Publications by authors named "Joanna Vergidis"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effectiveness of first-line abiraterone versus enzalutamide among patients ≥80 years of age with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: A retrospective propensity score-weighted comparative cohort study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Jul 12;152:215-222. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Department of Medicine, Medical Oncology Division, BC Cancer, Vancouver Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) disproportionately affects the elderly. There is limited data assessing the efficacy and tolerability of abiraterone acetate (AA) versus enzalutamide in this population.

Objective: To compare the clinical efficacy and tolerability of AA versus enzalutamide in patients ≥ 80 years with mCRPC.

Design, Setting And Participants: A retrospective propensity-weighted comparative cohort study of first-line AA versus enzalutamide among patients with mCRPC aged ≥80 years.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: Inverse probability treatment weights based on propensity scores were generated to assess the treatment effect of AA versus enzalutamide on time to PSA progression (TTPP), time to progression (TTP) (first of PSA/radiographic/clinical progression) and overall survival using a weighted Cox proportional hazards model. PSA response rate (PSA RR) was compared between groups using Χ.

Results And Limitations: One hundred fifty-three patients received AA, and 125 received enzalutamide. Enzalutamide was associated with higher PSA RR (61.6% vs 43.8%, P < 0.004), and TTP (hazard ratio [HR] 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.50-0.88, P = 0.01) but not TTPP (HR 0.73, 95% CI 0.53-1.01, P = 0.06). There were significantly more dose reductions with enzalutamide (22.9% vs 44.8%, P > 0.001) but there was no interaction between median proportion of full dose received and TTPP or TTP for either drug. Rates of treatment discontinuation (for reasons other than progression) were also significantly different between AA and enzalutamide (28.8% vs 40.8%, respectively, P = 0.04). The most common reason for dose reductions and discontinuation of enzalutamide was fatigue (30.4% and 5.6%, respectively).

Conclusions: Despite more dose reductions and a higher treatment discontinuation rate, enzalutamide was associated with a higher PSA RR and longer time to progression, than AA. Given that clinical outcomes were not adversely impacted by decreased treatment exposure, dose modification may be a useful treatment strategy to balance toxicity and tolerance.
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July 2021

Evolution of Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer in CtDNA during Sequential Androgen Receptor Pathway Inhibition.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jun 3. Epub 2021 Jun 3.

Vancouver Prostate Centre, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada.

Purpose: Cross-resistance renders multiple lines of androgen receptor (AR) signaling inhibitors increasingly futile in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). We sought to determine acquired genomic contributors to cross-resistance.

Experimental Design: We collected 458 serial plasma cell-free DNA samples at baseline and progression timepoints from 202 patients with mCRPC receiving sequential AR signaling inhibitors (abiraterone and enzalutamide) in a randomized phase II clinical trial (NCT02125357). We utilized deep targeted and whole-exome sequencing to compare baseline and posttreatment somatic genomic profiles in circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA).

Results: Patient ctDNA abundance was correlated across plasma collections and independently prognostic for sequential therapy response and overall survival. Most driver alterations in established prostate cancer genes were consistently detected in ctDNA over time. However, shifts in somatic populations after treatment were identified in 53% of patients, particularly after strong treatment responses. Treatment-associated changes converged upon the gene, with an average 50% increase in copy number, changes in mutation frequencies, and a 2.5-fold increase in the proportion of patients carrying AR ligand binding domain truncating rearrangements.

Conclusion: Our data show that the dominant genotype continues to evolve during sequential lines of AR inhibition and drives acquired resistance in patients with mCRPC.
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June 2021

Optimal sequencing of enzalutamide and abiraterone acetate plus prednisone in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: a multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 2, crossover trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 12 11;20(12):1730-1739. Epub 2019 Nov 11.

Division of Medical Oncology, BC Cancer, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Abiraterone acetate plus prednisone and enzalutamide are both used for the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. We aimed to determine the best sequence in which to use both drugs, as well as their second-line efficacy.

