Publications by authors named "Janet Dancey"

120 Publications

Phase I/II study of sorafenib in combination with erlotinib for recurrent glioblastoma as part of a 3-arm sequential accrual clinical trial: NABTC 05-02.

Neurooncol Adv 2020 Jan-Dec;2(1):vdaa124. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Neuro-Oncology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Background: Receptor tyrosine kinases such as epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) and their downstream signaling pathways such as the Ras-Raf-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway play important roles in glioblastoma (GBM). This study investigated the safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of sorafenib (Ras/Raf/MAPK inhibitor) in combination with erlotinib (EGFR inhibitor) for treatment of recurrent GBMs.

Methods: Patients with recurrent GBM were eligible. A novel sequential accrual trial design was used, where patients were sequentially accrued into separate treatment arms in phase I and phase II investigations to optimize recruitment efficiency. In phase I, a standard 3 + 3 format was used to identify dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), determine maximum tolerated dose (MTD), and investigate pharmacokinetics. Phase II followed a 2-stage design with the primary endpoint being 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6).

Results: Sixteen patients were recruited for phase I, and the MTD was determined to be sorafenib 200 mg twice daily and erlotinib 100 mg once daily. DLTs include Grade 3 hypertension, Grade 3 elevated liver transaminases, and Grade 4 elevated lipase. While erlotinib did not affect sorafenib levels, sorafenib reduced erlotinib levels. In phase II, 3 of 19 stage 1 participants were progression free at 6 months. This did not meet the predetermined efficacy endpoint, and the trial was terminated.

Conclusion: This study identified the MTD and DLTs for sorafenib and erlotinib combination therapy for recurrent GBMs; however, efficacy data did not meet the primary endpoint. This study also demonstrates the feasibility of a novel sequential accrual clinical trial design that optimizes patient recruitment for multiarm studies, which is particularly effective for multicenter clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/noajnl/vdaa124DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7668489PMC
September 2020

RECIST 1.1 for Response Evaluation Apply Not Only to Chemotherapy-Treated Patients But Also to Targeted Cancer Agents: A Pooled Database Analysis.

J Clin Oncol 2019 05 12;37(13):1102-1110. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

4 Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Purpose: The mode of action of targeted cancer agents (TCAs) differs from classic chemotherapy, which leads to concerns about the role of RECIST in evaluating tumor response in trials with TCAs. We investigated the performance of RECIST using a pooled database from 50 clinical trials with at least one TCA.

Methods: We examined the impact of the number of target lesions (TLs) on within-patient variability of tumor response. The prognostic effect of TL response (at 12 weeks or on study on the basis of a maximum five TLs) on survival was studied through landmark and time-dependent Cox models adjusted for baseline tumor load, occurrence of new lesions, or unequivocal progression of nontarget disease.

Results: Data were obtained from 23,259 patients with cancer (36% lung, 28% colorectal, 11% breast, and 25% other); 15,620 received TCAs, predominantly transduction or angiogenesis inhibitors, as a single agent (37%), combined with other TCAs (7%), or as chemotherapy (56%); 28% received chemotherapy only; and 5% received best supportive care or placebo. A total of 17,222 patients contributed to the analyses. Within-patient variability decreased with increasing number of TLs, similarly for TCAs (with/without chemotherapy) and chemotherapy only. Mixed responses occurred proportionally in all treatment classes. Landmark analyses showed an ordinal relationship between percentage change from baseline to 12 weeks and overall survival, and demonstrated a clear distinction between tumor shrinkage and progressive disease according to RECIST. Time-dependent analysis showed no marked improvement in the ability to predict survival on the basis of TL tumor growth compared with nontarget progression or new lesion occurrence, regardless of treatment. Similar results were seen for major tumor types and different classes of TCAs.

Conclusion: This work reinforces that RECIST version 1.1 perform well for response assessment of TCAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.18.01100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6494357PMC
May 2019

Conducting clinical trials-costs, impacts, and the value of clinical trials networks: A scoping review.

Clin Trials 2019 04 10;16(2):183-193. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

1 Department of Cancer Control Research, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Background: A significant barrier to conducting clinical trials is their high cost, which is driven primarily by the time and resources required to activate trials and reach accrual targets. The high cost of running trials has a substantial impact on their long-term feasibility and the type of clinical research undertaken.

Methods: A scoping review of the empirical literature on the costs associated with conducting clinical trials was undertaken for the years 2001-2015. Five reference databases were consulted to elicit how trials costs are presented in the literature. A review instrument was developed to extract the content of in-scope papers. Findings were characterized by date and place of publication, clinical disease area, and network/cooperative group designation, when specified. Costs were captured and grouped by patient accrual and management, infrastructure, and the opportunity costs associated with industry funding for trials research. Cost impacts on translational research and health systems were also captured, as were recommendations to reduce trial expenditures. Since articles often cited multiple costs, multiple cost coding was used during data extraction to capture the range and frequency of costs.

