Publications by authors named "Lawrence R Kleinberg"

46 Publications

External Validation of the Bone Metastases Ensemble Trees for Survival (BMETS) Machine Learning Model to Predict Survival in Patients With Symptomatic Bone Metastases.

JCO Clin Cancer Inform 2021 Mar;5:304-314

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Purpose: The Bone Metastases Ensemble Trees for Survival (BMETS) model uses a machine learning algorithm to estimate survival time following consultation for palliative radiation therapy for symptomatic bone metastases (SBM). BMETS was developed at a tertiary-care, academic medical center, but its validity and stability when applied to external data sets are unknown.

Patients And Methods: Patients treated with palliative radiation therapy for SBM from May 2013 to May 2016 at two hospital-based community radiation oncology clinics were included, and medical records were retrospectively reviewed to collect model covariates and survival time. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate overall survival from consultation to death or last follow-up. Model discrimination was estimated using time-dependent area under the curve (tAUC), which was calculated using survival predictions from BMETS based on the initial training data set.

Results: A total of 216 sites of SBM were treated in 182 patients. Most common histologies were breast (27%), lung (23%), and prostate (23%). Compared with the BMETS training set, the external validation population was older (mean age, 67 62 years; < .001), had more primary breast (27% 19%; = .03) and prostate cancer (20% 12%; = .01), and survived longer (median, 10.7 6.4 months). When the BMETS model was applied to the external data set, tAUC values at 3, 6, and 12 months were 0.82, 0.77, and 0.77, respectively. When refit with data from the combined training and external validation sets, tAUC remained 0.79.

Conclusion: BMETS maintained high discriminative ability when applied to an external validation set and when refit with new data, supporting its generalizability, stability, and the feasibility of dynamic modeling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/CCI.20.00128DOI Listing
March 2021

Potential Clinical Significance of Overall Targeting Accuracy and Motion Management in the Treatment of Tumors That Move With Respiration: Lessons Learnt From a Quarter Century of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy From Dose Response Models.

Front Oncol 2020 9;10:591430. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, United States.

Objective: To determine the long-term normal tissue complication probability with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) treatments for targets that move with respiration and its relation with the type of respiratory motion management (tracking . compression or gating).

Methods: A PubMed search was performed for identifying literature regarding dose, volume, fractionation, and toxicity (grade 3 or higher) for SBRT treatments for tumors which move with respiration. From the identified papers logistic or probit dose-response models were fitted to the data using the maximum-likelihood technique and confidence intervals were based on the profile-likelihood method in the dose-volume histogram (DVH) Evaluator.

Results: Pooled logistic and probit models for grade 3 or higher toxicity for aorta, chest wall, duodenum, and small bowel suggest a significant difference when live motion tracking was used for targeting tumors with move with respiration which was on the average 10 times lower, in the high dose range.

Conclusion: Live respiratory motion management appears to have a better toxicity outcome when treating targets which move with respiration with very steep peripheral dose gradients. This analysis is however limited by sparsity of rigorous data due to poor reporting in the literature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.591430DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7900559PMC
February 2021

Tumor Control Probability of Radiosurgery and Fractionated Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Metastases.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 Dec 31. Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Purpose: As part of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Working Group on Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy, tumor control probability (TCP) after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (fSRS) for brain metastases was modeled based on pooled dosimetric and clinical data from published English-language literature.

Methods And Materials: PubMed-indexed studies published between January 1995 and September 2017 were used to evaluate dosimetric and clinical predictors of TCP after SRS or fSRS for brain metastases. Eligible studies had ≥10 patients and included detailed dose-fractionation data with corresponding ≥1-year local control (LC) data, typically evaluated as a >20% increase in diameter of the targeted lesion using the pre-SRS diameter as a reference.

Results: Of 2951 potentially eligible manuscripts, 56 included sufficient dose-volume data for analyses. Accepting that necrosis and pseudoprogression can complicate the assessment of LC, for tumors ≤20 mm, single-fraction doses of 18 and 24 Gy corresponded with >85% and 95% 1-year LC rates, respectively. For tumors 21 to 30 mm, an 18 Gy single-fraction dose was associated with 75% LC. For tumors 31 to 40 mm, a 15 Gy single-fraction dose yielded ∼69% LC. For 3- to 5-fraction fSRS using doses in the range of 27 to 35 Gy, 80% 1-year LC has been achieved for tumors of 21 to 40 mm in diameter.

Conclusions: TCP for SRS and fSRS are presented. For small lesions ≤20 mm, single doses of ≈18 Gy appear generally associated with excellent rates of LC; for melanoma, higher doses seem warranted. For larger lesions >20 mm, local control rates appear to be ≈ 70% to 75% with usual doses of 15 to 18 Gy, and in this setting, fSRS regimens should be considered. Greater consistency in reporting of dosimetric and LC data is needed to facilitate future pooled analyses. As systemic and biologic therapies evolve, updated analyses will be needed to further assess the necessity, efficacy, and toxicity of SRS and fSRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.10.034DOI Listing
December 2020

Tumor Treating Fields: At the Crossroads Between Physics and Biology for Cancer Treatment.

Front Oncol 2020 30;10:575992. Epub 2020 Oct 30.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, United States.

