Publications by authors named "Ghassan K Abou-Alfa"

184 Publications

Ablative radiation therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma is associated with reduced treatment- and tumor-related liver failure and improved survival.

J Gastrointest Oncol 2021 Aug;12(4):1743-1752

Department of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: More than 70% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are not candidates for curative therapy or recur after curative-intent therapy. There is growing evidence on the use of ablative radiation therapy (RT) for liver tumors. We aimed to analyze outcomes of HCC patients treated with conventional versus ablative RT.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed medical records of HCC patients treated with liver RT from 2001 to 2019. We defined ablative RT as biologically effective dose (BED) ≥80 Gy. RECIST 1.1 was used to define early responses at 3-6 months after RT, and local control (LC) at last follow-up (FU). Data was analyzed using Fisher exact test, Kaplan-Meier, cumulative incidence rates, Cox proportional hazards model and Fine-Gray competing risks.

Results: Forty-five patients were identified, of whom 14 (31.1%) received ablative RT using a stereotactic technique. With median FU of survivors of 10.1 months, 1-year cumulative incidence of LC was 91.7% for ablative and 75.2% for BED <80 Gy. At early FU, patients treated with ablative RT had better responses compared to BED <80 Gy, with 7% progressing versus 19%, and 21.4% with complete response versus none (P=0.038). On univariate analysis (UVA), Child-Pugh (CP) score [hazard ratio (HR): 3 for CP-B, HR: 16 for CP-C] and BED (HR: 7.69 for BED <80 Gy) correlated with deterioration of liver function, leading to liver failure. Most liver failure cases were due to disease progression. No RT-related liver failure occurred in the ablative RT group. On UVA, only BED ≥80 Gy was associated with improved overall survival (OS) (HR: 0.4; P=0.044). Median OS (mOS) and 1-year OS were 7 months and 35% respectively for BED <80 Gy compared to 28 months and 66% for BED ≥80 Gy. No grade 3+ bowel toxicity was reported in either group.

Conclusions: Greater than 90% LC was achieved after stereotactic ablative RT, which was associated with minimized tumor- and treatment-related liver failure and improved survival for highly selected inoperable HCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/jgo-21-116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8421883PMC
August 2021

Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immunotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Sep;9(9)

Clinica Universidad de Navarra-Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Navarra (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain

Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have historically had few options and faced extremely poor prognoses if their disease progressed after standard-of-care tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Recently, the standard of care for HCC has been transformed as a combination of the immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) atezolizumab plus the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody bevacizumab was shown to offer improved overall survival in the first-line setting. Immunotherapy has demonstrated safety and efficacy in later lines of therapy as well, and ongoing trials are investigating novel combinations of ICIs and TKIs, in addition to interventions earlier in the course of disease or in combination with liver-directed therapies. Because HCC usually develops against a background of cirrhosis, immunotherapy for liver tumors is complex and oncologists need to account for both immunological and hepatological considerations when developing a treatment plan for their patients. To provide guidance to the oncology community on important concerns for the immunotherapeutic care of HCC, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a multidisciplinary panel of experts to develop a clinical practice guideline (CPG). The expert panel drew on the published literature as well as their clinical experience to develop recommendations for healthcare professionals on these important aspects of immunotherapeutic treatment for HCC, including diagnosis and staging, treatment planning, immune-related adverse events (irAEs), and patient quality of life (QOL) considerations. The evidence- and consensus-based recommendations in this CPG are intended to give guidance to cancer care providers treating patients with HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002794DOI Listing
September 2021

Clinical and Morphologic Characteristics of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Inhibitor-Associated Retinopathy.

JAMA Ophthalmol 2021 Sep 2. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Ophthalmic Oncology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Importance: Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) 1 to 4 inhibitors are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and suppress the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, with a potential for treatment-related retinopathy. To date, implications of FGFR inhibitor-associated ocular toxic effects are poorly described. Therefore, more detailed clinical descriptions of this ocular toxic effect could help explain visual symptoms while receiving drug therapy.

Objective: To describe the clinical and morphologic characteristics of serous retinal disturbances associated with FGFR inhibitors.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this retrospective case series, 146 patients receiving FGFR inhibitors as cancer treatment at a single tertiary referral center were included. This study included 40 eyes of 20 patients with retinopathy by optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCTs were obtained on the remaining patients and the results were judged normal. Patients were recruited from March 2012 to January 2021.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Characteristics of treatment-emergent choroidal and retinal OCT abnormalities as compared with baseline OCT, associated with visual acuity at presentation and at fluid resolution.

Results: A total of 20 of 146 patients (13.7%) exhibited FGFR inhibitor-associated retinopathy. Of these 20 patients, 11 (55%) were female, and the median (range) age was 62.6 (42.7-86.0) years. The median (range; mean) time from medication start to initial subretinal fluid detection was 21 (5-125; 32) days. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) baseline logMAR best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) was 0 (0-0.1). At fluid accumulation, 11 eyes had decreased vision: the median (IQR) subgroup baseline BCVA was 0 (0-0.1); and the median (IQR) BCVA change from baseline to accumulation was -0.1 (-0.2 to -0.1). For 26 eyes (65%) with follow-up, the subretinal fluid resolved without medical intervention or drug interruption in all but 1 patient. At fluid resolution, the median (IQR) BCVA was 0.1 (0-0.1), and the change in median (IQR) BCVA from baseline to fluid resolution was 0 (-0.03 to 0). No patient discontinued drug therapy on account of their retinopathy.

Conclusions And Relevance: FGFR inhibitors result in subretinal fluid foci similar to other drugs that inhibit the MAPK pathway. In this series, FGFR inhibitors did not cause irreversible loss of vision; the retinopathy was self-limited and did not require medical intervention. These results may explain visual symptoms while taking the drug, although the precise frequency or magnitude of this adverse effect cannot be determined with certainty from this retrospective investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2021.3331DOI Listing
September 2021

Assessment of pegylated arginine deiminase and modified FOLFOX6 in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: Results of an international, single-arm, phase 2 study.

Cancer 2021 Aug 20. Epub 2021 Aug 20.

Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Background: Arginine starvation depletes the micronutrients required for DNA synthesis and interferes with both thymidylate synthetase activity and DNA repair pathways in preclinical models of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Pegylated arginine deiminase (ADI-PEG 20), an arginine degrader, potentiates the cytotoxic activity of platinum and pyrimidine antimetabolites in HCC cellular and murine models.