Results: A total of 288 empirical articles were included. The distribution of reported costs was: patient management and accrual costs (132 articles), infrastructure costs (118 articles) and the opportunity costs of industry sponsorship (72 articles). 221 articles reported on the impact of undertaking costly trials on translational research and health systems; of these, the most frequently reported consequences were to research integrity (52% of articles), research capacity (36% of articles) and running low-value trials (34% of articles). 254 articles provided recommendations to reduce trial costs; of these, the most frequently reported recommendations related to improvements in: operational efficiencies (33% of articles); patient accrual (24% of articles); funding for trials and transparency in trials reporting (18% of articles, each).

Conclusion: Key findings from the review are: 1) delayed trial activation has costs to budgets and research; 2) poor accrual leads to low-value trials and wasted resources; 3) the pharmaceutical industry can be a pragmatic, if problematic, partner in clinical research; 4) organizational know-how and successful research collaboration are benefits of network/cooperative groups; and 5) there are spillover benefits of clinical trials to healthcare systems, including better health outcomes, enhanced research capacity, and drug cost avoidance. There is a need for more economic evaluations of the benefits of clinical research, such as health system use (or avoidance) and health outcomes in cities and health authorities with institutions that conduct clinical research, to demonstrate the affordability of clinical trials, despite their high cost.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1740774518820060DOI Listing
April 2019

Current Activities of the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2019 01;111(1):11-18

National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, Pittsburgh, PA.

The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups is an organization representing the interests of patients and researchers who conduct research through the National Cancer Institute-supported National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The NCTN provides a crucial mechanism for executing practice-changing cancer clinical research to achieve both cancer control and development of new therapeutic agents or modality approaches. Public funding, largely through the National Cancer Institute, ensures that the work of the NCTN achieves important research that would not otherwise be accomplished in the private sector. In fall 2017, the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups convened a Scientific Leadership Council to review the current state of the network with regard to research capabilities and to develop a list of research questions to be prioritized by the network. This report presents the results of this meeting, detailing a roadmap for future work by the NCTN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djy190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6657272PMC
January 2019

Quality of life as a prognostic indicator of survival: A pooled analysis of individual patient data from canadian cancer trials group clinical trials.

Cancer 2018 08 15;124(16):3409-3416. Epub 2018 Jun 15.

Quality of Life Department, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: The aims of this study were to externally validate an established association between baseline health-related quality of life (HRQOL) scores and survival and to assess the added prognostic value of HRQOL with respect to demographic and clinical indicators.

Methods: Pooled data were analyzed from 17 randomized controlled trials opened by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group between 1991 and 2004; they included survival and baseline HRQOL data from 3606 patients with 8 different cancer sites. The models included sex, age (≤60 vs >60 years), World Health Organization performance status (0 or 1 vs 2-4), distant metastases (no vs yes), and 15 European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Core Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30) scales. Analyses were conducted with multivariate Cox proportional hazards models and were stratified by cancer site. Harrell's discrimination C-index was used to calculate the predictive accuracy of the model when HRQOL parameters were added to clinical and demographic variables. The added value of adding HRQOL scales to clinical and demographic variables was illustrated with Kaplan-Meier curves.

Results: In the stratified, multivariate model, HRQOL parameters-global health status (hazard ratio [HR], 0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.95-1.00; P < . 0001), dyspnea (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.06; P < . 0002), and appetite loss (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04-1.08; P < . 0001)-were independent prognostic factors in addition to the demographic and clinical variables (all P values < .05). Adding these HRQOL variables to the clinical variables resulted in an added relative prognostic value for survival of 5%.

Conclusions: These results confirm previous findings showing that baseline HRQOL scores on the EORTC QLQ-C30 provide prognostic information in addition to information from clinical measures. However, the impact of specific domains may differ across studies. Cancer 2018. © 2018 American Cancer Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31556DOI Listing
August 2018

Phase 1/2 trial of temsirolimus and sorafenib in the treatment of patients with recurrent glioblastoma: North Central Cancer Treatment Group Study/Alliance N0572.

Cancer 2018 04 3;124(7):1455-1463. Epub 2018 Jan 3.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Background: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent signaling are hallmarks of glioblastoma. In the current study, the authors conducted a phase 1/2 study of sorafenib (an inhibitor of Raf kinase and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 [VEGFR-2]) and the mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus in patients with recurrent glioblastoma.

Methods: Patients with recurrent glioblastoma who developed disease progression after surgery or radiotherapy plus temozolomide and with ≤2 prior chemotherapy regimens were eligible. The phase 1 endpoint was the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), using a cohorts-of-3 design. The 2-stage phase 2 study included separate arms for VEGF inhibitor (VEGFi)-naive patients and patients who progressed after prior VEGFi.

