Publications by authors named "Giuseppe Viale"

450 Publications

Pathology after neoadjuvant treatment - How to assess residual disease.

Breast 2021 Nov 16. Epub 2021 Nov 16.

Department of Pathology, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

While systemic therapy for non-metastatic, invasive breast cancer is provided to minimize the risk of recurrence, neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) is given prior to surgery to downstage the tumor and to evaluate treatment response. Downstaging the tumor may allow for less invasive surgery on the breast and axilla, thus avoiding the need for breast reconstruction, improving cosmetic outcomes, and reducing postoperative complications. With the rising number of NAT candidates, it is becoming increasingly important to standardize how tumor response is assessed after surgery. In the post-NAT setting, macroscopic assessment of surgical samples, extent of sampling for histology, and microscopic analysis require a different approach than in the primary surgery setting. In the neo-adjuvant setting, the close collaboration of pathologists, oncologists, surgeons, and radiologists within the multidisciplinary team is essential to ensure the best possible management of breast cancer patients. Here, we provide an update on the suggested procedures for an accurate assessment of tumor response to NAT, including the evaluation of all relevant parameters that correlate with long-term prognosis and inform the subsequent adjuvant interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2021.11.009DOI Listing
November 2021

Advances and controversies in management of breast ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

Eur J Surg Oncol 2021 Nov 9. Epub 2021 Nov 9.

Division of Breast Surgery, European Institute of Oncology (EIO), IRCCS, Milan, Italy; Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe, Valencia, Spain; School of Medicine University of Bari "Aldo Moro", Italy; Division of Anatomo-Pathology, European Institute of Oncology (EIO), Milan, Italy; School of Medicine, University of Milan, Italy.

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-obligate precursor of invasive breast cancer. It accounts for 25% of all breast cancers diagnosed, as a result of the expansion of breast cancer screening and is associated with a high survival rate. DCIS is particularly clinically challenging, due to its heterogeneous pathological and biological traits and its management is continually evolving towards more personalized and less aggressive therapies. This article suggests evidence-based guidelines for proper DCIS clinical management, which should be discussed within a multidisciplinary team in order to propose the most suitable approach in clinical practice, taking into account recent scientific studies. Here we include updated multidisciplinary treatment protocols and techniques in accordance with the most recent contributions published on this topic in the peer-reviewed medical literature, and we outline future perspectives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejso.2021.10.030DOI Listing
November 2021

Outcome of patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancer treated with first-line chemotherapy: a single institution retrospective analysis.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Oct 5. Epub 2021 Oct 5.

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan and University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: Metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC) is associated with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. It is known to be high immunogenic, with a high level of programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression. PD-L1 expression in TNBC does not have a clear prognostic relevance. In this study, we aimed to assess survival outcomes according to PD-L1 expression in the real world.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed mTNBC patients treated with first-line chemotherapy at European Institute of Oncology with evaluable PD-L1 expression. Primary endpoints were Progression-Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS) according to PD-L1 expression.

Results: From January 2000 to December 2018, 190 patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria for final analysis. PD-L1 positive (≥ 1%) subgroup showed a median PFS of 6.8 vs 5.6 months in PD-L1 negative subgroup (PFS-HR 1.25, 95% CI 0.89-1.74, p-value = 0.191), while at data cutoff we had 120 deaths in the PD-L1 < 1% population with a median OS of 22.1 months and 42 deaths in PD-L1 positive patients with a median OS of 20.8 months (OS-HR 1.09, 95% CI 0.76-1.55, p-value = 0.64). No difference in PFS and OS was related to the choice of chemotherapy (p-value for PFS: 0.19, p-value for OS: 0.53).

Conclusion: No differences in clinical outcome were found according to PD-L1 status or chemotherapy regimen chosen. In "unselected" patients, single agent or combination chemotherapy could be appropriate, although in the immunotherapy era patients with newly diagnosed mTNBC should be routinely tested for PD-L1 status. The variability in PD-L1 expression by metastatic site warrants further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06407-0DOI Listing
October 2021

Complex Differential Diagnosis between Primary Breast Cancer and Breast Metastasis from EGFR-Mutated Lung Adenocarcinoma: Case Report and Literature Review.

Curr Oncol 2021 08 31;28(5):3384-3392. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Division of Thoracic Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy.

We present a case of a woman with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutated lung adenocarcinoma who received gefitinib for 2 years and obtained a partial response. The patient then developed liver metastasis and a breast lesion, displaying high estrogen receptor (ER) expression and harboring the same EGFR mutation. From the radiological studies, it was not possible to make a differential diagnosis between primary breast cancer and breast metastasis from lung cancer. After the removal of the breast nodule, thanks to the clinical history, radiology, and above all, molecular and immunohistochemical investigations, a diagnosis of breast metastasis from lung adenocarcinoma was made. This case emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive clinical, pathological, and molecular analysis in the differential diagnosis between primary breast cancer and metastases from extramammary tumor to guide adequate treatment decision making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28050292DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8482094PMC
August 2021

Reproducibility of mRNA-Based Testing of , , , and Expression in Invasive Breast Cancer-A Europe-Wide External Quality Assessment.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Sep 21;13(18). Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Institute of Pathology, University Hospital Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Comprehensive Cancer Center Erlangen-EMN (CCC ER-EMN), 91054 Erlangen, Germany.

Estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), Ki-67, and HER2 immunohistochemistry (IHC) together with in situ hybridization (ISH) are utilized to classify invasive breast cancer (IBC) into predictive molecular subtypes. As IHC evaluation may be hampered by analytical errors, gene expression assays could offer a reliable alternative. In this first Europe-wide external quality assessment (EQA) study, we investigated performance of mRNA-based Xpert Breast Cancer STRAT4 (CE-IVD) in five European laboratories. The cohort comprised ten pre-therapy IBC core biopsies diagnosed in the coordinating center (CC). STRAT4 binary (positive or negative) mRNA results of each marker (, ,  ) were compared with the gold standard IHC/ISH performed by the CC. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of and mRNA were 100% for all samples. In contrast, expression was falsely negative for one case by two sites and falsely negative for two cases (respectively by four and one sites). These cases had STRAT4 expression values close to assay cut-offs and immunohistochemically presented heterogeneous low positive PgR and heterogeneous Ki-67. Our EQA shows that STRAT4 mRNA assay may be a reproducible method to evaluate ER, PgR, HER2, and Ki-67 status. However, cases with expression values close to assay cut-offs should be carefully reviewed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13184718DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470348PMC
September 2021

Early Breast Cancers During Pregnancy Treated With Breast-Conserving Surgery in the First Trimester of Gestation: A Feasibility Study.

Front Oncol 2021 24;11:723693. Epub 2021 Aug 24.

