Publications by authors named "Desamparados Roda"

35 Publications

Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Dec 3;12(12). Epub 2020 Dec 3.

Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital Clínico Universitario de Valencia, INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute, University of Valencia, Avda. Blasco Ibañez 17, 46010 Valencia, Spain.

Most clinical practice guidelines recommend a selective approach for rectal cancer after clinical staging. In low-risk patients, upfront surgery may be an appropriate option. However, in patients with MRI-defined high-risk features such as extramural vascular invasion, multiple nodal involvement or T4 and/or tumors close to or invading the mesorectal fascia, a more intensive preoperative approach is recommended, which may include neoadjuvant or preoperative chemotherapy. The potential benefits include better compliance than postoperative chemotherapy, a higher pathological complete remission rate, which facilitates a non-surgical approach, and earlier treatment of micrometastatic disease with improved disease-free survival compared to standard preoperative chemoradiation or short-course radiation. Two recently reported phase III randomized trials, RAPIDO and PRODIGE 23, show that adding neoadjuvant chemotherapy to either standard short-course radiation or standard long-course chemoradiation in locally advanced rectal cancer patients reduces the risk of metastasis and significantly prolongs disease-related treatment failure and disease-free survival. This review discusses these potentially practice-changing trials and how they may affect our current understanding of treating locally advanced rectal cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12123611DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7761666PMC
December 2020

Neoadjuvant treatment for locally advanced unresectable and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer: oncological outcomes at a single academic centre.

ESMO Open 2020 11;5(6):e000929

CIBERONC, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain; Department of Medical Oncology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:

Introduction: Pancreatic cancer (PC), even in the absence of metastatic disease, has a dismal prognosis. One-third of them are borderline resectable (BRPC) or locally advanced unresectable PC (LAUPC) at diagnosis. There are limited prospective data supporting the best approach on these tumours. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy (ChT) is being increasingly used in this setting.

Methods: This is a retrospective series of consecutive patients staged as BRPC or LAUPC after discussion in the multidisciplinary board (MDB) at an academic centre. All received neoadjuvant ChT, followed by chemoradiation (ChRT) in some cases, and those achieving enough downstaging had a curative-intent surgery. Descriptive data about patient's characteristics, neoadjuvant treatments, toxicities, curative resections, postoperative complications, pathology reports and adjuvant treatment were collected. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival was calculated with Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test.

Results: Between August 2011 and July 2019, 49 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria, and all of them received neoadjuvant ChT. Fluorouracil+folinic acid, irinotecan and oxaliplatin was the most frequently used scheme (77%). The most prevalent grade 3 or 4 toxicities were neutropenia (26.5%), neurotoxicity (12.2%), diarrhoea (8.2%) and nausea (8.2%). 18 patients (36.7%) received ChRT thereafter. In total, 22 patients (44,9%) became potentially resectable and 19 of them had an R0 or R1 pancreatic resection. One was found to be unresectable at surgery and two refused surgery. A vascular resection was required in 7 (35%). No postoperative deaths were observed. Postoperative ChT was given to 12 (66.7%) of resected patients. Median OS of the whole cohort was 24,9 months (95% CI 14.1 to 35.7), with 30.6 months for resected and 13.1 months for non-resected patients, respectively (p<0.001).

Conclusion: A neoadjuvant approach in BRPC and LAUPC was well tolerated and allowed a curative resection in 38.8% of them with a potential improvement on OS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000929DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7684818PMC
November 2020

Intermittent schedules of the oral RAF-MEK inhibitor CH5126766/VS-6766 in patients with RAS/RAF-mutant solid tumours and multiple myeloma: a single-centre, open-label, phase 1 dose-escalation and basket dose-expansion study.

Lancet Oncol 2020 11 28;21(11):1478-1488. Epub 2020 Oct 28.

Drug Development Unit, The Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK. Electronic address:

Background: CH5126766 (also known as VS-6766, and previously named RO5126766), a novel MEK-pan-RAF inhibitor, has shown antitumour activity across various solid tumours; however, its initial development was limited by toxicity. We aimed to investigate the safety and toxicity profile of intermittent dosing schedules of CH5126766, and the antitumour activity of this drug in patients with solid tumours and multiple myeloma harbouring RAS-RAF-MEK pathway mutations.

Methods: We did a single-centre, open-label, phase 1 dose-escalation and basket dose-expansion study at the Royal Marsden National Health Service Foundation Trust (London, UK). Patients were eligible for the study if they were aged 18 years or older, had cancers that were refractory to conventional treatment or for which no conventional therapy existed, and if they had a WHO performance status score of 0 or 1. For the dose-escalation phase, eligible patients had histologically or cytologically confirmed advanced or metastatic solid tumours. For the basket dose-expansion phase, eligible patients had advanced or metastatic solid tumours or multiple myeloma harbouring RAS-RAF-MEK pathway mutations. During the dose-escalation phase, we evaluated three intermittent oral schedules (28-day cycles) in patients with solid tumours: (1) 4·0 mg or 3·2 mg CH5126766 three times per week; (2) 4·0 mg CH5126766 twice per week; and (3) toxicity-guided dose interruption schedule, in which treatment at the recommended phase 2 dose (4·0 mg CH5126766 twice per week) was de-escalated to 3 weeks on followed by 1 week off if patients had prespecified toxic effects (grade 2 or worse diarrhoea, rash, or creatinine phosphokinase elevation). In the basket dose-expansion phase, we evaluated antitumour activity at the recommended phase 2 dose, determined from the dose-escalation phase, in biomarker-selected patients. The primary endpoints were the recommended phase 2 dose at which no more than one out of six patients had a treatment-related dose-limiting toxicity, and the safety and toxicity profile of each dosing schedule. The key secondary endpoint was investigator-assessed response rate in the dose-expansion phase. Patients who received at least one dose of the study drug were evaluable for safety and patients who received one cycle of the study drug and underwent baseline disease assessment were evaluable for response. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02407509.

