Publications by authors named "Daniele Santini"

434 Publications

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.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, 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 Apr;9(4)

Division of Cancer, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK.

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
April 2021

Clinical Outcomes of Metastatic Renal Carcinoma Following Disease Progression to Programmed Death (PD)-1 or PD-L1 Inhibitors (IO): A Meet-URO Group Real World Study (Meet-Uro 7).

Am J Clin Oncol 2021 03;44(3):121-125

Department of Medical Oncology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan.

Objectives: The aim of our study was to collect data about of the outcome of metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients who progressed after immune checkpoint inhibitors in order to enhance data about efficacy and safety of treatment beyond immune-oncology (IO).

Materials And Methods: A total of 162 eligible patients, progressing to IO, were enrolled from 16 Italian referral centers adhering to the Meet-Uro association. Baseline characteristics, outcome data and toxicities were retrospectively collected. Descriptive analysis was made using median values and ranges. Kaplan-Meier method and Mantel-Haenszel log-rank test were performed to compare differences between groups.

Results: A total of 111 patients (68.5%) were treated after IO progression. In all, 51 patients (31.5%) did not receive further treatment for clinical deterioration. Median IO progression free survival (PFS) was 4 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.1-4.8). IO-PFS tends to be longer in patients reporting adverse events (AE) of any grade (5.03 [95% CI: 3.8-6.1] vs. 2.99 [95% CI: 2.4-3.5] months P=0.004). Subsequent therapies included cabozantinib (n=79, 48%), everolimus (n=11, 6.7%), and others (n=21, 12.9%).Median PFS post-IO was 6.5 months (95% CI: 5.1-7.8). Cabozantinib showed longer PFS compared with everolimus (7.6 mo [95% CI: 5.2-10.1] vs. 3.2 mo [95% CI: 1.8-4.5]) (hazard ratio: 0.2; 95% CI: 0.1026-0.7968) and other drugs (4.3 mo [95% CI: 1.3-7.4]) (hazard ratio: 0.6; 95% CI: 0.35-1.23). All grade AE were reported in 83 patients (74%) and G3 to G4 AE in 39 patients (35%). Target therapies post-IO showed median overall survival of 14.7 months (95% CI: 0.3-21.4).

Conclusions: In our real world experience after progression to IO, vascular endotelial groth factor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors, given to patients, proved to be active and safe choices. Cabozantinib was associated with a better outcome in terms of median PFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000791DOI Listing
March 2021

Synaptophysin expression in mutated advanced colorectal cancers identifies a new subgroup of tumours with worse prognosis.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Mar 16;146:145-154. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Unit of Oncology 1, Department of Oncology, Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV - IRCCS, Padua, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Neuroendocrine differentiation has been extensively associated with worse prognosis and to mechanisms of therapy resistance in several epithelial cancers. A high prevalence of neuroendocrine differentiation was recently described in mutated (BRAFmt) metastatic colorectal cancers (mCRCs) but no data are available about its prognostic impact in this setting.

Methods: We assessed synaptophysin immunohistochemical expression in a multi-institutional series of 159 BRAFmt mCRCs with matched clinical and pathological information. Tumours were dichotomized as synaptophysin high and low. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated by Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests.

Results: Thirty-five tumours (22.0%) showed any level of positivity for synaptophysin, and 18 (11.3%) were characterized by positivity in at least 20% of tumour cells. Four cases resulted 100% synaptophysin positive. The histotype of synaptophysin-positive tumours (i.e. ≥20%) was not otherwise specified in 11 cases (61.1%) and mucinous adenocarcinoma in 4 cases (22.2%). Four cases were DNA mismatch repair deficient (22.2%) and 7 (38.9%) were characterized by a high number of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes. At multivariate analysis, high synaptophysin expression was a negative independent prognostic factor for both PFS (HR = 2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-3.33, p = 0.006) and OS (HR = 2.27, 95% CI 1.35-3.85, p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Among BRAFmt mCRCs, synaptophysin-positive tumours are characterized by worse PFS and OS. Further studies should investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the acquisition of the neuroendocrine phenotype to identify novel-targeted treatment strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.016DOI Listing
March 2021

A fully automated assay to detect the expression of pan-cytokeratins and of EML4-ALK fusion protein in circulating tumour cells (CTCs) predicts outcome of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.

Transl Lung Cancer Res 2021 Jan;10(1):80-92

Veneto Institute of Oncology IOV - IRCCS, Padua, Italy.

Background: In advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) a recent meta-analysis confirms circulating tumour cells (CTCs) as an independent prognostic indicator of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). However, further investigations are necessary to predict and dynamically monitor the therapy in NSCLC patients using CTCs. To this aim, we combined the classical standard assay (SA) with an expanded cytokeratins profile (EA) and quantified the expression of EML4-ALK fusion protein in CTCs.

