Publications by authors named "Corrado Ficorella"

155 Publications

Real world data of cemiplimab in locally advanced and metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Sep 15;157:250-258. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

University of Brescia, Department of Medical-Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, Medical Oncology, ASST-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Lombardia, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) has an overall favourable outcome, except for patients with an advanced stage disease. The programmed death protein-1 (PD-1) inhibitor cemiplimab has been approved for use in advanced cSCC. We report clinical outcomes from the named patient programme-compassionate use of cemiplimab for patients with advanced cSCC in Italy.

Methods: This is a retrospective, observational, multicentre study. We analysed medical records of patients with advanced cSCC treated with cemiplimab between May 2019 and February 2020 in 17 referral Italian centres. We assessed the safety profile according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 5.0 (CTCAE v 5.0), the clinical activity in terms of response rate, clinical benefit and duration of response and baseline clinical-pathologic characteristics associated with response.

Results: 131 patients were included, with a median age of 79 years. Of them, 9.2% had a concurrent chronic lymphoproliferative disease and 8.5% a concomitant autoimmune disease. Some 42.7% of the total patients had at least one treatment-related adverse events (AEs); out of above, 9.2% had grade 3-4 adverse events, and there were two fatal adverse events. The overall response rate (ORR) was 58%, and the disease control rate (DCR) was 71.7%. Cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (cSCCs) arising on the head and neck area (p = 0.007) and haemoglobin values in normal range (p = 0.034) were significantly associated with a better response, while cSCCs on the genitalia (p = 0.041), treatment with any systemic antibiotic within 1 month of cemiplimab initiation (p = 0.012), performance status ≥1 (p = 0.012), chronic corticosteroids therapy (p = 0.038), previous radiation therapy to lymph nodes (p = 0.052) and previous chemotherapy (p = 0.0020) were significantly associated with a worse response.

Conclusions: Our real-world study showed safety and effectiveness results comparable to those obtained in clinical trials. We identified some clinical and biochemical factors potentially associated with response to cemiplimab.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.08.018DOI Listing
September 2021

Clinical outcomes of NSCLC patients experiencing early immune-related adverse events to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors leading to treatment discontinuation.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2021 Aug 31. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Medical Oncology, ASST-Sette Laghi, Varese, Italy.

Background: The prognostic relevance of early immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in patients affected by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) upon immunotherapy is not fully understood.

Methods: The Leading to Treatment Discontinuation cohort included 24 patients experiencing severe irAEs after one of two administrations of single anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in any line setting for metastatic NSCLC between November 2015 and June 2019. The control cohort was composed of 526 patients treated with single anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in any line setting with no severe irAE reported. The primary end points were median progression-free survival, overall survival, objective response rate, risk of progression of disease and risk of death. The correlation of clinic pathological features with early severe irAEs represented the secondary end point.

Results: Median PFS was 9.3 and 8.4 months, median OS was 12.0 months and 14.2 months at a median follow-up of 18.1 and 22.6 months in the LTD cohort and in the control cohort, respectively. The ORR was 40% (95% CI 17.2-78.8) in the LTD cohort and 32.7% (95% CI 27.8-38.2) in the control cohort. The risk of disease progression was higher in the LTD cohort (HR 2.52 [95% 1.10-5.78], P = .0288).

Conclusions: We found no survival benefit in LTD cohort compared to the control cohort. However, early and severe irAEs might underly an immune anti-tumor activation. We identified a significant association with first-line immune checkpoints inhibitors treatment and good PS. Further studies on risk prediction and management of serious and early irAEs in NSCLC patients are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-021-03045-9DOI Listing
August 2021

Clinicians' Attitude to Doublet Plus Anti-EGFR Versus Triplet Plus Bevacizumab as First-line Treatment in Left-Sided RAS and BRAF Wild-Type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Patients: A Multicenter, "Real-Life", Case-Control Study.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2021 Jul 18. Epub 2021 Jul 18.

Medical Oncology Unit, University Hospital of Parma, Parma, Italy.

Background: Doublets plus antiepidermal growth factor receptors monoclonal antibodies (EGFRi) are widely considered the preferable first-line regimen in patients with left-sided RAS/BRAF wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), resulting superior in terms of activity and efficacy compared to doublets plus bevacizumab. However, data comparing doublet plus EGFRi and triplet plus bevacizumab are lacking, and the relative benefit of an intensive regimen plus an antiangiogenic backbone in this population is debated.

Methods: This multicenter, retrospective study aimed at evaluating clinicians' attitude to triplet-bevacizumab and doublet-EGFRi as first-line regimen in patients with left-sided RAS/BRAF wild-type mCRC treated in clinical practice at 22 Oncology Units from March 2012 to October 2020. A random case-control matching was performed to compare activity (ORR), and effectiveness (PFS, OS, secondary resection rate of metastases with curative intent) between triplet-bevacizumab and doublet-EGFRi, on the basis of ECOG-PS, age, gender, and burden of disease.

Results: A total of 718 patients were consecutively treated with doublet-EGFRi (686, 95.5%) or triplet-bevacizumab (32, 4.5%). After case-control matching, median PFS was 13.6 (95% CI, 8.9-31.7) and 16.1 (95% CI, 12.1-36.8) months (P= .621), while median OS was 30.2 (95% CI, 14.4-69.5) and 38.1 (95% CI, 33.1-101.1) months (P= .0283) in the doublet-EGFRi and the triplet-bevacizumab cohort, respectively. The ORR was 65.6% and 90.6% (P= .016), while the secondary resection rate was 18.8% and 46.9% (P= .016), in the doublet-EGFRi and the triplet-bevacizumab cohort, respectively. Triplet-bevacizumab was associated with a higher incidence of G3/G4 neutropenia (25.0% vs. 12.5%, P= .041).

Conclusion: Although a doublet-EGFRi remains the recommended upfront regimen in patients with left-sided RAS and BRAF wild-type mCRC, our real life data suggest a triplet-bevacizumab might be at least equally active and effective in properly selected cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2021.07.003DOI Listing
July 2021

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

Sci Rep 2021 07 2;11(1):13770. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bone recurrence in early breast cancer patients: The paradox of aromatase inhibitors induced bone resorption.

