Publications by authors named "Giuseppe Tonini"

335 Publications

Impact of adjuvant imatinib on bone and muscle density in patients with resected gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

J Bone Oncol 2022 Jun 9;34:100422. Epub 2022 Mar 9.

Division of Medical Oncology, Policlinico Universitario Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy.

Adjuvant treatment with Imatinib is the standard of care for high-risk resected GISTs. Imatinib is known to have an impact on bone mineral density in patients affected by chronic myeloid leukemia, however this effect has never been investigated in GISTs. We retrospectively evaluated, on CT scans, the effect of adjuvant Imatinib (400 mg/die) on bone mineral density and muscle composition in 14 patients with surgically resected GISTs and in a control group of 8 patients who did not received any treatment. The effect of bone and muscle composition on Imatinib-tolerance was assessed as well. Overall patients receiving Imatinib experienced an increase in bone mineral density during treatment (p = 0.021); with higher increase in patients with basal values < 120 mg/cm (p = 0.002). No changes were observed in the control group (p = 0.918). Skeletal muscle index and lean body mass did not change over time during Imatinib therapy; however, patients with lower lean body mass and lower body mass index experienced more grade 3 treatment related toxicities (p = 0.024 and p = 0.014 respectively). We also found a non-significant trend between basal BMD and grade 3 toxicities (p = 0.060).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbo.2022.100422DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8931443PMC
June 2022

Biological Effects of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors Ribociclib, Palbociclib and Abemaciclib on Breast Cancer Bone Microenvironment.

Int J Mol Sci 2022 Feb 24;23(5). Epub 2022 Feb 24.

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, 00128 Rome, Italy.

The CDK4/6 inhibitors (CDKi) palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib are currently approved in combination with anti-estrogen therapy for the treatment of advanced and/or metastatic hormone receptor-positive/HER2-neu-negative breast cancer patients. Given the high incidence of bone metastases in this population, we investigated and compared the potential effects of palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib on the breast cancer bone microenvironment. Primary osteoclasts (OCs) and osteoblasts (OBs) were obtained from human monocyte and mesenchymal stem cells, respectively. OC function was evaluated by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase assay and real-time PCR; OB activity was assessed by an alizarin red assay. OB/breast cancer co-culture models were generated via the seeding of MCF-7 cells on a layer of OBs, and tumor cell proliferation was analyzed using flow cytometry. Here, we showed that ribociclib, palbociclib, and abemaciclib exerted similar inhibitory effects on the OC differentiation and expression of bone resorption markers without affecting OC viability. On the other hand, the three CDKi did not affect the ability of OB to produce bone matrix, even if the higher doses of palbociclib and abemaciclib reduced the OB viability. In OB/MCF-7 co-culture models, palbociclib demonstrated a lower anti-tumor effect than ribociclib and abemaciclib. Overall, our results revealed the direct effects of CDKi on the tumor bone microenvironment, highlighting differences potentially relevant for clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms23052477DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8910497PMC
February 2022

Dynamics of RAS/BRAF Mutations in cfDNA from Metastatic Colorectal Carcinoma Patients Treated with Polychemotherapy and Anti-EGFR Monoclonal Antibodies.

Cancers (Basel) 2022 Feb 18;14(4). Epub 2022 Feb 18.

Cell Biology and Biotherapy Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione G. Pascale"-IRCCS, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Analysis of plasma-derived cell-free DNA (cfDNA) might allow for the early identification of resistance in metastatic colorectal carcinoma (mCRC) patients receiving anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies. We tested plasma samples from the Erbitux Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Strategy (ERMES) phase III trial of FOLFIRI+Cetuximab in first-line treatment of RAS/BRAF wild-type mCRC. Samples were collected at baseline ( = 37), at 8 weeks of treatment ( = 32), progressive disease (PD; = 36) and 3 months after PD ( = 21). cfDNA testing was performed using the Idylla™ ctKRAS and ctNRAS-BRAF tests and the Oncomine Pan-Cancer Cell-Free Assay. Analysis of basal samples revealed RAS/BRAF mutations in 6/37 cases. A transient RAS positivity not associated with PD was observed at 8 weeks in five cases that showed no mutations at baseline and PD. The frequency of mutant cases increased at PD (33.3%) and decreased again at 3 months after PD (9.5%). The median progression-free survival (mPFS) of patients RAS/BRAF mutant at PD was 7.13 months versus 7.71 months in wild-type patients ( = 0.3892). These data confirm that the occurrence of RAS/BRAF mutations in mCRC patients receiving anti-EGFR agents is relatively frequent. However, the cfDNA dynamics of RAS mutations in patients treated with anti-EGFR agents plus polychemotherapy are complex and might not be directly associated with resistance to treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers14041052DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8870112PMC
February 2022

PANHER study: a 20-year treatment outcome analysis from a multicentre observational study of HER2-positive advanced breast cancer patients from the real-world setting.

Ther Adv Med Oncol 2021 29;13:17588359211059873. Epub 2021 Nov 29.

Medical Oncology, Sapienza University, Policlinico S. Andrea, Rome, Italy.

Background: The evolution of therapeutic landscape of human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer (BC) has led to an unprecedented outcome improvement, even if the optimal sequence strategy is still debated. To address this issue and to provide a picture of the advancement of anti-HER2 treatments, we performed a large, multicenter, retrospective study of HER2-positive BC patients.

Methods: The observational PANHER study included 1,328 HER2-positive advanced BC patients treated with HER2 blocking agents since June 2000 throughout July 2020. Endpoints of efficacy were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results: Patients who received a first-line pertuzumab-based regimen showed better PFS ( < 0.0001) and OS ( = 0.004) than those receiving other treatments. Median PFS and mOS from second-line starting were 8 and 28 months, without significant differences among various regimens. Pertuzumab-pretreated patients showed a mPFS and a mOS from second-line starting not significantly affected by type of second line, that is, T-DM1 or lapatinib/capecitabine ( = 0.80 and = 0.45, respectively). Conversely, pertuzumab-naïve patients receiving second-line T-DM1 showed a significantly higher mPFS compared with that of patients treated with lapatinib/capecitabine ( = 0.004). Median OS from metastatic disease diagnosis was higher in patients treated with trastuzumab-based first line followed by second-line T-DM1 in comparison to pertuzumab-based first-line and second-line T-DM1 ( = 0.003), although these data might be partially influenced by more favorable prognostic characteristics of patients in the pre-pertuzumab . No significant differences emerged when comparing patients treated with 'old' or 'new' drugs ( = 0.43), even though differences in the length of the follow-up between the two cohorts should be taken into account.