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

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy occurring during gestation. In early-stage breast cancer during pregnancy (PrBC), breast-conserving surgery (BCS) with delayed RT is a rational alternative to mastectomy, for long considered the standard-of-care. Regrettably, no specific guidelines on the surgical management of these patients are available. In this study, we investigated the feasibility and safety of BCS during the first trimester of pregnancy in women with early-stage PrBC. All patients with a diagnosis of PrBC during the first trimester of pregnancy jointly managed in two PrBC-specialized Centers were included in this study. All patients underwent BCS followed by adjuvant radiotherapy to the ipsilateral breast after delivery. Histopathological features and biomarkers were first profiled on pre-surgical biopsies. The primary outcome was the isolated local recurrence (ILR). Among 168 PrBC patients, 67 (39.9%) were diagnosed during the first trimester of gestation. Of these, 30 patients (age range, 23-43 years; median=36 years; gestational age, 2-12 weeks; median=7 weeks; median follow-up time=6.5 years) met the inclusion criteria. The patients that were subjected to radical surgery (n=14) served as controls. None of the patients experienced perioperative surgical complications. No ILR were observed within three months (n=30), 1 year (n=27), and 5 years (n=18) after surgery. Among the study group, 4 (12.3%) patients experienced ILR or new carcinomas after 6-13 years, the same number (n=4) had metastatic dissemination after 3-7 years. These patients are still alive and disease-free after 14-17 years of follow-up. The rate of recurrences and metastasis in the controls were not significantly different. The findings provide evidence that BCS in the first trimester PrBC is feasible and reasonably safe for both the mother and the baby.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.723693DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8421851PMC
August 2021

A randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 study of paclitaxel in combination with reparixin compared to paclitaxel alone as front-line therapy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (fRida).

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Nov 3;190(2):265-275. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Rogel Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA.

Purpose: CXCR1, one of the receptors for CXCL8, has been identified as a druggable target on breast cancer cancer stem cells (CSC). Reparixin (R), an investigational oral inhibitor of CXCR1, was safely administered to metastatic breast cancer patients in combination with paclitaxel (P) and appeared to reduce CSC in a window-of-opportunity trial in operable breast cancer. The fRida trial (NCT02370238) evaluated the addition of R to weekly as first-line therapy for metastatic (m) TNBC.

Subjects And Methods: Subjects with untreated mTNBC were randomized 1:1 to R or placebo days 1-21 in combination with weekly P 80 mg/m on days 1, 8, 15 of 28-day cycles. The primary endpoint was PFS by central review.

Results: 123 subjects were randomized (62 to R + P and 61 to placebo + P). PFS was not different between the 2 groups (median 5.5 and 5.6 months for R + P and placebo + P, respectively; HR 1.13, p = 0.5996). ALDH and CD24/CD44 CSC centrally evaluated by IHC were found in 16 and 34 of the 54 subjects who provided a metastatic tissue biopsy at study entry. Serious adverse events (21.3 and 20% of subjects) and grade ≥ 3 adverse reactions (ADR) (9.1 and 6.3% of all ADRs) occurred at similar frequency in both groups.

Conclusion: fRida is the first randomized, double-blind clinical trial of a CSC-targeting agent in combination with chemotherapy in breast cancer. The primary endpoint of prolonged PFS was not met.

Clinical Trial Registration/date Of Registration: NCT01861054/February 24, 2015.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06367-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558154PMC
November 2021

The prolonged clinical benefit with metronomic chemotherapy (VEX regimen) in metastatic breast cancer patients.

Anticancer Drugs 2021 Aug 16. Epub 2021 Aug 16.

Division of Medical Senology, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, IRCCS Department of Statistics and Quantitative Methods, University of Milan-Bicocca Data Management Division of pharmacy, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, IRCCS Milan Research Unit Phase I Trials, ASST Monza, Monza Division of Senology Division of Pathology, Istituto Europeo di Oncologia, IRCCS Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Objective: Metronomic chemotherapy is a treatment option for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients who require prolonged disease control without cumulative toxicity. Data available on the efficacy and tolerability of prolonged usage of metronomic therapy are limited.

Methods: We analyzed patients with MBC, enrolled in a clinical trial, who obtained a prolonged clinical benefit for a duration of at least 12 months with vinorelbine 30 or 40 mg orally three times a week, cyclophosphamide 50 mg daily and capecitabine 500 mg three times a day (VEX regimen). The patients were treated at the European Institute of Oncology, Milan.

Results: We identified 67 MBC patients. The median age before starting the VEX regimen was 53 years. There were 59 patients (88%) who had hormone-receptors positive and HER2 negative BC. We had 37 patients who received VEX as the first-line treatment for MBC, while 30 patients were pretreated. The objective response rate was 49% (95% CI, 37-62). The median duration of VEX treatment after the first year was 14 months (min-max range 0.3-81.3 months). The progression-free survival at 3 years was 25.4% (95% CI, 15.7-36.2) and at 4 years was 18.5% (95% CI, 10.1-28.8 time 0 corresponds to 1 year after starting VEX). A total of 25 patients required a dose reduction, 7% of patients experienced G3 hand and foot syndrome.

Conclusions: Metronomic VEX regimen can induce prolonged clinical benefit in MBC. On the basis of this long-term safety evaluation, there is no evidence of specific cumulative or delayed toxicities with metronomic chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CAD.0000000000001209DOI Listing
August 2021

Determining PD-L1 Status in Patients with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Lessons Learned from IMpassion130.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for approximately 12% to 17% of all breast cancers and has an aggressive clinical behavior. Increased tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte counts are prognostic for survival in TNBC, making this disease a potential target for cancer immunotherapy (CIT). Research on immunophenotyping of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes is revealing molecular and structural organization in the tumor microenvironment that may predict patient prognosis. The anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibody atezolizumab plus nab-paclitaxel was the first CIT combination to demonstrate progression-free survival benefit and clinically meaningful overall survival benefit in the first-line treatment of metastatic TNBC (mTNBC) in patients with PD-L1-expressing tumor-infiltrating immune cells (IC) in ≥ 1% of the tumor area. This led to its US and EU approval for mTNBC and US approval of the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP142) assay as a companion diagnostic immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay. Subsequently, the anti- programmed death-1 (PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy was approved by the FDA for mTNBC based on progression-free survival benefit in patients with a combined positive score ≥10 by its concurrently approved 22C3 companion diagnostic assay. Treatment guidelines now recommend PD-L1 testing for patients with mTNBC, and the testing landscape will likely become increasingly complex as new anti-PD-L1/PD-1 agents and diagnostics are approved for TNBC. Integrating PD-L1 testing into current diagnostic workflows for mTNBC may provide more treatment options for these patients. Therefore, it is critical for medical oncologists and pathologists to understand the available assays and their relevance to therapeutic options to develop an appropriate workflow for IHC testing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab121DOI Listing
July 2021

Biological and clinical features of triple negative Invasive Lobular Carcinomas of the breast. Clinical outcome and actionable molecular alterations.

Breast 2021 Oct 26;59:94-101. Epub 2021 Jun 26.

