Publications by authors named "Frances A Shepherd"

323 Publications

The effect of prior cancer on non-small cell lung cancer trial eligibility.

Cancer Med 2021 Jun 18. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, USA.

Objectives: Approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have a history of prior (non-lung) cancer. Patients with prior cancer are frequently excluded from clinical trials. We aimed to assess the potential impact of prior cancer on commonly used clinical trial endpoints.

Materials And Methods: Clinical trials of systemic therapy for incurable NSCLC from clinicaltrials.gov were reviewed to determine the frequency of exclusion on the basis of prior cancer. A cohort of patients with incurable NSCLC and prior cancer, treated with first-line systemic treatment at our institution were reviewed as a surrogate clinical trial population. A list of priori events was developed to capture the potential for prior cancer to negatively affect clinical trial conduct or endpoints. The proportions of patients that developed an outcome were assessed.

Results: Among trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov, 66% listed prior cancer in the eligibility criteria, and of these 35% excluded patients with prior cancer in the last 5 years. Of NSCLC patients treated with systemic therapy at Princess Margaret Cancer Center, 20% had prior cancer, of these, breast (20%) and prostate (19%) were the most common malignancies. Median time between prior cancer and NSCLC was 82 months. Median survival was 20 months. For patients without evidence of active prior cancer at baseline, and not on active therapy for prior cancer, no patients had evidence of a recurrence of prior cancer during the treatment and follow-up for the NSCLC, nor died from prior cancer. However, two patients developed new primaries.

Conclusions: A history of prior cancer has a low likelihood of impacting clinical trial endpoints in patients with incurable NSCLC, if not active or requiring treatment. These findings should be validated in larger data sets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.4049DOI Listing
June 2021

Durability of CNS disease control in NSCLC patients with brain metastases treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors plus cranial radiotherapy.

Lung Cancer 2021 Jun 8;156:76-81. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have excellent systemic activity and are standard first line treatment in EGFR/ALK wild type metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, their role in patients with brain metastases, which affects over 20% of patients and cause significant morbidity, is less clear.

Methods: We reviewed patients with EGFR/ALK wild-type mNSCLC with CNS metastases. Serial MRIs were reviewed to determine the time to intracranial progression (iPFS). Multivariate regression was performed to adjust for the disease-specific graded prognostic score (ds-GPA).

Results: We identified 36 ICI- and 33 chemotherapy-treated patients with baseline CNS metastases and available serial MRIs (average frequency:3.5 months). Baseline radiation was given except for 2 chemotherapy-treated patients with asymptomatic solitary metastasis. The CNS burden of disease was higher in the ICI-treated group (ICI:22% vs. chemotherapy:0% had >10 lesions; p = 0.02), but the utilization of WBRT was not (ICI:31% vs. chemotherapy:45%; p = 0.09). At the time of progression, CNS involvement was identified in 30 % of ICI-treated patients compared to 64 % of chemotherapy controls (p = 0.02). ICI-treated patients had superior iPFS (13.5 vs 8.4 months) that remained significant in multivariate analysis (HR 1.9; 95%CI 1.1--3.4). Superior CNS outcomes in ICI-treated patients were driven by the PD-L1 high subgroup where the 12-month cumulative incidence rate of CNS progression was 19% in ICI-treated PD-L1 ≥ 50%, 50% in ICI-treated PD-L1 < 50% and 58% in chemotherapy-treated patients (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Remarkable CNS disease control is seen with baseline RT plus ICIs in patients with PD-L1 ≥ 50%. Strategies for delaying WBRT should be investigated in this subgroup of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2021.04.006DOI Listing
June 2021

Patient-Reported Outcomes with Durvalumab With or Without Tremelimumab Versus Standard Chemotherapy as First-Line Treatment of Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (MYSTIC).

Clin Lung Cancer 2021 Feb 19. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY.

Background: The phase 3 MYSTIC study of durvalumab ± tremelimumab versus chemotherapy in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with tumor cell (TC) programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression ≥ 25% did not meet its primary endpoints. We report patient-reported outcomes (PROs).

Patients And Methods: Treatment-naïve patients were randomized (1:1:1) to durvalumab, durvalumab + tremelimumab, or chemotherapy. PROs were assessed in patients with PD-L1 TC ≥ 25% using EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ)-C30/LC13. Changes from baseline (12 months) for prespecified PRO endpoints of interest were analyzed by mixed model for repeated measures (MMRM) and time to deterioration (TTD) by stratified log-rank tests.

Results: There were no between-arm differences in baseline PROs (N = 488). Between-arm differences in MMRM-adjusted mean changes from baseline favored at least one of the durvalumab-containing arms versus chemotherapy (nominal P < .01) for C30 fatigue: durvalumab (-9.5; 99% confidence interval [CI], -17.0 to -2.0), durvalumab + tremelimumab (-11.7; 99% CI, -19.4 to -4.1); and for C30 appetite loss: durvalumab (-11.9; 99% CI, -21.1 to -2.7). TTD was longer with at least one of the durvalumab-containing arms versus chemotherapy (nominal P < .01) for global health status/quality of life: durvalumab (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-1.0), durvalumab + tremelimumab (HR = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-1.0); and for physical functioning: durvalumab (HR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8), durvalumab + tremelimumab (HR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9) (both C30); as well as for the key symptoms of dyspnea: durvalumab (HR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9), durvalumab + tremelimumab (HR = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-1.0) (both LC13); fatigue: durvalumab + tremelimumab (HR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8); and appetite loss: durvalumab (HR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4-0.7), durvalumab + tremelimumab (HR = 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-0.9) (both C30).

Conclusion: Durvalumab ± tremelimumab versus chemotherapy reduced symptom burden and improved TTD of PROs, suggesting it had no detrimental effects on quality of life in metastatic NSCLC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2021.02.010DOI Listing
February 2021

Prognostic and predictive effect of gene copy number and mutation status in early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients.

Transl Lung Cancer Res 2021 Feb;10(2):826-838

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Background: In the current analysis, we characterize the prognostic significance of mutations with concomitant copy number aberrations (CNA) in early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and evaluate the ability to predict survival benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.

Methods: Clinical and genomic data from the LACE (Lung Adjuvant Cisplatin Evaluation)-Bio consortium was utilized. CNAs were categorized as Gain (CN ≥2) or Neutral (Neut)/Loss; status was defined as wild type (WT) or mutant (MUT). The following groups were compared in all patients and the adenocarcinoma subgroup, and were correlated to survival endpoints using a Cox proportional hazards model: WT + Neut/Loss (reference), WT + Gain, MUT + Gain and MUT + Neut/Loss. A treatment-by-variable interaction was added to evaluate predictive effect.

