Publications by authors named "David A Cameron"

102 Publications

Strategies for improving access to clinical trials by teenagers and young adults with cancer: A qualitative study of health professionals' views.

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 2021 Jan 20:e13408. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Objective: Few teenagers and young adults (TYA) with cancer participate in clinical trials. Lack of opportunity has been identified as a major barrier. We canvassed health professionals' views on how TYA's access to trials might be improved.

Methods: We interviewed 35 professionals with responsibility for delivering or facilitating cancer care and/or clinical trials. We analysed data using a qualitative descriptive approach.

Results: Interviewees viewed improving TYA's access to trials as challenging, but possible. They reframed the problem as one of rare disease and surmised that modifying the organisation, administration and resourcing of research (and care) might expand opportunities for both TYA and other patients with low volume conditions. Proposals coalesced around four themes: consolidating the pool of patients; streamlining bureaucratic requirements; investing in the research workforce; and promoting pragmatism in trial design.

Conclusion: Accounts suggest there is scope to improve access to trials by TYA with cancer and other patients with rare diseases. Though re-configuring care, research and resource frameworks would present substantial challenges, doing nothing would also have costs. Change will require the support of a range of stakeholders, and agreement as to the best way forward. Further work, such as priority setting exercises, may be necessary to reach a consensus.
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January 2021

Breast Cancer Risk Genes - Association Analysis in More than 113,000 Women.

N Engl J Med 2021 02 20;384(5):428-439. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

The authors' affiliations are as follows: the Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Departments of Public Health and Primary Care (L.D., S. Carvalho, J.A., K.A.P., Q.W., M.K.B., J.D., B.D., N. Mavaddat, K. Michailidou, A.C.A., P.D.P.P., D.F.E.) and Oncology (C.L., P.A.H., C. Baynes, D.M.C., L.F., V.R., M. Shah, P.D.P.P., A.M.D., D.F.E.), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (A. Campbell, D.J.P.), and the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, Department of Psychology (D.J.P.), University of Edinburgh, the Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Centre (D.A.C., J.F.), and the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh Medical School (A. Campbell, J.F.), Edinburgh, the Divisions of Informatics, Imaging, and Data Sciences (E.F.H.), Cancer Sciences (A. Howell), Population Health, Health Services Research, and Primary Care (A. Lophatananon, K. Muir), and Evolution and Genomic Sciences, School of Biological Sciences (W.G.N., E.M.V., D.G.E.), University of Manchester, the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Unit (E.F.H.) and the Nightingale Breast Screening Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital (E.F.H., H.I.), Academic Health Science Centre and North West Genomics Laboratory Hub, and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, St. Mary's Hospital, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (W.G.N., E.M.V., D.G.E.), Manchester, the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Guy's Campus, King's College London, London (E.J.S.), the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham (I.T.), and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford (I.T.) - all in the United Kingdom; the Human Genotyping-CEGEN Unit, Human Cancer Genetic Program (A.G.-N., M.R.A., N.Á., B.H., R.N.-T.), and the Human Genetics Group (V.F., A.O., J.B.), Spanish National Cancer Research Center, Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Raras (A.O., J.B.), Servicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital Universitario La Paz (M.P.Z.), and Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Hospital Clinico San Carlos, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos (M. de la Hoya), Madrid, the Genomic Medicine Group, Galician Foundation of Genomic Medicine, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Santiago de Compostela, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago (A. Carracedo, M.G.-D.), and Centro de Investigación en Red de Enfermedades Raras y Centro Nacional de Genotipado, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela (A. Carracedo), Santiago de Compostela, the Oncology and Genetics Unit, Instituto de Investigacion Sanitaria Galicia Sur, Xerencia de Xestion Integrada de Vigo-Servizo Galeo de Saúde, Vigo (J.E.C.), and Servicio de Cirugía General y Especialidades, Hospital Monte Naranco, Oviedo (J.I.A.P.) - all in Spain; the Division of Oncology and Pathology, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Lund (C. Wahlström, J.V., M.L., T. Törngren, Å.B., A.K.), the Department of Oncology, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro (C. Blomqvist), and the Departments of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (K.C., M.E., M.G., P. Hall, W.H., K.H.), Oncology, Södersjukhuset (P. Hall, S. Margolin), Molecular Medicine and Surgery (A. Lindblom), and Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset (S. Margolin, C. Wendt), Karolinska Institutet, and the Department of Clinical Genetics, Karolinska University Hospital (A. Lindblom), Stockholm - all in Sweden; the Department of Genetics and Computational Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD (M.T.P., C.F., G.C.-T., A.B.S.), the Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria (G.G.G., R.J.M., R.L.M.), the Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health (G.G.G., R.J.M., R.L.M.), and the Department of Clinical Pathology (M.C.S.), University of Melbourne, Anatomical Pathology, Alfred Hospital (C.M.), and the Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria (M.C.S.), Melbourne, VIC, and Precision Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University, Clayton, VIC (G.G.G., M.C.S., R.L.M.) - all in Australia; the Division of Molecular Pathology (R.K., S. Cornelissen, M.K.S.), Family Cancer Clinic (F.B.L.H., L.E.K.), Department of Epidemiology (M.A.R.), and Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology (M.K.S.), the Netherlands Cancer Institute-Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, Division Laboratories, Pharmacy and Biomedical Genetics, Department of Genetics, University Medical Center, Utrecht (M.G.E.M.A.), the Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus University Medical Center (J.M.C., A.M.W.O.), and the Department of Medical Oncology, Family Cancer Clinic, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute (B.A.M.H.-G., A. Hollestelle, M.J.H.), Rotterdam, the Department of Clinical Genetics, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht (E.B.G.G.), the Departments of Human Genetics (I.M.M.L., M.P.G.V., P.D.), Clinical Genetics (C.J.A.), and Pathology (P.D.), Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen (A.R.M.), and the Department of Genetics, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen (J.C.O.) - all in the Netherlands; the Cancer Genetics and Comparative Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (B.D.), and the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute (T.A., S.J.C., X.R.Y., M.G.-C.), National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; the Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (B.D.), and the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (R.M.V.D.), Boston; the Departments of Clinical Genetics (K.A.), Oncology (C. Blomqvist), and Obstetrics and Gynecology (H.N., M. Suvanto), Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, and the Unit of Clinical Oncology, Kuopio University Hospital (P. Auvinen), the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Oncology (P. Auvinen), the Translational Cancer Research Area (J.M.H., V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Pathology, and Forensic Medicine (J.M.H., V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), University of Eastern Finland, and the Biobank of Eastern Finland, Kuopio University Hospital (V.-M.K., A. Mannermaa), Kuopio - both in Finland; the N.N. Alexandrov Research Institute of Oncology and Medical Radiology, Minsk, Belarus (N.N.A., N.V.B.); the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Kiel (N.A.), the Institute of Medical Biometry and Epidemiology (H. Becher) and Cancer Epidemiology Group (T.M., J.C.-C.), University Cancer Center Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics (M.W.B., P.A.F., L.H.) and Institute of Human Genetics (A.B.E.), University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-European Metropolitan Region of Nuremberg, Erlangen, the Division of Cancer Epidemiology (S.B., A. Jung, P.M.K., J.C.-C.), Molecular Epidemiology Group, C080 (B. Burwinkel, H.S.), Division of Pediatric Neurooncology (A.F.), and Molecular Genetics of Breast Cancer (U.H., M.M., M.U.R., D.T.), German Cancer Research Center, Molecular Biology of Breast Cancer, University Women's Clinic Heidelberg, University of Heidelberg (B. Burwinkel, A.S., H.S.), Hopp Children's Cancer Center (A.F.), Faculty of Medicine, University of Heidelberg (P.M.K.), and National Center for Tumor Diseases, University Hospital and German Cancer Research Center (A.S., C.S.), Heidelberg, the Department of Radiation Oncology (N.V.B., M. Bremer, H.C.) and the Gynecology Research Unit (N.V.B., T.D., P. Hillemanns, T.-W.P.-S., P.S.), Hannover Medical School, Hannover, the Institute of Human Genetics, University of Münster, Münster (N.B.-M.), Dr. Margarete Fischer-Bosch-Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Stuttgart (H. Brauch, W.-Y.L.), iFIT-Cluster of Excellence, University of Tübingen, and the German Cancer Consortium, German Cancer Research Center, Partner Site Tübingen (H. Brauch), and the University of Tübingen (W.-Y.L.), Tübingen, Institute for Prevention and Occupational Medicine of the German Social Accident Insurance, Institute of the Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum (T.B.), Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics, and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig (C.E.), Center for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (E.H., R.K.S.) and Center for Integrated Oncology (E.H., R.K.S.), Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, the Department of Internal Medicine, Evangelische Kliniken Bonn, Johanniter Krankenhaus, Bonn (Y.-D.K.), the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Munich, Campus Großhadern, Munich (A. Meindl), and the Institute of Pathology, Städtisches Klinikum Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe (T.R.) - all in Germany; the Gynecological Cancer Registry, Centre Georges-François Leclerc, Dijon (P. Arveux), and the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Team Exposome and Heredity, INSERM, University Paris-Saclay, Villejuif (E.C.-D., P.G., T. Truong) - both in France; the Institute of Biochemistry and Genetics, Ufa Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (M. Bermisheva, E.K.), the Department of Genetics and Fundamental Medicine, Bashkir State University (E.K., D.P., Y.V.), and the Ufa Research Institute of Occupational Health and Human Ecology (Y.V.), Ufa, Russia; the Department of Genetics and Pathology (K.B., A. Jakubowska, J. Lubiński, K.P.) and the Independent Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Genetic Diagnostics (A. Jakubowska), Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin, Poland; the Copenhagen General Population Study, the Department of Clinical Biochemistry (S.E.B., B.G.N.), and the Department of Breast Surgery (H.F.), Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (S.E.B., B.G.N.) - both in Denmark; the Division of Cancer Prevention and Genetics, European Institute of Oncology Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) (B. Bonanni), the Unit of Medical Genetics, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori di Milano (S. Manoukian), the Genome Diagnostics Program, FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (P.P.), and the Unit of Molecular Bases of Genetic Risk and Genetic Testing, Department of Research, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori (P.R.), Milan; the Department of Cancer Genetics, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital-Radiumhospitalet (A.-L.B.-D., G.I.G.A., V.N.K.), and the Institute of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo (A.-L.B.-D., V.N.K.), Oslo; Medical Faculty, Universidad de La Sabana (I.B.), and the Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department (F.G.) and Institute of Human Genetics (D.T.), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia; the Department of Internal Medicine and Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah (N.J.C., M.J.M., J.A.W.), and the Intermountain Healthcare Biorepository and Department of Pathology, Intermountain Healthcare (M.H.C.), Salt Lake City; the David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Medicine Division of Hematology and Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles (P.A.F.), and Moores Cancer Center (M.G.-D., M.E.M.) and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health (M.E.M.), University of California San Diego, La Jolla; the Departments of Medical Oncology (V.G., D.M.) and Pathology (M.T.), University Hospital of Heraklion, Heraklion, and the Department of Oncology, University Hospital of Larissa, Larissa (E.S.) - both in Greece; the Fred A. Litwin Center for Cancer Genetics, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital (G.G., I.L.A.), the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (A.M.M.) and Molecular Genetics (I.L.A.), University of Toronto, and the Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network (A.M.M.), Toronto, and the Genomics Center, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec-Université Laval Research Center, Québec City, QC (J.S.) - both in Canada; the Department of Electron Microscopy and Molecular Pathology (A. Hadjisavvas, K.K., M.A.L.), the Cyprus School of Molecular Medicine (A. Hadjisavvas, K.K., M.A.L., K. Michailidou), and the Biostatistics Unit (K. Michailidou), Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Nicosia, Cyprus; the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (M. Hartman, R.M.V.D.) and the Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (R.M.V.D.), National University of Singapore, the Department of Surgery, National University Health System (M. Hartman, J. Li), and the Human Genetics Division, Genome Institute of Singapore (J. Li), Singapore; the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Nottingham Malaysia (W.K.H.), and the Breast Cancer Research Programme, Cancer Research Malaysia (W.K.H., P.S.N., S.-Y.Y., S.H.T.), Selangor, and the Breast Cancer Research Unit, Cancer Research Institute (N.A.M.T.), and the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine (N.A.M.T., P.S.N., S.H.T.), University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur - both in Malaysia; Surgery, School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway (M.J.K., N. Miller); the Department of Surgery, Daerim Saint Mary's Hospital (S.-W.K.), the Department of Surgery, Ulsan University College of Medicine and Asan Medical Center (J.W.L.), the Department of Surgery, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine and Soonchunhyang University Hospital (M.H.L.), Integrated Major in Innovative Medical Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine (S.K.P.), and the Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University (S.K.P.), Seoul, South Korea; the Department of Basic Sciences, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, Lahore, Pakistan (M.U.R.); and the National Cancer Institute, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi, Thailand (S.T.).