Conclusion: Our results confirmed a relevant impact of first-line pertuzumab-based treatment and showed lower efficacy of second-line T-DM1 in trastuzumab/pertuzumab pretreated, as compared with pertuzumab-naïve patients. Our findings may help delineate a more appropriate therapeutic strategy in HER2-positive metastatic BC. Prospective randomized trials addressing this topic are awaited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/17588359211059873DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8842182PMC
November 2021

Stereotactic Radiation and Dual Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 Blockade with Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab in the Treatment of Breast Cancer Brain Metastases: A Single Institution Series.

Cancers (Basel) 2022 Jan 8;14(2). Epub 2022 Jan 8.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, 00128 Rome, Italy.

(1) Background: This study aims to assess the safety and efficacy of fractionated SRT (fSRT) and pertuzumab-trastuzumab (PT) in patients with breast cancer brain metastases (BCBM). (2) Methods: Patients with HER2+ BCBM who received FSRT from 2015 to 2019 were identified. Patients were included if they were treated with fSRT within 21 days of receiving PT. All lesions were treated with LINAC-based fSRT to a total dose of 27 Gy delivered in three consecutive fractions. All patients received concurrent PT. Patients were evaluated 4-6 weeks after SRS and subsequently every 2-3 months with MRI re-imaging (3) Results: A total of 49 patients with HER2+ brain metastases were identified. Of these patients, a total of 10 patients with 32 HER2+ BCBM were treated with concurrent SRT and PT and included in the analysis. No local progression was observed. Overall response rate was 68.7%. Only one patient developed asymptomatic radionecrosis. Median time to BM occurrence was 15.6 (range: 1-40.5 months). Distant intracranial failure occurred in 4/10 patients (40.0%). Overall BCBM median survival was 33.9 months (95%CI 24.1-43.6). Mean duration of PT treatment was 27.9 months (range: 10.1-53.7 months). (4) Conclusions: In our single institution experience, fSRT and PT showed to be a safe treatment for patients with BCBM with an adequate overall response rate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers14020303DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8774076PMC
January 2022

Osteoblasts Promote Prostate Cancer Cell Proliferation Through Androgen Receptor Independent Mechanisms.

Front Oncol 2021 13;11:789885. Epub 2021 Dec 13.

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Patients with metastatic prostate cancer frequently develop bone metastases that elicit significant skeletal morbidity and increased mortality. The high tropism of prostate cancer cells for bone and their tendency to induce the osteoblastic-like phenotype are a result of a complex interplay between tumor cells and osteoblasts. Although the role of osteoblasts in supporting prostate cancer cell proliferation has been reported by previous studies, their precise contribution in tumor growth remains to be fully elucidated. Here, we tried to dissect the molecular signaling underlining the interactions between castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) cells and osteoblasts using co-culture models. Transcriptomic analysis showed that osteoblast-conditioned media (OCM) induced the overexpression of genes related to cell cycle in the CRPC cell line C4-2B but, surprisingly, reduced androgen receptor (AR) transcript levels. In-depth analysis of AR expression in C4-2B cells after OCM treatment showed an AR reduction at the mRNA ( = 0.0047), protein ( = 0.0247), and functional level ( = 0.0029) and, concomitantly, an increase of C4-2B cells in S-G2-M cell cycle phases ( = 0.0185). An extensive proteomic analysis revealed in OCM the presence of some molecules that reduced AR activation, and among these, Matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1) was the only one able to block AR function (0.1 ng/ml = 0.006; 1 ng/ml = 0.002; 10 ng/ml = 0.0001) and, at the same time, enhance CRPC proliferation (1 ng/ml = 0.009; 10 ng/ml = 0.033). Although the increase of C4-2B cell growth induced by MMP-1 did not reach the proliferation levels observed after OCM treatment, the addition of Vorapaxar, an MMP-1 receptor inhibitor (Protease-activated receptor-1, PAR-1), significantly reduced C4-2B cell cycle (0.1 μM = 0.014; 1 μM = 0.0087). Overall, our results provide a novel AR-independent mechanism of CRPC proliferation and suggest that MMP-1/PAR-1 could be one of the potential pathways involved in this process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.789885DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8711264PMC
December 2021

Bone metastases from urothelial carcinoma. The dark side of the moon.

J Bone Oncol 2021 Dec 28;31:100405. Epub 2021 Nov 28.

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

Bone metastases are common in genitourinary cancers, but they are underreported and not well researched. Synchronous bone metastases occur in 1.39-5.5% of bladder cancer patients, while 30-40% of cases are metachronous. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play a key role in regulating proliferation, migration and invasion of tumor cells in bone microenvironment of bone metastases from metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC). Bone metastases represent a poor prognostic factor due to high morbidity and mortality correlated to skeletal-related events (SREs). The incidence rate of SREs in bladder, renal pelvis, and ureteral cancer varies from 39 to 68%. Radiotherapy is the most frequent treatment for SREs. The early use of bone targeted therapies (BTT), zoledronic acid and denosumab, improves SREs incidence and morbidity and it seems to improve overall survival (OS). To date, several new agents (immunotherapy and targeted drugs) demonstrated efficacy in mUC. However, subgroup analysis for bone metastases is often not available, due to difficulties in analysing bone samples, non-RECIST lesions and delay in systemic treatment due to SREs that limit the enrolment of bone mUC patients in clinical trials. Larger solid tumor studies that included UC patients are the main source of data for the management of mUC patients with bone metastases. For these patients, multidisciplinary approach should be preferred, involving orthopaedics, radiotherapists and rehabilitation to improve outcome and quality of life. New prospective trials should characterize clinical and molecular features of patients with bone metastases and the impact of new drugs on this poor prognostic metastatic site.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbo.2021.100405DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8661045PMC
December 2021

SARS-Cov-2 pneumonia and concurrent myelodysplasia complicated by Pseudomonas aeruginosa over-infection.

