Publications by authors named "Douglas S Hawkins"

174 Publications

Phase III Trial Adding Vincristine-Topotecan-Cyclophosphamide to the Initial Treatment of Patients With Nonmetastatic Ewing Sarcoma: A Children's Oncology Group Report.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Oct 15:JCO2100358. Epub 2021 Oct 15.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.

Purpose: The primary aim of this phase III randomized trial was to test whether the addition of vincristine, topotecan, and cyclophosphamide (VTC) to interval compressed chemotherapy improved survival outcomes for patients with previously untreated nonmetastatic Ewing sarcoma.

Methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive standard five-drug interval compressed chemotherapy (regimen A) for 17 cycles or experimental therapy with five cycles of VTC within the 17 cycles (regimen B). Patients were stratified by age at diagnosis (< 18 years and ≥18 years) and tumor site (pelvic bone, nonpelvic bone, and extraosseous). Tumor volume at diagnosis was categorized as < 200 mL or ≥ 200 mL. Local control occurred following six cycles. Histologic response was categorized as no viable or any viable tumor. Event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were compared between randomized groups with stratified log-rank tests.

Results: Of 642 enrolled patients, 309 eligible patients received standard and 320 received experimental therapy. The 5-year EFS and OS were 78% and 87%, respectively. There was no difference in survival outcomes between randomized groups (5-year EFS regimen A regimen B, 78% 79%; = .192; 5-year OS 86% 88%; = .159). Age and primary site did not affect the risk of an EFS event. However, age ≥ 18 years was associated with an increased risk of death at 5 years (hazard ratio 1.84; 95% CI, 1.15 to 2.96; = .009). The 5-year EFS rates for patients with pelvic, nonpelvic bone, and extraosseous primary tumors were 75%, 78%, and 85%, respectively. Tumor volume ≥ 200 mL was significantly associated with lower EFS.

Conclusion: While VTC added to five-drug interval compressed chemotherapy did not improve survival, these outcomes represent the best survival estimates to date for patients with previously untreated nonmetastatic Ewing sarcoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00358DOI Listing
October 2021

Rising drug cost impacts on cost-effectiveness of 2 chemotherapy regimens for intermediate-risk rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Cancer 2021 Oct 8. Epub 2021 Oct 8.

Seattle Children's Hospital, University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington.

Background: The Children's Oncology Group clinical trial for intermediate risk rhabdomyosarcoma randomized participants to a combination of vincristine, dactinomycin, and cyclophosphamide (VAC) alone or VAC alternating with vincristine plus irinotecan (VAC/VI). Clinical outcomes were similar, but toxicity profiles differed. This study estimates the cost differences between arms from the health care system's perspective.

Methods: A decision-analytic model was used to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of VAC versus VAC/VI. Protocol-required or recommended medications and laboratory studies were included. Costs were obtained from national databases or supporting literature and inflated to 2019 US dollars. Demographic and outcome data were obtained from the clinical trial and directed chart reviews. Life-years (LY) were estimated from life-expectancy tables and discounted by 3% annually. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses and alternative clinical scenarios identified factors driving costs.

Results: Mean direct medical costs of VAC and VAC/VI were $164,757 and $102,303, respectively. VAC was associated with an additional 0.97 LY and an ICER of $64,386/LY compared with VAC/VI. The ICER was sensitive to survival estimations and to alternative clinical scenarios including outpatient cyclophosphamide delivery (ICER $49,037/LY) or substitution of alternative hematopoietic growth factor schedules (ICER $73,191-$91,579/LY). Applying drug prices from 2012 decreased the total costs of VAC by 20% and VAC/VI by 15% because of changes in dactinomycin and pegfilgrastim prices.

Conclusions: Neither arm was clearly more cost-effective. Pharmaceutical pricing and location of treatment drove costs and may inform future treatment decisions. Rising pharmaceutical costs added $30,000 per patient, a finding important for future drug-pricing policy decisions.

Lay Summary: Two chemotherapy regimens recently tested side-by-side for rhabdomyosarcoma had similar tumor outcomes, but different side effects. The health care costs of each regimen were compared; neither was clearly more cost-effective. However, the costs of each treatment changed dramatically with choices of supportive medicines and location of treatment. Costs of treatment rose by 15% to 20% because of rising US drug costs not associated with the clinical trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33917DOI Listing
October 2021

Identified Enrollment Challenges of Adolescent and Young Adult Patients on the Nonchemotherapy Arm of Children's Oncology Group Study ARST1321.

J Adolesc Young Adult Oncol 2021 Sep 9. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

ARST1321, a trial of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma, was the first National Clinical Trials Network study codeveloped by pediatric and adult consortia with two treatment cohorts. We report on the findings of a survey to identify barriers to enrolling adolescent and young adult patients (15-39 years) onto the nonchemotherapy arm. The survey response rate was 31% with a 70% completion rate. Common identified reasons for low accrual in order of decreasing frequency included insufficient funding, lack of study awareness or interest, competing trials, toxicity concerns, philosophical differences in the therapy backbone, and regulatory and infrastructure barriers. Clinical Trials.gov ID: NCT02180867.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/jayao.2021.0103DOI Listing
September 2021

Outcome of patients with relapsed or progressive Ewing sarcoma enrolled on cooperative group phase 2 clinical trials: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 Sep 8:e29333. Epub 2021 Sep 8.

Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

SevenChildren's Oncology Group phase 2 trials for patients with relapsed/progressive solid tumors were analyzed to estimate the event-free survival (EFS) for relapsed/progressive Ewing sarcoma. One hundred twenty-eight Ewing sarcoma patients were enrolled and 124 events occurred. The 6-month EFS was 12.7%, demonstrating the poor outcome of these patients. Only docetaxel achieved its protocol-specified radiographic response rate for activity; however, the EFS for docetaxel was similar to other agents, indicating that a higher radiographic response rate may not translate into superior disease control. This EFS benchmark could be utilized as an additional endpoint in trials for recurrent Ewing sarcoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.29333DOI Listing
September 2021

Pharmacogenomic associations of cyclophosphamide pharmacokinetic candidate genes with event-free survival in intermediate-risk rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 Nov 10;68(11):e29203. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Department of Hematologic Malignances Translational Sciences, City of Hope, Duarte, California, USA.

