Publications by authors named "Hyun Cheol Chung"

275 Publications

Efficacy of Pembrolizumab Monotherapy for Advanced Gastric/Gastroesophageal Junction Cancer with Programmed Death Ligand 1 Combined Positive Score ≥10.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jan 14. Epub 2021 Jan 14.

Department of Medical Oncology and Therapeutics Research, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California.

Purpose: Pembrolizumab demonstrated efficacy in PD-L1-positive [combined positive score (CPS) ≥1] advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction (G/GEJ) cancer in the first-, second-, and third-line setting in KEYNOTE-062, KEYNOTE-061, and KEYNOTE-059, respectively. To better delineate the specificity of CPS as a predictor of clinical outcomes, we analyzed pembrolizumab efficacy in patients with CPS ≥ 10 in these trials.

Patients And Methods: Included were patients with CPS ≥ 10 tumors from KEYNOTE-059 cohort 1 (pembrolizumab, = 46; ), KEYNOTE-061 (pembrolizumab, = 53; chemotherapy, = 55; ), and KEYNOTE-062 (pembrolizumab, = 92; chemotherapy, = 90; primary). Efficacy outcomes were overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), and duration of response (DOR).

Results: In KEYNOTE-059, median follow-up was 6 months, median OS was 8 months [95% confidence interval (CI), 5.8-11.1], ORR was 17%, and median (range) DOR was 21 months (3+ to 35+). In KEYNOTE-061, median follow-up was 9 months, median OS (pembrolizumab vs. chemotherapy) was 10 versus 8 months (HR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.41-1.02), median PFS was 3 months versus 3 months (HR, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.56-1.33), ORR was 25% versus 9%, and median (range) DOR was not reached (4 to 26+ months) versus 7 months (3-7). In KEYNOTE-062, median follow-up was 11 months, median OS (pembrolizumab vs. chemotherapy) was 17 months versus 11 months (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49-0.97), median PFS was 3 months versus 6 months (HR, 1.09, 95% CI; 0.79-1.49), ORR was 25% versus 38%, and median (range) DOR was 19 months (1+ to 34+) versus 7 months (2+ to 30+).

Conclusions: This comprehensive analysis showed consistent improvements toward more favorable clinical outcomes with pembrolizumab across lines of therapy in patients with CPS ≥ 10 G/GEJ cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2980DOI Listing
January 2021

Transcriptome analysis of iBET-151, a BET inhibitor alone and in combination with paclitaxel in gastric cancer cells.

Genomics Inform 2020 Dec 22;18(4):e37. Epub 2020 Dec 22.

Songdang Institute for Cancer Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea.

BET inhibitor, as an epigenetic regulator inhibitor, reduces the expression of oncogenes such as Myc and Bcl-2, which affects cancer growth and development. However, it has modest activity because of the narrow therapeutic index. Therefore, combination therapy is necessary to increase the anti-tumor effect. Paclitaxel, an anti-mitotic inhibitor, is used as second-line therapy for gastric cancer (GC) as a monotherapy or combination. In this study, we performed RNA sequencing of GC cells treated with iBET-151 and/or paclitaxel to identify the differentially expressed genes associated with possible mechanisms of synergistic effect. We also performed Gene Ontology enrichment and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analyses to determine the most enriched terms and pathways of upregulated and downregulated genes. We found 460 genes in which iBET-151 and paclitaxel combination treatment changed more than single-treatment or no-treatment. Thus, additional functional studies are needed, but our results provide the first evidence of the synergistic effect between iBET-151 and paclitaxel in regulating the transcriptome of GC cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5808/GI.2020.18.4.e37DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7808866PMC
December 2020

Comparative efficacy and tolerability of third-line treatments for advanced gastric cancer: A systematic review with Bayesian network meta-analysis.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Feb 15;144:49-60. Epub 2020 Dec 15.

Songdang Institute for Cancer Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea. Electronic address:

Background: The most effective agent for the third-line treatment of advanced/metastatic gastric cancer (AGC) has not yet been determined. The aim of this network meta-analysis is to compare the relative efficacy and tolerability of third-line treatments for AGC.

Materials And Methods: We conducted a comprehensive literature review of randomised clinical trials (RCTs) using four electronic databases. Overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR) and adverse events (AEs) were used as efficacy or tolerability outcomes. A Bayesian network meta-analysis with a random-effects model was used.

Results: Seven RCTs involving 2601 patients and nine treatments were included. The results suggested that 1 mg/kg nivolumab (nivolumab1) + 3 mg/kg ipilimumab (ipilimumab3) (hazard ratio [HR] 0.59, 95% credible interval [Crl] 0.38-0.91) was the most effective treatment, followed by nivolumab (HR 0.63, 95% Crl 0.50-0.79), for prolonging OS. Regorafenib (HR 0.40, 95% Crl 0.28-0.58) was most likely to improve PFS, followed by apatinib (HR 0.45, 95% Crl 0.33-0.60). Nivolumab1 + ipilimumab3 and nivolumab were better at improving ORR, whereas nivolumab1 + ipilimumab3 had the highest toxicity based on the AEs. For benefit-risk ratio, nivolumab, apatinib or regorafenib appeared to be the best options. Chemotherapy or two different dose combinations of nivolumab and ipilimumab were ranked as the next options because of poor tolerability, despite good efficacy.

Conclusion: Immunotherapy (nivolumab) or antiangiogenic agents (regorafenib and apatinib) are associated with benefits for benefit-risk ratio as third-line monotherapy. This study might serve as a guideline to aid in the selection of third-line treatments for AGC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.10.030DOI Listing
February 2021

MAHOGANY: margetuximab combination in HER2+ unresectable/metastatic gastric/gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.

Future Oncol 2021 Apr 2;17(10):1155-1164. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul 05505, Korea.

Standard-of-care, first-line therapy for patients with advanced HER2+ gastric/gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma is chemotherapy plus trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody (mAb) targeting HER2. Margetuximab is an Fc-optimized mAb that binds HER2. Retifanlimab, a humanized IgG4 mAb, binds to PD-1 and blocks its interaction with PD-L1/2. Tebotelimab, an IgG4κ bispecific DART molecule, binds PD-1 and lymphocyte activation gene 3 concomitantly, disrupting these nonredundant inhibitory pathways to further restore exhausted T-cell function. Here, we describe the design and rationale of the randomized, open-label, Phase II/III MAHOGANY trial evaluating margetuximab plus retifanlimab with/without chemotherapy and margetuximab plus tebotelimab with chemotherapy in first-line unresectable metastatic/locally advanced gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Primary end points include objective response rate, overall survival and safety/tolerability. NCT04082364 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-1007DOI Listing
April 2021

Safety and Clinical Activity of a New Anti-PD-L1 Antibody as Monotherapy or Combined with Targeted Therapy in Advanced Solid Tumors: The PACT Phase Ia/Ib Trial.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Mar 23;27(5):1267-1277. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute/Tennessee Oncology, Nashville, Tennessee.

Purpose: This phase Ia/Ib PACT study evaluated the safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and antitumor activity of a new programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor, LY3300054, as monotherapy or in combination with ramucirumab, abemaciclib, or merestinib (a type II MET kinase inhibitor) in patients with advanced, refractory solid tumors (NCT02791334).

