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) remains poor. The addition of cetuximab, to platinum and fluorouracil chemotherapy (EXTREME regimen) has been shown to improve patients' outcomes in first-line settings.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective, multicenter study, including HNSCC that progressed after a first line of platinum-based chemotherapy and cetuximab, treated either by paclitaxel + cetuximab (PC) or paclitaxel alone (P), between January 2010 and April 2018. The end points were overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall response rates (ORR). Patients were matched according to their propensity scores, estimated with a logistic regression model. The secondary objectives were to study the safety profile and to look for prognostic and predictive factors of effectiveness.

Results: Of the 340 identified patients, 262 were included in the analysis, 165 received PC, and 97 received P. In unmatched population, ORR was 16.4% with PC and 6.2% for P. Median PFS was 2.9 months [95% Confidence Interval 2.7-3.0] for PC versus 2.5 months [2.2-2.7] for P, hazard ratio (HR) = 0.770 [0.596-0.996]. Median OS was 5.5 months [4.4-6.9] for PC versus 4.2 months [3.4-4.8] for P, HR = 0.774 [0.590-1.015]. In multivariate analysis, PC was associated with better PFS and OS. These results were consistent in matched-paired population. Previous cetuximab maintenance for more than 3 months was predictive of better OS with PC.

Conclusion: Although the continuation of cetuximab in combination with paclitaxel after EXTREME provides moderate benefit, it could be an interesting option for selected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3953DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8209557PMC
June 2021

Paradigm Change in First-Line Treatment of Recurrent and/or Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 24;13(11). Epub 2021 May 24.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, 75005 Paris, France.

Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy has been for the decade standard of care for the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) patients in the first-line recurrent and/or metastatic setting. The KEYNOTE-048 trial published last year established a new paradigm in this setting with the demonstration that immunotherapy should be given either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Indeed, pembrolizumab, an antiprogrammed cell death 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor, improved overall survival as compared to the EXTREME regimen in patients expressing PD-L1 in the tumor microenvironment, which represents a large majority of the patient population. In this review, we will decipher this important change of paradigm in the first-line treatment of recurrent and/or metastatic HNSCC, and discuss associated challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8197177PMC
May 2021

Drug development in the era of precision medicine in oncology-Clues beyond randomization.

Chin Clin Oncol 2021 Jun 23;10(3):23. Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris & Saint-Cloud, France; INSERM U900 Research Unit, Institut Curie, Saint-Cloud, France; Faculty of Medicine, Paris-Saclay University, Paris, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/cco-21-29DOI Listing
June 2021

Prognostic value of intratumoral Fusobacterium nucleatum and association with immune-related gene expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma patients.

Sci Rep 2021 04 12;11(1):7870. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Department of Genetics, Institut Curie, PSL Research University, Paris, France.

Changes in the oral microbiome, particularly Fusobacterium nucleatum, are associated with oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). F. nucleatum has been reported to modulate local immunity in cancers. We aimed to assess the association between intratumoral F. nucleatum and clinico-pathological features, relapse, and overall survival (OS) in two independent cohorts of patients with OSCC, and to explore the interplay with immune-related genes. We retrospectively analyzed tissue samples from a first cohort of 122 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, including 61 OSCC (cohort #1), and a second cohort of 90 additional OSCC (cohort #2). We then performed a sensitivity analysis on the merged cohort of OSCC patients (N = 151). F. nucleatum 16S rRNA gene sequences were quantified using real-time quantitative PCR. The presence of gram-negative bacteria and macrophages was confirmed by LPS and CD163 immunostainings, respectively. F. nucleatum positivity was associated with older age, less alcohol and combined alcohol plus tobacco consumption, and less frequent lymph node invasion. There was a trend for a lower recurrence rate in F. nucleatum-positive cases, with less metastatic relapses compared to F. nucleatum-negative tumors, and significantly longer OS, relapse-free and metastasis-free survival. F. nucleatum status was independently associated with OS in multivariate analysis. Immune-related gene and immunohistochemistry analyses showed that gram-negative bacteria load inversely correlated with M2 macrophages. F. nucleatum-associated OSCC has a specific immune microenvironment, is more frequent in older, non-drinking patients, and associated with a favorable prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-86816-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8041800PMC
April 2021

Exploratory window-of-opportunity trial to investigate the tumor pharmacokinetcs/pharmacodynamics of the IAP antagonist Debio 1143 in patients with head and neck cancer.