Background: Genetic testing for breast cancer susceptibility is widely used, but for many genes, evidence of an association with breast cancer is weak, underlying risk estimates are imprecise, and reliable subtype-specific risk estimates are lacking.

Methods: We used a panel of 34 putative susceptibility genes to perform sequencing on samples from 60,466 women with breast cancer and 53,461 controls. In separate analyses for protein-truncating variants and rare missense variants in these genes, we estimated odds ratios for breast cancer overall and tumor subtypes. We evaluated missense-variant associations according to domain and classification of pathogenicity.

Results: Protein-truncating variants in 5 genes (, , , , and ) were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.0001. Protein-truncating variants in 4 other genes (, , , and ) were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.05 and a Bayesian false-discovery probability of less than 0.05. For protein-truncating variants in 19 of the remaining 25 genes, the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval of the odds ratio for breast cancer overall was less than 2.0. For protein-truncating variants in and , odds ratios were higher for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease than for ER-negative disease; for protein-truncating variants in , , , , , and , odds ratios were higher for ER-negative disease than for ER-positive disease. Rare missense variants (in aggregate) in , , and were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall with a P value of less than 0.001. For , , and , missense variants (in aggregate) that would be classified as pathogenic according to standard criteria were associated with a risk of breast cancer overall, with the risk being similar to that of protein-truncating variants.

Conclusions: The results of this study define the genes that are most clinically useful for inclusion on panels for the prediction of breast cancer risk, as well as provide estimates of the risks associated with protein-truncating variants, to guide genetic counseling. (Funded by European Union Horizon 2020 programs and others.).
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February 2021

Breast cancer gene expression datasets do not reflect the disease at the population level.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2020 25;6:39. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Applied Bioinformatics of Cancer, University of Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Edinburgh, UK.

Publicly available tumor gene expression datasets are widely reanalyzed, but it is unclear how representative they are of clinical populations. Estimations of molecular subtype classification and prognostic gene signatures were calculated for 16,130 patients from 70 breast cancer datasets. Collated patient demographics and clinical characteristics were sparse for many studies. Considerable variations were observed in dataset size, patient/tumor characteristics, and molecular composition. Results were compared with Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) figures. The proportion of basal subtype tumors ranged from 4 to 59%. Date of diagnosis ranged from 1977 to 2013, originating from 20 countries across five continents although European ancestry dominated. Publicly available breast cancer gene expression datasets are a great resource, but caution is required as they tend to be enriched for high grade, ER-negative tumors from European-ancestry patients. These results emphasize the need to derive more representative and annotated molecular datasets from diverse populations.
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August 2020

Six versus 12 months' adjuvant trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer: the PERSEPHONE non-inferiority RCT.

Health Technol Assess 2020 08;24(40):1-190

Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

Background: The addition of adjuvant trastuzumab to chemotherapy has significantly improved outcomes for people with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive, early, potentially curable breast cancer. Twelve months' trastuzumab, tested in registration trials, was adopted as standard adjuvant treatment in 2006. Subsequently, similar outcomes were demonstrated using 9 weeks of trastuzumab. Shorter durations were therefore tested for non-inferiority.

Objectives: To establish whether or not 6 months' adjuvant trastuzumab is non-inferior to 12 months' in the treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer using a primary end point of 4-year disease-free survival.

Design: This was a Phase III randomised controlled non-inferiority trial.

Setting: The setting was 152 NHS hospitals.

Participants: A total of 4088 patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer who it was planned would receive both chemotherapy and trastuzumab took part.

Intervention: Randomisation (1 : 1) to 6 months' or 12 months' trastuzumab treatment.

Main Outcomes: The primary end point was disease-free survival. The secondary end points were overall survival, cost-effectiveness and cardiac function during treatment with trastuzumab. Assuming a 4-year disease-free survival rate of 80% with 12 months' trastuzumab, 4000 patients were required to demonstrate non-inferiority of 6 months' trastuzumab (5% one-sided significance, 85% power), defining the non-inferiority limit as no worse than 3% below the standard arm. Costs and quality-adjusted life-years were estimated using a within-trial analysis and a lifetime decision-analytic model.