MultiMedica San Giuseppe Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Background: We report here for the first time, a comprehensive characterization of biological and clinical features of early-stage triple negative Invasive Lobular Carcinomas(TN-ILCs) METHODS: We analyzed all consecutive patients with early-stage TN-ILC operated at two reference cancer-centers between 1994 and 2012. Primary objective was to assess the invasive disease-free survival(iDFS). Co-primary objective was to assess biological features of TN-ILCs, including molecular intrinsic subtypes based on PAM-50 assay, expression of androgen receptor (AR) and mutational status of ERBB2-gene. Additionally, DNA mutational status of an independent cohort of 45 TN-ILCs from three databases were analyzed, to confirm mutations in ERBB2-gene and to identify other recurrently mutated genes.

Results: Among 4152 ILCs, 74(1.8%) were TN and were analyzed. The iDFS at 5 and 10 years of FUP were 50.4%(95%CI,38.0-61.6) and 37.2%(95%CI,25.5-48.8), respectively. The molecular subtype was defined through PAM50-classifier for 31 out of 74 TN-ILCs: 48% were Luminal-A(15/31), 3% luminal-B(1/31), 32% HER2-enriched (10/31), and only 16% basal-like(5/31). Luminal tumors expressed AR more frequently than non-luminal tumors (AR≥1% in 94% of luminal tumors versus 53% in non-luminal tumors; p-value = 0.001). 20% of TN-ILCs analyzed(7/35), harbored a pathogenetic and actionable mutation in the ERBB2-gene. Analysis of the independent cohort of 45 TN-ILCs from three different databases, confirmed similar percentage of pathogenetic and actionable mutations in ERBB2-gene(20%; 9/45). Among the top 10 molecular pathways significantly enriched for recurrently mutated genes in TN-ILCs(FDR<0.05), there were ErbB-signaling and DNA-damage-response pathways.

Conclusions: TN-ILCs are rare tumors with poor prognosis. Their specific biological features require newly defined targeted therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2021.06.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8261657PMC
October 2021

Exploring miRNA Signature and Other Potential Biomarkers for Oligometastatic Prostate Cancer Characterization: The Biological Challenge behind Clinical Practice. A Narrative Review.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jun 30;13(13). Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Division of Radiation Oncology, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141 Milan, Italy.

In recent years, a growing interest has been directed towards oligometastatic prostate cancer (OMPC), as patients with three to five metastatic lesions have shown a significantly better survival as compared with those harboring a higher number of lesions. The efficacy of local ablative treatments directed on metastatic lesions (metastases-directed treatments) was extensively investigated, with the aim of preventing further disease progression and delaying the start of systemic androgen deprivation therapies. Definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer is traditionally based on histopathological analysis. Nevertheless, a bioptic sample-static in nature-inevitably fails to reflect the dynamics of the tumor and its biological response due to the dynamic selective pressure of cancer therapies, which can profoundly influence spatio-temporal heterogeneity. Furthermore, even with new imaging technologies allowing an increasingly early detection, the diagnosis of oligometastasis is currently based exclusively on radiological investigations. Given these premises, the development of minimally-invasive liquid biopsies was recently promoted and implemented as predictive biomarkers both for clinical decision-making at pre-treatment (baseline assessment) and for monitoring treatment response during the clinical course of the disease. Through liquid biopsy, different biomarkers, commonly extracted from blood, urine or saliva, can be characterized and implemented in clinical routine to select targeted therapies and assess treatment response. Moreover, this approach has the potential to act as a tissue substitute and to accelerate the identification of novel and consistent predictive analytes cost-efficiently. However, the utility of tumor profiling is currently limited in OMPC due to the lack of clinically validated predictive biomarkers. In this scenario, different ongoing trials, such as the RADIOSA trial, might provide additional insights into the biology of the oligometastatic state and on the identification of novel biomarkers for the outlining of true oligometastatic patients, paving the way towards a wider ideal approach of personalized medicine. The aim of the present narrative review is to report the current state of the art on the solidity of liquid biopsy-related analytes such as CTCs, cfDNA, miRNA and epi-miRNA, and to provide a benchmark for their further clinical implementation. Arguably, this kind of molecular profiling could refine current developments in the era of precision oncology and lead to more refined therapeutic strategies in this subset of oligometastatic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13133278DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267686PMC
June 2021

Genomic and Transcriptomic Analyses of Breast Cancer Primaries and Matched Metastases in AURORA, the Breast International Group (BIG) Molecular Screening Initiative.

Cancer Discov 2021 Nov 28;11(11):2796-2811. Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.

AURORA aims to study the processes of relapse in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) by performing multi-omics profiling on paired primary tumors and early-course metastases. Among 381 patients (primary tumor and metastasis pairs: 252 targeted gene sequencing, 152 RNA sequencing, 67 single nucleotide polymorphism arrays), we found a driver role for and somatic mutations. Metastases were enriched in , and mutations; and amplifications; and deletions. An increase in clonality was observed in driver genes such as and . Intrinsic subtype switching occurred in 36% of cases. Luminal A/B to HER2-enriched switching was associated with and/or mutations. Metastases had lower immune score and increased immune-permissive cells. High tumor mutational burden correlated to shorter time to relapse in HR/HER2 cancers. ESCAT tier I/II alterations were detected in 51% of patients and matched therapy was used in 7%. Integration of multi-omics analyses in clinical practice could affect treatment strategies in MBC. SIGNIFICANCE: The AURORA program, through the genomic and transcriptomic analyses of matched primary and metastatic samples from 381 patients with breast cancer, coupled with prospectively collected clinical data, identified genomic alterations enriched in metastases and prognostic biomarkers. ESCAT tier I/II alterations were detected in more than half of the patients..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-1647DOI Listing
November 2021

Economic implications of ACOSOG Z0011 trial application into clinical practice at the European Institute of Oncology.

Eur J Surg Oncol 2021 Oct 12;47(10):2499-2505. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

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

Background And Objectives: The American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) Z0011 trial demonstrated that in clinically node-negative women undergoing breast-conserving therapy (BCT) and found to have metastases to 1 or 2 sentinel nodes, sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) alone resulted in rates of local control, disease-free survival, and overall survival equivalent to those seen after axillary lymph node dissection (ALND), but with significantly lower morbidity. Application of the Z0011 guidelines resulted in fewer ALNDs without affecting locoregional recurrence or survival. Changes in practice inevitably affect health care costs. The current study investigated the actual impact of applying the Z0011 guidelines to eligible patients and determined the costs of care at a single institution.

Patients And Methods: We compared axillary nodal management and cost data in breast cancer patients who met the Z0011 criteria and were treated with BCT and SLNB. Patients were allocated into two mutually exclusive cohorts based on the date of surgery: pre-Z0011 (June 2013 to December 2015) and post-Z0011 (June 2016 to December 2018).

Results: Of 3912 patients, 433 (23%) and 357 (17.6%) patients in the pre- and post-Z0011 era had positive lymph nodes. ALND decreased from 15.3% to 1.57% in the post-Z0011 era. The mean overall cost of SLNB in the pre-Z0011 cohort was €1312 per patient, while that for SLNB with completion ALND was €2613. Intraoperative frozen section (FS) use decreased from 100% to 12%. Omitting the FS decreased mean costs from €247 to €176. The mean total cost in the pre-Z0011 cohort was €1807 per patient, while in the post-Z0011 cohort it was €1498. The application of Z0011 resulted in an overall mean cost savings of €309 for each patient.