Clin Transl Sci 2021 Mar 20. Epub 2021 Mar 20.

Debiopharm International S.A, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) regulate apoptosis and modulate NF-κB signalling thereby driving expression of genes involved in immune/inflammatory responses. The orally available IAP antagonist Debio 1143 has potential to enhance tumor response to chemoradiotherapy and/or immunotherapy. Patients with pre-operative squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (SCCHN) received: Debio 1143 monotherapy (200 mg/day D1-15 +/-2); Debio 1143 (200 mg/day D1-15 +/-2) plus cisplatin (40 mg/m D-1 and 8); cisplatin alone (40 mg/m D-1 and 8) (EudraCT: 2014-004655-31). Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic effects were assessed in plasma and resected tumors. Primary endpoint; effect of Debio 1143 on cellular IAP-1 (cIAP-1). Levels of cIAP-1/-2, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) including CD8+ T cells, programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and gene expression were also analyzed. Twenty-three of 26 patients completed treatment. In the Debio 1143 monotherapy cohort (n=13), mean tumor concentrations of Debio 1143 were 18-fold (maximum 55.2-fold) greater than in plasma, exceeding the IC for cIAPs and XIAP by 100 to 1000-fold, with significant engagement/degradation of cIAP-1 (p <0.05). Overall, levels of CD8+ TILs, PD-1 and PD-L1 positive immune cells increased significantly (p <0.05) following Debio 1143 treatment. Changes were observed in the expression of genes related to NF-κB signalling. Treatments were well tolerated. Debio 1143 penetrated SCCHN tumors, engaged cIAP-1 and induced immune inflammatory changes in the tumor microenvironment. Based on the mode of action demonstrated here and in previous studies, these data support future combinations of Debio 1143 with immune-checkpoint agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cts.13002DOI Listing
March 2021

Phase I study of ABBV-428, a mesothelin-CD40 bispecific, in patients with advanced solid tumors.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 02;9(2)

Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.

Background: CD40 agonist immunotherapy can potentially license antigen-presenting cells to promote antitumor T-cell activation and re-educate macrophages to destroy tumor stroma. Systemic administration of CD40 agonists has historically been associated with considerable toxicity, providing the rationale for development of tumor-targeted immunomodulators to improve clinical safety and efficacy. This phase I study assessed the safety, tolerability, preliminary antitumor activity, and preliminary biomarkers of ABBV-428, a first-in-class, mesothelin-targeted, bispecific antibody designed for tumor microenvironment-dependent CD40 activation with limited systemic toxicity.

Methods: ABBV-428 was administered intravenously every 2 weeks to patients with advanced solid tumors. An accelerated titration (starting at a 0.01 mg/kg dose) and a 3+3 dose escalation scheme were used, followed by recommended phase II dose cohort expansions in ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, tumor types associated with high mesothelin expression.

Results: Fifty-nine patients were treated at doses between 0.01 and 3.6 mg/kg. The maximum tolerated dose was not reached, and 3.6 mg/kg was selected as the recommended phase II dose. Seven patients (12%) reported infusion-related reactions. Treatment-related grade ≥3 treatment-emergent adverse events were pericardial effusion, colitis, infusion-related reaction, and pleural effusion (n=1 each, 2%), with no cytokine release syndrome reported. The pharmacokinetic profile demonstrated roughly dose-proportional increases in exposure from 0.4 to 3.6 mg/kg. Best response was stable disease in 9/25 patients (36%) treated at the recommended phase II dose. CD40 receptor occupancy >90% was observed on peripheral B-cells starting from 0.8 mg/kg; however, no consistent changes from baseline in intratumoral CD8+ T-cells, programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1+) cells, or immune-related gene expression were detected post-ABBV-428 treatment (cycle 2, day 1). Mesothelin membrane staining showed greater correlation with progression-free survival in ovarian cancer and mesothelioma than in the broader dose escalation population.

Conclusions: ABBV-428 monotherapy exhibited dose-proportional pharmacokinetics and an acceptable safety profile, particularly for toxicities characteristic of CD40 agonism, illustrating that utilization of a tumor-targeted, bispecific antibody can improve the safety of CD40 agonism as a therapeutic approach. ABBV-428 monotherapy had minimal clinical activity in dose escalation and in a small expansion cohort of patients with advanced mesothelioma or ovarian cancer.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02955251.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7898862PMC
February 2021

Phase I dose-escalation study of NBTXR3 activated by intensity-modulated radiation therapy in elderly patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity or oropharynx.