Methods: This was a global, multicenter, open-label, single-arm, phase 2 trial of ADI-PEG 20 and modified 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (mFOLFOX6) in patients who had HCC with Child-Pugh A cirrhosis and disease progression on ≥2 prior lines of treatment. The primary objective was the objective response rate assessed according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1. Secondary objectives were to estimate progression-free survival, overall survival, safety, and tolerability. Eligible patients were treated with mFOLFOX6 intravenously biweekly at standard doses and ADI-PEG-20 intramuscularly weekly at 36 mg/m .

Results: In total, 140 patients with advanced HCC were enrolled. The median patient age was 62 years (range, 30-85 years), 83% of patients were male, 76% were of Asian race, 56% had hepatitis B viremia, 10% had hepatitis C viremia, 100% had received ≥2 prior lines of systemic therapy, and 39% had received ≥3 prior lines of systemic therapy. The objective response rate was 9.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.0%-15.4%), with a median response duration of 10.2 months (95% CI, 5.8 months to not reached). The median progression-free survival was 3.8 months (95% CI, 1.8-6.3 months), and the median overall survival was 14.5 months (95% CI, 13.6-20.9 months). The most common grade ≥3 treatment-related events were neutropenia (32.9%), white blood cell count decrease (20%), platelet count decrease (19.3%), and anemia (9.3%).

Conclusions: Concurrent mFOLFOX6 plus ADI-PEG 20 exhibited limited antitumor activity in patients with treatment-refractory HCC. The study was terminated early, and no further evaluation of the combination will be pursued.

Lay Summary: Arginine is an important nutrient for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The depletion of arginine with pegylated arginine deiminase (ADI-PEG 20), an arginine degrader, appeared to make chemotherapy (FOLFOX) work better in animal models of HCC and in patients with HCC on an early phase clinical trial. To formally test this hypothesis in the clinical setting, a large, global, phase 2 clinical trial was conducted of ADI-PEG 20 and FOLFOX in the treatment of patients with refractory HCC. The study showed limited activity of ADI-PEG 20 and FOLFOX in advanced HCC and was stopped early.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33870DOI Listing
August 2021

Infigratinib (BGJ398) in previously treated patients with advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma with FGFR2 fusions or rearrangements: mature results from a multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 2 study.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Oct 3;6(10):803-815. Epub 2021 Aug 3.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA; Weill Medical College at Cornell University, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Treatment options are sparse for patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma after progression on first-line gemcitabine-based therapy. FGFR2 fusions or rearrangements occur in 10-16% of patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Infigratinib is a selective, ATP-competitive inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptors. We aimed to evaluate the antitumour activity of infigratinib in patients with locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma, FGFR2 alterations, and previous gemcitabine-based treatment.

Methods: This multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 2 study recruited patients from 18 academic centres and hospitals in the USA, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Eligible participants were aged 18 years or older, had histologically or cytologically confirmed, locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma and FGFR2 fusions or rearrangements, and were previously treated with at least one gemcitabine-containing regimen. Patients received 125 mg of oral infigratinib once daily for 21 days of 28-day cycles until disease progression, intolerance, withdrawal of consent, or death. Radiological tumour evaluation was done at baseline and every 8 weeks until disease progression via CT or MRI of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. The primary endpoint was objective response rate, defined as the proportion of patients with a best overall response of a confirmed complete or partial response, as assessed by blinded independent central review (BICR) according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1. The primary outcome and safety were analysed in the full analysis set, which comprised all patients who received at least one dose of infigratinib. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02150967, and is ongoing.

Findings: Between June 23, 2014, and March 31, 2020, 122 patients were enrolled into our study, of whom 108 with FGFR2 fusions or rearrangements received at least one dose of infigratinib and comprised the full analysis set. After a median follow-up of 10·6 months (IQR 6·2-15·6), the BICR-assessed objective response rate was 23·1% (95% CI 15·6-32·2; 25 of 108 patients), with one confirmed complete response in a patient who only had non-target lesions identified at baseline and 24 partial responses. The most common treatment-emergent adverse events of any grade were hyperphosphataemia (n=83), stomatitis (n=59), fatigue (n=43), and alopecia (n=41). The most common ocular toxicity was dry eyes (n=37). Central serous retinopathy-like and retinal pigment epithelial detachment-like events occurred in 18 (17%) patients, of which ten (9%) were grade 1, seven (6%) were grade 2, and one (1%) was grade 3. There were no treatment-related deaths.

Interpretation: Infigratinib has promising clinical activity and a manageable adverse event profile in previously treated patients with locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma harbouring FGFR2 gene fusions or rearrangements, and so represents a potential new therapeutic option in this setting.

Funding: QED Therapeutics and Novartis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(21)00196-5DOI Listing
October 2021

Pancreas cancer and BRCA: A critical subset of patients with improving therapeutic outcomes.

Cancer 2021 Aug 5. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Background: Patients with germline/somatic BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations (g/sBRCA1/2) comprise a distinct biologic subgroup of pancreas ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Methods: Institutional databases were queried to identify patients who had PDAC with g/sBRCA1/2. Demographics, clinicopathologic details, genomic data (annotation sBRCA1/2 according to a precision oncology knowledge base for somatic mutations), zygosity, and outcomes were abstracted. Overall survival (OS) was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method.

Results: In total, 136 patients with g/sBRCA1/2 were identified between January 2011 and June 2020. Germline BRCA1/2 (gBRCA1/2) mutation was identified in 116 patients (85%). Oncogenic somatic BRCA1/2 (sBRCA1/2) mutation was present in 20 patients (15%). Seventy-seven patients had biallelic BRCA1/2 mutations (83%), and 16 (17%) had heterozygous mutations. Sixty-five patients with stage IV disease received frontline platinum therapy, and 52 (80%) had a partial response. The median OS for entire cohort was 27.6 months (95% CI, 24.9-34.5 months), and the median OS for patients who had stage IV disease was 23 months (95% CI, 19-26 months). Seventy-one patients received a poly(adenosine diphosphate ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor (PARPi), and 52 received PARPi monotherapy. For maintenance PARPi, 10 patients (36%) had a partial response, 12 (43%) had stable disease, and 6 (21%) had progression of disease as their best response. Six patients (21%) received maintenance PARPi for >2 years. For those with stage IV disease who received frontline platinum, the median OS was 26 months (95% CI, 20-52 months) for biallelic patients (n = 39) and 8.66 months (95% CI, 6.2 months to not reached) for heterozygous patients (n = 4). The median OS for those who received PARPi therapy was 26.5 months (95% CI, 24-53 months) for biallelic patients (n = 25) and 8.66 months (95% CI, 7.23 months to not reached) for heterozygous patients (n = 2).

