Publications by authors named "Francesca Spada"

62 Publications

Reply to comments on 'COVID-19 in patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms: Preliminary results of a worldwide survey (The INTENSIVE study)'.

Eur J Cancer 2021 11 23;157:531-532. Epub 2021 Aug 23.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, IEO, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.08.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8380486PMC
November 2021

Coronavirus disease 2019 in patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms: Preliminary results of the INTENSIVE study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 09 30;154:246-252. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, European Institute of Oncology (IEO) IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Background: Specific data regarding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are lacking. The aim of this study is to describe the characteristics of patients with NENs who tested severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) positive.

Material And Methods: This is a worldwide study collecting cases of patients with NENs along with a positive nasopharyngeal swab reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2 between June 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Centres treating patients with NENs were directly contacted by the principal investigator. Patients with NENs of any primary site, grade and stage were included, excluding small-cell lung carcinoma and mixed adenoneuroendocrine carcinoma.

Results: Among 81 centres directly contacted, 88.8% responded and 48.6% of them declined due to lack of cases or interest. On March 31, 2021, eight recruiting centres enrolled 89 patients. The median age was 64 years at the time of COVID-19 diagnosis. Most patients had metastatic, non-functioning, low-/intermediate-grade gastroenteropancreatic NENs on treatment with somatostatin analogues and radioligand therapy. Most of them had comorbidities. Only 8% of patients had high-grade NENs and 12% were receiving chemotherapy. Most patients had symptoms or signs of COVID-19, mainly fever and cough. Only 3 patients underwent sub-intensive treatment, whereas most of them received medical therapies, mostly antibiotics. In two third of cases, no changes occurred for the anti-NEN therapy. More than 80% of patients completely recovered without sequelae, whereas 7.8% patients died due to COVID-19.

Conclusions: Patients included in this study reflect the typical NEN population regardless of SARS-CoV-2. In most cases, they overcome COVID-19 without need of intensive care, short-term sequelae and discontinuation of systemic oncological therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.06.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8241688PMC
September 2021

Irinotecan-based chemotherapy in extrapulmonary neuroendocrine carcinomas: survival and safety data from a multicentric Italian experience.

Endocrine 2021 12 6;74(3):707-713. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Division of Oncology, Department of Oncology and Hematology, University Hospital of Modena, Modena, Italy.

Purpose: Neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are a rare subgroup of neuroendocrine neoplasms that occasionally originate from gastro-entero-pancreatic (GEP) tract. Evidence of the effectiveness of chemotherapy is scarce. Platinum plus Etoposide regimens are currently the standard treatment in first-line, while little data are available on second-line treatments. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of irinotecan (IRI)-based chemotherapy in a series of extrapulmonary NECs.

Methods: Patients with NEC diagnosis treated at University Hospitals of Modena, Florence, Pisa, and European Institute of Oncology of Milan with an IRI-based regimen (FOLFIRI or XELIRI) after progression to a first-line platinum-based therapy were enrolled. Objective responses were assessed according to RECIST criteria. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated.

Results: Thirty-four patients, 16 males, and 18 females, median age of 59 years (range 32-77), with metastatic NEC were included. Twenty-seven patients had Ki-67 ≥ 55% and four patients Ki-67 of <55% (for three patients data were not available). The median number of treatment cycles of the IRI-based regimen was 7.5 (range 1-16). Six partial responses (17.6%) and 9 stable diseases (26.5%) were observed, with a disease control rate of 44.1%. Median PFS and OS were 4.4 and 5.9 months, respectively. Neutropenia, anemia, and nausea were the only G3-G4 toxicities reported.

Conclusions: Despite the relatively small sample size, IRI-based therapy demonstrated to be a valid option for patients with pretreated extrapulmonary NEC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-021-02813-yDOI Listing
December 2021

Carcinoid Syndrome and Hyperinsulinemic Hypoglycemia Associated with Neuroendocrine Neoplasms: A Critical Review on Clinical and Pharmacological Management.

Pharmaceuticals (Basel) 2021 Jun 4;14(6). Epub 2021 Jun 4.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, European Institute of Oncology (IEO) IRCCS, via G. Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milano, Italy.

The carcinoid syndrome (CS) and hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia (HH) represent two of the most common clinical syndromes associated with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs). The former is mainly related to the serotonin secretion by a small bowel NEN, whereas the latter depends on an insulin hypersecretion by a pancreatic insulinoma. Both syndromes/conditions can affect prognosis and quality of life of patients with NENs. They are often diagnosed late when patients become strongly symptomatic. Therefore, their early detection and management are a critical step in the clinical management of NEN patients. A dedicated and experienced multidisciplinary team with appropriate therapeutic strategies is needed and should be encouraged to optimize clinical outcomes. This review aims to critically analyze clinical features, evidence and treatment options of CS and HH and therefore to improve their management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ph14060539DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8228616PMC
June 2021

Antiproliferative Systemic Therapies for Metastatic Small Bowel Neuroendocrine Tumours.

Curr Treat Options Oncol 2021 06 29;22(8):73. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Wilmslow Road, M20 4BX, Manchester, UK.

Opinion Statement: Neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) are a heterogeneous group of malignancies with rising incidence and prevalence. Outcome and therapy of small bowel neuroendocrine tumours (SBNETs) is variable, depending on the grade, differentiation, tumour burden, as well as the site of the tumour origin. Because of this, multidisciplinary approach is essential. Large randomized clinical trials, with somatostatin analogues (PROMID, CLARINET) or with peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) with 177-lutetium (NETTER-1 trial) as well as the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor (mTOR) everolimus (RADIANT trials), represent milestones for the medical management of unresectable grade 1 and 2 SBNETS over the last decade. Novel therapies, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI), are on the cutting edge. However, multiple unsolved questions remain. This review provides a comprehensive review of the main systemic therapeutic options for advanced SBNETs and discusses the latest guideline recommendations for palliative treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11864-021-00863-yDOI Listing
June 2021

Looking for the right TNM staging system for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

Hepatobiliary Surg Nutr 2021 Jun;10(3):382-384

Division of Digestive Surgery, European Institute of Oncology, IEO, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/hbsn-2021-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8188133PMC
June 2021

Outcome of Patients With Metastatic Lung Neuroendocrine Tumors Submitted to First Line Monotherapy With Somatostatin Analogs.