Methods: The CellSearch (CS) platform-first marked diagnostic use (IVD) from Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and "gold standard" for quantifying CTCs - detects EpCAM and cytokeratins (CKs) 8, 18, and 19. Since NSCLC shows different CKs profile, we customized the SA, to recognize CK 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 18, and 19 (EA). Using both assays we designed a prospective, multi-center study, primarily aimed to enumerate CTCs in advanced NSCLC. Secondarily, we developed an integration of the EA to quantify the expression of EML4-ALK fusion protein in CTCs, and correlated them with PFS and OS.

Results: EA identified a significantly much more number of CTC-positive patients (115 out of 180) than SA (103 out of 192; Chi-square =4.0179, with 1 degrees of freedom, P=0.04502). Similar to SA, EA levels were still associated with patient' outcomes. Furthermore, the expression of EML4-ALK on CTCs allowed stratifying NSCLC patients according to a statistically significant difference in PFS.

Conclusions: We proposed here two novel automated tests, to characterize the expression of specific molecules on CTCs. We demonstrated that these integrated assays are robust and actionable in prospective clinical studies, and in the future could allow clinicians to improve both choice and length of treatment in individual NSCLC patient.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/tlcr-20-855DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867748PMC
January 2021

Deep Learning Algorithm Trained with COVID-19 Pneumonia Also Identifies Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy-Related Pneumonitis.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Feb 6;13(4). Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Departmental Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Unit of Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, 00128 Rome, Italy.

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia and immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy-related pneumonitis share common features. The aim of this study was to determine on chest computed tomography (CT) images whether a deep convolutional neural network algorithm is able to solve the challenge of differential diagnosis between COVID-19 pneumonia and ICI therapy-related pneumonitis.

Methods: We enrolled three groups: a pneumonia-free group ( = 30), a COVID-19 group ( = 34), and a group of patients with ICI therapy-related pneumonitis ( = 21). Computed tomography images were analyzed with an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm based on a deep convolutional neural network structure. Statistical analysis included the Mann-Whitney U test (significance threshold at < 0.05) and the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC curve).

Results: The algorithm showed low specificity in distinguishing COVID-19 from ICI therapy-related pneumonitis (sensitivity 97.1%, specificity 14.3%, area under the curve (AUC) = 0.62). ICI therapy-related pneumonitis was identified by the AI when compared to pneumonia-free controls (sensitivity = 85.7%, specificity 100%, AUC = 0.97).

Conclusions: The deep learning algorithm is not able to distinguish between COVID-19 pneumonia and ICI therapy-related pneumonitis. Awareness must be increased among clinicians about imaging similarities between COVID-19 and ICI therapy-related pneumonitis. ICI therapy-related pneumonitis can be applied as a challenge population for cross-validation to test the robustness of AI models used to analyze interstitial pneumonias of variable etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040652DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7914551PMC
February 2021

Prognostic Role of a New Index Tested in European and Korean Advanced Biliary Tract Cancer Patients: the PECS Index.

J Gastrointest Cancer 2021 Feb 5. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Medical Oncology, Università Vita-Salute, San Raffaele Hospital IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Background And Aim: The aim of the present study is to evaluate a new index (PECS (PsECogSii)index) influenced by PS ECOG and systemic immune-inflammation index (SII) in unresectable locally advanced or metastatic BTC patients treated with first-line chemotherapy.

Methods: This multicenter, international, study was conducted on a training cohort of 130 patients and in three European and Korean validation cohorts The PECS index was calculated as ECOG × SII index (neutrophil count × platelet count/lymphocyte count). Event-time distributions were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and survival curves were compared using the log-rank test.

Results: In the training cohort, the median overall survival (mOS) was 13.2 months, 8.7 months, and 3.8 months for patients with PECS-0, PECS-1, and PECS-2, respectively (PECS-0: HR = 1; PECS-1: HR 1.41; PECS-2: HR 3.23) (p < 0.0001). In the first validation cohort, the mOS was 12.8 months, 10.1 months, and 5.3 months for patients with PECS-0, PECS-1, and PECS-2, respectively (PECS-0: HR = 1; PECS-1: HR 1.29; PECS-2: HR 2.40) (p < 0.0001). In the second validation cohort, the mOS was 21.2 months, 10.2 months, and 3.0 months for patients with PECS-0, PECS-1, and PECS-2, respectively (PECS-0: HR = 1; PECS-1: HR 2.25; PECS-2: HR 9.00) (p < 0.0001). In the third validation cohort, the median OS was 15.5 months, 7.5 months, and 3.7 months for patients with PECS-0, PECS-1, and PECS-2, respectively (PECS-0: ref HR = 1; PECS-1: HR 2.14; PECS-2: HR 5.00) (p < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis in all cohorts confirmed the PECS index as an independent prognostic factor for OS.