Results: Of the 946 (399 adenocarcinoma) NSCLC patients, 41 [30] had MUT + Gain, 145 [99] MUT + Neut/Loss, 125 [16] WT + Gain, and 635 [254] WT + Neut/Loss. A non-significant trend towards worse lung cancer-specific survival (LCSS; HR =1.34; 95% CI, 0.83-2.17, P=0.232), DFS (HR =1.34; 95% CI, 0.86-2.09, P=0.202) and OS (HR =1.59; 95% CI, 0.99-2.54, P=0.055) was seen in MUT + Gain patients relative to WT + Neut/Loss patients. A negative prognostic effect of MUT + Neut/Loss was observed for LCSS (HR =1.32; 95% CI, 1.01-1.71, P=0.038) relative to WT + Neut/Loss on univariable analysis, but to a lesser extent after adjusting for covariates (HR =1.28; 95% CI, 0.97-1.68, P=0.078). MUT + Gain was associated with a greater beneficial effect of chemotherapy on DFS compared to WT + Neut/Loss patients (rHR =0.33; 95% CI, 0.11-0.99, P=0.048), with a non-significant trend also seen for LCSS (rHR =0.41; 95% CI, 0.13-1.33, P=0.138) and OS (rHR =0.40; 95% CI, 0.13-1.26, P=0.116) in the adenocarcinoma subgroup.

Conclusions: A small prognostic effect of mutation was identified for LCSS, and a trend towards worse LCSS, DFS and OS was noted for MUT + Gain. A potential predictive effect of concomitant mutation and copy number gain was observed for DFS in adenocarcinoma patients. These results could be driven by the small number of patients and require validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/tlcr-20-927DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7947394PMC
February 2021

Systemic Inflammatory Markers of Survival in Epidermal Growth Factor-Mutated Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: Single-Institution Analysis, Systematic Review, and Meta-analysis.

Clin Lung Cancer 2021 Jan 10. Epub 2021 Jan 10.

Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Biostatistics, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Departments of Medical Biophysics, Pharmacology, and Toxicology, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Systemic inflammatory response (SIR) may influence prognosis in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated (m) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Pretreatment SIR markers (neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio [NLR], platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio, lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio [LMR], lactate dehydrogenase [LDH], and lung immune prognostic index [LIPI]) were assessed as prognostic factors in NSCLC survival.

Patients And Methods: Retrospective survival analysis (overall survival [OS] and progression-free survival [PFS]) of EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre were performed separately for early (I-IIIa) and late (IIIb-IV) stage disease for individual SIR variables, dichotomized by optimal cutoff points by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and multivariable Cox proportional hazard modeling. A systematic review and meta-analysis of known SIR studies in patients with late-stage EGFR-mutated were also performed.

Results: From 2012 to 2019, in 530 patients, significant adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) for OS comparing high versus low NLR were 2.12 for early stage and 1.79 for late stage disease. Additionally, late stage cohorts had significant associations, as follows: high versus low derived NLR, aHR = 1.53; LMR, aHR = 0.62; LDH, aHR = 2.04; and LIPI, aHR = 2.04. Similar patterns were found for PFS in early stage NLR (aHR = 1.96) and late stage NLR (aHR = 1.46), while for PFS, only late stage derived NLR (aHR = 1.34), LDH (aHR = 1.75), and LIPI (aHR = 1.66) were significant. A meta-analysis confirmed that NLR, LMR, LDH, and LIPI were all significantly associated with OS and PFS in the late stage.

Conclusion: This primary study and meta-analysis demonstrated that LMR and LDH were significantly associated with late stage EGFR-mutated NSCLC outcomes, and the LIPI scoring system was prognostic. NLR remained an independent prognostic factor across all stages and could represent an early marker of immuno-oncology interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2021.01.002DOI Listing
January 2021

Subtypes of EGFR- and HER2-Mutant Metastatic NSCLC Influence Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.

Clin Lung Cancer 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:

Introduction: The efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) is low among EGFR-mutated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although prolonged responses have occasionally been reported. We investigated the association between mutation subtypes and ICI outcomes among HER2- and EGFR-mutated NSCLC.

Patients And Methods: This retrospective single-center study analyzed patients with EGFR- and HER2-mutated advanced NSCLC who received at least 1 cycle of ICI between 2013 and 2019. Patient characteristics, mutation subtype, and ICI outcomes.

Results: Among 48 patients with advanced NSCLC, 14 (29%) had HER2 mutations and 34 (71%) had EGFR mutations. EGFR mutations included 16 (47%) exon 19 deletion, 7 (21%) L858R, 5 (15%) uncommon, and 6 (18%) exon 20 insertion. Compared to EGFR-sensitizing mutations (ESMs), HER2 and EGFR exon 20 mutations were associated with a trend toward better response (respectively, ESM, HER2, and EGFR exon 20: 11%, 29%, and 50%; P = .07) and significantly better disease control rates (respectively, 18%, 57%, and 67%; P = .008). Compared to ESM, HER2 mutations (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.35; P = .02) and EGFR exon 20 mutations (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.37; P = .10 trend) were also associated with improved PFS. Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression remained an independent predictor of PFS (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.23-0.76; P = .004). The 6-month PFS rates were 29% (HER2), 33% (EGFR exon 20), and 4% (ESM). ICIs were generally well tolerated in this population. Importantly, no immune-related toxicity was observed in 10 patients who received a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) as the immediate next line treatment after ICI.

Conclusion: HER2 and EGFR exon 20 mutations derive greater benefit from ICIs with comparable PFS to wild-type historical second/third-line unselected cohorts. ICIs remain a treatment option for this genomic subgroup, given the absence of approved targeted therapies for these rare mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.12.015DOI Listing
January 2021

Durvalumab therapy following chemoradiation compared with a historical cohort treated with chemoradiation alone in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer: A real-world multicentre study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 24;142:83-91. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Centre de Recherche Du Centre Hospitalier de L'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), 900, Rue Saint-Denis, Pavillon R, H2X 0A9, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Cedars Cancer Center, McGill University Healthcare Center (MUHC), 1001, Boulevard Décarie, H4A 3J1, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Segal Cancer Center, Jewish General Hospital, 3755, Chemin de La Côte-Sainte-Catherine, H3T 1E2, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: The PACIFIC trial demonstrated that durvalumab therapy following chemoradiation (CRT) was associated with improved overall survival (OS) in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is unclear whether the results obtained as part of randomised controlled trials are a reflection of real-world (RW) data. Several questions remain unanswered with regard to RW durvalumab use, such as optimal time to durvalumab initiation, incidence of pneumonitis and response in PD-L1 subgroups.