Methods: In this multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 2, crossover trial done in six cancer centres in British Columbia, Canada, we recruited patients aged 18 years or older with newly-diagnosed metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer without neuroendocrine differentiation and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 2 or less. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) using a computer-generated random number table to receive either abiraterone acetate 1000 mg orally once daily plus prednisone 5 mg orally twice daily until PSA progression followed by crossover to enzalutamide 160 mg orally once daily (group A), or the opposite sequence (group B). Treatment was not masked to investigators or participants. Primary endpoints were time to second PSA progression and PSA response (≥30% decline from baseline) on second-line therapy, analysed by intention-to-treat in all randomly assigned patients and in patients who crossed over, respectively. The trial is registered with, NCT02125357.

Findings: Between Oct 21, 2014, and Dec 13, 2016, 202 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to either group A (n=101) or group B (n=101). At the time of data cutoff, 73 (72%) patients in group A and 75 (74%) patients in group B had crossed over. Time to second PSA progression was longer in group A than in group B (median 19·3 months [95% CI 16·0-30·5] vs 15·2 months [95% CI 11·9-19·8] months; hazard ratio 0·66, 95% CI 0·45-0·97, p=0·036), at a median follow-up of 22·8 months (IQR 10·3-33·4). PSA responses to second-line therapy were seen in 26 (36%) of 73 patients for enzalutamide and three (4%) of 75 for abiraterone (χ p<0·0001). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events throughout the trial were hypertension (27 [27%] of 101 patients in group A vs 18 [18%] of 101 patients in group B) and fatigue (six [10%] vs four [4%]). Serious adverse events were reported in 15 (15%) of 101 patients in group A and 20 (20%) of 101 patients in group B. There were no treatment-related deaths.

Interpretation: Enzalutamide showed activity as a second-line novel androgen receptor pathway inhibitor, whereas abiraterone acetate did not, leading to a longer time to second PSA progression for the sequence of abiraterone followed by enzalutamide than with the opposite treatment sequence. Our data suggest that using a sequencing strategy of abiraterone acetate followed by enzalutamide provides the greatest clinical benefit.

Funding: Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Prostate Cancer Canada, Movember Foundation, Prostate Cancer Foundation, Terry Fox New Frontiers Program, BC Cancer Foundation, Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, Janssen, and Astellas.
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December 2019

Health-related Quality of Life for Abiraterone Plus Prednisone Versus Enzalutamide in Patients with Metastatic Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer: Results from a Phase II Randomized Trial.

Eur Urol 2019 06 24;75(6):940-947. Epub 2018 Dec 24.

Department of Medical Oncology, BC Cancer Vancouver Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Department of Urological Sciences, The Vancouver Prostate Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Abiraterone and enzalutamide are associated with side effects that may impair health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Objective: To assess patient-reported HRQoL, depression symptoms, and cognitive function for abiraterone versus enzalutamide.

Design, Setting, And Participants: We randomized 202 patients in a phase II study of abiraterone versus enzalutamide for first-line treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer ( NCT02125357).

Intervention: Patients completed Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Prostate (FACT-P) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) questionnaires, and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) cognitive assessments at baseline and on treatment.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: To compare the change in FACT-P scores over time between treatment arms, we used a mixed model for repeated measures (MMRM). For FACT-P domains where there was an interaction between the treatment arm and age, we constructed separate models for patients aged <75 and ≥75yr. We compared the proportion of patients with clinically meaningful change from baseline for FACT-P, and the proportion of patients with an abnormal score and median change from baseline for PHQ-9 and MoCA using Fisher's exact test and Mann-Whitney U test.