Results: The MTD was sorafenib at a dose of 200 mg twice daily and temsirolimus at a dose of 20 mg weekly. In the first 41 evaluable patients who were treated at the phase 2 dose, there were 7 who were free of disease progression at 6 months (progression-free survival at 6 months [PFS6]) in the VEGFi-naive group (17.1%); this finding met the prestudy threshold of success. In the prior VEGFi group, only 4 of the first 41 evaluable patients treated at the phase 2 dose achieved PFS6 (9.8%), and this did not meet the prestudy threshold for success. The median PFS for the 2 groups was 2.6 months and 1.9 months, respectively. The median overall survival for the 2 groups was 6.3 months and 3.9 months, respectively. At least 1 adverse event of grade ≥3 was observed in 75.5% of the VEGFi-naive patients and in 73.9% of the prior VEGFi patients.

Conclusions: The limited activity of sorafenib and temsirolimus at the dose and schedule used in the current study was observed with considerable toxicity of grade ≥3. Significant dose reductions that were required in this treatment combination compared with tolerated single-agent doses may have contributed to the lack of efficacy. Cancer 2018;124:1455-63. © 2018 American Cancer Society.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31219DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5867230PMC
April 2018

Clinical trial design for systemic agents in patients with brain metastases from solid tumours: a guideline by the Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology Brain Metastases working group.

Lancet Oncol 2018 01;19(1):e20-e32

Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Patients with active CNS disease are often excluded from clinical trials, and data regarding the CNS efficacy of systemic agents are usually obtained late in the drug development process or not at all. In this guideline from the Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology Brain Metastases (RANO-BM) working group, we provide detailed recommendations on when patients with brain metastases from solid tumours should be included or excluded in clinical trials of systemic agents. We also discuss the limitations of retrospective studies in determining the CNS efficacy of systemic drugs. Inclusion of patients with brain metastases early on in the clinical development of a drug or a regimen is needed to generate appropriate CNS efficacy or non-efficacy signals. We consider how to optimally incorporate or exclude such patients in systemic therapy trials depending on the likelihood of CNS activity of the agent by considering three scenarios: drugs that are considered very unlikely to have CNS antitumour activity or efficacy; drugs that are considered very likely to have CNS activity or efficacy; and drugs with minimal baseline information on CNS activity or efficacy. We also address trial design issues unique to patients with brain metastases, including the selection of appropriate CNS endpoints in systemic therapy trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30693-9DOI Listing
January 2018

Phase I study of sorafenib and tipifarnib for recurrent glioblastoma: NABTC 05-02.

J Neurooncol 2018 Jan 7;136(1):79-86. Epub 2017 Oct 7.

Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, 710 Westwood Plaza, Reed 1-230, Los Angeles, CA, 90230, USA.

Recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) has a very low 6-month progression free survival (PFS) with currently available treatments. Combination chemotherapy to target multiple cell signaling pathways is currently being investigated in order to improve prognosis for recurrent disease. The purpose of this phase I study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) for the combination of tipifarnib and sorafenib for the treatment of recurrent GBM. Patients with pathologically proven WHO grade IV GBM and radiographically proven tumor recurrence were eligible for this study. Treatments included sorafenib at twice daily and escalating dosages of tipifarnib. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was determined over the first 28-days of treatments, and the MTD was determined in a 3 + 3 study design. We enrolled 24 patients, and 21 patients completed the MTD period. The study was stopped early with no MTD determination for excessive toxicities. The last dose level reached was sorafenib at 200 mg twice a day and tipifarnib 100 mg twice a day on an alternating week schedule. The DLTs included diarrhea, lipase elevation, hypophosphatemia, and arthralgia. The combination of sorafenib and tipifarnib has excessive toxicities and full single agent dosages could not be achieved in combination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-017-2624-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756101PMC
January 2018

iRECIST: guidelines for response criteria for use in trials testing immunotherapeutics.

Lancet Oncol 2017 03 2;18(3):e143-e152. Epub 2017 Mar 2.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands.

Tumours respond differently to immunotherapies compared with chemotherapeutic drugs, raising questions about the assessment of changes in tumour burden-a mainstay of evaluation of cancer therapeutics that provides key information about objective response and disease progression. A consensus guideline-iRECIST-was developed by the RECIST working group for the use of modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST version 1.1) in cancer immunotherapy trials, to ensure consistent design and data collection, facilitate the ongoing collection of trial data, and ultimate validation of the guideline. This guideline describes a standard approach to solid tumour measurements and definitions for objective change in tumour size for use in trials in which an immunotherapy is used. Additionally, it defines the minimum datapoints required from future trials and those currently in development to facilitate the compilation of a data warehouse to use to later validate iRECIST. An unprecedented number of trials have been done, initiated, or are planned to test new immune modulators for cancer therapy using a variety of modified response criteria. This guideline will allow consistent conduct, interpretation, and analysis of trials of immunotherapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30074-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5648544PMC
March 2017

RECIST 1.1 - Standardisation and disease-specific adaptations: Perspectives from the RECIST Working Group.

Eur J Cancer 2016 07 26;62:138-45. Epub 2016 May 26.

Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Radiologic imaging of disease sites plays a pivotal role in the management of patients with cancer. Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST), introduced in 2000, and modified in 2009, has become the de facto standard for assessment of response in solid tumours in patients on clinical trials. The RECIST Working Group considers the ability of the global oncology community to implement and adopt updates to RECIST in a timely manner to be critical. Updates to RECIST must be tested, validated and implemented in a standardised, methodical manner in response to therapeutic and imaging technology advances as well as experience gained by users. This was the case with the development of RECIST 1.1, where an expanded data warehouse was developed to test and validate modifications. Similar initiatives are ongoing, testing RECIST in the evaluation of response to non-cytotoxic agents, immunotherapies, as well as in specific diseases. The RECIST Working Group has previously outlined the level of evidence considered necessary to formally and fully validate new imaging markers as an appropriate end-point for clinical trials. Achieving the optimal level of evidence desired is a difficult feat for phase III trials; this involves a meta-analysis of multiple prospective, randomised multicentre clinical trials. The rationale for modifications should also be considered; the modifications may be proposed to improve surrogacy, to provide a more mechanistic imaging technique, or be designed to improve reproducibility of the imaging biomarker. Here, we present the commonly described modifications of RECIST, each of which is associated with different levels of evidence and validation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2016.03.082DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5737786PMC
July 2016

RECIST 1.1-Update and clarification: From the RECIST committee.

Eur J Cancer 2016 07 14;62:132-7. Epub 2016 May 14.

Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.

The Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST) were developed and published in 2000, based on the original World Health Organisation guidelines first published in 1981. In 2009, revisions were made (RECIST 1.1) incorporating major changes, including a reduction in the number of lesions to be assessed, a new measurement method to classify lymph nodes as pathologic or normal, the clarification of the requirement to confirm a complete response or partial response and new methodologies for more appropriate measurement of disease progression. The purpose of this paper was to summarise the questions posed and the clarifications provided as an update to the 2009 publication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2016.03.081DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5737828PMC
July 2016

Rare cancers: a sea of opportunity.

Lancet Oncol 2016 Feb;17(2):e52-e61

Department of Molecular Oncology, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address:

Rare cancers, as a collective, account for around a quarter of all cancer diagnoses and deaths. Historically, they have been divided into two groups: cancers defined by their unusual histogenesis (cell of origin or differentiation state)--including chordomas or adult granulosa cell tumours--and histologically defined subtypes of common cancers. Most tumour types in the first group are still clinically and biologically relevant, and have been disproportionately important as sources of insight into cancer biology. By contrast, most of those in the second group have been shown to have neither defining molecular features nor clinical utility. Omics-based analyses have splintered common cancers into a myriad of molecularly, rather than histologically, defined subsets of common cancers, many of which have immediate clinical relevance. Now, almost all rare cancers are either histomolecular entities, which often have pathognomonic mutations, or molecularly defined subsets of more common cancers. The presence of specific genetic variants provides rationale for the testing of targeted drugs in rare cancers. However, in addition to molecular alterations, it is crucial to consider the contributions of both mutation and cell context in the development, biology, and behaviour of these cancers. Patients with rare cancers are disadvantaged because of the challenge of leading clinical trials in this setting due to poor accrual. However, the number of patients with rare cancers will only increase as more molecular subsets of common cancers are identified, necessitating a shift in the focus of clinical trials and research into these cancer types, which, by epidemiological definitions, will become rare tumours.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)00386-1DOI Listing
February 2016

The Globalization of Cooperative Groups.

Semin Oncol 2015 Oct 10;42(5):693-712. Epub 2015 Jul 10.

Chair, SWOG; Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Oregon Health & Science University and Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, OR.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported adult cooperative oncology research groups (now officially Network groups) have a longstanding history of participating in international collaborations throughout the world. Most frequently, the US-based cooperative groups work reciprocally with the Canadian national adult cancer clinical trial group, NCIC CTG (previously the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group). Thus, Canada is the largest contributor to cooperative groups based in the United States, and vice versa. Although international collaborations have many benefits, they are most frequently utilized to enhance patient accrual to large phase III trials originating in the United States or Canada. Within the cooperative group setting, adequate attention has not been given to the study of cancers that are unique to countries outside the United States and Canada, such as those frequently associated with infections in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Global collaborations are limited by a number of barriers, some of which are unique to the countries involved, while others are related to financial support and to US policies that restrict drug distribution outside the United States. This article serves to detail the cooperative group experience in international research and describe how international collaboration in cancer clinical trials is a promising and important area that requires greater consideration in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.seminoncol.2015.07.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592942PMC
October 2015

Correlation of single arm versus randomised phase 2 oncology trial characteristics with phase 3 outcome.

Eur J Cancer 2015 Nov 31;51(17):2501-7. Epub 2015 Aug 31.

NCIC Clinical Trials Group, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada.

Background And Aim: The primary aim of this study was to determine whether randomised phase 2 (RP2) trials predict phase 3 trial outcome better than single arm phase 2 (SAP2) studies. Although theoretical superiority of RP2 trials has been postulated, no empiric studies have been conducted.