Despite extraordinary advances that have been achieved in the last few decades, cancer continues to represent a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Lethal cancer types ultimately become refractory to standard of care approaches; thus, novel effective treatment options are desperately needed. Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields) are an innovative non-invasive regional anti-mitotic treatment modality with minimal systemic toxicity. TTFields are low intensity (1-3 V/cm), intermediate frequency (100-300 kHz) alternating electric fields delivered to cancer cells. In patients, TTFields are applied using FDA-approved transducer arrays, orthogonally positioned on the area surrounding the tumor region, with side effects mostly limited to the skin. The precise molecular mechanism of the anti-tumor effects of TTFields is not well-understood, but preclinical research on TTFields suggests it may act during two phases of mitosis: at metaphase, by disrupting the formation of the mitotic spindle, and at cytokinesis, by dielectrophoretic dislocation of intracellular organelles leading to cell death. This review describes the mechanism of action of TTFields and provides an overview of the most important studies that investigate the disruptive effects of TTFields in different cancer cells, focusing mainly on anti-mitotic roles. Lastly, we summarize completed and ongoing TTFields clinical trials on a variety of solid tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.575992DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7664989PMC
October 2020

Single- and Multifraction Stereotactic Radiosurgery Dose/Volume Tolerances of the Brain.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2020 Sep 11. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Purpose: As part of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Working Group on Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy investigating normal tissue complication probability (NTCP) after hypofractionated radiation therapy, data from published reports (PubMed indexed 1995-2018) were pooled to identify dosimetric and clinical predictors of radiation-induced brain toxicity after single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery (fSRS).

Methods And Materials: Eligible studies provided NTCPs for the endpoints of radionecrosis, edema, or symptoms after cranial SRS/fSRS and quantitative dose-volume metrics. Studies of patients with only glioma, meningioma, vestibular schwannoma, or brainstem targets were excluded. The data summary and analyses focused on arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and brain metastases.

Results: Data from 51 reports are summarized. There was wide variability in reported rates of radionecrosis. Available data for SRS/fSRS for brain metastases were more amenable to NTCP modeling than AVM data. In the setting of brain metastases, SRS/fSRS-associated radionecrosis can be difficult to differentiate from tumor progression. For single-fraction SRS to brain metastases, tissue volumes (including target volumes) receiving 12 Gy (V1) of 5 cm, 10 cm, or >15 cm were associated with risks of symptomatic radionecrosis of approximately 10%, 15%, and 20%, respectively. SRS for AVM was associated with modestly lower rates of symptomatic radionecrosis for equivalent V12. For brain metastases, brain plus target volume V20 (3-fractions) or V24 (5-fractions) <20 cm was associated with <10% risk of any necrosis or edema, and <4% risk of radionecrosis requiring resection.

Conclusions: The risk of radionecrosis after SRS and fSRS can be modeled as a function of dose and volume treated. The use of fSRS appears to reduce risks of radionecrosis for larger treatment volumes relative to SRS. More standardized dosimetric and toxicity reporting is needed to facilitate future pooled analyses that can refine predictive models of brain toxicity risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.08.013DOI Listing
September 2020

A Prospective Cohort Study of Neural Progenitor Cell-Sparing Radiation Therapy Plus Temozolomide for Newly Diagnosed Patients With Glioblastoma.

Neurosurgery 2020 07;87(1):E31-E40

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: In treating glioblastoma, irradiation of the neural progenitor cell (NPC) niches is controversial. Lower hippocampal doses may limit neurocognitive toxicity, but higher doses to the subventricular zones (SVZ) may improve survival.

Objective: To prospectively evaluate the impact of limiting radiation dose to the NPC niches on tumor progression, survival, and cognition in patients with glioblastoma.

Methods: Patients with glioblastoma received resection followed by standard chemoradiation. Radiation dose to the NPC niches, including the bilateral hippocampi and SVZ, was minimized without compromising tumor coverage. The primary outcome was tumor progression in the spared NPC niches. Follow-up magnetic resonance imaging was obtained bimonthly. Neurocognitive testing was performed before treatment and at 6- and 12-mo follow-up. Cox regression evaluated predictors of overall and progression-free survival. Linear regression evaluated predictors of neurocognitive decline.

Results: A total of 30 patients enrolled prospectively. The median age was 58 yr. Median mean doses to the hippocampi and SVZ were 49.1 and 41.8 gray (Gy) ipsilaterally, and 16.5 and 19.9 Gy contralaterally. Median times to death and tumor progression were 16.0 and 7.6 mo, and were not significantly different compared to a matched historical control. No patients experienced tumor progression in the spared NPC-containing regions. Overall survival was associated with neurocognitive function (P ≤ .03) but not dose to the NPC niches. Higher doses to the hippocampi and SVZ predicted greater decline in verbal memory (P ≤ .01).

Conclusion: In treating glioblastoma, limiting dose to the NPC niches may reduce cognitive toxicity while maintaining clinical outcomes. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293896PMC
July 2020

Updated risk models demonstrate low risk of symptomatic radionecrosis following stereotactic radiosurgery for brain metastases.

Surg Neurol Int 2019 15;10:32. Epub 2019 Mar 15.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 401 N Broadway Suite 1440, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Improvements in systemic therapy continue to increase survival for patients with brain metastases. Updated dosimetric models are required to optimize long-term safety of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for this indication.

Methods: Patients at a single institution receiving SRS from December 2011 to December 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients with radiographic progression of at least one lesion, and with at least 6 months of follow-up from the start of SRS were included. Grade 3 necrosis was defined as requiring surgical intervention. This data were combined with two additional published datasets to construct logistic models describing necrosis risk as a function of dose and volume.