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) 2021 27;12:669484. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Medical Oncology, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health University of Brescia, ASST-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Objective: Antiproliferative activity of somatostatin analogs (SSAs) has been demonstrated in digestive neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), but few data have been published in patients with pulmonary NETs. We therefore conducted a retrospective study to provide additional data on the outcome of patients with metastatic lung NETs submitted to front line SSAs.

Research Design And Methods: Patients with metastatic lung NET treated with first line SSA-monotherapy (octreotide or lanreotide) in two different reference Institutions were reviewed. Outcome measures were progression-free survival (PFS) overall survival (OS), overall response rate and safety. We also explored prognostic factors associated with PFS.

Methods: The outcome of consecutive patients (pts) with metastatic lung NETs, who underwent first-line treatment with SSAs, recruited from 2014 on 2019 in two Italian reference Institutions, was retrospectively evaluated.

Results: Thirty-one patients entered the study: 14 (45.2%) with typical and 17 (54.8%) atypical carcinoid. Six patients (19.4%) had a carcinoid syndrome. 60.0% of patients had Ki-67 ≤ 10%. Two (6.5%) patients obtained a partial response, 24 (77.4%) disease stabilization while 5 (16.1%) had progressive disease. Median progression free survival (PFS) was 28.6 months, median overall survival (OS) was not attained. Ki-67 ≤ 10%, typical carcinoid histotype and non-functioning disease, were associated with a non-significant PFS prolongation. PFS in patients with atypical carcinoids and in those with Ki-67 >10% was greater than 19 months.

Conclusions: The long PFS and OS obtained in this case series suggest that SSAs could be effective as first line approach in the management of patients with progressive, metastatic pulmonary NET.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2021.669484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8111295PMC
April 2021

Lenvatinib in Patients With Advanced Grade 1/2 Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors: Results of the Phase II TALENT Trial (GETNE1509).

J Clin Oncol 2021 07 4;39(20):2304-2312. Epub 2021 May 4.

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

Purpose: Approved systemic therapies for advanced gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) have shown limited capacity to reduce tumor burden and no antitumor activity after progression to targeted agents (TAs). We investigated the efficacy and safety of lenvatinib in patients with previously treated advanced GEP-NETs.

Patients And Methods: This was a multicenter, single-arm, open-label, phase II trial with two parallel cohorts (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02678780) involving 21 institutions in 4 European countries. Eligible patients had histologically confirmed advanced grade 1-2 pancreatic (panNET) or GI (GI-NET) NETs with documented tumor progression after treatment with a TA (panNET) or somatostatin analogs (GI-NET). Patients were treated with lenvatinib 24 mg once daily until disease progression or treatment intolerance. The primary end point was overall response rate by central radiology review. Secondary end points included progression-free survival, overall survival, duration of response, and safety.

Results: Between September 2015 and March 2017, a total of 111 patients were enrolled, with 55 (panNET) and 56 (GI-NET) patients in each cohort. The median follow-up was 23 months. The overall response rate was 29.9% (95% CI, 21.6 to 39.6): 44.2% (panNET) and 16.4% (GI-NET). The median (range) duration of response was 19.9 (8.4-30.8) and 33.9 (10.6-38.3) months in the panNET and GI-NET groups, respectively. The median progression-free survival was 15.7 months (95% CI, 14.1 to 19.5). The most common adverse events were fatigue, hypertension, and diarrhea; 93.7% of patients required dose reductions or interruptions.

Conclusion: We report the highest centrally confirmed response reported to date with a multikinase inhibitor in advanced GEP-NETs, with a particularly strong response in the panNET cohort. This study provides novel evidence for the efficacy of lenvatinib in patients with disease progression following treatment with other TAs, suggesting the potential value of lenvatinib in the treatment of advanced GEP-NETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03368DOI Listing
July 2021

A Machine Learning Decision Support System (DSS) for Neuroendocrine Tumor Patients Treated with Somatostatin Analog (SSA) Therapy.

Diagnostics (Basel) 2021 Apr 28;11(5). Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Medical Oncology Unit, Careggi University Hospital, Largo Brambilla 4, 50134 Florence, Italy.

The application of machine learning (ML) techniques could facilitate the identification of predictive biomarkers of somatostatin analog (SSA) efficacy in patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). We collected data from 74 patients with a pancreatic or gastrointestinal NET who received SSA as first-line therapy. We developed three classification models to predict whether the patient would experience a progressive disease (PD) after 12 or 18 months based on clinic-pathological factors at the baseline. The dataset included 70 samples and 15 features. We initially developed three classification models with accuracy ranging from 55% to 70%. We then compared ten different ML algorithms. In all but one case, the performance of the Multinomial Naïve Bayes algorithm (80%) was the highest. The support vector machine classifier (SVC) had a higher performance for the recall metric of the progression-free outcome (97% vs. 94%). Overall, for the first time, we documented that the factors that mainly influenced progression-free survival (PFS) included age, the number of metastatic sites and the primary site. In addition, the following factors were also isolated as important: adverse events G3-G4, sex, Ki67, metastatic site (liver), functioning NET, the primary site and the stage. In patients with advanced NETs, ML provides a predictive model that could potentially be used to differentiate prognostic groups and to identify patients for whom SSA therapy as a single agent may not be sufficient to achieve a long-lasting PFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11050804DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8145352PMC
April 2021

Advanced small-bowel well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumours: An international survey of practice on 3-line treatment.