Conclusions: The easy assessment, low cost, and reproducibility make PECS index a promising tool to assess the prognosis of BTC patients in future clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12029-021-00596-zDOI Listing
February 2021

Effects of abiraterone acetate plus prednisone on bone turnover markers in chemotherapy-naïve mCRPC patients after ADT failure: A prospective analysis of the italian real-world study ABITUDE.

J Bone Oncol 2021 Feb 2;26:100341. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Department of Medical Oncology, Fondazione IRCCS, Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milano, Italy.

Background: Bone remodeling is disrupted in metastatic disease, which affects > 70% of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients. As a result, abnormal levels of specific bone turnover biomarkers (BTMs) are released. In this prospective ancillary analysis of the Italian real-world study ABITUDE, four markers were measured during abiraterone acetate plus prednisone (AAP) treatment in chemotherapy-naïve mCRPC men failing androgen-deprivation therapy.

Methods: Patients were enrolled if a blood sample was obtained before the first administration of abiraterone (baseline); ad-hoc blood samples were withdrawn during routine tests after 3, 6, and 12 months. A centralized lab measured bone alkaline phosphatase (BALP, osteoblast activity marker), type-I collagen-C-telopeptide (CTX-1, bone resorption marker), parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D (vitD). At each time point, intra-patient variations vs baseline were compared by the signed-rank test (statistical significance: P-value < 0.05).

Results: Of 481 patients enrolled in ABITUDE, 186 (median age: 76 [range: 53-93] years) met the substudy criteria: 74.7% had bone metastases, 11.8% were on bone-targeted therapies (BTT) and 14.0% on vitD supplementation. BALP decreased significantly at month 6 (P = 0.0010) and 12 (P < 0.0001) and CTX-1 at month 6 (P = 0.0028); PTH increased at month 3 (P < 0.0001); no significant difference in vitD levels was observed. Similar findings were observed in BTT-untreated patients. The reduction in BALP and CTX-1 levels was more pronounced in patients with than without bone metastases; in the latter group, no significant variation in BALP and CTX-1 levels was observed.

Conclusions: AAP seems to exert an effect on the microenvironment of metastatic but not of normal bone, which likely contributes to its antitumoral activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbo.2020.100341DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7779770PMC
February 2021

Integrin alpha5 in human breast cancer is a mediator of bone metastasis and a therapeutic target for the treatment of osteolytic lesions.

Oncogene 2021 Feb 8;40(7):1284-1299. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

INSERM, UMR_S1033, LYOS, Lyon, France.

Bone metastasis remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity in breast cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better select high-risk patients in order to adapt patient's treatment and prevent bone recurrence. Here, we found that integrin alpha5 (ITGA5) was highly expressed in bone metastases, compared to lung, liver, or brain metastases. High ITGA5 expression in primary tumors correlated with the presence of disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow aspirates from early stage breast cancer patients (n = 268; p = 0.039). ITGA5 was also predictive of poor bone metastasis-free survival in two separate clinical data sets (n = 855, HR = 1.36, p = 0.018 and n = 427, HR = 1.62, p = 0.024). This prognostic value remained significant in multivariate analysis (p = 0.028). Experimentally, ITGA5 silencing impaired tumor cell adhesion to fibronectin, migration, and survival. ITGA5 silencing also reduced tumor cell colonization of the bone marrow and formation of osteolytic lesions in vivo. Conversely, ITGA5 overexpression promoted bone metastasis. Pharmacological inhibition of ITGA5 with humanized monoclonal antibody M200 (volociximab) recapitulated inhibitory effects of ITGA5 silencing on tumor cell functions in vitro and tumor cell colonization of the bone marrow in vivo. M200 also markedly reduced tumor outgrowth in experimental models of bone metastasis or tumorigenesis, and blunted cancer-associated bone destruction. ITGA5 was not only expressed by tumor cells but also osteoclasts. In this respect, M200 decreased human osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in vitro. Overall, this study identifies ITGA5 as a mediator of breast-to-bone metastasis and raises the possibility that volociximab/M200 could be repurposed for the treatment of ITGA5-positive breast cancer patients with bone metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-020-01603-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892344PMC
February 2021

Breakthrough Cancer Pain Clinical Features and Differential Opioids Response: A Machine Learning Approach in Patients With Cancer From the IOPS-MS Study.

JCO Precis Oncol 2020 4;4. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

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

Purpose: A large proportion of patients with cancer suffer from breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP). Several unmet clinical needs concerning BTcP treatment, such as optimal opioid dosages, are being investigated. In this analysis the hypothesis, we explore with an unsupervised learning algorithm whether distinct subtypes of BTcP exist and whether they can provide new insights into clinical practice.