Conclusions: g/sBRCA1/2 mutations did not appear to have different actionable utility. Platinum and PARPi therapies offer therapeutic benefit, and very durable outcomes are observed in a subset of patients who have g/sBRCA1/2 mutations with biallelic status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33812DOI Listing
August 2021

Pertuzumab and trastuzumab for HER2-positive, metastatic biliary tract cancer (MyPathway): a multicentre, open-label, phase 2a, multiple basket study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 09 30;22(9):1290-1300. Epub 2021 Jul 30.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Oncology, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: Systemic therapies for metastatic biliary tract cancers are few, and patients have a median overall survival of less than 1 year. MyPathway evaluates the activity of US Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies in non-indicated tumours with potentially actionable molecular alterations. In this study, we present an analysis of patients with metastatic biliary tract cancers with HER2 amplification, overexpression, or both treated with a dual anti-HER2 regimen, pertuzumab plus trastuzumab, from MyPathway.

Methods: MyPathway is a non-randomised, multicentre, open-label, phase 2a, multiple basket study. Patients aged 18 years and older with previously treated metastatic biliary tract cancers with HER2 amplification, HER2 overexpression, or both and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-2 were enrolled from 23 study sites in the USA and received intravenous pertuzumab (840 mg loading dose, then 420 mg every 3 weeks) plus trastuzumab (8 mg/kg loading dose, then 6 mg/kg every 3 weeks). The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed objective response rate according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1. The primary outcome and adverse events were analysed in all patients who received at least one dose of pertuzumab and trastuzumab. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02091141, and is ongoing.

Findings: 39 patients enrolled in the MyPathway HER2 biliary tract cancer cohort between Oct 28, 2014, and May 29, 2019, were evaluable for anti-tumour activity by the March 10, 2020, data cutoff date. Median follow-up was 8·1 months (IQR 2·7-15·7). Nine of 39 patients achieved a partial response (objective response rate 23% [95% CI 11-39]). Grade 3-4 treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in 18 (46%) of 39 patients, most commonly increased alanine aminotransferase and increased aspartate aminotransferase (each five [13%] of 39). Treatment-related grade 3 adverse events were reported in three (8%) of 39 patients, including increased alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, blood alkaline phosphatase, and blood bilirubin. Serious treatment-emergent adverse events were observed in ten (26%) of 39 patients, of which only abdominal pain occurred in more than one patient (two [5%] of 39). There were no treatment-related serious adverse events, treatment-related grade 4 events, or deaths.

Interpretation: Treatment was well tolerated in patients with previously treated HER2-positive metastatic biliary tract cancer. The response rate is promising for the initiation of randomised, controlled trials of pertuzumab plus trastuzumab in this patient population.

Funding: F Hoffmann-La Roche-Genentech.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00336-3DOI Listing
September 2021

Decision making in systemic therapy of hepatocellular carcinoma: Should we pay attention to disease aetiology?

J Hepatol 2021 Jul 24. Epub 2021 Jul 24.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, United States of America; Weill Cornell College at Cornell University, New York, NY, United States of America.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2021.07.014DOI Listing
July 2021

Safety, Efficacy, and Pharmacodynamics of Tremelimumab Plus Durvalumab for Patients With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Randomized Expansion of a Phase I/II Study.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 22;39(27):2991-3001. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: This phase I/II study evaluated tremelimumab (anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 monoclonal antibody) and durvalumab (antiprogrammed death ligand-1 monoclonal antibody) as monotherapies and in combination for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), including a novel regimen featuring a single, priming dose of tremelimumab (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02519348).

Patients And Methods: Patients with HCC who had progressed on, were intolerant to, or refused sorafenib were randomly assigned to receive T300 + D (tremelimumab 300 mg plus durvalumab 1,500 mg [one dose each during the first cycle] followed by durvalumab 1,500 mg once every 4 weeks), durvalumab monotherapy (1,500 mg once every 4 weeks), tremelimumab monotherapy (750 mg once every 4 weeks [seven doses] and then once every 12 weeks), or T75 + D (tremelimumab 75 mg once every 4 weeks plus durvalumab 1,500 mg once every 4 weeks [four doses] followed by durvalumab 1,500 mg once every 4 weeks). Safety was the primary end point. Secondary end points included objective response rate (ORR) by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.1 and overall survival; exploratory end points included circulating lymphocyte profiles.

Results: A total of 332 patients were enrolled (T300 + D, n = 75; durvalumab, n = 104; tremelimumab, n = 69; and T75 + D, n = 84). Tolerability was acceptable across arms, with grade ≥ 3 treatment-related adverse events occurring in 37.8%, 20.8%, 43.5%, and 24.4%, respectively. Confirmed ORRs (95% CI) were 24.0% (14.9 to 35.3), 10.6% (5.4 to 18.1), 7.2% (2.4 to 16.1), and 9.5% (4.2 to 17.9), respectively. An early expansion of CD8+ lymphocytes was associated with response across arms, with highest proliferating CD8+ lymphocyte levels occurring in the T300 + D arm. The median (95% CI) overall survival was 18.7 (10.8 to 27.3), 13.6 (8.7 to 17.6), 15.1 (11.3 to 20.5), and 11.3 (8.4 to 15.0) months in the T300 + D, durvalumab, tremelimumab, and T75 + D arms, respectively.

Conclusion: All regimens were found to be tolerable and clinically active; however, the T300 + D regimen demonstrated the most encouraging benefit-risk profile. The unique pharmacodynamic activity and association with ORR of the T300 + D regimen further support its continued evaluation in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03555DOI Listing
September 2021

Noninvasive Detection of Polyclonal Acquired Resistance to FGFR Inhibition in Patients With Cholangiocarcinoma Harboring FGFR2 Alterations.

JCO Precis Oncol 2021 8;5. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) 2 alterations, present in 5%-15% of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas (IHC), are targets of FGFR-directed therapies. Acquired resistance is common among patients who respond. Biopsies at the time of acquired resistance to targeted agents may not always be feasible and may not capture the genetic heterogeneity that could exist within a patient. We studied circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as a less invasive means of potentially identifying genomic mechanisms of resistance to FGFR-targeted therapies.

Materials And Methods: Serial blood samples were collected from eight patients with FGFR-altered cholangiocarcinoma for ctDNA isolation and next-generation sequencing (NGS) throughout treatment and at resistance to anti-FGFR-targeted therapy. ctDNA was sequenced using a custom ultra-deep coverage NGS panel, incorporating dual index primers and unique molecular barcodes to enable high-sensitivity mutation detection.