Breast Dis 2021 ;40(4):257-262

Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

Background: Despite the increase in chances of cure for early breast cancer (EBC) patients, approximately 20-45% of them will experience a disease recurrence, particularly bone metastases in 60-80% of cases, which occur more frequently in luminal subtypes. Endocrine therapy (ET) has always been the milestone of adjuvant treatment for hormone receptor-positive EBC patients, leading to indubitable reduction of disease recurrence risk. However, adjuvant aromatase inhibitors (AIs) therapy may promote a progressive decrease in bone mineral density (BMD), which can lead to osteoporosis. The increased bone resorption associated with osteoporosis may provide fertile soil for cancer growth and accelerate the development of bone metastases.

Patients And Methods: In this single-institution cohort study, we performed a retrospective analysis of "luminal-like" EBC patients who experienced bone recurrence after a subsequent disease free interval. The aim of the study was to evaluate the median time to skeletal recurrence (TSkR).

Results: 143 patients experienced bone recurrence. Median TSkR was 54 months (95%CI: 45-65). Among patients who received adjuvant AIs median TSkR was 35 months (95%CI: 25-54), while among patients who did not was 61 months (95%CI: 50-80) (HR = 1.45 [95%CI: 0.97-2.17], p = 0.0644). After adjusting for TNM stage (AJCC 8th edition), adjuvant AIs treatment was significantly related to a shorter TSkR (HR = 1.60 [95%CI: 1.06-2.42], p = 0.0244). Adjuvant Tamoxifen, adjuvant AIs/Tamoxifen and no-treatment did not revealed to be associated to TSkR.

Conclusions: In this cohort of EBC patients with bone recurrence, AIs treatment seems to be related to a shorter TSkR. AIs-induced bone resorption might represent the underlying mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/BD-201036DOI Listing
January 2021

INfluenza Vaccine Indication During therapy with Immune checkpoint inhibitors: a multicenter prospective observational study (INVIDIa-2).

J Immunother Cancer 2021 05;9(5)

Medical Oncology Unit, Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Background: Until now, no robust data supported the efficacy, safety and recommendation for influenza vaccination in patients with cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

Methods: The prospective multicenter observational INfluenza Vaccine Indication During therapy with Immune checkpoint inhibitors (INVIDIa-2) study investigated the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccination in patients with advanced cancer receiving ICIs, enrolled in 82 Italian centers from October 2019 to January 2020. The primary endpoint was the time-adjusted incidence of influenza-like illness (ILI) until April 30, 2020. Secondary endpoints regarded ILI severity and vaccine safety.

Results: The study enrolled 1279 patients; 1188 patients were evaluable for the primary endpoint analysis. Of them, 48.9% (581) received influenza vaccination. The overall ILI incidence was 8.2% (98 patients). Vaccinated patients were significantly more frequently elderly (p<0.0001), males (p=0.004), with poor European Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (p=0.009), affected by lung cancer (p=0.01), and by other non-cancer comorbidities (p<0.0001) when compared with unvaccinated. ILI incidence was not different basing on influenza vaccination: the time-to-ILI was similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients (p=0.62). ILI complications were significantly less frequent for patients receiving the vaccination (11.8% vs 38.3% in unvaccinated, p=0.002). ILI-related intravenous therapies were significantly less frequent in vaccinated patients than in unvaccinated (11.8% 29.8%, p=0.027). ILI lethality was, respectively, 0% in vaccinated and 4.3% in unvaccinated patients. Vaccine-related adverse events were rare and mild (1.5%, grades 1-2).

Conclusion: The INVIDIa-2 study results support a positive recommendation for influenza vaccination in patients with advanced cancer receiving immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002619DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8141439PMC
May 2021

Predictive ability of a drug-based score in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer receiving first-line immunotherapy.

Eur J Cancer 2021 06 3;150:224-231. Epub 2021 May 3.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: We previously demonstrated the cumulative poor prognostic role of concomitant medications on the clinical outcome of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, creating and validating a drug-based prognostic score to be calculated before immunotherapy initiation in patients with advanced solid tumours. This 'drug score' was calculated assigning score 1 for each between proton-pump inhibitor and antibiotic administration until a month before cancer therapy initiation and score 2 in case of corticosteroid intake. The good risk group included patients with score 0, intermediate risk with score 1-2 and poor risk with score 3-4.

Methods: Aiming at validating the prognostic and putative predictive ability depending on the anticancer therapy, we performed the present comparative analysis in two cohorts of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), respectively, receiving first-line pembrolizumab or chemotherapy through a random case-control matching and through a pooled multivariable analysis including the interaction between the computed score and the therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy).

Results: Nine hundred fifty and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. After the case-control random matching, 589 patients from the pembrolizumab cohort and 589 from the chemotherapy cohort were paired, with no statistically significant differences between the characteristics of the matched subjects. Among the pembrolizumab-treated group, good, intermediate and poor risk evaluable patients achieved an objective response rate (ORR) of 50.0%, 37.7% and 23.4%, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated group, patients achieved an ORR of 37.0%, 40.0% and 32.4%, respectively (p = 0.4346). The median progression-free survival (PFS) of good, intermediate and poor risk groups was 13.9 months, 6.3 months and 2.8 months, respectively, within the pembrolizumab cohort (p < 0.0001), and 6.2 months, 6.2 months and 4.3 months, respectively, within the chemotherapy cohort (p = 0.0280). Among the pembrolizumab-treated patients, the median overall survival (OS) for good, intermediate and poor risk patients was 31.4 months, 14.5 months and 5.8 months, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated patients, it was 18.3 months, 16.8 months and 10.6 months, respectively (p = 0.0003). A similar trend was reported considering the two entire populations. At the pooled analysis, the interaction term between the score and the therapeutic modality was statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0052), PFS (p = 0.0003) and OS (p < 0.0001), confirming the significantly different effect of the score within the two cohorts.

Conclusion: Our 'drug score' showed a predictive ability with respect to ORR in the immunotherapy cohort only, suggesting it might be a useful tool for identifying patients unlikely to benefit from first-line single-agent pembrolizumab. In addition, the prognostic stratification in terms of PFS and OS was significantly more pronounced among the pembrolizumab-treated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.041DOI Listing
June 2021

Second-line Eribulin in Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer patients. Multicentre Retrospective Study: The TETRIS Trial.