Findings: Between June 5, 2013, and Jan 10, 2019, 58 eligible patients were enrolled to the study: 29 patients with solid tumours were included in the dose-escalation cohort and 29 patients with solid tumours or multiple myeloma were included in the basket dose-expansion cohort (12 non-small-cell lung cancer, five gynaecological malignancy, four colorectal cancer, one melanoma, and seven multiple myeloma). Median follow-up at the time of data cutoff was 2·3 months (IQR 1·6-3·5). Dose-limiting toxicities included grade 3 bilateral retinal pigment epithelial detachment in one patient who received 4·0 mg CH5126766 three times per week, and grade 3 rash (in two patients) and grade 3 creatinine phosphokinase elevation (in one patient) in those who received 3·2 mg CH5126766 three times per week. 4·0 mg CH5126766 twice per week (on Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday) was established as the recommended phase 2 dose. The most common grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events were rash (11 [19%] patients), creatinine phosphokinase elevation (six [11%]), hypoalbuminaemia (six [11%]), and fatigue (four [7%]). Five (9%) patients had serious treatment-related adverse events. There were no treatment-related deaths. Eight (14%) of 57 patients died during the trial due to disease progression. Seven (27% [95% CI 11·6-47·8]) of 26 response-evaluable patients in the basket expansion achieved objective responses.

Interpretation: To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that highly intermittent schedules of a RAF-MEK inhibitor has antitumour activity across various cancers with RAF-RAS-MEK pathway mutations, and that this inhibitor is tolerable. CH5126766 used as a monotherapy and in combination regimens warrants further evaluation.

Funding: Chugai Pharmaceutical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30464-2DOI Listing
November 2020

Precision Medicine to Treat Advanced Gastroesophageal Adenocarcinoma: A Work in Progress.

J Clin Med 2020 Sep 22;9(9). Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Blasco Ibañez 17, 46010 Valencia, Spain.

Gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma (GEA) represents a heterogeneous disease and, when diagnosed as locally advanced or metastatic, it is characterized by poor prognosis. During the last few years, several molecular classifications have been proposed to try to personalize treatment for those patients diagnosed with advanced disease. Nevertheless, despite the great effort, precision medicine is still far from being a reality. The improvement in the molecular analysis due to the application of high throughput technologies based on DNA and RNA sequencing has opened a novel scenario leading to the personalization of treatment. The possibility to target epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)2, Claudine, Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptors (FGFR), and other alterations with a molecular matched therapy could significantly improve clinical outcomes over advanced gastric cancer patients. On the other hand, the development of immunotherapy could also represent a promising strategy in a selected population. In this review, we sought to describe the novel pathways implicated in GEA progression and the results of the molecular matched therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9093049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7564841PMC
September 2020

Detection of postoperative plasma circulating tumour DNA and lack of CDX2 expression as markers of recurrence in patients with localised colon cancer.

ESMO Open 2020 09;5(5):e000847

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, CIBERONC, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: Colon cancer (CC) is a heterogeneous disease. Novel prognostic factors beyond pathological staging are required to accurately identify patients at higher risk of relapse. Integrating these new biological factors, such as plasma circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA), CDX2 staining, inflammation-associated cytokines and transcriptomic consensus molecular subtypes (CMS) classification, into a multimodal approach may improve our accuracy in determining risk of recurrence.

Methods: One hundred and fifty patients consecutively diagnosed with localised CC were prospectively enrolled in our study. ctDNA was tracked to detect minimal residual disease by droplet digital PCR. CDX2 expression was analysed by immunostaining. Plasma levels of cytokines potentially involved in disease progression were measured using ELISAs. A 96 custom gene panel for nCounter assay was used to classify CC into colorectal cancer assigner and CMS.

Results: Most patients were classified into CMS4 (37%) and CMS2 (28%), followed by CMS1 (20%) and CMS3 (15%) groups. CDX2-negative tumours were enriched in CMS1 and CMS4 subtypes. In univariable analysis, prognosis was influenced by primary tumour location, stage, vascular and perineural invasion together with high interleukin-6 plasma levels at baseline, tumours belonging to CMS 1 vs CMS2 +CMS3, ctDNA presence in plasma and CDX2 loss. However, only positive ctDNA in plasma samples (HR 13.64; p=0.002) and lack of CDX2 expression (HR 23.12; p=0.001) were found to be independent prognostic factors for disease-free survival in the multivariable model.

Conclusions: ctDNA detection after surgery and lack of CDX2 expression identified patients at very high risk of recurrence in localised CC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000847DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7513635PMC
September 2020

In the literature: June 2020.

ESMO Open 2020 07;5(4)

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, CiberOn, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000832DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7342860PMC
July 2020

Phase I Trial of the PARP Inhibitor Olaparib and AKT Inhibitor Capivasertib in Patients with - and Non--Mutant Cancers.

Cancer Discov 2020 Oct 12;10(10):1528-1543. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Royal Marsden Hospital, London, United Kingdom.