Results: Thirty-one acquired mutations in , 30/31 located in the kinase domain, were identified at resistance in six of eight patients with detectable ctDNA. Up to 13 independent mutations were detected per patient, indicative of striking genomic concordance among resistant subclones.

Conclusion: ctDNA could be an effective means to longitudinally monitor for acquired resistance in FGFR2-altered IHC. The numerous acquired genetic alterations in suggest frequent polyclonal mechanisms of resistance that cannot be detected from single-site tissue biopsies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.20.00178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8232836PMC
January 2021

Comparative Efficacy of Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab and Other Treatment Options for Patients with Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Network Meta-Analysis.

Liver Cancer 2021 Jun 6;10(3):240-248. Epub 2021 May 6.

Hepatology Unit, Hôpital de La Croix-Rousse, Lyon, France.

Background: Most phase 3 clinical trials of systemic therapy for first-line unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have failed, with the exception of SHARP, REFLECT, and IMbrave150. We conducted indirect comparisons of therapies evaluated for first-line HCC treatment.

Summary: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of treatments for adults with locally advanced or metastatic unresectable HCC and no prior systemic treatment, including atezolizu-mab plus bevacizumab, sorafenib, lenvatinib, nivolumab, selective internal radiotherapy (SIRT), transarterial chemoembolization, and placebo or best supportive care. Randomized controlled trials published from January 1, 2007, to March 12, 2020, were retrieved from MEDLINE and Embase. Qualitative assessment of heterogeneity evaluated study designs, populations, and outcomes. Indirect comparisons used generalized linear models with random effects within a Bayesian framework and informative priors. We calculated relative efficacy estimates with 95% credible intervals (CrIs) and Bayesian posterior probability estimates of atezolizumab-bevacizumab being superior to other treatments. Nine clinical studies with a total of 3,897 participants were identified from 8,783 records and used to build the all-trials evidence network. Indirect comparisons suggested an improved overall survival (OS) with atezolizumab-bevacizumab versus lenvatinib (odds ratio, 0.63 [95% CrI 0.39-1.04]; with 97% Bayesian posterior probability of being superior), nivolumab (0.68 [95% CrI 0.41-1.14]; 94%), sorafenib (0.59 [95% CrI 0.39-0.87]; 99%), SIRT (0.51 [95% CrI 0.32-0.82]; 100%), or placebo/best supportive care (0.40 [95% CrI 0.25-0.64]; 100%).

Key Messages: Within the context of indirect comparisons, analyses of OS favored atezolizumab-bevacizumab versus other treatment options for patients with locally advanced or metastatic unresectable HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515302DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237801PMC
June 2021

Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Sub-Saharan Africa.

JCO Glob Oncol 2021 05;7:756-766

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

More than 80% of global hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients are estimated to occur in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Eastern Asia. The most common risk factor of HCC in SSA is chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, with the incidence highest in West Africa. HBV is highly endemic in SSA and is perpetuated by incomplete adherence to birth dose immunization, lack of longitudinal follow-up care, and impaired access to antiviral therapy. HBV may directly cause HCC through somatic genetic alterations or indirectly through altered liver function and liver cirrhosis. Other risk factors of HCC in SSA include aflatoxins and, to a lesser extent, African iron overload. HIV plus HBV co-infection increases the risk of developing HCC and is increasingly becoming more common because of improving the survival of patients with HIV infection. Compared with the rest of the world, patients with HCC in SSA have the lowest survival. This is partly due to the late presentation of HCC with advanced symptomatic disease as a result of underdeveloped surveillance practices. Moreover, access to care and resource limitations further limit outcomes for the patients who receive a diagnosis in SSA. There is a need for multipronged strategies to decrease the incidence of HCC and improve its outcomes in SSA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/GO.20.00425DOI Listing
May 2021

Phase 1b study of galunisertib and ramucirumab in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

Cancer Med 2021 05 2;10(9):3059-3067. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Preclinical data suggest that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling interact to stimulate angiogenesis and suppress antitumor immune responses. Thus, combined inhibition of both pathways may offer greater antitumor activity compared with VEGF-targeted antiangiogenic monotherapy against hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: This is a multicenter, open-label, phase 1b study of galunisertib, an inhibitor of TGF-β receptor 1, and ramucirumab, an anti-VEGF receptor 2 antibody, in patients with advanced HCC aiming to define the maximum tolerated dose (MTD). Secondary objectives included safety, pharmacokinetics (PK), antitumor efficacy, and plasma alpha-fetoprotein and TGF-β kinetics. Dose escalation employed a 3 + 3 design. Patients received galunisertib at 80 mg (cohort 1) or 150 mg (cohort 2) orally twice a day on days 1-14 of a 28-day cycle combined with ramucirumab 8 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks.

Results: Eight patients were enrolled: three in cohort 1 and five in cohort 2 (two patients were unevaluable due to rapid disease progression and replaced). No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. Treatment-related adverse events (AEs) of any grade in ≥2 patients included nausea (25%) and vomiting (25%). There was one Grade 3 treatment-related AE, a cerebrovascular accident possibly related to ramucirumab. Galunisertib exposure was dose-proportional and not affected by ramucirumab. The RECIST version 1.1 objective response rate and disease control rate were 0% and 12.5%, respectively.

Conclusion: Combination therapy was safe and tolerable and displayed favorable PK. The MTD was established at galunisertib at 150 mg orally twice a day and ramucirumab 8 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks. The results do not support the preclinical hypothesis that blocking TGFβ signaling enhances efficacy of VEGF-targeted therapy; thus further clinical development was halted for the combination of galunisertib and ramucirumab.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3880DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8085979PMC
May 2021

OncoTree: A Cancer Classification System for Precision Oncology.

JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2021 02;5:221-230

Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: Cancer classification is foundational for patient care and oncology research. Systems such as International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O), Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT), and National Cancer Institute Thesaurus (NCIt) provide large sets of cancer classification terminologies but they lack a dynamic modernized cancer classification platform that addresses the fast-evolving needs in clinical reporting of genomic sequencing results and associated oncology research.

Methods: To meet these needs, we have developed OncoTree, an open-source cancer classification system. It is maintained by a cross-institutional committee of oncologists, pathologists, scientists, and engineers, accessible via an open-source Web user interface and an application programming interface.

Results: OncoTree currently includes 868 tumor types across 32 organ sites. OncoTree has been adopted as the tumor classification system for American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (GENIE), a large genomic and clinical data-sharing consortium, and for clinical molecular testing efforts at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. It is also used by precision oncology tools such as OncoKB and cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics.