Eur J Cancer 2021 03 16;146:135-144. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris, France; INSERM U900 Research Unit, Saint-Cloud, France; Paris-Saclay University, Paris, France. Electronic address:

Purpose: This phase I study assessed the safety of first-in-class radioenhancer nanoparticles, NBTXR3, in elderly or frail patients with locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), ineligible for chemoradiation.

Methods: Patients with stage III or IVA (American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) guidelines, 7th edition, 2010) HNSCC of the oral cavity or oropharynx, aged ≥70 or ≥65 years and ineligible to receive cisplatin, amenable to radiotherapy (RT) with curative intent, received NBTXR3 as a single intratumoural (IT) injection followed by activation by intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT; 70 Gy). The NBTXR3 dose corresponded to a percentage of the baseline tumour volume, measured by magnetic resonance imaging. The primary objectives were to determine the recommended phase II dose (RP2D), dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Safety and tolerability were assessed using National Cancer Institute CTCAE version 4.0. Antitumour activity was assessed by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours 1.1.

Results: Nineteen patients were enrolled: 3 at the dose level of 5%, 3 at the dose level of 10%, 5 at the dose level of 15% and 8 at the dose level of 22% of the tumour volume. The MTD was not reached, and no DLTs or serious adverse event (SAEs) related to NBTXR3 were observed. Four adverse events related to NBTXR3 and/or the IT injection were reported (grade I-II). NBTXR3 remained in the injected tumour throughout RT, with no leakage in the surrounding healthy tissues. Specific RT-related toxicity was as expected with IMRT. The RP2D was determined as 22% baseline tumour volume. Preliminary signs of antitumour activity were observed.

Conclusion: Intratumoural injection of NBTXR3 followed by IMRT is feasible and demonstrated a good safety profile, supporting further evaluation at the RP2D in this patient population.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.govNCT01946867.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.007DOI Listing
March 2021

Keynote-158 study, FDA granted accelerated approval of pembrolizumab for the treatment of patients with advanced PD-L1-positive cervical cancer.

Ann Transl Med 2020 Dec;8(23):1611

Department of Drug Development and Innovation (D3i), Institut Curie, Paris & Saint-Cloud, France.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/atm-20-2656DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7791256PMC
December 2020

Vanucizumab mode of action: Serial biomarkers in plasma, tumor, and skin-wound-healing biopsies.

Transl Oncol 2021 Feb 15;14(2):100984. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Roche Innovation Center Munich, Nonnenwald 2, 82377 Penzberg, Germany. Electronic address:

Vanucizumab is a novel bispecific antibody inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) that demonstrated safety and anti-tumor activity in part I of a phase I study of 42 patients with advanced solid tumors. Part II evaluated the pharmacodynamic effects of vanucizumab 30 or 15 mg/kg every 2 weeks in 32 patients. Serial plasma samples, paired tumor, and skin-wound-healing biopsies were taken over 29 days to evaluate angiogenic markers. Vanucizumab was associated with marked post-infusion reductions in circulating unbound VEGF-A and Ang-2. By day 29, tumor samples revealed mean reductions in density of microvessels (-32.2%), proliferating vessels (-47.9%) and Ang-2 positive vessels (-62.5%). Skin biopsies showed a mean reduction in density of microvessels (-49.0%) and proliferating vessels (-25.7%). Gene expression profiling of tumor samples implied recruitment and potential activation of lymphocytes. Biopsies were safely conducted. Vanucizumab demonstrated a consistent biological effect on vascular-related biomarkers, confirming proof of concept. Skin-wound-healing biopsies were a valuable surrogate for studying angiogenesis-related mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tranon.2020.100984DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749407PMC
February 2021

Comparing programmed death ligand 1 scores for predicting pembrolizumab efficacy in head and neck cancer.

Mod Pathol 2021 03 25;34(3):532-541. Epub 2020 Nov 25.

Late-Stage Immuno-Oncology Research and Development, Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.