Patients And Methods: Patients were enrolled into cohorts of escalating LY3300054 dose (phase Ia) as monotherapy ( = 15) or combined with ramucirumab ( = 10), abemaciclib ( = 24), or merestinib ( = 12). The phase Ib dose expansion enrolled 8 patients with melanoma in the monotherapy arm and 12 patients with pancreatic cancer in the merestinib combination arm. Combination treatments were administered concurrently from day 1 of each cycle. A 14-day lead-in abemaciclib arm was also explored. Primary endpoints were dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) and safety.

Results: Treatment-related adverse events included fatigue and nausea in the monotherapy arm (13% for each), hypothyroidism (30%) in the ramucirumab arm, diarrhea (54%) in the abemaciclib arm, and nausea (25%) in the merestinib arm. DLTs associated with hepatoxicity were observed in 3 of 4 patients in the abemaciclib lead-in cohorts. No DLTs or grade 3 or 4 hepatoxicity were reported in the concurrent abemaciclib arm. Pharmacokinetic characteristics were comparable with other PD-L1 inhibitors. One patient in each arm experienced a partial response per RECIST v1.1 lasting ≥7 months.

Conclusions: LY3300054 was well tolerated without unexpected safety concerns when administered alone or concurrently with ramucirumab, abemaciclib, or merestinib. Lead-in abemaciclib before combining with LY3300054 was not feasible due to hepatotoxicity. Durable clinical benefits were seen in all regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2821DOI Listing
March 2021

First-line pembrolizumab/placebo plus trastuzumab and chemotherapy in HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer: KEYNOTE-811.

Future Oncol 2021 02 10;17(5):491-501. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Treatment options for patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer are limited, and the prognosis for these patients is poor. Pembrolizumab has demonstrated promising antitumor activity in patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma as monotherapy, in combination with chemotherapy and in combination with trastuzumab. Combining pembrolizumab with trastuzumab and chemotherapy may therefore provide a benefit for patients with advanced HER2-positive gastric cancer. Here we aimed to describe the design of and rationale for the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III KEYNOTE-811 study, which will evaluate the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab or placebo in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy as first-line treatment for patients with advanced HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Clinical trial registration: NCT03615326 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-0737DOI Listing
February 2021

p16 methylation is a potential predictive marker for abemaciclib sensitivity in gastric cancer.

Biochem Pharmacol 2021 Jan 6;183:114320. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Songdang Institute for Cancer Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Cell cycle control is often disrupted in gastric cancer (GC), making it an attractive therapeutic target. Abemaciclib is a specific CDK4/6 inhibitor that has been shown to improve treatment efficacy in hormone receptor-positive advanced breast cancer; however, its potential therapeutic value and predictive markers have not yet been revealed in GC. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of abemaciclib using preclinical GC models representing defined molecular subtypes from The Cancer Genome Atlas. In these 49 GC cell lines, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and high microsatellite instability (MSI-H)-type cell lines were p16 methylated and sensitive to abemaciclib; further, genomically stable (GS), and chromosomal instability (CIN)-type cell lines with p16 methylation and intact Rb were also found to be responsive. In addition, we found that GC patients with p16 methylation often displayed a poor prognosis. Collectively, these data provide a foundation for clinical trials to assess the therapeutic efficacy of abemaciclib in GC and suggest that p16 methylation could be used as a predictive marker to identify patients with GC who may benefit from abemaciclib-based therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2020.114320DOI Listing
January 2021

Gene Expression Profiling Identifies Akt as a Target for Radiosensitization in Gastric Cancer Cells.

Front Oncol 2020 11;10:562284. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Songdang Institute for Cancer Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

Background: Despite the important role of radiotherapy in cancer treatment, a subset of patients responds poorly to treatment majorly due to radioresistance. Particularly the role of radiotherapy has not been established in gastric cancer (GC). Herein, we aimed to identify a radiosensitivity gene signature and to discover relevant targets to enhance radiosensitivity in GC cells.

Methods: An oligonucleotide microarray (containing 22,740 probes) was performed in 12 GC cell lines prior to radiation. A clonogenic assay was performed to evaluate the survival fraction at 2 Gy (SF2) as a surrogate marker for radiosensitivity. Genes differentially expressed (fold change > 6, -value < 0.025) were identified between radiosensitive and radioresistant cell lines, and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed for validation. Gene set and pathway analyses were performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA).

Results: Radiosensitive (SF2 < 0.4) and radioresistant cell lines (SF2 ≥ 0.6) exhibited a marked difference in gene expression. We identified 68 genes that are differentially expressed between radiosensitive and radioresistant cell lines. The identified genes showed interactions via , , , and , and their functions were associated with the genetic networks associated with cellular growth and proliferation, cellular movement, and cell cycle. The Akt signaling pathway exhibited the highest association with radiosensitivity. Combinatorial treatment with MK-2206, an allosteric Akt inhibitor, and radiotherapy significantly increased cell death compared with radiotherapy alone in two radioresistant cell lines (YCC-2 and YCC-16).

Conclusion: We identified a GC-specific radiosensitivity gene signature and suggest that the Akt signaling pathway could serve as a therapeutic target for GC radiosensitization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.562284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7517358PMC
September 2020

Development and validation of a serum microRNA biomarker panel for detecting gastric cancer in a high-risk population.

Gut 2020 Oct 7. Epub 2020 Oct 7.

Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University Singapore, Singapore

Objective: An unmet need exists for a non-invasive biomarker assay to aid gastric cancer diagnosis. We aimed to develop a serum microRNA (miRNA) panel for identifying patients with all stages of gastric cancer from a high-risk population.

Design: We conducted a three-phase, multicentre study comprising 5248 subjects from Singapore and Korea. Biomarker discovery and verification phases were done through comprehensive serum miRNA profiling and multivariant analysis of 578 miRNA candidates in retrospective cohorts of 682 subjects. A clinical assay was developed and validated in a prospective cohort of 4566 symptomatic subjects who underwent endoscopy. Assay performance was confirmed with histological diagnosis and compared with (HP) serology, serum pepsinogens (PGs), 'ABC' method, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and cancer antigen 19-9 (CA19-9). Cost-effectiveness was analysed using a Markov decision model.

Results: We developed a clinical assay for detection of gastric cancer based on a 12-miRNA biomarker panel. The 12-miRNA panel had area under the curve (AUC)=0.93 (95% CI 0.90 to 0.95) and AUC=0.92 (95% CI 0.88 to 0.96) in the discovery and verification cohorts, respectively. In the prospective study, overall sensitivity was 87.0% (95% CI 79.4% to 92.5%) at specificity of 68.4% (95% CI 67.0% to 69.8%). AUC was 0.848 (95% CI 0.81 to 0.88), higher than HP serology (0.635), PG 1/2 ratio (0.641), PG index (0.576), ABC method (0.647), CEA (0.576) and CA19-9 (0.595). The number needed to screen is 489 annually. It is cost-effective for mass screening relative to current practice (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio=US$44 531/quality-of-life year).

Conclusion: We developed and validated a serum 12-miRNA biomarker assay, which may be a cost-effective risk assessment for gastric cancer.

Trial Registration Number: This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (Registration number: NCT04329299).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322065DOI Listing
October 2020

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell Therapy Targeting ICAM-1 in Gastric Cancer.