Conclusion: OncoTree is a dynamic and flexible community-driven cancer classification platform encompassing rare and common cancers that provides clinically relevant and appropriately granular cancer classification for clinical decision support systems and oncology research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/CCI.20.00108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8240791PMC
February 2021

Phase II Single-arm Study of Durvalumab and Tremelimumab with Concurrent Radiotherapy in Patients with Mismatch Repair-proficient Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Apr 27;27(8):2200-2208. Epub 2021 Jan 27.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Purpose: Immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) alone is not active in mismatch repair-proficient (MMR-P) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), nor does radiotherapy alone result in objective systemic benefit. However, combined radiotherapy plus ICI can induce systemic antitumor immunity in preclinical and clinical models.

Patients And Methods: In this single-center, phase II study, patients with chemotherapy-refractory MMR-P mCRC received durvalumab 1,500 mg plus tremelimumab 75 mg every 4 weeks plus radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) in nonirradiated lesions. Treatment and efficacy were correlated with peripheral immune cell profiles.

Results: We enrolled 24 patients, and report outcomes after a median follow-up of 21.8 (range: 15.9-26.3) months. The ORR was 8.3% (2 patients) [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0-27.0]. The median progression-free survival was 1.8 (95% CI, 1.7-1.9) months, median overall survival was 11.4 (95% CI, 10.1-17.4) months. Twenty five percent of patients ( = 6) had treatment-related grade 3-4 adverse events. We observed increased circulating CD8 T lymphocyte activation, differentiation, and proliferation in patients with objective response.

Conclusions: This combination of radiotherapy plus ICI study did not meet the prespecified endpoint criteria to be considered worthwhile for further study. However, rare instances of systemic immune augmentation and regression in nonirradiated lesions were observed (an abscopal response). Combination durvalumab and tremelimumab plus radiotherapy is feasible in MMR-P mCRC with a manageable safety profile. Further studies of novel immunotherapy combinations, and identification of biomarkers predictive of abscopal response are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2474DOI Listing
April 2021

Systemic Therapy for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: ASCO Guideline.

J Clin Oncol 2020 12 16;38(36):4317-4345. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Yale Cancer Center and VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT.

Purpose: To develop an evidence-based clinical practice guideline to assist in clinical decision making for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: ASCO convened an Expert Panel to conduct a systematic review of published phase III randomized controlled trials (2007-2020) on systemic therapy for advanced HCC and provide recommended care options for this patient population.

Results: Nine phase III randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria.

Recommendations: Atezolizumab + bevacizumab (atezo + bev) may be offered as first-line treatment of most patients with advanced HCC, Child-Pugh class A liver disease, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG PS) 0-1, and following management of esophageal varices, when present, according to institutional guidelines. Where there are contraindications to atezolizumab and/or bevacizumab, tyrosine kinase inhibitors sorafenib or lenvatinib may be offered as first-line treatment of patients with advanced HCC, Child-Pugh class A liver disease, and ECOG PS 0-1. Following first-line treatment with atezo + bev, and until better data are available, second-line therapy with a tyrosine kinase inhibitor may be recommended for appropriate candidates. Following first-line therapy with sorafenib or lenvatinib, second-line therapy options for appropriate candidates include cabozantinib, regorafenib for patients who previously tolerated sorafenib, or ramucirumab (for patients with α-fetoprotein ≥ 400 ng/mL), or atezo + bev where patients did not have access to this option as first-line therapy. Pembrolizumab or nivolumab are also reasonable options for appropriate patients following sorafenib or lenvatinib. Consideration of nivolumab + ipilimumab as an option for second-line therapy and third-line therapy is discussed. Further guidance on choosing between therapy options is included within the guideline. Additional information is available at www.asco.org/gastrointestinal-cancer-guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02672DOI Listing
December 2020

Genomic Characterization of -Driven Biliary Cancer and a Case of Response to Ado-Trastuzumab Emtansine.

JCO Precis Oncol 2019 17;3. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: Biliary tract cancers (BTCs), which include intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC), extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (EHC), and gallbladder cancer (GBC), have limited treatment options. We sought to comprehensively examine the clinical and molecular characteristics of BTCs with amplification or mutation of .

Methods: Demographic, outcome, and treatment response data were collected for patients with -altered BTC identified by next-generation sequencing with Memorial Sloan Kettering-Integrated Mutation Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets from 2014 to 2018.

Results: A total of 517 patients with BTC underwent next-generation sequencing (ICC, n = 313; EHC, n = 93; GBC, n = 111). Twenty-eight patients (5.4%) had alterations, including 2.7% with gene amplification, 2.3% with mutation, and 0.4% with concurrent amplification and mutation. The prevalence of gene alterations was significantly higher in GBC (12.6%) than in ICC (2.2%) and EHC (7.5%; < .001). In amplified tumors, the median fold change was 6.4 (range, 2.1 to 19.7), while in -mutant tumors, the most frequent mutated domain was the extracellular domain (32%), with all mutations in this region involving the S310 codon. Frequent co-altered genes in this cohort were (54%), (21%), and (18%); amplification/mutation was found in 7% of patients. One patient with -amplified EHC who enrolled in a basket trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02675829) had a partial response to the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-targeted antibody-drug conjugate ado-trastuzumab emtansine.

Conclusion: alterations are present in 5.4% of BTCs. When present, the degree of gene amplification is often high, and S310 codon mutations are the most common hotspot. These features, along with the presented case, support further development of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-targeted therapy in -mutant and/or -amplified BTC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.19.00223DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7446346PMC
October 2019

Second-line cabozantinib after sorafenib treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: a subgroup analysis of the phase 3 CELESTIAL trial.

ESMO Open 2020 08;5(4)

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, United States.

Objective: In the phase 3 CELESTIAL trial, cabozantinib improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared with placebo in patients with previously treated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This subgroup analysis evaluated cabozantinib in patients who had received sorafenib as the only prior systemic therapy.

Methods: CELESTIAL randomised (2:1) patients with advanced HCC and Child-Pugh class A liver function to treatment with cabozantinib (60 mg daily) or placebo. Eligibility required prior treatment with sorafenib, and patients could have received ≤2 prior systemic regimens. The primary endpoint was OS. Outcomes in patients who had received sorafenib as the only prior therapy were analysed by duration of prior sorafenib (<3 months, 3 to <6 months and ≥6 months).

