Publications by authors named "Franco Nolè"

82 Publications

Baseline Characteristics and Outcomes of Cancer Patients Infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the Lombardy Region, Italy (AIOM-L CORONA): A Multicenter, Observational, Ambispective, Cohort Study.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 16;13(6). Epub 2021 Mar 16.

Department of Internal Medicine and Oncology, ASST di Pavia, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

Cancer patients may be at high risk of infection and poor outcomes related to SARS-CoV-2. Analyzing their prognosis, examining the effects of baseline characteristics and systemic anti-cancer active therapy (SACT) are critical to their management through the evolving COVID-19 pandemic. The AIOM-L CORONA was a multicenter, observational, ambispective, cohort study, with the intended participation of 26 centers in the Lombardy region (Italy). A total of 231 ases were included between March and September 2020. The median age was 68 years; 151 patients (62.2%) were receiving SACT, mostly chemotherapy. During a median follow-up of 138 days (range 12-218), 93 events occurred. Age ≥60 years, metastatic dissemination, dyspnea, desaturation, and interstitial pneumonia were all independent mortality predictors. Overall SACT had a neutral effect (Odds Ratio [OR] 0.83, 95%Confidence Interval [95%CI] 0.32-2.15); however, metastatic patients receiving SACT were less likely to die as compared to untreated counterparts, after adjusting for other confounding variables (OR 0.23, 95%CI 0.11-0.51, < 0.001). Among cancer patients infected by SARS-CoV-2, those with metastases were most at risk of death, especially in the absence of SACT. During the ongoing pandemic, these vulnerable patients should avoid exposure to SARS-CoV-2, while treatment adjustments and prioritizing vaccination are being considered according to international recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13061324DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998451PMC
March 2021

Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) reporting with the METastasis Reporting and Data System for Prostate Cancer (MET-RADS-P): inter-observer agreement between readers of different expertise levels.

Cancer Imaging 2020 Oct 27;20(1):77. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, University of Milan, 20122, Milan, Italy.

Background: The METastasis Reporting and Data System for Prostate Cancer (MET-RADS-P) guidelines are designed to enable reproducible assessment in detecting and quantifying metastatic disease response using whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) in patients with advanced prostate cancer (APC). The purpose of our study was to evaluate the inter-observer agreement of WB-MRI examination reports produced by readers of different expertise when using the MET-RADS-P guidelines.

Methods: Fifty consecutive paired WB-MRI examinations, performed from December 2016 to February 2018 on 31 patients, were retrospectively examined to compare reports by a Senior Radiologist (9 years of experience in WB-MRI) and Resident Radiologist (after a 6-months training) using MET-RADS-P guidelines, for detection and for primary/dominant and secondary response assessment categories (RAC) scores assigned to metastatic disease in 14 body regions. Inter-observer agreement regarding RAC score was evaluated for each region by using weighted-Cohen's Kappa statistics (K).

Results: The number of metastatic regions reported by the Senior Radiologist (249) and Resident Radiologist (251) was comparable. For the primary/dominant RAC pattern, the agreement between readers was excellent for the metastatic findings in cervical, dorsal, and lumbosacral spine, pelvis, limbs, lungs and other sites (K:0.81-1.0), substantial for thorax, retroperitoneal nodes, other nodes and liver (K:0.61-0.80), moderate for pelvic nodes (K:0.56), fair for primary soft tissue and not assessable for skull due to the absence of findings. For the secondary RAC pattern, agreement between readers was excellent for the metastatic findings in cervical spine (K:0.93) and retroperitoneal nodes (K:0.89), substantial for those in dorsal spine, pelvis, thorax, limbs and pelvic nodes (K:0.61-0.80), and moderate for lumbosacral spine (K:0.44).

Conclusions: We found inter-observer agreement between two readers of different expertise levels to be excellent in bone, but mixed in other body regions. Considering the importance of bone metastases in patients with APC, our results favor the use of MET-RADS-P in response to the growing clinical need for monitoring of metastasis in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40644-020-00350-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7590732PMC
October 2020

Designing novel immunocombinations in metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Immunotherapy 2020 Dec 1;12(17):1257-1268. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Section of Pathological Anatomy, Polytechnic University of the Marche Region, School of Medicine, United Hospitals, Ancona, Italy.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have radically changed the treatment approach to metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). In the present article, we reported and discussed the available data with immunocombinations in mRCC, offering new perspectives in the treatment landscape of these patients. We discussed the main results of pivotal clinical trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of mRCC. Moreover, we discussed novel immuno-based treatments currently under investigation in ongoing clinical trials. Renal cell carcinoma is a particularly immunogenic tumor and immunotherapy is a pivotal treatment approach. A wide series of clinical trials is exploring novel promising immunocombinations in patients with renal cell carcinoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/imt-2020-0144DOI Listing
December 2020

Adjuvant radiotherapy in node positive prostate cancer patients: a debate still on. when, for whom?

BJU Int 2021 Apr 25;127(4):454-462. Epub 2020 Sep 25.

Division of Radiation Oncology, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Objective: To evaluate the impact of adjuvant radiotherapy (aRT) in patients with prostate cancer (PCa) found to have pathological positive lymph nodes (pN1s) after radical prostatectomy (RP) and extended pelvic lymph node dissection (ePLND) with regard to distant recurrence-free survival (RFS), according to both main tumour pathological characteristics and number of positive lymph nodes. Biochemical RFS, local RFS, overall survival (OS) and acute and late toxicity were assessed as secondary endpoints.

Patients And Methods: A retrospective cohort of 187 consecutive patients with pN1 PCa were treated with aRT at the IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy. aRT on the tumour bed and pelvis was administered within 6 months of RP. Androgen deprivation therapy was administered according to the guidelines. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses predicting biochemical RFS, local RFS, distant RFS and OS rates were performed to assess whether the number of pN1s represented an independent prognostic factor. The Youden index was computed to find the optimal threshold for the number of pN1s able to discriminate between patients with or without biochemical and clinical relapse.