Preclinical studies have demonstrated synergy between PARP and PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitors in and (-deficient and -proficient tumors. We conducted an investigator-initiated phase I trial utilizing a prospective intrapatient dose- escalation design to assess two schedules of capivasertib (AKT inhibitor) with olaparib (PARP inhibitor) in 64 patients with advanced solid tumors. Dose expansions enrolled germline -mutant tumors, or wild-type cancers harboring somatic DNA damage response (DDR) or PI3K-AKT pathway alterations. The combination was well tolerated. Recommended phase II doses for the two schedules were: olaparib 300 mg twice a day with either capivasertib 400 mg twice a day 4 days on, 3 days off, or capivasertib 640 mg twice a day 2 days on, 5 days off. Pharmacokinetics were dose proportional. Pharmacodynamic studies confirmed phosphorylated (p) GSK3β suppression, increased pERK, and decreased BRCA1 expression. Twenty-five (44.6%) of 56 evaluable patients achieved clinical benefit (RECIST complete response/partial response or stable disease ≥ 4 months), including patients with tumors harboring germline mutations and wild-type cancers with or without DDR and PI3K-AKT pathway alterations. SIGNIFICANCE: In the first trial to combine PARP and AKT inhibitors, a prospective intrapatient dose- escalation design demonstrated safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic activity and assessed predictive biomarkers of response/resistance. Antitumor activity was observed in patients harboring tumors with germline mutations and wild-type cancers with or without somatic DDR and/or PI3K-AKT pathway alterations..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0163DOI Listing
October 2020

Personalized Medicine: Recent Progress in Cancer Therapy.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Apr 19;12(4). Epub 2020 Apr 19.

Department of Medical Oncology, INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Spain.

Translational research has revolutionized how we develop new treatments for cancer patients. The change from an organ-centric concept guiding treatment choice towards deep molecular analysis, driving a personalized approach, is one of the most important advances of modern oncology. Several tools such as next generation sequencing and RNA sequencing have greatly improved the capacity to detect predictive and prognostic molecular alterations. Detection of gene mutations, amplifications, and fusions has therefore altered the history of several diseases in both a localized and metastatic setting. This shift in perspective, in which attention is focused on the specific molecular alterations of the tumor, has opened the door to personalized treatment. This situation is reflected in the increasing number of basket trials selecting specific molecular targets. Nonetheless, some weaknesses need to be addressed. The complexity of cancer cells enriched with concomitant molecular alterations complicates identification of the driver. Moreover, tumor heterogeneity could be responsible for the lack of benefit when targeted agents are used. In light of this, there is growing interest in the role of multidisciplinary committees or molecular tumor boards to try to enhance selection. The aim of this review is to critically analyze the evolution of cancer treatment towards a precision approach, underlining some recent successes and unexpected failures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12041009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226371PMC
April 2020

In the literature: April 2020.

ESMO Open 2020 Apr;5(2)

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000749DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7204796PMC
April 2020

In the literature: February 2020.

ESMO Open 2020 02;5(1)

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, CiberOn, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000680DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7046410PMC
February 2020

Assessing molecular subtypes of gastric cancer: microsatellite unstable and Epstein-Barr virus subtypes. Methods for detection and clinical and pathological implications.

ESMO Open 2019 27;4(3):e000470. Epub 2019 May 27.

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, CIBERONC, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

Background: The molecular classification of gastric cancer recognises two subtypes prone to immune checkpoint blockade: the microsatellite unstable and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related tumours. We aim to assess the concordance between immunohistochemistry and PCR for microsatellite status evaluation, and explore the value of microsatellite instability (MSI) and EBV as predictive survival factors.

Material And Methods: We collected 246 consecutively diagnosed gastric cancer cases in all stages and evaluated the microsatellite status using immunohistochemistry for mismatched repair (MMR) proteins and PCR. EBV expression was studied through in situ hybridisation.

Results: Forty-five (18%) cases presented MSI and 13 (6%) were positive for EBV. MSI was associated with female sex, older age, distal location and distal non-diffuse type of the modified Lauren classification. EBV expression was most frequent in proximal location and proximal non-diffuse type. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of immunohistochemistry for the microsatellite study were 91%, 98%, 91% and 98%, respectively. In the multivariate analysis, MSI was an independent predictor of favourable (MSI: HR: 0.37, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.95, p=0.04).

Conclusions: The MSI status and the EBV expression should be incorporated in routine pathological report for two reasons. First, MSI defines a different pathological entity with a better outcome. Second, MSI and EBV may be useful biomarkers to identify patients who will respond to immune checkpoint blockade inhibitors. For this purpose, immunohistochemical study for MMR proteins and in situ hybridisation study for EBV evaluation are feasible and cost-effective methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2018-000470DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6555614PMC
May 2019

Improving tumour budding evaluation in colon cancer by extending the assessment area in colectomy specimens.

Histopathology 2019 Oct 7;75(4):517-525. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, CiberOnc, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

Aims: It is recommended that tumour budding in colon cancer be counted on haematoxylin and eosin-stained sections in a hotspot area of 0.785 mm with a ×20 microscope objective. However, tumour buds may be difficult to visualise on haematoxylin and eosin-stained sections, and counting in such a limited area may result in overestimation in cases with focal budding. The aim of this study was to assess the contributions of various factors to improving tumour budding risk stratification: increasing the number of fields counted, using cytokeratin immunostaining, and recording proliferation, the apoptotic index and the emperipoletic index in tumour buds.

Methods And Results: We created an exploratory series composed of 172 cases of colon cancer in all stages, and we analysed the survival probability in a second cohort of 158 stage I-II patients. According to our results, counting of budding in 10 fields was the only factor that was significantly correlated with disease-free survival probability in stage I-II patients [hazard ratio (HR) for high versus low grade of 7.64, 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.54-27.92, P = 0.01; HR for intermediate versus low grade of 3.02, 95% CI 1.54-26.72, P = 0.04). Emperipolesis was frequently observed in tumour buds, whereas the mitotic index and the apoptotic index were extremely low. Although cytokeratin immunostaining increased interobserver concordance, it did not improve the accuracy of tumour budding grading.