Background: In vitro data suggest that the growth of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) cells is suppressed in a concentration-dependent manner by 4-hydroxycyclophosphamide (4HCY), the principal precursor to the cytotoxic metabolite of cyclophosphamide (CY). Various retrospective studies on the relationship between genes encoding proteins involved in the formation and elimination of 4HCY (i.e., 4HCY pharmacokinetics) and cyclophosphamide (CY) efficacy and toxicity have been conflicting.

Procedures: We evaluated germline pharmacogenetics in 262 patients with newly diagnosed intermediate-risk RMS who participated in one prospective Children's Oncology Group clinical trial, ARST0531. Patients were treated with either vincristine/actinomycin/cyclophosphamide (VAC) or VAC alternating with vincristine/irinotecan (VAC/VI). We analyzed the associations between event-free survival and 394 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in 14 drug metabolizing enzymes or transporters involved in 4HCY pharmacokinetics.

Results: Eight SNPs were associated (p-value < .05 by univariate analysis) with 3-year event-free survival; no SNPs survived a false discovery rate < 0.05.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that a pharmacogenomic approach to therapy personalization of cyclophosphamide in intermediate-risk rhabdomyosarcoma is not viable. Other methods to personalize therapy should be explored.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.29203DOI Listing
November 2021

Genomic Classification and Clinical Outcome in Rhabdomyosarcoma: A Report From an International Consortium.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 24;39(26):2859-2871. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children's Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Purpose: Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma of childhood. Despite aggressive therapy, the 5-year survival rate for patients with metastatic or recurrent disease remains poor, and beyond fusion status, no genomic markers are available for risk stratification. We present an international consortium study designed to determine the incidence of driver mutations and their association with clinical outcome.

Patients And Methods: Tumor samples collected from patients enrolled on Children's Oncology Group trials (1998-2017) and UK patients enrolled on malignant mesenchymal tumor and RMS2005 (1995-2016) trials were subjected to custom-capture sequencing. Mutations, indels, gene deletions, and amplifications were identified, and survival analysis was performed.

Results: DNA from 641 patients was suitable for analyses. A median of one mutation was found per tumor. In fusion-negative cases, mutation of any RAS pathway member was found in > 50% of cases, and 21% had no putative driver mutation identified. (15%), (15%), and (13%) mutations were found at a higher incidence than previously reported and mutations were associated with worse outcomes in both fusion-negative and fusion-positive cases. Interestingly, mutations in isoforms predominated in infants < 1 year (64% of cases). Mutation of was associated with histologic patterns beyond those previously described, older age, head and neck primary site, and a dismal survival. Finally, we provide a searchable companion database (ClinOmics), containing all genomic variants, and clinical annotation including survival data.

Conclusion: This is the largest genomic characterization of clinically annotated rhabdomyosarcoma tumors to date and provides prognostic genetic features that refine risk stratification and will be incorporated into prospective trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8425837PMC
September 2021

Pathogenic Germline Variants in Cancer Susceptibility Genes in Children and Young Adults With Rhabdomyosarcoma.

JCO Precis Oncol 2021 11;5. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD.

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft-tissue sarcoma and accounts for 3% of all pediatric cancer. In this study, we investigated germline sequence and structural variation in a broad set of genes in two large, independent RMS cohorts.

Materials And Methods: Genome sequencing of the discovery cohort (n = 273) and exome sequencing of the secondary cohort (n = 121) were conducted on germline DNA. Analyses were performed on 130 cancer susceptibility genes (CSG). Pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P/LP) variants were predicted using the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) criteria. Structural variation and survival analyses were performed on the discovery cohort.

Results: We found that 6.6%-7.7% of patients with RMS harbored P/LP variants in dominant-acting CSG. An additional approximately 1% have structural variants (, ) in CSGs. CSG variants did not influence survival, although there was a significant correlation with an earlier age of tumor onset. There was a nonsignificant excess of P/LP variants in dominant inheritance genes in the patients with fusion-negative RMS patients versus the patients with fusion-positive RMS. We identified pathogenic germline variants in CSGs previously (, , , mismatch repair genes), rarely (, , , ), or never () reported in RMS. Numerous genes (, , mismatch repair) were on the ACMG Secondary Findings 2.0 list.

Conclusion: In two cohorts of patients with RMS, we identified pathogenic germline variants for which gene-specific therapies and surveillance guidelines may be beneficial. In families with a proband with an RMS-risk P/LP variant, genetic counseling and cascade testing should be considered, especially for ACMG Secondary Findings genes and/or with gene-specific surveillance guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.20.00218DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8169077PMC
January 2021

The Care of Children With Cancer During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book 2021 Mar;41:1-10

Seattle Children's Hospital Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably changed health services for children with cancer worldwide by creating barriers throughout the care continuum. Reports available at this time suggest that asymptomatic and mild upper and lower respiratory tract syndromes are the most common presentation of COVID-19 in children with cancer. Nonetheless, severe cases of COVID-19 and deaths secondary to the infection have been reported. In addition to the direct effects of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, children with cancer have suffered from the collateral consequences of the pandemic, including decreased access to diagnosis and cancer-directed therapy. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to safe and effective care of children with cancer, including their enrollment in therapeutic clinical trials. Data from the Children's Oncology Group and Cancer Research U.K. Clinical Trials Unit show variability in the enrollment of children with cancer in clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the overall effects on outcomes for children with cancer undergoing care during the pandemic remain largely unknown. In this article, we review the current knowledge about the direct and collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including on clinical trial enrollment and operations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/EDBK_321497DOI Listing
March 2021