Results: At 5 years, local RFS, distant RFS, biochemical RFS and OS were 68%, 71%, 56% and 94%, respectively. The median follow-up was 49 months. The number of pN1s was significantly associated with biochemical RFS, local RFS and distant RFS. The best threshold for discriminating between patients with or without biochemical and clinical relapse was five pN1s. In multivariate analyses, the number of pN1s was confirmed to be an independent predictor of biochemical RFS, local RFS and distant RFS, but not of OS. Multivariate analyses also showed an increased risk of biochemical relapse for increasing values of initial prostate-specific antigen and for patients with tumour vascular invasion. Local and distant RFS were also inversely correlated with significantly reduced risk for International Society of Urological Pathology grade group <3 (group 1 or 2 compared to group 3).

Conclusions: Our data confirmed the encouraging outcomes of patients with pN1 PCa treated with adjuvant treatments and the key role represented by the number of pN1s in predicting biochemical RFS, clinical RFS and distant RFS. Large prospective cohort studies and randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm these results and to identify the subgroup of patients with pN1 PCa who would most benefit from aRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.15228DOI Listing
April 2021

Safety and efficacy of atezolizumab in patients with autoimmune disease: Subgroup analysis of the SAUL study in locally advanced/metastatic urinary tract carcinoma.

Eur J Cancer 2020 10 6;138:202-211. Epub 2020 Sep 6.

CREATE Centre, Section of Rheumatology, Division of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, UK. Electronic address:

Aim: Patients with pre-existing autoimmune disease (AID) are typically excluded from clinical trials of immune checkpoint inhibitors, and there are limited data on outcomes in this population. The single-arm international SAUL study of atezolizumab enrolled a broader 'real-world' patient population. We present outcomes in patients with a history of AID.

Methods: Patients with locally advanced/metastatic urinary tract carcinoma received atezolizumab 1200 mg every 3 weeks until loss of clinical benefit or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end-point was safety. Overall survival (OS) was a secondary end-point. Subgroup analyses of AID patients were prespecified.

Results: Thirty-five of 997 treated patients had AID at baseline, most commonly psoriasis (n = 15). Compared with non-AID patients, AID patients experienced numerically more adverse events (AEs) of special interest (46% versus 30%; grade ≥3 14% versus 6%) and treatment-related grade 3/4 AEs (26% versus 12%), but without relevant increases in treatment-related deaths (0% versus 1%) or AEs necessitating treatment discontinuation (9% versus 6%). Pre-existing AID worsened in four patients (11%; two flares in two patients); three of the six flares resolved, one was resolving, and two were unresolved. Efficacy was similar in AID and non-AID patients (median OS, 8.2 versus 8.8 months, respectively; median progression-free survival, 4.4 versus 2.2 months; disease control rate, 51% versus 39%).

Conclusions: In 35 atezolizumab-treated patients with pre-existing AID, incidences of special- interest and treatment-related AEs appeared acceptable. AEs were manageable, rarely requiring atezolizumab discontinuation. Treating these patients requires caution, but pre-existing AID does not preclude atezolizumab therapy.

Trial Registration: NCT02928406.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.07.023DOI Listing
October 2020

Management of Germ Cell Tumors During the Outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Disease-19 Pandemic: A Survey of International Expertise Centers.

Oncologist 2020 10 18;25(10):e1509-e1515. Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples "Federico II,", Naples, Italy.

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become a public health emergency affecting frail populations, including patients with cancer. This poses the question of whether cancer treatments can be postponed or modified without compromising their efficacy, especially for highly curable cancers such as germ cell tumors (GCTs).

Materials And Methods: To depict the state-of-the-art management of GCTs during the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey including 26 questions was circulated by e-mail among the physicians belonging to three cooperative groups: (a) Italian Germ Cell Cancer Group; (b) European Reference Network-Rare Adult Solid Cancers, Domain G3 (rare male genitourinary cancers); and (c) Genitourinary Medical Oncologists of Canada. Percentages of agreement between Italian respondents (I) versus Canadian respondents (C), I versus European respondents (E), and E versus C were compared by using Fisher's exact tests for dichotomous answers and chi square test for trends for the questions with three or more options.

Results: Fifty-three GCT experts responded to the survey: 20 Italian, 6 in other European countries, and 27 from Canada. Telemedicine was broadly used; there was high consensus to interrupt chemotherapy in COVID-19-positive patients (I = 75%, C = 55%, and E = 83.3%) and for use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor primary prophylaxis for neutropenia (I = 65%, C = 62.9%, and E = 50%). The main differences emerged regarding the management of stage I and stage IIA disease, likely because of cultural and geographical differences.

Conclusion: Our study highlights the common efforts of GCT experts in Europe and Canada to maintain high standards of treatment for patients with GCT with few changes in their management during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Implications For Practice: Despite the chaos, disruptions, and fears fomented by the COVID-19 illness, oncology care teams in Italy, other European countries, and Canada are delivering the enormous promise of curative management strategies for patients with testicular cancer and other germ cell tumors. At the same time, these teams are applying safe and innovative solutions and sharing best practices to minimize frequency and intensity of patient contacts with thinly stretched health care capacity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2020-0420DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7543332PMC
October 2020

New Frontiers in Prostate Cancer Treatment: Are We Ready for Drug Combinations with Novel Agents?

Cells 2020 06 22;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 22.

Section of Pathological Anatomy, Polytechnic University of the Marche Region, School of Medicine, United Hospitals, 60126 Ancona, Italy.