Conclusions: According to our results, counting in 10 fields significantly enhanced the budding grade risk stratification in colon cancer patients, and cytokeratin immunostaining could be reserved as a complementary technique for challenging cases with an inflammatory infiltrate and/or striking fibrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/his.13900DOI Listing
October 2019

NRF2 through RPS6 Activation Is Related to Anti-HER2 Drug Resistance in -Amplified Gastric Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2019 03 30;25(5):1639-1649. Epub 2018 Nov 30.

Department of Medical Oncology, INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

Purpose: Despite the clinical advantage of the combination of trastuzumab and platinum-based chemotherapy in -amplified tumors, resistance will eventually develop. The identification of molecular mechanisms related to primary and acquired resistance is needed.

Experimental Design: We generated lapatinib- and trastuzumab-resistant clones deriving from two different -amplified gastric cancer cell lines. Molecular changes such as protein expression and gene-expression profile were evaluated to detect alterations that could be related to resistance. Functional studies were corroborated . The translational relevance of our findings was verified in a patient cohort.

Results: We found RPS6 activation and NRF2 to be related to anti-HER2 drug resistance. RPS6 or NRF2 inhibition with siRNA reduced viability and resistance to anti-HER2 drugs. In knockdown cells for RPS6, a decrease of NRF2 expression was demonstrated, suggesting a potential link between these two proteins. The use of a PI3K/TORC1/TORC2 inhibitor, tested and , inhibited pRPS6 and NRF2 expression and caused cell and tumor growth reduction, in anti-HER2-resistant models. In a cohort of -amplified patients treated with trastuzumab and chemotherapy, a high level of NRF2 at baseline corresponds with worse progression-free survival.

Conclusions: NRF2 through the PI3K/AKT/mTOR/RPS6 pathway could be a potential effector of resistance to anti-HER2 drugs in our models. RPS6 inhibition decreases NRF2 expression and restores sensitivity in -amplified gastric cancer and . High NRF2 expression in gastric cancer patients predicts resistance to treatment. RPS6 and NRF2 inhibition could prevent resistance to anti-HER2 drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-2421DOI Listing
March 2019

In the literature: October 2018.

ESMO Open 2018 11;3(6):e000447. Epub 2018 Oct 11.

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2018-000447DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212681PMC
October 2018

Low miR200c expression in tumor budding of invasive front predicts worse survival in patients with localized colon cancer and is related to PD-L1 overexpression.

Mod Pathol 2019 02 11;32(2):306-313. Epub 2018 Sep 11.

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, CiberOnc, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

At the histological level, tumor budding in colon cancer is the result of cells undergoing at least partial epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. The microRNA 200 family is an important epigenetic driver of this process, mainly by downregulating zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox (ZEB) and transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) expression. We retrospectively explored the expression of the miR200 family, and ZEB1 and ZEB2, and their relationship with immune resistance mediated through PD-L1 overexpression. For this purpose, we analyzed a series of 125 colon cancer cases and took samples from two different tumor sites: the area of tumor budding at the invasive front and from the tumor center. We found significant ZEB overexpression and a reduction in miR200 in budding areas, a profile compatible with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. In multivariate analysis of the cases with localized disease, low miR200c expression in budding areas, but not at the tumor center, was an adverse tumor-specific survival factor (hazard ratio: 0.12; 95% confidence interval: 0.03-0.81; p = 0.02) independent of the clinical stage of the disease. PD-L1 was significantly overexpressed in the budding areas and its levels correlated with a mesenchymal transition profile. These results highlight the importance of including budding areas among the samples used for biomarker evaluation and provides relevant data on the influence of mesenchymal transition in the immune resistance mediated by PD-L1 overexpression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-018-0124-5DOI Listing
February 2019

Borderline resectable pancreatic cancer. Challenges and controversies.

Cancer Treat Rev 2018 Jul 13;68:124-135. Epub 2018 Jun 13.

CIBERONC Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:

Pancreatic cancer is a dismal disease with an increasing incidence. Despite the majority of patients are not candidates for curative surgery, a subgroup of patients classified as borderline resectable pancreatic cancer can be selected in whom a sequential strategy of neoadjuvant therapy followed by surgery can provide better outcomes. Multidisciplinary approach and surgical pancreatic expertise are essential for successfully treating these patients. However, the lack of consensual definitions and therapies make the results of studies very difficult to interpret and hard to be implemented in some settings. In this article, we review the challenges of borderline resectable pancreatic cancer, the complexity of its management and controversies and point out where further research and international cooperation for a consensus strategy is urgently needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.06.006DOI Listing
July 2018

Shortening adjuvant chemotherapy in stage III colon cancer: are we ready for a change?

ESMO Open 2018 20;3(4):e000392. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

CIBERONC, Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2018-000392DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6012558PMC
June 2018

The role of chemotherapy in localized and locally advanced rectal cancer: A systematic revision.

Cancer Treat Rev 2018 Feb 11;63:156-171. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

CIBERONC, Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:

Curative treatment of rectal cancer depends on an optimal surgical resection, with the addition of neoadjuvant radiotherapy (RT) with or without concomitant chemotherapy (ChT) in more advanced tumors. The role of adjuvant ChT is controversial and a more intensified neoadjuvant approach with the addition of ChT before or after RT, or even as single modality, is currently being explored in trials. A systematic review selecting randomised phase II and III trials on the role of ChT in localized rectal cancer was performed. Data show that neoadjuvant ChRT improves locoregional control in resected rectal cancer. Short-course RT (SCRT) could give similar outcomes to ChRT. The addition of oxaliplatin to neoadjuvant ChRT marginally increases the pathological complete remission rate without improving survival and increasing toxicity. A more intensified approach remains investigational as trials to date have not shown significant advantages. Adjuvant ChT trials after preoperative ChRT are contentious, although the addition of oxaliplatin in high risk patients may benefit outcomes. Despite a wide heterogeneity in the target population, different staging procedures and diverse treatment approaches among different trials, this systematic review confirms the role of ChT in combination with neoadjuvant long-course RT. Adjuvant ChT could be of value in selected patients with high-risk features, mainly if they do not respond to neoadjuvant RT. Further investigation is warranted on more intensified neoadjuvant regimens including ChT for MRI-defined high-risk patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.01.001DOI Listing
February 2018

Integrating Downstaging in the Risk Assessment of Patients With Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer Treated With Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy: Validation of Valentini's Nomograms and the Neoadjuvant Rectal Score.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2018 06 28;17(2):104-112.e2. Epub 2017 Oct 28.