Results And Limitations: In the MMRM analysis, there was a positive test for interaction in the treatment arm by age for total FACT-P (p=0.048). FACT-P change from baseline over time was better for abiraterone than for enzalutamide in the ≥75-yr model (p=0.003), with no difference in the <75-yr model (p>0.9). A higher proportion of patients experienced clinically meaningful worsening with enzalutamide for the physical and functional well-being domains (37% vs 21%, p=0.013; 39% vs 23%, p=0.015). The distribution of change in PHQ-9 scores from baseline favored abiraterone at weeks 4, 8, and 12. These analyses were not prespecified, and results should be considered to be hypothesis generating.

Conclusions: Patient-reported outcomes favored abiraterone compared with enzalutamide with differences in FACT-P HRQoL and PHQ-9 depression scores. Differences in the total FACT-P scores were seen only in the elderly patient subgroup.

Patient Summary: In this report, we examined the change in patient-reported quality-of-life scores from the start of treatment over time for patients treated with abiraterone versus enzalutamide for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. We found that elderly patients treated with abiraterone had better quality of life over time, with no difference between treatments for the younger subgroup of patients.
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June 2019

Clinical effectiveness of docetaxel for castration-sensitive prostate cancer in a real-world population-based analysis.

Prostate 2019 02 28;79(3):281-287. Epub 2018 Oct 28.

Division of Medical Oncology, University of British Columbia, BC Cancer, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Background: Adding docetaxel to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for the treatment of metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer (mCSPC) has known efficacy, with an overall survival benefit in Phase III clinical trials. The effectiveness of docetaxel with ADT in the general patient population remains undefined.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective review using the British Columbia Provincial Pharmacy Database. To be included, patients had to have castration-sensitive prostate cancer not previously treated (except in the adjuvant setting) and have received at least one cycle of docetaxel, with complete records available for review. Safety and clinical effectiveness were evaluated.

Results: From April 2015 to February 2017, we identified 183 cases; 156 met inclusion criteria. Most patients had high-volume disease (80%). All 6 planned docetaxel cycles were delivered in 126 cases (81%). Dose reductions and delays were required in 39% and 16% of cases. Grade 3-4 adverse events were noted in 40%, with no treatment-related deaths. The rate of febrile neutropenia was 18% and was significantly associated with the presence of high-volume disease (P = 0.038). PSA ≤ 0.2 ng/L was achieved in 27% of patients after 6 months of ADT and maintained in 16% after 12 months. Patients with over 20 bone metastases had worse time to castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and time to treatment for CRPC, and a trend toward worse overall survival. CRPC developed in 41% within 1 year, with a median time to CRPC of 14.4 months. Treatment for CRPC was given in 84 cases, with 90% receiving either abiraterone or enzalutamide in the first-line, with a PSA decline ≥50% occurring in 47%.

Conclusions: The effectiveness of docetaxel with ADT in a general population of patients with mCSPC was associated with poorer outcomes and high rates of toxicity compared to the published studies. Response rates to first-line treatment for mCRPC with abiraterone or enzalutamide appear similar to reported outcomes.
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February 2019

Biallelic tumour suppressor loss and DNA repair defects in de novo small-cell prostate carcinoma.

J Pathol 2018 10 28;246(2):244-253. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Vancouver Prostate Centre, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, British Columbia, Canada.

Small-cell prostate carcinoma (SCPC) is an aggressive malignancy that is managed similarly to small-cell lung cancer. SCPC can evolve from prostate adenocarcinoma in response to androgen deprivation therapy, but, in rare cases, is present at initial cancer diagnosis. The molecular aetiology of de novo SCPC is incompletely understood, owing to the scarcity of tumour tissue and the short life-expectancy of patients. Through a retrospective search of our regional oncology pharmacy database, we identified 18 patients diagnosed with de novo SCPC between 2004 and 2017. Ten patients had pure SCPC pathology, and the remainder had some admixed adenocarcinoma foci, but all were treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. The median overall survival was 28 months. We performed targeted DNA sequencing, whole exome sequencing and mRNA profiling on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded archival tumour tissue. We observed frequent biallelic deletion and/or mutation of the tumour suppressor genes TP53, RB1, and PTEN, similarly to what was found in treatment-related SCPC. Indeed, at the RNA level, pure de novo SCPC closely resembled treatment-related SCPC. However, five patients had biallelic loss of DNA repair genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM, and MSH2/6, potentially underlying the high genomic instability of this rare disease variant. Two patients with pure de novo SCPC harboured ETS gene rearrangements involving androgen-driven promoters, consistent with the evolution of de novo SCPC from an androgen-driven ancestor. Overall, our results reveal a highly aggressive molecular landscape that underlies this unusual pathological variant, and suggest opportunities for targeted therapy strategies in a disease with few treatment options. Copyright © 2018 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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October 2018