Tumor proportion score (TPS) and combined positive score ([CPS] includes immune cells), 2 methods for scoring programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression, have been used in clinical trials investigating the immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). These trials resulted in regulatory approval for pembrolizumab in the first- and second-line setting outside the United States. We performed a post hoc analysis of the KEYNOTE-040 study (NCT02252042) to determine whether CPS is a practical and suitable alternative scoring method to TPS. In KEYNOTE-040, patients with metastatic HNSCC received pembrolizumab or investigator choice of standard of care (SOC). The relative utility and equivalence of CPS ≥ 50 and TPS ≥ 50% for defining PD-L1 expression status in patients with HNSCC and comparability of scoring methods by tandem receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis were analyzed. The cutoff for each method was also evaluated. CPS ≥ 50 appeared equivalent to TPS ≥ 50% for predicting objective response rate (ORR), overall survival, and progression-free survival. ORR for pembrolizumab versus SOC was 26.2 versus 8.5% for TPS ≥ 50%, 28.1 versus 7.7% for CPS ≥ 50, 10.6 versus 11.6% for TPS < 50%, and 10.0 versus 12.0% for CPS < 50. Tandem ROC analysis showed that TPS 50% and CPS 50 maximized delta Youden index and suggested that CPS is more sensitive than TPS at lower cutoffs (i.e., CPS ≥ 1). In conclusion, CPS 50 can be used interchangeably with TPS 50% to determine PD-L1 status in patients with HNSCC. CPS may be more sensitive than TPS at lower cutoffs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-020-00710-9DOI Listing
March 2021

Human papilloma virus (HPV) integration signature in Cervical Cancer: identification of MACROD2 gene as HPV hot spot integration site.

Br J Cancer 2021 02 16;124(4):777-785. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Department of Genetics, Institut Curie, PSL Research University, 75005, Paris, France.

Background: Cervical cancer (CC) remains a leading cause of gynaecological cancer-related mortality with infection by human papilloma virus (HPV) being the most important risk factor. We analysed the association between different viral integration signatures, clinical parameters and outcome in pre-treated CCs.

Methods: Different integration signatures were identified using HPV double capture followed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) in 272 CC patients from the BioRAIDs study [NCT02428842]. Correlations between HPV integration signatures and clinical, biological and molecular features were assessed.

Results: Episomal HPV was much less frequent in CC as compared to anal carcinoma (p < 0.0001). We identified >300 different HPV-chromosomal junctions (inter- or intra-genic). The most frequent integration site in CC was in MACROD2 gene followed by MIPOL1/TTC6 and TP63. HPV integration signatures were not associated with histological subtype, FIGO staging, treatment or PFS. HPVs were more frequently episomal in PIK3CA mutated tumours (p = 0.023). Viral integration type was dependent on HPV genotype (p < 0.0001); HPV18 and HPV45 being always integrated. High HPV copy number was associated with longer PFS (p = 0.011).

Conclusions: This is to our knowledge the first study assessing the prognostic value of HPV integration in a prospectively annotated CC cohort, which detects a hotspot of HPV integration at MACROD2; involved in impaired PARP1 activity and chromosome instability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01153-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7884736PMC
February 2021

Long-term clinical activity, safety and patient-reported quality of life for emactuzumab-treated patients with diffuse-type tenosynovial giant-cell tumour.

Eur J Cancer 2020 12 5;141:162-170. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Institut Claudius Regaud, Département D'Oncologie Médicale, Toulouse, France.

Objectives: This study investigated the safety, clinical activity and patient-reported outcomes of patients with diffuse-type tenosynovial giant-cell tumour (dTGCT) of the soft tissue who were treated with emactuzumab, a humanised anti-colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) monoclonal antibody and were followed up for up to 2 years after the start of treatment.

Methods: In this open-label phase 1 study (ClinicalTrials.govNCT01494688), patients received intravenous (IV) emactuzumab from 900 to 2000 mg every two weeks in the dose-escalation phase and at the optimal biological dose of 1000 mg with different schedules in the dose-expansion phase. Adverse event (AE) rates and biomarker assessments from tumour biopsies were analysed. Quality of life was assessed using a standard questionnaire (EuroQol-5D-3L) and the WOMAC® 3.1 Osteoarthritis Index. Tumour responses were determined with magnetic resonance imaging.

Results: Altogether, 63 patients were enrolled into the study. The most frequently reported AEs were pruritus, asthenia and oedema. In 36 patients for whom biopsy tissue was available a substantial decrease of CSF1R-positive and CD68/CD163-positive macrophages was detected. The independently reviewed best overall objective response rate (ORR) (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1) was 71%. Responses were durable, and an ORR of 70% and 64% was determined after one or two years after enrolment into the study. Clinical activity was accompanied by an improvement in EuroQol-5D-3L and particularly the joint disorder-specific WOMAC score.