Department of Medical Oncology, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA. CIBERONC, Hospital Clínico Universitario of Valencia, Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:

Background: Adjuvant chemotherapy is controversial in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer after preoperative chemoradiation. Valentini et al developed 3 nomograms (VN) to predict outcomes in these patients. The neoadjuvant rectal score (NAR) was developed after VN to predict survival. We aimed to validate these tools in a retrospective cohort at an academic institution.

Patients And Methods: VN and the NAR were applied to 158 consecutive patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with chemoradiation followed by surgery. According to the score, they were divided into low, intermediate, or high risk of relapse or death. For statistical analysis, we performed Kaplan-Meier curves, log-rank tests, and Cox regression analysis.

Results: Five-year overall survival was 83%, 77%, and 67% for low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups, respectively (P = .023), according to VN, and 84%, 71%, and 59% for low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups, respectively (P = .004), according to NAR. When the score was considered as a continuous variable, a significant association with the risk of death was observed (NAR: hazard ratio, 1.04; P < .001; VN: hazard ratio, 1.10; P < .001).

Conclusion: We confirmed the value of these scores to stratify patients according to their individual risk when designing new trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2017.10.014DOI Listing
June 2018

Phase I clinical trials in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated within a Drug Development Unit: What have we learnt?

Lung Cancer 2017 09 15;111:6-11. Epub 2017 Jun 15.

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom; The Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Objectives: Despite advances in novel drug development for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), there are still only a limited number of approved treatments. We therefore evaluated the clinical outcomes of patients with advanced NSCLC referred to a dedicated phase I clinical trials unit assessed baseline clinical factors associated with successful enrollment onto phase I trials.

Material And Methods: We conducted a retrospective study involving patients with advanced NSCLC referred to the Drug Development Unit at the RMH between January 2005 and December 2013.

Results: 257 patients with advanced NSCLC were referred for consideration of phase I trials, of which only 89 (35%) patients successfully commenced phase I trials. The commonest reasons for not entering study included poor ECOG performance status and rapid disease progression. A multivariate analysis identified that ECOG performance status (0-1) and RMH prognostic score (0-1) were associated with successful enrollment onto phase I trials (p<0.001). Single agent therapies included novel agents against the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase pathway, insulin growth factor-1 receptor and pan-HER family tyrosine kinases. These trial therapies were well tolerated and mainly associated with grade 1-2 adverse events, with a minority experiencing grade 3 toxicities. Nine (10%) patients, 4 with known EGFR or KRAS mutations, achieved RECIST partial responses. Median time to progression was 2.6 months and median overall survival was 8.1 months for patients enrolled.

Conclusions: Phase I trial therapies were generally well tolerated with potential antitumor benefit for patients with advanced NSCLC. Early referral to drug development units at time of disease progression should be considered to enhance the odds of patient participation in these studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2017.06.005DOI Listing
September 2017

A First-in-Human Phase I Study of the ATP-Competitive AKT Inhibitor Ipatasertib Demonstrates Robust and Safe Targeting of AKT in Patients with Solid Tumors.

Cancer Discov 2017 01 21;7(1):102-113. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

Hematology and Medical Oncology Department, Biomedical Research Institute INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

Activation of AKT signaling by PTEN loss or PIK3CA mutations occurs frequently in human cancers, but targeting AKT has been difficult due to the mechanism-based toxicities of inhibitors that target the inactive conformation of AKT. Ipatasertib (GDC-0068) is a novel selective ATP-competitive small-molecule inhibitor of AKT that preferentially targets active phosphorylated AKT (pAKT) and is potent in cell lines with evidence of AKT activation. In this phase I study, ipatasertib was well tolerated; most adverse events were gastrointestinal and grade 1-2 in severity. The exposures of ipatasertib ≥200 mg daily in patients correlated with preclinical TGI, and pharmacodynamic studies confirmed that multiple targets (i.e., PRAS40, GSK3β, and mTOR) were inhibited in paired on-treatment biopsies. Preliminary antitumor activity was observed; 16 of 52 patients (30%), with diverse solid tumors and who progressed on prior therapies, had radiographic stable disease, and many of their tumors had activation of AKT.

Significance: Potent inhibition of AKT signaling with ipatasertib was associated with a tolerable safety profile and meaningful disease control in a subgroup of patients. Targeting pAKT with an ATP-competitive inhibitor provides a greater therapeutic window than allosteric inhibitors. Further investigation with ipatasertib is ongoing in phase II studies. Cancer Discov; 7(1); 102-13. ©2016 AACR.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-16-0512DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463454PMC
January 2017

Are Doses and Schedules of Small-Molecule Targeted Anticancer Drugs Recommended by Phase I Studies Realistic?