J Virol Methods 2022 Feb 10;300:114419. Epub 2021 Dec 10.

Infectious Disease Unit-S Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

The new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCov-2) causing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread quickly in several countries and it has become pandemic. Different types of clinical manifestations are attributed to this infection. Some mechanisms related to the infection regarding the immune response are not still elucidated. Herein we reported a case of a 66-years-old patient affected by myelodysplasia who was referred to our hospital because of clinical and radiological manifestations of viral pneumonia. The clinical course has become complicated due to bacterial secondary over-infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa during stay in internal medicine unit whilst a persistent positive oral and naso-pharyngeal swab test was reported up to 100 days of admission. The patient had a fast clinical and radiological worsening that led her to be admitted to an intensive care unit. Despite intubation and mechanical ventilation she died in a few days.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2021.114419DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8660133PMC
February 2022

Retrospective Chart Review of Dabrafenib Plus Trametinib in Patients with Metastatic BRAF V600-Mutant Melanoma Treated in the Individual Patient Program (DESCRIBE Italy).

Target Oncol 2021 11 10;16(6):789-799. Epub 2021 Nov 10.

Oncology Division, Policlinico San Martino IRCCS, Genoa, Italy.

Background: Real-world data on extended follow-up of patients with BRAF V600-mutant metastatic melanoma are limited. We investigated dabrafenib plus trametinib (dab + tram) outside of a clinical trial setting (Individual Patient Program; DESCRIBE Italy).

Objective: To describe the baseline features, treatment patterns, efficacy, and safety outcomes in patients with BRAF V600-mutant unresectable or metastatic melanoma who had received dab + tram as part of the Managed Access Program (MAP) in Italy.

Patients And Methods: An observational, retrospective chart review was conducted in Italian patients with BRAF V600-mutant unresectable stage III/IV melanoma receiving dab + tram as part of the MAP. Baseline features, treatment patterns, efficacy, and safety outcomes were evaluated.

Results: Overall, 499 patients were included in this analysis. BRAF V600E mutation was seen in 81.4% of patients. Overall response rate achieved in 243 of the 390 evaluable patients was 62.3% (95% CI 57.5-67.1). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 9.3 months (95% CI 8.6-10.6). Subgroup analyses revealed that patients with normal lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and ≤ three metastatic sites without brain metastases at baseline had better outcomes. With normal LDH at baseline, median PFS for patients with one or two metastatic sites other than cerebral was 18 months. No new safety signals were observed. Treatment was permanently discontinued because of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) in 9.2% of patients, and pyrexia (27.3%) was the most common TEAE, with a lower incidence than that in the phase 3 studies of dab + tram.

Conclusion: Treatment of BRAF V600E-mutant metastatic melanoma with dab + tram in the real-world setting was effective and safe, including the unselected population with several patients having a high tumor burden - concordant with the results of the pivotal phase 3 studies of dab + tram.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11523-021-00850-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8613139PMC
November 2021

S-Adenosylmethionine Supplementation May Reduce Cancer-Related Fatigue: A Prospective Evaluation Using the FACIT-F Questionnaire in Colon Cancer Patients Undergoing Oxaliplatin-Based Chemotherapy Regimens.

Chemotherapy 2021 13;66(5-6):161-168. Epub 2021 Oct 13.

Medical Oncology Unit, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Rome, Italy.

Background: Fatigue is a common distressing symptom for patients living with chronic or acute diseases, including liver disorders and cancer (Cancer-Related Fatigue, CRF). Its etiology is multifactorial, and some hypotheses regarding the pathogenesis are summarized, with possible shared mechanisms both in cancer and in chronic liver diseases. A deal of work has investigated the role of a multifunctional molecule in improving symptoms and outcomes in different liver dysfunctions and associated symptoms, including chronic fatigue: S-adenosylmethionine (SAM; AdoMet). The aim of this work is actually to consider its role also in oncologic settings.

Patients And Methods: Between January 2006 and December 2009, at the University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, 145 patients affected by colorectal cancer in adjuvant (n = 91) or metastatic (n = 54; n = 40 with liver metastases) setting and treated with oxaliplatin-based regimen (FOLFOX for adjuvant and bevacizumab + XELOX for metastatic ones), 76 of which with the supplementation of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet; 400 mg b.i.d.) (57% of adjuvant patients and 44% of metastatic ones) and 69 without AdoMet supplementation, were evaluated for fatigue prevalence using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illnesses Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-F) questionnaire, at 3 and 6 months after the beginning of oncologic treatment. Notably, the number of patients with liver metastases was well balanced between the group of patients treated with AdoMet and those who were not.

Results: Among patients receiving oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy, both in adjuvant and in metastatic settings, after just 3 months from the beginning of chemotherapy, mean scores from questionnaire domains like FACIT-F subscale (7.9 vs. 3.1, p = 0.006), FACIT physical (6.25 vs. 3.32, p = 0.020), FACIT emotional (4.65 vs. 2.19, p = 0.045), and FACIT-F total score (16.5 vs. 8.27, p = 0.021) were higher in those receiving supplementation of AdoMet, resulting in reduced fatigue; a significant difference was maintained even after 6 months of treatment.

Discussion And Conclusions: Mechanisms and strategies for managing CRF are not fully understood. This work aimed at investigating the possible role of S-adenosylmethionine supplementation in improving fatigue scores in a specific setting of cancer patients, using a FACIT-F questionnaire, a well-validated quality of life instrument widely used for the assessment of CRF in clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000517376DOI Listing
January 2022

Adjuvant Imatinib in Patients with GIST Harboring Exon 9 KIT Mutations: Results from a Multi-institutional European Retrospective Study.