Conclusions: Systemic therapy of dTGCT patients with emactuzumab resulted in pronounced and durable responses associated with symptomatic improvement and a manageable safety profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.09.038DOI Listing
December 2020

Ramucirumab in Combination with Pembrolizumab in Treatment-Naïve Advanced Gastric or GEJ Adenocarcinoma: Safety and Antitumor Activity from the Phase 1a/b JVDF Trial.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 15;12(10). Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Ramucirumab (anti-VEGFR2) plus pembrolizumab (anti-PD1) demonstrated promising antitumor activity and tolerability among patients with previously treated advanced cancers, supporting growing evidence that combination therapies modulating the tumor microenvironment may expand the spectrum of patients who respond to checkpoint inhibitors. Here we present the results of this combination in first-line patients with metastatic G/GEJ cancer. Twenty-eight patients (≥18 years) with no prior systemic chemotherapy in the advanced/metastatic setting received ramucirumab (8 mg/kg days 1 and 8) plus pembrolizumab (200 mg day 1) every 3 weeks as part of JVDF phase 1a/b study. The primary endpoint was safety. Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), and overall survival (OS). Tumors were PD-L1-positive (combined positive score ≥ 1) in 19 and -negative in 6 patients. Eighteen patients experienced grade 3 treatment-related adverse events, most commonly hypertension (14%) and elevated alanine/aspartate aminotransferase (11% each), with no grade 4 or 5 reported. The ORR was 25% (PD-L1-positive, 32%; PD-L1-negative, 17%) with duration of response not reached. PFS was 5.6 months (PD-L1-positive, 8.6 months; PD-L1-negative, 4.3 months), and OS 14.6 months (PD-L1-positive, 17.3 months; PD-L1-negative, 11.3 months). Acknowledging study design limitations, ramucirumab plus pembrolizumab had encouraging durable clinical activity with no unexpected toxicities in treatment-naïve biomarker-unselected metastatic G/GEJ cancer, and improved outcomes in patients with PD-L1-positive tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12102985DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7602637PMC
October 2020

Phase I Trial of Debio 1143, an Antagonist of Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins, Combined with Cisplatin Chemoradiotherapy in Patients with Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 12 29;26(24):6429-6436. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Department of Radio-Oncology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV), Lausanne, Switzerland.

Purpose: Debio 1143 is an oral antagonist of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins, which enhances tumor response with concomitant chemoradiotherapy. Addition of Debio 1143 to cisplatin-based chemoradiotherapy in locally advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck (LA-SCCHN) was evaluated in a phase I/II study to determine the MTD and recommended phase II dose (RP2D). Here, phase I results are reported.

Patients And Methods: Treatment-naïve patients with LA-SCCHN (stages III/IVA/IVB) received Debio 1143 (100, 200, 300 mg/day), for 14 days every 3 weeks, with cisplatin (100 mg/m², every 3 weeks), for three cycles, and concomitant conventional fractionation radiotherapy (70 Gy/7 weeks). Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was evaluated over 9 weeks using continual reassessment.

Results: Fourteen patients were treated/evaluable for DLT. Median age was 64.5 years, and all patients were current/former smokers. Primary tumors were hypopharynx, oropharynx (all human papillomavirus/p16 negative), larynx, and oral cavity. Two of six patients at 200 mg/day had DLT (grade 3 tubular necrosis, grade 3 aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase increase, grade 4 febrile neutropenia, and grade 3 lipase increase), which was considered the MTD and RP2D. Common grade 3-4 adverse events were dysphagia (36%) and mucositis (29%). Laboratory abnormalities were frequent and generally mild, including anemia, white blood cell decrease, and increased creatinine. Addition of Debio 1143 did not compromise chemotherapy administration. Overall locoregional control rate at 18 months was 85%. Overall response rate was 85%, including 69% complete responses. Progression-free survival rate at 24 months was 74%.

Conclusions: The RP2D of Debio 1143 is 200 mg/day for 14 days, every 3 weeks, when combined with concomitant high-dose cisplatin chemoradiotherapy in LA-SCCHN. Debio 1143 addition to chemoradiotherapy was safe and manageable. Preliminary efficacy is encouraging and supports further development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-0425DOI Listing
December 2020

MMP2 as an independent prognostic stratifier in oral cavity cancers.