Results: Between 4 October 2007 and 31 July 2015, 2045 patients were randomised to 12 months' trastuzumab and 2043 were randomised to 6 months' trastuzumab. Sixty-nine per cent of patients had ER-positive disease; 90% received anthracyclines (49% with taxanes; 41% without taxanes); 10% received taxanes without anthracyclines; 54% received trastuzumab sequentially after chemotherapy; and 85% received adjuvant chemotherapy (58% were node negative). At 6.1 years' median follow-up, with 389 (10%) deaths and 566 (14%) disease-free survival events, the 4-year disease-free survival rates for the 4088 patients were 89.5% (95% confidence interval 88.1% to 90.8%) in the 6-month group and 90.3% (95% confidence interval 88.9% to 91.5%) in the 12-month group (hazard ratio 1.10, 90% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.26; non-inferiority  = 0.01), demonstrating non-inferiority of 6 months' trastuzumab. Congruent results were found for overall survival (non-inferiority  = 0.0003) and landmark analyses 6 months from starting trastuzumab [non-inferiority  = 0.03 (disease-free-survival) and  = 0.006 (overall survival)]. Six months' trastuzumab resulted in fewer patients reporting adverse events of severe grade [365/1929 (19%) vs. 460/1935 (24%) for 12-month patients;  = 0.0003] or stopping early because of cardiotoxicity [61/1977 (3%) vs. 146/1941 (8%) for 12-month patients;  < 0.0001]. Health economic analysis showed that 6 months' trastuzumab resulted in significantly lower lifetime costs than and similar lifetime quality-adjusted life-years to 12 months' trastuzumab, and thus there is a high probability that 6 months' trastuzumab is cost-effective compared with 12 months' trastuzumab. Patient-reported experiences in the trial highlighted fatigue and aches and pains most frequently.

Limitations: The type of chemotherapy and timing of trastuzumab changed during the recruitment phase of the study as standard practice altered.

Conclusions: PERSEPHONE demonstrated that, in the treatment of HER2-positive early breast cancer, 6 months' adjuvant trastuzumab is non-inferior to 12 months'. Six months' treatment resulted in significantly less cardiac toxicity and fewer severe adverse events.

Future Work: Ongoing translational work investigates patient and tumour genetic determinants of toxicity, and trastuzumab efficacy. An individual patient data meta-analysis with PHARE and other trastuzumab duration trials is planned.

Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN52968807, EudraCT 2006-007018-39 and NCT00712140.

Funding: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in ; Vol. 24, No. 40. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.
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August 2020

Distinct temporal trends in breast cancer incidence from 1997 to 2016 by molecular subtypes: a population-based study of Scottish cancer registry data.

Br J Cancer 2020 09 19;123(5):852-859. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Usher Institute, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: We describe temporal trends in breast cancer incidence by molecular subtypes in Scotland because public health prevention programmes, diagnostic and therapeutic services are shaped by differences in tumour biology.

Methods: Population-based cancer registry data on 72,217 women diagnosed with incident primary breast cancer from 1997 to 2016 were analysed. Age-standardised rates (ASR) and age-specific incidence were estimated by tumour subtype after imputing the 8% of missing oestrogen receptor (ER) status. Joinpoint regression and age-period-cohort models were used to assess whether significant differences were observed in incidence trends by ER status.

Results: Overall, ER-positive tumour incidence increased by 0.4%/year (95% confidence interval (CI): -0.1, 1.0). Among routinely screened women aged 50-69 years, we observed an increase in ASR from 1997 to 2011 (1.6%/year, 95% CI: 1.2-2.1). ER-negative tumour incidence decreased among all ages by 2.5%/year (95% CI: -3.9 to -1.1%) over the study period. Compared with the 1941-1959 birth cohort, women born in 1912-1940 had lower incidence rate ratios (IRR) for ER+ tumours and women born in 1960-1986 had lower IRR for ER- tumours.

Conclusions: Future incidence and survival reporting should be monitored by molecular subtypes to inform clinical planning and cancer control programmes.
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September 2020

Protective strategies to prevent trastuzumab-induced cardiotoxicity - Authors' reply.

Lancet 2020 02;395(10223):492-493

Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK.

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February 2020

The challenges of making informed decisions about treatment and trial participation following a cancer diagnosis: a qualitative study involving adolescents and young adults with cancer and their caregivers.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Jan 8;20(1):25. Epub 2020 Jan 8.

Usher Institute, Medical School, University of Edinburgh, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, EH8 9AG, UK.

Background: Limited attention has been paid to adolescents and young adults' (AYA's) experiences in the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis, despite this being a time when potentially life-changing decisions are made. We explored AYA's and caregivers' experiences of, and views about, making treatment and trial participation decisions following a cancer diagnosis, in order to understand, and help facilitate, informed treatment decision-making in this age group.

Methods: Interviews were undertaken with 18 AYA diagnosed, or re-diagnosed, with cancer when aged 16-24 years, and 15 parents/caregivers. Analysis focused on the identification and description of explanatory themes.

Results: Most AYA described being extremely unwell by the time of diagnosis and, consequently, experiencing difficulties processing the news. Distress and acceleration in clinical activity following diagnosis could further impede the absorption of treatment-relevant information. After referral to a specialist cancer unit, many AYA described quickly transitioning to a calm and pragmatic mind-set, and wanting to commence treatment at the earliest opportunity. Most reported seeing information about short-term side-effects of treatment as having limited relevance to their recovery-focused outlook at that time. AYA seldom indicated wanting to make choices about front-line treatment, with most preferring to defer decisions to health professionals. Even when charged with decisions about trial participation, AYA reported welcoming a strong health professional steer. Parents/caregivers attempted to compensate for AYA's limited engagement with treatment-relevant information. However, in seeking to ensure AYA received the best treatment, these individuals had conflicting priorities and information needs.

Conclusion: Our study highlights the challenging context in which AYA are confronted with decisions about front-line treatment, and reveals how their responses make it hard to ensure their decisions are fully informed. It raises questions about the direct value, to AYA, of approaches that aim to promote decision-making by improving understanding and recall of information, though such approaches may be of value to caregivers. In seeking to improve information-giving and involvement in treatment-related decision-making at diagnosis, care should be taken not to delegitimize the preference of many AYA for a directive approach from trusted clinicians.
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January 2020

On-treatment biomarkers can improve prediction of response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res 2019 06 14;21(1):73. Epub 2019 Jun 14.

University of Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre, MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is increasingly given preoperatively to shrink breast tumours prior to surgery. This approach also provides the opportunity to study the molecular changes associated with treatment and evaluate whether on-treatment sequential samples can improve response and outcome predictions over diagnostic or excision samples alone.

Methods: This study included a total of 97 samples from a cohort of 50 women (aged 29-76, with 46% ER+ and 20% HER2+ tumours) with primary operable breast cancer who had been treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Biopsies were taken at diagnosis, at 2 weeks on-treatment, mid-chemotherapy, and at resection. Fresh frozen samples were sequenced with Ion AmpliSeq Transcriptome yielding expression values for 12,635 genes. Differential expression analysis was performed across 16 patients with a complete pathological response (pCR) and 34 non-pCR patients, and over treatment time to identify significantly differentially expressed genes, pathways, and markers indicative of response status. Prediction accuracy was compared with estimations of established gene signatures, for this dataset and validated using data from the I-SPY 1 Trial.

Results: Although changes upon treatment are largely similar between the two cohorts, very few genes were found to be consistently different between responders and non-responders, making the prediction of response difficult. AAGAB was identified as a novel potential on-treatment biomarker for pathological complete response, with an accuracy of 100% in the NEO training dataset and 78% accuracy in the I-SPY 1 testing dataset. AAGAB levels on-treatment were also significantly predictive of outcome (p = 0.048, p = 0.0036) in both cohorts. This single gene on-treatment biomarker had greater predictive accuracy than established prognostic tests, Mammaprint and PAM50 risk of recurrence score, although interestingly, both of these latter tests performed better in the on-treatment rather than the accepted pre-treatment setting.

Conclusion: Changes in gene expression measured in sequential samples from breast cancer patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy resulted in the identification of a potentially novel on-treatment biomarker and suggest that established prognostic tests may have greater prediction accuracy on than before treatment. These results support the potential use and further evaluation of on-treatment testing in breast cancer to improve the accuracy of tumour response prediction.
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June 2019

6 versus 12 months of adjuvant trastuzumab for HER2-positive early breast cancer (PERSEPHONE): 4-year disease-free survival results of a randomised phase 3 non-inferiority trial.

Lancet 2019 06 6;393(10191):2599-2612. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Research & Development, The NIHR Manchester Clinical Research Facility at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK; Division of Cancer Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, ManchesterAcademic Health Science Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.

Background: Adjuvant trastuzumab significantly improves outcomes for patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. The standard treatment duration is 12 months but shorter treatment could provide similar efficacy while reducing toxicities and cost. We aimed to investigate whether 6-month adjuvant trastuzumab treatment is non-inferior to the standard 12-month treatment regarding disease-free survival.

Methods: This study is an open-label, randomised phase 3 non-inferiority trial. Patients were recruited from 152 centres in the UK. We randomly assigned patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer, aged 18 years or older, and with a clear indication for chemotherapy, by a computerised minimisation process (1:1), to receive either 6-month or 12-month trastuzumab delivered every 3 weeks intravenously (loading dose of 8 mg/kg followed by maintenance doses of 6 mg/kg) or subcutaneously (600 mg), given in combination with chemotherapy (concurrently or sequentially). The primary endpoint was disease-free survival, analysed by intention to treat, with a non-inferiority margin of 3% for 4-year disease-free survival. Safety was analysed in all patients who received trastuzumab. This trial is registered with EudraCT (number 2006-007018-39), ISRCTN (number 52968807), and (number NCT00712140).