Mol Ther Oncolytics 2020 Sep 21;18:587-601. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

Cancer therapy utilizing adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells has demonstrated remarkable clinical outcomes in hematologic malignancies. However, CAR T cell application to solid tumors has had limited success, partly due to the lack of tumor-specific antigens and an immune-suppressive tumor microenvironment. From the tumor tissues of gastric cancer patients, we found that intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) expression is significantly associated with advanced stage and shorter survival. In this study, we report a proof-of-concept study using ICAM-1-targeting CAR T cells against gastric cancer. The efficacy of ICAM-1 CAR T cells showed a significant correlation with the level of ICAM-1 expression in target cells . In animal models of human gastric cancer, ICAM-1-targeting CAR T cells potently eliminated tumors that developed in the lungs, while their efficacy was more limited against the tumors in the peritoneum. To augment CAR T cell activity against intraperitoneal tumors, combinations with paclitaxel or CAR activation-dependent interleukin (IL)-12 release were explored and found to significantly increase anti-tumor activity and survival benefit. Collectively, ICAM-1-targeting CAR T cells alone or in combination with chemotherapy represent a promising strategy to treat patients with ICAM-1 advanced gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omto.2020.08.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7501410PMC
September 2020

Association of tumour mutational burden with outcomes in patients with advanced solid tumours treated with pembrolizumab: prospective biomarker analysis of the multicohort, open-label, phase 2 KEYNOTE-158 study.

Lancet Oncol 2020 10 10;21(10):1353-1365. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

Background: Tumour mutational burden (TMB) has been retrospectively correlated with response to immune checkpoint blockade. We prospectively explored the association of high tissue TMB (tTMB-high) with outcomes in ten tumour-type-specific cohorts from the phase 2 KEYNOTE-158 study, which assessed the anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody pembrolizumab in patients with selected, previously treated, advanced solid tumours.

Methods: In the multi-cohort, open-label, non-randomised, phase 2 KEYNOTE-158 study, patients were enrolled from 81 academic facilities and community-based institutions across 21 countries in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, had a histologically or cytologically confirmed advanced (ie, unresectable or metastatic, or both) incurable solid tumour (eligible tumour types were anal, biliary, cervical, endometrial, mesothelioma, neuroendocrine, salivary, small-cell lung, thyroid, and vulvar), progression on or intolerance to one or more lines of standard therapy, had measurable disease per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST; version 1.1) assessed by independent central radiological review, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, life expectancy of at least 3 months, adequate organ function, and a tumour sample for biomarker analysis. Participants were given pembrolizumab 200 mg intravenously every 3 weeks for up to 35 cycles. Tissue TMB (tTMB) was assessed in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumour samples using the FoundationOne CDx assay (Foundation Medicine, Cambridge, MA, USA). The prespecified definition of tTMB-high status was at least 10 mutations per megabase. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with an objective response (complete or partial response) as per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (version 1.1) by independent central review. This prespecified analysis assessed the association between antitumour activity and tTMB in treated patients with evaluable tTMB data. Efficacy was assessed in all participants who received at least one dose of pembrolizumab, had evaluable tTMB data, and were enrolled at least 26 weeks before data cutoff (June 27, 2019), and safety was assessed in all participants who received at least one dose of pembrolizumab and had tTMB-high status. KEYNOTE-158 is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02628067, and is ongoing.

Findings: Between Jan 15, 2016, and June 25, 2019, 1073 patients were enrolled. 1066 participants were treated as of data cutoff (June 27, 2019), of whom 805 (76%) were evaluable for TMB, and 105 (13%) of 805 had tTMB-high status and were assessed for safety. 1050 (98%) of 1066 patients enrolled by at least 26 weeks before data cutoff, of whom 790 (75%) were evaluable for TMB and included in efficacy analyses. 102 (13%) of these 790 patients had tTMB-high status (≥10 mutations per megabase), and 688 (87%) patients had non-tTMB-high status (<10 mutations per megabase). Median study follow-up was 37·1 months (IQR 35·0-38·3). Objective responses were observed in 30 (29%; 95% CI 21-39) of 102 patients in the tTMB-high group and 43 (6%; 5-8) of 688 in the non-tTMB-high group. 11 (10%) of 105 patients had treatment-related serious adverse events. 16 (15%) participants had a grade 3-5 treatment-related adverse event, of which colitis was the only such adverse event that occurred in more than one patient (n=2). One patient had fatal pneumonia that was assessed by the investigator to be treatment related.

Interpretation: tTMB-high status identifies a subgroup of patients who could have a robust tumour response to pembrolizumab monotherapy. tTMB could be a novel and useful predictive biomarker for response to pembrolizumab monotherapy in patients with previously treated recurrent or metastatic advanced solid tumours.

Funding: Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, a subsidiary of Merck & Co, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30445-9DOI Listing
October 2020

Efficacy and Safety of Pembrolizumab or Pembrolizumab Plus Chemotherapy vs Chemotherapy Alone for Patients With First-line, Advanced Gastric Cancer: The KEYNOTE-062 Phase 3 Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 10;6(10):1571-1580

Vall d'Hebron University Hospital (HUVH) and Institute of Oncology (VHIO), IOB-Quiron, UVic-UCC, Barcelona, Spain.

Importance: Safe and effective therapies for untreated, advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction (G/GEJ) cancer remain an unmet need.

Objective: To evaluate the antitumor activity of pembrolizumab, pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy, or chemotherapy alone in patients with untreated, advanced G/GEJ cancer with programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) combined positive score (CPS) of 1 or greater.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The phase 3 KEYNOTE-062 randomized, controlled, partially blinded interventional trial enrolled 763 patients with untreated, locally advanced/unresectable or metastatic G/GEJ cancer with PD-L1 CPS of 1 or greater from 200 centers in 29 countries between September 18, 2015, and May 26, 2017.

Interventions: Patients were randomized 1:1:1 to pembrolizumab 200 mg, pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy (cisplatin 80 mg/m2/d on day 1 plus fluorouracil 800 mg/m2/d on days 1 to 5 or capecitabine 1000 mg/m2 twice daily), or chemotherapy plus placebo, every 3 weeks.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Primary end points were overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with PD-L1 CPS of 1 or greater or 10 or greater.

Results: A total of 763 patients were randomized to pembrolizumab (n = 256), pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy (n = 257), or chemotherapy (n = 250). The median (range) age of all patients in the study cohort was 62 (20-87) years; 554 of 763 (72.6%) were men. At final analysis, after a median (range) follow-up of 29.4 (22.0-41.3) months, pembrolizumab was noninferior to chemotherapy for OS in patients with CPS of 1 or greater (median, 10.6 vs 11.1 months; hazard ratio [HR], 0.91; 99.2% CI, 0.69-1.18). Pembrolizumab monotherapy was not superior to chemotherapy in patients with CPS of 1 or greater. Pembrolizumab prolonged OS vs chemotherapy in patients with CPS of 10 or greater (median, 17.4 vs 10.8 months; HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.49-0.97), but this difference was not statistically tested. Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy was not superior to chemotherapy for OS in patients with CPS of 1 or greater (12.5 vs 11.1 months; HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.70-1.03; P = .05) or CPS of 10 or greater (12.3 vs 10.8 months; HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.62-1.17; P = .16) or for PFS in patients with CPS of 1 or greater (6.9 vs 6.4 months; HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.70-1.02; P = .04). Grade 3 to 5 treatment-related adverse event rates for pembrolizumab, pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy, and chemotherapy were 17%, 73%, and 69%, respectively.