Conclusions: Application of the Z0011 criteria to patients undergoing BCT at our institution results in more than half a million Euro cost savings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejso.2021.06.016DOI Listing
October 2021

PD-L1 Immunohistochemistry Assay Comparison in Atezolizumab plus nab-Paclitaxel-Treated Advanced Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jun 7. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Background: In the Phase III IMpassion130 study, atezolizumab plus nab-paclitaxel (A+nP) showed clinical benefit in advanced/metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients who were programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) + (tumor-infiltrating immune cells [IC] ≥1%) using the SP142 immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay. Here we evaluate 2 other PD-L1 assays for analytical concordance with SP142 and patient-associated clinical outcomes.

Methods: Samples from 614 patients (68.1% of intention-to-treat population) were centrally evaluated by IHC for PD-L1 status on IC (VENTANA SP142, SP263, Dako 22C3) or as a combined positive score (CPS; 22C3).

Results: Using SP142, SP263, and 22C3 assays, PD-L1 IC ≥ 1% prevalence was 46.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 42.5-50.4%), 74.9% (95% CI = 71.5-78.3%), and 73.1% (95% CI = 69.6-76.6%), respectively; 80.9% were 22C3 at CPS ≥1. At IC ≥ 1% (+), the analytical concordance between SP142 and SP263 and 22C3 was 69.2% and 68.7%, respectively. Almost all SP142+ cases were captured by other assays (double positive), but several SP263 + (29.6%) or 22C3 + (29.0%) cases were SP142- (single positive). A+nP clinical activity vs placebo+nP in SP263+ and 22C3+ patients (progression-free survival [PFS] hazard ratios [HRs] = 0.64-0.68; overall survival [OS] HRs = 0.75-0.79) was driven by double-positive (PFS HRs = 0.60-0.61; OS HRs = 0.71-0.75) rather than single-positive cases (PFS HRs = 0.68-0.81; OS HRs = 0.87-0.95). Concordance for harmonized cutoffs for SP263 (IC ≥ 4%) and 22C3 (CPS ≥10) to SP142 IC ≥ 1% was subpar (approximately 75%).

Conclusions: 22C3 and SP263 assays identified more patients as PD-L1 + (IC ≥ 1%) than SP142. No inter-assay analytical equivalency was observed. Consistent improved A+nP efficacy was captured by the SP142 PD-L1 IC ≥ 1% subgroup nested within 22C3 and SP263 PD-L1 + (IC ≥ 1%) populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab108DOI Listing
June 2021

Adjuvant Olaparib for Patients with - or -Mutated Breast Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2021 06 3;384(25):2394-2405. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

From the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre, the Institute of Cancer Research (A.N.J.T.), and the Breast Cancer Now Unit, Guy's Hospital Cancer Centre, King's College London (A.N.J.T.), London, AstraZeneca, Cambridge (S.J.H., N.B.), and Frontier Science (Scotland), Kincraig (R.M.C., E.M.F., C.C.) - all in the United Kingdom; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School (J.E.G., R.D.G.), Frontier Science Foundation (R.D.G.), and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (R.D.G.) - all in Boston; the Breast Oncology Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel (B.K.); the University of Milan, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan (G.V.); Breast International Group (D.F., A.A.) and Institut Jules Bordet, l'Université Libre de Bruxelles (E.A., M.P.), Brussels; NRG Oncology (P.R., H.B., P.C.L., N.W., G.Y., C.E.G.) and the Basser Center for BRCA, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania (S.M.D.), Philadelphia, and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center (P.R., P.C.L., N.W.) and the Department of Biostatistics (H.B., J.P.C., G.Y.), University of Pittsburgh, and the NSABP Foundation (N.W.), Pittsburgh - all in Pennsylvania; AstraZeneca, Gaithersburg (A.F.), and the National Cancer Institute, Rockville (L.A.K.) - both in Maryland; Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology and Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (J.B.) - both in Barcelona; BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC, Canada (K.A.G.); Sahlgrenska University Hospital (B.L.) and the Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University (B.L.) - both in Gothenburg, Sweden; the Department of Oncology and Radiotherapy, Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk (E.S.), the Maria Skłodowska-Curie National Research Institute of Oncology, Warsaw (Z.N.), the International Hereditary Cancer Center, Pomeranian Medical University, Szczecin (T.H.), and Read-Gene, Grzepnica (T.H.) - all in Poland; Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, Vallejo (J.M.S.), and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA (P.A.G.), and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (P.A.G.), Los Angeles - all in California; Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center, Shanghai, China, (Z.S.); Georgia NCORP, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (A.W.P.), and Piedmont Healthcare (A.W.P.) - both in Atlanta; German Breast Group, Neu-Isenburg (S.L.), the Center for Hematology and Oncology Bethanien and Goethe University, Frankfurt (S.L.), and the Center for Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer and the Center for Integrated Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital Cologne, Cologne (R.S.) - all in Germany; the Department of Internal Medicine I and Gaston H. Glock Research Center, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna (G.G.S.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (V.K.); the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and Pathology Queensland (S.R.L.) - both in Brisbane, QLD, Australia; and Houston Methodist Cancer Center (C.E.G.) and Weill Cornell Medical College (C.E.G.) - both in Houston.

Background: Poly(adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibitors target cancers with defects in homologous recombination repair by synthetic lethality. New therapies are needed to reduce recurrence in patients with or germline mutation-associated early breast cancer.

Methods: We conducted a phase 3, double-blind, randomized trial involving patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative early breast cancer with or germline pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants and high-risk clinicopathological factors who had received local treatment and neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned (in a 1:1 ratio) to 1 year of oral olaparib or placebo. The primary end point was invasive disease-free survival.

Results: A total of 1836 patients underwent randomization. At a prespecified event-driven interim analysis with a median follow-up of 2.5 years, the 3-year invasive disease-free survival was 85.9% in the olaparib group and 77.1% in the placebo group (difference, 8.8 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.5 to 13.0; hazard ratio for invasive disease or death, 0.58; 99.5% CI, 0.41 to 0.82; P<0.001). The 3-year distant disease-free survival was 87.5% in the olaparib group and 80.4% in the placebo group (difference, 7.1 percentage points; 95% CI, 3.0 to 11.1; hazard ratio for distant disease or death, 0.57; 99.5% CI, 0.39 to 0.83; P<0.001). Olaparib was associated with fewer deaths than placebo (59 and 86, respectively) (hazard ratio, 0.68; 99% CI, 0.44 to 1.05; P = 0.02); however, the between-group difference was not significant at an interim-analysis boundary of a P value of less than 0.01. Safety data were consistent with known side effects of olaparib, with no excess serious adverse events or adverse events of special interest.

Conclusions: Among patients with high-risk, HER2-negative early breast cancer and germline or pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants, adjuvant olaparib after completion of local treatment and neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy was associated with significantly longer survival free of invasive or distant disease than was placebo. Olaparib had limited effects on global patient-reported quality of life. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and AstraZeneca; OlympiA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02032823.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2105215DOI Listing
June 2021

Heparanase: a potential marker of worse prognosis in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 May 28;7(1):67. Epub 2021 May 28.

Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Heparanase promotes tumor growth in breast tumors. We now evaluated heparanase protein and gene-expression status and investigated its impact on disease-free survival in order to gain better insight into the role of heparanase in ER-positive (ER+) breast cancer prognosis and to clarify its role in cell survival following chemotherapy. Using pooled analysis of gene-expression data, we found that heparanase was associated with a worse prognosis in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) tumors (log-rank p < 10) and predictive to chemotherapy resistance (interaction p = 0.0001) but not hormonal therapy (Interaction p = 0.62). These results were confirmed by analysis of data from a phase III, prospective randomized trial which showed that heparanase protein expression is associated with increased risk of recurrence in ER+ breast tumors (log-rank p = 0.004). In vitro experiments showed that heparanase promoted tumor progression and increased cell viability via epithelial-mesenchymal transition, stemness, and anti-apoptosis pathways in luminal breast cancer. Taken together, our results demonstrated that heparanase is associated with worse outcomes and increased cell viability in ER+ BC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-021-00277-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8163849PMC
May 2021

Sex-Based Dimorphism of Anticancer Immune Response and Molecular Mechanisms of Immune Evasion.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Aug 20;27(15):4311-4324. Epub 2021 May 20.

Department of Oncology, Weill Cornel Medicine, New York, New York.

Purpose: We previously demonstrated that sex influences response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. In this article, we investigate sex-based differences in the molecular mechanisms of anticancer immune response and immune evasion in patients with NSCLC.

Experimental Design: We analyzed (i) transcriptome data of 2,575 early-stage NSCLCs from seven different datasets; (ii) 327 tumor samples extensively characterized at the molecular level from the TRACERx lung study; (iii) two independent cohorts of 329 and 391 patients, respectively, with advanced NSCLC treated with anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 drugs.

Results: As compared with men, the tumor microenvironment (TME) of women was significantly enriched for a number of innate and adaptive immune cell types, including specific T-cell subpopulations. NSCLCs of men and women exploited different mechanisms of immune evasion. The TME of females was characterized by significantly greater T-cell dysfunction status, higher expression of inhibitory immune checkpoint molecules, and higher abundance of immune-suppressive cells, including cancer-associated fibroblasts, MDSCs, and regulatory T cells. In contrast, the TME of males was significantly enriched for a T-cell-excluded phenotype. We reported data supporting impaired neoantigens presentation to immune system in tumors of men, as molecular mechanism explaining the findings observed. Finally, in line with our results, we showed significant sex-based differences in the association between TMB and outcome of patients with advanced NSCLC treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 drugs.

Conclusions: We demonstrated meaningful sex-based differences of anticancer immune response and immune evasion mechanisms, that may be exploited to improve immunotherapy efficacy for both women and men.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-0136DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611463PMC
August 2021

Impact of HER2 Heterogeneity on Treatment Response of Early-Stage HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: Phase II Neoadjuvant Clinical Trial of T-DM1 Combined with Pertuzumab.

Cancer Discov 2021 Oct 3;11(10):2474-2487. Epub 2021 May 3.

Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Intratumor heterogeneity is postulated to cause therapeutic resistance. To prospectively assess the impact of HER2 () heterogeneity on response to HER2-targeted therapy, we treated 164 patients with centrally confirmed HER2-positive early-stage breast cancer with neoadjuvant trastuzumab emtansine plus pertuzumab. HER2 heterogeneity was assessed on pretreatment biopsies from two locations of each tumor. HER2 heterogeneity, defined as an area with amplification in >5% but <50% of tumor cells, or a HER2-negative area by FISH, was detected in 10% (16/157) of evaluable cases. The pathologic complete response rate was 55% in the nonheterogeneous subgroup and 0% in the heterogeneous group ( < 0.0001, adjusted for hormone receptor status). Single-cell FISH analysis of cellular heterogeneity identified the fraction of nonamplified cells as a driver of therapeutic resistance. These data suggest HER2 heterogeneity is associated with resistance to HER2-targeted therapy and should be considered in efforts to optimize treatment strategies. SIGNIFICANCE: HER2-targeted therapies improve cure rates in HER2-positive breast cancer, suggesting chemotherapy can be avoided in a subset of patients. We show that HER2 heterogeneity, particularly the fraction of nonamplified cancer cells, is a strong predictor of resistance to HER2 therapies and could potentially be used to optimize treatment selection...
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-1557DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8598376PMC
October 2021

Intraoperative irradiation for early breast cancer (ELIOT): long-term recurrence and survival outcomes from a single-centre, randomised, phase 3 equivalence trial.

Lancet Oncol 2021 05 9;22(5):597-608. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

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

Background: In the randomised, phase 3 equivalence trial on electron intraoperative radiotherapy (ELIOT), accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) with the use of intraoperative radiotherapy was associated with a higher rate of ipsilateral breast tumour recurrence (IBTR) than whole-breast irradiation (WBI) in patients with early-stage breast cancer. Here, we aimed to examine the planned long-term recurrence and survival outcomes from the ELIOT trial.

Methods: This single-centre, randomised, phase 3 equivalence trial was done at the European Institute of Oncology (Milan, Italy). Eligible women, aged 48-75 years with a clinical diagnosis of a unicentric breast carcinoma with an ultrasound diameter not exceeding 25 mm, clinically negative axillary lymph nodes, and who were suitable for breast-conserving surgery, were randomly assigned (1:1) via a web-based system, with a random permuted block design (block size of 16) and stratified by clinical tumour size, to receive post-operative WBI with conventional fractionation (50 Gy given as 25 fractions of 2 Gy, plus a 10 Gy boost), or 21 Gy intraoperative radiotherapy with electrons (ELIOT) in a single dose to the tumour bed during surgery. The trial was open label and no-one was masked to treatment group assignment. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of IBTR. The trial was designed assuming a 5-year IBTR rate of 3% in the WBI group and equivalence of the two groups, if the 5-year IBTR rate in the ELIOT group did not exceed a 2·5 times excess, corresponding to 7·5%. Overall survival was the secondary endpoint. The main analysis was done by intention to treat. The cumulative incidence of IBTR events and overall survival were assessed at 5, 10, and 15 years of follow-up. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01849133.

Findings: Between Nov 20, 2000, and Dec 27, 2007, 1305 women were enrolled and randomly assigned: 654 to the WBI group and 651 to the ELIOT group. After a median follow-up of 12·4 years (IQR 9·7-14·7), 86 (7%) patients developed IBTR, with 70 (11%) cases in the ELIOT group and 16 (2%) in the WBI group, corresponding to an absolute excess of 54 IBTRs in the ELIOT group (HR 4·62, 95% CI 2·68-7·95, p<0·0001). In the ELIOT group, the 5-year IBTR rate was 4·2% (95% CI 2·8-5·9), the 10-year rate was 8·1% (6·1-10·3), and the 15-year rate was 12·6% (9·8-15·9). In the WBI group, the 5-year IBTR rate was 0·5% (95% CI 0·1-1·3), the 10-year rate was 1·1% (0·5-2·2), and the 15-year rate was 2·4% (1·4-4·0). At final follow-up on March 11, 2019, 193 (15%) women had died from any cause, with no difference between the two groups (98 deaths in the ELIOT group vs 95 in the WBI group; HR 1·03, 95% CI 0·77-1·36, p=0·85). In the ELIOT group, the overall survival rate was 96·8% (95% CI 95·1-97·9) at 5 years, 90·7% (88·2-92·7) at 10 years, and 83·4% (79·7-86·4) at 15 years; and in the WBI group, the overall survival rate was 96·8% (95·1-97·9) at 5 years, 92·7% (90·4-94·4) at 10 years, and 82·4% (78·5-85·6) at 15 years. We did not collect long-term data on adverse events.