Findings: Between Oct 4, 2007, and July 31, 2015, 2045 patients were assigned to 12-month trastuzumab treatment and 2044 to 6-month treatment (one patient was excluded because they were double randomised). Median follow-up was 5·4 years (IQR 3·6-6·7) for both treatment groups, during which a disease-free survival event occurred in 265 (13%) of 2043 patients in the 6-month group and 247 (12%) of 2045 patients in the 12-month group. 4-year disease-free survival was 89·4% (95% CI 87·9-90·7) in the 6-month group and 89·8% (88·3-91·1) in the 12-month group (hazard ratio 1·07 [90% CI 0·93-1·24], non-inferiority p=0·011), showing non-inferiority of the 6-month treatment. 6-month trastuzumab treatment resulted in fewer patients reporting severe adverse events (373 [19%] of 1939 patients vs 459 [24%] of 1894 patients, p=0·0002) or stopping early because of cardiotoxicity (61 [3%] of 1939 patients vs 146 [8%] of 1894 patients, p<0·0001).

Interpretation: We have shown that 6-month trastuzumab treatment is non-inferior to 12-month treatment in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer, with less cardiotoxicity and fewer severe adverse events. These results support consideration of reduced duration trastuzumab for women at similar risk of recurrence as to those included in the trial.

Funding: UK National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Programme.
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June 2019

Accurate Estrogen Receptor Quantification in Patients with Negative and Low-Positive Estrogen-Receptor-Expressing Breast Tumors: Sub-Analyses of Data from Two Clinical Studies.

Adv Ther 2019 04 11;36(4):828-841. Epub 2019 Mar 11.

White Plains Hospital, White Plains, NY, USA.

Introduction: Accurate assessment of estrogen receptor (ER) expression is crucial to ensure that patients with early breast cancer are accurately identified for appropriate treatment with endocrine therapy. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), compared with immunohistochemistry (IHC), may provide a more precise indication of ER status. Data were pooled and analyzed from two independent, but similarly designed, studies that examined ER status by IHC and the 21-gene Recurrence Score that employs RT-PCR-based methodology.

Methods: Tumor tissue from patients with early stage breast cancer where ER status could be determined by both IHC and RT-PCR was included. ER status by IHC staining was defined as ER-negative (< 1%), ER-low+ (1-10%), or ER+ (> 10%). ER status by RT-PCR was defined as ER-negative (≤ 6.5) or ER+ (> 6.5). Recurrence Score results from the 21-gene assay were reported on a continuous scale from 0 to 100. A sub-analysis examined the association between ER expression (Allred score 2-7) and response to a 14-day pre-surgery pulse with an aromatase inhibitor. A separate sub-analysis examined the association between ER expression and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression.

Results: Tumor specimens from 192 patients (aged 25-92 years) were included in the pooled analysis. Correlation between IHC- and RT-PCR-measured ER was strong for IHC-defined ER-negative and ER+ samples (r = 0.646 [95% CI 0.553-0.720]). There was 100% concordance for ER+ tumors; however, 56% of the ER-low+ tumors were negative by RT-PCR. Allred score correlated better with ER status measured by RT-PCR at pre-treatment (r = 0.83) than at post-treatment (r = 0.76). The majority (77%) of ER-negative and ER-low+ tumors were HER2-negative.

Conclusions: RT-PCR provided a more accurate assessment of ER expression in patients with ER-low+ tumors, and data support dual testing for patients with ER-low+ status to ensure appropriate treatment planning as it pertains to endocrine therapy.

Funding: Genomic Health, Inc.
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April 2019

Adjuvant trastuzumab duration trials in HER2 positive breast cancer - what results would be practice-changing? Persephone investigator questionnaire prior to primary endpoint results.

BMC Cancer 2018 04 5;18(1):391. Epub 2018 Apr 5.

Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Background: Twelve months treatment is the current standard of care for adjuvant trastuzumab in patients with HER2 positive early breast cancer however the optimal duration is not known. Persephone is a non-inferiority randomised controlled trial comparing 6- to 12-months of trastuzumab. In this trial there will be a trade-off between a possible small decrease in disease-free survival (DFS) with 6-months and reduced cardiotoxicity and cost.

Methods: A structured questionnaire asked clinicians who had recruited patients into the Persephone trial about their prior beliefs with regards to the clinical effectiveness of trastuzumab and cardiotoxicity profile, in the comparison of 6- and 12-month durations.

Results: Fifty-one clinicians from 40 of the 152 Persephone sites completed the questionnaire. 30/50 responders (60%) believed that 6-months trastuzumab would give the same 4-year DFS rate as 12-months trastuzumab, with 21/50 (42%) holding this belief across all breast cancer subsets. In addition, 46/49 responders (94%) reported expecting to change their clinical practice to 6-months, with their prior beliefs (most commonly 85% 4-year DFS rate with 6-months) being greater than their lowest acceptable rate (most commonly 83% 4-year DFS rate with 6-months). Low levels of cardiotoxicity were expected with both 6 and 12-months trastuzumab, with the majority expecting lower levels with 6-months. With increasing hypothesised differences of cardiotoxicity rates between the two durations, significantly lower levels of 4-year DFS with 6-months trastuzumab were deemed acceptable (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Most responders believe that 6-months trastuzumab is adequate, both overall and within each subset of breast cancer, and plan to change their clinical practice if the Persephone results support their prior belief. An individual patient meta-analysis of the duration trials would give greater precision to estimates of the differences in efficacy and toxicity, and adequate statistical power to establish a 2% level of non-inferiority for 6-months adjuvant trastuzumab.
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April 2018

Do patients whose tumor achieved a pathological response relapse at specific sites? A substudy of the EORTC 10994/BIG-1-00 trial.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2018 Jun 12;169(3):497-505. Epub 2018 Feb 12.

Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Bergonié Unicancer, Université de Bordeaux, INSERM U1218, INSERM CIC1401, 229 Cours de l'Argonne, 33000, Bordeaux, France.

Purpose: To determine the sites of first distant relapse in patients with or without pCR following neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients enrolled in the EORTC 10994/BIG-1-00 trial.

Methods: We included patients enrolled in the EORTC 10994/BIG-1-00 trial who received at least one chemotherapy cycle before surgery and who had been diagnosed with a distant relapse. pCR was defined as no evidence of residual invasive cancer in the primary tumor and axillary lymph nodes with or without residual ductal carcinoma in situ. Site of first distant relapse was categorized as 'soft tissue,' 'visceral,' 'skeletal,' 'central nervous system (CNS),' and 'other.' The association between relapse site and achievement of pCR was assessed using multivariate logistic regression models for molecular subtypes classification and preceding locoregional recurrence.

Results: The study included 383 (21%) eligible patients out of the 1856 randomized, of whom 28 (7%) had achieved pCR. Median follow-up was 5.4 years. Achievement of pCR was associated with a trend towards a decreased presentation of skeletal metastases [21% (pCR) vs. 50% (non-pCR), OR 0.32, adjusted p value = 0.071] and an increase in the proportion of patients with CNS metastases as first distant relapse site (21% vs. 9%, OR 2.39, adjusted p value = 0.183). Patients with pCR were more likely to present with only one relapse location category when compared to non-pCR (86% vs. 69%).

Conclusion: Patients that achieved a pCR appeared less likely to present with skeletal metastases and more frequently presented with CNS metastases as first site of distant relapse, even after adjustment for molecular subtypes.
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June 2018

Concerns about cardiotoxicity in the HERA trial - Authors' reply.

Lancet 2017 12;390(10114):2767-2768

Edinburgh Cancer Centre, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK.

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December 2017

Value of Information Analysis of Multiparameter Tests for Chemotherapy in Early Breast Cancer: The OPTIMA Prelim Trial.

Value Health 2017 12 11;20(10):1311-1318. Epub 2017 Jul 11.

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Background: Precision medicine is heralded as offering more effective treatments to smaller targeted patient populations. In breast cancer, adjuvant chemotherapy is standard for patients considered as high-risk after surgery. Molecular tests may identify patients who can safely avoid chemotherapy.

Objectives: To use economic analysis before a large-scale clinical trial of molecular testing to confirm the value of the trial and help prioritize between candidate tests as randomized comparators.

Methods: Women with surgically treated breast cancer (estrogen receptor-positive and lymph node-positive or tumor size ≥30 mm) were randomized to standard care (chemotherapy for all) or test-directed care using Oncotype DX™. Additional testing was undertaken using alternative tests: MammaPrint, PAM-50 (Prosigna), MammaTyper, IHC4, and IHC4-AQUA™ (NexCourse Breast™). A probabilistic decision model assessed the cost-effectiveness of all tests from a UK perspective. Value of information analysis determined the most efficient publicly funded ongoing trial design in the United Kingdom.

Results: There was an 86% probability of molecular testing being cost-effective, with most tests producing cost savings (range -£1892 to £195) and quality-adjusted life-year gains (range 0.17-0.20). There were only small differences in costs and quality-adjusted life-years between tests. Uncertainty was driven by long-term outcomes. Value of information demonstrated value of further research into all tests, with Prosigna currently being the highest priority for further research.