IL-15 mediated expansion of rare durable memory T cells following adoptive cellular therapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 05;9(5)

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Clinical Research Division, Seattle, WA, USA

Background: Synovial sarcoma (SS) and myxoid/round cell liposarcoma (MRCL) are ideal solid tumors for the development of adoptive cellular therapy (ACT) targeting NY-ESO-1, as a high frequency of tumors homogeneously express this cancer-testes antigen. Data from early phase clinical trials have shown antitumor activity after the adoptive transfer of NY-ESO-1-specific T cells. In these studies, persistence of NY-ESO-1 specific T cells is highly correlated with response to ACT, but patients often continue to have detectable transferred cells in their peripheral blood following progression.

Method: We performed a phase I clinical trial evaluating the safety of NY-ESO-1-specific endogenous T cells (ETC) following cyclophosphamide conditioning. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from treated patients were evaluated by flow cytometry and gene expression analysis as well as through ex vivo culture assays with and without IL-15.

Results: Four patients were treated in a cohort using ETC targeting NY-ESO-1 following cyclophosphamide conditioning. Treatment was well tolerated without significant toxicity, but all patients ultimately had disease progression. In two of four patients, we obtained post-treatment tumor tissue and in both, NY-ESO-1 antigen was retained despite clear detectable persisting NY-ESO-1-specific T cells in the peripheral blood. Despite a memory phenotype, these persisting cells lacked markers of proliferation or activation. However, in ex vivo culture assays, they could be induced to proliferate and kill tumor using IL-15. These results were also seen in PBMCs from two patients who received gene-engineered T-cell receptor-based products at other centers.

Conclusions: ETC targeting NY-ESO-1 with single-agent cyclophosphamide alone conditioning was well tolerated in patients with SS and those with MRCL. IL-15 can induce proliferation and activity in persisting NY-ESO-1-specific T cells even in patients with disease progression following ACT. These results support future work evaluating whether IL-15 could be incorporated into ACT trials post-infusion or at the time of progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002232DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8108691PMC
May 2021

Prioritization of Novel Agents for Patients with Rhabdomyosarcoma: A Report from the Children's Oncology Group (COG) New Agents for Rhabdomyosarcoma Task Force.

J Clin Med 2021 Apr 1;10(7). Epub 2021 Apr 1.

Department of Pediatrics and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common soft tissue sarcoma diagnosed in children and adolescents. Patients that are diagnosed with advanced or relapsed disease have exceptionally poor outcomes. The Children's Oncology Group (COG) convened a rhabdomyosarcoma new agent task force in 2020 to systematically evaluate novel agents for inclusion in phase 2 or phase 3 clinical trials for patients diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, following a similar effort for Ewing sarcoma. The task force was comprised of clinicians and basic scientists who collectively identified new agents for evaluation and prioritization in clinical trial testing. Here, we report the work of the task force including the framework upon which the decisions were rendered and review the top classes of agents that were discussed. Representative agents include poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors in combination with cytotoxic agents, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK) inhibitors in combination with type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGFR1) inhibitors, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, and novel cytotoxic agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071416DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8037615PMC
April 2021

Local Control For High-Grade Nonrhabdomyosarcoma Soft Tissue Sarcoma Assigned to Radiation Therapy on ARST0332: A Report From the Childrens Oncology Group.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021 07 3;110(3):821-830. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Orthopedics, University of California Davis, Sacramento, California.

Purpose: The ARST0332 trial for pediatric and young adults with nonrhabdomyosarcoma soft tissue sarcoma (NRSTS) used risk-based treatment including primary resection with lower-than-standard radiation doses to optimize local control (LC) while minimizing long-term toxicity in those requiring radiation therapy (RT). RT for high-grade NRSTS was based on extent of resection (R0: negative margins, R1: microscopic margins, R2/U: gross disease/unresectable); those with >5 cm tumors received chemotherapy (CT; ifosfamide/doxorubicin). This analysis evaluates LC for patients assigned to RT and prognostic factors associated with local recurrence (LR).

Methods And Materials: Patients aged <30 years with high-grade NRSTS received RT (55.8 Gy) for R1 ≤5 cm tumor (arm B); RT (55.8 Gy)/CT for R0/R1 >5 cm tumor (arm C); or neoadjuvant RT (45 Gy)/CT plus delayed surgery, CT, and postoperative boost to 10.8 Gy R0 <5 mm margins/R1 or 19.8 Gy for R2/unresected tumors (arm D).

Results: One hundred ninety-three eligible patients had 24 LRs (arm B 1/15 [6.7%], arm C 7/65 [10.8%], arm D 16/113 [14.2%]) at median time to LR of 1.1 years (range, 0.11-5.27). Of 95 eligible for delayed surgery after neoadjuvant therapy, 89 (93.7%) achieved R0/R1 margins. Overall LC after RT were as follows: R0, 106 of 109 (97%); R1, 51 of 60 (85%); and R2/unresectable, 2 of 6 (33%). LR predictors include extent of delayed resection (P <.001), imaging response before delayed surgery (P < .001), histologic subtype (P <.001), and no RT (P = .046). The 5-year event-free survival was significantly lower (P = .0003) for patients unable to undergo R0/R1 resection.