World J Gastroenterol 2021 Mar;27(10):976-989

Medical Oncology Department, The Ramón y Cajal Health Research Institute, Alcalá University, University Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid 28034, Spain.

Background: Somatostatin analogues are an established first-line therapy for well differentiated small bowel neuroendocrine tumours (Wd-SBNETs), while and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) is frequently used as a second-line therapy. Adequate treatment selection of third-line treatment remains challenging due to the limited prospective data currently available on the best therapeutic sequence.

Aim: To understand current practice and rationale for decision-making by physicians in the 3-line setting by building an online survey.

Methods: Weighted average (WA) of likelihood of usage between responders (1 very unlikely; 4 very likely) was used to reflect the relevance of factors explored.

Results: Replies from representatives of 28 centers were received (5/8/2020-21/9/2020); medical oncologist (53.6%), gastroenterologist (17.9%); United Kingdom (21.4%), Spain (17.9%), Italy (14.3%). Majority from European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (ENETS) Centres of Excellence (57.1%), who followed ENETS guidelines (82.1%). Generally speaking, 3-line treatment for Wd-SBNETs was: everolimus (EVE) (66.7%), PRRT (18.5%), liver embolization (LE) (7.4%) and interferon-alpha (IFN) (3.7%); chemotherapy (0%); decision was based on clinical trial data (59.3%), or personal experience (22.2%). EVE was most likely used if Ki-67 < 10% (WA 3.27/4) or age < 70 years (WA 3.23/4), in the 3-line setting (WA 3.23/4); regardless of presence/absence of carcinoid syndrome (CS), rate of progression or extent of disease. Chemotherapy was mainly utilised only if rapid progression (within 6 mo) (WA 3.35/4), Ki-67 10%-20% (WA 2.77/4), negative somatostatin receptor imaging (WA 2.65/4) or high tumour burden (WA 2.77/4); temozolomide or streptozocin was used with capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (57.7%), FOLFOX (5-FU combined with oxaliplatin) (23.1%). LE was selected if presence of CS (WA 3.24/4) or Ki-67 < 10% (WA 2.8/4), after progression to other treatments (WA 2.8/4). IFN was rarely used (WA 1.3/4).

Conclusion: Everolimus was the most frequently used therapeutic option in the third-line setting. The most important factors for decision-making included Ki-67, rate of progression, functionality and tumour burden; since this decision is based on multiple factors, it highlights the need for a multidisciplinary assessment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v27.i10.976DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7968134PMC
March 2021

Knowns and unknowns of bone metastases in patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Cancer Treat Rev 2021 Mar 19;94:102168. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Medical Oncology, ENETS Centre of Excellence, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Division of Cancer Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Objective: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to develop an evidence-based summary of current knowledge of bone metastases (BMs) in neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs), inform diagnosis and treatment and standardise management between institutions.

Methods: PubMed, Medline, EMBASE and meeting proceedings were searched for eligible studies reporting data on patients with BMs and NENs of any grade of differentiation and site; poorly-differentiated large/small cell lung cancer were excluded. Data were extracted and analysed using STATA v.12. Meta-analysis of proportions for calculation of estimated pooled prevalence of BM and calculation of weighted pooled frequency and weighted pooled mean for other variables of interest was performed .

Results: A total of 149 studies met the eligibility criteria. Pooled prevalence of BMs was 18.4% (95% CI 15.4-21.5). BMs were mainly metachronous with initial diagnosis of NEN (61.2%) and predominantly osteoblastic; around 61% were multifocal, with a predisposition in axial skeleton. PET/CT seemed to provide (together with MRI) the highest sensitivity and specificity for BM detection. Almost half of patients (46.4%) reported BM-related symptoms: pain (66%) and skeletal-related events (SREs, fracture/spinal cord compression) (26.2%; weightedweighted mean time-to-SRE 9.9 months). Management of BMs was multimodal [bisphosphonates and bone-modifying agents (45.2%), external beam radiotherapy (34.9%), surgery (14.8%)] and supported by little evidence. Overall survival (OS) from the time of diagnosis of BMs was long [weighted mean 50.9 months (95% CI 40.0-61.9)]. Patients with BMs had shorter OS [48.8 months (95% CI 37.9-59.6)] compared to patients without BMs [87.4 months (95% CI 74.9-100.0); p = 0.001]. Poor performance status and BM-related symptoms were also associated with worse OS.

Conclusions: BMs in patients with NENs remain underdiagnosed and undertreated. Recommendations for management of BMs derived from current knowledge are provided. Prospective studies to inform management are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2021.102168DOI Listing
March 2021

First Results of β-Radioguided Surgery in Small Intestine Neuroendocrine Tumors with Y-DOTATOC.

Cancer Biother Radiopharm 2021 Jun 18;36(5):397-406. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Division of Nuclear Medicine, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, IRCCS, Milano, Italy.

In neuroendocrine tumor (NET), complete surgery could better the prognosis. Radioguided surgery (RGS) with β-radioisotopes is a novel approach focused on developing a new probe that, detecting electrons and operating with low background, provides a clearer delineation of the lesions with low radiation exposition for surgeons. As a first step to validate this procedure, specimens of tumors expressing somatostatin receptors, as small intestine neuroendocrine tumor (SI-NET), were tested. SI-NET presents a high uptake of a beta-emitting radiotracer, Y-DOTATOC. Five SI-NET patients were enrolled after performing a Ga-DOTATOC positron emission tomography/computed tomography (CT) and a CT enterography; 24 h before surgery, they received 5 mCi of Y-DOTATOC. Surgery was performed as routine. Tumors and surrounding tissue were sectioned in different samples and examined with the beta-detecting probe. All the tumor samples showed high counts of radioactivity that was up to a factor of 18 times higher than the corresponding cutoff value, with a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 100%. These first RGS tests showed that this probe can discriminate very effectively between tumor and healthy tissues by the administration of low activities of Y-DOTATOC, allowing more precise surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/cbr.2020.4487DOI Listing
June 2021

The rare entity of bilateral and unilateral neuroendocrine metastases to the breast: a case series and literature review.