Medical treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) patients has progressively been evolving from a nonspecific clinical approach to genomics-oriented therapies. The scientific community is in fact increasingly focusing on developing DNA damage repair (DDR) defect-driven novel molecules, both as single-agent therapy and in combined treatment strategies. Accordingly, research is under way into combined drug therapies targeting different pathways, e.g. androgen receptor signaling (ARS) and poly (adenosine diphosphate [ADP]-ribose) polymerase (PARP) enzymes, immune checkpoint (IC) and PARP, IC, and ARS, and prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA). In an attempt to formulate evolving treatment paradigms in mCRPC patients, here we selected clinical research into patients undergoing therapies with emerging molecules, with particular emphasis towards PARP-, IC-, and PSMA-inhibitors. In order to focus on those molecules and drug combinations most likely to be translated into routine clinical care in the near future, we selected only those clinical studies currently recruiting patients. A PubMed search focusing on the keywords "prostate cancer", "metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer", "DDR pathways", "ARS inhibitors", "PARP inhibitors", "IC inhibitors", "PSMA-targeting agents", and "drug combinations" was performed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9061522DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349416PMC
June 2020

Update on Circulating Tumor Cells in Genitourinary Tumors with Focus on Prostate Cancer.

Cells 2020 06 19;9(6). Epub 2020 Jun 19.

Section of Pathological Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Polytechnic University of the Marche Region, United Hospitals, 60126 Ancona, Italy.

Current developments in the treatment of genitourinary tumors underline the unmet clinical need for biomarkers to improve decision-making in a challenging clinical setting. The detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) has become one of the most exciting and important new approaches to identifying biomarkers at different stages of disease in a non-invasive way. Potential applications of CTCs include monitoring treatment efficacy and early detection of progression, selecting tailored therapies, as well as saving treatment costs. However, despite the promising implementation of CTCs in a clinical scenario, the isolation and characterization of these cells for molecular studies remain expensive with contemporary platforms, and significant technical challenges still need to be overcome. This updated, critical review focuses on the state of CTCs in patients with genitourinary tumor with focus on prostate cancer, discussing technical issues, main clinical results and hypothesizing potential future perspectives in clinical scenarios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9061495DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7348874PMC
June 2020

Modified-BEP Chemotherapy in Patients With Germ-Cell Tumors Treated at a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Am J Clin Oncol 2020 06;43(6):381-387

Medical Division of Urogenital and Head and Neck Cancer.

Objectives: Bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) is the most common and successful chemotherapy regimen for germ-cell tumor (GCT) patients, accompanied by a bleomycin-induced dose-dependent lung toxicity in certain patients. In an attempt to reduce bleomycin-toxicity, we developed a modified-BEP (mBEP) regimen.

Materials And Methods: Between August 2008 and February 2018, 182 unselected mainly testicular GCT patients (39 with adjuvant purpose and 143 with curative purpose) received a tri-weekly 5-day hospitalization schedule with bleomycin 15 U intravenous (IV) push on day 1 and 10 U IV continuous infusion over 12 hours on days 1 to 3, cisplatin 20 mg/m IV, and etoposide 100 mg/m IV on days 1 to 5. Pulmonary toxicity was assessed through chest computed tomography scan and clinical monitoring.

Results: Median number of mBEP cycles was 3 (range: 1 to 4). In the curative setting, according to the International Germ Cell Cancer Collaborative Group (IGCCCG) prognostic system, 112, 21, and 9 patients had good-risk, intermediate-risk, and poor-risk class, respectively; 66 (46%) patients had complete response (CR), 67 (47%) had partial response (52 of whom became CR afterwards), 6 (4%) had stable disease (that in 3 became CR afterwards), 3 (2%) progressed, and 1 (1%) died of brain stroke. At a median follow-up of 2.67 years (interquartile range: 1.23-5.00 y), 1 and 5-year overall survival and progression-free survival were 99% and 95%, and 90% and 88%, respectively. In the entire patient population, there was grade 3/4 neutropenia in 92 patients (51%), febrile neutropenia in 11 patients (6%), grade 1/2 nausea in 74 patients (41%), and no death due to pulmonary toxicity.

Conclusion: In GCT patients, our mBEP-schedule would suggest an effective treatment modality without suffering meaningful pulmonary toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/COC.0000000000000679DOI Listing
June 2020

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma: A comprehensive review.

Cancer Treat Rev 2020 Mar 13;84:101963. Epub 2020 Jan 13.

Division of Early Drug Development for Innovative Therapies, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, Italy; Department of Oncology and Haemato-Oncology, University of Milano, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) is a recently recognized non-Hodgkin lymphoma of T-cell origin. Despite the low incidence of this new disease, the increasing use of breast implants for cosmetic or post-mastectomy reconstruction purposes places BIA-ALC as an emerging and compelling medical challenge. The real BIA-ALCL pathogenesis has not been fully uncovered so far, while different putative causal factors have been proposed. Breast implants with textured surfaces seem to be associated with nearly all cases of BIA-ALCL, while the real the risk of disease development has not been well estimated so far. Late onset, persistent seroma around breast implant represents the classical clinical presentation. Most of the BIA-ALCL patients presents with localized disease, which confers an excellent prognosis. Unlike other non-Hodgkin lymphomas, surgical excision of the mass has a key role in the treatment. For patients with advanced and disseminated diseases, the treatment did not differ from other types of T-cell lymphoma. For these reasons, BIA-ALCL represents an emerging disease which requires multidisciplinary team approach to well define diagnostic workup and treatment for each patient. This review article aims to summarize available data on BIA-ALCL. First, we will outline available data on BIA-ALCL epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnostic work-up, and treatment. Second, we will point out the potential psychological implications as well as the risk of perception distortion for women with breast implants, especially for those with previous breast cancer. Lastly, we will summarize the current national recommendations regarding textured breast implants and discuss the diagnostic-therapeutic algorithm for BIA-ALCL management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2020.101963DOI Listing
March 2020

The Role of Obesity in Renal Cell Carcinoma Patients: Clinical-Pathological Implications.

Int J Mol Sci 2019 Nov 13;20(22). Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Section of Pathological Anatomy, United Hospitals, School of Medicine, Polytechnic University of the Marche Region, 60126 Ancona, Italy.