Clin Cancer Res 2016 05 18;22(9):2127-32. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

The Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom. The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Tolerability of molecularly targeted agents (MTA) used in cancer therapeutics is determined in phase I trials. We reviewed the reported incidence of toxicity in phase III trials at doses and schedules recommended by phase I trials to evaluate whether these recommendations are realistic when drugs are used in larger populations of patients. We systematically reviewed a safety profile of small molecule (SM-MTA) and mAb MTA (MA-MTA) approved by the FDA in the last 12 years. There was a significantly increased percentage of grade 3 or 4 adverse events reported with SM-MTA compared with MA-MTA [40% vs. 27%; RR 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.10-2.25, P = 0.038] in phase III studies. Importantly, a substantial proportion of patients (45%) treated with SM-MTA required dose modifications due to drug-related toxicity in phase III trials. However, this toxicity was associated to a definitive study drug discontinuation in only 9%. Overall, 25% of SM-MTA declared recommended phase II doses below MTD based on pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic data and these trials were associated with a significantly reduced number of dose modifications in registration trials (32% vs. 50%; RR 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.88, P = 0.01). Tolerability is going to come into further focus due to the need for combinations of SM-MTA and other anticancer agents. There was a higher incidence of grade 3-4 toxicity in phase III trials in combinations versus single-agent SM-MTAs (64% vs. 37%; RR 1.73; 95% CI, 1.3-2.3, P = 0.001). These results indicate that phase I studies underestimate toxicity while recommending doses of SM-MTA. Clin Cancer Res; 22(9); 2127-32. ©2015 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-1855DOI Listing
May 2016

DNA-Repair Defects and Olaparib in Metastatic Prostate Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2015 Oct;373(18):1697-708

From the Institute of Cancer Research (J.M., S.C., S.S., S.M., H.M., R.P.-L., D.N.R., A.O., N.T., G.B., N.P., P.F., A.G., I.F., C.P., G.S., D.B., J.G., Z.Z., C.T.W., R.F., R.R., B.E., G.F., D. Roda, W.Y., R.B., H.P., R.A., A.S., R.E., G.A., C.J.L., A.A., E.H., J.S.B.), the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust (J.M., S.S., R.P.-L., A.O., N.T., D.B., Z.Z., R.F., D. Roda, R.E., G.A., J.S.B.), and University College London Hospital (U.M.), London, Queen's University, Belfast (S.J.), University of Leeds, Leeds (C.R.), Churchill Hospital, Oxford (A.P.), University of Liverpool, Liverpool (S.H.), Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, Glasgow (R.J.), and Christie Hospital, Manchester (T.E.) - all in the United Kingdom; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (D. Robinson, Y.-M.W., X.C., L.P.K., F.Y.F., A.M.C.); Weill Cornell Medical College, New York (M.A.R.); and Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia (K.E.K.).

Background: Prostate cancer is a heterogeneous disease, but current treatments are not based on molecular stratification. We hypothesized that metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancers with DNA-repair defects would respond to poly(adenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibition with olaparib.

Methods: We conducted a phase 2 trial in which patients with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer were treated with olaparib tablets at a dose of 400 mg twice a day. The primary end point was the response rate, defined either as an objective response according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1, or as a reduction of at least 50% in the prostate-specific antigen level or a confirmed reduction in the circulating tumor-cell count from 5 or more cells per 7.5 ml of blood to less than 5 cells per 7.5 ml. Targeted next-generation sequencing, exome and transcriptome analysis, and digital polymerase-chain-reaction testing were performed on samples from mandated tumor biopsies.

Results: Overall, 50 patients were enrolled; all had received prior treatment with docetaxel, 49 (98%) had received abiraterone or enzalutamide, and 29 (58%) had received cabazitaxel. Sixteen of 49 patients who could be evaluated had a response (33%; 95% confidence interval, 20 to 48), with 12 patients receiving the study treatment for more than 6 months. Next-generation sequencing identified homozygous deletions, deleterious mutations, or both in DNA-repair genes--including BRCA1/2, ATM, Fanconi's anemia genes, and CHEK2--in 16 of 49 patients who could be evaluated (33%). Of these 16 patients, 14 (88%) had a response to olaparib, including all 7 patients with BRCA2 loss (4 with biallelic somatic loss, and 3 with germline mutations) and 4 of 5 with ATM aberrations. The specificity of the biomarker suite was 94%. Anemia (in 10 of the 50 patients [20%]) and fatigue (in 6 [12%]) were the most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events, findings that are consistent with previous studies of olaparib.

Conclusions: Treatment with the PARP inhibitor olaparib in patients whose prostate cancers were no longer responding to standard treatments and who had defects in DNA-repair genes led to a high response rate. (Funded by Cancer Research UK and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01682772; Cancer Research UK number, CRUK/11/029.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1506859DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5228595PMC
October 2015

EGF-Induced Acetylation of Heterogeneous Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins Is Dependent on KRAS Mutational Status in Colorectal Cancer Cells.

PLoS One 2015 25;10(6):e0130543. Epub 2015 Jun 25.

Department of Haematology and Medical Oncology, INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute / University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

KRAS mutational status is considered a negative predictive marker of the response to anti-EGFR therapies in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. However, conflicting data exist regarding the variable response to EGFR-targeted therapy. The effects of oncogenic KRAS on downstream targets were studied in cell lines with different KRAS mutations. Cells harboring a single KRASG13D allele showed the most tumorigenic profile, with constitutive activation of the downstream pathway, rendering them EGF-unresponsive. Conversely, KRASA146T cells showed a full EGF-response in terms of signal transduction pathways, cell proliferation, migration or adhesion. Moreover, the global acetylome of CRC cells was also dependent on KRAS mutational status. Several hnRNP family members were identified within the 36 acetylated-proteins. Acetylation status is known to be involved in the modulation of EGF-response. In agreement with results presented herein, hnRNPA1 and L acetylation was induced in response to EGF in KRASA146T cells, whereas acetyl-hnRNPA1 and L levels remained unchanged after growth factor treatment in KRASG13D unresponsive cells. Our results showed that hnRNPs induced-acetylation is dependent on KRAS mutational status. Nevertheless hnRNPs acetylation might also be the point where different oncogenic pathways converge.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0130543PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4482484PMC
March 2016

Safety and Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics of the First-in-Class Dual Action HER3/EGFR Antibody MEHD7945A in Locally Advanced or Metastatic Epithelial Tumors.