Ecancermedicalscience 2020 15;14:1123. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumours, European Institute of Oncology, IEO, IRCCS, Milan 20132, Italy.

Introduction: Primary neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) in the breast are very rare. Until 2011, the prevalence was 0.1% of all breast lesions and 1% of all NENs, whereas metastatic breast NENs represent 1%-2% of all breast tumours. However, it seems that over the last 5 years the diagnostic frequency of breast NENs has increased, probably for more alert specialists and advanced diagnostic tools, leading to a prevalence of 2%-5% of diagnosed breast cancers, mostly in the elderly population. Breast metastases from extramammary malignancies are uncommon and bilateral ones are even more uncommon, with few reported in the literature. We describe four clinical settings of breast metastases from different NENs and the multidisciplinary approach for diagnosis and treatment.

Methods: Four patients were found to have NEN primaries metastasised to the breast. A literature review was conducted to identify similar cases and characterise breast metastases from neuroendocrinal tumors (NETs).

Results: Two patients presented with bilateral breast metastases (one with well-differentiated panNET and another with atypical lung carcinoid) and two had unilateral (one with moderately differentiated lung NET and one with atypical lung carcinoid). There are about 13 cases of NEN breast metastases reported in the English literature. The ileum is the most common primary site, followed by the appendix, duodenum, pancreas and lung.

Conclusion: Breast lesions from extramammary primary often pose a diagnostic challenge, since a breast nodule can be the first and often the only presentation of the disease. However, differentiating between primary and secondary NEN breast lesions is essential, owing to different clinical management and prognosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2020.1123DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7652541PMC
October 2020

Discussing motherhood when the oncological prognosis is dire: ethical considerations for physicians.

ESMO Open 2020 11;5(6):e000956

Department of Gynaecologic Oncology, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milano, Italy. Electronic address:

Physicians are increasingly open to discussing and supporting pregnancy after cancer treatment. However, counselling patients who are seeking pregnancy despite advanced oncological disease and/or uncertain prognosis is still challenging. Two paradigmatic cases are presented and analysed to illustrate the ethical uneasiness faced by treating physicians when seriously ill patients seek fertility preservation and/or pregnancy. Review of ethical issues is built around the four principles of biomedical ethics. Respect for patients autonomy in relation to managing realistic expectations and avoiding giving patients false hopes opens the analysis. It is followed by considering fair allocation of resources and meaningful distinction between protecting patients from harm and contributing to their welfare. Responsibilities towards the unborn child are discussed in a light of maternal and fetal interdependency. Respecting personal autonomy requires abstaining from controlling inferences to the individual patient's choices, but it does not mean that patients should be left on their own to pick and choose their disease management approaches without advice and guidance from healthcare professionals. Physicians should reason evaluating the potential harms and checking if benefits will outweigh the risks and if costs will produce the best overall results. Responsibilities towards the unborn child can be managed by balancing the respect for maternal autonomy and beneficence for pregnant woman and her fetus. The oncologist cannot determine how patients should view their disease but with empathy and compassion can help them understand the logical rationale behind clinical advice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000956DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7656910PMC
November 2020

Multidisciplinary team approach for Merkel cell carcinoma: the European Institute of Oncology experience with focus on radiotherapy.

Tumori 2021 Apr 31;107(2):145-149. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Scientific Directorate, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Objective: To review the therapeutic strategy in Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) treated with radiotherapy (RT) discussed in a multidisciplinary tumour board.

Methods: Clinical records of patients with a diagnosis of MCC and with an indication to undergo RT at the European Institute of Oncology between 2003 and 2018 were reviewed retrospectively.

Results: Twenty-six patients were included in the analysis (median age 65 years, range 42-87). Nineteen received adjuvant RT, 4 exclusive RT, and the remainder palliative RT. Intensity-modulated RT was used in 13 cases, a 3D conformal technique in 11 cases, and stereotactic RT in 2 cases. No major toxicities were recorded. The median relapse-free survival (RFS) after adjuvant RT was 20.5 months, while for unknown primary MCC, it was 23 months. In the adjuvant setting, median polyomavirus-positive RFS was 21.5 months (range 1-49) and median polyomavirus-negative RFS was only 14 months (range 4-45). Overall, RFS of polyomavirus-positive and polyomavirus-negative patients was 10.5 and 8 months, respectively. After adjuvant RT, only 1 out of 10 patients had a recurrence in the RT field. At the time of data collection, 16 patients were alive with no evidence of disease, 1 patient was alive with advanced status of disease, 8 patients died of disease progression, and 1 patient died of other causes.

Conclusions: The management of unknown primary and polyomavirus-positive cases, which had a better prognosis in our series, may benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, given the limited data available regarding optimal treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300891620944209DOI Listing
April 2021

Temozolomide alone or in combination with capecitabine in patients with advanced neuroendocrine neoplasms: an Italian multicenter real-world analysis.

Endocrine 2021 04 22;72(1):268-278. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: Temozolomide (TEM) has been reported to be active alone or in combination with capecitabine (CAP) in patients with neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs). We retrospectively evaluated activity and toxicity of TEM-based chemotherapy in patients with advanced NENs and explored the potential correlation with clinical/biological factors.

Methods: Patients received oral TEM alone or in combination with CAP. Objective response rate (ORR) [complete response + partial response (PR)], median progression-free survival (mPFS), and toxicity were calculated. The O-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) gene inactivation status in tumor tissue was evaluated by pyrosequencing.