Int J Med Sci 2021 27;18(10):2245-2250. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Bio-Statistics Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Large and consistent evidence supports the use of eribulin mesylate in clinical practice in third or later line treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC). Conversely, there is paucity of data on eribulin efficacy in second line treatment. We investigated outcomes of 44 mTNBC patients treated from 2013 through 2019 with second line eribulin mesylate in a multicentre retrospective study involving 14 Italian oncologic centres. Median age was 51 years, with 11.4% of these patients being metastatic at diagnosis. Median overall survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS) from eribulin starting were 11.9 (95%CI: 8.4-15.5) and 3.5 months (95%CI: 1.7-5.3), respectively. We observed 8 (18.2%) partial responses and 10 (22.7%) patients had stable disease as best response. A longer PFS on previous first line treatment predicted a better OS (HR=0.87, 95%CI: 0.77-0.99, p= 0.038) and a longer PFS on eribulin treatment (HR=0.92, 95%CI: 0.85-0.98, p=0.018). Progression free survival to eribulin was also favorably influenced by prior adjuvant chemotherapy (HR=0.44, 95%CI: 0.22-0.88, p=0.02). Eribulin was generally well tolerated, with grade 3-4 adverse events being recorded in 15.9% of patients. The outcomes described for our cohort are consistent with those reported in the pivotal Study301 and subsequent observational studies. Further data from adequately-sized, ad hoc trials on eribulin use in second line for mTNBC are warranted to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.54996DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040412PMC
March 2021

Differential influence of antibiotic therapy and other medications on oncological outcomes of patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with first-line pembrolizumab versus cytotoxic chemotherapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 04;9(4)

Pneumo-Oncology Unit, Ospedali dei Colli Monaldi Cotugno CTO, Napoli, Italy.

Background: Some concomitant medications including antibiotics (ATB) have been reproducibly associated with worse survival following immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in unselected patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (according to programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression and treatment line). Whether such relationship is causative or associative is matter of debate.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to concomitant baseline medications (prior to ICI initiation) with putative immune-modulatory effects in a large cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy. We also evaluated a control cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC treated with first-line chemotherapy. The interaction between key medications and therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) was validated in pooled multivariable analyses.

Results: 950 and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Corticosteroid and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy but not ATB therapy was associated with poorer performance status at baseline in both the cohorts. No association with clinical outcomes was found according to baseline statin, aspirin, β-blocker and metformin within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the multivariable analysis, ATB emerged as a strong predictor of worse overall survival (OS) (HR=1.42 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.79); p=0.0024), and progression free survival (PFS) (HR=1.29 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.59); p=0.0192) in the pembrolizumab but not in the chemotherapy cohort. Corticosteroids were associated with shorter PFS (HR=1.69 (95% CI 1.42 to 2.03); p<0.0001), and OS (HR=1.93 (95% CI 1.59 to 2.35); p<0.0001) following pembrolizumab, and shorter PFS (HR=1.30 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.56), p=0.0046) and OS (HR=1.58 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.94), p<0.0001), following chemotherapy. PPIs were associated with worse OS (HR=1.49 (95% CI 1.26 to 1.77); p<0.0001) with pembrolizumab and shorter OS (HR=1.12 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.24), p=0.0139), with chemotherapy. At the pooled analysis, there was a statistically significant interaction with treatment (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) for corticosteroids (p=0.0020) and PPIs (p=0.0460) with respect to OS, for corticosteroids (p<0.0001), ATB (p=0.0290), and PPIs (p=0.0487) with respect to PFS, and only corticosteroids (p=0.0033) with respect to objective response rate.

Conclusion: In this study, we validate the significant negative impact of ATB on pembrolizumab monotherapy but not chemotherapy outcomes in NSCLC, producing further evidence about their underlying immune-modulatory effect. Even though the magnitude of the impact of corticosteroids and PPIs is significantly different across the cohorts, their effects might be driven by adverse disease features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8031700PMC
April 2021

The Gustave Roussy Immune (GRIm)-Score Variation Is an Early-on-Treatment Biomarker of Outcome in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Patients Treated with First-Line Pembrolizumab.

J Clin Med 2021 Mar 2;10(5). Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Department of Medical Oncology, Università Politecnica delle Marche, AOU Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, 60126 Ancona, Italy.

Background: The Gustave Roussy Immune (GRIm)-Score takes into account neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), serum albumin concentration and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and its prognostic value has been investigated in patients treated with immune check-point inhibitors (ICIs). To further assess the prognostic and predictive value of baseline GRIm-Score (GRImT0) in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC) patients, we separately investigated two cohorts of patients treated with first-line pembrolizumab or chemotherapy. We also investigated whether GRIm-Score at 45 days since treatment initiation (GRImT1) and GRIm-Score difference between the two timepoints may better predict clinical outcomes (GRImΔ = GRImT0 - GRImT1).

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 222 aNSCLC patients: 135 treated with pembrolizumab and 87 treated with chemotherapy as the first-line regimen. NLR, serum albumin and LDH concentrations were assessed at T0 and at T1. According to the GRIm-Score, patients were assigned 1 point if they had NLR > 6, LDH > upper limit normal or albumin < 3.5 g/dL. Patients with a GRIm-Score < 2 were considered as having a low Score.

Results: In both cohorts, no difference in terms of overall survival (OS) between patients with low and high GRImT0 was found. Otherwise, median OS and progression free survival (PFS) of the low GRImT1 group were significantly longer than those of the high GRImT1 group in pembrolizumab-treated patients, but not in the CHT cohort (pembrolizumab cohort: low vs. high; median OS not reached vs. 9.2 months, = 0.004; median PFS 10.8 vs. 2.3 months, = 0.002). Patients receiving pembrolizumab with stable/positive GRImΔ had better OS (median OS not reached vs. 12.0 months, < 0.001), PFS (median PFS 20.6 vs. 2.6 months, < 0.001) and objective response rate (58.2% vs. 7.6%, = 0.003) compared to patients with negative GRImΔ.

Conclusion: Our data shown that GRImT1 and GRImΔ are more reliable peripheral blood biomarkers of outcome compared to GRImT0 in aNSCLC patients treated with pembrolizumab and might represent useful biomarkers to drive clinical decisions in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10051005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7958321PMC
March 2021

Post-progression outcomes of NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% receiving first-line single-agent pembrolizumab in a large multicentre real-world study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 05 12;148:24-35. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: Treatment sequencing with first-line immunotherapy, followed by second-line chemotherapy, is still a viable option for NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50%.