Interpretation: The long-term results of this trial confirmed the higher rate of IBTR in the ELIOT group than in the WBI group, without any differences in overall survival. ELIOT should be offered to selected patients at low-risk of IBTR.

Funding: Italian Association for Cancer Research, Jacqueline Seroussi Memorial Foundation for Cancer Research, Umberto Veronesi Foundation, American Italian Cancer Foundation, The Lombardy Region, and Italian Ministry of Health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00080-2DOI Listing
May 2021

Mutations as a Molecular Target for Hormone Receptor-Positive, HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer.

Front Oncol 2021 25;11:644737. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

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

Despite the significant achievements in the diagnosis and treatment of metastatic breast cancer (MBC), this condition remains substantially an incurable disease. In recent years, several clinical studies have aimed to identify novel molecular targets, therapeutic strategies, and predictive biomarkers to improve the outcome of women with MBC. Overall, ~40% of hormone receptor (HR)/HER2 MBC cases harbor alterations affecting the (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. This pathway is a major target in oncogenesis, as it regulates growth, proliferation, cell survival, and angiogenesis. Lately, the pharmacologic targeting of PIK3CA in HR/HER2 MBC has shown significant benefits after the occurrence of endocrine therapy resistance. The orally available α-selective PIK3CA inhibitor, alpelisib, has been approved in this setting. To perform an optimal patients' selection for this drug, it is crucial to adopt a tailored methodology. Clinically relevant alterations may be detected in several biospecimens (e.g. tissue samples and liquid biopsy) using different techniques (e.g. real-time PCR and next-generation sequencing). In this study, we provide an overview of the role of PIK3CA in breast cancer and of the characterization of its mutational status for appropriate clinical management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.644737DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8027489PMC
March 2021

Patient-reported function, health-related quality of life, and symptoms in APHINITY: pertuzumab plus trastuzumab and chemotherapy in HER2-positive early breast cancer.

Br J Cancer 2021 Jul 7;125(1):38-47. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA.

Background: We assessed health-related quality of life (symptoms of therapy/patient functioning/global health status), in APHINITY (pertuzumab/placebo, trastuzumab, and chemotherapy as adjuvant HER2-positive early breast cancer therapy).

Methods: Patients received 1 year/18 cycles of pertuzumab/placebo with trastuzumab and chemotherapy and completed EORTC QLQ-C30 and BR23 questionnaires until 36 months post-randomisation/disease recurrence. Changes ≥10 points from baseline were considered clinically meaningful.

Results: 87-97% of patients completed questionnaires. In the pertuzumab versus placebo arms, mean decrease in physical function scores (baseline → end of taxane) was -10.7 (95% CI -11.4, -10.0) versus -10.6 (-11.4, -9.9), mean decrease in global health status was -11.2 (-12.2, -10.2) versus -10.2 (-11.1, -9.2), and mean increase in diarrhoea scores (baseline → end of taxane) was +22.3 (21.0, 23.6) versus +9.2 (8.2, 10.2). Diarrhoea scores remained elevated versus baseline in the pertuzumab arm throughout HER2-targeted treatment (week 25: +13.2; end of treatment: +12.2). Role functioning was maintained in both arms.

Conclusions: Improved invasive disease-free survival achieved by adding pertuzumab to trastuzumab and chemotherapy did not adversely affect the ability to conduct activities of daily living versus trastuzumab and chemotherapy alone. Patient-reported diarrhoea worsened during taxane therapy in both arms, persisting during HER2-targeted treatment in the pertuzumab arm. CLINICALTRIALS.GOV: NCT01358877.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01323-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8257679PMC
July 2021

Gut vascular barrier impairment leads to intestinal bacteria dissemination and colorectal cancer metastasis to liver.

Cancer Cell 2021 05 1;39(5):708-724.e11. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

IRCCS Humanitas Research Hospital, via Manzoni 56, Rozzano, Milan 20089, Italy.

Metastasis is facilitated by the formation of a "premetastatic niche," which is fostered by primary tumor-derived factors. Colorectal cancer (CRC) metastasizes mainly to the liver. We show that the premetastatic niche in the liver is induced by bacteria dissemination from primary CRC. We report that tumor-resident bacteria Escherichia coli disrupt the gut vascular barrier (GVB), an anatomical structure controlling bacterial dissemination along the gut-liver axis, depending on the virulence regulator VirF. Upon GVB impairment, bacteria disseminate to the liver, boost the formation of a premetastatic niche, and favor the recruitment of metastatic cells. In training and validation cohorts of CRC patients, we find that the increased levels of PV-1, a marker of impaired GVB, is associated with liver bacteria dissemination and metachronous distant metastases. Thus, PV-1 is a prognostic marker for CRC distant recurrence and vascular impairment, leading to liver metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2021.03.004DOI Listing
May 2021

70-gene signature as an aid for treatment decisions in early breast cancer: updated results of the phase 3 randomised MINDACT trial with an exploratory analysis by age.

Lancet Oncol 2021 04 12;22(4):476-488. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The MINDACT trial showed excellent 5-year distant metastasis-free survival of 94·7% (95% CI 92·5-96·2) in patients with breast cancer of high clinical and low genomic risk who did not receive chemotherapy. We present long-term follow-up results together with an exploratory analysis by age.

Methods: MINDACT was a multicentre, randomised, phase 3 trial done in 112 academic and community hospitals in nine European countries. Patients aged 18-70 years, with histologically confirmed primary invasive breast cancer (stage T1, T2, or operable T3) with up to three positive lymph nodes, no distant metastases, and a WHO performance status of 0-1 were enrolled and their genomic risk (using the MammaPrint 70-gene signature) and clinical risk (using a modified version of Adjuvant! Online) were determined. Patients with low clinical and low genomic risk results did not receive chemotherapy, and patients with high clinical and high genomic risk did receive chemotherapy (mostly anthracycline-based or taxane-based, or a combination thereof). Patients with discordant risk results (ie, patients with high clinical risk but low genomic risk, and those with low clinical risk but high genomic risk) were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive chemotherapy or not based on either the clinical risk or the genomic risk. Randomisation was done centrally and used a minimisation technique that was stratified by institution, risk group, and clinical-pathological characteristics. Treatment allocation was not masked. The primary endpoint was to test whether the distant metastasis-free survival rate at 5 years in patients with high clinical risk and low genomic risk not receiving chemotherapy had a lower boundary of the 95% CI above the predefined non-inferiority boundary of 92%. In the primary test population of patients with high clinical risk and low genomic risk who adhered to the treatment allocation of no chemotherapy and had no change in risk post-enrolment. Here, we present updated follow-up as well as an exploratory analysis of a potential age effect (≤50 years vs >50 years) and an analysis by nodal status for patients with hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative disease. These analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00433589, and the European Clinical Trials database, EudraCT2005-002625-31. Recruitment is complete and further long-term follow-up is ongoing.