Results: From our institution, 294 brain metastases across 57 patients in 139 treatment plans met inclusion criteria. Primary histologies included non-small cell lung cancer ( = 19), melanoma ( = 13), breast carcinoma ( = 9), renal cell carcinoma ( = 7), and other ( = 9). Median follow-up from SRS of first cranial metastasis was 21.7 months (range: 6.3-56.6) and median overall survival was 25.6 months (range: 6.5-56.6). There were eight cases of Grade 1-2 and two cases of Grade 3 necrosis. As a useful clinical reference point, 20 cc of total brain receiving a single-fraction equivalent dose ≥14 Gy corresponded to 12.1% risk for Grade 1-3 ( < 0.003) and 3.4% risk for Grade 3 necrosis ( < 0.001).

Conclusions: These results compare favorably with the QUANTEC brain tolerance estimates for radiosurgery, providing optimism for lower toxicity in the modern era. Additional studies are needed to determine dose tolerance parameters across a broad spectrum of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/sni.sni_303_18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6499458PMC
March 2019

Esophageal and Esophagogastric Junction Cancers, Version 2.2019, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2019 07;17(7):855-883

National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common histology in Eastern Europe and Asia, and adenocarcinoma is most common in North America and Western Europe. Surgery is a major component of treatment of locally advanced resectable esophageal and esophagogastric junction (EGJ) cancer, and randomized trials have shown that the addition of preoperative chemoradiation or perioperative chemotherapy to surgery significantly improves survival. Targeted therapies including trastuzumab, ramucirumab, and pembrolizumab have produced encouraging results in the treatment of patients with advanced or metastatic disease. Multidisciplinary team management is essential for all patients with esophageal and EGJ cancers. This selection from the NCCN Guidelines for Esophageal and Esophagogastric Junction Cancers focuses on recommendations for the management of locally advanced and metastatic adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and EGJ.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2019.0033DOI Listing
July 2019

Phase II Study of Preoperative Chemoradiotherapy with Oxaliplatin, Infusional 5-Fluorouracil, and Cetuximab Followed by Postoperative Docetaxel and Cetuximab in Patients with Adenocarcinoma of the Esophagus: A Trial of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (E2205).

Oncologist 2020 01 21;25(1):e53-e59. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Background: A standard approach to treating resectable esophageal adenocarcinoma is chemoradiotherapy (CRT) followed by surgery; however, recurrence is common. To improve this, we designed a single-arm, phase II trial that added an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, cetuximab (C), to CRT, with the hypothesis that EGFR inhibition would improve pathologic complete response (pCR) rate.

Materials And Methods: We aimed to increase the pCR rate from 25% to 45%. A Simon two-stage design (α and β of 0.10) required pCR/enrolled 5/18 for stage 1 and 14/40 total. CRT: oxaliplatin 85 mg/m days 1, 15, and 29; infusional 5-fluorouracil 180 mg/m /24 hours × 35 days; C 400 mg/m day 1 then 250 mg/m days 8, 15, 22, and 29 and radiation (intensity modulated radiotherapy [IMRT] allowed) 180 cGy/day × 25 fractions (Monday through Friday). Following esophagectomy, adjuvant chemotherapy (CT): weekly docetaxel 35 mg/m and C 250 mg/m 5 out of 6 weeks for two cycles.

Results: Of 21 eligible patients enrolled, 17 had surgery; 4 died before operation (due to pulmonary embolism 4 days after CRT, G3 diarrhea, progressive disease during CRT, sepsis/hypoxia during CRT, and acute respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS]). pCR = 7/17. Three postoperative deaths due to ARDS resulted in seven total study-related deaths. Of the 14 remaining patients, 12 started and completed adjuvant CT. Two of seven patients with pCR died, both of ARDS. Out of the 21 eligible subjects in this study, 13 have died and 8 remain alive. The use of IMRT did not correlate with ARDS.

Conclusion: This regimen demonstrated promising activity. Toxicity was significant, with seven study-related deaths leading to closure after stage 1. All postoperative deaths were due to ARDS. This regimen is not recommended.

Implications For Practice: Esophageal cancer is a disease with a high death rate. The current treatment involves giving chemotherapy plus radiation followed by surgery, but this cures only a quarter of patients. In order to improve survival, better treatments are needed. This trial evaluated the addition of a novel drug, cetuximab, to chemotherapy plus radiation. Unfortunately, the side effects were too great and the study was stopped early.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6964157PMC
January 2020

Assessing the Effectiveness of Systemic Therapy after Stereotactic Radiosurgery on Cancer Recurrence and All-Cause Mortality.

World Neurosurg 2019 Sep 31;129:e572-e581. Epub 2019 May 31.

Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Patients with cancer often present with brain metastases in the setting of controlled extracranial disease, for which they receive stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and surgical resection. The role of systemic therapy after SRS is unclear. Brain metastasis indicates active cancer dissemination, and microscopic systemic disease may be present despite absence of gross disease as assessed by conventional imaging modalities.

Objective: The aim was to determine if post-SRS systemic therapy reduces the risk of brain relapse, systemic relapse, and death in patients with brain metastases and controlled extracranial disease.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 67 patients with controlled extracranial disease who received SRS for brain metastases. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression were used to assess how post-SRS systemic therapy affected the risk of brain relapse, systemic relapse, and all-cause mortality.