Conclusions And Relevance: This phase 3 randomized clinical trial found that among patients with untreated, advanced G/GEJ cancer, pembrolizumab was noninferior to chemotherapy, with fewer adverse events observed. Pembrolizumab or pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy was not superior to chemotherapy for the OS and PFS end points tested.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02494583.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.3370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7489405PMC
October 2020

Hyperprogressive disease during PD-1 blockade in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Hepatol 2021 Feb 15;74(2):350-359. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

Division of Hemato-Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) inhibitor treatment can cause hyperprogressive disease (HPD), but the incidence, outcome, and predictive factors of HPD are unknown in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Herein, we assessed the existence and factors predictive of HPD in patients with advanced HCC treated with nivolumab.

Methods: We enrolled 189 patients with advanced HCC treated with nivolumab. Occurrence of HPD was investigated using tumour growth dynamics based on tumour growth kinetics (TGK) and tumour growth rate (TGR) before and after treatment, or time to treatment failure. We additionally analysed patients treated with regorafenib (n = 95) or best supportive care (BSC)/placebo (n = 103) after progression on sorafenib to compare tumour growth dynamics.

Results: Flare-up of tumour growth was observed in a fraction of patients upon PD-1 blockade, indicating the occurrence of HPD. Based on distinct patterns of disease progression exclusively observed in the nivolumab-treated cohort, but not in the regorafenib- or BSC/placebo-treated cohorts, 4-fold increases in TGK and TGR ratios as well as a 40% increase in TGR were the cut-off values used to define HPD; 12.7% of the patients (24/189) treated with nivolumab met all these criteria. Patients with HPD had worse progression-free survival (hazard ratio [HR] 2.194; 95% CI 1.214-3.964) and overall survival (HR 2.238; 95% CI 1.233-4.062) compared to patients with progressive disease without HPD. More than 90% of patients with HPD missed the opportunity for subsequent treatment because of rapid clinical deterioration. An elevated neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (>4.125) was associated with HPD and an inferior survival rate.

Conclusions: HPD occurs in a fraction of patients with HCC who receive PD-1 inhibitor treatment. Analyses of the baseline immune profile and on-treatment tumour growth dynamics could enable optimal patient selection and earlier identification of HPD.

Lay Summary: Hyperprogressive disease is an unexpected response pattern observed in patients treated with an immune checkpoint inhibitor. This study revealed that hyperprogressive disease occurs in a fraction of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma treated with an anti-PD-1 antibody, providing evidence to encourage careful monitoring of patients to prevent clinical deterioration induced by PD-1 blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.08.010DOI Listing
February 2021

S-1 plus leucovorin and oxaliplatin versus S-1 plus cisplatin as first-line therapy in patients with advanced gastric cancer (SOLAR): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2020 08 16;21(8):1045-1056. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Hospital, Tokyo, Japan. Electronic address:

Background: S-1 plus leucovorin and oxaliplatin showed promising efficacy for treatment of advanced gastric cancer in a randomised phase 2 study. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral TAS-118 (S-1 plus leucovorin) and oxaliplatin versus S-1 plus cisplatin in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

Methods: We did a randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial in 62 centres across Japan and South Korea. Patients aged 20 years or older, with a histologically confirmed advanced gastric cancer with negative or unknown HER2 status, with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, measurable or evaluable metastatic lesions, and no previous treatment were randomly assigned (1:1) via an interactive web response system using the minimisation method, stratified by performance status, presence of a measurable lesion, and country, to receive TAS-118 (S-1 40-60 mg and leucovorin 25 mg orally twice daily for 7 days) plus oxaliplatin (85 mg/m intravenously on day 1) every 2 weeks, or S-1 (40-60 mg orally twice daily) for 21 days plus cisplatin (60 mg/m intravenously on day 1 or 8) every 5 weeks. The primary endpoint was overall survival in patients who had advanced gastric cancer with measurable or evaluable metastatic lesions and who received the study drug. Safety was assessed in all patients who received the study drug. This study was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02322593.

Findings: Between Jan 28, 2015, and Dec 5, 2016, 711 patients were randomised to TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin (n=356) or S-1 plus cisplatin (n=355). 11 untreated patients and 19 ineligible patients were excluded from the primary analysis (TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin group n=347, S-1 plus cisplatin group n=334) following recommendation from the independent data monitoring committee. After median follow-up of 26·0 months (IQR 22·0-32·8), median overall survival was 16·0 months (95% CI 13·8-18·3) in the TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin group and 15·1 months (95% CI 13·6-16·4) in the S-1 plus cisplatin group (hazard ratio 0·83, 95% CI 0·69-0·99; p=0·039). The most common grade 3 or higher adverse events in the 352 patients in the TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin group and the 348 patients in the S-1 plus cisplatin group were anaemia (56 [16%] vs 64 [18%]), neutropenia (54 [15%] vs 88 [25%]), decreased appetite (53 [15%] vs 46 [13%]), diarrhoea (33 [9%] vs 15 [4%]), and peripheral sensory neuropathy (30 [9%] vs one [<1%]). Serious adverse events were observed in 155 (44%) of 352 patients in the TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin group and 159 (46%) of 348 patients in the S-1 plus cisplatin group. Two treatment-related deaths occurred in the TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin group (pulmonary tuberculosis and viral pneumonia).

Interpretation: TAS-118 plus oxaliplatin showed a clinically meaningful improvement in efficacy compared with S-1 plus cisplatin, and could be considered a new first-line treatment option for advanced gastric cancer in Asian patients.

Funding: Taiho Pharmaceutical and Yakult Honsha.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30315-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Waun Ki Hong, MD, D.M.Sc (Hon) (1942-2019): A Mentor Who Left Behind a Legacy for Generations to Come.

Authors:
Hyun Cheol Chung

Yonsei Med J 2020 Jul;61(7):557-561

Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3349/ymj.2020.61.7.557DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7329745PMC
July 2020

Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in Previously Treated HER2-Positive Gastric Cancer.

N Engl J Med 2020 06 29;382(25):2419-2430. Epub 2020 May 29.

From the National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa (K. Shitara), the National Cancer Center Hospital (S.I.), Daiichi Sankyo (T.K., A.K., M.S.), and the Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR (K.Y.), Tokyo, the Osaka International Cancer Institute (N.S.), Osaka University Hospital (D.S.), and Kindai University Hospital (H.K.), Osaka, and Niigata Cancer Center Hospital, Niigata (H.Y.) - all in Japan; Seoul National University College of Medicine (Y.-J.B.), the Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine (M.-H.R.), the Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine (H.-C.C.), and the Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine (J.L.) - all in Seoul, South Korea; and Daiichi Sankyo, Basking Ridge, NJ (K. Saito, Y.K.).

Background: Trastuzumab deruxtecan (DS-8201) is an antibody-drug conjugate consisting of an anti-HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) antibody, a cleavable tetrapeptide-based linker, and a cytotoxic topoisomerase I inhibitor. The drug may have efficacy in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer.

Methods: In an open-label, randomized, phase 2 trial, we evaluated trastuzumab deruxtecan as compared with chemotherapy in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer. Patients with centrally confirmed HER2-positive gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma that had progressed while they were receiving at least two previous therapies, including trastuzumab, were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive trastuzumab deruxtecan (6.4 mg per kilogram of body weight every 3 weeks) or physician's choice of chemotherapy. The primary end point was the objective response, according to independent central review. Secondary end points included overall survival, response duration, progression-free survival, confirmed response (response persisting ≥4 weeks), and safety.