Methods: In this multicentre retrospective analysis, 147 patients with stage III NSCLC treated with CRT followed by durvalumab were compared with a historical cohort of 121 patients treated with CRT alone. Survival curves were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared with the log-rank test in univariate analysis. Multivariate analysis was performed to evaluate the effect of standard prognostic factors for durvalumab use.

Results: Median OS was not reached in the durvalumab group, compared with 26.9 months in the historical group (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.37-0.85, p = 0.001). In the durvalumab group, our data suggest improved 12-month OS in patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% (100% vs 86%, HR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.11-0.58, p = 0.007). There was no difference in OS between patients with a PD-L1 expression of 1-49% and patients with PD-L1 expression <1%. Delay in durvalumab initiation beyond 42 days did not impact OS. Incidence of pneumonitis was similar in the durvalumab and historical groups. In the durvalumab group, patients who experienced any-grade pneumonitis had a lower 12-month OS than patients without pneumonitis (85% vs 95%, respectively; HR: 3.3, 95% CI: 1.2-9.0, p = 0.006).

Conclusions: This multicentre analysis suggests that PD-L1 expression ≥50% was associated with favourable OS in patients with stage III NSCLC treated with durvalumab after CRT, whereas the presence of pneumonitis represented a negative prognostic factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.10.008DOI Listing
January 2021

Osimertinib in Resected -Mutated Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2020 10 19;383(18):1711-1723. Epub 2020 Sep 19.

From the Guangdong Lung Cancer Institute, Guangdong Provincial People's Hospital, and Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou (Y.-L.W.), the Thoracic Surgery Department, National Cancer Center-National Clinical Research Center for Cancer-Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing (J.H.), and the Lung Cancer Center, Shanghai Chest Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai (S.L.) - all in China; the Department of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa (M.T.), and the Department of Thoracic Oncology, Kanagawa Cancer Center, Yokohama (T.K.) - both in Japan; the Department of Medical Oncology, Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (T.J.); the Department of Respiratory Diseases, Evangelische Lungenklinik, Berlin (C.G.); the Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona (M.M.), and the Department of Oncology, Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid (M.D.); the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles (J.W.G.); the Center of Innovative Technologies and Oncology, N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Center, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow (K.L.); the Department of Oncology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine (S.-W.K.), and the Precision Medicine Lung Cancer Center, Konkuk University Medical Center (K.-Y.L.) - both in Seoul, South Korea; the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Cho Ray Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (H.-V.V.); the Division of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand (C.A.); the Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan (C.-J.Y.); the Division of Thoracic Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Milan (F.M.), and Medical Oncology 2, Istituto Oncologico Veneto, IRCCS, Padua (L.B.) - both in Italy; the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto, Toronto (F.A.S.); Late Oncology Statistics, AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg, MD (L.Z.); Late Oncology Statistics (R.H.) and Oncology Research and Development (A.A., Y.R.), AstraZeneca, Cambridge, United Kingdom; and Section of Medical Oncology, Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT (R.S.H.).

Background: Osimertinib is standard-of-care therapy for previously untreated epidermal growth factor receptor () mutation-positive advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The efficacy and safety of osimertinib as adjuvant therapy are unknown.

Methods: In this double-blind, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned patients with completely resected mutation-positive NSCLC in a 1:1 ratio to receive either osimertinib (80 mg once daily) or placebo for 3 years. The primary end point was disease-free survival among patients with stage II to IIIA disease (according to investigator assessment). The secondary end points included disease-free survival in the overall population of patients with stage IB to IIIA disease, overall survival, and safety.

Results: A total of 682 patients underwent randomization (339 to the osimertinib group and 343 to the placebo group). At 24 months, 90% of the patients with stage II to IIIA disease in the osimertinib group (95% confidence interval [CI], 84 to 93) and 44% of those in the placebo group (95% CI, 37 to 51) were alive and disease-free (overall hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death, 0.17; 99.06% CI, 0.11 to 0.26; P<0.001). In the overall population, 89% of the patients in the osimertinib group (95% CI, 85 to 92) and 52% of those in the placebo group (95% CI, 46 to 58) were alive and disease-free at 24 months (overall hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death, 0.20; 99.12% CI, 0.14 to 0.30; P<0.001). At 24 months, 98% of the patients in the osimertinib group (95% CI, 95 to 99) and 85% of those in the placebo group (95% CI, 80 to 89) were alive and did not have central nervous system disease (overall hazard ratio for disease recurrence or death, 0.18; 95% CI, 0.10 to 0.33). Overall survival data were immature; 29 patients died (9 in the osimertinib group and 20 in the placebo group). No new safety concerns were noted.

Conclusions: In patients with stage IB to IIIA mutation-positive NSCLC, disease-free survival was significantly longer among those who received osimertinib than among those who received placebo. (Funded by AstraZeneca; ADAURA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02511106.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2027071DOI Listing
October 2020

The impact of symptoms and comorbidity on health utility scores and health-related quality of life in small cell lung cancer using real world data.

Qual Life Res 2021 Feb 26;30(2):445-454. Epub 2020 Aug 26.

Medical Oncology and Hematology, Department of Medicine, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, 610 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G2M9, Canada.

Purpose: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a highly fatal disease associated with significant morbidity, with a need for real-world symptom and health utility score (HUS) data. HUS can be measured using an EQ-5D-5L questionnaire, however most captured data is available in non-SCLC (NSCLC) only. As new treatment regimens become available in SCLC it becomes important to understand factors which influence health-related quality of life and health utility.

Methods: A prospective observational cohort study (2012-2017) of ambulatory histologically confirmed SCLC evaluated patient-reported EQ-5D-5L-derived HUS, toxicity and symptoms. A set of NSCLC patients was used to compare differential factors affecting HUS. Clinical and demographic factors were evaluated for differential interactions between lung cancer types. Comorbidity scores were documented for each patient.

Results: In 75 SCLC and 150 NSCLC patients, those with SCLC had lower mean HUS ((SCLC vs NSCLC: mean 0.69 vs 0.79); (p < 0.001)) when clinically stable and with progressive disease: ((SCLC mean HUS = 0.60 vs NSCLC mean HUS = 0.77), (p = 0.04)). SCLC patients also had higher comorbidity scores ((1.11 vs 0.73); (p < 0.015)). In multivariable analyses, increased symptom severity and comorbidity scores decreased HUS in both SCLC and NSCLC (p < 0.001); however, only comorbidity scores differentially affected HUS (p < 0.0001), with a greater reduction of HUS adjusted per unit of comorbidity in SCLC.