Results: In our sample, 31% of patients received systemic therapy after SRS. Post-SRS systemic therapy did not affect median time to brain relapse (P = 0.43), systemic relapse (P = 0.16), or death (P = 0.33) by univariate analysis. After accounting for confounding factors such as cancer histology and age, post-SRS systemic therapy significantly reduced the risk of brain relapse (hazard ratio [HR], 0.22; P = 0.002) but not systemic relapse (HR, 0.38; P = 0.09) or all-cause mortality (HR, 2.16; P = 0.09).

Conclusions: Only a minority of patients with brain metastases and controlled extracranial disease receive adjuvant systemic therapy after SRS, but those that do have a reduced risk of brain relapse. Post-SRS systemic therapy may act prophylactically to reduce the risk of intracranial cancer recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2019.05.218DOI Listing
September 2019

Extracranial Abscopal Responses after Radiation Therapy for Intracranial Metastases: A Review of the Clinical Literature and Commentary on Mechanism.

Cureus 2019 Mar 8;11(3):e4207. Epub 2019 Mar 8.

Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.

The current literature contains a small number of case series and individual case reports that describe radiographic regression of extracranial tumors after treatment of one or more brain metastases with radiation therapy. These observations suggest an abscopal effect that traverses the blood-brain barrier. The purpose of this review is to describe the clinical evidence for this phenomenon and potential mechanistic relationships between radiation, the blood-brain barrier, and the abscopal effect. Among reported cases, the majority of patients received systemic immunotherapy, which is consistent with an immunologic mechanism underlying abscopal responses. Preclinical data suggest that radiation may play multiple roles in this process, including the release of tumor-associated antigens and disruption of the blood-brain barrier. Future studies investigating the abscopal effect would benefit from more rigorous methods to control for patient and treatment factors that may affect distant tumor response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.4207DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6505720PMC
March 2019

Initial SRS for Patients With 5 to 15 Brain Metastases: Results of a Multi-Institutional Experience.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2019 08 6;104(5):1091-1098. Epub 2019 Apr 6.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Purpose: Several studies evaluating stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for patients with >4 brain metastases (BM) demonstrated similar outcomes after treatment of 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM; others found clinically significant survival decrements in the latter group. In this review of 8 academic centers, we compared outcomes of patients undergoing initial SRS for 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM.

Methods And Materials: A total of 2089 patients treated with initial SRS for BM were included. Overall survival (OS) was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared using the log-rank test. Patient and disease characteristics were evaluated for association with OS and cumulative incidence of distant brain failure (DBF) using stepwise multivariable Cox proportional hazards and competing risk regression modeling.

Results: In this series, 989 (47%) patients had 1 metastasis, 882 (42%) had 2 to 4 metastases, and 212 (10%) had 5 to 15 metastases treated. Median OS for the 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM groups was 14.6, 9.5, and 7.5 months, respectively (log-rank P < .01). Univariate and multivariable analyses revealed no difference in survival between 2 to 4 and 5 to 15 BM. DBF at 1 year was 30%, 41%, and 50%, respectively (Gray's P < .01). Two-year cumulative incidence of salvage SRS decreased with increasing number of BM (1: 21% vs 2-4: 19% vs 5-15: 13%; P < .01), but no difference in salvage whole brain radiation therapy was observed (1: 12% vs 2-4: 15% vs 5-15: 16%, P = .10). At the time of DBF, median brain metastasis velocity was 3.9, 6.1, and 11.7 new metastases per year in the 1, 2 to 4, and 5 to 15 BM groups, respectively (P < .01).

Conclusions: Patients treated with initial SRS for 5 to 15 BM experienced survival similar to that in patients with 2 to 4 BM. Lower rates of salvage SRS were observed in the 5 to 15 BM group, with no difference in rates of salvage whole brain radiation therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.03.052DOI Listing
August 2019

Widely metastatic IDH1-mutant glioblastoma with oligodendroglial features and atypical molecular findings: a case report and review of current challenges in molecular diagnostics.

Diagn Pathol 2019 Feb 9;14(1):16. Epub 2019 Feb 9.

Brain Cancer Program, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, 1550 Orleans Street, 1M16, Baltimore, MD, 21287, USA.

Background: Gliomas with 1p/19q-codeletion as well as mutation of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) 1 are typically characterized as oligodendrogliomas with comparatively good response to treatment with radiation and chemotherapy.

Case Presentation: We present the case of a 28-year-old man with an IDH1 and TP53 mutant high grade glioma with abnormalities in chromosomes 1 and 19 suggestive of anaplastic oligodendroglioma that rapidly progressed to widespread metastatic disease. Biopsy of a liver lesion confirmed metastasis of the patient's known brain primary and chemotherapy with temozolomide was initiated. The patient's rapidly growing tumor burden with fulminant liver failure and tumor lysis led to multisystem failure of which the patient died. Further molecular testing illustrated features more consistent with glioblastoma: multiple large chromosomal aberrations including loss of whole chromosome 1 and 2q; gain/amplification of MYCN, MET, and CDK4; loss of CDKN2A/B; and an ATRX mutation.