Results: Of patients who had received only prior sorafenib, 331 were randomised to cabozantinib and 164 to placebo; 136 patients had received sorafenib for <3 months, 141 for 3 to <6 months and 217 for ≥6 months. Cabozantinib improved OS relative to placebo in the overall second-line population who had received only prior sorafenib (median 11.3 vs 7.2 months; HR=0.70, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.88). This improvement was maintained in analyses by prior sorafenib duration with longer duration generally corresponding to longer median OS-median OS 8.9 vs 6.9 months (HR=0.72, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.10) for prior sorafenib <3 months, 11.5 vs 6.5 months (HR=0.65, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.00) for 3 to <6 months and 12.3 vs 9.2 months (HR=0.82, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.16) for ≥6 months. Cabozantinib also improved PFS in all duration subgroups. Safety data were consistent with the overall study population.

Conclusion: Cabozantinib improved efficacy outcomes versus placebo in the second-line population who had received only prior sorafenib irrespective of duration of prior sorafenib treatment, further supporting the utility of cabozantinib in the evolving treatment landscape of HCC.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT01908426.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7451459PMC
August 2020

Phase II trial of sorafenib and doxorubicin in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma after disease progression on sorafenib.

Cancer Med 2020 10 25;9(20):7453-7459. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) who received second line sorafenib plus doxorubicin following disease progression on sorafenib were shown retrospectively to have improved progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Sorafenib plus doxorubicin combination may synergistically promote ASK-1 mediated apoptosis in cancer cells through RAF-1 inhibition. Thus, we conducted this phase II study of sorafenib and doxorubicin combination following progression on sorafenib.

Methods: Patients with histologically confirmed advanced HCC, confirmed radiologic progression on sorafenib, Karnofsky performance status (KPS) ≥70%, and Child-Pugh A liver cirrhosis were eligible. Patients received sorafenib 400 mg twice daily and doxorubicin 60 mg/m once every 3-weeks. The primary endpoint was OS at 6 months (OS6). Secondary endpoints included safety, PFS, OS, response rate (RR) by RECIST 1.1. Additional endpoints included baseline and on-treatment tumor ASK-1 and pERK expression levels by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and the correlation with PFS, RR, and OS.

Results: Thirty patients were enrolled in the study, 86% were male, median age was 64 years. OS6 was 76.6% (95%CI: 57.2%-88.1%). Median OS was 8.6 (95%CI: 7.3-12) months, and median PFS reached 3.9 (95%CI: 2.4-4.6) months. Three (11%) partial responses were observed and 17 patients (61%) had stable disease. Pertinent grade 3-4 adverse events that occurred in more than 10% of patients included neutropenia (16%), febrile neutropenia (10%), anemia (10%), thrombocytopenia (10%), elevated AST (23%) and ALT (10%), hypophosphatemia (10%), and fatigue (10%). No association with the difference in baseline and post-treatment ASK-1 and pERK level of expression by IHC and survival outcomes was detected.

Conclusion: Sorafenib plus doxorubicin following progression on sorafenib did not show any improved outcome. We do not recommend further development or use of this combination in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571806PMC
October 2020

NRF2 Dysregulation in Hepatocellular Carcinoma and Ischemia: A Cohort Study and Laboratory Investigation.

Radiology 2020 10 11;297(1):225-234. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

From the Department of Radiology (E.Z., L.K., I.N., F.E.B., J.P.E., L.C., E.N.P., L.A.B., A.M.C., G.G., C.S., S.B.S., H.Y.), Sloan Kettering Institute (Y.Z.), and Department of Medicine (J.J.H., G.K.A.), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065; Department of Radiology, University of Utah Health, Salt Lake City, Utah (K.T.B.); and Weill Medical College at Cornell University, New York, NY (E.Z., I.N., F.E.B., J.P.E., A.M.C., G.G., J.J.H., C.S., G.K.A., S.G.S., H.Y.).

Background Intermediate stage hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) are treated by inducing ischemic cell death with transarterial embolization (TAE) or transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). A subset of HCCs harbor nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF2), a major regulator of the oxidative stress response implicated in cell survival after ischemia. NRF2-mutated HCC response to TAE and/or TACE is unknown. Purpose To test whether ischemia resistance is present in individuals with NRF2-mutated HCC and if this resistance can be overcome by means of NRF2 inhibition in HCC cell lines. Materials and Methods This was a combined retrospective review of an institutional database (from January 2011 to December 2018) and prospective study (from January 2014 to December 2018) of participants with HCC who underwent TAE and a laboratory investigation of HCC cell lines. Imaging follow-up included liver CT or MRI at 1 month after the procedure followed by 3-month interval scans. Tumor radiologic response was assessed on the basis of follow-up imaging. The time to local progression after TAE for individuals with and individuals without NRF2 pathway alterations was estimated by using competing risk analysis (Gray test). The in vitro response to ischemia in four HCC cell lines with and without NRF2 overexpression was evaluated, and the combination of ischemia with NRF2 knockdown by means of short hairpin RNA or an NRF2 inhibitor was tested. Doubling time estimates, dose response curve regression, and comparison analyses were performed. Results Sixty-five individuals (median age, 69 years [range, 19-84 years]; 53 men) were evaluated. HCCs with NRF2 pathway mutation had a shorter time to local progression after TAE compared to those without mutation (6-month cumulative incidence of local progression, 56% [range, 19%-91%] vs 22% [range, 12%-34%], respectively; < .001) and confirmed ischemia resistance in NRF2-overexpressing HCC cell lines. However, ischemia and NRF2 knock-down worked synergistically to decrease proliferation of NRF2-overexpressing HCC cell lines. Dose response curves of ML385, an NRF2 inhibitor, showed that ischemia induces addiction to NRF2 in cells with NRF2 alterations. Conclusion Hepatocellular carcinoma with nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (NRF2) alterations showed resistance to ischemia, but ischemia simultaneously induced sensitivity to NRF2 inhibition. © RSNA, 2020 See also the editorial by Weiss and Nezami in this issue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2020200201DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7526944PMC
October 2020

Ivosidenib for advanced IDH1-mutant cholangiocarcinoma - Authors' reply.

Lancet Oncol 2020 08;21(8):e371

Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA; Jiahui International Cancer Center, Jiahui Health, Shanghai, China. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30394-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Association of inflammatory biomarkers with clinical outcomes in nivolumab-treated patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Hepatol 2020 12 22;73(6):1460-1469. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background & Aims: Nivolumab, a programmed death (PD)-1 (PD-1) inhibitor, led to durable responses, manageable safety, and increased survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In our retrospective analysis, we studied the immunobiology and potential associations between biomarkers and outcomes with nivolumab in HCC.