Conclusions: Risk-based treatment for young patients with high-grade NRSTS treated on ARST0332 produced very high LC, particularly after R0 resection (97%), despite lower-than-standard RT doses. Neoadjuvant CT/RT enabled delayed R0/R1 resection in most patients and is preferred over adjuvant therapy due to the lower RT dose delivered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2021.01.051DOI Listing
July 2021

Surgical management of paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma: A consensus opinion from the Children's Oncology Group, European paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group, and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 04 1;68(4):e28938. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Division Pediatric Surgery, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

The treatment of paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma (PT-RMS) has varied over time and by cooperative group. The International Soft Tissue Sarcoma Database Consortium (INSTRuCT) is a collaboration of the Children's Oncology Group (COG) Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee, European pediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group (EpSSG), and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe (CWS). The INSTRuCT surgical committee has been given charge of the development of internationally applicable consensus guidelines for the surgical treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma. This clinical consensus opinion document addresses accepted principles and areas of controversy, such as scrotal violation and retroperitoneal nodal evaluation, providing an evidence-based guideline for the surgical treatment for PT-RMS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28938DOI Listing
April 2021

Germline Cancer Predisposition Variants in Pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma: A Report From the Children's Oncology Group.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jul;113(7):875-883

Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: Several cancer-susceptibility syndromes are reported to underlie pediatric rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS); however, to our knowledge there have been no systematic efforts to characterize the heterogeneous genetic etiologies of this often-fatal malignancy.

Methods: We performed exome-sequencing on germline DNA from 615 patients with newly diagnosed RMS consented through the Children's Oncology Group. We compared the prevalence of cancer predisposition variants in 63 autosomal-dominant cancer predisposition genes in these patients with population controls (n = 9963). All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: We identified germline cancer predisposition variants in 45 RMS patients (7.3%; all FOXO1 fusion negative) across 15 autosomal dominant genes, which was statistically significantly enriched compared with controls (1.4%, P = 1.3 × 10-22). Specifically, 73.3% of the predisposition variants were found in predisposition syndrome genes previously associated with pediatric RMS risk, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome (TP53) and neurofibromatosis type I (NF1). Notably, 5 patients had well-described oncogenic missense variants in HRAS (p.G12V and p.G12S) associated with Costello syndrome. Also, genetic etiology differed with histology, as germline variants were more frequent in embryonal vs alveolar RMS patients (10.0% vs 3.0%, P = .02). Although patients with a cancer predisposition variant tended to be younger at diagnosis (P = 9.9 × 10-4), 40.0% of germline variants were identified in those older than 3 years of age, which is in contrast to current genetic testing recommendations based on early age at diagnosis.

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that genetic risk of RMS results from germline predisposition variants associated with a wide spectrum of cancer susceptibility syndromes. Germline genetic testing for children with RMS should be informed by RMS subtypes and not be limited to only young patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246828PMC
July 2021

Metabolic response as assessed by F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography does not predict outcome in patients with intermediate- or high-risk rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee.

Cancer Med 2021 02 19;10(3):857-866. Epub 2020 Dec 19.

Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: Strategies to optimize management in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) include risk stratification to assign therapy aiming to minimize treatment morbidity yet improve outcomes. This analysis evaluated the relationship between complete metabolic response (CMR) as assessed by F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-computed tomography (FDG-PET) imaging and event-free survival (EFS) in intermediate-risk (IR) and high-risk (HR) RMS patients.

Methods: FDG-PET imaging characteristics, including assessment of CMR and maximum standard uptake values (SUVmax) of the primary tumor, were evaluated by central review. Institutional reports of SUVmax were used when SUVmax values could not be determined by central review. One hundred and thirty IR and 105 HR patients had FDG-PET scans submitted for central review or had SUVmax data available from institutional report at any time point. A Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to evaluate the relationship between these parameters and EFS.

Results: SUVmax at study entry did not correlate with EFS for IR (p = 0.32) or HR (p = 0.86) patients. Compared to patients who did not achieve a CMR, EFS was not superior for IR patients who achieved a CMR at weeks 4 (p = 0.66) or 15 (p = 0.46), nor for HR patients who achieved CMR at week 6 (p = 0.75) or 19 (p = 0.28). Change in SUVmax at week 4 (p = 0.21) or 15 (p = 0.91) for IR patients or at week 6 (p = 0.75) or 19 (p = 0.61) for HR patients did not correlate with EFS.

Conclusion: Based on these data, FDG-PET does not appear to predict EFS in IR or HR-RMS. It remains to be determined whether FDG-PET has a role in predicting survival outcomes in other RMS subpopulations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3667DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7897958PMC
February 2021

Pathology of childhood rhabdomyosarcoma: A consensus opinion document from the Children's Oncology Group, European Paediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Study Group, and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 03 11;68(3):e28798. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

Dipartimento per la Salute della Donna e del Bambino, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.

The diagnosis and classification of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) has undergone several shifts over the last 30 years. While the main diagnostic categories remained the same, changes in the histologic criteria necessary for diagnosis, as well as varied reliance on immunohistochemical and molecular data over time, have created confusion, particularly regarding how these shifts impacted risk stratification and enrollment onto clinical trials. The goal of this report is to review the evolution and current status of RMS diagnosis, focusing on diagnostic criteria in the Children's Oncology Group (COG), the European Paediatric Soft Tissue Sarcoma Group (EpSSG), and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe (CWS). In addition, we emphasize research tools used to classify RMS and address biological questions within current clinical trials run by each group. The INternational Soft Tissue SaRcoma ConsorTium (INSTRuCT) initiative will maximize potential to optimize risk stratification by recognizing and accounting for differences in historical data and current practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28798DOI Listing
March 2021

The prognostic significance of anaplasia in childhood rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 7;143:127-133. Epub 2020 Dec 7.

Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, WA, United States.

Background: Established prognostic indicators in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), the most common childhood soft tissue sarcoma, include several clinicopathologic features. Among pathologic features, anaplasia has been suggested as a potential prognostic indicator, but the clinical significance of anaplasia remains unclear.