Clin Cancer Res 2022 Apr;28(8):1672-1679

Biomedicine Institute of Seville/Virgen del Rocío University Hospital, Sevilla, Spain.

Purpose: The effect of high-dose imatinib (800 mg/day) on survival in the adjuvant treatment of patients with resected KIT exon 9-mutated gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) is not established. Here, the association of dose and other clinicopathologic variables with survival was evaluated in a large multi-institutional European cohort.

Experimental Design: Data from 185 patients were retrospectively collected in 23 European GIST reference centers. Propensity score matching (PSM) and inverse-probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) were used to account for confounders. Univariate and multivariate unweighted and weighted Cox proportional hazard regression models were estimated for relapse-free survival (RFS), modified-RFS (mRFS) and imatinib failure-free survival (IFFS). Univariate Cox models were estimated for overall survival.

Results: Of the 185 patients, 131 (70.8%) received a starting dose of 400 mg/d and the remaining 54 (29.2%) a dose of 800 mg/d. Baseline characteristics were partially unbalanced, suggesting a potential selection bias. PSM and IPTW analyses showed no advantage of imatinib 800 mg/d. In the weighted multivariate Cox models, high-dose imatinib was not associated with the survival outcomes [RFS: hazard ratio (HR), 1.24; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.79-1.94; mRFS: HR, 1.69; 95% CI, 0.92-3.10; IFFS: HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.79-2.28]. The variables consistently associated with worse survival outcomes were high mitotic index and nongastric tumor location.

Conclusions: In this retrospective series of patients with KIT exon 9-mutated GIST treated with adjuvant imatinib, a daily dose of 800 mg versus 400 mg did not show better results in terms of survival outcomes. Prospective evaluation of the more appropriate adjuvant treatment in this setting is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-1665DOI Listing
April 2022

Clinical outcomes of NSCLC patients experiencing early immune-related adverse events to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors leading to treatment discontinuation.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2022 Apr 31;71(4):865-874. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Medical Oncology, ASST-Sette Laghi, Varese, Italy.

Background: The prognostic relevance of early immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in patients affected by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) upon immunotherapy is not fully understood.

Methods: The Leading to Treatment Discontinuation cohort included 24 patients experiencing severe irAEs after one of two administrations of single anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in any line setting for metastatic NSCLC between November 2015 and June 2019. The control cohort was composed of 526 patients treated with single anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in any line setting with no severe irAE reported. The primary end points were median progression-free survival, overall survival, objective response rate, risk of progression of disease and risk of death. The correlation of clinic pathological features with early severe irAEs represented the secondary end point.

Results: Median PFS was 9.3 and 8.4 months, median OS was 12.0 months and 14.2 months at a median follow-up of 18.1 and 22.6 months in the LTD cohort and in the control cohort, respectively. The ORR was 40% (95% CI 17.2-78.8) in the LTD cohort and 32.7% (95% CI 27.8-38.2) in the control cohort. The risk of disease progression was higher in the LTD cohort (HR 2.52 [95% 1.10-5.78], P = .0288).

Conclusions: We found no survival benefit in LTD cohort compared to the control cohort. However, early and severe irAEs might underly an immune anti-tumor activation. We identified a significant association with first-line immune checkpoints inhibitors treatment and good PS. Further studies on risk prediction and management of serious and early irAEs in NSCLC patients are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-021-03045-9DOI Listing
April 2022

Antitumor Effect of Cabozantinib in Bone Metastatic Models of Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Biology (Basel) 2021 Aug 16;10(8). Epub 2021 Aug 16.

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, 00128 Rome, Italy.

Background: The presence of bone metastases in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) negatively affects patients' survival. Data from clinical trials has highlighted a significant benefit of cabozantinib in bone metastatic RCC patients. Here, we evaluated the antitumor effect of cabozantinib in coculture models of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and osteoblasts (OBs) to investigate whether and how its antiproliferative activity is influenced by OBs.

Methods: Bone/RCC models were generated, coculturing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Caki-1 and 786-O cells with human primary OBs in a "cell-cell contact" system. RCC proliferation and the OB molecular profile were evaluated after the cabozantinib treatment.

Results: The Caki-1 cell proliferation increased in the presence of OBs ( < 0.0001), while the 786-O cell growth did not change in the coculture with the OBs. The cabozantinib treatment reduced the proliferation of both the Caki-1 ( < 0.0001) and 786-O ( = 0.03) cells cocultured with OBs. Intriguingly, the inhibitory potency of cabozantinib was higher when Caki-1 cells grew in presence of OBs compared to a monoculture ( < 0.001), and this was similar in 786-O cells alone or cocultured with OBs. Moreover, the OB pretreatment with cabozantinib "indirectly" inhibited Caki-1 cell proliferation ( = 0.040) without affecting 786-O cell growth. Finally, we found that cabozantinib was able to modulate the OB gene and molecular profile inhibiting specific proliferative signals that, in turn, could affect RCC cell growth.

Conclusions: Overall, the "direct" effect of cabozantinib on OBs "indirectly" increased its antitumor activity in metastatic RCC Caki-1 cells but not in the primary 786-O model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology10080781DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8389553PMC
August 2021

Multidimensional Statistical Technique for Interpreting the Spontaneous Breakthrough Cancer Pain Phenomenon. A Secondary Analysis from the IOPS-MS Study.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Aug 10;13(16). Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Division of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, Istituto Nazionale Tumori, IRCCS Fondazione G. Pascale, 80100 Naples, Italy.

Breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP) is a temporary exacerbation of pain that "breaks through" a phase of adequate pain control by an opioid-based therapy. The non-predictable BTcP (NP-BTcP) is a subtype of BTcP that occurs in the absence of any specific activity. Since NP-BTcP has an important clinical impact, this analysis is aimed at characterizing the NP-BTcP phenomenon through a multidimensional statistical technique. This is a secondary analysis based on the Italian Oncologic Pain multiSetting-Multicentric Survey (IOPS-MS). A correlation analysis was performed to characterize the NP-BTcP profile about its intensity, number of episodes per day, and type. The multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) determined the identification of four groups (phenotypes). A univariate analysis was performed to assess differences between the four phenotypes and selected covariates. The four phenotypes represent the hierarchical classification according to the status of NP-BTcP: from the best (phenotype 1) to the worst (phenotype 4). The univariate analysis found a significant association between the onset time >10 min in the phenotype 1 (37.3%)' vs. the onset > 10 min in phenotype 4 (25.8%) ( < 0.001). Phenotype 1 was characterized by the gastrointestinal type of cancer (26.4%) with respect to phenotype 4, where the most frequent cancer affected the lung (28.8%) ( < 0.001). Phenotype 4 was mainly managed with rapid-onset opioids, while in phenotype 1, many patients were treated with oral, subcutaneous, or intravenous morphine (56.4% and 44.4%, respectively; = 0.008). The ability to characterize NP-BTcP can offer enormous benefits for the management of this serious aspect of cancer pain. Although requiring validation, this strategy can provide many indications for identifying the diagnostic and therapeutic gaps in NP-BTcP management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13164018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8391336PMC
August 2021

Long-term response to immuno-oncology after discontinuation for immuno-related pneumonia in metastatic renal carcinoma: a case report.

Anticancer Drugs 2022 01;33(1):105-108

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Immuno-oncology demonstrated substantial efficacy in cancer treatment. Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) can virtually involve every organ, with different incidence depending on the different immune-checkpoint inhibitor. irAEs consequences can range from quality of life worsening and therapy discontinuation to death, if not recognized promptly. However, patients interrupting therapy due to irAEs in absence of progressive disease can benefit from immuno-oncology over time after discontinuation. We present the case of a man affected by metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) that experienced a long-term response to programmed cell death-1 inhibitor, nivolumab, after interruption due to immune-related pnenumonia. IrAEs can be associated to efficacy and very long-term response in mRCC patients treated with immuno-oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000001134DOI Listing
January 2022

The prognostic relevance of HER2-positivity gain in metastatic breast cancer in the ChangeHER trial.

Sci Rep 2021 07 2;11(1):13770. Epub 2021 Jul 2.

Department of Ematology and Oncology, Pugliese-Ciaccio Hospital, Catanzaro, Italy.

In metastatic breast cancer (mBC), the change of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status between primary and metastatic lesions is widely recognized, however clinical implications are unknown. Our study address the question if relevant differences exist between subjects who preserve the HER2 status and those who gain the HER2 positivity when relapsed. Data of patients affected by HER2-positive mBC, treated with pertuzumab and/or trastuzumab-emtansine (T-DM1) in a real-world setting at 45 Italian cancer centers were retrospectively collected and analyzed. From 2003 to 2017, 491 HER2-positive mBC patients were included. Of these, 102 (20.7%) had been initially diagnosed as HER2-negative early BC. Estrogen and/or progesterone receptor were more expressed in patients with HER2-discordance compared to patients with HER2-concordant status (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.006, respectively). HER2-discordant tumors were characterized also by a lower rate of brain metastases (p = 0.01) and a longer disease free interval (p < 0.0001). Median overall survival was longer, although not statistically significant, in the subgroup of patients with HER2-discordant cancer with respect to patients with HER2-concordant status (140 vs 78 months, p = 0.07). Our findings suggest that patients with HER2-positive mBC with discordant HER2 status in early BC may have different clinical, biological and prognostic behavior compared to HER2-concordant patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-92774-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8253801PMC
July 2021

A Longitudinal Study of Breakthrough Cancer Pain: An Extension of IOPS-MS Study.

J Clin Med 2021 May 24;10(11). Epub 2021 May 24.

Medical Oncology Department, Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, 00128 Rome, Italy.

The aim of this study was to longitudinally assess the characteristics of background pain and breakthrough pain (BTcP), analgesic treatment, and satisfaction with treatment four weeks after the first assessment.

Methods: Adult cancer patients with a diagnosis of BTcP were included. At T0, age, gender, visit setting, cancer diagnosis, the extent of the disease, ongoing anticancer treatments, and Karnofsky level were recorded. The background pain intensity in the last 24 h (on a numerical scale 0-10), opioids used for background pain, and their doses, expressed as oral morphine equivalents (OME), as well as other analgesic drugs, were recorded. The number of BTcP episodes, their intensity, predictability and precipitating factors, onset duration of untreated episodes, and interference with daily activities were collected. Analgesics and doses used for BTcP, and the mean time to meaningful pain relief after taking medication, were assessed. The level of satisfaction with BTcP medication was also assessed. Adverse effects to be attributed to these medications were also recorded. At T4, the same data were evaluated.

Results: After one-month follow-up, patients had a lower number of BTcP episodes and peak intensity, possibly due to the optimization of background analgesia. The principal characteristics of BTcP did not change significantly.

Conclusion: A careful and continuous assessment should be guaranteed to all patients to limit the burden induced by BTcP, other than treating BTcP episodes with short-onset opioids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10112273DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8197313PMC
May 2021

Multigene tests for breast cancer: the physician's perspective.

Oncotarget 2021 Apr 27;12(9):936-947. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Emeritus, Department of Oncology, ASST Bergamo Ovest, Treviglio, Bergamo, Italy.

Breast cancer is the most common tumour in women and the first cause of death for cancer in the female population. Preserving the quality of life has therefore become an important objective in the management of the disease. The benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with HR+ HER2- early breast cancer should always be balanced against its potential short and long-term adverse effects, and identifying the appropriate patients for whom chemotherapy can offer the highest clinical benefit is critical. Besides clinical and pathological factors, today four multigene tests able to guide the choice of the adjuvant therapy early breast cancer are available in Italy: Oncotype DX, EndoPredict, MammaPrint e Prosigna. This review evaluates the main characteristics of these diagnostic tests, the studies on clinical utility, their economic impact and their inclusion in international and national guidelines. The Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test is the only multigene test validated, with level IA evidence, to guide the adjuvant therapy decisions: hormone therapy alone for most patients with RS results 0-25, and chemotherapy for patients with RS results 26-100. Clinical data demonstrate that the Oncotype DX test is able to significantly impact therapeutic decisions, reducing chemotherapy use up to 49% and supporting the use of chemotherapy (up to 12%) in potentially under-treated patients. Based on the level of clinical evidence and established clinical utility, several multigene tests have been included in the main international guidelines, with recommendations ranging from "strong" to "moderate".
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27948DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8092339PMC
April 2021

PONDx: real-life utilization and decision impact of the 21-gene assay on clinical practice in Italy.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 May 5;7(1):47. Epub 2021 May 5.