Clin Cancer Res 2015 Jun;21(11):2462-70

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Purpose: The novel dual-action humanized IgG1 antibody MEHD7945A targeting HER3 and EGFR inhibits ligand-dependent HER dimer signaling. This phase I study evaluated the safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and antitumor activity of MEHD7945A.

Experimental Design: Patients with locally advanced or metastatic epithelial tumors received escalating doses of MEHD7945A (1-30 mg/kg) every 2 weeks (q2w) until disease progression or intolerable toxicity. An expansion cohort was enrolled at the recommended phase II dose (14 mg/kg, q2w). Plasma samples, tumor biopsies, FDG-PET were obtained for assessment of pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamic modulation downstream of EGFR and HER3.

Results: No dose-limiting toxicities or MEHD7945A-related grade ≥ 4 adverse events (AE) were reported in dose-escalation (n = 30) or expansion (n = 36) cohorts. Related grade 3 AEs were limited to diarrhea and nausea in the same patient (30 mg/kg). Related AEs in ≥20% of patients ≤24 hours after the first infusion included grade 1/2 headache, fever, and chills, which were managed with premedication and/or symptomatic treatment. Pharmacodynamic data indicated target inhibition in 25% of evaluable patients. Best response by RECIST included 2 confirmed partial responses in squamous cell carcinomas of head and neck (SCCHN) patients with high tumor tissue levels of the HER3 ligand heregulin; 14 patients had stable disease ≥8 weeks, including SCCHN (n = 3), colorectal cancer (n = 6), and non-small cell lung cancer (n = 3).

Conclusions: MEHD7945A was well-tolerated as single agent with evidence of tumor pharmacodynamic modulation and antitumor activity in SCCHN. Phase II studies were initiated with flat (nonweight-based) dosing at 1,100 mg q2w in SCCHN and colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2412DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705193PMC
June 2015

Higher Risk of Infections with PI3K-AKT-mTOR Pathway Inhibitors in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors on Phase I Clinical Trials.

Clin Cancer Res 2015 Apr 3;21(8):1869-76. Epub 2015 Feb 3.

Drug Development Unit, Division of Cancer Therapeutics and Division of Clinical Studies, The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden, London, United Kingdom.

Purpose: Novel antitumor therapies against the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway are increasingly used to treat cancer, either as single agents or in combination with chemotherapy or other targeted therapies. Although these agents are not known to be myelosuppressive, an increased risk of infection has been reported with rapamycin analogues. However, the risk of infection with new inhibitors of this pathway such as PI3K, AKT, mTORC 1/2, or multikinase inhibitors is unknown.

Experimental Design: In this retrospective case-control study, we determined the incidence of infection in a group of 432 patients who were treated on 15 phase I clinical trials involving PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway inhibitors (cases) versus a group of 100 patients on 10 phase I clinical trials of single agent non-PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway inhibitors (controls) which did not involve conventional cytotoxic agents. We also collected data from 42 patients who were treated with phase I trials of combinations of PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors and MEK inhibitors and 24 patients with combinations of PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors and cytotoxic chemotherapies.

Results: The incidence of all grade infection was significantly higher with all single-agent PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors compared with the control group [27% vs. 8%, respectively, OR, 4.26; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.9-9.1, P = 0.0001]. The incidence of grade 3 and 4 infection was also significantly higher with PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors compared with the control group (10.3% vs. 3%, OR, 3.74; 95% CI, 1.1-12.4; P = 0.02). Also, the combination of PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors and chemotherapy was associated with a significantly higher incidence of all grade (OR, 4.79; 95% CI, 2.0-11.2; P = 0.0001) and high-grade (OR, 2.87; 95% CI, 1.0-7.6; P = 0.03) infection when compared with single-agent PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors.

Conclusions: Inhibitors of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway can be associated with a higher risk of infection. Combinations of PI3K-AKT-mTOR inhibitors and cytotoxic chemotherapy significantly increase the risk of infection. This should be taken into consideration during the design and conduct of trials involving PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway inhibitors, particularly when combined with chemotherapy or myelosuppressive agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2424DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4401558PMC
April 2015

Combination of the mTOR inhibitor ridaforolimus and the anti-IGF1R monoclonal antibody dalotuzumab: preclinical characterization and phase I clinical trial.

Clin Cancer Res 2015 Jan 15;21(1):49-59. Epub 2014 Oct 15.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Purpose: Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition activates compensatory insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR) signaling. We evaluated the ridaforolimus (mTOR inhibitor) and dalotuzumab (anti-IGF1R antibody) combination.

Experimental Design: In vitro and in vivo models, and a phase I study in which patients with advanced cancer received ridaforolimus (10-40 mg/day every day × 5/week) and dalotuzumab (10 mg/kg/week or 7.5 mg/kg/every other week) were explored.

Results: Preclinical studies demonstrated enhanced pathway inhibition with ridaforolimus and dalotuzumab. With 87 patients treated in the phase I study, main dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) of the combination were primarily mTOR-related stomatitis and asthenia at doses of ridaforolimus lower than expected, suggesting blockade of compensatory pathways in normal tissues. Six confirmed partial responses were reported (3 patients with breast cancer); 10 of 23 patients with breast cancer and 6 of 11 patients with ER(+)/high-proliferative breast cancer showed antitumor activity.