Results: Of 187 treated patients, 125 received trastuzumab deruxtecan and 62 chemotherapy (55 received irinotecan and 7 paclitaxel). An objective response was reported in 51% of the patients in the trastuzumab deruxtecan group, as compared with 14% of those in the physician's choice group (P<0.001). Overall survival was longer with trastuzumab deruxtecan than with chemotherapy (median, 12.5 vs. 8.4 months; hazard ratio for death, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.39 to 0.88; P = 0.01, which crossed the prespecified O'Brien-Fleming boundary [0.0202 on the basis of number of deaths]). The most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were a decreased neutrophil count (in 51% of the trastuzumab deruxtecan group and 24% of the physician's choice group), anemia (38% and 23%, respectively), and decreased white-cell count (21% and 11%). A total of 12 patients had trastuzumab deruxtecan-related interstitial lung disease or pneumonitis (grade 1 or 2 in 9 patients and grade 3 or 4 in 3), as adjudicated by an independent committee. One drug-related death (due to pneumonia) was noted in the trastuzumab deruxtecan group; no drug-related deaths occurred in the physician's choice group.

Conclusions: Therapy with trastuzumab deruxtecan led to significant improvements in response and overall survival, as compared with standard therapies, among patients with HER2-positive gastric cancer. Myelosuppression and interstitial lung disease were the notable toxic effects. (Funded by Daiichi Sankyo; DESTINY-Gastric01 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03329690.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2004413DOI Listing
June 2020

Efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab for the treatment of advanced biliary cancer: Results from the KEYNOTE-158 and KEYNOTE-028 studies.

Int J Cancer 2020 Oct 2;147(8):2190-2198. Epub 2020 May 2.

Department of Experimental Therapeutics/Gastrointestinal Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital East, Kashiwa, Japan.

We present data from patients with advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC) receiving pembrolizumab in the KEYNOTE-158 (NCT02628067; phase 2) and KEYNOTE-028 (NCT02054806; phase 1b) studies. Eligible patients aged ≥18 years from both studies had histologically/cytologically confirmed incurable BTC that progressed after standard treatment regimen(s), measurable disease per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0/1, and no prior immunotherapy. Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive tumors were required for eligibility in KEYNOTE-028 only. Patients received pembrolizumab 200 mg every three weeks (KEYNOTE-158) or 10 mg/kg every two weeks (KEYNOTE-028) for ≤2 years. Primary efficacy endpoint was objective response rate (ORR) by RECIST v1.1. Response assessed by independent central review is reported. KEYNOTE-158 enrolled 104 patients and KEYNOTE-028 enrolled 24 patients. Median (range) follow-up was 7.5 months (0.6-34.3) in KEYNOTE-158 and 5.7 months (0.6-55.4) in KEYNOTE-028. In KEYNOTE-158, ORR was 5.8% (6/104; 95% CI, 2.1%-12.1%); median duration of response (DOR) was not reached (NR) (range, 6.2-26.6+ months). Median (95% CI) OS and PFS were 7.4 (5.5-9.6) and 2.0 (1.9-2.1) months. Among PD-L1-expressers (n = 61) and PD-L1-nonexpressers (n = 34), respectively, ORR was 6.6% (4/61) and 2.9% (1/34). In KEYNOTE-028, ORR was 13.0% (3/23; 95% CI, 2.8%-33.6%); median DOR was NR (range, 21.5-53.2+ months). Median (95% CI) OS and PFS were 5.7 (3.1-9.8) and 1.8 (1.4-3.1) months. Grade 3 to 5 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 13.5% of patients in KEYNOTE-158 (no grade 4; grade 5 renal failure, n = 1) and 16.7% in KEYNOTE-028 (no grade 4/5). In summary, pembrolizumab provides durable antitumor activity in 6% to 13% of patients with advanced BTC, regardless of PD-L1 expression, and has manageable toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33013DOI Listing
October 2020

Safety and Tolerability of Bintrafusp Alfa, a Bifunctional Fusion Protein Targeting TGFβ and PD-L1, in Asian Patients with Pretreated Recurrent or Refractory Gastric Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 07 16;26(13):3202-3210. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

National Cancer Center Hospital East, Chiba, Japan.

Purpose: Patients with advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer (GC/GEJC) have limited treatment options after first-line therapy. Bintrafusp alfa is a first-in-class bifunctional fusion protein composed of the extracellular domain of the TGFβRII receptor (a TGFβ "trap") fused to a human IgG1 antibody against programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), potentially offering a new treatment approach for these patients. We report results for bintrafusp alfa in GC/GEJC.

Patients And Methods: Asian patients with recurrent GC/GEJC for whom standard therapy does not exist or for whom standard therapy has failed enrolled in this expansion cohort of an ongoing phase I trial and received bintrafusp alfa 1,200 mg once every 2 weeks until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal. The primary objective was to assess safety/tolerability.

Results: By July 23, 2018, 31 heavily pretreated patients received bintrafusp alfa for a median of 10.1 weeks; 3 patients remained on treatment. Six patients (19%) experienced grade 3 treatment-related adverse events (AE); no grade 4 events occurred. One on-treatment death occurred (sudden death); rupture of a preexisting thoracic aortic aneurysm was the suspected cause. Ten patients (32%) had immune-related AEs. The confirmed objective response rate per independent review committee was 16%; disease control rate was 26%. Median duration of response was 8.7 months (range, 2.4-12.4+). Responses occurred irrespective of PD-L1 expression or microsatellite instability status and appeared to correlate with high tumor levels.

Conclusions: In this first evaluation in Asian patients with heavily pretreated advanced GC/GEJC, bintrafusp alfa demonstrated a manageable safety profile and clinical activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3806DOI Listing
July 2020

Pembrolizumab After Two or More Lines of Previous Therapy in Patients With Recurrent or Metastatic SCLC: Results From the KEYNOTE-028 and KEYNOTE-158 Studies.

J Thorac Oncol 2020 04 20;15(4):618-627. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Introduction: Pembrolizumab has shown clinical benefit in patients with previously treated recurrent or metastatic SCLC in the phase 1b multicohort study KEYNOTE-028 (NCT02054806) and the phase 2 multicohort study KEYNOTE-158 (NCT02628067). We present a pooled analysis of patients from KEYNOTE-028 and KEYNOTE-158 who had received two or more lines of previous therapy for SCLC.

Methods: Eligible patients were aged 18 years and above, had histologically or cytologically confirmed incurable recurrent or metastatic SCLC, had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 1 and below, and had received two or more lines of previous therapy. Patients in KEYNOTE-028 were required to have a programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive tumor. Patients received pembrolizumab (10 mg/kg every 2 weeks in KEYNOTE-028 or 200 mg every 3 weeks in KEYNOTE-158) for up to 2 years. The primary end point was objective response rate per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1, which is presented here per independent review.

Results: Eighty-three patients who had received two or more lines of previous therapy (KEYNOTE-028, n = 19; KEYNOTE-158, n = 64) were included. Median follow-up duration was 7.7 (range, 0.5-48.7) months. Objective response rate was 19.3% (95% confidence interval: 11.4-29.4); two patients had complete response (one with a PD-L1-positive tumor), and 14 patients had partial response (13 with PD-L1-positive tumors). The median duration of response was not reached (range, 4.1‒35.8+ mo; plus sign indicates ongoing response); 61% of responders had responses lasting 18 months or longer. Fifty-one patients (61.4%) experienced any-grade treatment-related adverse events; eight patients (9.6%) had grade 3 or higher events.