Methods: Partitioning around a k-medoids algorithm on a large data set of patients with BTcP, previously collected by the Italian Oncologic Pain Survey group, was used to identify possible subgroups of BTcP. Resulting clusters were analyzed in terms of BTcP therapy satisfaction, clinical features, and use of basal pain and rapid-onset opioids. Opioid dosages were converted to a unique scale and the BTcP opioids-to-basal pain opioids ratio was calculated for each patient. We used polynomial logistic regression to catch nonlinear relationships between therapy satisfaction and opioid use.

Results: Our algorithm identified 12 distinct BTcP clusters. Optimal BTcP opioids-to-basal pain opioids ratios differed across the clusters, ranging from 15% to 50%. The majority of clusters were linked to a peculiar association of certain drugs with therapy satisfaction or dissatisfaction. A free online tool was created for new patients' cluster computation to validate these clusters in future studies and provide handy indications for personalized BTcP therapy.

Conclusion: This work proposes a classification for BTcP and identifies subgroups of patients with unique efficacy of different pain medications. This work supports the theory that the optimal dose of BTcP opioids depends on the dose of basal opioids and identifies novel values that are possibly useful for future trials. These results will allow us to target BTcP therapy on the basis of patient characteristics and to define a precision medicine strategy also for supportive care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.20.00158DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7713587PMC
November 2020

Steroid-refractory immune related hepatitis may hide viral re-activation.

Future Sci OA 2020 Aug 6;6(9):FSO614. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Via Alvaro del Portillo 200, Rome, Italy.

Cancer immunotherapy has become a stronghold in modern oncology. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, in particular anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies, are approved for the treatment of several solid cancers. In the near future, an increasing number of patients will be eligible for immunotherapy. Therefore, the management of immune-related adverse events is a daily challenge in clinical practice, among which hepatic immune-related toxicity has been described as a rare adverse event. We report the case of a patient treated with nivolumab (an anti-PD-L1 antibody) for a stage IV resected melanoma who developed recurrence of steroid-refractory liver toxicity that was later discovered to be associated with acute exacerbation of chronic undiagnosed hepatitis B. The patient significantly benefited from antiviral treatment. We conclude that serological viral screening is strongly recommended before starting immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/fsoa-2020-0056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7668132PMC
August 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.

Medical Oncology Unit, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy; Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, 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

Effectiveness of abiraterone acetate plus prednisone in chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in a large prospective real-world cohort: the ABItude study.

Ther Adv Med Oncol 2020 29;12:1758835920968725. Epub 2020 Oct 29.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Campus Biomedico, Rome, Italy.

Background: Real-world data on chemotherapy-naïve patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) treated with abiraterone plus prednisone are limited, largely deriving from small retrospective studies.

Methods: ABitude is an Italian, observational, prospective, multicenter study of mCRPC patients receiving abiraterone plus prednisone in clinical practice. Chemotherapy-naïve mCRPC patients were consecutively enrolled at abiraterone start (February 2016 to June 2017) and are being followed for 3 years, with evaluation approximately every 6 months. Several clinical and patients reported outcomes were examined.

Results: In this second interim analysis, among 481 enrolled patients, 453 were evaluable for analyses. At baseline, the median age was 77 years and ~69% of patients had comorbidities (mainly cardiovascular diseases). Metastases were located mainly at bones and lymph nodes; 8.4% of patients had visceral metastases. During a median follow-up of 18 months, 1- and 2-year probability of radiographic progression-free survival were 73.9% and 56.2%, respectively; the corresponding rates for overall survival were 87.3% and 70.4%. In multivariable analyses, the number of bone metastases significantly affected radiographic progression-free survival and overall survival. During abiraterone plus prednisone treatment, 65% of patients had a ⩾50% prostate-specific antigen decline, and quality of life remained appreciably high. Among symptomatic patients according to the Brief Pain Inventory) (32%), scores significantly declined after 6 months of treatment. Overall, eight patients (1.7%) had serious adverse reactions to abiraterone.

Conclusions: Abiraterone plus prednisone is effective and safe for chemotherapy-naïve mCRPC patients in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1758835920968725DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7604981PMC
October 2020

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)

Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione "G. Pascale", Napoli, 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

Effects of cabozantinib on bone turnover markers in real-world metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Tumori 2020 Nov 5:300891620969817. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

Medical Oncology Department, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Background: Cabozantinib strongly inhibits osteoclast differentiation and bone resorption in vitro. We aimed to evaluate its effect on bone turnover markers (BTMs) in metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Methods: This is a monocentric prospective study on patients with mRCC treated with cabozantinib between October 2016 and July 2018. We collected blood samples at baseline and after 3 and 6 months of treatment. We compared sets of data obtained from plasma samples in the whole population with unpaired 2-tailed Student tests and data for a subset of patients for which all timepoints were available with paired 2-tailed Student tests. We used the Kaplan-Meier method for survival analyses and the log-rank test to compare the curves.