Conclusion: Patients with advanced SCLC had significantly lower HUS than NSCLC. Both patient cohorts are impacted by symptoms and comorbidity, however, comorbidity had a greater negative effect in SCLC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-020-02615-1DOI Listing
February 2021

Retrospective study of the incidence and outcomes from lung cancer in solid organ transplant recipients.

Lung Cancer 2020 09 26;147:214-220. Epub 2020 Jul 26.

University Health Network, University of Toronto, 610 University Avenue Toronto, M5G2M9, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: Organ transplant recipients (OTR) have an increased risk of developing post-transplant malignancies with lung cancer being one of the most common. In this retrospective study, we investigated incidence, use of systemic therapy and outcomes from lung cancer in OTR.

Materials And Methods: Patients diagnosed with lung cancer following a solid organ transplant at the University Health Network, Toronto, ON, CA, from January 1, 1980 to June 30, 2016 were included. Data for the study population, patient characteristics, treatments and outcomes were abstracted from solid OTR databases, our cancer registry and patient charts. Univariate Kaplan-Meier curves estimated median overall survival (OS) by histology, stage and systemic therapy.

Results: Amongst 7944 OTR (heart [N = 765], lung [n = 1668], liver [n = 2238], kidney [n = 3273]), 101 (1.3 %) developed lung cancer which were included in our analyses. Of these, 81 % were non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), 11 % small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and 8% neuroendocrine tumor (NET). Median OS (months) was 25 in those that presented with Stage I/II NSCLC (44 %); 25 for Stage III NSCLC (7%); 3 for Stage IV NCLC (31 %); 10 for Limited stage SCLC (6%); 2 for Extensive stage (ES) SCLC (5%). NSCLC patients that received palliative chemotherapy had an OS of 8 months; ES-SCLC patients that received chemotherapy had an OS of 6 months. Of all patients who received platinum doublets (n = 16), 10 (62.5 %) required dose reductions at some point. Five patients experienced febrile neutropenia (31 %); two (12 %) had other toxicities leading to discontinuation.

Conclusion: Patients with stage I/II NSCLC and NET had poorer survival compared to historical norms in non-transplant patients. Patients who had stage III NSCLC or received palliative systemic therapy had survivals at or slightly below historic norms, although numbers were small. Chemotherapy can be administered in selected OTR patients though dose reductions and febrile neutropenia were common.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.07.020DOI Listing
September 2020

Multi-Institutional Prospective Validation of Prognostic mRNA Signatures in Early Stage Squamous Lung Cancer (Alliance).

J Thorac Oncol 2020 11 24;15(11):1748-1757. Epub 2020 Jul 24.

Division of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado; Tisch Cancer Institute, Mount Sinai Health System, New York, New York.

Introduction: Surgical resection is curative for some patients with early lung squamous cell carcinoma. Staging and clinical factors do not adequately predict recurrence risk. We sought to validate the discriminative performance of proposed prognostic gene expression signatures at a level of rigor sufficient to support clinical use.

Methods: The two-stage validation used independent core laboratories, objective quality control standards, locked test parameters, and large multi-institutional specimen and data sets. The first stage validation confirmed a signature's ability to stratify patient survival. The second-stage validation determined which signature(s) optimally improved risk discrimination when added to baseline clinical predictors. Participants were prospectively enrolled in institutional (cohort I) or cooperative group (cohort II) biospecimen and data collection protocols. All cases underwent a central review of clinical, pathologic, and biospecimen parameters using objective criteria to determine final inclusion (cohort I: n = 249; cohort II: n = 234). Primary selection required that a signature significantly predict a 3-year survival after surgical resection in cohort I. Signatures meeting this criterion were further tested in cohort II, comparing risk prediction using baseline risk factors alone versus in combination with the signature.

Results: Male sex, advanced age, and higher stage were associated with shorter survival in cohort I and established a baseline clinical model. Of the three signatures validated in cohort I, one signature was validated in cohort II and statistically significantly enhanced the prognosis relative to the baseline model (C-index difference 0.122; p < 0.05).

Conclusions: These results represent the first rigorous validation of a test appropriate to direct adjuvant treatment or clinical trials for patients with lung squamous cell carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2020.07.005DOI Listing
November 2020

Metabolites as Prognostic Markers for Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Patients Treated with First-Line Platinum-Doublet Chemotherapy.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jul 16;12(7). Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 19104, USA.

The metabolic requirements of metastatic non-small cell lung (mNSCLC) tumors from patients receiving first-line platinum-doublet chemotherapy are hypothesized to imprint a blood signature suitable for survival prediction. Pre-treatment samples prospectively collected at baseline from a randomized phase III trial were assayed using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy ( = 341) and ultra-high performance liquid chromatography - mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) ( = 297). Distributions of time to event outcomes were estimated by Kaplan-Meier analysis, and baseline characteristics adjusted Cox regression modeling was used to correlate markers' levels to time to event outcomes. Sixteen polar metabolites were significantly correlated with overall survival (OS) by univariate analysis ( < 0.025). Formate, 2-hydroxybutyrate, glycine and -inositol were selected for a multivariate model. The median OS was 6.6 months in the high-risk group compared to 11.4 months in the low risk group HR (Hazard Ratio) = 1.99, 95% C.I. (Confidence Interval) 1.45-2.68; < 0.0001). Modeling of lipids by class (sphingolipids, acylcarnitines and lysophosphatidylcholines) revealed a median OS = 5.7 months vs. 11. 9 months for the high vs. low risk group. (HR: 2.23, 95% C.I. 1.55-3.20; < 0.0001). These results demonstrate that metabolic profiles from pre-treatment samples may be useful to stratify clinical outcomes for mNSCLC patients receiving chemotherapy. Genomic and longitudinal measurements pre- and post-treatment may yield addition information to personalize treatment decisions further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12071926DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7409233PMC
July 2020

Neurological Death is Common in Patients With EGFR Mutant Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Diagnosed With Brain Metastases.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2020 May-Jun;5(3):350-357. Epub 2019 Nov 26.

Radiation Medicine Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Purpose: Brain metastases (BrM) are common in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFRm) mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We sought to determine the rate of neurologic death (ND) in this population.

Methods And Materials: We analyzed data from 198 patients who received a diagnosis of BrM from EGFRm NSCLC between 2004 and 2016, comparing patients whose initial treatment for BrM was stereotactic radiosurgery with or without tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI), whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with or without TKI, or TKI alone. The incidence of ND was determined using a competing risks analysis. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to identify clinical variables associated with this outcome.