Methods: Patients enrolled on one of five recent Children's Oncology Group clinical trials for RMS (D9602, n = 357; D9802, n = 80; D9803, n = 462; ARST0331, n = 335; and ARST0531, n = 414) with prospective central pathology review were included in this study. Clinicopathologic variables including demographic information, risk group, histologic subtype, and anaplasia were recorded along with overall survival (OS) and failure-free survival (FFS) with failure defined by recurrence, progression, or death. The log-rank test was used to compare OS and FFS.

Results: Anaplasia was more common in embryonal RMS (27% of all embryonal RMS) than other subtypes of RMS (11% for alveolar RMS, 7% for botryoid RMS, 11% for spindle cell RMS). On multivariate analyses, anaplasia was not an independent prognostic factor in RMS (OS:hazard ratio (HR) = 1.12, p = 0.43; FFS:HR = 1.07, p = 0.56) across all subtypes or within embryonal RMS only (OS:HR = 1.41, p = 0.078; FFS:HR = 1.25, p = 0.16). Among tumors with TP53 mutations, 69% had anaplasia, while only 24% of tumors with anaplasia had a tumoral TP53 mutation.

Conclusions: Anaplasia is not an independent indicator of adverse outcomes in RMS. Emerging information on the prognostic significance of TP53 mutations raises the possibility that anaplasia may be a surrogate marker of TP53 mutations in some cases. Tumoral TP53 mutation status may be investigated as a prognostic indicator in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.10.018DOI Listing
January 2021

SARC025 arms 1 and 2: A phase 1 study of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor niraparib with temozolomide or irinotecan in patients with advanced Ewing sarcoma.

Cancer 2021 Apr 8;127(8):1301-1310. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Background: In preclinical Ewing sarcoma (ES) models, poly(adenosine diphosphate ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors were identified as a potential therapeutic strategy with synergy in combination with cytotoxic agents. This study evaluated the safety and dosing of the PARP1/2 inhibitor niraparib (NIR) with temozolomide (TMZ; arm 1) or irinotecan (IRN; arm 2) in patients with pretreated ES.

Methods: Eligible patients in arm 1 received continuous NIR daily and escalating TMZ (days 2-6 [D2-6]) in cohort A. Subsequent patients received intermittent NIR dosing (cohort B), with TMZ re-escalation in cohort C. In arm 2, patients were assigned to NIR (days 1-7 [D1-7]) and escalating doses of IRN (D2-6).

Results: From July 2014 to May 2018, 29 eligible patients (23 males and 6 females) were enrolled in arms 1 and 2, which had 7 dose levels combined. Five patients experienced at least 1 dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) in arm 1 (grade 4 [G4] neutropenia for >7 days or G4 thrombocytopenia), and 3 patients experienced at least 1 DLT in arm 2 (grade 3 [G3] colitis, G3 anorexia, or G3 alanine aminotransferase elevation). The maximum tolerated dose was NIR at 200 mg every day on D1-7 plus TMZ at 30 mg/m every day on D2-6 (arm 1) or NIR at 100 mg every day on D1-7 plus IRN at 20 mg/m every day on D2-6 (arm 2). One confirmed partial response was observed in arm 2; the median progression-free survival was 9.0 weeks (95% CI, 7.0-10.1 weeks) and 16.3 weeks (95% CI, 5.1-69.7 weeks) in arms 1 and 2, respectively. The median decrease in tumor poly(ADP-ribose) activity was 89% (range, 83%-98%).

Conclusions: The combination of NIR and TMZ or IRN was tolerable, but at lower doses in comparison with conventional cytotoxic combinations. A triple-combination study of NIR, IRN, and TMZ has commenced.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33349DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246769PMC
April 2021

Alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma with regional nodal involvement: Results of a combined analysis from two cooperative groups.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2021 03 27;68(3):e28832. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

University Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Treatment of children and adolescents with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) and regional nodal involvement (N1) have been approached differently by North American and European cooperative groups. In order to define a better therapeutic strategy, we analyzed two studies conducted between 2005 and 2016 by the European paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group (EpSSG) and Children's Oncology Group (COG).

Methods: We retrospectively identified patients with ARMS N1 enrolled in either EpSSG RMS2005 or in COG ARST0531. Chemotherapy in RMS2005 comprised ifosfamide + vincristine + dactinomycin + doxorubicin (IVADo), IVA and maintenance (vinorelbine, cyclophosphamide); in ARST0531, it consisted of either vincristine + dactinomycin + cyclophosphamide (VAC) or VAC alternating with vincristine + irinotecan (VI). Local treatment was similar in both protocols.

Results: The analysis of the clinical characteristics of 239 patients showed some differences between study groups: in RMS2005, advanced Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study Group (IRS) and large tumors predominated. There were no differences in outcomes between the two groups: 5-year event-free survival (EFS), 49% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 39-59) and 44% (95% CI: 30-58), and overall survival (OS), 51% (95% CI: 41-61) and 53.6% (95% CI: 40-68) in RMS2005 and ARST0531, respectively. In RMS2005, EFS of patients with FOXO1-positive tumors was significantly inferior to those with FOXO1-negative (49.3% vs 73%, P = .034). In contrast, in ARST0531, EFS of patients with FOXO1-positive tumors was 45% compared with 43.8% for those with FOXO1-negative.

Conclusions: The outcome of patients with ARMS N1 was similar in both protocols. However, patients with FOXO1 fusion-negative tumors enrolled in RMS2005 showed a significantly better outcome, suggesting that different strategies of chemotherapy may have an impact in the outcome of this subgroup of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28832DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8414760PMC
March 2021

Survival outcomes of patients with localized FOXO1 fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma treated on recent clinical trials: A report from the Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee of the Children's Oncology Group.

Cancer 2021 03 20;127(6):946-956. Epub 2020 Nov 20.

Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.

Background: The objective of this analysis was to evaluate the clinical factors influencing survival outcomes in patients with localized (clinical group I-III), FOXO1 fusion-positive rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS).