Istituto Nazionale Tumori Fondazione G. Pascale, Napoli, Italy.

Clinicopathological prognostic features have limited value to identify with precision newly diagnosed patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer (BC), who would benefit from chemotherapy (CT) in addition to adjuvant hormonal therapy (HT). The 21-gene Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score (RS) assay has been demonstrated to predict CT benefit, hence supporting personalized decisions on adjuvant CT. The multicenter, prospective, observational study PONDx investigated the real-life use of RS results in Italy and its impact on treatment decisions. Physicians' treatment recommendations (HT ± CT) were documented before and after availability of RS results, and changes in recommendations were determined. In the HR+ HER2- early BC population studied (N = 1738), physicians recommended CT + HT in 49% of patients pre-RS. RS-guided treatment decisions resulted in 36% reduction of CT recommendations. PONDx confirms that RS results provide clinically relevant information for CT recommendation in early-stage BC, resulting in a reduction of more than a third of CT use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-021-00246-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099872PMC
May 2021

Second-line Eribulin in Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer patients. Multicentre Retrospective Study: The TETRIS Trial.

Int J Med Sci 2021 27;18(10):2245-2250. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Bio-Statistics Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Large and consistent evidence supports the use of eribulin mesylate in clinical practice in third or later line treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC). Conversely, there is paucity of data on eribulin efficacy in second line treatment. We investigated outcomes of 44 mTNBC patients treated from 2013 through 2019 with second line eribulin mesylate in a multicentre retrospective study involving 14 Italian oncologic centres. Median age was 51 years, with 11.4% of these patients being metastatic at diagnosis. Median overall survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS) from eribulin starting were 11.9 (95%CI: 8.4-15.5) and 3.5 months (95%CI: 1.7-5.3), respectively. We observed 8 (18.2%) partial responses and 10 (22.7%) patients had stable disease as best response. A longer PFS on previous first line treatment predicted a better OS (HR=0.87, 95%CI: 0.77-0.99, p= 0.038) and a longer PFS on eribulin treatment (HR=0.92, 95%CI: 0.85-0.98, p=0.018). Progression free survival to eribulin was also favorably influenced by prior adjuvant chemotherapy (HR=0.44, 95%CI: 0.22-0.88, p=0.02). Eribulin was generally well tolerated, with grade 3-4 adverse events being recorded in 15.9% of patients. The outcomes described for our cohort are consistent with those reported in the pivotal Study301 and subsequent observational studies. Further data from adequately-sized, ad hoc trials on eribulin use in second line for mTNBC are warranted to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.54996DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040412PMC
November 2021

Italian results of the PRECONNECT study: safety and efficacy of trifluridine/tipiracil in metastatic colorectal cancer.

Future Oncol 2021 Jun 5;17(18):2315-2324. Epub 2021 Mar 5.

Dipartimento di Ricerca Traslazionale, Università degli Studi di Pisa, Lungarno Antonio Pacinotti, 43, 56126, Pisa, Italy.

The international PRECONNECT Phase IIIb study demonstrated safety and efficacy of trifluridine/tipiracil in the management of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. analyses in a national context are important because of the differences in disease management across countries. safety and efficacy analyses in the PRECONNECT Italian patient subset were conducted. Patients' quality of life was assessed from baseline to end of treatment. In Italy, 161 patients were enrolled. The median age was 64 years, with a performance status of 0-1. The most common hematological drug-related adverse events ≥grade 3 were neutropenia (41.0%) and anemia (13.7%). The median progression-free survival was reached at 3.0 months, with a disease control rate of 28.6%. The Quality of Life Questionnaire Core 30 score improved in 25.4% of the patients. Safety, efficacy and quality of life results confirmed trifluridine/tipiracil as a feasible and favorable treatment option for metastatic colorectal cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-1278DOI Listing
June 2021

Oxycodone/Acetaminophen: The Tailoring Combination Treatment for Specific Clinical Profile of Opioid Well-Responsive Cancer Pain.

Cancer Manag Res 2021 19;13:1747-1756. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Primary Care Unit, ASL RM1, Rome, 00165, Italy.

Background: International guidelines recommend moderate-to-severe cancer pain to be treated with strong opioids. However, pain management remains an unsolved matter, at least in the demanding oncology and palliative care setting. Although cancer pain consists of multiple components, which interact in complex ways where combination therapy can better intercept multiple pain characteristics, few studies have used a non-opioid/opioid association to exploit possible synergistic actions. Even the efforts of a recent approach emphasizing appropriate pain assessment and accurate classification to obtain personalized pain management have not produced a satisfactory analgesic strategy.

Objective: This analysis was intended to evaluate the effectiveness of the immediate release fixed combination of oxycodone/acetaminophen (OxyIR/Par) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe intensity background pain used alone or in combination with other strong opioids in cancer patients with breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP). This is a secondary analysis of a wider observational, prospective, multicenter study [Italian Oncologic Pain multiSetting Multicentric Survey (IOPS-MS)] performed on 179 patients treated with opioids for cancer pain who received the fixed combination of oxycodone/acetaminophen (OxyIR/Par) for the treatment of background pain (BGP).