Methods: Published phase 3 trials testing systemic cancer therapy were identified through a Medline search. Those of superiority design, which cited phase 2 trials supporting the experimental arm, were included. Trial design and outcome details were extracted. Statistical analysis was performed using the Generalized Estimating Equation method correlating phase 2 features with phase 3 outcome, accounting for any phase 3 duplication.

Results: Of 189 eligible phase 3 trials, 18.5% were in haematological malignancies and 81.5% in solid tumors. The primary outcome was positive in 79 (41.8%). These were supported by 336 phase 2 trials (range 1-9 per phase 3 trial) including 66 RP2 trials. Positive phase 2 outcome, randomised or not, correlated with positive phase 3 outcome (p=0.03). RP2 studies were not superior to SAP2 studies at predicting phase 3 study success. Phase 2 trial features not predictive of phase 3 outcome included primary endpoint, sponsorship, sample size, similarity in patient population and therapy.

Conclusions: RP2 studies were not superior to SAP2 trials at predicting phase 3 study success. Further research into phase 2 trial design is required given the added resources required to conduct RP2 studies and the lack of empiric evidence supporting superiority over single arm studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2015.08.004DOI Listing
November 2015

Response assessment criteria for brain metastases: proposal from the RANO group.

Lancet Oncol 2015 Jun 27;16(6):e270-8. Epub 2015 May 27.

Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.

CNS metastases are the most common cause of malignant brain tumours in adults. Historically, patients with brain metastases have been excluded from most clinical trials, but their inclusion is now becoming more common. The medical literature is difficult to interpret because of substantial variation in the response and progression criteria used across clinical trials. The Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology Brain Metastases (RANO-BM) working group is an international, multidisciplinary effort to develop standard response and progression criteria for use in clinical trials of treatment for brain metastases. Previous efforts have focused on aspects of trial design, such as patient population, variations in existing response and progression criteria, and challenges when incorporating neurological, neuro-cognitive, and quality-of-life endpoints into trials of patients with brain metastases. Here, we present our recommendations for standard response and progression criteria for the assessment of brain metastases in clinical trials. The proposed criteria will hopefully facilitate the development of novel approaches to this difficult problem by providing more uniformity in the assessment of CNS metastases across trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(15)70057-4DOI Listing
June 2015

Use of predictive biomarkers in phase 2 trials.

Authors:
Janet E Dancey

Clin Adv Hematol Oncol 2015 Jan;13(1):23-5

Queen's University School of Medicine, Kingston, ON.

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January 2015

Assessing benefit in trials: are we making progress in assessing progression in cancer clinical trials?

Authors:
Janet E Dancey

Cancer 2015 Jun 21;121(11):1728-30. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

Queen's University and Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.29084DOI Listing
June 2015

Phase I/II study of erlotinib and temsirolimus for patients with recurrent malignant gliomas: North American Brain Tumor Consortium trial 04-02.

Neuro Oncol 2014 Apr 26;16(4):567-78. Epub 2014 Jan 26.

Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts (P.Y.W., A.D.N., J.D.); Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California (S.M.C., K.R.L., M.D.P.); University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas (J.G.K.); Division of Neuro-Oncology, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (T.F.C.); University of Wisconsin, Madison Wisconsin (H.I.R., M.P.M.); Neurooncology Program, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cancer Pavilion, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (F.S.L.); Division of Neuro-Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas (M.R.G., M.D.G., W.K.A.Y., K.D.A.); Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts (S.S., A.H.L.); Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (S.S., A.H.L., K.L.L.); Investigational Drug Branch, Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland (J.D.*, J.J.W.).

Background: Inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) may have synergistic antitumor effects in high-grade glioma patients.

Methods: We conducted a phase I/II study of the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib (150 mg/day) and the mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus. Patients initially received temsirolimus 50 mg weekly, and the dose adjusted based on toxicities. In the phase II component, the primary endpoint was 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6) among glioblastoma patients.

Results: Twenty-two patients enrolled in phase I, 47 in phase II. Twelve phase I patients treated at the maximum tolerated dosage were included in the phase II cohort for analysis. The maximum tolerated dosage was 15 mg temsirolimus weekly with erlotinib 150 mg daily. Dose-limiting toxicities were rash and mucositis. Among 42 evaluable glioblastoma patients, 12 (29%) achieved stable disease, but there were no responses, and PFS6 was 13%. Among 16 anaplastic glioma patients, 1 (6%) achieved complete response, 1 (6%) partial response, and 2 (12.5%) stable disease, with PFS6 of 8%. Tumor levels of both drugs were low, and posttreatment tissue in 3 patients showed no reduction in the mTOR target phosphorylated (phospho-)S6(S235/236) but possible compensatory increase in phospho-Akt(S473). Presence of EGFR variant III, phospho-EGFR, and EGFR amplification did not correlate with survival, but patients with elevated phospho-extracellular signal-regulated kinase or reduced phosphatase and tensin homolog protein expression had decreased progression-free survival at 4 months.