Methods: We evaluated post-progression treatment pathways in a large real-world cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% treated with first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy.

Results: Overall, 974 patients were included. With a median follow-up of 22.7 months (95%CI: 21.6-38.2), the median overall survival (OS) of the entire population was 15.8 months (95%CI: 13.5-17.5; 548 events). At the data cutoff, among the 678 patients who experienced disease progression, 379 (55.9%) had not received any further treatment, and 359 patients (52.9%) had died. Patients who did not receive post-progression therapies were older (p = 0.0011), with a worse ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and were on corticosteroids prior to pembrolizumab (p = 0.0024). At disease progression, 198 patients (29.2%) received a switched approach and 101 (14.9%) received pembrolizumab ByPD either alone (64 [9.4%]) or in combination with local ablative treatments (37 [5.5%]) (LATs). After a random-case control matching according to ECOG-PS, CNS metastases, bone metastases, and (previous) best response to pembrolizumab, patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD plus LATs were confirmed to have a significantly longer post-progression OS compared to patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD alone 13.9 months versus 7.8 months (p = 0.0179) 241 patients (35.5%) among the 678 who had experienced PD, received a second-line systemic treatment (regardless of previous treatment beyond PD). As compared to first-line treatment commencement, patients' features at the moment of second-line initiation showed a significantly higher proportion of patients aged under 70 years (p = 0.0244), with a poorer ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and having CNS (p = 0.0001), bone (p = 0.0266) and liver metastases (p = 0.0148).

Conclusions: In the real-world scenario NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% treated with first-line single-agent pembrolizumab achieve worse outcomes as compared to the Keynote-024 trial. Poor post-progression outcomes are major determinants of the global results that should be considered when counselling patients for first-line treatment choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.005DOI Listing
May 2021

What Is Known about Theragnostic Strategies in Colorectal Cancer.

Biomedicines 2021 Feb 1;9(2). Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Department of Biotechnology and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

Despite the paradigmatic shift occurred in recent years for defined molecular subtypes in the metastatic setting treatment, colorectal cancer (CRC) still remains an incurable disease in most of the cases. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new tools and biomarkers for both early tumor diagnosis and to improve personalized treatment. Thus, liquid biopsy has emerged as a minimally invasive tool that is capable of detecting genomic alterations from primary or metastatic tumors, allowing the prognostic stratification of patients, the detection of the minimal residual disease after surgical or systemic treatments, the monitoring of therapeutic response, and the development of resistance, establishing an opportunity for early intervention before imaging detection or worsening of clinical symptoms. On the other hand, preclinical and clinical evidence demonstrated the role of gut microbiota dysbiosis in promoting inflammatory responses and cancer initiation. Altered gut microbiota is associated with resistance to chemo drugs and immune checkpoint inhibitors, whereas the use of microbe-targeted therapies including antibiotics, pre-probiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation can restore response to anticancer drugs, promote immune response, and therefore support current treatment strategies in CRC. In this review, we aim to summarize preclinical and clinical evidence for the utilization of liquid biopsy and gut microbiota in CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9020140DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7912746PMC
February 2021

Smoking status during first-line immunotherapy and chemotherapy in NSCLC patients: A case-control matched analysis from a large multicenter study.

Thorac Cancer 2021 03 1;12(6):880-889. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Thoracic Oncology Unit, Clinical Cancer Center IRCCS Istituto Tumori "Giovanni Paolo II", Bari, Italy.

Background: Improved outcome in tobacco smoking patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following immunotherapy has previously been reported. However, little is known regarding this association during first-line immunotherapy in patients with high PD-L1 expression. In this study we compared clinical outcomes according to the smoking status of two large multicenter cohorts.

Methods: We compared clinical outcomes according to the smoking status (never smokers vs. current/former smokers) of two retrospective multicenter cohorts of metastatic NSCLC patients, treated with first-line pembrolizumab and platinum-based chemotherapy.

Results: A total of 962 NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% who received first-line pembrolizumab and 462 NSCLC patients who received first-line platinum-based chemotherapy were included in the study. Never smokers were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of disease progression (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.49 [95% CI: 1.15-1.92], p = 0.0022) and death (HR = 1.38 [95% CI: 1.02-1.87], p = 0.0348) within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the contrary, a nonsignificant trend towards a reduced risk of disease progression (HR = 0.74 [95% CI: 0.52-1.05], p = 0.1003) and death (HR = 0.67 [95% CI: 0.45-1.01], p = 0.0593) were reported for never smokers within the chemotherapy cohort. After a random case-control matching, 424 patients from both cohorts were paired. Within the matched pembrolizumab cohort, never smokers had a significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 1.68 [95% CI: 1.17-2.40], p = 0.0045) and a nonsignificant trend towards a shortened overall survival (OS) (HR = 1.32 [95% CI: 0.84-2.07], p = 0.2205). On the contrary, never smokers had a significantly longer PFS (HR = 0.68 [95% CI: 0.49-0.95], p = 0.0255) and OS (HR = 0.66 [95% CI: 0.45-0.97], p = 0,0356) compared to current/former smoker patients within the matched chemotherapy cohort. On pooled multivariable analysis, the interaction term between smoking status and treatment modality was concordantly statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0074), PFS (p = 0.0001) and OS (p = 0.0020), confirming the significantly different impact of smoking status across the two cohorts.

Conclusions: Among metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab, current/former smokers experienced improved PFS and OS. On the contrary, worse outcomes were reported among current/former smokers receiving first-line chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952794PMC
March 2021

Loss of HER2 and decreased T-DM1 efficacy in HER2 positive advanced breast cancer treated with dual HER2 blockade: the SePHER Study.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2020 Dec 10;39(1):279. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Medical Oncology, Paolo Giaccone University Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Background: HER2-targeting agents have dramatically changed the therapeutic landscape of HER2+ advanced breast cancer (ABC). Within a short time frame, the rapid introduction of new therapeutics has led to the approval of pertuzumab combined with trastuzumab and a taxane in first-line, and trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in second-line. Thereby, evidence of T-DM1 efficacy following trastuzumab/pertuzumab combination is limited, with data from some retrospective reports suggesting lower activity. The purpose of the present study is to investigate T-DM1 efficacy in pertuzumab-pretreated and pertuzumab naïve HER2 positive ABC patients. We also aimed to provide evidence on the exposure to different drugs sequences including pertuzumab and T-DM1 in HER2 positive cell lines.