Results: From September 2008 to April 2020, 170 patients (84% progressive on different therapies) were consecutively treated, 114 (67%) patients received TEM-CAP and 56 (33%) TEM alone. Primary tumor sites were: pancreas 98 (58%), gastrointestinal tract 21 (12%), lung 35 (21%), and unknown 16 (9%). The ORR was 28% for the whole population (33% for TEM-CAP and 18% for TEM as single agent). The median OS (mOS) and mPFS of the whole population were 35.6 months (32.6-48.7) and 14.7 months (10.1-18.3), respectively. There were 48% PR in the MGMT hypermethylated, mainly in pancreatic NENs. Vomiting and leukopenia were the most frequent grade 3/4 toxicity.

Conclusions: This large retrospective analysis suggested that a TEM-based chemotherapy is active in advanced, pretreated NEN patients. It generated solid hypotheses that warrant a future prospective study in a biological homogeneous NEN population and clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02421-2DOI Listing
April 2021

Association of high TUBB3 with resistance to adjuvant docetaxel-based chemotherapy in gastric cancer: translational study of ITACA-S.

Tumori 2021 Apr 11;107(2):150-159. Epub 2020 Jun 11.

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

Background: No predictive markers for chemotherapy activity have been validated in gastric cancer (GC). The potential value of class III β-tubulin (TUBB3) as biomarker for prognosis and resistance to taxane-based therapy was reported.

Methods: We analyzed GC samples of patients enrolled in the Intergroup Trial of Adjuvant Chemotherapy in Adenocarcinoma of the Stomach (ITACA-S), a randomized adjuvant study comparing 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin (5-FU/LV) and docetaxel-based sequential chemotherapy. TUBB3 was quantitated by selected reaction monitoring mass spectrometry and patients were stratified using a threshold of 750 attomoles per microgram (amol/µg). Cox proportional modeling and Kaplan-Meier survival analysis were used to assess the impact of TUBB3 expression on overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival.

Results: Patients with TUBB3 protein levels >750 and <750 amol/µg were 21.9% and 78.1%, respectively, and were well-balanced between treatment arms. TUBB3 protein levels were not prognostic. Whereas no survival differences according to the 2 arms were observed in the subgroup with low TUBB3 expression (5-year OS 47% vs 40%; = 0.44), patients with high TUBB3 had a clinically meaningful poorer OS when receiving docetaxel-based versus 5-FU/LV chemotherapy (5-year OS 31% vs 54%; = 0.09), with a statistically significant interaction between TUBB3 and treatment ( = 0.049).

Conclusions: The quantification of TUBB3 might be considered as a negative predictive biomarker of benefit from taxane-based therapy in GC. Studies are needed to evaluate its role in the neoadjuvant setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300891620930803DOI Listing
April 2021

Pharmacodynamics, clinical findings and approval status of current and emerging tyrosine-kinase inhibitors for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol 2019 Dec 12;15(12):993-1004. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, European Institute of Oncology, IEO, IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

: Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (panNETs) represent a rare group of malignancies. For decades, chemotherapy, somatostatin analogs and interferon represented the only systemic therapies; however, over the latest years, new options were registered, including Everolimus, Sunitinib (SUN), and Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy.: This review discusses the role of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in advanced panNETs.: TKIs showed an antiangiogenic and antiproliferative impact on advanced panNETs. Sunitinib is the only TKI currently available in clinical practice, having been approved on the basis of relevant results of a specific panNET phase III trial. New TKIs, such as Cabozantinib, Lenvatinib, Pazopanib, Surufatinib are still on investigation in panNETs. Although some phase II studies with the new TKIs yielded better PFS and RR compared with SUN, different study designs and tumor populations may have induced selection biases. However, it was reported that panNETs resistant to SUN could respond to a new TKI, indicating a possible further therapeutic line in this context. The global investigation plan of TKIs in panNETs is not homogeneous and it is difficult to understand what kind of development this can have in the near future for clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17425255.2019.1700951DOI Listing
December 2019

Should platinum-based chemotherapy be preferred for germline BReast CAncer genes (BRCA) 1 and 2-mutated pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) patients? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Cancer Treat Rev 2019 Nov 6;80:101895. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, European Institute of Oncology, IEO, IRCCS, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers worldwide. Recent studies have shown that 4-20% of patients with PDAC have a germline BReast CAncer (gBRCA) genes 1 and 2 mutation (m). Because homologous recombination is impaired in patients with gBRCAm, some reports suggested that these tumors may be more sensitive to platinum compounds. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis focused on benefit of patients with gBRCAm receiving a platinum-based chemotherapy (PtCh) compared with those treated with a non-platinum-based chemotherapy (NPtCh).

Material And Methods: The following electronic databases were searched from inception to May 12, 2018: PubMed (MEDLINE), EMBASE, and Cochrane Library. Abstracts from conferences were also reviewed for inclusion. Cohort, case-control and randomized studies of patients with PDAC and gBRCAm were eligible for inclusion if they provided data to compare patients receiving PtCh vs NPtCh. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS) in the PtCh group vs the NPtCh group in patients with clinical stage III (locally advanced) or IV (metastatic) (CS III-IV) PDAC.

Results: Of 112 studies identified, 6 were included (total of 108 patients); of these, 4 provided sufficient data for meta-analysis. Half of the patients were males, with a mean age ranging from 58 to 63 years. The OS in the 85 patients with CS III-IV PDAC was higher in the PtCh group (23.7 vs 12.2 months; mean difference of 10.21 months, 95% confidence interval [CI] 5.05-15.37; P < 0.001; very low quality of evidence). PtCh was associated with a lower mortality (62.3 vs 87.5%; relative risk of 0.80, 95%CI 0.66-0.97; P = 0.021; very low quality of evidence).

Conclusion: Our study confirmed the hypothesis that patients with CS III-IV gBRCAm preferably benefit from a PtCh compared with NPtCh. However the very low quality of evidence should induce to be careful about the risk of potential biases. The generated hypothesis should be prospectively investigated in homogenous clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2019.101895DOI Listing
November 2019

Carboplatin in Combination with Oral or Intravenous Etoposide for Extra-Pulmonary, Poorly-Differentiated Neuroendocrine Carcinomas.