Obesity is a well-known risk factor for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) development. However, the RCC-obesity link has not been fully addressed when considering a comprehensive scenario starting from pathogenetic aspects through pathological issues up to the outcome of medical treatment. We therefore conducted an electronic PubMed search using keywords "obesity", "body mass index", "overweight", "renal cell carcinoma/kidney cancer", "medical treatment", "targeted therapy", and "immunotherapy/immune checkpoint inhibitors". The selected data supported a crosstalk between adipose tissue (adipocytes and other white adipose tissue cells) and cancer cells inducing several signaling pathways that finally stimulated angiogenesis, survival, and cellular proliferation. Accurate sampling of renal sinus fat correlated with a prognostic value. Retrospective clinical evidence in metastatic RCC patients with higher body mass index (BMI) and treated with targeted therapies and/or immune checkpoint inhibitors showed advantageous survival outcomes. Therefore, obesity may influence the course of RCC patients, although the interplay between obesity/BMI and RCC warrants a large prospective confirmation. We are therefore still far from determining a clear role of obesity as a prognostic/predictive factor in metastatic RCC patients undergoing targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms20225683DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888048PMC
November 2019

Long-term responders to trastuzumab monotherapy in first-line HER-2+ advanced breast cancer: characteristics and survival data.

BMC Cancer 2019 Sep 10;19(1):902. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

Breast Center St. Gallen, Kantonsspital, Rorschacherstrasse 95, 9007, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Background: The impact of HER2-targeted therapy alone followed by the addition of chemotherapy at disease progression (PD) versus upfront combination was investigated by the SAKK 22/99 trial. The aim of this exploratory analysis of the SAKK 22/99 trial was to characterize the specific subset of patients deriving long-term benefit from trastuzumab monotherapy alone and to identify potential predictive factors of long-term response.

Methods: This is an unplanned post-hoc analysis of patients randomized to Arm A (trastuzumab monotherapy). Patients were divided in two groups: patients with durable clinical benefit from trastuzumab monotherapy and short-term responders without durable clinical benefit from trastuzumab monotherapy Univariate and multivariate analyses of clinical characteristics correlating with response duration was performed.

Results: Eighty six patients were randomized in arm A, 24 patients (28%) were long-term responders and 62 (72%) were short-term responders with a 5y-overall survival (OS) of 54% (95% CI 31-72) and of 18% (95%CI 10-30), respectively. Absence of ER expression, absence of PgR expression and presence of visceral disease emerged as possible negative predictive factors for durable clinical benefit.

Conclusion: Durable clinical benefit can be achieved with trastuzumab monotherapy in a subgroup of HER2-positive patients with advanced disease and it is predictive for longer OS. Further investigations of predictive biomarkers are necessary to better characterize this subgroup of patients and develop further de-escalating strategies.

Trial Registration: NCT00004935 ; first posted 27.01.2003, retrospectively registered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-019-6105-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6734335PMC
September 2019

Management of kidney cancer patients: 2018 guidelines of the Italian Medical Oncology Association (AIOM).

Tumori 2019 07;105(4_suppl):3-12

Department of Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliero di Rilievo Nazionale "A. Cardarelli", Napoli, Italy.

In the past two decades, the treatment landscape for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma has significantly changed thanks to the approval of several targeted molecular therapies (VEGF and mTOR inhibitors) and recently immune-checkpoint inhibitors. The Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) Renal Cell Cancer (RCC) Guidelines Panel has developed clinical guidelines to provide evidence-based information and recommendations to oncologists, urologists and all professionals involved in the management of patients with renal cell cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300891619853392DOI Listing
July 2019

Clinical outcomes and prognostic factors in recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer patients treated with chemotherapy plus cetuximab as first-line therapy in a real-world setting.

Eur J Cancer 2019 07 10;115:4-12. Epub 2019 May 10.

Head and Neck Medical Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy. Electronic address:

Aim: The aims of the study are to evaluate the clinical outcomes of first-line treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy and cetuximab in patients with relapsing/metastatic head and neck cancer (RM HNC) and to identify predictors of treatment response.

Methods: This is a retrospective, observational, longitudinal, real-world study involving 6 oncology centres in Italy. All consecutive patients with RM HNC treated between January 2007 and December 2016 with a first-line therapy consisting of a platinum-based chemotherapy regimen plus cetuximab were included. The primary objective of the study was to assess overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary objectives included the identification of predictors of treatment response.

Results: Overall, 297 patients were identified. Median OS was 10.8 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 9.3-12.2), whereas median PFS was 4.8 months (95% CI 4.3-5.5). On multivariable analysis, independent unfavourable prognostic factors for OS were performance status (PS) Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) >0, presence of residual tumour at primary site, platinum resistance and lack of objective response. Unfavourable predictors for PFS included cancer primary site (paranasal sinuses, hypopharynx), PS ECOG >0, presence of residual tumour at primary site, platinum resistance and lack of objective response. Independent unfavourable predictors of objective response were tumour site (oral cavity, larynx-hypopharynx), residual tumour at primary site and prior chemotherapy.

Conclusions: The availability of new treatment modalities and epidemiological changes make the periodic reassessment of prognostic factors of great relevance to guide clinical practice and the design of future randomised clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2019.03.022DOI Listing
July 2019

Recommendations for surveillance and follow-up of men with testicular germ cell tumors: a multidisciplinary consensus conference by the Italian Germ cell cancer Group and the Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2019 May 20;137:154-164. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

IGG Italian Germ cell cancer Group, Italy; AIOM - Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica, Italy.

Background: No compelling evidence is available about surveillance and follow-up of patients with testicular germ cell tumour (TGCT).

Methods: In the light of the best clinical evidence, the Italian Germ cell cancer Group (IGG) and the Associazione Italiana di Oncologia Medica (AIOM) set up a multidisciplinary national consensus conference, involving 42 leading experts and 3 TGCT survivors. A minimum of 50% of votes was required in order to achieve a consensus recommendation on 29 questions.

Results: Recommendations have been summarized in three tables, divided by stage I seminoma, stage I nonseminoma and the advanced disease, which may be useful for clinicians to appropriately choose the clinical investigation and its timing during the surveillance and follow-up of TGCT patients based on an accurate estimation of their risk of disease relapse.