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab exhibited durable antitumor activity in a subset of patients with recurrent or metastatic SCLC who had undergone two or more previous lines of therapy, regardless of PD-L1 expression. Pembrolizumab was well tolerated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2019.12.109DOI Listing
April 2020

A phase 3 study of nivolumab in previously treated advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer (ATTRACTION-2): 2-year update data.

Gastric Cancer 2020 05 20;23(3):510-519. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, 5-1-1, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan.

Background: Nivolumab showed improvement in overall survival (OS) in ATTRACTION-2, the first phase 3 study in patients with gastric/gastroesophageal junction (G/GEJ) cancer treated with ≥ 2 chemotherapy regimens. The 2-year follow-up results of ATTRACTION-2 are presented herein.

Methods: ATTRACTION-2 was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial (49 sites; Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan). The median (min-max) follow-up period was 27.3 (24.1-36.3) months. The primary endpoint was OS. A subanalysis of OS was performed based on best overall response and tumor-programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression status.

Results: Overall, 493 of 601 screened patients were randomized (2:1) to receive nivolumab (330) or placebo (163). OS (median [95% confidence interval; CI]) was significantly longer in the nivolumab group (5.26 [4.60-6.37] vs 4.14 [3.42-4.86] months in placebo group) at the 2-year follow-up (hazard ratio [95% CI], 0.62 [0.51-0.76]; P < 0.0001). A higher OS rate was observed in the nivolumab vs placebo group at 1 (27.3% vs 11.6%) and 2 years (10.6% vs 3.2%). The OS benefit was observed regardless of tumor PD-L1 expression. Among patients with a complete or partial response (CR or PR) in the nivolumab group, the median OS (95% CI) was 26.6 (21.65-not applicable) months; the OS rates at 1 and 2 years were 87.1% and 61.3%, respectively. No new safety signals were identified.

Conclusions: Nivolumab treatment resulted in clinically meaningful long-term improvements in OS in patients with previously treated G/GEJ cancer. The long-term survival benefit of nivolumab was most evident in patients with a CR or PR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10120-019-01034-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7165140PMC
May 2020

Efficacy of Pembrolizumab in Patients With Noncolorectal High Microsatellite Instability/Mismatch Repair-Deficient Cancer: Results From the Phase II KEYNOTE-158 Study.

J Clin Oncol 2020 01 4;38(1):1-10. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: Genomes of tumors that are deficient in DNA mismatch repair (dMMR) have high microsatellite instability (MSI-H) and harbor hundreds to thousands of somatic mutations that encode potential neoantigens. Such tumors are therefore likely to be immunogenic, triggering upregulation of immune checkpoint proteins. Pembrolizumab, an anti‒programmed death-1 monoclonal antibody, has antitumor activity against MSI-H/dMMR cancer. We report data from the phase II KEYNOTE-158 study of pembrolizumab in patients with previously treated, advanced noncolorectal MSI-H/dMMR cancer.

Patients And Methods: Eligible patients with histologically/cytologically confirmed MSI-H/dMMR advanced noncolorectal cancer who experienced failure with prior therapy received pembrolizumab 200 mg once every 3 weeks for 2 years or until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or patient withdrawal. Radiologic imaging was performed every 9 weeks for the first year of therapy and every 12 weeks thereafter. The primary end point was objective response rate per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1, as assessed by independent central radiologic review.

Results: Among 233 enrolled patients, 27 tumor types were represented, with endometrial, gastric, cholangiocarcinoma, and pancreatic cancers being the most common. Median follow up was 13.4 months. Objective response rate was 34.3% (95% CI, 28.3% to 40.8%). Median progression-free survival was 4.1 months (95% CI, 2.4 to 4.9 months) and median overall survival was 23.5 months (95% CI, 13.5 months to not reached). Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 151 patients (64.8%). Thirty-four patients (14.6%) had grade 3 to 5 treatment-related adverse events. Grade 5 pneumonia occurred in one patient; there were no other treatment-related fatal adverse events.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates the clinical benefit of anti-programmed death-1 therapy with pembrolizumab among patients with previously treated unresectable or metastatic MSI-H/dMMR noncolorectal cancer. Toxicity was consistent with previous experience of pembrolizumab monotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.02105DOI Listing
January 2020

Safety and Efficacy of Durvalumab and Tremelimumab Alone or in Combination in Patients with Advanced Gastric and Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 02 1;26(4):846-854. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

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

Purpose: This randomized, multicenter, open-label, phase Ib/II study assessed durvalumab and tremelimumab in combination or as monotherapy for chemotherapy-refractory gastric cancer or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer.

Patients And Methods: Second-line patients were randomized 2:2:1 to receive durvalumab plus tremelimumab (arm A), or durvalumab (arm B) or tremelimumab monotherapy (arm C), and third-line patients received durvalumab plus tremelimumab (arm D). A tumor-based IFNγ gene signature was prospectively evaluated as a potential predictive biomarker in second- and third-line patients receiving the combination (arm E). The coprimary endpoints were objective response rate and progression-free survival (PFS) rate at 6 months.

Results: A total of 113 patients were treated: 6 in phase Ib and 107 (arm A, 27; arm B, 24; arm C, 12; arm D, 25; arm E, 19) in phase II. Overall response rates were 7.4%, 0%, 8.3%, 4.0%, and 15.8% in the five arms, respectively. PFS rates at 6 months were 6.1%, 0%, 20%, 15%, and 0%, and 12-month overall survival rates were 37.0%, 4.6%, 22.9%, 38.8%, and NA, respectively. Treatment-related grade 3/4 adverse events were reported in 17%, 4%, 42%, 16%, and 11% of patients, respectively.

Conclusions: Response rates were low regardless of monotherapy or combination strategies. No new safety signals were identified. Including use of a tumor-based IFNγ signature and change in baseline and on-treatment circulating tumor DNA are clinically feasible and may be novel strategies to improve treatment response in this difficult-to-treat population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-2443DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748730PMC
February 2020

Comprehensive immune profiling and immune-monitoring using body fluid of patients with metastatic gastric cancer.

J Immunother Cancer 2019 10 21;7(1):268. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Songdang Institute for Cancer Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea.

Background: The aim of this study is to profile the cytokines and immune cells of body fluid from metastatic gastric cancer (mGC), and evaluate the potential role as a prognostic factor and the feasibility as a predictive biomarker or monitoring source for immune checkpoint inhibitor.

Methods: Body fluid including ascites and pleural fluid were obtained from 55 mGC patients and 24 matched blood. VEGF-A, IL-10, and TGF-β1 were measured and immune cells were profiled by fluorescence assisted cell sorting (FACS).

Results: VEGF-A and IL-10 were significantly higher in body fluid than in plasma of mGC. Proportion of T lymphocytes with CD69 or PD-1, memory T cell marked with CD45RO, and number of Foxp3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) were significantly higher in body fluid than those in blood of mGC. Proportion of CD8 T lymphocyte with memory marker (CD45RO) and activation marker (HLA-DR), CD3 T lymphocyte with PD-1, and number of FoxP3+ Tregs were identified as independent prognostic factors. When patients were classified by molecular subgroups of primary tumor, VEGF-A was significantly higher in genomically stable (GS)-like group than that in chromosomal instability (CIN)-like group while PD-L1 positive tumor cells (%) showed opposite results. Monitoring immune dynamics using body fluid was also feasible. Early activated T cell marked with CD25 was significantly increased in chemotherapy treated group.