Results: The percentage of patients who initially received stereotactic radiosurgery, whole brain radiation therapy, or TKI alone was 22%, 61%, and 17%, respectively. Median overall survival in these subgroups was 31.1, 14.6, and 24.6 months, respectively ( = .0016). The 5-year incidence of ND among all patients was 40% and did not significantly vary according to treatment group. In a multivariable model, only leptomeningeal disease at any point in a patient's disease course significantly correlated with ND (hazard ratio 4.75, <.001).

Conclusions: Among our cohort of patients with BrM from EGFRm NSCLC, the incidence of ND was significantly higher than suggested by previous reports. BrM should be considered a driver of mortality in many patients with EGFRm NSCLC, and treatments providing better control of BrM, lower neurocognitive side effects, and maintenance of quality of life are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2019.11.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7276684PMC
November 2019

BRAF V600E mutation and MET amplification as resistance pathways of the second-generation anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor alectinib in lung cancer.

Lung Cancer 2020 08 21;146:78-85. Epub 2020 May 21.

University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) targeted therapies have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in ALK-positive lung adenocarcinomas. However, patients inevitably develop resistance to such therapies. To investigate novel mechanisms of resistance to second generation ALK inhibitors, we characterized and modeled ALK inhibitor resistance of ALK-positive patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models established from advanced-stage lung adenocarcinoma patients who have progressed on one or more ALK inhibitors.

Methods: Whole exome sequencing was performed to identify resistance mechanisms to ALK inhibitors in PDXs generated from biopsies at the time of relapse. ALK fusion status was confirmed using fluorescent in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, RNA-sequencing, RT-qPCR and western blot. Targeted therapies to overcome acquired resistance were then tested on the PDX models.

Results: Three PDX models were successfully established from biopsies of two patients who had progressed on crizotinib and/or alectinib. The PDX models recapitulated the histology and ALK status of their patient tumors, as well as their matched patients' clinical treatment outcome to ALK inhibitors. Whole exome sequencing identified MET amplification and previously unreported BRAF V600E mutation as independent mechanisms of resistance to alectinib. Importantly, PDX treatment of inhibitors specific for these targets combined with ALK inhibitor overcame resistance.

Conclusions: Bypass signaling pathway through c-MET and BRAF are independent mechanisms of resistance to alectinib. Individualized intervention against these resistance pathways could be viable therapeutic options in alectinib-refractory lung adenocarcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.05.018DOI Listing
August 2020

EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinomas from patients who progressed on EGFR-inhibitors show high engraftment rates in xenograft models.

Lung Cancer 2020 07 11;145:144-151. Epub 2020 May 11.

University Health Network, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Departments of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Department of Medicine, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Objective: Patient-derived xenografts (PDX) are useful preclinical models to study cancer biology and mechanisms of drug response/resistance, particularly in molecularly targetable tumors. However, PDX engraftment may not be stochastic. We investigated clinical, histological and molecular features associated with PDX engraftment in a large cohort of EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD).

Material And Methods: Samples were collected by different methods from patients at various disease stages and phases of treatment. PDX engraftment was defined as an ability to passage tumors twice in NOD-SCID mice. Uni- and multivariate logistic regression evaluated factors associated with engraftment.

Results: Among 138 EGFR-mutated LUAD implanted into NOD-SCID mice, the overall engraftment rate was only 10% (14/138). However, engraftment was significantly higher in specimens from surgical resections or core-needle biopsies collected from metastatic sites (5/5; 100%) or from patients who had progressed on EGFR-inhibitors (7/10; 70%). Engrafted tumors usually showed poor histological differentiation, a solid morphologic pattern, and presence of either EGFR T790 M and/or TP53 mutations.

Conclusions: Population level analyses of mutant EGFR-PDX show that these models might not fully recapitulate the inter-patient heterogeneity of EGFR-LUAD. However, mutant EGFR-PDXs may be useful to address key clinical questions, notably development of resistance to EGFR-inhibitors and disease progression to distant metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.03.022DOI Listing
July 2020

Early Detection of Multiple Resistance Mechanisms by ctDNA Profiling in a Patient With EGFR-mutant Lung Adenocarcinoma Treated With Osimertinib.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 09 9;21(5):e488-e492. Epub 2020 Apr 9.

University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.03.009DOI Listing
September 2020

Durvalumab With or Without Tremelimumab vs Standard Chemotherapy in First-line Treatment of Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: The MYSTIC Phase 3 Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 05;6(5):661-674

Department of Oncology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne University, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Importance: Checkpoint inhibitors targeting programmed cell death 1 or its ligand (PD-L1) as monotherapies or in combination with anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 have shown clinical activity in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Objective: To compare durvalumab, with or without tremelimumab, with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This open-label, phase 3 randomized clinical trial (MYSTIC) was conducted at 203 cancer treatment centers in 17 countries. Patients with treatment-naive, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer who had no sensitizing EGFR or ALK genetic alterations were randomized to receive treatment with durvalumab, durvalumab plus tremelimumab, or chemotherapy. Data were collected from July 21, 2015, to October 30, 2018.

Interventions: Patients were randomized (1:1:1) to receive treatment with durvalumab (20 mg/kg every 4 weeks), durvalumab (20 mg/kg every 4 weeks) plus tremelimumab (1 mg/kg every 4 weeks, up to 4 doses), or platinum-based doublet chemotherapy.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end points, assessed in patients with ≥25% of tumor cells expressing PD-L1, were overall survival (OS) for durvalumab vs chemotherapy, and OS and progression-free survival (PFS) for durvalumab plus tremelimumab vs chemotherapy. Analysis of blood tumor mutational burden (bTMB) was exploratory.

Results: Between July 21, 2015, and June 8, 2016, 1118 patients were randomized. Baseline demographic and disease characteristics were balanced between treatment groups. Among 488 patients with ≥25% of tumor cells expressing PD-L1, median OS was 16.3 months (95% CI, 12.2-20.8) with durvalumab vs 12.9 months (95% CI, 10.5-15.0) with chemotherapy (hazard ratio [HR], 0.76; 97.54% CI, 0.56-1.02; P = .04 [nonsignificant]). Median OS was 11.9 months (95% CI, 9.0-17.7) with durvalumab plus tremelimumab (HR vs chemotherapy, 0.85; 98.77% CI, 0.61-1.17; P = .20). Median PFS was 3.9 months (95% CI, 2.8-5.0) with durvalumab plus tremelimumab vs 5.4 months (95% CI, 4.6-5.8) with chemotherapy (HR, 1.05; 99.5% CI, 0.72-1.53; P = .71). Among 809 patients with evaluable bTMB, those with a bTMB ≥20 mutations per megabase showed improved OS for durvalumab plus tremelimumab vs chemotherapy (median OS, 21.9 months [95% CI, 11.4-32.8] vs 10.0 months [95% CI, 8.1-11.7]; HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.32-0.74). Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or higher occurred in 55 (14.9%) of 369 patients who received treatment with durvalumab, 85 (22.9%) of 371 patients who received treatment with durvalumab plus tremelimumab, and 119 (33.8%) of 352 patients who received treatment with chemotherapy. These adverse events led to death in 2 (0.5%), 6 (1.6%), and 3 (0.9%) patients, respectively.