Oncoimmunology 2020 05 13;9(1):1754094. Epub 2020 May 13.

Paris Sciences and Letters (PSL) University, Paris, France.

Background: Around 25% of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma (OCSCC) are not controlled by the standard of care, but there is currently no validated biomarker to identify those patients. Our objective was to determine a robust biomarker for severe OCSCC, using a biology-driven strategy.

Patients And Methods: Tumor and juxtatumor secretome were analyzed in a prospective discovery cohort of 37 OCSCC treated by primary surgery. Independent biomarker validation was performed by RTqPCR in a retrospective cohort of 145 patients with similar clinical features. An 18-gene signature (18 G) predictive of the response to PD-1 blockade was evaluated in the same cohort.

Results: Among 29 deregulated molecules identified in a secretome analysis, including chemokines, cytokines, growth factors, and molecules related to tumor growth and tissue remodeling, only soluble MMP2 was a prognostic biomarker. In our validation cohort, high levels of and , and low levels of and mRNA were associated with poor prognosis in univariate analysis (Kaplan-Meier). ( = .001) and extra-nodal extension (ENE) ( = .006) were independent biomarkers of disease-specific survival (DSS) in multivariate analysis and defined prognostic groups with 5-year DSS ranging from 36% (highENE+) to 88% (lowENE-). The expression of 18 G was similar in the different prognostic groups, suggesting comparable responsiveness to anti-PD-1.

Conclusion: High levels of MMP2 were an independent and validated prognostic biomarker, surpassing other molecules of a large panel of the tumor and immune-related processes, which may be used to select poor prognosis patients for intensified neoadjuvant or adjuvant regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2020.1754094DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7466851PMC
May 2020

A Phase 1 dose-escalation study to evaluate safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of AsiDNA, a first-in-class DNA repair inhibitor, administered intravenously in patients with advanced solid tumours.

Br J Cancer 2020 11 25;123(10):1481-1489. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Medical Oncology, Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon, France.

Background: AsiDNA, a first-in-class oligonucleotide-mimicking double-stranded DNA breaks, acts as a decoy agonist to DNA damage response in tumour cells. It also activates DNA-dependent protein kinase and poly (adenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose) polymerase enzymes that induce phosphorylation of H2AX and protein PARylation.

Methods: The aim of this Phase 1 study was to determine dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics of AsiDNA administered daily for 3 days in the first week then weekly thereafter. Twenty-two patients with advanced solid tumours were enrolled in 5 dose levels: 200, 400, 600, 900, and 1300 mg, using a 3 + 3 design.

Results: The MTD was not reached. IV AsiDNA was safe. Two DLTs (grade 4 and grade 3 hepatic enzymes increased at 900 and 1300 mg), and two related SAE at 900 mg (grade 3 hypotension and grade 4 hepatic enzymes increased) were reported. AsiDNA PK increased proportionally with dose. A robust activation of DNA-PK by a significant posttreatment increase of γH2AX was evidenced in tumour biopsies.

Conclusion: The dose of 600 mg was identified as the optimal dose for further clinical development.

Clinical Trial Registration: Clinical trial registration (NCT number): NCT03579628.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01028-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7653034PMC
November 2020

Debio 1143 and high-dose cisplatin chemoradiotherapy in high-risk locoregionally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: a double-blind, multicentre, randomised, phase 2 study.

Lancet Oncol 2020 09 3;21(9):1173-1187. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Debiopharm International, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Background: Debio 1143 is an orally available antagonist of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins with the potential to enhance the antitumour activity of cisplatin and radiotherapy. The radiosensitising effect of Debio 1143 is mediated through caspase activation and TNF, IFNγ, CD8 T cell-dependent pathways. We aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of Debio 1143 in combination with standard chemoradiotherapy in patients with high-risk locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.