Results: Our analysis included 39 patients. At month 3, the mean C-terminal cross-linked telopeptides of type I collagen (CTx) and the mean N-terminal propeptide of type 1 collagen (PINP) levels were significantly decreased in the whole population ( = 0.013 and < 0.0001, respectively), as well as at paired analysis ( = 0.015 and = 0.045, respectively). No differences were observed between baseline and 6 months ( = 0.053 and = 0.087, respectively). After 3 months, the mean parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels significantly increased in the whole population ( = 0.004), as well as at paired analysis; the mean PTH levels increased significantly at 3 and 6 months, respectively ( = 0.019 and = 0.041, respectively). Changes in BTM levels were not associated with outcome.

Conclusions: Cabozantinib significantly reduced bone resorption as demonstrated by the decrease of CTx and showed a transient secondary increase of PTH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300891620969817DOI Listing
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.

Medicine and Surgery Department, University of Parma, Parma, Italy; Medical Oncology Unit, University Hospital of Parma, Parma, 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

Multiple and Concomitant Molecular Findings in a Heavily Treated Patient With EGFR-positive Lung Cancer.

Clin Lung Cancer 2021 Mar 18;22(2):e137-e138. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Department of Medical Oncology, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Rome, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.09.001DOI Listing
March 2021

Treatments after progression to first-line FOLFOXIRI and bevacizumab in metastatic colorectal cancer: a pooled analysis of TRIBE and TRIBE2 studies by GONO.

Br J Cancer 2021 01 7;124(1):183-190. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Background: FOLFOXIRI/bevacizumab (bev) is a first-line regimen of proven activity and efficacy in metastatic colorectal cancer. The upfront exposure to three cytotoxics raises concerns about the efficacy of treatments after progression.

Methods: We performed a pooled analysis of treatments after progression to upfront FOLFOXIRI/bev in patients enrolled in two randomised Phase 3 studies (TRIBE and TRIBE2) that compared FOLFOXIRI/bev to doublets (FOLFOX or FOLFIRI)/bev. Response rate, progression-free survival (2nd PFS) and overall survival (2nd OS) during treatments after progression were assessed. The RECIST response in first line and the oxaliplatin and irinotecan-free interval (OIFI) were investigated as potential predictors of benefit from FOLFOXIRI ± bev reintroduction.

Results: Longer 2nd PFS was reported in patients receiving FOLFOXIRI ± bev reintroduction compared to doublets ± bev or other treatments (6.1 versus 4.4 and 3.9 months, respectively, P = 0.013), and seems limited to patients achieving a response during first line (6.9 versus 4.2 and 4.7 months, respectively, P = 0.005) and an OIFI ≥ 4 months (7.2 versus 6.5 and 4.6 months, respectively, P = 0.045).

Conclusions: First-line FOLFOXIRI/bev does not impair the administration of effective second-line therapies. First-line response and longer OIFI seem associated with improved response and 2nd PFS from FOLFOXIRI ± bev reintroduction, without impacting 2nd OS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01089-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7782547PMC
January 2021

Oligometastatic colorectal cancer: prognosis, role of locoregional treatments and impact of first-line chemotherapy-a pooled analysis of TRIBE and TRIBE2 studies by Gruppo Oncologico del Nord Ovest.

Eur J Cancer 2020 11 23;139:81-89. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Unit of Medical Oncology 2, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy; Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Oligometastatic disease (OMD) identifies tumours with limited metastatic spread. OMD definition is not univocal and no data from clinical trials are available about the prognostic effect of OMD in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), the impact of locoregional treatments (LRTs) and the effect of chemotherapy intensification in these patients. The role of tumour burden (TB) in driving therapeutic choices is also debated.

Patients And Methods: We performed a pooled analysis of phase III TRIBE and TRIBE2 studies comparing FOLFOXIRI/bevacizumab (bev) to doublets (FOLFOX or FOLFIRI)/bev. Patients were grouped in OMD versus non-OMD based on the European Society for Medical Oncology definition. Among patients with OMD, those with OMD/low TB were compared with all the others.

Results: Of 1187 patients enrolled, 1096 were classified as OMD (N = 312 [28%]) or non-OMD (N = 784 [72%]). Among patients with OMD, 126 (40%) were OMD/low TB. OMD was associated with longer progression-free survival (14.0 versus 10.1 months; p < 0.01) and overall survival (38.2 versus 22.0 months; p < 0.01). These results were confirmed in multivariable models. The benefit provided by FOLFOXIRI/bev compared with doublets/bev did not differ in accordance with OMD and TB (p for interaction >0.05). Patients with OMD underwent LRTs more frequently (p < 0.01) and those with OMD/low TB had higher chance to undergo LRTs after the first progression (p < 0.01).