Conclusions: The IGG-AIOM consensus recommendations may help clinicians to choose appropriate clinical investigations for the surveillance and follow-up of TGCT patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2019.03.006DOI Listing
May 2019

The effect of a treatment delay on outcome in metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Urol Oncol 2019 08 29;37(8):529.e1-529.e7. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Medical Oncology, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Roma, Italy.

Objectives: To investigate if a first-line treatment delay (TD) can negatively affect the outcomes of patients affected by metastatic renal cancer.

Patients And Methods: Patients with a diagnosis of metastatic renal cancer who were ineligible for active surveillance were included in the sample. A TD was defined as the time from the diagnosis of metastatic disease to the start of first-line therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Results: A total of 835 patients were assessed and 635 were included in the final analysis. The median TD was 6.3 weeks. No significant differences were found in baseline characteristics between patients experiencing a TD below/equal to or above the median value, with the exceptions being the rate of bone metastases (25.3% vs. 35.9%) and advanced disease at diagnosis (34.7% vs. 54.9%). In patients who had received a previous nephrectomy for localized disease, the TD was 5.3 compared to 8.0 weeks for those with metastatic disease at diagnosis (P = 0.001). Among this latter group, 68.7% had received a cytoreductive nephrectomy. In patients with a TD below/equal to and above the median value, the median progression-free survival was 10.3 and 11.2 months, respectively (hazard ratio = 1.03; 95% confidence intervals, 0.86-1.22; P = 0.78); the median overall survival was 27.3 and 28.2 months, respectively (hazard ratio = 1.04; 95% confidence intervals, 0.86-1.27; P = 0.68). The lack of differences was confirmed when adjusted for prognostic factors and baseline characteristics.

Conclusions: This study reports that patients with bone metastases and advanced disease at diagnosis have a significant probability of experiencing delayed first-line therapy of more than 6 weeks from the time of diagnosis. However, a TD does not significantly affect outcomes and survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.urolonc.2019.03.005DOI Listing
August 2019

The clinical use of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) enumeration for staging of metastatic breast cancer (MBC): International expert consensus paper.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2019 Feb 19;134:39-45. Epub 2018 Dec 19.

Department of Tumor Biology, Center of Experimental Medicine, University Cancer Center Hamburg, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Background: The heterogeneity of metastatic breast cancer (MBC) necessitates novel biomarkers allowing stratification of patients for treatment selection and drug development. We propose to use the prognostic utility of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) for stratification of patients with stage IV disease.

Methods: In a retrospective, pooled analysis of individual patient data from 18 cohorts, including 2436 MBC patients, a CTC threshold of 5 cells per 7.5 ml was used for stratification based on molecular subtypes, disease location, and prior treatments. Patients with ≥ 5 CTCs were classified as Stage IV, those with < 5 CTCs as Stage IV Survival was analyzed using Kaplan-Meier curves and the log rank test.

Results: For all patients, Stage IV patients had longer median overall survival than those with Stage IV (36.3 months vs. 16.0 months, P < 0.0001) and similarly for de novo MBC patients (41.4 months Stage IV vs. 18.7 months Stage IV, p < 0.0001). Moreover, patients with Stage IV disease had significantly longer overall survival across all disease subtypes compared to the aggressive cohort: hormone receptor-positive (44 months vs. 17.3 months, P < 0.0001), HER2-positive (36.7 months vs. 20.4 months, P < 0.0001), and triple negative (23.8 months vs. 9.0 months, P < 0.0001). Similar results were obtained regardless of prior treatment or disease location.

Conclusions: We confirm the identification of two subgroups of MBC, Stage IV and Stage IV, independent of clinical and molecular variables. Thus, CTC count should be considered an important tool for staging of advanced disease and for disease stratification in prospective clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2018.12.004DOI Listing
February 2019

Addition of radium-223 to abiraterone acetate and prednisone or prednisolone in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer and bone metastases (ERA 223): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 03 6;20(3):408-419. Epub 2019 Feb 6.

University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Background: Abiraterone acetate plus prednisone or prednisolone improves progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Radium-223 improves overall survival and delays the onset of symptomatic skeletal events in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer and bone metastases. We assessed concurrent treatment with abiraterone acetate plus prednisone or prednisolone and radium-223 in such patients.

Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial at 165 oncology and urology centres in 19 countries. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, and had histologically confirmed, progressive, chemotherapy-naive, asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and bone metastases, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, life expectancy of at least 6 months, and adequate haematological, renal, and liver function. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) according to a permuted block design (block size 4) via interactive response technology to receive up to six intravenous injections of radium-223 (55 kBq/kg) or matching placebo once every 4 weeks. All patients were also scheduled to receive oral abiraterone acetate 1000 mg once daily plus oral prednisone or prednisolone 5 mg twice daily during and after radium-223 or placebo treatment. The primary endpoint was symptomatic skeletal event-free survival, which was assessed in the intention-to-treat population. Safety analyses were done in all patients who received at least one dose of any study drug. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02043678. Enrolment has been completed, and follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between March 30, 2014, and Aug 12, 2016, 806 patients were randomly assigned to receive radium-223 (n=401) or placebo (n=405) in addition to abiraterone acetate plus prednisone or prednisolone. The study was unblinded prematurely, on Nov 17, 2017, after more fractures and deaths were noted in the radium-223 group than in the placebo group (in an unplanned ad-hoc analysis), but all patients had completed radium-223 or placebo before this date. At the primary analysis (data cutoff Feb 15, 2018), 196 (49%) of 401 patients in radium-223 group had had at least one symptomatic skeletal event or died, compared with 190 (47%) of 405 patients in the placebo group (median follow-up 21·2 months [IQR 17·0-25·8]). Median symptomatic skeletal event-free survival was 22·3 months (95% CI 20·4-24·8) in the radium-223 group and 26·0 months (21·8-28·3) in the placebo group (hazard ratio 1·122 [95% CI 0·917-1·374]; p=0·2636). Fractures (any grade) occurred in 112 (29%) of 392 patients in the radium-223 group and 45 (11%) of 394 patients in the placebo group. The most common grade 3-4 treatment-emergent adverse events were hypertension (43 [11%] patients in the radium-223 group vs 52 [13%] patients in the placebo group), fractures (36 [9%] vs 12 [3%]) and increased alanine aminotransferase concentrations (34 [9%] vs 28 [7%]). Serious treatment-emergent adverse events occurred in 160 (41%) patients in the radium-223 group and 155 (39%) in the placebo group. Treatment-related deaths occurred in two (1%) patients in the radium-223 group (acute myocardial infarction and interstitial lung disease) and one (<1%) in the placebo group (arrhythmia).