Neuroendocrinology 2019 21;109(2):100-112. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

Department of Medical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom,

Background: Carboplatin-etoposide (CarboEtop) is a 1st-line option for patients with advanced extra-pulmonary (EP), poorly-differentiated (PD) neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC). Different schedules are used in clinical practice and randomised evidence is lacking.

Objectives: To provide real-life outcomes of carboplatin combined with oral or intravenous (IV) etoposide (Etop) in advanced EP-PD-NEC, from 2 specialist centres.

Methods: Activity/efficacy/toxicity data of CarboEtop were collected retrospectively and analysed.

Results: We identified 113 patients; median age: 65.8 years; male: 64%; gastro-entero-pancreatic origin: 54%; stage IV: 90%; median Ki-67: 70%; median follow-up: 11.5 months. A total of 123 courses of CarboEtop (oral: 45%; IV: 55%) were administered; 106 (86%) 1st-line, 16 (13%) 2nd-line, and 1 (1%) 3rd-line. Disease control rate: 74.5% in 1st-line and 69.2% in 2nd/3rd-line, with no significant difference between oral and IV Etop in 1st-line (69.8 vs. 80.8%, p = 0.237). Median progression-free survival (PFS): 6.0 and 4.5 months in 1st-line and 2nd/3rd-line, respectively. Overall survival (OS): 11.5 and 12.5 months in 1st-line and 2nd/3rd-line, respectively. The schedule (oral versus IV Etop) did not impact on 1st-line PFS (5.6 vs. 6.2 months, p = 0.179), although there was a trend towards shorter OS (8.9 vs. 12.1 months, p = 0.069). Liver metastases correlated with worse 1st-line PFS (p = 0.015) and 1st-line OS (p < 0.001) on multivariable analysis. The commonest grade 3-4 adverse event was myelosuppression (49%), with comparable toxicity between oral and IV Etop, except for venous thromboembolism (12.5 vs. 1.7%, p = 0.04).

Conclusions: CarboEtop for advanced EP-PD-NEC is active, effective, and well-tolerated. Oral and IV Etop schedules are associated with comparable toxicity; activity should be compared in larger cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000497336DOI Listing
June 2020

Gender influence on professional satisfaction and gender issue perception among young oncologists. A survey of the Young Oncologists Working Group of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM).

ESMO Open 2018 21;3(6):e000389. Epub 2018 Oct 21.

Laboratory of Methodology for Biomedical Research, IRCCS Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research, Milan, Italy.

Background: The professional gender gap is increasingly recognised in oncology. We explored gender issues perception and gender influence on professional satisfaction/gratification among young Italian oncologists.

Methods: Italian oncologists aged ≤40 years and members of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology were invited to participate in an online survey addressing workload/burnout, satisfaction in professional abilities and relations, relevant factors for professional gratification, and gender barriers. χ test for general association or χ test for trend was used to analyse the data.

Results: 201 young oncologists participated in the survey: 67% female, 71% aged 30-40 years, 41% still in training and 82% without children. Women and men were equally poorly satisfied by the relations with people occupying superior hierarchical positions. There was heterogeneity between women and men in current (p=0.011) and expected future (p=0.007) satisfaction in professional abilities: women were more satisfied by current empathy and relations with colleagues and were more confident in their future managerial and team leader skills. The most important elements for professional gratification indicated by all participants were, in general, work-life balance (36%) and intellectual stimulation/research (32%); specifically for women, work-life balance (48%) and intellectual stimulation/research (20%); and specifically for men, career (29%) and social prestige/recognition (26%). Heterogeneity within the same gender emerged. For example, the elements indicated by men as the most important were intellectual stimulation/research (39%) and work-life balance (21%) in general, versus social prestige/recognition (24%) and career (24%), respectively, specifically for men (p<0.0001). More women versus men perceived gender issue as an actual problem (60% vs 38%, p=0.03); men underestimated gender barriers to women's career (p=0.011).

Conclusions: Satisfaction in professional abilities varied by gender. Work-life balance is important for both women and men. Stereotypes about gender issues may be present. Gender issue is an actual problem for young oncologists, mostly perceived by women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2018-000389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212682PMC
October 2018

Systemic therapies in patients with advanced well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs): When cytoreduction is the aim. A critical review with meta-analysis.

Cancer Treat Rev 2018 Dec 13;71:39-46. Epub 2018 Oct 13.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Cytoreduction is sometimes an important aim of systemic anti-tumor therapies in well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PanNETs). As there is not a gold standard treatment for these tumors in this field, we conducted a literature review in order to identify objective criteria for treatment choice.

Materials And Methods: We critically reviewed and performed a meta-analysis of all published clinical studies of systemic therapies in patients with well-differentiated unresectable PanNETs, selecting only those articles which reported tumor shrinkage (TS) with a waterfall plot (WP). Tumor downsizing of ≥10% was considered as objective response.

Results: We selected 17 out of 2758 studies, comprising 1118 patients with tumor response reported as WP. Proliferation index, tumor burden and anti-tumor therapies were heterogeneous. Chemotherapy alone (mainly, capecitabine/temozolomide) or in combination showed the best results, with ≥10% TS ranging from 65% to 93%. Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy combined with chemotherapy (Chemo-PRRT) and sunitinib appeared promising by inducing objective response in a significant proportion of patients (93% and 60%, respectively). Time to tumor response was reported in only two trials. No clear clinical and/or biological predictive factors emerged.

Conclusion: Based on response criteria used in our retrospective analysis, systemic chemotherapy alone or in combination appeared to have the main cytoreductive impact. However no conclusions regarding either a specific regimen or combination can be drawn. Furthermore, tumor population selection and/or choice of regimen may have a significant influence. Further analysis should be also conducted to identify potential predictive biomarkers of responses, in order to design future prospective interventional clinical trials enrolling more homogenous populations of advanced well-differentiated PanNETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.10.008DOI Listing
December 2018

A single-institution retrospective analysis of metachronous and synchronous metastatic bronchial neuroendocrine tumors.