Conclusions: OMD is a positive prognostic factor in mCRC. The benefit from the upfront treatment intensification is independent of the metastatic spread extent and TB. LRTs should be highly considered in these patients, mainly during the first-line therapy but also at later stages of treatment history in selected cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.08.009DOI Listing
November 2020

Prognostic Role of Systemic Inflammatory Indexes in Germ Cell Tumors Treated With High-Dose Chemotherapy.

Front Oncol 2020 14;10:1325. Epub 2020 Aug 14.

Department of Medical Oncology, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola, Italy.

High-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) has curative potential in relapsed/refractory germ cell tumors (GCT). Due to the complexity of this population and the toxicity of HDCT, we evaluated the association between blood-based systemic inflammatory indexes and the outcome of GCT patients undergoing salvage treatment with HDCT in order to define additional prognostic factors able to orient clinical decision. Baseline characteristics, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), and the systemic immune-inflammation index (SII) of 62 patients undergoing HDCT for GCT were retrospectively collected. The aim is to evaluate the correlation between each inflammatory marker (NLR, PLR, and SII) and response to HDCT, overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS). Using the receiver operating curve to identify the best cutoff values, it was found that patients with GCT with NLR ≥3.3 and SII ≥844,000 had shorter PFS and inferior OS. In the multivariable analysis including inflammatory markers, the International Prognostic Factor Study Group (IPFSG) risk group, age, and previous line of treatment, NLR ≥3.3 and SII ≥844,000 were identified to be independently associated with shorter PFS and OS. Moreover, NLR, PLR, and SII significantly correlate with overall response to HDCT. Associating IPFSG prognostic score to inflammatory markers at baseline of HDCT may improve prognostic information and could help physicians to make more personalized treatment decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.01325DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7457022PMC
August 2020

Denosumab for cancer-related bone loss.

Expert Opin Biol Ther 2020 11 9;20(11):1261-1274. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Medical Oncology Department, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome , Rome, Itlay.

Introduction: Prolonged use of anti-cancer treatments in breast and prostate tumors alters physiological bone turnover leading to adverse skeletal related events, such as osteoporosis, loss of bone mass, and increased risk of fractures. These complications known as cancer treatment-induced bone loss (CTIBL) should be managed with bone targeting agents such as the bisphosphonates and denosumab. The latter is a monoclonal antibody against the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand (RANKL) that suppresses osteoclasts function and survival increasing bone mass.

Areas Covered: This review will focus on the mechanisms associated with bone loss induced by cancer treatments and the most recent evidence about the use of denosumab as preventive and therapeutic strategy to protect bone health. Moreover, we will discuss several key aspects regarding the clinical practical use of denosumab to optimize the management of CTLIB in breast and prostate cancer.

Expert Opinion: Denosumab treatment strongly prevents cancer therapies-related skeletal issues in breast and prostate cancer with a good safety profile. Adjuvant six-monthly denosumab delays the time to first fracture onset in early stage breast cancer patients with normal or altered bone mineral density (BMD). Similarly, denosumab treatment is able to prevent fractures and BMD loss in nonmetastatic prostate cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14712598.2020.1814731DOI Listing
November 2020

Anti-EGFR Therapy in Metastatic Small Bowel Adenocarcinoma: Myth or Reality?

Clin Med Insights Oncol 2020 4;14:1179554920946693. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

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

Background: Due to the relative rarity of small bowel adenocarcinoma (SBA), prospective trials, helping to guide therapeutic decisions, are lacking and the optimal therapy for advanced SBA is unknown. The role of targeted agents, such as anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), is unknown.

Patients And Methods: This is a retrospective multicenter observational study that included patients with metastatic SBA treated with anti-EGFR antibodies (cetuximab or panitumumab) ± chemotherapy in the first (I) or second (II) line.

Results: Thirteen patients with metastatic SBA, recruited from 5 Italian referral institutions, were included in the present retrospective analysis. All patients received anti-EGFR inhibitors as a single agent or in association with chemotherapy. More common G2 treatment-related side effects were skin reaction (8 patients, 53.8%), hypomagnesemia (6 patients, 46.2%), and diarrhea (8 patients, 61.5%). Grade 3 diarrhea was observed in only 1 patient. Conjunctivitis was not reported in any patients. Grade 4 toxicity was not reported. In the overall population, median progression-free survival was 5.526 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.684-12.467). Median overall survival was 15.86 months (95% CI: 14.43-24.30). Complete response was observed in 15% of patients, partial response in 39% of patients, stable disease in 23% of patients, and progression disease in 15% of patients.