Methods: Patients with confirmed FOXO1 fusion-positive RMS who were enrolled on 3 completed clinical trials for localized RMS were included in the analytic cohort. Outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method to estimate event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS), and the curves were compared using the log-rank test. A Cox proportional hazards regression model was used to perform multivariate analysis of prognostic factors that were significant in the univariate analysis.

Results: The estimated 4-year EFS and OS of 269 patients with localized, FOXO1 fusion-positive RMS was 53% (95% CI, 47%-59%) and 69% (95% CI, 63%-74%), respectively. Univariate analysis revealed that several known favorable clinical characteristics, including age at diagnosis between 1 and 9 years, complete surgical resection, tumor size ≤5 cm, favorable tumor site, absence of lymph node involvement, confinement to the anatomic site of origin, and PAX7-FOXO1 fusion, were associated with improved outcomes. Multivariate analysis identified older age (≥10 years) and large tumor size (>5 cm) as independent, adverse prognostic factors for EFS within this population, and patients who had both adverse features experienced substantially inferior outcomes.

Conclusions: Patients with localized, FOXO1 fusion-positive RMS can be further risk stratified based on clinical features at diagnosis, and older patients with large primary tumors have the poorest prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33334DOI Listing
March 2021

Benefit of delayed primary excision in rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Cancer 2021 01 20;127(2):275-283. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.

Background: Most children with intermediate-risk rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) have gross disease (group III) at the initiation of chemotherapy. Delayed primary excision (DPE) after induction chemotherapy allows for a reduction in adjuvant radiation dose, but with the risk of potential surgical morbidity. The objectives of this study were to compare outcomes in children with group III RMS who did and did not undergo DPE and to assess surgical morbidity.

Methods: The study included 369 patients who had clinical group III RMS at sites amenable to DPE from intermediate-risk Children's Oncology Group studies D9803 (encouraged DPE) and ARST0531 (discouraged DPE).

Results: The primary tumor site was bladder/prostate (136 patients; 37%), extremity (97 patients; 26%), trunk (24 patients; 7%), retroperitoneum (91 patients; 25%), or intrathoracic/perineum/perianal (21 patients; 6%). In total, 112 patients (53.9%) underwent DPE in D9803, and 26 patients (16.2%) underwent DPE in ARST0531 (P < .001), with loss of vital organ or function in 30 of 138 patients (22%). DPE allowed for a reduced radiation dose in 110 of 135 patients (81%; 51% were reduced to 36 Gy, and 30% were reduced to 42 Gy). Patients who underwent DPE had improved unadjusted overall survival (P = .013). In adjusted regression analysis, the risk of death (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% CI 0.43-1.16) was similar for patients who did and did not undergo DPE and was improved for the subset of patients who had tumors of the trunk and retroperitoneum (hazard ratio, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.20-0.97).

Conclusions: Children with group III RMS have equivalent or improved outcomes with DPE and can receive a decreased radiation dose for definitive local control. The choice of local control modality should weigh the potential morbidity of surgery versus that of higher dose irradiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7790947PMC
January 2021

What happened to the US cancer cooperative groups? A status update ten years after the Institute of Medicine report.

Cancer 2020 12 24;126(23):5022-5029. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Department of Surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The US cancer cooperative groups (cooperative groups) were founded in the 1950s to establish a standing infrastructure to conduct multi-institutional cancer clinical trials. Initially funded almost entirely by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), over the years, the research conducted by the Cooperative Groups has evolved to meet the demands of cancer clinical research, with a scope now encompassing trials to advance cancer treatment, cancer control, biomarker development and validation, and health services research, with a corresponding broadening of their funding sources. The cooperative groups are also a critical mechanism for educating the next generation of cancer clinical trialists from many different disciplines. This review outlines the overall mission, structure, and funding of the cooperative groups, beginning in 1955 when they were first established by the NCI, and describes the considerable progress against cancer achieved over the past decade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33209DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7667615PMC
December 2020

Introducing INSTRuCT: An international effort to promote cooperation and data sharing.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 Sep 12:e28701. Epub 2020 Sep 12.

Klinikum Stuttgart, Olgahospital, Pediatrics 5 (Oncology, Hematology, Immunology), Stuttgart, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28701DOI Listing
September 2020

Spotlight on the treatment of infantile fibrosarcoma in the era of neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase inhibitors: International consensus and remaining controversies.

Eur J Cancer 2020 09 9;137:183-192. Epub 2020 Aug 9.

Pediatric Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Dei Tumori di Milano, Milano, Italy.

Targeted neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitors offer a highly specific therapeutic option for patients with infantile fibrosarcoma (IFS) carrying the NTRK gene translocation. International recommendations are needed to define the role of TRK inhibitors (TRKI) for infants with IFS. We analysed retrospective data for all published patients with IFS in the European Paediatric Soft tissue sarcoma Study Group and Cooperative Weichteilsarkomstudiengruppe (CWS) experience and developed a consensus strategy with the Children's Oncology Group. Therapies consisted of tumour resection and/or perioperative chemotherapy for extensive tumours. Among the 172 European patients treated, 162 were alive at the end of the follow-up. Sixty-five patients (40% of all survivors) were treated with surgery alone and 64 patients (39%) with surgery combined with chemotherapy. Radiotherapy was delivered to 3% of survivors (five patients). In addition, 28 survivors (17%) exclusively received chemotherapy. Among the 129 patients treated with surgery, 91% had conservative surgery (118 cases). Overall, nine patients died of disease, one from toxicity (6%) and 20 patients (12%) survived with major functional deficits or had mutilating surgery. Overall, conventional conservative strategies before the era of targeted therapy, even in the case of extensive tumours, demonstrate efficacy in IFS, but are associated with acute and some chronic side effects. TRKI have demonstrated very rapid responses in the vast majority of children with IFS with limited acute toxicity. With the current state of our knowledge, both conventional chemotherapy and TRKI should be regarded as options for patients with localised disease at the physician's and parent's discretion. TRKI should be considered in patients with metastatic disease, and before mutilating surgery when conventional chemotherapy fails. Outside a clinical trial, additional data are needed to resolve the lack of consensus about front-line use of conventional chemotherapy versus TRKI in patients with localised disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.06.028DOI Listing
September 2020

Summary of COVID-19 clinical practice adjustments across select institutions.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 11 19;67(11):e28411. Epub 2020 Jul 19.

Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28411DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7404360PMC
November 2020

Surgical management of extremity rhabdomyosarcoma: A consensus opinion from the Children's Oncology Group, the European Pediatric Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Study Group, and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 Aug 9:e28608. Epub 2020 Aug 9.

Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, United Kingdom.

The treatment of extremity rhabdomyosarcoma remains a challenge due to several adverse prognostic factors frequently associated with this tumor site. The International Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Database Consortium (INSTRuCT) is a collaboration of the Children's Oncology Group Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Committee, the European Pediatric Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Study Group, and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe. The INSTRuCT surgical committee developed an internationally applicable consensus opinion document for the surgical treatment of extremity rhabdomyosarcoma. This document addresses surgical management, including biopsy, nodal staging, timing of therapy, resection and reexcision, reconstruction, and surgical approach at relapse.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28608DOI Listing
August 2020

Local treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma of the female genital tract: Expert consensus from the Children's Oncology Group, the European Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Group, and the Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2020 Aug 6:e28601. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Department of Pediatric Surgery, University Hospital Giessen-Marburg, Marburg, Germany.

The International Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Consortium (INSTRuCT) was founded as an international collaboration between different pediatric soft-tissue sarcoma cooperative groups (Children's Oncology Group, European Pediatric Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Group, and Cooperative Weichteilsarkom Studiengruppe). Besides other tasks, a major goal of INSTRuCT is to develop consensus expert opinions for best clinical treatment. This consensus paper for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma of the female genital tract (FGU-RMS) provides treatment recommendations for local treatment, long-term follow-up, and fertility preservation. Therefore, a review of the current literature was combined with recommendations of the treatment protocols of the appropriate clinical trials. Additionally, opinions of international FGU-RMS experts were incorporated into recommendations. Results were that the prognosis of FGU-RMS is favorable with an excellent response to chemotherapy. Initial complete surgical resection is not indicated, but diagnosis should be established properly. In patients with tumors localized at the vagina or cervix demonstrating incomplete response after induction chemotherapy, local radiotherapy (brachytherapy) should be carried out. In patients with persistent tumors at the corpus uteri, hysterectomy should be performed. Fertility preservation should be considered in all patients. In conclusion, for the first time, an international consensus for the treatment of FGU-RMS patients could be achieved, which will help to harmonize the treatment of these patients in different study groups.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.28601DOI Listing
August 2020

Transcriptome analysis of desmoplastic small round cell tumors identifies actionable therapeutic targets: a report from the Children's Oncology Group.

Sci Rep 2020 07 23;10(1):12318. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Department of Translational Genomics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

To further understand the molecular pathogenesis of desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT), a fatal malignancy occurring primarily in adolescent/young adult males, we used next-generation RNA sequencing to investigate the gene expression profiles intrinsic to this disease. RNA from DSRCT specimens obtained from the Children's Oncology Group was sequenced using the Illumina HiSeq 2000 system and subjected to bioinformatic analyses. Validation and functional studies included WT1 ChIP-seq, EWS-WT1 knockdown using JN-DSRCT-1 cells and immunohistochemistry. A panel of immune signature genes was also evaluated to identify possible immune therapeutic targets. Twelve of 14 tumor samples demonstrated presence of the diagnostic EWSR1-WT1 translocation and these 12 samples were used for the remainder of the analysis. RNA sequencing confirmed the lack of full-length WT1 in all fusion positive samples as well as the JN-DSRCT-1 cell line. ChIP-seq for WT1 showed significant overlap with genes found to be highly expressed, including IGF2 and FGFR4, which were both highly expressed and targets of the EWS-WT1 fusion protein. In addition, we identified CD200 and CD276 as potentially targetable immune checkpoints whose expression is independent of the EWS-WT1 fusion gene in cultured DSCRT cells. In conclusion, we identified IGF2, FGFR4, CD200, and CD276 as potential therapeutic targets with clinical relevance for patients with DSRCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69015-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7378211PMC
July 2020

Pathological response in children and adults with large unresected intermediate-grade or high-grade soft tissue sarcoma receiving preoperative chemoradiotherapy with or without pazopanib (ARST1321): a multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 2 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2020 08 20;21(8):1110-1122. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA.

Background: Outcomes for children and adults with advanced soft tissue sarcoma are poor with traditional therapy. We investigated whether the addition of pazopanib to preoperative chemoradiotherapy would improve pathological near complete response rate compared with chemoradiotherapy alone.

Methods: In this joint Children's Oncology Group and NRG Oncology multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 2 trial, we enrolled eligible adults (aged ≥18 years) and children (aged between 2 and <18 years) from 57 hospitals in the USA and Canada with unresected, newly diagnosed trunk or extremity chemotherapy-sensitive soft tissue sarcoma, which were larger than 5 cm in diameter and of intermediate or high grade. Eligible patients had Lansky (if aged ≤16 years) or Karnofsky (if aged >16 years) performance status score of at least 70. Patients received ifosfamide (2·5 g/m per dose intravenously on days 1-3 with mesna) and doxorubicin (37·5 mg/m per dose intravenously on days 1-2) with 45 Gy preoperative radiotherapy, followed by surgical resection at week 13. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) using a web-based system, in an unmasked manner, to receive oral pazopanib (if patients <18 years 350 mg/m once daily; if patients ≥18 years 600 mg once daily) or not (control group), with pazopanib not given immediately before or after surgery at week 13. The study projected 100 randomly assigned patients were needed to show an improvement in the number of participants with a 90% or higher pathological response at week 13 from 40% to 60%. Analysis was done per protocol. This study has completed accrual and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02180867.