J Thorac Dis 2018 Jul;10(7):3928-3939

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Neuroendocrine Tumors, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Background: Broncho-pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors (bpNETs) are rare malignancies and there is no consensus on therapeutical management of metastatic disease and follow-up after radical resection.

Methods: Clinical records of patients with a cytological or histological diagnosis of bpNETs and distant metastases (metachronous or synchronous), evaluated at the European Institute of Oncology between 1997 and 2014, were retrospectively analyzed. Data on patient demographics, pathology, imaging exams, surgical and non-surgical treatments were collected. P value descriptive data, uni- and multi-variate survival analysis were generated for all variables.

Results: With a median follow-up of 53 [9-215] months, 61 patients with metachronous and 47 with synchronous metastases were analysed. The most common tool of first recurrence detection was computed tomography. Liver (67%), lymph node (25%), bone (22%) and lung (16%) were the most common sites of relapse. Median time to recurrence was 5 years. Median overall survival (OS) was 72 months for the whole population, with no significant difference between patients with synchronous and metachronous metastases. Age, bone metastases, liver metastases and Ki-67 as a continuous variable all significantly correlated with prognosis at the multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: This is one of the largest, single-centre, series of metastatic bpNETs. Among patients with metachronous metastases the pattern of recurrences was heterogeneous as were the follow-up exams used to detect them. The results of our analysis may represent solid bases for designing prospective clinical trials in homogeneous settings of bpNETs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/jtd.2018.06.78DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6106014PMC
July 2018

Morphological Factors Related to Nodal Metastases in Neuroendocrine Tumors of the Appendix: A Multicentric Retrospective Study.

Ann Surg 2020 03;271(3):527-533

Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, S.Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate clinical and morphological features related to nodal involvement in appendiceal neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), to identify patients who should be referred for oncological radicalization with hemicolectomy.

Background: Appendiceal NETs are usually diagnosed accidentally after appendectomy; the indications for right hemicolectomy are currently based on several parameters (ie, tumor size, grading, proliferative index, localization, mesoappendiceal invasion, lymphovascular infiltration). Available guidelines are based on scarce evidence inferred by small, retrospective, single-institution studies, resulting in discordant recommendations.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of a prospectively collected database was performed. Patients who underwent surgical resection of appendiceal NETs at 11 tertiary Italian centers, from January 1990 to December 2015, were included. Clinical and morphological data were analyzed to identify factors related to nodal involvement.

Results: Four-hundred fifty-seven patients were evaluated, and 435 were finally included and analyzed. Of them, 21 had nodal involvement. Grading G2 [odds ratio (OR) 6.04], lymphovascular infiltration (OR 10.17), size (OR 18.50), and mesoappendiceal invasion (OR 3.63) were related to nodal disease. Receiver operating characteristic curve identified >15.5 mm as the best size cutoff value (area under the curve 0.747). On multivariate analysis, grading G2 (OR 6.98), lymphovascular infiltration (OR 8.63), and size >15.5 mm (OR 35.28) were independently related to nodal involvement.

Conclusions: Tumor size >15.5 mm, grading G2, and presence of lymphovascular infiltration are factors independently related to nodal metastases in appendiceal NETs. Presence of ≥1 of these features should be considered an indication for oncological radicalization. Although these results represent the largest study currently available, prospective validation is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0000000000002939DOI Listing
March 2020

Metformin Use Is Associated With Longer Progression-Free Survival of Patients With Diabetes and Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors Receiving Everolimus and/or Somatostatin Analogues.

Gastroenterology 2018 08 13;155(2):479-489.e7. Epub 2018 Apr 13.

Centro di Osteoncologia e Tumori Rari, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola, Italy.

Background & Aims: Metformin seems to have anticancer effects. However, it is not clear whether use of glycemia and metformin affect outcomes of patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs). We investigated the association between glycemia and progression-free survival (PFS) of patients with pNETs treated with everolimus and/or somatostatin analogues, as well as the association between metformin use and PFS time.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 445 patients with advanced pNET treated at 24 medical centers in Italy from 1999 through 2015. Data on levels of glycemia were collected at time of diagnosis of pNET, before treatment initiation, and during treatment with everolimus (with or without somatostatin analogues), octreotide, or lanreotide. Diabetes was defined as prior or current use of glycemia control medication and/or fasting plasma glucose level ≥ 126 mg/dL, hemoglobin A1c ≥ 6.5% (48 mmol/L), or a random sample of plasma glucose ≥ 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L), with reported classic symptoms of hyperglycemia or hyperglycemic crisis. Patients were assigned to groups based on diagnosis of diabetes before or during antitumor therapy. PFS was compared between patients with vs without diabetes. Among patients with diabetes, the association between metformin use and PFS was assessed. We performed sensitivity and landmark analyses to exclude patients who developed diabetes while receiving cancer treatment and to exclude a potential immortal time bias related to metformin intake.

Results: PFS was significantly longer in patients with diabetes (median, 32.0 months) than without diabetes (median, 15.1 months) (hazard ratio for patients with vs without diabetes, 0.63; 95% confidence interval, 0.50-0.80; P = .0002). PFS of patients treated with metformin was significantly longer (median PFS, 44.2 months) than for patients without diabetes (hazard ratio for survival of patients with diabetes receiving metformin vs without diabetes, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.32-0.62; P < .00001) and longer than for patients with diabetes receiving other treatments (median PFS, 20.8 months; hazard ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.69; P < .0001). In multivariable analysis, adjusted for other factors associated with outcomes, metformin was associated with longer PFS but level of glycemia was not. Metformin was associated with increased PFS of patients receiving somatostatin analogues and in those receiving everolimus, with or without somatostatin analogues. Sensitivity and landmark analyses produced similar results.