Conclusion: Because of increased toxicity, the maximum tolerated dosage of temsirolimus in combination with erlotinib proved lower than expected. Insufficient tumor drug levels and redundant signaling pathways may partly explain the minimal antitumor activity noted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/not247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3956354PMC
April 2014

Challenges relating to solid tumour brain metastases in clinical trials, part 2: neurocognitive, neurological, and quality-of-life outcomes. A report from the RANO group.

Lancet Oncol 2013 Sep;14(10):e407-16

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.

Neurocognitive function, neurological symptoms, functional independence, and health-related quality of life are major concerns for patients with brain metastases. The inclusion of these endpoints in trials of brain metastases and the methods by which these measures are assessed vary substantially. If functional independence or health-related quality of life are planned as key study outcomes, then the reliability and validity of these endpoints can be crucial because methodological issues might affect the interpretation and acceptance of findings. The Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO) working group is an independent, international, and collaborative effort to improve the design of clinical trials in patients with brain tumours. In this report, the second in a two-part series, we review clinical trials of brain metastases in relation to measures of clinical benefit and provide a framework for the design and conduct of future trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70308-5DOI Listing
September 2013

Challenges relating to solid tumour brain metastases in clinical trials, part 1: patient population, response, and progression. A report from the RANO group.

Lancet Oncol 2013 Sep;14(10):e396-406

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:

Therapeutic outcomes for patients with brain metastases need to improve. A critical review of trials specifically addressing brain metastases shows key issues that could prevent acceptance of results by regulatory agencies, including enrolment of heterogeneous groups of patients and varying definitions of clinical endpoints. Considerations specific to disease, modality, and treatment are not consistently addressed. Additionally, the schedule of CNS imaging and consequences of detection of new or progressive brain metastases in trials mainly exploring the extra-CNS activity of systemic drugs are highly variable. The Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO) working group is an independent, international, collaborative effort to improve the design of trials in patients with brain tumours. In this two-part series, we review the state of clinical trials of brain metastases and suggest a consensus recommendation for the development of criteria for future clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70311-5DOI Listing
September 2013

Clinical and toxicity predictors of response and progression to temsirolimus in women with recurrent or metastatic endometrial cancer.

Gynecol Oncol 2013 Nov 9;131(2):315-20. Epub 2013 Aug 9.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 5L3, Canada. Electronic address:

Objective: Temsirolimus (TEM) has recently shown activity (NCIC CTG phase II trial) in endometrial cancer (EC). Despite EC having a high rate of PTEN mutation, in this trial activity was independent of PTEN and other molecular markers. We explored whether treatment related toxicity occurring in cycle one was predictive of outcomes.

Methods: Patients were those enrolled on two sequential phase II studies of the NCIC CTG that evaluated single agent TEM in women with recurrent or metastatic chemotherapy naïve or treated EC. An exploratory landmark analysis examined the relationship between early treatment related toxicities as well as prior chemotherapy and efficacy outcomes (response, progression, and tumor size shrinkage) in univariate and multivariate analyses. The relationship between molecular markers and outcomes was also reexamined in patients.

Results: Mucositis, diarrhea, decreased absolute neutrophil count, as well as elevated glucose, or cholesterol were not independent predictors of response or progression. Highest fasting triglyceride predicted for a 3.5% tumor shrinkage from baseline. Women previously treated with chemotherapy were at 7.37 times greater risk of progression and experienced 20.9% increased tumor growth compared to chemotherapy naïve women. Molecular markers were not predictors of response or progression.

Conclusions: Except for elevation in fasting triglyceride being associated with minimal tumor shrinkage, no other relationship between efficacy and TEM induced adverse events was found. mTOR inhibition activity in EC seems greatest in chemo-naïve patients. Future studies of mTOR inhibitors in EC should focus on women without prior chemotherapy while continuing to explore molecular mechanisms of benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.08.004DOI Listing
November 2013

Testing personalized medicine: patient and physician expectations of next-generation genomic sequencing in late-stage cancer care.

Eur J Hum Genet 2014 Mar 17;22(3):391-5. Epub 2013 Jul 17.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre-University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Developments in genomics, including next-generation sequencing technologies, are expected to enable a more personalized approach to clinical care, with improved risk stratification and treatment selection. In oncology, personalized medicine is particularly advanced and increasingly used to identify oncogenic variants in tumor tissue that predict responsiveness to specific drugs. Yet, the translational research needed to validate these technologies will be conducted in patients with late-stage cancer and is expected to produce results of variable clinical significance and incidentally identify genetic risks. To explore the experiential context in which much of personalized cancer care will be developed and evaluated, we conducted a qualitative interview study alongside a pilot feasibility study of targeted DNA sequencing of metastatic tumor biopsies in adult patients with advanced solid malignancies. We recruited 29/73 patients and 14/17 physicians; transcripts from semi-structured interviews were analyzed for thematic patterns using an interpretive descriptive approach. Patient hopes of benefit from research participation were enhanced by the promise of novel and targeted treatment but challenged by non-findings or by limited access to relevant trials. Family obligations informed a willingness to receive genetic information, which was perceived as burdensome given disease stage or as inconsequential given faced challenges. Physicians were optimistic about long-term potential but conservative about immediate benefits and mindful of elevated patient expectations; consent and counseling processes were expected to mitigate challenges from incidental findings. These findings suggest the need for information and decision tools to support physicians in communicating realistic prospects of benefit, and for cautious approaches to the generation of incidental genetic information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2013.158DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3925281PMC
March 2014

Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and Raf/MEK/ERK pathways in the treatment of breast cancer.

Cancer Treat Rev 2013 Dec 3;39(8):935-46. Epub 2013 May 3.

Breast International Group, Brussels, Belgium; Institut Jules Bordet, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.

Alterations of signal transduction pathways leading to uncontrolled cellular proliferation, survival, invasion, and metastases are hallmarks of the carcinogenic process. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and the Raf/mitogen-activated and extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathways are critical for normal human physiology, and also commonly dysregulated in several human cancers, including breast cancer (BC). In vitro and in vivo data suggest that the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and Raf/MEK/ERK cascades are interconnected with multiple points of convergence, cross-talk, and feedback loops. Raf/MEK/ERK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway mutations may co-exist. Inhibition of one pathway can still result in the maintenance of signaling via the other (reciprocal) pathway. The existence of such "escape" mechanisms implies that dual targeting of these pathways may lead to superior efficacy and better clinical outcome in selected patients. Several clinical trials targeting one or both pathways are already underway in BC patients. The toxicity profile of this novel approach of dual pathway inhibition needs to be closely monitored, given the important physiological role of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and Raf/MEK/ERK signaling. In this article, we present a review of the current relevant pre-clinical and clinical data and discuss the rationale for dual inhibition of these pathways in the treatment of BC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2013.03.009DOI Listing
December 2013

Clinical genomics information management software linking cancer genome sequence and clinical decisions.

Genomics 2013 Sep 17;102(3):140-7. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Using sequencing information to guide clinical decision-making requires coordination of a diverse set of people and activities. In clinical genomics, the process typically includes sample acquisition, template preparation, genome data generation, analysis to identify and confirm variant alleles, interpretation of clinical significance, and reporting to clinicians. We describe a software application developed within a clinical genomics study, to support this entire process. The software application tracks patients, samples, genomic results, decisions and reports across the cohort, monitors progress and sends reminders, and works alongside an electronic data capture system for the trial's clinical and genomic data. It incorporates systems to read, store, analyze and consolidate sequencing results from multiple technologies, and provides a curated knowledge base of tumor mutation frequency (from the COSMIC database) annotated with clinical significance and drug sensitivity to generate reports for clinicians. By supporting the entire process, the application provides deep support for clinical decision making, enabling the generation of relevant guidance in reports for verification by an expert panel prior to forwarding to the treating physician.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygeno.2013.04.007DOI Listing
September 2013

A phase II study of UCN-01 in combination with irinotecan in patients with metastatic triple negative breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2013 Jan 15;137(2):483-92. Epub 2012 Dec 15.

Section of Breast Oncology, Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, Campus Box 8056, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.

Mutations in TP53 lead to a defective G1 checkpoint and the dependence on checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) for G2 or S phase arrest in response to DNA damage. In preclinical studies, Chk1 inhibition resulted in enhanced cytotoxicity of several chemotherapeutic agents. The high frequency of TP53 mutations in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC: negative for estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2) make Chk1 an attractive therapeutic target. UCN-01, a non-selective Chk1 inhibitor, combined with irinotecan demonstrated activity in advanced TNBC in our Phase I study. The goal of this trial was to further evaluate this treatment in women with TNBC. Patients with metastatic TNBC previously treated with anthracyclines and taxanes received irinotecan (100-125 mg/m(2) IV days 1, 8, 15, 22) and UCN-01 (70 mg/m(2) IV day 2, 35 mg/m(2) day 23 and subsequent doses) every 42-day cycle. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and tumor specimens were collected. Twenty five patients were enrolled. The overall response (complete response (CR) + partial response (PR)) rate was 4 %. The clinical benefit rate (CR + PR + stable disease ≥6 months) was 12 %. Since UCN-01 inhibits PDK1, phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 (pS6) in PBMC was assessed. Although reduced 24 h post UCN-01, pS6 levels rose to baseline by day 8, indicating loss of UCN-01 bioavailability. Immunostains of γH2AX and pChk1(S296) on serial tumor biopsies from four patients demonstrated an induction of DNA damage and Chk1 activation following irinotecan. However, Chk1 inhibition by UCN-01 was not observed in all tumors. Most tumors were basal-like (69 %), and carried mutations in TP53 (53 %). Median overall survival in patients with TP53 mutant tumors was poor compared to wild type (5.5 vs. 20.3 months, p = 0.004). This regimen had limited activity in TNBC. Inconsistent Chk1 inhibition was likely due to the pharmacokinetics of UCN-01. TP53 mutations were associated with a poor prognosis in metastatic TNBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-012-2378-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3539064PMC
January 2013

Phase I/II study of sorafenib in combination with temsirolimus for recurrent glioblastoma or gliosarcoma: North American Brain Tumor Consortium study 05-02.