Conclusion: This case illustrates the importance of higher level molecular diagnostic testing for patients with particularly aggressive disease progression that is not concordant with standard prognoses. Additional data on cases with atypical alterations of 1p and 19q are needed to better understand the distinct biology of these cancers so that appropriate therapies can be developed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13000-019-0793-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6368694PMC
February 2019

Contrasting impact of corticosteroids on anti-PD-1 immunotherapy efficacy for tumor histologies located within or outside the central nervous system.

Oncoimmunology 2018;7(12):e1500108. Epub 2018 Sep 6.

Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, USA.

Immune checkpoint blockade targeting programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) is emerging as an important treatment strategy in a growing list of cancers, yet its clinical benefits are limited to a subset of patients. Further investigation of tumor-intrinsic predictors of response and how extrinsic factors, such as iatrogenic immunosuppression caused by conventional therapies, impact the efficacy of anti-PD-1 therapy are paramount. Given the widespread use of corticosteroids in cancer management and their immunosuppressive nature, this study sought to determine how corticosteroids influence anti-PD-1 responses and whether their effects were dependent on tumor location within the periphery versus central nervous system (CNS), which may have a more limiting immune environment. In well-established anti-PD-1-responsive murine tumor models, corticosteroid therapy resulted in systemic immune effects, including severe and persistent reductions in peripheral CD4+ and CD8 + T cells. Corticosteroid treatment was found to diminish the efficacy of anti-PD-1 therapy in mice bearing peripheral tumors with responses correlating with peripheral CD8/Treg ratio changes. In contrast, in mice bearing intracranial tumors, corticosteroids did not abrogate the benefits conferred by anti-PD-1 therapy. Despite systemic immune changes, anti-PD-1-mediated antitumor immune responses remained intact during corticosteroid treatment in mice bearing intracranial tumors. These findings suggest that anti-PD-1 responses may be differentially impacted by concomitant corticosteroid use depending on tumor location within or outside the CNS. As an immune-specialized site, the CNS may potentially play a protective role against the immunosuppressive effects of corticosteroids, thus sustaining antitumor immune responses mediated by PD-1 blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2018.1500108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6279341PMC
September 2018

Re-irradiation for malignant glioma: Toward patient selection and defining treatment parameters for salvage.

Adv Radiat Oncol 2018 Oct-Dec;3(4):582-590. Epub 2018 Jul 10.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Purpose: Reirradiation for recurrent glioma remains controversial without knowledge of optimal patient selection, dose, fractionation, and normal tissue tolerances. We retrospectively evaluated outcomes and toxicity after conventionally fractionated reirradiation for recurrent high-grade glioma, along with the impact of concurrent chemotherapy.

Methods And Materials: We conducted a retrospective review of patients reirradiated for high-grade glioma recurrence between 2007 and 2016 (including patients with initial low-grade glioma). Outcome metrics included overall survival (OS), prognostic factors for survival, and treatment-related toxicity.

Results: Patients (n = 118; median age 47 years; median Karnofsky performance status score: 80) were re-treated at a median of 28 months (range, 5-214 months) after initial radiation therapy. The median reirradiation dose was 41.4 Gy (range, 12.6-54.0 Gy) to a median lesion volume of 202 cm (range, 20-901 cm). The median cumulative (initial radiation and reirradiation combined) potential maximum brainstem dose was 76.9 Gy (range, 5.0-108.3 Gy) and optic apparatus dose was 56.0 Gy (range, 4.5-90.9 Gy). Of the patients, 56% received concurrent temozolomide, 14%, bevacizumab, and 11%, temozolomide plus bevacizumab; 19% had no chemotherapy. The planned reirradiation was completed by 90% of patients. Median OS from the completion of reirradiation was 9.6 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 7.5-11.7 months) for all patients and 14.0, 11.5, and 6.7 months for patients with initial grade 2, 3, and 4 glioma, respectively. On multivariate analysis, better OS was observed with a >24-month interval between radiation treatments (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.3; 95% CI, 0.2-0.5; < .001), reirradiation dose >41.4 Gy (HR: 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9; = .03), and gross total resection before reirradiation (HR: 0.6, 95% CI, 0.3-0.9; = .02). Radiation necrosis and grade ≥3 late neurotoxicity were both minimal (<5%). No symptomatic persistent brainstem or optic nerve/chiasm injury was identified.

Conclusions: Salvage reirradiation, even at doses >41.4 Gy in conventional fractionation, along with chemotherapy, was safe and well tolerated with meaningful survival duration. These data provide information that may be useful in implementing safe reirradiation treatments for appropriately selected patients and guiding future studies to define optimal reirradiation doses, maximal safe doses to critical structures, and the role of systemic therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2018.06.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6200913PMC
July 2018

Outcomes of Metastatic Brain Lesions Treated with Radioactive Cs-131 Seeds after Surgery: Experience from One Institution.

Cureus 2018 Jul 30;10(7):e3075. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Neurosurgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.