Conclusions And Relevance: The phase 3 MYSTIC study did not meet its primary end points of improved OS with durvalumab vs chemotherapy or improved OS or PFS with durvalumab plus tremelimumab vs chemotherapy in patients with ≥25% of tumor cells expressing PD-L1. Exploratory analyses identified a bTMB threshold of ≥20 mutations per megabase for optimal OS benefit with durvalumab plus tremelimumab.

Trial Registration: ClinicalT rials.gov Identifier: NCT02453282.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146551PMC
May 2020

Immunohistochemical validation study of 15-gene biomarker panel predictive of benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy in resected non-small-cell lung cancer: analysis of JBR.10.

ESMO Open 2020 03;5(2)

Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick Saint John, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Objective: There are no validated approaches to predict benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy for resected patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The aim of this study was to translate a 15-gene mRNA expression profile published by Zhu shown to be prognostic and predictive of benefit, into a readily applicable immunohistochemistry (IHC) panel.

Methods: For seven of the genes in the gene expression profile (GEP) for which suitable commercial antibodies were available, we semiquantitatively assessed the IHC expression and prognostic significance for 173 patients treated at the Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH). Cut-offs for high and low expression were defined for each marker and applied to IHC scores from 291 of the 482 patients in JBR.10, including patients on both the adjuvant chemotherapy and observation arms. The prognostic and predictive value of these markers on overall survival (OS) or recurrence-free survival (RFS) was assessed by Cox regression models.

Results: In the SJRH cohort, in 62 patients with resected stage II-III NSCLC, the prognostic significance of IHC assays for four proteins were concordant with Zhu's GEP results. Low FOSL2 (OS, HR=0.15; p=0.0001; RFS, HR=0.14; p<0.0001) and high STMN2 (RFS, HR=2.501; p=0.0197) were adverse prognostic factors. Low ATP1B1 and low TRIM14 expression trended toward worse OS and RFS. Validation of these markers with JBR.10 patients failed to show prognostic significance either individually or in combined risk classifications. Additionally, the interaction between these markers and chemotherapy treatment in predicting OS (FOSL2, p=0.52; STMN2 p=0.14; ATP1B1, p=0.33; TRIM14, p=0.81) or RFS (FOSL2, p=0.63; STMN2, p=0.12; ATP1B1, p=0.66; TRIM14, p=0.57) did not reach significance, individually or in combination panels.

Conclusions: Zhu's GEP could not be translated into an IHC panel predictive of benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy. Future predictive biomarker analysis in the adjuvant NSCLC setting may need to focus on novel therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000679DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7174014PMC
March 2020

A drug discovery platform to identify compounds that inhibit EGFR triple mutants.

Nat Chem Biol 2020 05 24;16(5):577-586. Epub 2020 Feb 24.

Department for Lung Diseases Jordanovac, Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.

Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are transmembrane receptors of great clinical interest due to their role in disease. Historically, therapeutics targeting RTKs have been identified using in vitro kinase assays. Due to frequent development of drug resistance, however, there is a need to identify more diverse compounds that inhibit mutated but not wild-type RTKs. Here, we describe MaMTH-DS (mammalian membrane two-hybrid drug screening), a live-cell platform for high-throughput identification of small molecules targeting functional protein-protein interactions of RTKs. We applied MaMTH-DS to an oncogenic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant resistant to the latest generation of clinically approved tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). We identified four mutant-specific compounds, including two that would not have been detected by conventional in vitro kinase assays. One of these targets mutant EGFR via a new mechanism of action, distinct from classical TKI inhibition. Our results demonstrate how MaMTH-DS is a powerful complement to traditional drug screening approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41589-020-0484-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8123931PMC
May 2020

Real-world health utility scores and toxicities to tyrosine kinase inhibitors in epidermal growth factor receptor mutated advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Cancer Med 2019 12 24;8(18):7542-7555. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Background: As the treatment landscape in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFRm) continues to evolve, real-world health utility scores (HUS) become increasingly important for economic analyses.

Methods: In an observational cohort study, questionnaires were completed in EGFRm NSCLC outpatients, to include demographics, EQ-5D-based HUS and patient-reported toxicity and symptoms. Clinical and radiologic characteristics together with outcomes were extracted from chart review. The impact of health states, treatment type, toxicities, and clinical variables on HUS were evaluated.

Results: Between 2014 and 2018, a total of 260 patients completed 994 encounters. Across treatment groups, patients with disease progression had lower HUS compared to controlled disease (0.771 vs 0.803; P = .01). Patients predominantly received gefitinib as the first-line EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) (n = 157, mean-HUS = 0.798), whereas osimertinib (n = 62, mean-HUS = 0.806) and chemotherapy (n = 38, mean-HUS = 0.721) were more likely used in subsequent treatment lines. In longitudinal analysis, TKIs retained high HUS (>0.78) compared to chemotherapy (HUS < 0.74). There were no differences between the frequency or severity of toxicity scores in patients receiving gefitinib compared to osimertinib; however, TKI therapy resulted in fewer toxicities than chemotherapy (P < .05), with the exception of worse diarrhea and skin rash (P < .001). Severity in toxicities inversely correlated with HUS (P < .001). Clinico-demographic factors significantly affecting HUS included age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Score (ECOG PS), disease state, treatment group, and metastatic burden.

Conclusions: In a real-world EGFRm population, patients treated with gefitinib or osimertinib had similar HUS and toxicities, scores which were superior to chemotherapy. Health utility scores inversely correlated with patient-reported toxicity scores. In the era of targeted therapies, future economic analyses should incorporate real-world HUS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.2603DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6912023PMC
December 2019

Somatic Alteration Burden Involving Non-Cancer Genes Predicts Prognosis in Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Jul 19;11(7). Epub 2019 Jul 19.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9, Canada.