Methods: The biology of HER2 was investigated in vitro through sequential exposure of resistant HER2 + breast cancer cell lines to trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and their combination. In vitro experiments were paralleled by the analysis of data from 555 HER2 + ABC patients treated with T-DM1 and evaluation of T-DM1 efficacy in the 371 patients who received it in second line. Survival estimates were graphically displayed in Kaplan Meier curves, compared by log rank test and, when possibile, confirmed in multivariate models.

Results: We herein show evidence of lower activity of T-DM1 in two HER2+ breast cancer cell lines resistant to trastuzumab+pertuzumab, as compared to trastuzumab-resistant cells. Lower T-DM1 efficacy was associated with a marked reduction of HER2 expression on the cell membrane and its nuclear translocation. HER2 downregulation at the membrane level was confirmed in biopsies of four trastuzumab/pertuzumab-pretreated patients. Among the 371 patients treated with second-line T-DM1, median overall survival (mOS) from diagnosis of advanced disease and median progression-free survival to second-line treatment (mPFS2) were 52 and 6 months in 177 patients who received trastuzumab/pertuzumab in first-line, and 74 and 10 months in 194 pertuzumab-naïve patients (p = 0.0006 and 0.03 for OS and PFS2, respectively).

Conclusions: Our data support the hypothesis that the addition of pertuzumab to trastuzumab reduces the amount of available plasma membrane HER2 receptor, limiting the binding of T-DM1 in cancer cells. This may help interpret the less favorable outcomes of second-line T-DM1 in trastuzumab/pertuzumab pre-treated patients compared to their pertuzumab-naïve counterpart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-020-01797-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731769PMC
December 2020

Effect of concomitant medications with immune-modulatory properties on the outcomes of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors: development and validation of a novel prognostic index.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 16;142:18-28. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Clinical Oncology Unit, S.S. Annunziata Hospital, Chieti, Italy.

Background: Concomitant medications are known to impact on clinical outcomes of patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). We aimed weighing the role of different concomitant baseline medications to create a drug-based prognostic score.

Methods: We evaluated concomitant baseline medications at immunotherapy initiation for their impact on objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in a single-institution cohort of patients with advanced cancer treated with ICIs (training cohort, N = 217), and a drug-based prognostic score with the drugs resulting significantly impacting the OS was computed. Secondly, we externally validated the score in a large multicenter external cohort (n = 1012).

Results: In the training cohort (n = 217), the median age was 69 years (range: 32-89), and the primary tumours were non-small-cell lung cancer (70%), melanoma (14.7%), renal cell carcinoma (9.2%) and others (6%). Among baseline medications, corticosteroids (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.60-3.30), systemic antibiotics (HR = 2.07; 95% CI: 1.31-3.25) and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) (HR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.13-2.18) were significantly associated with OS. The prognostic score was calculated using these three drug classes, defining good, intermediate and poor prognosis patients. Within the training cohort, OS (p < 0.0001), PFS (p < 0.0001) and ORR (p = 0.0297) were significantly distinguished by the score stratification. The prognostic value of the score was also demonstrated in terms of OS (p < 0.0001), PFS (p < 0.0001) and ORR (p = 0.0006) within the external cohort.

Conclusion: Cumulative exposure to corticosteroids, antibiotics and PPIs (three likely microbiota-modulating drugs) leads to progressively worse outcomes after ICI therapy. We propose a simple score that can help stratifying patients in routine practice and clinical trials of ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.09.033DOI Listing
January 2021

Integrated analysis of concomitant medications and oncological outcomes from PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in clinical practice.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria, Terni, Italy.

Background: Concomitant medications, such as steroids, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and antibiotics, might affect clinical outcomes with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter observational retrospective study aimed at evaluating the impact of concomitant medications on clinical outcomes, by weighing their associations with baseline clinical characteristics (including performance status, burden of disease and body mass index) and the underlying causes for their prescription. This analysis included consecutive stage IV patients with cancer, who underwent treatment with single agent antiprogrammed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) with standard doses and schedules at the medical oncology departments of 20 Italian institutions. Each medication taken at the immunotherapy initiation was screened and collected into key categories as follows: corticosteroids, antibiotics, gastric acid suppressants (including proton pump inhibitors - PPIs), statins and other lipid-lowering agents, aspirin, anticoagulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ACE inhibitors/Angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium antagonists, β-blockers, metformin and other oral antidiabetics, opioids.

Results: From June 2014 to March 2020, 1012 patients were included in the analysis. Primary tumors were: non-small cell lung cancer (52.2%), melanoma (26%), renal cell carcinoma (18.3%) and others (3.6%). Baseline statins (HR 1.60 (95% CI 1.14 to 2.25), p=0.0064), aspirin (HR 1.47 (95% CI 1.04 to 2.08, p=0.0267) and β-blockers (HR 1.76 (95% CI 1.16 to 2.69), p=0.0080) were confirmed to be independently related to an increased objective response rate. Patients receiving cancer-related steroids (HR 1.72 (95% CI 1.43 to 2.07), p<0.0001), prophylactic systemic antibiotics (HR 1.85 (95% CI 1.23 to 2.78), p=0.0030), prophylactic gastric acid suppressants (HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.53), p=0.0021), PPIs (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.48), p=0.0050), anticoagulants (HR 1.43 (95% CI: 1.16 to 1.77), p=0.0007) and opioids (HR 1.71 (95% CI 1.28 to 2.28), p=0.0002) were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of disease progression. Patients receiving cancer-related steroids (HR 2.16 (95% CI 1.76 to 2.65), p<0.0001), prophylactic systemic antibiotics (HR 1.93 (95% CI 1.25 to 2.98), p=0.0030), prophylactic gastric acid suppressants (HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.57), p=0.0091), PPI (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.52), p=0.0172), anticoagulants (HR 1.45 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.84), p=0.0024) and opioids (HR 1.53 (95% CI 1.11 to 2.11), p=0.0098) were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of death.