Conclusions: Our study provides proof-of-concept that inhibiting the IGF1R compensatory response to mTOR inhibition is feasible with promising clinical activity in heavily pretreated advanced cancer, particularly in ER(+)/high-proliferative breast cancer (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00730379).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-0940DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705197PMC
January 2015

Open-label, multicentre expansion cohort to evaluate imgatuzumab in pre-treated patients with KRAS-mutant advanced colorectal carcinoma.

Eur J Cancer 2014 Feb 18;50(3):496-505. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France; University Paris South, France. Electronic address:

Aim: Imgatuzumab (GA201) is a novel anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) antibody glycoengineered for enhanced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). We investigated the efficacy of imgatuzumab in patients with EGFR-positive, KRAS-mutant advanced colorectal cancer.

Methods: Patients received single-agent imgatuzumab (1400mg on day 1 and 8 followed by q2W) as third line therapy in an open-label, multicentre, non-randomised, expansion study. The primary end-point was tumour response. Pre- and on-treatment biopsies and blood samples were investigated for biomarkers related to imgatuzumab's believed mechanism of action (MoA).

Results: 25 patients were treated and the best overall response was stable disease occurring in 40% of patients at 8weeks, 24% at 16weeks and 8% (two patients) at 32weeks. Median overall survival was 9.3months (95% confidence interval (CI): 5.1-12.3). Treatment-related rash, hypomagnesaemia and infusion-related reactions were the most common adverse events. Comparison of pre- and post-treatment biopsies revealed that the number of tumour-infiltrating immune cells increased notably after one cycle of therapy (median compound immune reactive score of 1491 versus 898 cells/mm(3) at baseline), whereas the number of peripheral natural killer cells decreased. A potential association between baseline tumour immune infiltration and clinical efficacy was seen.

Conclusions: These data may suggest that the MoA of imgatuzumab involves ADCC-related immune effects in the tumour and is not limited to simple receptor blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2013.10.015DOI Listing
February 2014

Evaluation and clinical analyses of downstream targets of the Akt inhibitor GDC-0068.

Clin Cancer Res 2013 Dec 18;19(24):6976-86. Epub 2013 Oct 18.

Authors' Affiliations: Oncology Biomarker Development, Portfolio Management and Operations, Translational Oncology, Biostatistics, and Exploratory Clinical Development, Genentech Inc., DNA Way, South San Francisco, California; Experimental Therapeutics, Molecular Pathology, Breast Cancer and Melanoma, Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Tumors Groups, and Medical Oncology Service, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology, Barcelona; Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Institute of Health Research INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; and Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program and Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Purpose: The oncogenic PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is an attractive therapeutic target in cancer. However, it is unknown whether the pathway blockade required for tumor growth inhibition is clinically achievable. Therefore, we conducted pharmacodynamic studies with GDC-0068, an ATP competitive, selective Akt1/2/3 inhibitor, in preclinical models and in patients treated with this compound.

Experimental Design: We used a reverse phase protein array (RPPA) platform to identify a biomarker set indicative of Akt inhibition in cell lines and human-tumor xenografts, and correlated the degree of pathway inhibition with antitumor activity. Akt pathway activity was measured using this biomarker set in pre- and post-dose tumor biopsies from patients treated with GDC-0068 in the dose escalation clinical trial.

Results: The set of biomarkers of Akt inhibition is composed of 10 phosphoproteins, including Akt and PRAS40, and is modulated in a dose-dependent fashion, both in vitro and in vivo. In human-tumor xenografts, this dose dependency significantly correlated with tumor growth inhibition. Tumor biopsies from patients treated with GDC-0068 at clinically achievable doses attained a degree of biomarker inhibition that correlated with tumor growth inhibition in preclinical models. In these clinical samples, compensatory feedback activation of ERK and HER3 was observed, consistent with preclinical observations.

Conclusion: This study identified a set of biomarkers of Akt inhibition that can be used in the clinical setting to assess target engagement. Here, it was used to show that robust Akt inhibition in tumors from patients treated with GDC-0068 is achievable, supporting the clinical development of this compound in defined patient populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0978DOI Listing
December 2013

Phase I pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic study of MLN8237, an investigational, oral, selective aurora a kinase inhibitor, in patients with advanced solid tumors.

Clin Cancer Res 2012 Sep 2;18(17):4764-74. Epub 2012 Jul 2.

Hematology and Medical Oncology Department, Hospital Clinico, INCLIVA, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain.

Purpose: Aurora A kinase (AAK) is a key regulator of mitosis and a target for anticancer drug development. This phase I study investigated the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of MLN8237 (alisertib), an investigational, oral, selective AAK inhibitor, in 59 adults with advanced solid tumors.

Experimental Design: Patients received MLN8237 once daily or twice daily for 7, 14, or 21 consecutive days, followed by 14 days recovery, in 21-, 28-, or 35-day cycles. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) and the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) for the 7- and 21-day schedules were determined. Pharmacokinetic parameters were derived from plasma concentration-time profiles. AAK inhibition in skin and tumor biopsies was evaluated and antitumor activity assessed.

Results: Neutropenia and stomatitis were the most common DLTs. The MTD for the 7- and 21-day schedules was 50 mg twice daily and 50 mg once daily, respectively. MLN8237 absorption was fast (median time to maximum concentration, 2 hours). Mean terminal half-life was approximately 19 hours. At steady state, pharmacodynamic effects were shown by accumulation of mitotic and apoptotic cells in skin, and exposure-related increases in numbers of mitotic cells with characteristic spindle and chromosomal abnormalities in tumor specimens, supporting AAK inhibition by MLN8237. Stable disease was observed and was durable with repeat treatment cycles, administered over 6 months, in 6 patients, without notable cumulative toxicity.

Conclusions: The recommended phase II dose of MLN8237 is 50 mg twice daily on the 7-day schedule, which is being evaluated further in a variety of malignancies, including in a phase III trial in peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-0571DOI Listing
September 2012