Introduction Brain metastases are common in patients with advanced systemic cancer and often recur despite treatment with surgical resection and radiotherapy. Whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) have significantly improved local control rates but are limited by complications including neurocognitive deficits and radiation necrosis. These risks can be higher in the re-irradiation setting. Brachytherapy may be an alternative method of additional targeted adjuvant radiotherapy with acceptable rates of toxicity. Methods A retrospective chart review of all patients undergoing resection for metastatic brain lesions and permanent low-dose rate Cs-131 brachytherapy was performed for one institution over a 10-year period. All patients had previous radiation therapy already and, after surgery, were followed with imaging every three months. Patient demographics, disease characteristics, intracranial disease, peri- and post-operative complications, and outcomes were recorded. The primary outcome of interest was local tumor recurrence at the site of brachytherapy while secondary outcomes included distant disease progression (within the brain) and complications such as radiation necrosis. Results During the study period, nine cases of individual patients met inclusion criteria. The median preoperative lesion diameter was 3 cm (0.8-4.1). The median overall survival after surgery and brachytherapy was 10.3 months, after excluding two patients who were lost to follow-up. Six of nine patients had no local recurrence, while three patients had development or progression of distant lesions. No patients experienced acute or delayed complications. Conclusion Cs-131 brachytherapy is a promising alternative method for controlling brain metastases after previous radiation interventions and surgical resection. In this case series, there were no incidences of local tumor recurrence or complications such as radiation necrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.3075DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6166914PMC
July 2018

Adjuvant radiotherapy and outcomes of presumed hemorrhagic melanoma brain metastases without malignant cells.

Surg Neurol Int 2018 26;9:146. Epub 2018 Jul 26.

Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: Patients with melanoma can present with a hemorrhagic intracranial lesion. Upon resection, pathology reports may not detect any malignant cells. However, the hemorrhage may obscure their presence and so physicians may still decide whether adjuvant radiotherapy should be applied. Here, we report on the outcomes of a series of patients with melanoma with hemorrhagic brain lesions that returned with no tumor cells.

Methods: All melanoma patients who had craniotomies from 2008 to 2017 at a single institution for hemorrhagic brain lesions were identified through retrospective chart review. Those who had pathology reports with no malignant cells were analyzed. Recurrence at the former site of hemorrhage and resection was the primary outcome.

Results: Ten patients met inclusion criteria, and the median follow-up time was 8.5 (1.8-27.3) months. At the time of craniotomy, the median number of brain lesions was 3 (1-25). Two patients had prior craniotomies, eight had prior radiation, and six had prior immunotherapy to the lesion of interest. After surgery, one patient received stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to the resection bed. Only one patient developed subsequent melanoma at the resection site; this patient developed the lesion recurrence once and had not received postoperative SRS.

Conclusion: Although small foci of metastatic disease as a source of bleeding for some patients cannot be excluded, melanoma patients with a suspected hemorrhagic brain metastasis that shows no tumor cells on pathology may benefit from close observation. The local recurrence risk in such cases appears to be low, even without adjuvant radiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/sni.sni_140_18DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6080145PMC
July 2018

Phase II study of rituximab given in conjunction with standard chemotherapy in primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL): a trial of the ECOG-ACRIN cancer research group (E1F05).

Oncotarget 2018 Jan 6;9(1):766-773. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: Therapy of primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) has focused on multi-agent chemotherapy designed to cross the blood brain barrier. Rituximab has demonstrated activity in PCNSL. E1F05 is an ECOG-ACRIN multicenter phase 2 prospective trial of rituximab with high-dose methotrexate (HD-MTX)-based chemotherapy similar to the RTOG 93-10 regimen, omitting radiotherapy.

Methods: Immunocompetent patients with newly diagnosed PCNSL received HD-MTX 3.5g/m2 with vincristine every two weeks for 5 doses; procarbazine for 7 days in weeks 1, 5, and 9; cytarabine 3g/m2/day IV for 2 days in weeks 11 and 14; a dexamethasone taper over 6 weeks; and rituximab 375mg/m2 IV infusion 3 times per week for weeks 1-4. Subjects with CSF involvement received intrathecal methotrexate 12mg every two weeks.

Results: Twenty-six patients were enrolled; median age was 57. Sixteen subjects (65%) completed treatment per protocol; the most common reason for discontinuation was adverse events, and 2 subjects discontinued due to progressive disease (PD). Complete response (CR) + unconfirmed CR (CRu) was 16/25 (64%), overall response rate was 20/25 (80%), and 4/25(16%) had PD as best response. Median progression free survival (PFS) was 34 months, and median overall survival has not been reached at 40 months' median follow up. Two year PFS was 63%. The most common grade 3-4 toxicities were hematologic.

Conclusion: The addition of rituximab to multi-agent chemotherapy is well tolerated. Outcomes are comparable to or better than those seen in RTOG 93-10, which included RT. These and other results suggest rituximab has activity in the CNS. [ECOG-ACRIN E1F05].

Clinical Trial Registration: NCT00335140, clinicaltrials.gov.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5787508PMC
January 2018

A prospective evaluation of hippocampal radiation dose volume effects and memory deficits following cranial irradiation.

Radiother Oncol 2017 11 8;125(2):234-240. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States. Electronic address:

Background And Purpose: To prospectively evaluate hippocampal radiation dose volume effects and memory decline following cranial irradiation.

Material And Methods: Effects of hippocampal radiation over a wide range of doses were investigated by combining data from three prospective studies. In one, adults with small cell lung cancer received hippocampal-avoidance prophylactic cranial irradiation. In the other two, adults with glioblastoma multiforme received neural progenitor cell sparing radiation or no sparing with extra dose delivered to subventricular zone. Memory was measured by the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised Delayed Recall (HVLT-R DR) at 6 months after radiation. Dose-volume histograms were generated and dose-response data were fitted to a nonlinear model.