Conclusion: We confirmed the association between baseline steroids administered for cancer-related indication, systemic antibiotics, PPIs and worse clinical outcomes with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors, which can be assumed to have immune-modulating detrimental effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001361DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646355PMC
November 2020

Chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer patients after prior immunotherapy: The multicenter retrospective CLARITY study.

Lung Cancer 2020 12 22;150:123-131. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Oncologia Medica, Università Campus Bio-Medico, Roma, Italy.

Objectives: In the most of cases, for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who progressed to previous immune checkpoint inhibitors (CKI) administered as first- or as second-line therapy, chemotherapy (CT) remains the only viable options in the absence of "druggable" mutations. We aimed to explore the efficacy of salvage chemotherapy after immunotherapy (SCAI) in advanced NSCLC patients.

Materials And Methods: We designed a retrospective, multicenter study, involving 20 Italian centers, with the primary objective of describing the clinical outcome of advanced NSCLC patients treated with SCAI at the participating institutions from November 2013 to July 2019. The primary endpoint of the study was represented by overall survival (OS), defined as the time from CT initiation to death. Secondary outcome endpoints of the SCAI (progression free survival, PFS, objective response rate, ORR and toxicity) and explorative biomarkers (lactate dehydrogenase, LDH, and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, NLR during immunotherapy) were also analyzed.

Results: In our study population of 342 NSCLC patients, SCAI obtained a median OS of 6.8 months (95 % confidence interval, CI 5.5-8.1), median PFS of 4.1 months (95 % CI 3.4-4.8) and ORR of 22.8 %. A "Post-CKI score" was constructed by combining significant predictors of OS at the multivariate analyses (sex, ECOG PS, disease control with prior immunotherapy), Harrell'C was 0.65, (95 % CI:0.59-0.71).

Conclusions: Despite the late-line settings, our findings support the hypothesis that previous immunotherapy might increase the sensitivity of the tumor to the subsequent chemotherapy. The "Post-CKI score" was clinically effective in successfully discriminating three distinct prognostic subgroups of patients after the failure of CKI, representing a possibly useful tool for the tailored decision-making process of advanced treatment-line settings in NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.10.008DOI Listing
December 2020

Baseline BMI and BMI variation during first line pembrolizumab in NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%: a multicenter study with external validation.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Medical Oncology Unit, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Roma, Lazio, Italy.

Background: The association between obesity and outcomes in patients receiving programmed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors has already been confirmed in pre-treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, regardless of PD-L1 tumor expression.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to baseline body mass index (BMI) and BMI variation in a large cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first line pembrolizumab. We also evaluated a control cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients treated with first line platinum-based chemotherapy. Normal weight was set as control group.

Results: 962 patients and 426 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Obese patients had a significantly higher objective response rate (ORR) (OR=1.61 (95% CI: 1.04-2.50)) in the pembrolizumab cohort, while overweight patients had a significantly lower ORR (OR=0.59 (95% CI: 0.37-0.92)) within the chemotherapy cohort. Obese patients had a significantly longer progression-free survival (PFS) (HR=0.61 (95% CI: 0.45-0.82)) in the pembrolizumab cohort. Conversely, they had a significantly shorter PFS in the chemotherapy cohort (HR=1.27 (95% CI: 1.01-1.60)). Obese patients had a significantly longer overall survival (OS) within the pembrolizumab cohort (HR=0.70 (95% CI: 0.49-0.99)), while no significant differences according to baseline BMI were found in the chemotherapy cohort. BMI variation significantly affected ORR, PFS and OS in both the pembrolizumab and the chemotherapy cohorts.

Conclusions: Baseline obesity is associated to significantly improved ORR, PFS and OS in metastatic NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression of ≥50%, receiving first line pembrolizumab, but not among patients treated with chemotherapy. BMI variation is also significantly related to clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7574933PMC
October 2020

A case of segmental hepatic necrosis complicating oxaliplatin and capecitabine chemotherapy A case report and review of the literature.

Ann Ital Chir 2020 Sep 28;9. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Chemotherapy is associated with different patterns of histopathological changes of the non-tumor-bearing liver. Hepatic infarction represents a relatively rare condition; the prevalence in several series of consecutive autopsies is 1.1%. To the best of our knowledge, no cases of liver infarction secondary to chemotherapy have been reported to date. We report a case of segmental hepatic infarction following the adjuvant chemotherapy with Oxaliplatin and Capecitabine in a patient who had undergone total gastrectomy and distal esophagectomy for gastric cancer. Liver infarction is usually managed by conservative therapy; interventional procedures such as percutaneous imaging-guided drainage or surgical evacuation should be reserved in cases where septic complications occur, with development of a hepatic abscess from the necrotic area. It is important to avoid misdiagnoses with liver metastases in order to define the most appropriate clinical management strategy. KEY WORDS: Adjuvant chemotherapy, Gastric cancer, Liver infarction, Hepatic necrosis.
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September 2020

Multimodality Treatment in Metastatic Gastric Cancer: From Past to Next Future.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 11;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, University of L'Aquila, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

Gastric cancer (GC) still remains an incurable disease in almost two-thirds of the cases. However, a deeper knowledge of its biology in the last few years has revealed potential biomarkers suitable for tailored treatment with targeted agents. This aspect, together with the improvement in early supportive care and a wiser use of the available cytotoxic drugs across multiple lines of treatment, has resulted in incremental and progressive survival benefits. Furthermore, slowly but surely, targeted therapies and immune checkpoint inhibitors are revising the therapeutic scenario even in metastatic GC and especially in particular subgroups. Moreover, important study results regarding the possible role of an integrated approach combining systemic, surgical, and locoregional treatment in carefully selected oligometastatic GC patients are awaited. This review summarizes the state-of-the-art and the major ongoing trials involving a multimodal treatment of metastatic GC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563615PMC
September 2020

Evaluation of Prognostic Factors for Survival in Transverse Colon Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Aug 30;12(9). Epub 2020 Aug 30.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Oncology Unit, Sant' Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, 00187 Rome, Italy.