Circulating Tumor DNA Genomics Correlate with Resistance to Abiraterone and Enzalutamide in Prostate Cancer.

Cancer Discov 2018 04 24;8(4):444-457. Epub 2018 Jan 24.

Vancouver Prostate Centre, Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Primary resistance to androgen receptor (AR)-directed therapies in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is poorly understood. We randomized 202 patients with treatment-naïve mCRPC to abiraterone or enzalutamide and performed whole-exome and deep targeted 72-gene sequencing of plasma cell-free DNA prior to therapy. For these agents, which have never been directly compared, time to progression was similar. Defects in and were strongly associated with poor clinical outcomes independently of clinical prognostic factors and circulating tumor DNA abundance. Somatic alterations in , previously linked to reduced tumor dependency on AR signaling, were also independently associated with rapid resistance. Although detection of amplifications did not outperform standard prognostic biomarkers, gene structural rearrangements truncating the ligand binding domain were identified in several patients with primary resistance. These findings establish genomic drivers of resistance to first-line AR-directed therapy in mCRPC and identify potential minimally invasive biomarkers. Leveraging plasma specimens collected in a large randomized phase II trial, we report the relative impact of common circulating tumor DNA alterations on patient response to the most widely used therapies for advanced prostate cancer. Our findings suggest that liquid biopsy analysis can guide the use of AR-targeted therapy in general practice. .
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April 2018

Immune Modulation by Androgen Deprivation and Radiation Therapy: Implications for Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy.

Cancers (Basel) 2017 Jan 27;9(2). Epub 2017 Jan 27.

Trev and Joyce Deeley Research Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Victoria, BC V8R 6V5, Canada.

Prostate cancer patients often receive androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in combination with radiation therapy (RT). Recent evidence suggests that both ADT and RT have immune modulatory properties. First, ADT can cause infiltration of lymphocytes into the prostate, although it remains unclear whether the influx of lymphocytes is beneficial, particularly with the advent of new classes of androgen blockers. Second, in rare cases, radiation can elicit immune responses that mediate regression of metastatic lesions lying outside the field of radiation, a phenomenon known as the abscopal response. In light of these findings, there is emerging interest in exploiting any potential synergy between ADT, RT, and immunotherapy. Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the rationale behind combining immunotherapy with ADT and RT for the treatment of prostate cancer, including an examination of the current clinical trials that employ this combination. The reported outcomes of several trials demonstrate the promise of this combination strategy; however, further scrutiny is needed to elucidate how these standard therapies interact with immune modulators. In addition, we discuss the importance of synchronizing immune modulation relative to ADT and RT, and provide insight into elements that may impact the ability to achieve maximum synergy between these treatments.
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January 2017

Impact of Weight Changes After the Diagnosis of Stage III Colon Cancer on Survival Outcomes.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2016 Mar 26;15(1):16-23. Epub 2015 Jul 26.

Division of Medical Oncology, University of British Columbia, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Weight modification after a diagnosis of colon cancer and its impact on outcomes remain unclear. Thus we aimed to examine the association of obesity and weight changes from baseline oncology consultation with recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with stage III colon cancer.