Conclusions: Molecular tests are likely to be cost-effective, but an optimal test is yet to be identified. Health economics modeling to inform the design of a randomized controlled trial looking at diagnostic technology has been demonstrated to be feasible as a method for improving research efficiency.
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December 2017

Ribociclib plus letrozole versus letrozole alone in patients with de novo HR+, HER2- advanced breast cancer in the randomized MONALEESA-2 trial.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2018 Feb 21;168(1):127-134. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Purpose: Determine the efficacy and safety of first-line ribociclib plus letrozole in patients with de novo advanced breast cancer.

Methods: Postmenopausal women with HR+ , HER2- advanced breast cancer and no prior systemic therapy for advanced disease were enrolled in the Phase III MONALEESA-2 trial (NCT01958021). Patients were randomized to ribociclib (600 mg/day; 3 weeks-on/1 week-off) plus letrozole (2.5 mg/day; continuous) or placebo plus letrozole until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, death, or treatment discontinuation. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival; predefined subgroup analysis evaluated progression-free survival in patients with de novo advanced breast cancer. Secondary endpoints included safety and overall response rate.

Results: Six hundred and sixty-eight patients were enrolled, of whom 227 patients (34%; ribociclib plus letrozole vs placebo plus letrozole arm: n = 114 vs. n = 113) presented with de novo advanced breast cancer. Median progression-free survival was not reached in the ribociclib plus letrozole arm versus 16.4 months in the placebo plus letrozole arm in patients with de novo advanced breast cancer (hazard ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.27-0.75). The most common Grade 3/4 adverse events were neutropenia and leukopenia; incidence rates were similar to those observed in the full MONALEESA-2 population. Ribociclib dose interruptions and reductions in patients with de novo disease occurred at similar frequencies to the overall study population.

Conclusions: Ribociclib plus letrozole improved progression-free survival vs placebo plus letrozole and was well tolerated in postmenopausal women with HR+, HER2- de novo advanced breast cancer.
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February 2018

Trastuzumab-associated cardiac events in the Persephone trial.

Br J Cancer 2016 Dec 22;115(12):1462-1470. Epub 2016 Nov 22.

Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK.

Background: We report cardiac events in the Persephone trial which compares 6-12 months of adjuvant trastuzumab in women with confirmed HER2-positive, early-stage breast cancer.

Methods: Clinical cardiac events were defined as any of the following: symptoms and/or signs of congestive heart failure (CHF) and new or altered CHF medication. In addition, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was measured at baseline and then 3 monthly for 12 months.

Results: A total of 2500 patients, aged 22-82, were included: 1251 randomised to 12 months and 1249 to 6 months of trastuzumab treatment. A total of 93% (2335/2500) received anthracyclines, 49% of these (1136/2335) with taxanes. Cardiotoxicity delayed treatment in 6% of 12-month and 4% of 6-month patients (P=0.01), and stopped treatment early in 8% (96/1214) of 12-month and 4% (45/1216) of 6-month patients (P<0.0001). Between 7 and 12 months, more 12-month than 6-month patients had LVEFs<50% (8% vs 5%; P=0.004). LVEFs showed quadratic change over time, and 6-month patients had a more rapid recovery (P=0.02). In a landmark analysis twice as many 12-month patients, free of cardiac events at 6 months, had cardiac problems in months 7-12 (6% (66/1046) vs 3% (29/1035) of 6-month patients (P=0.0002)). Lower baseline LVEF predicted more cardiac dysfunction in both arms (reference ⩾65%: 55 to <65% OR 1.61 (95% CI 1.26-2.04); <55% OR 5.22 (3.42-7.95)) as did increasing age (reference <50: 50-59 OR 1.58 (1.17-2.12), 60-69 OR 1.91 (1.42-2.57)) 70+ OR 2.72 (1.82-4.08)) and prior use of cardiac medication (OR 8.46 (4.69-15.25)). >3 cycles of anthracycline was associated with higher risk of cardiac events only for 12-month patients (OR 1.41 (1.04-1.90)), and not for 6-month patients (OR 1.28 (0.91-1.79)).

Conclusions: We demonstrate significantly fewer cardiac events from 6 months of adjuvant trastuzumab compared with that from 12 months. This cardiac signal adds importance to the question of the optimum duration of adjuvant trastuzumab treatment. If 6 months is proven to have non-inferior outcomes to 12 months treatment, these data would support 6 months as the standard of care.
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December 2016

Ribociclib as First-Line Therapy for HR-Positive, Advanced Breast Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2016 11 7;375(18):1738-1748. Epub 2016 Oct 7.

From the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (G.N.H.), and Texas Oncology-Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center and the U.S. Oncology Network, Dallas (J.O.) - all in Texas; Davidoff Center, Rabin Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv (S.M.S.), and Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan (S.P.-S.) - both in Israel; the Sarah Cannon Research Institute (H.A.B., D.Y.), Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (C.L.A.), and Tennessee Oncology (D.Y.) - all in Nashville; National Cancer Center Singapore, Singapore (Y.-S.Y.); Netherlands Cancer Institute and BOOG Study Center, Amsterdam (G.S.S.); Institut de Cancérologie de l'Ouest/René Gauducheau, Saint-Herblain (M.C.), Institut Gustave Roussy, Université Paris Sud, Villejuif (F.A.), University Hospital of Besançon, Besançon (C.V.), and Centre Léon Bérard, Lyon (T.B.) - all in France; Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC (K.L.B.); Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (E.P.W.); University of Ulm, Ulm (W.J.), Onkologische Praxis, Velbert (A.N.), University of Tübingen, Tübingen (E.-M.G.), and Joint Practice for Interdisciplinary Oncology and Hematology, Freiburg (N.M.) - all in Germany; Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, AB, Canada (S.V.); University of Padua and Istituto Oncologico Veneto, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Padua, Italy (P.C.); Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (D.A.C.); Masaryk Memorial Cancer Institute, Brno, Czech Republic (K.P.); Florida Cancer Specialists-Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Fort Myers (L.L.H.); Breast Cancer Research Centre-Western Australia and Curtin University, Perth, Australia (A.C.); Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark (E.J.); Arkhangelsk Clinical Oncology Dispensary, Arkhangelsk, Russia (O.B.); Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Victoria, Institute of Biomedical Research in Málaga, Málaga, Spain (E.A.); Oslo University Hospital, Oslo (E.W.); Virginia Cancer Specialists, Arlington (A.M.F.); Taipei Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan (L.-M.T.); Rainier Hematology-Oncology, Northwest Medical Specialties, Puyallup, WA (S.B.); Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ (F.X., M.M., C.G., S.H.); and Novartis Pharma, Basel, Switzerland (F.S.).

Background: The inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) could potentially overcome or delay resistance to endocrine therapy in advanced breast cancer that is positive for hormone receptor (HR) and negative for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

Methods: In this randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of the selective CDK4/6 inhibitor ribociclib combined with letrozole for first-line treatment in 668 postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative recurrent or metastatic breast cancer who had not received previous systemic therapy for advanced disease. We randomly assigned the patients to receive either ribociclib (600 mg per day on a 3-weeks-on, 1-week-off schedule) plus letrozole (2.5 mg per day) or placebo plus letrozole. The primary end point was investigator-assessed progression-free survival. Secondary end points included overall survival, overall response rate, and safety. A preplanned interim analysis was performed on January 29, 2016, after 243 patients had disease progression or died. Prespecified criteria for superiority required a hazard ratio of 0.56 or less with P<1.29×10.

Results: The duration of progression-free survival was significantly longer in the ribociclib group than in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.72; P=3.29×10 for superiority). The median duration of follow-up was 15.3 months. After 18 months, the progression-free survival rate was 63.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 54.6 to 70.3) in the ribociclib group and 42.2% (95% CI, 34.8 to 49.5) in the placebo group. In patients with measurable disease at baseline, the overall response rate was 52.7% and 37.1%, respectively (P<0.001). Common grade 3 or 4 adverse events that were reported in more than 10% of the patients in either group were neutropenia (59.3% in the ribociclib group vs. 0.9% in the placebo group) and leukopenia (21.0% vs. 0.6%); the rates of discontinuation because of adverse events were 7.5% and 2.1%, respectively.

Conclusions: Among patients receiving initial systemic treatment for HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer, the duration of progression-free survival was significantly longer among those receiving ribociclib plus letrozole than among those receiving placebo plus letrozole, with a higher rate of myelosuppression in the ribociclib group. (Funded by Novartis Pharmaceuticals; number, NCT01958021 .).
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November 2016

Comparing Breast Cancer Multiparameter Tests in the OPTIMA Prelim Trial: No Test Is More Equal Than the Others.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2016 09 29;108(9). Epub 2016 Apr 29.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (JMSB, JB); University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (JMSB); University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK (JMSB, CC, MSS, PSH, DAC); Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK (AM, JAD, AC); University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Coventry, UK (CJP); University of Cambridge Department of Oncology and NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre, Cambridge, UK (HME); Cancer Research UK Institute for Cancer Studies, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (DWR); University of Glasgow, Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow, UK (IRM, PC); University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK (AF); University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada (CM); Kings College London, Guy's Hospital, London, UK (SEP); Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK (LHD); Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Middlesex, UK (AM); National Institute for Health Research University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, London, UK (RCS).