Methods: Fresh and archival tumour samples from dose-escalation and dose-expansion phases of the CheckMate 040 trial were analysed by immunohistochemistry and RNA sequencing to assess several inflammatory gene expression signatures, including CD274 (PD-ligand 1 [PD-L1]), CD8A, LAG3, and STAT1. Biomarkers were assessed for association with clinical outcomes (best overall response by blinded independent central review per RECIST v1.1 and overall survival [OS]).

Results: Complete or partial tumour responses were observed in PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative patients treated with nivolumab monotherapy. Median OS was 28.1 (95% CI 18.2-n.a.) vs. 16.6 months (95% CI 14.2-20.2) for patients with tumour PD-L1 ≥1% vs. <1% (p = 0.03). Increased CD3 and CD8 showed a non-significant trend towards improved OS (both p = 0.08), and macrophage markers were not associated with OS. Tumour PD-1 and PD-L1 expression were associated with improved OS (p = 0.05 and p = 0.03, respectively). An inflammatory gene signature consisting of 4 genes was associated with improved objective response rate (p = 0.05) and OS (p = 0.01).

Conclusions: PD-1 and PD-L1 expression, biomarkers of inflammation, and inflammatory gene signatures trended with improved survival and response. While further confirmation within a larger phase III trial is needed to evaluate predictive value of these biomarkers, these exploratory analyses suggest that anti-tumour immune response may play a role in the treatment benefit of nivolumab in HCC.

Lay Summary: Certain tests may be used to provide a picture of how a tumour is escaping the immune system, allowing it to continue to grow and create more tumours. Therapies such as nivolumab are designed to help the immune system fight the tumour. These tests may be used to determine how effective such therapies will be in the treatment of advanced liver cancer.

Nct Number: NCT01658878.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.07.026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7751218PMC
December 2020

FIGHT-302: first-line pemigatinib vs gemcitabine plus cisplatin for advanced cholangiocarcinoma with rearrangements.

Future Oncol 2020 10 17;16(30):2385-2399. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

FGFR2 rearrangements resulting in dysregulated signaling are drivers of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) tumorigenesis, and occur almost exclusively in intrahepatic CCA. Pemigatinib, a selective, potent, oral inhibitor of FGFR1-3, has demonstrated efficacy and safety in a Phase II study of patients with previously treated locally advanced/metastatic CCA harboring fusions/rearrangements. We describe the study design of FIGHT-302, an open-label, randomized, active-controlled, multicenter, global, Phase III study comparing the efficacy and safety of first-line pemigatinib versus gemcitabine plus cisplatin in patients with advanced CCA with rearrangements (NCT03656536). The primary end point is progression-free survival; secondary end points are objective response rate, overall survival, duration of response, disease control rate, safety and quality of life. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT03656536 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-0429DOI Listing
October 2020

Molecular profiling and analysis of genetic aberrations aimed at identifying potential therapeutic targets in fibrolamellar carcinoma of the liver.

Cancer 2020 09 14;126(18):4126-4135. Epub 2020 Jul 14.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.

Background: Fibrolamellar carcinoma (FLC) is a rare primary liver cancer of young adults. A functional chimeric transcript resulting from the in-frame fusion of the DNAJ homolog, subfamily B, member 1 (DNAJB1), and the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A (PRKACA) genes on chromosome 19 is believed to be unique in FLC, with a possible role in pathogenesis, yet with no established therapeutic value. The objective of the current study was to understand the molecular landscape of FLC and to identify potential novel therapeutic targets.

Methods: Archival fresh, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded samples from patients with FLC who prospectively consented to an institutional review board-approved protocol were analyzed using Memorial Sloan Kettering-Integrated Mutation Profiling of Actionable Cancer Targets (MSK-IMPACT), a next-generation sequencing assay encompassing up to 468 key cancer genes. Custom targeted RNA-Seq was performed in selected patients. Demographics, treatment, and outcome data were collected prospectively. Survival outcomes were estimated and correlated with mutation and/or copy number alterations.

Results: A total of 33 tumor samples from 31 patients with FLC were analyzed. The median age of the patients at the time of diagnosis was 18 years and approximately 53% were women. The DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion transcript was detected in 100% of patients. In 10 of 31 patients in which MSK-IMPACT did not detect the fusion, its presence was confirmed by targeted RNA-Seq. TERT promoter mutation was the second most common, and was detected in 7 patients. The median follow up was 30 months (range, 6-153 months). The 3-year overall survival rate was 84% (95% CI, 61%-93%).

Conclusions: The DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion transcript is nonspecific and nonsensitive to FLC. Its potential therapeutic value currently is under evaluation. Opportunities currently are under development for therapy that may be driven or related to the DNAJB1-PRKACA fusion transcript or any therapeutic target identified from next-generation sequencing in patients with FLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.32960DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8224539PMC
September 2020

Serum Alpha-fetoprotein Levels and Clinical Outcomes in the Phase III CELESTIAL Study of Cabozantinib versus Placebo in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 09 7;26(18):4795-4804. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Purpose: The phase III CELESTIAL study demonstrated improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) with cabozantinib versus placebo in patients with previously treated, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We analyzed outcomes by baseline alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and on-treatment AFP changes.

Patients And Methods: Serum AFP was measured every 8 weeks by blinded, centralized testing. Outcomes were analyzed by baseline AFP bifurcated at 400 ng/mL and by on-treatment AFP response (≥20% decrease from baseline at Week 8). The optimal cutoff for change in AFP at Week 8 was evaluated using maximally selected rank statistics.

Results: Median OS for cabozantinib versus placebo was 13.9 versus 10.3 months [HR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.62-1.04] for patients with baseline AFP <400 ng/mL, and 8.5 versus 5.2 months (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.54-0.94) for patients with baseline AFP ≥400 ng/mL. Week 8 AFP response rate was 50% for cabozantinib versus 13% for placebo. In the cabozantinib arm, median OS for patients with and without AFP response was 16.1 versus 9.1 months (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.45-0.84). AFP response was independently associated with longer OS. The optimal cutoff for association with OS in the cabozantinib arm was ≤0% change in AFP at Week 8 [AFP control; HR 0.50 (95% CI, 0.35-0.71)]. HRs for PFS were consistent with those for OS.

Conclusions: Cabozantinib improved outcomes versus placebo across a range of baseline AFP levels. On-treatment AFP response and control rates were higher with cabozantinib than placebo, and were associated with longer OS and PFS with cabozantinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3884DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7779341PMC
September 2020

Infigratinib in patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma with gene fusions/translocations: the PROOF 301 trial.