Methods: Patients aged ≥ 18 years who were diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in British Columbia from 2008 to 2010 and who received adjuvant chemotherapy were included in the study. Cox proportional hazards regression models were fitted to evaluate the impact of different body compositions and degree of weight changes from baseline assessment with outcomes while controlling for potentially confounding covariates, such as age and sex.

Results: A total of 539 patients with stage III colon cancer were included: median age was 69 years (range, 26-94 years), 52% were men, and 53% had Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0-1. Those with weight gains of ≥ 10% had a median RFS of 37 months compared with 49 months in those with weight gains of < 10% (hazard ratio [HR], 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56-1.59; P = .82). However, this finding was not significant. In Cox models, patients who exhibited weight losses of ≥ 10% experienced significantly inferior RFS (HR, 3.45; 95% CI, 1.44-8.13; P = .0046) and OS (HR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.04-6.67; P = .041) compared with those who experienced weight losses of < 10%. Weight gains, losses, or changes of equal or less magnitude did not show any significant associations with outcomes (all P > .05).

Conclusions: Weight losses of ≥ 10% from baseline evaluation bodes a worse prognosis among patients with stage III colon cancer.
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March 2016

Cost-effectiveness of therapies for melanoma.

Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res 2015 Apr 23;15(2):229-42. Epub 2015 Feb 23.

ICON Epidemiology, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Melanoma presents an important burden worldwide. Until recently, the prognosis for unresectable and metastatic melanoma was poor, with 10% of metastatic melanoma patients surviving for 2 years. The introduction of newer therapies including ipilimumab, vemurafenib, dabrafenib and trametinib improved progression-free survival, with additional benefits anticipated from the forthcoming class of programmed cell death 1 inhibitors. Cost of therapy and resulting cost-effectiveness is an important factor in determining patient access to specific treatments. The objective of this study was to review the published evidence regarding cost-effectiveness of melanoma therapies and provide an overview of the relative cost-effectiveness of available therapies by disease stage. For earlier-stage disease, IFN-α has been found to be cost-effective, although its clinical benefits have not been well established. For unresectable and metastatic melanoma, newer therapies provide benefits over standard-of-care chemotherapy, but comprehensive analyses will need to be conducted to determine the most cost-effective therapy.
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April 2015

KHYG-1, a model for the study of enhanced natural killer cell cytotoxicity.

Exp Hematol 2005 Oct;33(10):1160-71

Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: To compare the cytotoxicity of KHYG-1 with other natural killer (NK)/NK T-cell lines and identify molecules that may be associated with enhanced cytotoxicity, thereby eventually leading to improved NK cell-mediated cancer immunotherapy.

Materials And Methods: NK/NK T-cell lines KHYG-1, NK-92, YT, and SNT-8 were compared with a novel flow cytometric cytotoxicity assay under different culture conditions. Transcription, expression, and phosphorylation studies were performed using polymerase chain reaction sequence-specific primers, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunoblotting, and flow cytometry.

Results: KHYG-1 is a highly cytotoxic cell line, exceeding the cytolytic capacity of the other cell lines against K562. KHYG-1 is also highly cytotoxic against the leukemia cell lines EM2, EM3, and HL60. The novel activation receptor NKp44 and its adaptor, DAP12, NKG2D, and constitutively phosphorylated ERK2 may be associated with the enhanced cytotoxicity of KHYG-1. This cell line most likely mediates cytolysis by granzyme M (but not granzymes A and B) together with perforin, which is constitutively fully cleaved to the 60-kD form, in contrast to the other cell lines.

Conclusion: KHYG-1 is a valuable model for the study of enhanced cytotoxicity by NK cells. In addition to the activation of NKp44, KHYG-1 may induce apoptosis of tumor cells by the newly described granzyme M/perforin pathway. Targeted modifications of effector molecules demonstrated in this model could generate NK cells with even greater killing ability that may be particularly attractive for clinical application. Moreover, our demonstration of greater cytotoxicity of KHYG-1 versus NK-92 cells, already in clinical trials, suggests a direct therapeutic role for KHYG-1.
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October 2005