Findings: Between July 7, 2014, and Oct 1, 2018, 81 eligible patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to the pazopanib group (n=42) or the control group (n=39). At the planned second interim analysis with 42 evaluable patients and a median follow-up of 0·8 years (IQR 0·3-1·6) in the pazopanib group and 1 year (0·3-1·6) in the control group, the number of patients with a 90% pathological response or higher was 14 (58%) of 24 patients in the pazopanib group and four (22%) of 18 patients in the control group, with a between-group difference in the number of 90% or higher pathological response of 36·1% (83·8% CI 16·5-55·8). On the basis of an interim analysis significance level of 0·081 (overall one-sided significance level of 0·20, power of 0·80, and O'Brien-Fleming-type cumulative error spending function), the 83·8% CI for response difference was between 16·5% and 55·8% and thus excluded 0. The improvement in pathological response rate with the addition of pazopanib crossed the predetermined boundary and enrolment was stopped. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were leukopenia (16 [43%] of 37 patients), neutropenia (15 [41%]), and febrile neutropenia (15 [41%]) in the pazopanib group, and neutropenia (three [9%] of 35 patients) and febrile neutropenia (three [9%]) in the control group. 22 (59%) of 37 patients in the pazopanib group had a pazopanib-related serious adverse event. Paediatric and adult patients had a similar number of grade 3 and 4 toxicity. There were seven deaths (three in the pazopanib group and four in the control group), none of which were treatment related.

Interpretation: In this presumed first prospective trial of soft tissue sarcoma spanning nearly the entire age spectrum, adding pazopanib to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy improved the rate of pathological near complete response, suggesting that this is a highly active and feasible combination in children and adults with advanced soft tissue sarcoma. The comparison of survival outcomes requires longer follow-up.

Funding: National Institutes of Health, St Baldrick's Foundation, Seattle Children's Foundation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30325-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745646PMC
August 2020

Targeted Oncogene Therapy Before Surgery in Pediatric Patients With Advanced Invasive Thyroid Cancer at Initial Presentation: Is It Time for a Paradigm Shift?

JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2020 08;146(8):748-753

Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Importance: Initial data suggest the effectiveness of oncogene-specific targeted therapies in inducing tumor regression of diverse cancers in children and adults, with minimal adverse effects.

Observations: In this review, preliminary data suggest that systemic therapy may be effective in inducing tumor regression in pediatric patients with unresectable invasive thyroid cancer. Although most pediatric patients with thyroid cancer initially present with operable disease, some children have extensive disease that poses substantial surgical challenges and exposes them to higher than usual risk of operative complications. Extensive disease includes thyroid cancer that invades the trachea or esophagus or encases vascular or neural structures. Previous efforts to manage extensive thyroid cancer focused on surgery with near-curative intent. With the recent development of oncogene-specific targeted therapies that are effective in inducing tumor regression, with minimal drug-associated adverse effects, there is an opportunity to consider incorporating these agents as neoadjuvant therapy. In patients with morbidly invasive regional metastasis or with hypoxia associated with extensive pulmonary metastasis, neoadjuvant therapy can be incorporated to induce tumor regression before surgery and radioactive iodine therapy. For patients with widely invasive medullary thyroid cancer, in whom the risk of surgical complications is high and the likelihood of surgical remission is low, these agents may replace surgery depending on the response to therapy and long-term tolerance.

Conclusions And Relevance: With oncogene-specific targeted therapy that is associated with substantial tumor regression and low risk of adverse reactions, there appears to be an opportunity to include children with advanced invasive thyroid cancer in clinical trials exploring neoadjuvant targeted oncogene therapy before or instead of surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2020.1340DOI Listing
August 2020

Impact of local control and surgical lymph node evaluation in localized paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma: A report from the Children's Oncology Group Soft Tissue Sarcoma Committee.

Int J Cancer 2020 12 11;147(11):3168-3176. Epub 2020 Jul 11.

Department of Surgery, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Paratesticular rhabdomyosarcoma (PT-RMS) carries a favorable prognosis, but questions persist regarding optimal management. Our goal was to determine the importance of primary tumor resection and surgical assessment of retroperitoneal lymph nodes during staging in patients with PT-RMS. We analyzed patients with localized PT-RMS enrolled onto one of four Children's Oncology Group studies (D9602, ARST0331, D9803 or ARST0531). Surgical resection of the primary tumor prior to chemotherapy and radiotherapy was encouraged when possible with retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) recommended for patients ≥10 years of age. Among 279 patients (median 8.1 years old), most tumors were resected with negative margins (78.5%) and most patients did not have radiographic enlargement of regional lymph nodes (90.3%). In patients older than 10 years, imaging alone will miss over 51.5% of nodal disease. Five-year event-free survival (EFS) was 92.0% (95% CI 88.4%-95.6%). Sampling ≥7 to 12 retroperitoneal lymph nodes appeared optimal for detecting positive nodes; while there was a trend toward improved EFS among those undergoing template RPLND, this was not statistically significant (P = .068). Age (P = .28), N-stage (P = .39), T-stage (P = .11) and pathologic node involvement (P = .53) were not associated with overall survival. However, older age and larger tumor size had an additive impact on EFS (P = .027) though not overall survival (P = .13). In conclusion, outcomes for patients with PT-RMS are excellent. Reliance on imaging to detect nodal involvement will miss pathologic node involvement and may result in undertreatment. Surgical nodal staging requires at least 7 to 12 nodes to accurately identify patients with regional nodal disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33143DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7751831PMC
December 2020
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