The burden of somatic mutations and neoantigens has been associated with improved survival in cancer treated with immunotherapies, especially non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is uncertainty about their effect on outcome in early-stage untreated cases. We posited that the burden of mutations in a specific set of genes may also contribute to the prognosis of early NSCLC patients. From a small cohort of 36 NSCLC cases, we were able to identify somatic mutations and copy number alterations in 865 genes that contributed to patient overall survival. Simply, the number of altered genes (NAG) among these 865 genes was associated with longer disease-free survival (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.153, = 1.48 × 10). The gene expression signature distinguishing patients with high/low NAG was also prognostic in three independent datasets. Patients with a high NAG could be further stratified based on the presence of immunogenic mutations, revealing a further subgroup of stage I NSCLC with even better prognosis (85% with >5 years survival), and associated with cytotoxic T-cell expression. Importantly, 95% of the highly-altered genes lacked direct relation to cancer, but were implicated in pathways regulating cell proliferation, motility and immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11071009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6678704PMC
July 2019

Investigation of Leukocyte Telomere Length and Genetic Variants in Chromosome 5p15.33 as Prognostic Markers in Lung Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2019 07;28(7):1228-1237

Prosserman Centre for Population Health Research, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer mortality with relatively few prognostic biomarkers. We investigated associations with overall survival for telomere length (TL) and genetic variation in chromosome 5p15.33, an established telomere maintenance locus.

Methods: Leukocyte TL was measured after diagnosis in 807 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) from the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto and assessed prospectively in 767 NSCLC cases from the Copenhagen City Heart Study and the Copenhagen General Population Study. Associations with all-cause mortality were tested for 723 variants in 5p15.33, genotyped in 4,672 NSCLC cases.

Results: Short telomeres (≤10th percentile) were associated with poor prognosis for adenocarcinoma in both populations: TL measured 6 months after diagnosis [HR = 1.65; 95% confidence intervals (CI), 1.04-2.64] and for those diagnosed within 5 years after blood sampling (HR = 2.42; 95% CI, 1.37-4.28). Short TL was associated with mortality in never smokers with NSCLC (HR = 10.29; 95% CI, 1.86-56.86) and adenocarcinoma (HR = 11.31; 95% CI, 1.96-65.24). Analyses in 5p15.33 identified statistically significant prognostic associations for rs56266421-G in (HR = 1.86; 95% CI, 1.38-2.52; = 4.5 × 10) in stage I-IIIA NSCLC, and for the gene with OS in females with NSCLC ( = 1.6 × 10).

Conclusions: Our findings support the potential clinical utility of TL, particularly for adenocarcinoma patients, while associations in chromosome 5p15.33 warrant further exploration.

Impact: This is the largest lung cancer study of leukocyte TL and OS, and the first to examine the impact of the timing of TL measurement. Our findings suggest that extremely short telomeres are indicative of poor prognosis in NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-1215DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6608599PMC
July 2019

The presence and variant allele fraction of EGFR mutations in ctDNA and development of resistance.

Lung Cancer 2019 05 20;131:86-89. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Peripheral blood sampling for detection of EGFR T790M in cell-free circulating tumour (ct) DNA in TKI-resistant EGFR mutant (EGFRm) lung cancer is now standard. The value of more comprehensive sequencing is unknown.

Methods: Prospective ctDNA analysis in patients with EGFRm NSCLC was performed using a next generation sequencing (NGS) panel of regions of 11 genes detecting single nucleotide variants and small insertions/deletions at ≥0.1% variant allele frequency (VAF) was performed. Patients were grouped according to treatment phase, including: (A) pre EGFR-TKI, (B) stable or responding to EGFR-TKI, (C) radiographic progression during EGFR-TKI, and (D) during chemotherapy treatment.

Results: Seventy-two patients with stage IV EGFRm NSCLC were enrolled and first blood samples were analysed. Primary sensitizing mutations in del19 or L858R were present in 66 (92%) and uncommon EGFRm in 6 (8%). Mutations in ctDNA were found in 53 samples (74%). T790M was detected in 3 of 4 patients with T790M-negative tissue. Other co-occurring EGFRm were found in 10 patients (7%) including K745R during first-line osimertinib. TP53 (n = 10), KRAS (n = 1), PI3KCA (n = 1) and ALK (n = 3) gene mutations also were detected. The presence of an EGFRm (excluding T790M) was associated with untreated or progressive disease, p = 0.04. In TKI-treated patients without radiologic progression, median progression free survival (PFS) was 10 months versus 2.1 months (HR 2.22, 95% CI: 0.89-5.54, p = 0.08) if an EGFRm in ctDNA was detected. If T790M was present in ctDNA, median PFS was 3.0 months versus 9.7 months (HR 4.59, 95% CI: 1.43-14.73, p = 0.005). High % VAF of both EGFRm and T790M correlated with inferior PFS (p = 0.01 and p = 0.03 respectively).

Conclusion: In addition to the emergence of resistance mutations, the presence of the primary or co-occurring EGFRm in patients receiving EGFR-TKIs may associate with shorter PFS and may be useful in longitudinal analyses of ctDNA to direct therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2019.03.019DOI Listing
May 2019

Randomized Phase II Trial of Seribantumab in Combination with Erlotinib in Patients with EGFR Wild-Type Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Oncologist 2019 08 11;24(8):1095-1102. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Background: Seribantumab (MM-121) is a fully human IgG2 monoclonal antibody that binds to human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 () to block heregulin ()-mediated signaling and induce receptor downregulation. This open-label, randomized phase 1/2 study evaluated safety and efficacy of seribantumab plus erlotinib in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we report the activity of seribantumab plus erlotinib, versus erlotinib alone, in patients with wild-type tumors and describe the potential predictive power of HRG.

Materials And Methods: Patients with wild-type NSCLC were assigned randomly to receive seribantumab + erlotinib or erlotinib alone. Patients underwent pretreatment core needle biopsy and archived tumor samples were collected to support prespecified biomarker analyses.

Results: One hundred twenty-nine patients received seribantumab + erlotinib ( = 85) or erlotinib alone ( = 44). Median estimated progression-free survival (PFS) in the unselected intent-to-treat (ITT) population was 8.1 and 7.7 weeks in the experimental and control arm, respectively (hazard ratio [HR], 0.822; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-1.828; = 0.63), and median estimated overall survival was 27.3 and 40.3 weeks in the experimental and control arm, respectively (HR, 1.395; 95% CI, 0.846 to 2.301; = .1898) In patients whose tumors had detectable HRG mRNA expression, treatment benefit was observed in the seribantumab + erlotinib combination (HR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.16-0.76; = .008). In contrast, in patients whose tumors were HRG negative, the HR was 2.15 (95% CI, 0.97-4.76; = .059, HRG-by-treatment interaction, value = .0016).