Background: Previous reports identifying discordance between multiparameter tests at the individual patient level have been largely attributed to methodological shortcomings of multiple in silico studies. Comparisons between tests, when performed using actual diagnostic assays, have been predicted to demonstrate high degrees of concordance. OPTIMA prelim compared predicted risk stratification and subtype classification of different multiparameter tests performed directly on the same population.

Methods: Three hundred thirteen women with early breast cancer were randomized to standard (chemotherapy and endocrine therapy) or test-directed (chemotherapy if Oncotype DX recurrence score >25) treatment. Risk stratification was also determined with Prosigna (PAM50), MammaPrint, MammaTyper, NexCourse Breast (IHC4-AQUA), and conventional IHC4 (IHC4). Subtype classification was provided by Blueprint, MammaTyper, and Prosigna.

Results: Oncotype DX predicted a higher proportion of tumors as low risk (82.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 77.8% to 86.4%) than were predicted low/intermediate risk using Prosigna (65.5%, 95% CI = 60.1% to 70.9%), IHC4 (72.0%, 95% CI = 66.5% to 77.5%), MammaPrint (61.4%, 95% CI = 55.9% to 66.9%), or NexCourse Breast (61.6%, 95% CI = 55.8% to 67.4%). Strikingly, the five tests showed only modest agreement when dichotomizing results between high vs low/intermediate risk. Only 119 (39.4%) tumors were classified uniformly as either low/intermediate risk or high risk, and 183 (60.6%) were assigned to different risk categories by different tests, although 94 (31.1%) showed agreement between four of five tests. All three subtype tests assigned 59.5% to 62.4% of tumors to luminal A subtype, but only 121 (40.1%) were classified as luminal A by all three tests and only 58 (19.2%) were uniformly assigned as nonluminal A. Discordant subtyping was observed in 123 (40.7%) tumors.

Conclusions: Existing evidence on the comparative prognostic information provided by different tests suggests that current multiparameter tests provide broadly equivalent risk information for the population of women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers. However, for the individual patient, tests may provide differing risk categorization and subtype information.
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September 2016

OPTIMA prelim: a randomised feasibility study of personalised care in the treatment of women with early breast cancer.

Health Technol Assess 2016 Feb;20(10):xxiii-xxix, 1-201

Department of Clinical Oncology, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, UK.

Background: There is uncertainty about the chemotherapy sensitivity of some oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancers. Multiparameter assays that measure the expression of several tumour genes simultaneously have been developed to guide the use of adjuvant chemotherapy for this breast cancer subtype. The assays provide prognostic information and have been claimed to predict chemotherapy sensitivity. There is a dearth of prospective validation studies. The Optimal Personalised Treatment of early breast cancer usIng Multiparameter Analysis preliminary study (OPTIMA prelim) is the feasibility phase of a randomised controlled trial (RCT) designed to validate the use of multiparameter assay directed chemotherapy decisions in the NHS.

Objectives: OPTIMA prelim was designed to establish the acceptability to patients and clinicians of randomisation to test-driven treatment assignment compared with usual care and to select an assay for study in the main RCT.

Design: Partially blinded RCT with adaptive design.

Setting: Thirty-five UK hospitals.

Participants: Patients aged ≥ 40 years with surgically treated ER-positive HER2-negative primary breast cancer and with 1-9 involved axillary nodes, or, if node negative, a tumour at least 30 mm in diameter.

Interventions: Randomisation between two treatment options. Option 1 was standard care consisting of chemotherapy followed by endocrine therapy. In option 2, an Oncotype DX(®) test (Genomic Health Inc., Redwood City, CA, USA) performed on the resected tumour was used to assign patients either to standard care [if 'recurrence score' (RS) was > 25] or to endocrine therapy alone (if RS was ≤ 25). Patients allocated chemotherapy were blind to their randomisation.

Main Outcome Measures: The pre-specified success criteria were recruitment of 300 patients in no longer than 2 years and, for the final 150 patients, (1) an acceptance rate of at least 40%; (2) recruitment taking no longer than 6 months; and (3) chemotherapy starting within 6 weeks of consent in at least 85% of patients.

Results: Between September 2012 and 3 June 2014, 350 patients consented to join OPTIMA prelim and 313 were randomised; the final 150 patients were recruited in 6 months, of whom 92% assigned chemotherapy started treatment within 6 weeks. The acceptance rate for the 750 patients invited to participate was 47%. Twelve out of the 325 patients with data (3.7%, 95% confidence interval 1.7% to 5.8%) were deemed ineligible on central review of receptor status. Interviews with researchers and recordings of potential participant consultations made as part of the integral qualitative recruitment study provided insights into recruitment barriers and led to interventions designed to improve recruitment. Patient information was changed as the result of feedback from three patient focus groups. Additional multiparameter analysis was performed on 302 tumour samples. Although Oncotype DX, MammaPrint(®)/BluePrint(®) (Agendia Inc., Irvine, CA, USA), Prosigna(®) (NanoString Technologies Inc., Seattle, WA, USA), IHC4, IHC4 automated quantitative immunofluorescence (AQUA(®)) [NexCourse BreastTM (Genoptix Inc. Carlsbad, CA, USA)] and MammaTyper(®) (BioNTech Diagnostics GmbH, Mainz, Germany) categorised comparable numbers of tumours into low- or high-risk groups and/or equivalent molecular subtypes, there was only moderate agreement between tests at an individual tumour level (kappa ranges 0.33-0.60 and 0.39-0.55 for tests providing risks and subtypes, respectively). Health economics modelling showed the value of information to the NHS from further research into multiparameter testing is high irrespective of the test evaluated. Prosigna is currently the highest priority for further study.

Conclusions: OPTIMA prelim has achieved its aims of demonstrating that a large UK clinical trial of multiparameter assay-based selection of chemotherapy in hormone-sensitive early breast cancer is feasible. The economic analysis shows that a trial would be economically worthwhile for the NHS. Based on the outcome of the OPTIMA prelim, a large-scale RCT to evaluate the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of multiparameter assay-directed chemotherapy decisions in hormone-sensitive HER2-negative early breast would be appropriate to take place in the NHS.

Trial Registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42400492.

Funding: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 20, No. 10. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information. The Government of Ontario funded research at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Robert C Stein received additional support from the NIHR University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.
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February 2016

Characterizing and quantifying the effects of breast cancer therapy using mathematical modeling.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2016 Jan 19;155(2):303-11. Epub 2016 Jan 19.

Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, Scotland.

We designed a mathematical model to describe and quantify the mechanisms and dynamics of tumor growth, cell-kill and resistance as they affect durations of benefit after cancer treatment. Our aim was to explore how treatment efficacy may be related to primary tumor characteristics, with the potential to guide future trial design and appropriate selection of therapy. Assuming a log-normal distribution of both resistant disease and tumor doubling times generates disease-free survival (DFS) or invasive DFS curves with specific shapes. Using a multivariate mathematical model, both treatment and tumor characteristics are related to quantified resistant disease and tumor regrowth rates by allowing different mean values for the influence of different treatments or clinical subtypes on these two log-normal distributions. Application of the model to the CALGB 9741 adjuvant breast cancer trial showed that dose-dense therapy was estimated to achieve an extra 3/4 log of cell-kill compared to standard therapy, but only in patients with more rapidly growing ER-negative tumors. Application of the model to the AZURE trial of adjuvant bisphosphonate treatment suggested that the 5-year duration of zoledronic acid was adequate for ER-negative tumors, but may not be so for ER-positive cases, with increased recurrences after ceasing the intervention. Mathematical models can identify different effects of treatment by subgroup and may aid in treatment design, trial analysis, and appropriate selection of therapy. They may provide a more appropriate and insightful tool than the conventional Cox model for the statistical analysis of response durations.
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January 2016

Reelin Prevents Apical Neurite Retraction during Terminal Translocation and Dendrite Initiation.

J Neurosci 2015 Jul;35(30):10659-74

Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York 13210, and

Unlabelled: The mechanisms controlling cortical dendrite initiation and targeting are poorly understood. Multiphoton imaging of developing mouse cortex reveals that apical dendrites emerge by direct transformation of the neuron's leading process during the terminal phase of neuronal migration. During this ∼110 min period, the dendritic arbor increases ∼2.5-fold in size and migration arrest occurs below the first stable branch point in the developing arbor. This dendritic outgrowth is triggered at the time of leading process contact with the marginal zone (MZ) and occurs primarily by neurite extension into the extracellular matrix of the MZ. In reeler cortices that lack the secreted glycoprotein Reelin, a subset of neurons completed migration but then retracted and reorganized their arbor in a tangential direction away from the MZ soon after migration arrest. For these reeler neurons, the tangential oriented primary neurites were longer lived than the radially oriented primary neurites, whereas the opposite was true of wild-type (WT) neurons. Application of Reelin protein to reeler cortices destabilized tangential neurites while stabilizing radial neurites and stimulating dendritic growth in the MZ. Therefore, Reelin functions as part of a polarity signaling system that links dendritogenesis in the MZ with cellular positioning and cortical lamination.