Neuro Oncol 2012 Dec 24;14(12):1511-8. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Center for Neuro-Oncology, Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

The activity of single-agent targeted molecular therapies in glioblastoma has been limited to date. The North American Brain Tumor Consortium examined the safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of combination therapy with sorafenib, a small molecule inhibitor of Raf, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β, and temsirolimus (CCI-779), an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin. This was a phase I/II study. The phase I component used a standard 3 × 3 dose escalation scheme to determine the safety and tolerability of this combination therapy. The phase II component used a 2-stage design; the primary endpoint was 6-month progression-free survival (PFS6) rate. Thirteen patients enrolled in the phase I component. The maximum tolerated dosage (MTD) for combination therapy was sorafenib 800 mg daily and temsirolimus 25 mg once weekly. At the MTD, grade 3 thrombocytopenia was the dose-limiting toxicity. Eighteen patients were treated in the phase II component. At interim analysis, the study was terminated and did not proceed to the second stage. No patients remained progression free at 6 months. Median PFS was 8 weeks. The toxicity of this combination therapy resulted in a maximum tolerated dose of temsirolimus that was only one-tenth of the single-agent dose. Minimal activity in recurrent glioblastoma multiforme was seen at the MTD of the 2 combined agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuonc/nos264DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499017PMC
December 2012

Feasibility of real time next generation sequencing of cancer genes linked to drug response: results from a clinical trial.

Int J Cancer 2013 Apr 11;132(7):1547-55. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The successes of targeted drugs with companion predictive biomarkers and the technological advances in gene sequencing have generated enthusiasm for evaluating personalized cancer medicine strategies using genomic profiling. We assessed the feasibility of incorporating real-time analysis of somatic mutations within exons of 19 genes into patient management. Blood, tumor biopsy and archived tumor samples were collected from 50 patients recruited from four cancer centers. Samples were analyzed using three technologies: targeted exon sequencing using Pacific Biosciences PacBio RS, multiplex somatic mutation genotyping using Sequenom MassARRAY and Sanger sequencing. An expert panel reviewed results prior to reporting to clinicians. A clinical laboratory verified actionable mutations. Fifty patients were recruited. Nineteen actionable mutations were identified in 16 (32%) patients. Across technologies, results were in agreement in 100% of biopsy specimens and 95% of archival specimens. Profiling results from paired archival/biopsy specimens were concordant in 30/34 (88%) patients. We demonstrated that the use of next generation sequencing for real-time genomic profiling in advanced cancer patients is feasible. Additionally, actionable mutations identified in this study were relatively stable between archival and biopsy samples, implying that cancer mutations that are good predictors of drug response may remain constant across clinical stages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.27817DOI Listing
April 2013

Management of metabolic effects associated with anticancer agents targeting the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway.

J Clin Oncol 2012 Aug 9;30(23):2919-28. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Department of Endocrine Neoplasia and Hormonal Disorders, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Agents inhibiting the phosphoinositide 3-kinase-Akt-mammalian target of rapamycin (PAM) pathway are currently in various stages of clinical development in oncology, ranging from some in early-phase evaluations to others that have already received regulatory approval for treatment in advanced cancers. The administration of PAM pathway inhibitors has been associated with metabolic toxicities of hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia. The PAM Task Force of the National Cancer Institute Investigational Drug Steering Committee convened an interdisciplinary expert panel to review the pathophysiology of hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia induced by PAM pathway inhibitors, summarize the incidence of these metabolic toxicities induced by such agents in the current literature, advise on clinical trial screening and monitoring criteria, and provide management guidance and therapeutic goals on occurrence of these toxicities. The overarching aim of this consensus report is to raise awareness of these metabolic adverse events to enable their early recognition, regular monitoring, and timely intervention in clinical trials. Hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia are generally not acutely toxic and most often reversible with therapeutic intervention. Dose modifications or discontinuation of PAM pathway inhibitors should only be considered in situations of severe events or if progressive metabolic derangement persists after therapeutic interventions have been attempted for a sufficient duration. Specialty consultation should be sought to aid clinical trial planning and the management of these metabolic adverse events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2011.39.7356DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410405PMC
August 2012

Genomics, personalized medicine and cancer practice.

Authors:
Janet Dancey

Clin Biochem 2012 Apr;45(6):379-81

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research NCIC Clinical Trials Group 10 Stuart St Queen's University Kingston, ON, Canada, K7L 3N6.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2012.03.003DOI Listing
April 2012