Results: Cancer patients with breakthrough cancer pain and controlled BGP (Background Pain) were classified according to the presence of analgesic therapy with tablets of fixed combination OxyIR/Par alone (group A, n=120) or tablets of fixed combination OxyIR/Par combined with other strong opioids (group B, n=59). Clinical features of group A were different to group B: higher mean Karnofsky Performance Status Index 70.3% (95% CI=67.2-73.5; median=70, CI=60-80) vs 58.3 (95% CI=53.4-63.2; median=50, CI=45-70) (<0.001), and mainly group A patients were treated in an ambulatory setting (55.0% group A vs 33.9% group B) (p<0.001). Both groups had managed BGP with similar mean dosages (group A: 12.0, CI=10.5-13.4; group B: 13.1, CI=11.0-15.1) and frequencies of OxyIR/Par alone for group A and in association to other opioids for group B, but Breakthrough cancer Pain (BTcP) exhibited different characteristics in the two groups, showing a lower mean intensity numerical rating scale (NRS) of 7.5 (95% CI=7.2-7.7; median=7, CI=7-8 group A) vs 7.9 (95% CI=7.6, 8.2; median= 8, CI=7-9 group B) (=0.04) and a higher percentage of patients had a faster onset, defined as the maximum intensity reached in less than 10 minutes, 81.7% (N=98) in group A vs 59.3% (n=35) in group B (=0.002).

Conclusion: This is the first analysis about the efficacy of an immediate-release fixed combination of OxyIR/Par in the real world for moderate-to-severe background cancer pain and breakthrough cancer pain. The oral fixed combination OxyIR/Par provided an adequate level of analgesia for moderate-severe background cancer pain, in a different cohort of cancer patients with different performance status, both in ambulatory and palliative settings. The low dosage of fixed combination OxyIR/Par was effective alone or in association with other opioids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/CMAR.S290551DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7903954PMC
February 2021

Liver involvement in the course of thymoma-associated multiorgan autoimmunity: The first histological description.

Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int 2022 Feb 13;21(1):86-89. Epub 2021 Feb 13.

Department of Medical Oncology, Policlinico Universitario Campus Bio-Medico, via Alvaro del Portillo, Rome 00128, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hbpd.2021.02.002DOI Listing
February 2022

Deep Learning Algorithm Trained with COVID-19 Pneumonia Also Identifies Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Therapy-Related Pneumonitis.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Feb 6;13(4). Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Departmental Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Unit of Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, 00128 Rome, Italy.

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia and immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy-related pneumonitis share common features. The aim of this study was to determine on chest computed tomography (CT) images whether a deep convolutional neural network algorithm is able to solve the challenge of differential diagnosis between COVID-19 pneumonia and ICI therapy-related pneumonitis.

Methods: We enrolled three groups: a pneumonia-free group ( = 30), a COVID-19 group ( = 34), and a group of patients with ICI therapy-related pneumonitis ( = 21). Computed tomography images were analyzed with an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm based on a deep convolutional neural network structure. Statistical analysis included the Mann-Whitney U test (significance threshold at < 0.05) and the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC curve).

Results: The algorithm showed low specificity in distinguishing COVID-19 from ICI therapy-related pneumonitis (sensitivity 97.1%, specificity 14.3%, area under the curve (AUC) = 0.62). ICI therapy-related pneumonitis was identified by the AI when compared to pneumonia-free controls (sensitivity = 85.7%, specificity 100%, AUC = 0.97).

Conclusions: The deep learning algorithm is not able to distinguish between COVID-19 pneumonia and ICI therapy-related pneumonitis. Awareness must be increased among clinicians about imaging similarities between COVID-19 and ICI therapy-related pneumonitis. ICI therapy-related pneumonitis can be applied as a challenge population for cross-validation to test the robustness of AI models used to analyze interstitial pneumonias of variable etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040652DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7914551PMC
February 2021

CDK4/6 Inhibitor Treatments in Patients with Hormone Receptor Positive, Her2 Negative Advanced Breast Cancer: Potential Molecular Mechanisms, Clinical Implications and Future Perspectives.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 18;13(2). Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Oncology Unit, Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039, 00189 Rome, Italy.

Hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer is the most common breast cancer subtype, and endocrine therapy (ET) remains its therapeutic backbone. Although anti-estrogen therapies are usually effective initially, approximately 50% of HR+ patients develop resistance to ET within their lifetime, ultimately leading to disease recurrence and limited clinical benefit. The recent addition of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and CDK6 inhibitors (palbociclib, ribociclib, abemaciclib) to ET have remarkably improved the outcome of patients with HR+ advanced breast cancer (ABC) compared with anti-estrogens alone, by targeting the cell-cycle machinery and overcoming some aspects of endocrine resistance. However, which patients are the better candidates for these drugs, which are the main characteristics for a better selection of patients or if there are predictive biomarkers of response, is still unknown. In this review we reported the mechanism of action of CDK4/6 inhibitors as well as their potential mechanism of resistance, their implications in clinical practice and the forthcoming strategies to enhance their efficacy in improving survival and quality of life of patients affected with HR+, HER2-, ABC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7830463PMC
January 2021

Integrin alpha5 in human breast cancer is a mediator of bone metastasis and a therapeutic target for the treatment of osteolytic lesions.

Oncogene 2021 02 8;40(7):1284-1299. Epub 2021 Jan 8.

INSERM, UMR_S1033, LYOS, Lyon, France.

Bone metastasis remains a major cause of mortality and morbidity in breast cancer. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better select high-risk patients in order to adapt patient's treatment and prevent bone recurrence. Here, we found that integrin alpha5 (ITGA5) was highly expressed in bone metastases, compared to lung, liver, or brain metastases. High ITGA5 expression in primary tumors correlated with the presence of disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow aspirates from early stage breast cancer patients (n = 268; p = 0.039). ITGA5 was also predictive of poor bone metastasis-free survival in two separate clinical data sets (n = 855, HR = 1.36, p = 0.018 and n = 427, HR = 1.62, p = 0.024). This prognostic value remained significant in multivariate analysis (p = 0.028). Experimentally, ITGA5 silencing impaired tumor cell adhesion to fibronectin, migration, and survival. ITGA5 silencing also reduced tumor cell colonization of the bone marrow and formation of osteolytic lesions in vivo. Conversely, ITGA5 overexpression promoted bone metastasis. Pharmacological inhibition of ITGA5 with humanized monoclonal antibody M200 (volociximab) recapitulated inhibitory effects of ITGA5 silencing on tumor cell functions in vitro and tumor cell colonization of the bone marrow in vivo. M200 also markedly reduced tumor outgrowth in experimental models of bone metastasis or tumorigenesis, and blunted cancer-associated bone destruction. ITGA5 was not only expressed by tumor cells but also osteoclasts. In this respect, M200 decreased human osteoclast-mediated bone resorption in vitro. Overall, this study identifies ITGA5 as a mediator of breast-to-bone metastasis and raises the possibility that volociximab/M200 could be repurposed for the treatment of ITGA5-positive breast cancer patients with bone metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41388-020-01603-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892344PMC
February 2021