Conclusions: In this retrospective analysis, anti-EGFR inhibitors showed to be a suitable addendum to chemotherapy in the I and II line, with an excellent tolerance and safety profile both in I and II line.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1179554920946693DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7412900PMC
August 2020

Identification of Aneuploid Circulating Tumor Cells in Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Patients: A Pilot Study.

Oncology 2020 20;98(12):893-896. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

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

Background: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have been identified and shown to have prognostic and predictive roles in several types of carcinoma. More recently, aneuploid CTCs have become subject of a growing interest, as aneuploidy is considered a hallmark of cancer often associated with poor prognosis. Here, we aimed to identify for the first time aneuploid CTCs in soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) patients and show supportive in silico evidence on the prognostic role of aneuploidy in mesenchymal cancers.

Methods: In our pilot study, we collected blood from 4 metastatic STS patients and 4 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. After sample processing, cells were cyto-centrifuged onto glass slides and FISH was performed using 5 probes. The in silico analysis was performed using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas cohort of STS patients, using the validated Aneuploidy Score. We divided the patients in two populations (aneuploidy-high, Ane-Hi, and aneuploidy-low, Ane-Lo) using the median value of the Aneuploidy Score as a cutoff. Kaplan-Meier curves associated with log-rank test were used to compare progression-free and overall survival between groups. GraphPad Prism 8.0 (La Jolla, CA, USA) was used for statistical analyses.

Results: Aneuploid CTCs were identified in all 4 STS patients and in none of the controls, with a median value of 4 (range 3-6) per 7 mL of blood. Ane-Hi patients showed a significantly worse progression-free and overall survival compared to Ane-Lo patients. The same trend was maintained when analyzing the data based on the different histologies.

Conclusions: We identified for the first time aneuploid CTCs in STS patients using fluorescence in situ hybridization in a surface marker-independent way. We also showed that the Aneuploidy Score has a prognostic value both in terms of progression-free survival and overall survival in STS patients using The Cancer Genome Atlas data, regardless of the histology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000509326DOI Listing
December 2020

The emerging role of PARP inhibitors in prostate cancer.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2020 08 6;20(8):715-726. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

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

Introduction: In prostate cancer , there has recently been an emerging interest in mutations in genes belonging to the homologous recombination repair (HRR) pathway and in the inhibition of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) proteins.

Areas Covered: Mutations in the HRR genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2, and Ataxia-Telangiesctasia mutated (ATM), have been reported in prostate cancer, with different incidence in the localized and advanced settings. The PARP enzyme complex is involved in repair of DNA damage and its inhibition causes the accumulation of DNA mutations in HRR deficient cells. Several PARP inhibitors (PARPi) are under development, such as olaparib, talazoparib, niraparib, rucaparib, and veliparib. In metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), olaparib has been the most studied and its clinical efficacy has been validated in a phase III clinical trial. Rucaparib and niraparib have also shown promising results in the preliminary analyzes of two phase II trials, while talazoparib is currently under development.

Expert Opinion: PARPi have become part of the treatment of mCRPC. Early results of combination therapy with PARPi and new hormonal therapy are promising and are supported by a strong biological rationale. Current results need to be validated in randomized phase III-controlled trials in order to translate the use of PARPi into real world practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737140.2020.1797497DOI Listing
August 2020

Recent Advances in Desmoid Tumor Therapy.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Aug 1;12(8). Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Department of Medical Oncology, Università Campus Bio-Medico, 00128 Rome, Italy.

The desmoid tumor is a locally aggressive proliferative disease within the family of soft-tissue sarcomas. Despite its relatively good prognosis, the clinical management of desmoid tumors requires constant multidisciplinary evaluation due to its highly variable clinical behavior. Recently, active surveillance has being regarded as the appropriate strategy at diagnosis, as indolent persistence or spontaneous regressions are not uncommon. Here, we review the most recent advances in desmoid tumor therapy, including low-dose chemotherapy and treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. We also explore the recent improvements in our knowledge of the molecular biology of this disease, which are leading to clinical trials with targeted agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12082135DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7463981PMC
August 2020

Randomised phase II trial of CAPTEM or FOLFIRI as SEcond-line therapy in NEuroendocrine CArcinomas and exploratory analysis of predictive role of PET/CT imaging and biological markers (SENECA trial): a study protocol.

BMJ Open 2020 07 19;10(7):e034393. Epub 2020 Jul 19.

Osteoncology and Rare Tumors Center, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori IRCCS, Meldola, Italy.