Although most of the analyses included transverse colon cancers (TCC) among right colon cancer (RCC), it is not completely clear if they present total similarities with RCC or if they have their specific features. Therefore, we present an observational study to evaluate clinicopathological characteristics and survival data of patients with TCC. We retrospectively reviewed 450 RCC, of whom 97 stages I-IV TCC were included in this multicenter study; clinicopathological and molecular parameters were analyzed to identify prognostic factors for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS). Most of TCC cases were male (61%), with ≤70 years old (62%), and good performance status (ECOG PS 0, 68%). According to WHO classification, 41 (49%) and 40 (48%) tumors were classified as well to moderate and poorly/undifferentiated respectively, regardless of mucinous component (30%). About molecular data, 8 (26%), 45 (63%), and 14 (24%) were MSI-H, KRAS wild-type, and BRAF V600E mutant, respectively. With a median follow-up of 34 months, there were 29 and 50 disease recurrences and deaths respectively. Charlson comorbidity index ≥5 was a significant prognostic factor for DFS (HR = 7.67, 95% CI 2.27-25.92). Colon obstruction/perforation (HR = 2.65, 95% CI 1.01-7.01), and BRAF mutant (HR = 3.03, 95% CI 0.97-9.50) cases showed a worst, despite not statistically significant, DFS. Whereas for OS, at the multivariate model, only tumor grade differentiation (HR = 5.26, 95% CI 1.98-14.01) and BRAF mutation status (3.71, 95% CI 1.07-12.89) were independent prognostic factors. Poorly/undifferentiated tumor grade and BRAF V600E mutation are independent prognostic factors for OS in TCC. Further prospective clinical trials are needed to better define TCC treatment in order to improve patient outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563638PMC
August 2020

Circulating MicroRNAs as Prognostic and Therapeutic Biomarkers in Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes.

J Pers Med 2020 Aug 22;10(3). Epub 2020 Aug 22.

Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito 2, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

Breast cancer (BC) is a common and heterogeneous disease, of which six molecular subtypes, characterized by different biological features and clinical outcomes, were described. The identification of additional biomarkers able to further connote and distinguish the different BC subtypes is essential to improve the diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic strategies in BC patients. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA involved in several physiological and pathological processes, including cancer development and progression. In particular, circulating miRNAs, which can be found in an adequately stable structure in serum/plasma of cancer patients, are emerging as very promising non-invasive biomarkers. Several studies have analyzed the potential role of circulating miRNAs as prognostic and therapeutic markers in BC. In the present review we describe circulating miRNAs, identified as putative biomarker in BC, with special reference to different BC molecular subtypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030098DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7563822PMC
August 2020

Predictive Ability for Disease-Free Survival of the GRade, Age, Nodes, and Tumor (GRANT) Score in Patients with Resected Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Curr Urol 2020 Jun 23;14(2):98-104. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Medical Oncology Unit, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila.

Background: Recently, the GRANT (GRade, Age, Nodes, and Tumor) score was validated through an adjuvant trial population.

Methods: This retrospective study evaluated the performance of the GRANT score as a prognostic model for disease-free survival (DFS), compared to the University of California Los Angeles Integrated Staging System (UISS) score, in a "real-life" population of early renal cell carcinoma patients. A uni-/multivariate analysis of DFS was also performed, to weigh the roles of baseline clinical factors.

Results: From February 1998 to January 2018, 134 consecutive patients were enrolled, of which 85 patients (63.4%) had a favorable GRANT score, 49 (36.6%) an unfavorable GRANT score, and 21 (15.7%), 84 (62.6%), and 29 (21.6%) patients had a low, intermediate, or high risk of recurrence according to the UISS score, respectively. The median follow-up was 96 months. The median DFS of the overall study population was 53.7 months (95% CI: 38.4-87.8). Only bilateral renal cell carcinoma (p = 0.0041), Fuhrman grade 3/4 (p = 0.0008), pT3b- 4 (p = 0.0324), and pN1-2 (p = 0.0303) pathological status were confirmed as independent predictors of a shorter DFS by the multivariate analysis. The median DFS of patients with favorable and unfavorable GRANT scores were 84.9 (95% CI: 49.8-129) and 38.4 months (95% CI: 24.4-87.8), respectively, with a statistically significant difference (p = 0.0147). The median DFS of patients with low, intermediate, and high risk of recurrence according to the UISS score were 92.3 (95% CI: 18.1-153.9), 51.7 (95% CI: 36.2-87.8), and 49.8 months (95% CI: 31.3-129), respectively, without statistically significant differences (p = 0.4728). DFS c-statistic values were 0.59 (95% CI: 0.51-0.67) and 0.51 (95% CI: 0.42-0.60) for the GRANT and the UISS scores, respectively.

Conclusion: The GRANT score might be a useful tool that is user-friendly and easy to perform in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000499252DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7390980PMC
June 2020

Immune-related Adverse Events of Pembrolizumab in a Large Real-world Cohort of Patients With NSCLC With a PD-L1 Expression ≥ 50% and Their Relationship With Clinical Outcomes.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 11 21;21(6):498-508.e2. Epub 2020 Jun 21.

Department of Oncology, Macerata Hospital, Macerata, Italy.

Background: The role of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), as a surrogate predictor of the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, has not yet been described in the setting of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung-cancer (NSCLC) with a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Patients And Methods: We previously conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis in patients with treatment-naive metastatic NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab. Here, we report the results of the irAE analysis and the potential correlation between irAEs and clinical outcomes.

Results: A total of 1010 patients were included in this analysis; after a 6-week landmark selection, 877 (86.8%) patients were included in the efficacy analysis. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), grade 3/4 irAEs (P = .0025), leading to discontinuation irAEs (P = .0144), multiple-site and single-site irAEs (P < .0001), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0001), endocrine irAEs (P = .0227), pulmonary irAEs (P = .0479), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0018) were significantly related to a higher objective response rate. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0005), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0042), endocrine irAEs (P < .0001), gastrointestinal irAEs (P = .0391), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0086) were significantly related to progression-free survival. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0003), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0002), endocrine irAEs (P = .0001), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0214) were significantly related to overall survival.

Conclusions: This study confirms the feasibility and the safety of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab, in a large, real-world cohort of patients with NSCLC with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%. The occurrence of irAEs may be a surrogate of clinical activity and improved outcomes in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.06.010DOI Listing
November 2020

Family History of Cancer as Potential Prognostic Factor in Stage III Colorectal Cancer: a Retrospective Monoinstitutional Study.