Findings: Between Feb 8, 2007, and July 11, 2011, 6693 patients were enrolled. On Feb 26, 2020, median follow-up was 8·7 years (IQR 7·8-9·7). The updated 5-year distant metastasis-free survival rate for patients with high clinical risk and low genomic risk receiving no chemotherapy (primary test population, n=644) was 95·1% (95% CI 93·1-96·6), which is above the predefined non-inferiority boundary of 92%, supporting the previous analysis and proving MINDACT as a positive de-escalation trial. Patients with high clinical risk and low genomic risk were randomly assigned to receive chemotherapy (n=749) or not (n=748); this was the intention-to-treat population. The 8-year estimates for distant metastasis-free survival in the intention-to-treat population were 92·0% (95% CI 89·6-93·8) for chemotherapy versus 89·4% (86·8-91·5) for no chemotherapy (hazard ratio 0·66; 95% CI 0·48-0·92). An exploratory analysis confined to the subset of patients with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative disease (1358 [90.7%] of 1497 randomly assigned patients, of whom 676 received chemotherapy and 682 did not) shows different effects of chemotherapy administration on 8-year distant metastasis-free survival according to age: 93·6% (95% CI 89·3-96·3) with chemotherapy versus 88·6% (83·5-92·3) without chemotherapy in 464 women aged 50 years or younger (absolute difference 5·0 percentage points [SE 2·8, 95% CI -0·5 to 10·4]) and 90·2% (86·8-92·7) versus 90·0% (86·6-92·6) in 894 women older than 50 years (absolute difference 0·2 percentage points [2·1, -4·0 to 4·4]). The 8-year distant metastasis-free survival in the exploratory analysis by nodal status in these patients was 91·7% (95% CI 88·1-94·3) with chemotherapy and 89·2% (85·2-92·2) without chemotherapy in 699 node-negative patients (absolute difference 2·5 percentage points [SE 2·3, 95% CI -2·1 to 7·2]) and 91·2% (87·2-94·0) versus 89·9% (85·8-92·8) for 658 patients with one to three positive nodes (absolute difference 1·3 percentage points [2·4, -3·5 to 6·1]).

Interpretation: With a more mature follow-up approaching 9 years, the 70-gene signature shows an intact ability of identifying among women with high clinical risk, a subgroup, namely patients with a low genomic risk, with an excellent distant metastasis-free survival when treated with endocrine therapy alone. For these women the magnitude of the benefit from adding chemotherapy to endocrine therapy remains small (2·6 percentage points) and is not enhanced by nodal positivity. However, in an underpowered exploratory analysis this benefit appears to be age-dependent, as it is only seen in women younger than 50 years where it reaches a clinically relevant threshold of 5 percentage points. Although, possibly due to chemotherapy-induced ovarian function suppression, it should be part of informed, shared decision making. Further study is needed in younger women, who might need reinforced endocrine therapy to forego chemotherapy.

Funding: European Commission Sixth Framework Programme.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00007-3DOI Listing
April 2021

Adjuvant Pertuzumab and Trastuzumab in Early HER2-Positive Breast Cancer in the APHINITY Trial: 6 Years' Follow-Up.

J Clin Oncol 2021 05 4;39(13):1448-1457. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Halle (Saale), Germany.

Purpose: APHINITY, at 45 months median follow-up, showed that pertuzumab added to adjuvant trastuzumab and chemotherapy significantly improved invasive disease-free survival (IDFS) (hazard ratio 0.81 [95% CI, 0.66 to 1.00], = .045) for patients with early human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive breast cancer (BC), specifically those with node-positive or hormone receptor (HR)-negative disease. We now report the preplanned second interim overall survival (OS) and descriptive updated IDFS analysis with 74 months median follow-up.

Methods: After surgery and central HER2-positive confirmation, 4,805 patients with node-positive or high-risk node-negative BC were randomly assigned (1:1) to either 1-year pertuzumab or placebo added to standard adjuvant chemotherapy and 1-year trastuzumab.

Results: This interim OS analysis comparing pertuzumab versus placebo did not reach the = .0012 level required for statistical significance ( = .17, hazard ratio 0.85). Six-year OS were 95% versus 94% with 125 deaths (5.2%) versus 147 (6.1%), respectively. IDFS analysis based on 508 events (intent-to-treat population) showed a hazard ratio of 0.76 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.91) and 6-year IDFS of 91% and 88% for pertuzumab and placebo groups, respectively. The node-positive cohort continues to derive clear IDFS benefit from pertuzumab (hazard ratio 0.72 [95% CI, 0.59 to 0.87]), 6-year IDFS being 88% and 83%, respectively. Benefit was not seen in the node-negative cohort. In a subset analysis, IDFS benefit from pertuzumab showed a hazard ratio of 0.73 (95% CI, 0.59 to 0.92) for HR-positive disease and a hazard ratio of 0.83 (95% CI, 0.63 to 1.10) for HR-negative disease. Primary cardiac events remain < 1% in both the treatment groups. No new safety signals were seen.

Conclusion: This analysis confirms the IDFS benefit from adding pertuzumab to standard adjuvant therapy for patients with node-positive HER2-positive early BC. Longer follow-up is needed to fully assess OS benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01204DOI Listing
May 2021

Body mass index, adiposity and tumour infiltrating lymphocytes as prognostic biomarkers in patients treated with immunotherapy: A multi-parametric analysis.

Eur J Cancer 2021 03 22;145:197-209. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

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

Background: We performed a multi-parametric analysis investigating the association between adiposity (as measured using body mass index [BMI] and computed tomography [CT]-based body composition), tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and clinical outcomes in patients with advanced-stage cancer treated with immunotherapy in phase I clinical trials.

Material And Methods: All consecutive patients (N = 153) with metastatic solid tumours treated within immunotherapy-based phase I clinical trials between August 2014 and May 2019 at our institution were included. Baseline characteristics, BMI, TILs value and CT-assessed fat indices (total fat area [TFA], subcutaneous fat area [SFA] and visceral fat [VFA]) were collected. The primary endpoints were to evaluate the impact of these parameters on overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional-hazards model were used for survival analyses.

Results: At both univariate and multivariate analyses, BMI was not associated with PFS neither when considered as continuous variable (HR 0.90, 95% CI 0.74-1.09, P = 0.28) nor as dichotomous variable (underweight/normal versus overweight/obese) (HR 0.79, 95% CI 0.55-1.14, P = 0.21). Interestingly, patients diagnosed with 'immunogenic' tumours and higher VFA/SFA ratio (1st and 2nd tertile versus 3rd tertile) presented an increased OS (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.78-1.00, P = 0.047).