Results: Of 60 patients enrolled, 30 were analyzable based on HVLT-R DR testing completion status, baseline HVLT-R DR and intracranial metastasis/recurrence or prior hippocampal resection status. We observed a dose-response of radiation to the hippocampus with regard to decline in HVLT-R DR. D50% of the bilateral hippocampi of 22.1 Gy is associated with 20% risk of decline.

Conclusions: This prospective study demonstrates an association between hippocampal dose volume effects and memory decline measured by HVLT-R DR over a wide dose range. These data support a potential benefit of hippocampal sparing and encourage continued trial enrollment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2017.09.035DOI Listing
November 2017

Long-term Treatment Response and Patient Outcomes for Vestibular Schwannoma Patients Treated with Hypofractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy.

Front Oncol 2017 4;7:200. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States.

Purpose: The aim of this study is to evaluate long-term treatment outcome and toxicities among vestibular schwannoma (VS) patients treated with hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (HSRT).

Methods: 383 patients with unilateral VS treated with HSRT (25 Gy, five fractions) between 1995 and 2007 were retrospectively reviewed. Treatment failure was defined as requiring salvage microsurgery. Posttreatment new/progressive clinical symptoms or increases in baseline tumor volume (BTV) due to treatment effect or progression were noted. Symptom outcomes were reported as baseline and posttreatment ± improvement, respectively. Symptoms were grouped by cranial nerve (CN) VII or CNVIII. Audiometry was assessed baseline and posttreatment hearing. Patients were grouped as having greater than serviceable hearing [Gardner Robertson (GR) score 1-2] or less than non-serviceable hearing (GR score 3-5) by audiometry.

Results: Median follow-up was 72.0 months. Nine (2.3%) experienced treatment failure. At last follow-up, 74 (19.3%) had new/progressive symptoms and were categorized as radiologic non-responders, whereas 300 (78.3%) had no tumor progression and were grouped as radiologic responders. Average pretreatment BTV for treatment failures, radiologic non-responders, and radiologic responders was 2.11, 0.44, and 1.87 cm, respectively. Pretreatment CNVII and CNVIII symptoms were present in 9.4 and 93.4% of patients, respectively. Eight (24%) with pre-HSRT CNVII and 37 (10%) with pre-HSRT CNVIII symptoms recovered CN function post-HSRT. Thirty-five (9%) and 36 (9.4%) experienced new CNVII and CNVIII deficit, respectively, after HSRT. Of these, 20 (57%) and 18 (50%) recovered CNVII and CNVIII function, respectively, after HSRT. Evaluable audiograms were available in 199 patients. At baseline and at last follow-up, 65.8 and 36.2% had serviceable hearing, respectively. Fifty-one percent had preservation of serviceable hearing at last follow-up.

Conclusion: Treatment of VS with HSRT is effective with treatment success in 97.7% and an acceptable toxicity profile. Less than one-third of patients experience any new CNVII or CNVIII deficit posttreatment. Greater than 50% of patients with serviceable hearing at baseline maintained hearing function. Improved methods to differentiate treatment effect and tumor progression are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2017.00200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591320PMC
September 2017

Long-term Outcomes With Planned Multistage Reduced Dose Repeat Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Treatment of Inoperable High-Grade Arteriovenous Malformations: An Observational Retrospective Cohort Study.

Neurosurgery 2017 Jul;81(1):136-146

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: There is no consensus regarding the optimal management of inoperable high-grade arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). This long-term study of 42 patients with high-grade AVMs reports obliteration and adverse event (AE) rates using planned multistage repeat stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of multistage SRS with treatment of the entire AVM nidus at each treatment session to achieve complete obliteration of high-grade AVMs.

Methods: Patients with high-grade Spetzler-Martin (S-M) III-V AVMs treated with at least 2 multistage SRS treatments from 1989 to 2013. Clinical outcomes of obliteration rate, minor/major AEs, and treatment characteristics were collected.

Results: Forty-two patients met inclusion criteria (n = 26, S-M III; n = 13, S-M IV; n = 3, S-M V) with a median follow-up was 9.5 yr after first SRS. Median number of SRS treatment stages was 2, and median interval between stages was 3.5 yr. Twenty-two patients underwent pre-SRS embolization. Complete AVM obliteration rate was 38%, and the median time to obliteration was 9.7 yr. On multivariate analysis, higher S-M grade was significantly associated ( P = .04) failure to achieve obliteration. Twenty-seven post-SRS AEs were observed, and the post-SRS intracranial hemorrhage rate was 0.027 events per patient year.

Conclusion: Treatment of high-grade AVMs with multistage SRS achieves AVM obliteration in a meaningful proportion of patients with acceptable AE rates. Lower obliteration rates were associated with higher S-M grade and pre-SRS embolization. This approach should be considered with caution, as partial obliteration does not protect from hemorrhage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyw041DOI Listing
July 2017

Gastric Cancer, Version 3.2016, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2016 10;14(10):1286-1312

Gastric cancer is the fifth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of death from cancer in the world. Several advances have been made in the staging procedures, imaging techniques, and treatment approaches. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Gastric Cancer provide an evidence- and consensus-based treatment approach for the management of patients with gastric cancer. This manuscript discusses the recommendations outlined in the NCCN Guidelines for staging, assessment of HER2 overexpression, systemic therapy for locally advanced or metastatic disease, and best supportive care for the prevention and management of symptoms due to advanced disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2016.0137DOI Listing
October 2016

The strategy of repeat stereotactic radiosurgery without whole brain radiation treatment for new brain metastases: Outcomes and implications for follow-up monitoring.