Loss of HER2 and decreased T-DM1 efficacy in HER2 positive advanced breast cancer treated with dual HER2 blockade: the SePHER Study.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2020 Dec 10;39(1):279. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Medical Oncology, Paolo Giaccone University Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Background: HER2-targeting agents have dramatically changed the therapeutic landscape of HER2+ advanced breast cancer (ABC). Within a short time frame, the rapid introduction of new therapeutics has led to the approval of pertuzumab combined with trastuzumab and a taxane in first-line, and trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in second-line. Thereby, evidence of T-DM1 efficacy following trastuzumab/pertuzumab combination is limited, with data from some retrospective reports suggesting lower activity. The purpose of the present study is to investigate T-DM1 efficacy in pertuzumab-pretreated and pertuzumab naïve HER2 positive ABC patients. We also aimed to provide evidence on the exposure to different drugs sequences including pertuzumab and T-DM1 in HER2 positive cell lines.

Methods: The biology of HER2 was investigated in vitro through sequential exposure of resistant HER2 + breast cancer cell lines to trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and their combination. In vitro experiments were paralleled by the analysis of data from 555 HER2 + ABC patients treated with T-DM1 and evaluation of T-DM1 efficacy in the 371 patients who received it in second line. Survival estimates were graphically displayed in Kaplan Meier curves, compared by log rank test and, when possibile, confirmed in multivariate models.

Results: We herein show evidence of lower activity of T-DM1 in two HER2+ breast cancer cell lines resistant to trastuzumab+pertuzumab, as compared to trastuzumab-resistant cells. Lower T-DM1 efficacy was associated with a marked reduction of HER2 expression on the cell membrane and its nuclear translocation. HER2 downregulation at the membrane level was confirmed in biopsies of four trastuzumab/pertuzumab-pretreated patients. Among the 371 patients treated with second-line T-DM1, median overall survival (mOS) from diagnosis of advanced disease and median progression-free survival to second-line treatment (mPFS2) were 52 and 6 months in 177 patients who received trastuzumab/pertuzumab in first-line, and 74 and 10 months in 194 pertuzumab-naïve patients (p = 0.0006 and 0.03 for OS and PFS2, respectively).

Conclusions: Our data support the hypothesis that the addition of pertuzumab to trastuzumab reduces the amount of available plasma membrane HER2 receptor, limiting the binding of T-DM1 in cancer cells. This may help interpret the less favorable outcomes of second-line T-DM1 in trastuzumab/pertuzumab pre-treated patients compared to their pertuzumab-naïve counterpart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-020-01797-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731769PMC
December 2020

Breakthrough Cancer Pain Clinical Features and Differential Opioids Response: A Machine Learning Approach in Patients With Cancer From the IOPS-MS Study.

JCO Precis Oncol 2020 4;4. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

Pain Therapy Unit, "A. Businco" Hospital, ASL 8, Cagliari, Italy.

Purpose: A large proportion of patients with cancer suffer from breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP). Several unmet clinical needs concerning BTcP treatment, such as optimal opioid dosages, are being investigated. In this analysis the hypothesis, we explore with an unsupervised learning algorithm whether distinct subtypes of BTcP exist and whether they can provide new insights into clinical practice.

Methods: Partitioning around a k-medoids algorithm on a large data set of patients with BTcP, previously collected by the Italian Oncologic Pain Survey group, was used to identify possible subgroups of BTcP. Resulting clusters were analyzed in terms of BTcP therapy satisfaction, clinical features, and use of basal pain and rapid-onset opioids. Opioid dosages were converted to a unique scale and the BTcP opioids-to-basal pain opioids ratio was calculated for each patient. We used polynomial logistic regression to catch nonlinear relationships between therapy satisfaction and opioid use.

Results: Our algorithm identified 12 distinct BTcP clusters. Optimal BTcP opioids-to-basal pain opioids ratios differed across the clusters, ranging from 15% to 50%. The majority of clusters were linked to a peculiar association of certain drugs with therapy satisfaction or dissatisfaction. A free online tool was created for new patients' cluster computation to validate these clusters in future studies and provide handy indications for personalized BTcP therapy.

Conclusion: This work proposes a classification for BTcP and identifies subgroups of patients with unique efficacy of different pain medications. This work supports the theory that the optimal dose of BTcP opioids depends on the dose of basal opioids and identifies novel values that are possibly useful for future trials. These results will allow us to target BTcP therapy on the basis of patient characteristics and to define a precision medicine strategy also for supportive care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/PO.20.00158DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7713587PMC
November 2020

Steroid-refractory immune related hepatitis may hide viral re-activation.

Future Sci OA 2020 Aug 6;6(9):FSO614. Epub 2020 Aug 6.

Department of Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Via Alvaro del Portillo 200, Rome, Italy.

Cancer immunotherapy has become a stronghold in modern oncology. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, in particular anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1 antibodies, are approved for the treatment of several solid cancers. In the near future, an increasing number of patients will be eligible for immunotherapy. Therefore, the management of immune-related adverse events is a daily challenge in clinical practice, among which hepatic immune-related toxicity has been described as a rare adverse event. We report the case of a patient treated with nivolumab (an anti-PD-L1 antibody) for a stage IV resected melanoma who developed recurrence of steroid-refractory liver toxicity that was later discovered to be associated with acute exacerbation of chronic undiagnosed hepatitis B. The patient significantly benefited from antiviral treatment. We conclude that serological viral screening is strongly recommended before starting immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2144/fsoa-2020-0056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7668132PMC
August 2020
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