Interpretation: The addition of radium-223 to abiraterone acetate plus prednisone or prednisolone did not improve symptomatic skeletal event-free survival in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer and bone metastases, and was associated with an increased frequency of bone fractures compared with placebo. Thus, we do not recommend use of this combination.

Funding: Bayer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30860-XDOI Listing
March 2019

The outcome to axitinib or everolimus after sunitinib in metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Anticancer Drugs 2018 08;29(7):705-709

Department of Medical Oncology, IRCCS, San Matteo University Hospital Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

We aimed to investigate the different outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with second-line axitinib or everolimus after sunitinib. Patients treated in 16 oncological centres in Italy were included, and those receiving axitinib or everolimus from January 2013 onwards were analysed for outcomes. Descriptive statistical tests were used to highlight differences between groups. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Data on 634 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with first-line sunitinib have been obtained. A total of 182 patients received a second-line therapy with everolimus (79 patients, 43%) or axitinib (103 patients, 57%), respectively. The median PFS was 4.6 [95% confidence (CI): 2.6-6.5] months for patients treated with everolimus and 5.5 (95% CI: 4.3-6.7) months for patients treated with axitinib (P=0.7). The median OS was 13.9 (95% CI: 10.4-17.4) months for patients treated with everolimus and 12.0 (95% CI: 7.9-16.2) months for patients treated with axitinib (P=0.3). No differences were found based on length of first-line treatment. Major limitations are the retrospective nature of the study and the lack of a prospective evaluation of the progression. This study reports no significantly differences between everolimus and axitinib in terms of both PFS and OS. Furthermore, the length of first-line treatment cannot be used as such a predictive factor and cannot suggest the use of a molecule compared with another.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000000632DOI Listing
August 2018

Is It Possible to Improve Prognostic Classification in Patients Affected by Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma With an Intermediate or Poor Prognosis?

Clin Genitourin Cancer 2018 10 7;16(5):355-359.e1. Epub 2018 May 7.

Department of Medical Oncology, IRCCS San Matteo University Hospital Foundation, Pavia, Italy.

Background: The International mRCC (metastatic renal cell carcinoma) Database Consortium (IMDC) is the standard classification for mRCC. We aimed to evaluate the outcomes of a large cohort of patients with an intermediate or a poor prognosis treated with sunitinib using a different cutoff point for IMDC to improve the classification.

Patients And Methods: Patients with an intermediate or a poor prognosis according to the IMDC criteria and treated with sunitinib were included in the present study. A new cutoff point was used to categorize the patients. The new score was validated in an independent cohort of patients.

Results: A total of 457 patients were included in the present study. Significant differences in overall survival (OS) were highlighted regarding the number of prognostic factors. Three categories were identified according to the presence of 1 (ie, favorable-intermediate group), 2 (ie, real-intermediate group), and > 2 (ie, poor group) factors. The corresponding median OS periods were 32.9, 20.0, and 8.9 months, with significant differences among the groups. The validation cohort included 389 patients. The median OS period for the favorable-intermediate group, real-intermediate group, and poor group was 34.3, 19.4, and 9.0 months, respectively, with confirmed significant differences among the groups.

Conclusion: Our analysis revealed significant differences among patients with an intermediate prognosis using the IMDC prognostic factors. Further investigations to optimize the use of available and upcoming therapies are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clgc.2018.04.007DOI Listing
October 2018

Real-life clinical practice results with vinflunine in patients with relapsed platinum-treated metastatic urothelial carcinoma: an Italian multicenter study (MOVIE-GOIRC 01-2014).

BMC Cancer 2017 Jul 19;17(1):493. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Ricerca e Innovazione, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy.

Background: Vinflunine is the only chemotherapeutic agent shown to improve survival in platinum-refractory patients with metastatic transitional cell carcinoma of the urothelium (TCCU) in a phase III clinical trial, which led to product registration for this indication in Europe. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of vinflunine and to evaluate the prognostic significance of risk factors in a large, unselected cohort of patients with metastatic TCCU treated according to routine clinical practice.

Methods: This was a retrospective multicenter study. Italian cancer centers were selected if, according to the Registry of the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA), at least four patients had been treated with vinflunine between February 2011 and June 2014, after first- or second-line platinum-based chemotherapy. The primary objective was to test whether the efficacy measured by overall survival (OS) in the registration study could be confirmed in routine clinical practice. Multivariate analysis was carried out using Cox proportional hazard model.

Results: A total of 217 patients were treated in 28 Italian centers. Median age was 69 years (IQR 62-76) and 84% were male; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) was ≥ 1 in 53% of patients. The median number of cycles was 4 (IQR 2-6); 29%, 35%, and 36% received an initial dose of 320 mg/m, 280 mg/m or a lower dose, respectively. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and OS for the entire population was 3.2 months (2.6-3.7) and 8.1 months (6.3-8.9). A complete response was observed in six patients, partial response in 21, stable disease in 60, progressive disease in 108, with a disease control rate of 40%. Multivariate analysis showed that ECOG PS, number of metastatic sites and liver involvement were unfavorable prognostic factors for OS. Toxicity was mild, and grade 3-4 adverse effects were mainly: neutropenia (9%), anemia (6%), asthenia/fatigue (7%) and constipation (5%).