Conclusion: The addition of seribantumab to erlotinib did not result in improved PFS in unselected patients. However, predefined retrospective exploratory analyses suggest that detectable HRG mRNA levels identified patients who might benefit from seribantumab. An ongoing clinical trial of seribantumab, in combination with docetaxel, is underway in patients with advanced NSCLC and high HRG mRNA expression (NCT02387216).

Implications For Practice: The poor prognosis of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) underscores the need for more effective treatment options, highlighting the unmet medical need in this patient population. The results of this study show that a novel biomarker, heregulin, may help to identify patients with advanced NSCLC who could benefit from treatment with seribantumab. On the basis of the observed safety profile and promising clinical efficacy, a prospective, randomized, open-label, international, multicenter phase II trial (SHERLOC, NCT02387216) is under way to investigate the efficacy and safety of seribantumab in combination with docetaxel in patients with heregulin-positive advanced adenocarcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0695DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6693700PMC
August 2019

Genetic interaction analysis among oncogenesis-related genes revealed novel genes and networks in lung cancer development.

Oncotarget 2019 Mar 5;10(19):1760-1774. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, N.N. Blokhin Russian Cancer Research Center, Moscow, Russian Federation.

The development of cancer is driven by the accumulation of many oncogenesis-related genetic alterations and tumorigenesis is triggered by complex networks of involved genes rather than independent actions. To explore the epistasis existing among oncogenesis-related genes in lung cancer development, we conducted pairwise genetic interaction analyses among 35,031 SNPs from 2027 oncogenesis-related genes. The genotypes from three independent genome-wide association studies including a total of 24,037 lung cancer patients and 20,401 healthy controls with Caucasian ancestry were analyzed in the study. Using a two-stage study design including discovery and replication studies, and stringent Bonferroni correction for multiple statistical analysis, we identified significant genetic interactions between SNPs in (OR=0.44, value=3.27x10 in overall lung cancer and OR=0.41, value=9.71x10 in non-small cell lung cancer), (OR=0.73, value=1.01x10 in adenocarcinoma) and (OR=1.82, value=7.62x10 in squamous cell carcinoma) in our analysis. None of these genes have been identified from previous main effect association studies in lung cancer. Further eQTL gene expression analysis in lung tissues provided information supporting the functional role of the identified epistasis in lung tumorigenesis. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed potential pathways and gene networks underlying molecular mechanisms in overall lung cancer as well as histology subtypes development. Our results provide evidence that genetic interactions between oncogenesis-related genes play an important role in lung tumorigenesis and epistasis analysis, combined with functional annotation, provides a valuable tool for uncovering functional novel susceptibility genes that contribute to lung cancer development by interacting with other modifier genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26678DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6442994PMC
March 2019

The Impact of Brain Metastases and Associated Neurocognitive Aspects on Health Utility Scores in EGFR Mutated and ALK Rearranged NSCLC: A Real World Evidence Analysis.

Oncologist 2019 07 5;24(7):e501-e509. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Background: In lung cancer, brain metastases (BM) and their treatment are associated with high economic burden and inferior health-related quality of life. In the era of targeted therapy, real world evidence through health utility scores (HUS) is critical for economic analyses.

Materials And Methods: In a prospective observational cohort study (2014-2016), outpatients with stage IV lung cancer completed demographic and EQ-5D-3L surveys (to derive HUS). Health states and clinicopathologic variables were obtained from chart abstraction. Patients were categorized by the presence or absence of BM; regression analyses identified factors that were associated with HUS. A subset of patients prospectively completed neurocognitive function (NCF) tests and/or the FACT-brain (FACT-Br) questionnaire, which were then correlated with HUS (Spearman coefficients; regression analyses).

Results: Of 519 patients with 1,686 EQ-5D-3L-derived HUS, 94 (18%) completed NCF tests and 107 (21%) completed FACT-Br; 301 (58%) never developed BM, 24 (5%) developed first BM during study period, and 194 (37%) had BM at study entry. The sample was enriched (46%) for mutations (m) and -rearrangements (r). There were no HUS differences by BM status overall and in subsets by demographics. In multivariable analyses, superior HUS was associated with having m/r ( < .0001), no prior radiation for extracranial disease ( < .001), and both intracranial ( = .002) and extracranial disease control ( < .01). HUS correlated with multiple elements of the FACT-Br and tests of NCF.

Conclusion: Having BM in lung cancer is not associated with inferior HUS in a population enriched for m and r. Patients exhibiting disease control and those with oncogene-addicted tumors have superior HUS.

Implications For Practice: In the setting of mutations or rearrangement non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a diagnosis of brain metastases no longer consigns the patient to an inferior health state suggesting that new economic analyses in NSCLC are needed in the era of targeted therapies. Additionally, the EQ-5D questionnaire is associated with measures of health-related quality of life and neurocognitive scores suggesting this tool should be further explored in prospective clinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0544DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6656458PMC
July 2019

Financial Burden Among Patients With Lung Cancer in a Publically Funded Health Care System.

Clin Lung Cancer 2019 07 22;20(4):231-236. Epub 2018 Dec 22.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre/University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Introduction: Financial distress has been established as a clinically relevant patient-reported outcome associated with worse mortality and quality of life. Our goal was to define factors associated with financial burden (FB) in a public health care system.

Materials And Methods: Patients with advanced lung cancer were recruited from outpatient clinics at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (Toronto, Canada). FB was measured with the validated Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST) instrument, a 12-item survey scored from 0 to 44, with lower scores reflecting worse financial well-being. Data on patient and treatment characteristics, total out-of-pocket costs (OOP), and private insurance coverage were collected. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit for COST score and each variable, to determine factors associated with greater FB (COST < 21).

Results: Of 251 patients approached, 200 (80%) participated. The median age of the cohort was 65 years; 56% were female. The median total OOP ranged between $1000 and $5000 CAD. The median COST score was 21 (range, 0-44). FB was associated with age, with patients < 65 years reporting greater FB than older patients (COST, 18.0 vs. 24.0; P < .0001). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, younger age was associated with greater FB, when adjusting for income, employment status, OOP, and private insurance coverage (odds ratio, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-9.1; P < .0001).

Conclusion: Age is significantly associated with FB in the Canadian (Ontario) public health care system, with younger patients with lung cancer reporting greater financial distress. This study highlights priority patient populations where FB should be routinely assessed and appropriate resources for support offered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2018.12.010DOI Listing
July 2019