Conclusion: Our analysis showed that patients with tumours that are already known as responsive to ICIs with higher VFA/SFA ratio presented an increased OS. Further studies are needed to elucidate the effect of adiposity on the host immune response to immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.12.028DOI Listing
March 2021

ShcD Binds DOCK4, Promotes Ameboid Motility and Metastasis Dissemination, Predicting Poor Prognosis in Melanoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 13;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS (IEO), Via Adamello, 16, 20139 Milan, Italy.

Metastases are the primary cause of cancer-related deaths. The underlying molecular and biological mechanisms remain, however, elusive, thus preventing the design of specific therapies. In melanomas, the metastatic process is influenced by the acquisition of metastasis-associated mutational and epigenetic traits and the activation of metastatic-specific signaling pathways in the primary melanoma. In the current study, we investigated the role of an adaptor protein of the Shc family (ShcD) in the acquisition of metastatic properties by melanoma cells, exploiting our cohort of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs). We provide evidence that the depletion of ShcD expression increases a spread cell shape and the capability of melanoma cells to attach to the extracellular matrix while its overexpression switches their morphology from elongated to rounded on 3D matrices, enhances cells' invasive phenotype, as observed on collagen gel, and favors metastasis formation in vivo. ShcD overexpression sustains amoeboid movement in melanoma cells, by suppressing the Rac1 signaling pathway through the confinement of DOCK4 in the cytoplasm. Inactivation of the ShcD signaling pathway makes melanoma cells more sensitive to therapeutic treatments. Consistently, ShcD expression predicts poor outcome in a cohort of 183 primary melanoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113366DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696252PMC
November 2020

A cell-of-origin epigenetic tracer reveals clinically distinct subtypes of high-grade serous ovarian cancer.

Genome Med 2020 10 30;12(1):94. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Experimental Oncology, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCSS, Milan, Italy.

Background: High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is a major unmet need in oncology. The remaining uncertainty on its originating tissue has hampered the discovery of molecular oncogenic pathways and the development of effective therapies.

Methods: We used an approach based on the retention in tumors of a DNA methylation trace (OriPrint) that distinguishes the two putative tissues of origin of HGSOC, the fimbrial (FI) and ovarian surface epithelia (OSE), to stratify HGSOC by several clustering methods, both linear and non-linear. The identified tumor subtypes (FI-like and OSE-like HGSOC) were investigated at the RNAseq level to stratify an in-house cohort of macrodissected HGSOC FFPE samples to derive overall and disease-free survival and identify specific transcriptional alterations of the two tumor subtypes, both by classical differential expression and weighted correlation network analysis. We translated our strategy to published datasets and verified the co-occurrence of previously described molecular classification of HGSOC. We performed cytokine analysis coupled to immune phenotyping to verify alterations in the immune compartment associated with HGSOC. We identified genes that are both differentially expressed and methylated in the two tumor subtypes, concentrating on PAX8 as a bona fide marker of FI-like HGSOC.

Results: We show that: - OriPrint is a robust DNA methylation tracer that exposes the tissue of origin of HGSOC. - The tissue of origin of HGSOC is the main determinant of DNA methylation variance in HGSOC. - The tissue of origin is a prognostic factor for HGSOC patients. - FI-like and OSE-like HGSOC are endowed with specific transcriptional alterations that impact patients' prognosis. - OSE-like tumors present a more invasive and immunomodulatory phenotype, compatible with its worse prognostic impact. - Among genes that are differentially expressed and regulated in FI-like and OSE-like HGSOC, PAX8 is a bona fide marker of FI-like tumors.

Conclusions: Through an integrated approach, our work demonstrates that both FI and OSE are possible origins for human HGSOC, whose derived subtypes are both molecularly and clinically distinct. These results will help define a new roadmap towards rational, subtype-specific therapeutic inroads and improved patients' care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13073-020-00786-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7597028PMC
October 2020

A role for the immune system in advanced laryngeal cancer.

Sci Rep 2020 10 27;10(1):18327. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Division of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, IEO, European Institute of Oncology, IRCCS, Via Ripamonti 435, 20141, Milan, Italy.

To investigate the role of the altered activation of the immune system in the prognosis of patients affected by laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC). We analyzed 56 patients with advanced LSCC divided into two groups according to their prognosis: the first group relapsed within 24 months after treatment, the second group had no evidence of disease at 2 years. The presence of stromal tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) at the tumor-host border was investigated. In 43 patients we evaluated the expression of 395 genes related to immune system activation through a next generation sequencing panel. Priority-LASSO models and clustering analyses were integrated with multivariate Cox proportional hazard modeling to identify independent genes associated with relapse and estimate hazard ratios in relation to gene expression and TILs. TILs and the expression of genes related with immune system activation (FCGR1A, IFNA17, FCRLA, NCR3, KREMEN1, CD14, CD3G, CD19, CD20 and CD79A) were significantly associated with prognostic factors or disease specific survival. In patients with lymph node metastases and advanced T stage (pT4), the expression of other genes was altered. Low TILs count was highly associated with relapse within 2 years (p < 0.001). Low TILs and altered expression of specific genes associated with tumor-immune systems interactions emerged as independent risk factors, associated to poor prognosis and relapse within 2 years in advanced LSCC. Evaluation of patients' immune profile could be useful for prognosis and future therapeutic approaches towards personalized therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73747-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7591515PMC
October 2020

Correlation of size and focality with prognosis in small breast carcinoma: a single institution case series.

Breast 2020 Dec 17;54:164-169. Epub 2020 Oct 17.

Department of Pathology European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Via Ripamonti, 435, 20141, Milan, Italy; School of Medicine, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

Aim Of The Study: The clinical behavior and prognosis of small multifocal and microinvasive breast cancers are still debated together with the best method of assessing tumor size in multiple invasive carcinomas. This study evaluates the clinico-pathological features of single and multiple breast cancers up to 0.5 cm in order to evaluate the rate of recurrences.

Materials And Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 170 node-negative patients consecutively treated at European Institute of Oncology from 2001 to 2006. We divided them into Group I (pT1mi) and Group II (pT1a) furtherly divided in subgroups, according to focality and aggregate diameter. For each group we assessed tumor size, (multi)focality, extensive in situ component (EIC), histology, grade, peritumoral vascular invasion (PVI), hormonal receptor status (HR), HER-2 expression, Ki67 expression.

Results: We observed that the frequency of local recurrences and distant metastases in group I was higher among those with a single focus; whereas in group II, it was higher in multifocal carcinomas. Then, by comparing the two groups, the prognosis was better in multiple pT1mi than in similarly sized unifocal pT1a.

Conclusions: Microinvasive carcinomas are associated with a good prognosis, even if they seem to have a more aggressive intrinsic biological behavior. Multifocality seems to be correlated with a worse prognosis in case of invasive carcinomas pT1a. In case of microinvasive carcinomas, by contrast, multifocality per se does not seem to affect the recurrence rate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2020.10.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7581961PMC
December 2020
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