Conclusions: In routine clinical practice the results obtained with VFL seem to be better than the results of the registration trial and reinforce evidence supporting its use after failure of a platinum-based chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-017-3466-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5517798PMC
July 2017

Clinical outcome of patients who reduced sunitinib or pazopanib during first-line treatment for advanced kidney cancer.

Urol Oncol 2017 09 29;35(9):541.e7-541.e13. Epub 2017 May 29.

Department of Medicine, Medical Oncology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata (AOUI), Verona, Italy.

Objectives: To investigate the different outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) who receive a reduced first-line dose of sunitinib or pazopanib compared to those who continue at the standard dose.

Patients And Methods: All the patients treated in 11 oncological centers in Italy for mRCC who started first-line treatment with sunitinib or pazopanib at the standard dose. Descriptive statistical tests were used to highlight differences among groups. Survival was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared across the groups using log-rank tests, the Cox proportional hazards model adjusted for statistically significant variables was also done.

Results: A total of 591 patients were included in the study. Of these, 45.7% received a reduced dose of sunitinib or pazopanib after a median treatment time of 3.6 months at the standard dose. The median overall survival in the patients who continued to receive the standard dose was 24.0 months compared to 49.4 months for those who received a reduced dose (hazard ratio = 1.80; 95% CI: 1.42-2.29; P<0.001). Only 45% of the patients received second-line therapy: 42.5% had an mTOR and 54.1% a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Second-line overall survival was 19.8 and 11.8 months, respectively, in the patients who received, or did not, a reduced dose during first-line therapy (P = 0.007).

Conclusions: Toxicity-related dose reduction is a common event in mRCC patients who have started first-line therapy with either sunitinib or pazopanib. This is positively related to the outcomes of both first- and second-line therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.urolonc.2017.05.007DOI Listing
September 2017

Everolimus Plus Exemestane in Advanced Breast Cancer: Safety Results of the BALLET Study on Patients Previously Treated Without and with Chemotherapy in the Metastatic Setting.

Oncologist 2017 06 21;22(6):648-654. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Divisione Oncologia Medica 1, IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milano, Italy.

Background: The BALLET study was an open-label, multicenter, expanded access study designed to allow treatment with everolimus plus exemestane in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer progressed following prior endocrine therapy. A post hoc analysis to evaluate if previous chemotherapy in the metastatic setting affects the safety profile of the combination regimen of everolimus and exemestane was conducted on the Italian subset, as it represented the major part of the patients enrolled (54%).

Patients And Methods: One thousand one hundred and fifty-one Italian patients were included in the present post hoc analysis, which focused on two sets of patients: patients who never received chemotherapy in the metastatic setting (36.1%) and patients who received at least one chemotherapy treatment in the metastatic setting (63.9%).

Results: One thousand one hundred and sixteen patients (97.0%) prematurely discontinued the study drug, and the main reasons reported were disease progression (39.1%), local reimbursement of everolimus (31.1%), and adverse events (AEs) (16.1%). The median duration of study treatment exposure was 139.5 days for exemestane and 135.0 days for everolimus. At least one AE was experienced by 92.5% of patients. The incidence of everolimus-related AEs was higher (83.9%) when compared with those that occurred with exemestane (29.1%), and the most commonly reported everolimus-related AE was stomatitis (51.3%). However, no significant difference in terms of safety related to the combination occurred between patients without and with chemotherapy in the metastatic setting.

Conclusion: Real-life data of the Italian patients BALLET-related cohort were an adequate setting to state that previous chemotherapy did not affect the safety profile of the combination regimen of everolimus and exemestane.

Implications For Practice: With the advent of new targeted agents for advanced or metastatic breast cancer, multiple lines of therapy may be possible, and components of the combined regimens can overlap from one line to another. Thus, it is important to assess even the potential of cumulative and additive toxic effects among the drugs. Previous chemotherapy did not affect the safety profile of the combination regimen of everolimus and exemestane. The continuous monitoring of the safety signals of this drug combination from general clinical practice is important, in particular for stomatitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2016-0461DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5469582PMC
June 2017

Salvage Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Isolated Lymph Node Recurrent Prostate Cancer: Single Institution Series of 94 Consecutive Patients and 124 Lymph Nodes.

Clin Genitourin Cancer 2017 08 11;15(4):e623-e632. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

Department of Oncology and Hemato-oncology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; Scientific Directorate, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Background: The purpose of the study was to evaluate the prostate serum antigen (PSA) response, local control, progression-free survival (PFS), and toxicity of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for lymph node (LN) oligorecurrent prostate cancer.

Patients And Methods: Between May 2012 and October 2015, 124 lesions were treated in 94 patients with a median dose of 24 Gy in 3 fractions. Seventy patients were treated for a single lesion and 25 for > 1 lesion. In 34 patients androgen deprivation (AD) was combined with SBRT. We evaluated biochemical response according to PSA level every 3 months after SBRT: a 3-month PSA decrease from pre-SBRT PSA of more than 10% identified responder patients. In case of PSA level increase, imaging was performed to evaluate clinical progression. Toxicity was assessed every 6 to 9 months after SBRT.

Results: Median follow-up was 18.5 months. In 13 patients (14%) Grade 1 to 2 toxicity was reported without any Grade 3 to 4 toxicity. Biochemical response, stabilization, and progression were observed in 64 (68%), 10 (11%), and 20 (21%) of 94 evaluable patients. Clinical progression was observed in 31 patients (33%) after a median time of 8.1 months. In-field progression occurred in 12 lesions (9.7%). Two-year local control and PFS rates were 84% and 30%, respectively. Age older than 75 years correlated with better biochemical response rate. Age older than 75 years, concomitant AD administered up to 12 months, and pelvic LN involvement correlated with longer PFS.

Conclusion: SBRT is safe and offers good in-field control. At 2 years after SBRT, 1 of 3 patients is progression-free. Further investigation is warranted to identify patients who benefit most from SBRT and to define the optimal combination with AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clgc.2017.01.004DOI Listing
August 2017

Dual modulation of MCL-1 and mTOR determines the response to sunitinib.