Conclusions: By analyzing cytokines and proportion of immune cells in body fluid, prognosis of patients with mGC can be predicted. Immune monitoring using body fluid may provide more effective treatment for patients with mGC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0708-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6805480PMC
October 2019

Prognostic role of body composition parameters in gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer patients from the EXPAND trial.

J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle 2020 02 28;11(1):135-144. Epub 2019 Aug 28.

1st Medical Department, University Cancer Center Leipzig (UCCL), University Leipzig Medical Center, Leipzig, Germany.

Background: Body fat and/or muscle composition influences prognosis in several cancer types. For advanced gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancer, we investigated which body composition parameters carry prognostic information beyond well-established clinical parameters using robust model selection strategy such that parameters identified can be expected to generalize and to be reproducible beyond our particular data set. Then we modelled how differences in these parameters translate into survival outcomes.

Methods: Fat and muscle parameters were measured on baseline computed tomography scans in 761 patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer from the phase III EXPAND trial, undergoing first-line chemotherapy. Cox regression analysis for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) included body composition parameters and clinical prognostic factors. All continuous variables were entered linearly into the model as there was no evidence of non-linear prognostic impact. For transferability, the final model included only parameters that were picked by Bayesian information criterion model selection followed by bootstrap analysis to identify the most robust model.

Results: Muscle and fat parameters formed correlation clusters without relevant between-cluster correlation. Mean muscle attenuation (MA) clusters with the fat parameters. In multivariate analysis, MA was prognostic for OS (P < 0.0001) but not for PFS, while skeletal muscle index was prognostic for PFS (P = 0.02) but not for OS. Worse performance status Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG 1/0), younger age (on a linear scale), and the number of metastatic sites were strong negative clinical prognostic factors for both OS and PFS. MA remained in the model for OS (P = 0.0001) following Bayesian information criterion model selection in contrast to skeletal muscle index that remained prognostic for PFS (P = 0.009). Applying stricter criteria for transferability, MA represented the only prognostic body composition parameter for OS, selected in >80% of bootstrap replicates. Finally, Cox model-derived survival curves indicated that large differences in MA translate into only moderate differences in expected OS in this cohort.

Conclusions: Among body composition parameters, only MA has robust prognostic impact for OS. Data suggest that treatment approaches targeting muscle quality are unlikely to prolong OS noticeably on their own in advanced gastric cancer patients, indicating that multimodal approaches should be pursued in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcsm.12484DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7015239PMC
February 2020

Effect of First-line S-1 Plus Oxaliplatin With or Without Ramucirumab Followed by Paclitaxel Plus Ramucirumab on Advanced Gastric Cancer in East Asia: The Phase 2 RAINSTORM Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Netw Open 2019 08 2;2(8):e198243. Epub 2019 Aug 2.

Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Importance: Ramucirumab, a human IgG 1 antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, has been shown to improve progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with advanced gastric cancer in the second-line setting.

Objective: To compare progression-free survival for S-1 and oxaliplatin plus ramucirumab with that for S-1 and oxaliplatin plus placebo in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This phase 2, double-blind randomized clinical trial (RAINSTORM [First-line S-1 Plus Oxaliplatin With or Without Ramucirumab Followed by Paclitaxel Plus Ramucirumab in Patients With Advanced Gastric Cancer]) was conducted from October 12, 2015, to April 11, 2018, at 36 sites in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Participants were chemotherapy-naive patients (n = 189) with metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma. Analyses of the full analysis set and safety population were conducted between November 27, 2017, and June 4, 2018.

Interventions: Patients randomized to the ramucirumab plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm received S-1, 80 to 120 mg/d twice daily, on days 1 to 14 and oxaliplatin, 100 mg/m2, on day 1 with ramucirumab, 8 mg/kg, on days 1 and 8 in part A (21-day cycle). Patients randomized to the placebo plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm received the same S-1 and oxaliplatin dosage as well as placebo on days 1 and 8 in part A. Eligible patients received second-line paclitaxel, 80 mg/m2, on days 1, 8, and 15 and ramucirumab, 8 mg/kg, on days 1 and 15 in part B (28-day cycle).

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was progression-free survival, analyzed using the stratified log-rank test; the hazard ratio (HR) was estimated using the stratified Cox proportional hazards regression model. Secondary end points included overall survival and adverse events.

Results: In total, 189 patients were randomized and received treatment: 96 to the ramucirumab plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm and 93 to the placebo plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm. Among the 189 patients, 121 (64.0%) were male, and the median (range) age was 62.0 (26-84) years. Median progression-free survival was not prolonged in the ramucirumab plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm compared with the placebo plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm (6.34 [80% CI, 5.65-6.93] vs 6.74 [80% CI, 5.75-7.13] months; HR, 1.07; 80% CI, 0.86-1.33; P = .70). Median overall survival was 14.65 (80% CI, 12.39-15.67) months in the ramucirumab plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm and 14.26 (80% CI, 13.83-17.31) months in the placebo plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm (HR, 1.11; 80% CI, 0.89-1.40; P = .55). The most commonly reported grade 3 or higher treatment-emergent adverse events in the ramucirumab plus S-1 and oxaliplatin arm in part A were decreased neutrophil count (14 patients [14.6%]), hypertension (10 patients [10.4%]), and anemia (10 patients [10.4%]).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial, the addition of ramucirumab to first-line S-1 and oxaliplatin treatment did not prolong progression-free survival or overall survival compared with S-1 and oxaliplatin alone among East Asian patients with advanced gastric cancer; no new safety signals for ramucirumab were identified.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02539225.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6681552PMC
August 2019

Phase II trial of preoperative sequential chemotherapy followed by chemoradiotherapy for high-risk gastric cancer.

Radiother Oncol 2019 11 11;140:143-149. Epub 2019 Jul 11.

Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Song-Dang Institute for Cancer Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Sciences, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Background And Purpose: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of preoperative chemotherapy (CTx) followed by chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) for high-risk gastric cancer (GC).

Methods And Materials: The inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) Borrmann type 4; (2) large Borrmann type 3 (≥8 cm); (3) single bulky (≥3 cm × 1) or multiple lymph nodes (≥1.5 cm × 3). Patients received two 21-day courses of induction CTx of TS-1 (35 mg/m, p.o, twice daily on days 1-14), docetaxel (30 mg/m, i.v., days 1 and 8), and cisplatin (30 mg/m, i.v., days 1 and 8) followed by CCRT (two courses of TS-1 and cisplatin in combination with 45 Gy radiation).

Results: Forty-two patients were enrolled between March 2014 and February 2016, and 39 of these completed sequential CTx and CCRT. Among the 33 patients who underwent R0 resection, the pathologic response rate was 39.4% [no residual carcinoma (n = 5, 15.2%), with 1-10% residual carcinoma (n = 8, 24.2%)]. Overall, 4 patients (12.1%) were pathologic stage 0, 7 (21.2%) were stage I, 10 (30.3%) were stage II, and 12 (36.4%) were stage III. The overall survival rate at 3 years was 77.9% for stages 0 and I, 66.8% for stages II-III, and 33.3% for unresectable cases (P = 0.001). Toxicity was mild to moderate with grade 4 neutropenia (n = 1) and neutropenic fever (n = 1) as the most prominent side-effects.