J Gastrointest Cancer 2020 Sep;51(3):1094-1101

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

Background And Aims: The prognostic role of family history of cancer (FHC) in resected colorectal cancer (CRC) is controversial. The aim of the current study was to evaluate its impact in a monoinstitutional series of stage III CRC patients.

Methods: This single institution retrospective analysis is aimed at evaluating whether FHC affects overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in stage III CRC patients. Moreover, the role of both colorectal FHC (FHCRC, in patients with at least one relative with CRC) and FHC "burden" have been investigated; patients were classified according to FHC in FHC negative, FHC-low (one "familial cluster" among parents/children/grandparents, brothers/sisters, uncles/cousins), and FHC-high (at least two clusters of those above mentioned).

Results: From October 2000 to March 2019, 112 consecutive stage III CRC patients have been evaluated. Median age was 67 years (range 24-89); male/female ratio was 64/48. Fifty-three (47.3%) patients were FHC-negative while 59 (52.7%) patients were FHC-positive, 18 (16.1%) of whom were FHCRC-positive. Thirty-three (29.5%) patients were FHC-low, and 10 (8.9%) were FHC-high. At a median follow-up of 41.9 months, no statistically significant differences in DFS were found. FHC-positive patients had a significantly longer OS than FHC-negative (HR = 0.32 [95% CI 0.12-0.84], p = 0.0210), and a significant trend towards improved OS according to the FHC burden was found (p = 0.0255). No statistically significant differences were found in DFS and OS according to FHCRC.

Conclusion: In this retrospective analysis, FHC-positive stage III CRC patients had a significantly longer OS compared to FHC-negative. Moreover, this survival benefit seems to increase according to the FHC burden. Further prospective studies, with longer follow-up and larger sample size, are necessary to confirm FHC as prognostic factor in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12029-020-00452-6DOI Listing
September 2020

Rare bone toxicity associated with vismodegib.

JAAD Case Rep 2020 Jun 4;6(6):482-485. Epub 2020 May 4.

Dermatology, Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Science, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jdcr.2020.04.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7256228PMC
June 2020

Clinicopathologic correlates of first-line pembrolizumab effectiveness in patients with advanced NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2020 Nov 30;69(11):2209-2221. Epub 2020 May 30.

Medical Oncology, F. Spaziani Hospital, Frosinone, Italy.

Background: Single-agent pembrolizumab represents the standard first-line option for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter retrospective study aimed at evaluating the clinicopathologic correlates of pembrolizumab effectiveness in patients with treatment-naïve NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50%.

Results: One thousand and twenty-six consecutive patients were included. The objective response rate (ORR) was 44.5% (95% CI 40.2-49.1), while the median progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 7.9 months (95% CI 6.9-9.5; 599 events) and 17.2 months (95% CI 15.3-22.3; 598 censored patients), respectively. ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (p < 0.0001) and bone metastases (p = 0.0003) were confirmed to be independent predictors of a worse ORR. Former smokers (p = 0.0002), but not current smokers (p = 0.0532) were confirmed to have a significantly prolonged PFS compared to never smokers at multivariate analysis. ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001), bone metastases (p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (p < 0.0001) were also confirmed to be independent predictors of a worse PFS. Previous palliative RT was significantly related to a shortened OS (p = 0.0104), while previous non-palliative RT was significantly related to a prolonged OS (p = 0.0033). Former smokers (p = 0.0131), but not current smokers (p = 0.3433) were confirmed to have a significantly prolonged OS compared to never smokers. ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001), bone metastases (p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (p < 0.0001) were also confirmed to be independent predictors of a shortened OS. A PD-L1 expression of ≥ 90%, as assessed by recursive partitioning, was associated with significantly higher ORR (p = 0.0204), and longer and OS (p = 0.0346) at multivariable analysis.

Conclusion: Pembrolizumab was effective in a large cohort of NSCLC patients treated outside of clinical trials. Questions regarding the effectiveness in clinical subgroups, such as patients with poorer PS and with liver/bone metastases, still remain to be addressed. We confirmed that the absence of tobacco exposure, and the presence of bone and liver metastasis are associated with worse clinical outcomes to pembrolizumab. Increasing levels of PD-L1 expression may help identifying a subset of patients who derive a greater benefit from pembrolizumab monotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02613-9DOI Listing
November 2020

Late immune-related adverse events in long-term responders to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: A multicentre study.

Eur J Cancer 2020 07 23;134:19-28. Epub 2020 May 23.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, University G. D'Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara, Italy.

Background: Data on spectrum and grade of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in long-term responders to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are lacking.

Methods: We performed a retrospective multicenter study to characterized irAEs occurring after a 12-months minimum treatment period with PD-(L)1 ICIs in patients with advanced cancer. IrAEs were categorized into 'early' (≤12 months) and 'late' (>12 months).

Results: From September 2013 to October 2019, 436 consecutive patients were evaluated. Two hundred twenty-three experienced any grade early-irAEs (51.1%), whereas 132 experienced any grade late-irAEs (30.3%) (p < 0.0001). Among the latter, 29 (22%) experienced a recurrence of an early-irAEs, whereas 103 (78%) experienced de novo late-irAEs involving different system/organ. Among patients with late-irAEs, 21 experienced GIII/GIV irAEs (4.8%). Median time to onset of early-irAEs was 3.4 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.8-4.2), whereas the median time to onset of late-irAEs was 16.6 months (95% CI: 15.8-17.6). Cumulative time-adjusted risk of disease progression according to both the early-irAEs (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.63 [95% CI: 0.30-1.29], p = 0.204) and late-irAEs occurrence revealed no statistically significant differences (HR = 0.75 [95% CI: 0.37-1.56], p = 0.452). In addition, the time-adjusted cumulative risk of death in accordance with both early-irAEs (HR = 0.79 [95% CI: 0.34-1.86], p = 0.598) and late-irAEs (HR = 0.92 [95% CI: 0.49-1.74], p = 0.811) did not show statistically significant differences.

Conclusion: Although less frequent than early-irAEs, late-irAEs are quite common in long responders to PD-(L)1 ICIs and are different in terms of spectrum and grade. Time-adjusted analysis revealed that the cumulative risk of disease progression and death were not significantly reduced in patients who experienced late-irAEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.04.025DOI Listing
July 2020
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