Methods: This double-blind, multicentre, randomised, phase 2 study by the French Head and Neck Radiotherapy Oncology Group (GORTEC) was run at 19 hospitals in France and Switzerland. Eligible patients were aged 18-75 years with locoregionally advanced, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (characterised as non-metastatic, measurable stage III, IVa, or IVb [limited to T ≥2, N0-3, and M0] disease), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, a history of heavy tobacco smoking (>10 pack-years) with no previous or current treatment for invasive head and neck cancer, and no previous treatment with inhibitor of apoptosis protein antagonists. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive oral Debio 1143 (200 mg per day on days 1-14 of 21-day cycles, for three cycles) or oral placebo (20 mg/mL, administered at the same dosing schedule) using a stochastic minimisation technique according to node involvement and primary tumour site, and HPV-16 status in patients with an oropharyngeal primary tumour site. All patients received standard high-dose cisplatin chemoradiotherapy. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with locoregional control 18 months after chemoradiotherapy, analysed in the intention-to-treat population (primary analysis), and repeated in the per-protocol population. Responses were assessed according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (version 1.1). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02022098, and is still active but not recruiting.

Findings: Between Jan 25, 2016, and April 24, 2017, 48 patients were randomly assigned to the Debio 1143 group and 48 to the placebo group (one patient in the placebo group did not receive the study drug and was not included in the safety analysis). Median duration of follow-up was 25·0 months (IQR 19·6-29·4) in the Debio 1143 group and 24·2 months (6·6-26·8) in the placebo group. Locoregional control 18 months after chemoradiotherapy was achieved in 26 (54%; 95% CI 39-69) of 48 patients in the Debio 1143 group versus 16 (33%; 20-48) of 48 patients in the placebo group (odds ratio 2·69 [95% CI 1·13-6·42], p=0·026). Grade 3 or worse adverse events were reported in 41 (85%) of 48 patients in the Debio 1143 group and in 41 (87%) of 47 patients in the placebo group. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were dysphagia (in 24 [50%] patients in the Debio 1143 group vs ten [21%] in the placebo group), mucositis (in 15 [31%] vs ten [21%]), and anaemia (in 17 [35%] vs 11 [23%]). Serious treatment-emergent adverse events were recorded in 30 (63%) of 48 patients in the Debio 1143 group and 28 (60%) of 47 in the placebo group. In the placebo group, two (4%) deaths were due to adverse events (one multiple organ failure and one asphyxia; neither was considered to be related to treatment). No deaths due to adverse events occurred in the Debio 1143 group.

Interpretation: To our knowledge, this is the first treatment regimen to achieve superior efficacy in this disease setting against a high-dose cisplatin chemoradiotherapy comparator in a randomised trial. These findings suggest that inhibition of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins is a novel and promising approach in this poor prognostic population and warrant confirmation in a phase 3 study with the aim of expanding the therapeutic options for these patients.

Funding: Debiopharm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30327-2DOI Listing
September 2020

Fine-needle aspiration as an alternative to core needle biopsy for tumour molecular profiling in precision oncology: prospective comparative study of next-generation sequencing in cancer patients included in the SHIVA02 trial.

Mol Oncol 2021 01 15;15(1):104-115. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Department of Radiology, Institut Curie, PSL Research University, Paris & Saint-Cloud, France.

High-throughput molecular profiling of solid tumours using core needle biopsies (CNB) allows the identification of actionable molecular alterations, with around 70% success rate. Although several studies have demonstrated the utility of small biopsy specimens for molecular testing, there remains debate as to the sensitivity of the less invasive fine-needle aspiration (FNA) compared to CNB to detect molecular alterations. We aimed to prospectively evaluate the potential of FNA to detect such alterations in various tumour types as compared to CNB in cancer patients included in the SHIVA02 trial. An in-house amplicon-based targeted sequencing panel (Illumina TSCA 99.3 kb panel covering 87 genes) was used to identify pathogenic variants and gene copy number variations (CNV) in concomitant CNB and FNA samples obtained from 61 patients enrolled in the SHIVA02 trial (NCT03084757). The main tumour types analysed were breast (38%), colon (15%), pancreas (11%), followed by cervix and stomach (7% each). We report 123 molecular alterations (85 variants, 23 amplifications and 15 homozygous deletions) among which 98 (80%) were concordant between CNB and FNA. The remaining discordances were mainly related to deletions status, yet undetected alterations were not exclusively specific to FNA. Comparative analysis of molecular alterations in CNB and FNA showed high concordance in terms of variants as well as CNVs identified. We conclude FNA could therefore be used in routine diagnostics workflow and clinical trials for tumour molecular profiling with the advantages of being minimally invasive and preserve tissue material needed for diagnostic, prognostic or theranostic purposes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1878-0261.12776DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7782085PMC
January 2021
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