Conclusions: In a retrospective study of patients with pNETs, we found a significant association between metformin use and longer PFS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2018.04.010DOI Listing
August 2018

A classification prognostic score to predict OS in stage IV well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors.

Endocr Relat Cancer 2018 06 20;25(6):607-618. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Department of Medical OncologyOspedale Santa Chiara, Pisa, Italy.

No validated prognostic tool is available for predicting overall survival (OS) of patients with well-differentiated neuroendocrine tumors (WDNETs). This study, conducted in three independent cohorts of patients from five different European countries, aimed to develop and validate a classification prognostic score for OS in patients with stage IV WDNETs. We retrospectively collected data on 1387 patients: (i) patients treated at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori (Milan, Italy;  = 515); (ii) European cohort of rare NET patients included in the European RARECAREnet database ( = 457); (iii) Italian multicentric cohort of pancreatic NET (pNETs) patients treated at 24 Italian institutions ( = 415). The score was developed using data from patients included in cohort (i) (training set); external validation was performed by applying the score to the data of the two independent cohorts (ii) and (iii) evaluating both calibration and discriminative ability (Harrell C statistic). We used data on age, primary tumor site, metastasis (synchronous vs metachronous), Ki-67, functional status and primary surgery to build the score, which was developed for classifying patients into three groups with differential 10-year OS: (I) favorable risk group: 10-year OS ≥70%; (II) intermediate risk group: 30% ≤ 10-year OS < 70%; (III) poor risk group: 10-year OS <30%. The Harrell C statistic was 0.661 in the training set, and 0.626 and 0.601 in the RARECAREnet and Italian multicentric validation sets, respectively. In conclusion, based on the analysis of three 'field-practice' cohorts collected in different settings, we defined and validated a prognostic score to classify patients into three groups with different long-term prognoses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/ERC-17-0489DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5920017PMC
June 2018

[email protected] discovers a radio-quiet gamma-ray millisecond pulsar.

Sci Adv 2018 02 28;4(2):eaao7228. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Department of Physics and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are old neutron stars that spin hundreds of times per second and appear to pulsate as their emission beams cross our line of sight. To date, radio pulsations have been detected from all rotation-powered MSPs. In an attempt to discover radio-quiet gamma-ray MSPs, we used the aggregated power from the computers of tens of thousands of volunteers participating in the [email protected] distributed computing project to search for pulsations from unidentified gamma-ray sources in Fermi Large Area Telescope data. This survey discovered two isolated MSPs, one of which is the only known rotation-powered MSP to remain undetected in radio observations. These gamma-ray MSPs were discovered in completely blind searches without prior constraints from other observations, raising hopes for detecting MSPs from a predicted Galactic bulge population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aao7228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5829974PMC
February 2018

Sunitinib in patients with pre-treated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: A real-world study.

Pancreatology 2018 Mar 12;18(2):198-203. Epub 2018 Jan 12.

Digestive and Liver Disease, ENETS Center of Excellence Sant'Andrea Hospital - Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Besides data reported in a Phase-III trial, data on sunitinib in pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (panNETs) are scanty.

Aim: To evaluate sunitinib efficacy and tolerability in panNETs patients treated in a real-world setting.

Patients And Methods: Retrospective analysis of progressive panNETs treated with sunitinib. Efficacy was assessed by evaluating progression-free survival, overall survival, and disease control (DC) rate (stable disease (SD) + partial response + complete response). Data are reported as median (25th-75th IQR).

Results: Eighty patients were included. Overall, 71.1% had NET G2, 26.3% had NET G1, and 2.6% had NET G3 neoplasms. A total of 53 patients (66.3%) had received three or more therapeutic regimens before sunitinib, with 24 patients (30%) having been treated with four previous treatments. Median PFS was 10 months. Similar risk of progression was observed between NET G1 and NET G2 tumors (median PFS 11 months and 8 months, respectively), and between patients who had received ≥ 3 vs ≤ 2 therapeutic approaches before sunitinib (median PFS 9 months and 10 months, respectively). DC rate was 71.3% and SD was the most frequent observed response, occurring in 43 pts (53.8%). Overall, 59 pts (73.8%) experienced AEs, which were grade 1-2 in 43 of them (72.9%), grade 3 in 15 pts (25.4%), and grade 4 in one patient (1.7%). Six pts (7.5%) stopped treatment due to toxicity.

Conclusions: The present real-world experience shows that sunitinib is a safe and effective treatment for panNETs, even in the clinical setting of heavily pre-treated, progressive diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pan.2018.01.005DOI Listing
March 2018

: Assessment of Response to Treatment and Follow-Up in Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Neoplasms.

Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets 2018 ;18(5):419-449

Department of Endocrine Oncology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

Well-established criteria for evaluating the response to treatment and the appropriate followup of individual patients are critical in clinical oncology. The current evidence-based data on these issues in terms of the management of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) are unfortunately limited. This document by the Italian Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AME) on the criteria for the follow-up of GEP-NEN patients is aimed at providing comprehensive recommendations for everyday clinical practice based on both the best available evidence and the combined opinion of an interdisciplinary panel of experts. The initial risk stratification of patients with NENs should be performed according to the grading, staging and functional status of the neoplasm and the presence of an inherited syndrome. The evaluation of response to the initial treatment, and to the subsequent therapies for disease progression or recurrence, should be based on a cost-effective, risk-effective and timely use of the appropriate diagnostic resources. A multidisciplinary evaluation of the response to the treatment is strongly recommended and, at every step in the follow-up, it is mandatory to assess the disease state and the patient performance status, comorbidities, and recent clinical evolution. Local expertise, available technical resources and the patient preferences should always be evaluated while planning the individual clinical management of GEP-NENs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1871530318666171213145803DOI Listing
January 2019
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