Significance Statement: Whether the apical dendrite emerges by transformation of the leading process of the migrating neuron or emerges de novo after migration is completed is unclear. Similarly, it is not clear whether the secreted glycoprotein Reelin controls migration and dendritic growth as related or separate processes. Here, multiphoton microscopy reveals the direct transformation of the leading process into the apical dendrite. This transformation is coupled to the successful completion of migration and neuronal soma arrest occurs below the first stable branch point of the nascent dendrite. Deficiency in Reelin causes the forming dendrite to avoid its normal target area and branch aberrantly, leading to improper cellular positioning. Therefore, this study links Reelin-dependent dendritogenesis with migration arrest and cortical lamination.
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July 2015

Efficacy of neoadjuvant bevacizumab added to docetaxel followed by fluorouracil, epirubicin, and cyclophosphamide, for women with HER2-negative early breast cancer (ARTemis): an open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2015 Jun 11;16(6):656-66. Epub 2015 May 11.

Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: The ARTemis trial was developed to assess the efficacy and safety of adding bevacizumab to standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy in HER2-negative early breast cancer.

Methods: In this randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial, we enrolled women (≥18 years) with newly diagnosed HER2-negative early invasive breast cancer (radiological tumour size >20 mm, with or without axillary involvement), at 66 centres in the UK. Patients were randomly assigned via a central computerised minimisation procedure to three cycles of docetaxel (100 mg/m(2) once every 21 days) followed by three cycles of fluorouracil (500 mg/m(2)), epirubicin (100 mg/m(2)), and cyclophosphamide (500 mg/m(2)) once every 21 days (D-FEC), without or with four cycles of bevacizumab (15 mg/kg) (Bev+D-FEC). The primary endpoint was pathological complete response, defined as the absence of invasive disease in the breast and axillary lymph nodes, analysed by intention to treat. The trial has completed and follow-up is ongoing. This trial is registered with EudraCT (2008-002322-11), ISRCTN (68502941), and (NCT01093235).

Findings: Between May 7, 2009, and Jan 9, 2013, we randomly allocated 800 participants to D-FEC (n=401) and Bev+D-FEC (n=399). 781 patients were available for the primary endpoint analysis. Significantly more patients in the bevacizumab group achieved a pathological complete response compared with those treated with chemotherapy alone: 87 (22%, 95% CI 18-27) of 388 patients in the Bev+D-FEC group compared with 66 (17%, 13-21) of 393 patients in the D-FEC group (p=0·03). Grade 3 and 4 toxicities were reported at expected levels in both groups, although more patients had grade 4 neutropenia in the Bev+D-FEC group than in the D-FEC group (85 [22%] vs 68 [17%]).

Interpretation: Addition of four cycles of bevacizumab to D-FEC in HER2-negative early breast cancer significantly improved pathological complete response. However, whether the improvement in pathological complete response will lead to improved disease-free and overall survival outcomes is unknown and will be reported after longer follow-up. Meta-analysis of available neoadjuvant trials is likely to be the only way to define subgroups of early breast cancer that would have clinically significant long-term benefit from bevacizumab treatment.

Funding: Cancer Research UK, Roche, Sanofi-Aventis.
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June 2015

Predicting Anthracycline Benefit: TOP2A and CEP17-Not Only but Also.

J Clin Oncol 2015 May 20;33(15):1680-7. Epub 2015 Apr 20.

John M.S. Bartlett, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; Frances P. O'Malley, St Michael's Hospital; Kathleen I. Pritchard, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre and University of Toronto, Toronto; John M.S. Bartlett, Frances P. O'Malley, and Lois E. Shepherd, National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group; Lois E. Shepherd, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada; John M.S. Bartlett, Alison F. Munro, and David A. Cameron, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh; Christopher C. McConkey, Janet A. Dunn, and Christopher J. Poole, University of Warwick, Coventry; Helena M. Earl and Carlos Caldas, University of Cambridge, Cambridge; Christopher J. Twelves, St James's University Hospital, Leeds; Daniel W. Rea, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom; Christine Desmedt and Denis P. Larsimont, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; Fatima Cardoso, Champalimaud Cancer Centre, Lisbon, Portugal; Maj-Britt Jensen and Bent Ejlertsen, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Angelo Di Leo, Hospital of Prato, Prato, Italy.

Purpose: Evidence supporting the clinical utility of predictive biomarkers of anthracycline activity is weak, with a recent meta-analysis failing to provide strong evidence for either HER2 or TOP2A. Having previously shown that duplication of chromosome 17 pericentromeric alpha satellite as measured with a centromere enumeration probe (CEP17) predicted sensitivity to anthracyclines, we report here an individual patient-level pooled analysis of data from five trials comparing anthracycline-based chemotherapy with CMF (cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and fluorouracil) as adjuvant chemotherapy for early breast cancer.

Patients And Methods: Fluorescent in situ hybridization for CEP17, HER2, and TOP2A was performed in three laboratories on samples from 3,846 of 4,864 eligible patients from five trials evaluating anthracycline-containing chemotherapy versus CMF. Methodologic differences did not affect HER2-to-CEP17 ratios but necessitated different definitions for CEP17 duplication: > 1.86 observed copies per cell for BR9601, NEAT, Belgian, and DBCG89D trials and > 2.25 for the MA.5 trial.

Results: Fluorescent in situ hybridization data were available in 89.3% (HER2), 83.9% (CEP17), and 80.6% (TOP2A) of 3,846 patient cases with available tissue. Both CEP17and TOP2A treatment-by-marker interactions remained significant in adjusted analyses for recurrence-free and overall survival, whereas HER2 did not. A combined CEP17 and TOP2A-adjusted model predicted anthracycline benefit across all five trials for both recurrence-free (hazard ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.82; P = .001) and overall survival (hazard ratio, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.85; P = .005).

Conclusion: This prospectively planned individual-patient pooled analysis of patient cases from five adjuvant trials confirms that patients whose tumors harbor either CEP17 duplication or TOP2A aberrations, but not HER2 amplification, benefit from adjuvant anthracycline chemotherapy.
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May 2015

Breast-conserving surgery with or without irradiation in women aged 65 years or older with early breast cancer (PRIME II): a randomised controlled trial.

Lancet Oncol 2015 Mar 28;16(3):266-73. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Background: For most older women with early breast cancer, standard treatment after breast-conserving surgery is adjuvant whole-breast radiotherapy and adjuvant endocrine treatment. We aimed to assess the effect omission of whole-breast radiotherapy would have on local control in older women at low risk of local recurrence at 5 years.

Methods: Between April 16, 2003, and Dec 22, 2009, 1326 women aged 65 years or older with early breast cancer judged low-risk (ie, hormone receptor-positive, axillary node-negative, T1-T2 up to 3 cm at the longest dimension, and clear margins; grade 3 tumour histology or lymphovascular invasion, but not both, were permitted), who had had breast-conserving surgery and were receiving adjuvant endocrine treatment, were recruited into a phase 3 randomised controlled trial at 76 centres in four countries. Eligible patients were randomly assigned to either whole-breast radiotherapy (40-50 Gy in 15-25 fractions) or no radiotherapy by computer-generated permuted block randomisation, stratified by centre, with a block size of four. The primary endpoint was ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence. Follow-up continues and will end at the 10-year anniversary of the last randomised patient. Analyses were done by intention to treat. The trial is registered on, number ISRCTN95889329.

Findings: 658 women who had undergone breast-conserving surgery and who were receiving adjuvant endocrine treatment were randomly assigned to receive whole-breast irradiation and 668 were allocated to no further treatment. After median follow-up of 5 years (IQR 3·84-6·05), ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence was 1·3% (95% CI 0·2-2·3; n=5) in women assigned to whole-breast radiotherapy and 4·1% (2·4-5·7; n=26) in those assigned no radiotherapy (p=0·0002). Compared with women allocated to whole-breast radiotherapy, the univariate hazard ratio for ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence in women assigned to no radiotherapy was 5·19 (95% CI 1·99-13·52; p=0·0007). No differences in regional recurrence, distant metastases, contralateral breast cancers, or new breast cancers were noted between groups. 5-year overall survival was 93·9% (95% CI 91·8-96·0) in both groups (p=0·34). 89 women died; eight of 49 patients allocated to no radiotherapy and four of 40 assigned to radiotherapy died from breast cancer.