J Clin Invest 2017 01 28;127(1):153-168. Epub 2016 Nov 28.

Most patients who initially respond to treatment with the multi-tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib eventually relapse. Therefore, developing a deeper understanding of the contribution of sunitinib's numerous targets to the clinical response or to resistance is crucial. Here, we have shown that cancer cells respond to clinically relevant doses of sunitinib by enhancing the stability of the antiapoptotic protein MCL-1 and inducing mTORC1 signaling, thus evoking little cytotoxicity. Inhibition of MCL-1 or mTORC1 signaling sensitized cells to clinically relevant doses of sunitinib in vitro and was synergistic with sunitinib in impairing tumor growth in vivo, indicating that these responses are triggered as prosurvival mechanisms that enable cells to tolerate the cytotoxic effects of sunitinib. Furthermore, higher doses of sunitinib were cytotoxic, triggered a decline in MCL-1 levels, and inhibited mTORC1 signaling. Mechanistically, we determined that sunitinib modulates MCL-1 stability by affecting its proteasomal degradation. Dual modulation of MCL-1 stability at different dose ranges of sunitinib was due to differential effects on ERK and GSK3β activity, and the latter also accounted for dual modulation of mTORC1 activity. Finally, comparison of patient samples prior to and following sunitinib treatment suggested that increases in MCL-1 levels and mTORC1 activity correlate with resistance to sunitinib in patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI84386DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5199697PMC
January 2017

Prognostic role of the cumulative toxicity in patients affected by metastatic renal cells carcinoma and treated with first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Anticancer Drugs 2017 02;28(2):206-212

aMedical Oncology Division of Urogenital and Head and Neck Tumours, European Institute of Oncology bDivision of Urologic Cancer Surgery, European Institute of Oncology, Milan cMedical Oncology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata di Verona, Verona, Italy.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor-related toxicities have been reported to be predictive and/or prognostic factors in patients affected by metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). We aim to investigate the incidence of cumulative toxicity and its prognostic role in mRCC patients treated with sunitinib or pazopanib. mRCC patients treated with sunitinib or pazopanib at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan were reviewed for the incidence of adverse events. Cumulative toxicity was defined as the presence of more than one selected adverse event of any grade. Prognoses were evaluated by the International mRCC Database Consortium criteria. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox analysis. A total of 104 patients were included in the final analysis. Only 18.3% did not experience any of the selected toxicities: 26.9% had one, 35.6% had two and 19.2% all three toxicities. Accordingly, 54.8% of patients experienced cumulative toxicity. In those with or without cumulative toxicity, the median PFS was 27.6 versus 7.2 months and the median OS was 61.2 versus 18.7 months, respectively. When cumulative toxicity was adjusted for International mRCC Database Consortium prognostic groups, it maintained its prognostic role for both PFS (hazard ratio: 0.31, 95% confidence interval, 0.20-0.49; P<0.001) and OS (hazard ratio: 0.27, 95% confidence interval, 0.15-0.48; P<0.001). A major limitation was the retrospective and monocentric nature of the analysis. We reported the prognostic role of cumulative toxicity because of hypertension, hypothyroidism and hand-foot syndrome in patients affected by mRCC and treated with sunitinib or pazopanib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000000439DOI Listing
February 2017

Bladder preservation in non-metastatic muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC): a single-institution experience.

Ecancermedicalscience 2016 14;10:657. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Department of Oncology and Haemato-oncology, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy; Division of Radiotherapy, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, 20141 Milan, Italy.

The aim of this study is to access the feasibility, toxicity profile, and tumour outcome of an organ preservation curative approach in non-metastatic muscle-invasive bladder cancer. A retrospective analysis was conducted on patients affected by M0 bladder cancer, who refused cystectomy and were treated with a curative approach. The standard bladder preservation scheme included maximal transurethral resection of bladder tumour (TURBT) and combination of radiotherapy and platin-based chemotherapy, followed by endoscopic evaluation, urine cytology, and instrumental evaluation. Thirteen patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria. TNM stage was cT2cN0M0 and cT2cNxM0, in 12 and one patients, respectively. All patients had transitional cell cancer. Twelve patients completed the whole therapeutic programme (a bimodal treatment without chemotherapy for one patient). Median follow-up is 36 months. None of the patients developed severe urinary or intestinal acute toxicity. In 10 patients with a follow-up > 6 months, no cases of severe late toxicity were observed. Response evaluated in 12 patients included complete response and stable disease in 11 patients (92%), and one patient (8%), respectively. At the time of data analysis (March 2016), 10 patients (77%) are alive with no evidence of disease, two patients (15%) died for other reasons, and one patient has suspicious persistent local disease. The trimodality approach, including maximal TURBT, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer, is well-tolerated and might be considered a valid and feasible option in fit patients who refuse radical cystectomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3332/ecancer.2016.657DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4970626PMC
August 2016

Serum HER2 extracellular domain levels and HER2 circulating tumor cell status in patients with metastatic breast cancer.

Future Oncol 2016 Sep 3;12(17):2001-8. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

European Institute of Oncology, Medical Oncology, via Ripamonti 435, Milan, Italy.

Aim: To shed light on the clinical role of HER2 status in serum as extracellular domain (ECD) and corresponding circulating tumor cells (CTCs) in metastatic breast cancer patients.

Methods: 68 patients were analyzed. Serum HER2 was determined by ADVIA Centaur(®) Serum HER2 test. CellSearch System was performed for CTC quantification.

Results: HER2 was overexpressed in 21 primary tumors. In total, 19 patients had ECD >15 ng/ml (the cut-off used), 48 patients had at least one CTC. ECD positivity was associated with CTC number (p = 0.01), HER2-positive CTC (p = 0.01) and the ratio HER2-positive CTC/total CTC (p = 0.02). ECD was not associated with survival.

Conclusion: ECD in combination with HER2 CTC status would deserve further investigation in larger series for addressing its putative prognostic relevance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2016-0081DOI Listing
September 2016