Conclusions: Sequential CTx and CCRT prior to surgery are feasible and effective for high-risk GC.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02495493.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2019.06.029DOI Listing
November 2019

Changes in taste and food preferences in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a pilot study.

Support Care Cancer 2020 Mar 22;28(3):1265-1275. Epub 2019 Jun 22.

Department of Food and Nutrition, Brain Korea 21 PLUS Project, College of Human Ecology, Yonsei University, Seoul, 03722, South Korea.

Purpose: Cancer treatment may relate to appetite reduction and malnutrition. We investigated taste alterations and dish-type preferences during chemo- and/or radiation therapy in breast cancer patients.

Methods: Breast cancer patients (BC, n = 59) scheduled to receive cancer therapy and healthy subjects (control group or CTRL, n = 49) were voluntarily recruited. Taste detection thresholds (DTs) and recognition thresholds (RT) were compared between pre-treatment BC patients and CTRL for sweet (sucrose), salty (NaCl), bitter (caffeine), and sour (citric acid) solutions. Changes in taste thresholds and dish preferences during treatment were monitored in the BC group. Blood chemistry and anthropometric data were collected.

Results: At baseline, BC patients demonstrated lower sweet and salty DTs and RTs and a higher sour RT compared to CTRL. Bitter DT and RT were similar in both groups. Mild/soft dishes were preferred over fried/oily dishes by BC patients. Throughout treatment in BC patients, sweet thresholds significantly declined, while salty, bitter, and sour DTs and RTs were not affected, and there was no increase in preference for a dish. However, preference towards mild/soft dishes remained. While sweet-sour fruits and sweetened nuts were not favored during therapy.

Conclusions: Sensitivities to sweet, salty, and sour but not bitter tastes differed between BC patients and CTRL. During treatment, sweet taste sensitivity increased while other tastes were unaffected. BC patients preferred mild/soft dishes over fried and sweetened dishes compared to CTRL. Our findings may contribute to developing dishes for breast cancer patients to increase food intake and thereby lower the risk of malnutrition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-019-04924-9DOI Listing
March 2020

Behaviors and Attitudes toward the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Korean Cancer Patients.

Cancer Res Treat 2019 Jul 7;51(3):851-860. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

Purpose: A cross-sectional survey was conducted to explore the current awareness and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as well as attitudes toward CAM, in patients with cancer and their family members in South Korea.

Materials And Methods: Between September 21 and October 31, 2017, a 25-item questionnaire regarding CAM experiences among cancer patients and their family members was conducted in 10 oncology clinics in South Korea after institutional review board approval at each institution.

Results: In total, 283/310 patients were analyzed. The median age was 60 years, and 60% were male. Most of the patients were actively receiving anticancer treatment at the time of the survey. A total of 106 patients (37%) had experienced a median of two types (interquartile range, 1 to 3) of CAM. Belief in CAM (odds ratio [OR], 3.015; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.611 to 5.640) and duration of disease (OR, 1.012; 95% CI, 1.004 to 1.020) were independent factors for using CAM in multivariable analysis. Belief in CAM was significantly associated with current use of CAM (OR, 3.633; 95% CI, 1.567 to 8.424). Lay referral was the most common reason for deciding to use CAM, and only 25% of patients (72/283) discussed CAM with their physicians.

Conclusion: Patient attitudes toward and confidence in CAM modalities were strongly associated with their CAM experiences, and only a small number of patients had an open discussion about CAM with their physicians. A patient education program for CAM is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4143/crt.2019.137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6639220PMC
July 2019

Inhibiting casein kinase 2 overcomes paclitaxel resistance in gastric cancer.

Gastric Cancer 2019 11 16;22(6):1153-1163. Epub 2019 May 16.

Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei Cancer Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 51 Yonsei-Ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-752, Korea.

Purpose: Casein kinase (CK) 2 activation has been implicated in the proliferation of various tumor types and resistance to chemotherapy. We investigated the mechanistic basis for the association between CK2 activation and paclitaxel resistance in a gastric cancer (GC).

Experimental Design: CK2 expression was evaluated in 59 advanced GC patients treated with paclitaxel as the second-line therapy. The efficacy of a CK2 inhibitor, CX-4945, and paclitaxel was evaluated in GC cell lines and a xenograft model.

Results: Patients with high CK2 expression (29/59, 39%) showed lower disease control rates (47.7% vs. 72.3%, p = 0.017) and shorter progression-free survival (2.8 vs. 4.8 months, p = 0.009) than patients with low CK2 expression. CK2 protein expression was associated with sensitivity to paclitaxel in 49 GC cell lines. Combination therapy with CX-4945 and paclitaxel exerted synergistic antiproliferative effects and inhibited the downregulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT signaling in SNU-1 cells. In the SNU-1 xenograft model, the combination treatment was significantly superior to either single agent, suppressing tumor growth without notable toxicities.

Conclusions: These results demonstrated that CK2 activation was related to paclitaxel resistance and that CX-4945 in combination with paclitaxel could be used as a potential treatment for paclitaxel resistance in GC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10120-019-00971-7DOI Listing
November 2019

Exploratory subgroup analysis of patients with prior trastuzumab use in the ATTRACTION-2 trial: a randomized phase III clinical trial investigating the efficacy and safety of nivolumab in patients with advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer.

Gastric Cancer 2020 01 13;23(1):143-153. Epub 2019 May 13.

Division of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital, 5-1-1, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0045, Japan.

Background: Data on immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy in patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) advanced gastric/gastroesophageal junction (G/GEJ) cancer are lacking. Because HER2 status was not captured in the ATTRACTION-2 trial, we used patients with prior trastuzumab use (Tmab+) as surrogate for HER2 expression status to evaluate the efficacy and safety of nivolumab as third- or later-line therapy in these patients.

Methods: In ATTRACTION-2, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 multicenter trial, patients were randomized (2:1) to receive nivolumab (3 mg/kg) or placebo every 2 weeks until disease progression or toxicity requiring study discontinuation. Overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), and safety were assessed.

Results: Of 493 enrolled patients, 81 (nivolumab, n = 59; placebo, n = 22) were Tmab+ and 412 (nivolumab, n = 271; placebo, n = 141) were Tmab-. In both groups, patients receiving nivolumab showed a longer median OS vs placebo (Tmab+, 8.3 [95% confidence interval, 5.3-12.9] vs 3.1 [1.9-5.3] months, hazard ratio, 0.38 [0.22-0.66]; P = 0.0006; Tmab-, 4.8 [4.1-6.0] vs 4.2 [3.6-4.9] months, 0.71 [0.57-0.88]; P = 0.0022). PFS was longer in both groups receiving nivolumab vs placebo (Tmab+, 1.6 [1.5-4.0] vs 1.5 [1.3-2.9] months, 0.49 [0.29-0.85]; P = 0.0111; Tmab-, 1.6 [1.5-2.4] vs 1.5 [1.5-1.5] months, 0.64 [0.51-0.80]; P = 0.0001).

Conclusions: Nivolumab was efficacious and safe as third- or later-line therapy regardless of prior trastuzumab use in patients with advanced G/GEJ cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10120-019-00970-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6942596PMC
January 2020