Future Oncol 2020 Oct 25;16(30):2375-2384. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Division of Cancer Medicine, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Cholangiocarcinoma is an aggressive malignancy with poor overall survival. Approximately 15% of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas contain alterations. Infigratinib is an oral FGFR 1-3 kinase inhibitor. Favorable results from a Phase II trial of infigratinib in advanced/metastatic -altered cholangiocarcinomas has led to its further investigation in the front-line setting. In this article we describe the design, objectives and rationale for PROOF 301, a Phase III multicenter, open label, randomized trial of infigratinib in comparison to standard of care gemcitabine and cisplatin in advanced/metastatic cholangiocarcinoma with translocations. The results of this study have the potential to define a new role for a chemotherapy-free, targeted therapy option in the front-line setting for these patients. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT03773302 (ClincalTrials.gov).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-0299DOI Listing
October 2020

Phase Ib Study of Enzalutamide with or Without Sorafenib in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Oncologist 2020 12 2;25(12):e1825-e1836. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA.

Lessons Learned: Androgen receptor as assessed by immunohistochemistry is expressed in a high proportion of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Enzalutamide at 160 mg orally daily is safe and tolerable in patients with advanced HCC but has no single-agent antitumor activity. Enzalutamide, a CYP3A4 inducer, at a standard dose of 160 mg reduces the exposure of sorafenib, a CYP3A4 substrate. Enzalutamide and sorafenib is safe and tolerable in patients with advanced HCC, but the addition of enzalutamide to sorafenib did not enhance the antitumor activity of sorafenib.

Background: Androgen receptor (AR) interference is deleterious to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in preclinical models.

Methods: This is a multicenter, phase Ib study of enzalutamide ± sorafenib in patients with advanced HCC. In part 1, a 3 + 3 dose de-escalation design with expansion established the recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of enzalutamide in patients in whom sorafenib treatment had failed. In part 2, a 3 + 3 dose escalation with expansion established the safety of enzalutamide with sorafenib in treatment-naive patients with HCC. Secondary objectives included objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), pharmacokinetics (PK), and determination of AR expression by immunohistochemistry. A 7-day run-in with sorafenib alone in part 2 allowed assessment of the impact of enzalutamide on sorafenib pharmacokinetics.

Results: In part 1, 16 patients received enzalutamide 160 mg daily. No dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) occurred; 1 patient required dose reduction. Responses were not observed; median PFS and OS were 1.8 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.6-3.6) and 7 (95% CI: 3.6 to not reached [NR]) months, respectively. In part 2, patients received sorafenib 400 mg daily (4) or twice a day (8) both with enzalutamide at the recommended phase II dose-no DLTs were observed. ORR was 10% (95% CI: 0.3-44.5), and median PFS and OS were 2.9 (95% CI: 1.6 to NR) and 6.7 (95% CI: 4.6 to NR) months, respectively. Enzalutamide reduced sorafenib exposure by 60%. Tumor AR expression did not associate with outcome.

Conclusion: Enzalutamide is ineffective in HCC; further development is not supported by this study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2020-0521DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8186405PMC
December 2020

Hepatocellular carcinoma, novel therapies on the horizon.

Chin Clin Oncol 2021 Feb 9;10(1):12. Epub 2020 Jun 9.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA; Weill Medical College at Cornell University, New York, NY, USA.

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary liver cancer and is associated with high mortality rate. Incidence remains high due to the persistent prevalence of viral hepatitis, alcoholic cirrhosis, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFLD). Despite screening efforts, the majority of patients present with advanced disease, add to the high risk of recurrence after curative surgery. Conventional chemotherapy did not alter the nature history of advanced and metastatic HCC. The discovery of multiple tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) led to the approval of sorafenib as first efficacious therapy. A new era in the treatment paradigm of HCC is evolving. Since the advent of sorafenib as an active treatment option for patients presenting with advanced or metastatic disease, several agents have been examined. This was linked with many failures, and success stories to celebrate. Herein, we describe the historical progress and current advances of systemic therapies post-sorafenib. Lenvatinib, regorafenib, cabozantinib, ramucirumab, pembrolizumab, and nivolumab, are all presently added and available therapeutic options in the advanced setting. The evaluation of novel treatment combinations including anti-angiogenic, TKIs plus checkpoint inhibitors, add to dual checkpoint inhibitors is evolving rapidly starting with the advent of the combination of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab. Combining local and systemic therapies is being actively investigated, as an option for locally advanced disease conventionally treated with locoregional approaches. The horizon remains promising and continues to evolve for HCC a disease long considered with unmet needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/cco-20-113DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8279038PMC
February 2021

Genomic Methods Identify Homologous Recombination Deficiency in Pancreas Adenocarcinoma and Optimize Treatment Selection.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 07 22;26(13):3239-3247. Epub 2020 May 22.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Purpose: Genomic methods can identify homologous recombination deficiency (HRD). Rigorous evaluation of their outcome association to DNA damage response-targeted therapies like platinum in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is essential in maximizing therapeutic outcome.

Experimental Design: We evaluated progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of patients with advanced-stage PDAC, who had both germline- and somatic-targeted gene sequencing. Homologous recombination gene mutations (HRm) were evaluated: , and HRm status was grouped as: (i) germline versus somatic; (ii) core ( and versus non-core (other HRm); and (iii) monoallelic versus biallelic. Genomic instability was compared using large-scale state transition, signature 3, and tumor mutation burden.

Results: Among 262 patients, 50 (19%) had HRD (15% germline and 4% somatic). Both groups were analyzed together due to lack of difference in their genomic instability and outcome. Median [95% confidence interval (CI)] follow-up was 21.9 (1.4-57.0) months. Median OS and PFS were 15.5 (14.6-19) and 7 (6.1-8.1) months, respectively. Patients with HRD had improved PFS compared with no HRD when treated with first-line (1L) platinum [HR, 0.44 (95% CI: 0.29-0.67); < 0.01], but not with 1L-non-platinum. Multivariate analysis showed HRD patients had improved OS regardless of their first-line treatment, but most had platinum exposure during their course. Biallelic HRm (11%) and core HRm (12%) had higher genomic instability, which translated to improved PFS on first-line platinum (1L-platinum) versus 1L-non-platinum.

Conclusions: Pathogenic HRm identifies HRD in patients with PDAC with the best outcome when treated with 1L-platinum. Biallelic HRm and core HRm further enriched benefit from 1L-platinum from HRD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-0418DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7380542PMC
July 2020
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