Introduction: Patients with metastatic or locally advanced, non-resectable, grade 3 poorly differentiated gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) and lung neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are usually treated with in first-line platinum compounds. There is no standard second-line treatment on progression. Accurate biomarkers are needed to facilitate diagnosis and prognostic assessment of patients with NEC.

Methods And Analysis: The SEcond-line therapy in NEuroendocrine CArcinomas (SENECA) study is a randomised, non-comparative, multicentre phase II trial designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of folinic acid, 5-fluorouracil and irinotecan (FOLFIRI) or capecitabine plus temozolomide (CAPTEM) regimens after failure of first-line chemotherapy in patients with lung NEC and GEP-NEC. Secondary aims are to correlate the serum miRNA profile and primary mutational status of MEN1, DAXX, ATRX and RB-1 with prognosis and outcome and to investigate the prognostic and predictive role of the Ki-67 score and 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (F-FDG PET/CT) or Ga-PET/CT. The main eligibility criteria are age ≥18 years; metastatic or locally advanced, non-resectable, grade 3 lung or GEP-NECs; progression to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. A Bryant and Day design taking into account treatment activity and toxicity was used to estimate the sample size. All analyses will be performed separately for each treatment group in the intention-to-treat population. A total of 112 patients (56/arm) will be randomly assigned (1:1) to receive FOLFIRI every 14 days or CAPTEM every 28 days until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity or for a maximum of 6 months. Patients undergo testing for specific biomarkers in primary tumour tissue and for miRNA in blood samples. MiRNA profiling will be performed in the first 20 patients who agree to participate in the biological substudy.

Ethics And Dissemination: The SENECA trial, supported by Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST), was authorised by the locals Ethics Committee and the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA). Results will be widely disseminated via peer-reviewed manuscripts, conference presentations and reports to relevant authorities.The study is currently open in Italy.

Trail Registration Number: NCT03387592; Pre-results. EudraCT-2016-000767-17.

Protocol Version: Clinical Study Protocol Version 1, 7 November 2016.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034393DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371236PMC
July 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.

Medical Oncology, St Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, 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

Cabozantinib After a Previous Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Multi-Institutional Analysis.

Target Oncol 2020 08;15(4):495-501

Genitourinary Cancer Unit, Dipartimento di Oncologia Medica, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Background: Angiogenesis has been recognized as the most important factor for tumor invasion, proliferation, and progression in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). However, few clinical data are available regarding the efficacy of cabozantinib following immunotherapy.

Objective: To describe the outcome of cabozantinib in patients previously treated with immunotherapy.

Patients And Methods: Patients with mRCC who received cabozantinib immediately after nivolumab were included. The primary endpoint was to assess the outcome in terms of efficacy and activity.

Results: Eighty-four mRCC patients met the criteria to be included in the final analysis. After a median follow-up of 9.4 months, median overall survival was 17.3 months. According to the IMDC criteria, the rates of patients alive at 12 months in the good, intermediate, and poor prognostic groups were 100%, 74%, and 33%, respectively (p < 0.001). The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 11.5 months (95% CI 8.3-14.7); no difference was found based on duration of previous first-line therapy or nivolumab PFS. The overall response rate was 52%, stable disease was found as the best response in 25.3% and progressive disease in 22.7% of patients. Among the 35 patients with progressive disease on nivolumab, 26 (74.3%) patients showed complete/partial response or stable disease with cabozantinib as best response after nivolumab. The major limitations of this study are the retrospective nature and the short follow-up.

Conclusions: Cabozantinib was shown to be effective and active in patients previously receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors. Therefore, cabozantinib can be considered a valid therapeutic option for previously treated mRCC patients, irrespective of the type and duration of prior therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11523-020-00732-yDOI Listing
August 2020

COVID-19 pneumonia and immune-related pneumonitis: critical issues on differential diagnosis, potential interactions, and management.

Expert Opin Biol Ther 2020 09 2;20(9):959-964. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

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

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic occurred amid the cancer immunotherapy revolution. Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have become the standard of care for several solid cancers and are associated with peculiar toxicities, including pneumonitis which has similar features to COVID-19 pneumonia.

Areas Covered: We summarize the main hallmarks of lung injury induced by ICIs and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and discuss the critical aspects for differential diagnosis and management. Symptoms and radiological findings are often similar; conversely, treatments are quite different. Furthermore, we focus on potential interactions generating hypotheses that need confirmatory studies.

Expert Opinion: All cancer patients treated with immunotherapy should receive screening for SARS-CoV-2. This would improve the diagnosis and management of pneumonia and guide therapeutic choices. Furthermore, clinicians could estimate the risk/benefit of continuing ICI treatment in COVID-19 positive patients. Temporary withdrawal of the immunotherapy treatment pending resolution of viral infection may be a reasonable option in long-responders patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14712598.2020.1789097DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7441753PMC
September 2020