Interpretation: Postoperative whole-breast radiotherapy after breast-conserving surgery and adjuvant endocrine treatment resulted in a significant but modest reduction in local recurrence for women aged 65 years or older with early breast cancer 5 years after randomisation. However, the 5-year rate of ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence is probably low enough for omission of radiotherapy to be considered for some patients.

Funding: Chief Scientist Office (Scottish Government), Breast Cancer Institute (Western General Hospital, Edinburgh).
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March 2015

Maastricht Delphi consensus on event definitions for classification of recurrence in breast cancer research.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2014 Dec 7;106(12). Epub 2014 Nov 7.

Department of Surgery and GROW School for Oncology and Developmental Biology (MM, MLS), Department of Surgery and Radiology (LMvR), Department of Medical Oncology, GROW School for Oncology and Developmental Biology (VCGTH), and Department of Epidemiology and GROW School for Oncology and Developmental Biology (ACV), Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Department of Surgery, Canisius-Wilhelmina Hospital, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (LJAS); Division of Medical Oncology, Luzerner Kantonsspital, Lucerne, Switzerland (SA); Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian (DAC), Edinburgh Breast Unit (JMD), Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA (AEG); Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ (BGH); Mater Centre Radiation Oncology Service, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia (BEH); Breast Cancer Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY (CAH); University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Little Rock, AR (VSK); Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia (BK); Interdisciplinary Breast Centre, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Klinikum Esslingen, Germany (TK); University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL (MEL); Radiation Oncology (BDS) and Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery (AL), University of Texas/MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; Institut Jules Bordet, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Head of Medicine Department, Brussels, Belgium (MP); Surgery, University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands (CJHvdV); Breast Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Evelyn Lauder Breast Center, New York, NY(KJVZ); Antwerp University Hospital, Department of Medical Oncology, Edegem, Belgium (JBV); Department of Pathology, European Institute of

Background: In breast cancer studies, many different endpoints are used. Definitions are often not provided or vary between studies. For instance, "local recurrence" may include different components in similar studies. This limits transparency and comparability of results. This project aimed to reach consensus on the definitions of local event, second primary breast cancer, regional and distant event for breast cancer studies.

Methods: The RAND-UCLA Appropriateness method (modified Delphi method) was used. A Consensus Group of international breast cancer experts was formed, including representatives of all involved clinical disciplines. Consensus was reached in two rounds of online questionnaires and one meeting.

Results: Twenty-four international breast cancer experts participated. Consensus was reached on 134 items in four categories. Local event is defined as any epithelial breast cancer or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in the ipsilateral breast, or skin and subcutaneous tissue on the ipsilateral thoracic wall. Second primary breast cancer is defined as epithelial breast cancer in the contralateral breast. Regional events are breast cancer in ipsilateral lymph nodes. A distant event is breast cancer in any other location. Therefore, this includes metastasis in contralateral lymph nodes and breast cancer involving the sternal bone. If feasible, tissue sampling of a first, solitary, lesion suspected for metastasis is highly recommended.

Conclusion: This project resulted in consensus-based event definitions for classification of recurrence in breast cancer research. Future breast cancer research projects should adopt these definitions to increase transparency. This should facilitate comparison of results and conducting reviews as well as meta-analysis.
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December 2014

A highly-sensitive anti-Müllerian hormone assay improves analysis of ovarian function following chemotherapy for early breast cancer.

Eur J Cancer 2014 Sep 11;50(14):2367-74. Epub 2014 Jul 11.

MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, Queens Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK. Electronic address:

Aim: Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) shows promise as a biomarker of the ovarian reserve but current assays are insufficiently sensitive to allow assessment of this post-chemotherapy in most women. We have assessed a new highly sensitive AMH assay (Ansh picoAMH) in the evaluation of ovarian activity in women with very low ovarian reserve after chemotherapy.

Methods: A prospective cohort and an independent validation cohort of premenopausal women with early breast cancer (eBC) were recruited at the time of diagnosis (combined n=98), and ovarian reserve markers 2-5 years later following chemotherapy were assessed in relation to menstrual activity.

Results: The picoAMH assay had a limit of detection of 7.5 pg/ml. AMH clearly distinguished women with ongoing menses from those with amenorrhoea at 2 years after diagnosis (mean 522 ± 169 versus 8.9 ± 1.3 pg/ml, P<0.0001) with high predictive value for continuing menses or amenorrhoea for the subsequent 3 years. AMH was detectable in more women than using a previous assay (P=0.004). Other markers of the ovarian reserve (follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), inhibin B) were also of discriminatory value but to lesser extents. This finding was validated in a second, independent cohort of women treated for eBC.

Conclusion: The 10-fold increased assay sensitivity showed very clear distinction between groups based on ovarian activity with excellent prediction of future menses or amenorrhoea. This will improve assessment of post-chemotherapy ovarian function in women and may aid treatment decisions.
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September 2014

Trastuzumab-associated cardiac events at 8 years of median follow-up in the Herceptin Adjuvant trial (BIG 1-01).

J Clin Oncol 2014 Jul 9;32(20):2159-65. Epub 2014 Jun 9.

Evandro de Azambuja and Martine J. Piccart-Genhart, Institut Jules Bordet; Evandro de Azambuja, Breast European Adjuvant Study Team; Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; Marion J. Procter and Dominique Agbor-Tarh, Frontier Science Scotland, Kincraig, Kingussie; David A. Cameron, University of Edinburgh and Western General Hospital, Edinburgh; Ian E. Smith, Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research; Mitch Dowsett, the Royal Marsden National Health Service Trust, London, United Kingdom; Dirk J. van Veldhuisen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands; Otto Metzger-Filho and Richard D. Gelber, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Jutta Steinseifer, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Basel; Thomas M. Suter, Swiss Cardiovascular Center, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland; Michael Untch, HELIOS Klinikum Berlin, Buch; Christian Jackisch, Klinikum Offenbach, Offenbach, Germany; Luca Gianni, San Raffaele Institute, Milan, Italy; Jose Baselga, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Richard Bell, Andrew Love Cancer Centre, Geelong Hospital, Geelong, Australia; and Brian Leyland-Jones, Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Research Institute, Sioux Falls, SD.

Purpose: To document the rate and outcome of trastuzumab-associated cardiac dysfunction in patients following 1 or 2 years of adjuvant therapy.

Patients And Methods: The Herceptin Adjuvant (HERA) trial is a three-arm, randomized trial comparing 2 years or 1 year of trastuzumab with observation in 5,102 patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive early-stage breast cancer. Cardiac function was closely monitored. Eligible patients had left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≥ 55% at study entry following neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. This 8-year median follow-up analysis considered patients randomly assigned to 2 years or 1 year of trastuzumab or observation.

Results: The as-treated safety population for 2 years of trastuzumab (n = 1,673), 1 year of trastuzumab (n = 1,682), and observation (n = 1,744) is reported. Cardiac adverse events leading to discontinuation of trastuzumab occurred in 9.4% of patients in the 2-year arm and 5.2% of patients in the 1-year arm. Cardiac death, severe congestive heart failure (CHF), and confirmed significant LVEF decrease remained low in all three arms. The incidence of severe CHF (0.8%, 0.8%, and 0.0%, respectively) and confirmed significant LVEF decrease (7.2%, 4.1%, and 0.9%, respectively) was significantly higher in the 2-year and 1-year trastuzumab arms compared with the observation arm. Severe CHF was the same for 2-year and 1-year trastuzumab. Of patients with confirmed LVEF decrease receiving 2-year trastuzumab, 87.5% reached acute recovery. Of patients with confirmed LVEF decrease receiving 1-year trastuzumab, 81.2% reached acute recovery.

Conclusion: Long-term assessment at 8-year median follow-up confirms the low incidence of cardiac events for trastuzumab given sequentially after chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and cardiac events were reversible in the vast majority of patients.
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July 2014

Breast cancer chemoprevention: little progress in practice?

David A Cameron

Lancet 2014 Mar 12;383(9922):1018-20. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Edinburgh Cancer Centre, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh EH4 2XU, UK. Electronic address:

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March 2014

Pertuzumab for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2013 Aug;13(8):907-18

Division of Pathology, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Crewe Road South, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, UK.

Approximately 15% of primary breast cancers have amplification/overexpression of the cell surface receptor HER2. Despite the major improvements in survival achieved by the use of adjuvant trastuzumab, many of these patients still develop metastatic disease, and other patients with HER2 overexpressing breast cancer have overt metastases at first diagnosis. There remains therefore a pressing medical need to identify better therapies for these patients. Pertuzumab is a humanized antibody that targets and binds HER2. Although only modestly active against breast cancer when used as a single agent, pertuzumab has demonstrated significant activity when combined with trastuzumab against trastuzumab-resistant and -sensitive disease. Multiple clinical trials are underway to define the optimal use of pertuzumab (combined with either trastuzumab or trastuzumab-DM1) together with a range of cytotoxic agents or endocrine therapy in multiple settings of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer. This article summarizes the use of pertuzumab in the metastatic disease setting.
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August 2013