Pract Radiat Oncol 2016 Nov - Dec;6(6):409-416. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Purpose: Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is widely used to treat brain metastases in place of whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT), with the goal of reducing treatment toxicity balanced against the risk of developing new metastases. We evaluated outcomes of repeated courses of SRS in the management of new brain metastases as an alternative to salvage WBRT.

Methods And Materials: We conducted a single-institution retrospective review of 239 patients treated with SRS without WBRT for brain metastases from 2004 to 2014. Eighty-six patients received at least 2 courses of SRS for new brain metastases. Outcome metrics included survival, development of symptomatic new brain metastases, neurologic symptoms at death or last follow-up, and ultimate WBRT.

Results: Eighty-six patients (median age, 59 years) underwent a median of 2 courses of SRS (range, 2-6), with a median of 2 lesions treated initially and on retreatment. The median interval between SRS treatments was 5.8 months (range, 1.2-69.1). New brain metastases after initial radiosurgery were detected by routine imaging in 87% of cases. Median overall survival from repeat SRS was 13.0 months (range, 0.3-64.5) and from initial brain metastasis diagnosis 25.0 months (range, 2.0-68.1). On multivariate analysis, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0-1 (hazard ratio [HR], 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.15-0.90; P=.029), controlled extracranial disease (HR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.13-0.94; P=.038), and interval between initial and second SRS >6 months (HR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.25-0.96; P=.037) correlated with improved overall survival from brain metastasis diagnosis. A total of 24.7% of patients had symptomatic intracranial metastatic disease at death or last follow-up, and 26.7% ultimately received WBRT.

Conclusion: Repeated SRS is a reasonable option for patients with new brain metastases, as our results suggest favorable survival outcomes with this approach. New lesions infrequently caused neurologic symptoms before routine imaging detection, and a minority of patients had symptomatic intracranial disease at death or last follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.prro.2016.04.004DOI Listing
March 2017

Controversies in the Therapy of Brain Metastases: Shifting Paradigms in an Era of Effective Systemic Therapy and Longer-Term Survivorship.

Curr Treat Options Oncol 2016 09;17(9):46

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 401 North Broadway, Suite 1440, Baltimore, MD, 21287, USA.

Opinion Statement: With the development of therapies that improve extracranial disease control and increase long-term survival of patients with metastatic cancer, effective treatment of brain metastases while minimizing toxicities is becoming increasingly important. An expanding arsenal that includes surgical resection, whole brain radiation therapy, radiosurgery, and targeted systemic therapy provides multiple treatment options. However, significant controversies still exist surrounding appropriate use of each modality in various clinical scenarios and patient populations in the context of cancer care strategies that control systemic disease for increasingly longer periods of time. While whole brain radiotherapy alone is still a reasonable and standard option for patients with multiple metastases, several randomized trials have now revealed that survival is maintained in patients treated with radiosurgery or surgery alone, without upfront whole brain radiotherapy, for up to four brain metastases. Indeed, recent data even suggest that patients with up to 10 metastases can be treated with radiosurgery alone without a survival detriment. In an era of dramatic advances in targeted and immune therapies that control systemic disease and improve survival but may not penetrate the brain, more consideration should be given to brain metastasis-directed treatments that minimize long-term neurocognitive deficits, while keeping in mind that salvage brain therapies will likely be more frequently required. Less toxic therapies now also allow for concurrent delivery of systemic therapy with radiosurgery to brain metastases, such that treatment of both extracranial and intracranial disease can be expedited, and potential synergies between radiotherapy and agents with central nervous system penetration can be harnessed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11864-016-0423-3DOI Listing
September 2016

BRAF-V600 mutational status affects recurrence patterns of melanoma brain metastasis.

Int J Cancer 2017 06;140(12):2716-2727

Department of Neurosurgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, MD.

Brain metastasis is common and carries a poor prognosis in melanoma. A single institution, retrospective cohort of 225 melanoma patients was analyzed to determine if BRAF-V600 mutational status was associated with brain metastasis. Eighty-three of the 225 patients (37%) had BRAF-V600 mutations. At initial diagnosis, BRAF-V600 mutations were associated with younger age (p ≤ 0.001), higher proportion of females (p = 0.0037), higher AJCC stage (p = 0.030), regional lymph node involvement (p = 0.047), and family history of cancer (p = 0.044). Compared to BRAF-WT, BRAF-V600 patients had an increased risk of brain metastasis in multivariate analysis (OR = 2.24; 95% CL = 1.10-4.58; p = 0.027). However, BRAF-V600 patients treated with a selective BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi) had a similar risk of brain metastasis compared to BRAF-WT patients (OR = 1.00; 95% CL = 0.37-2.65; p = 0.98). Moreover, treatment with BRAFi significantly prolonged the time from initial diagnosis to brain metastasis diagnosis (HR = 0.30; 95% CL = 0.11-0.79; p = 0.015). Compared to other tissues, the brain was the most frequent site of metastasis in BRAF-V600 patients without BRAFi (42% ± 7%). The frequency of brain metastasis was lower in BRAF-WT and BRAF-V600 patients with BRAFi (25% ± 4% and 25% ± 8%, respectively). The proportion of patients with brain metastasis as the only site was 40%, 60%, and 0% in the BRAF-WT, BRAF-V600 without BRAFi, and BRAF-V600 with BRAFi groups, respectively. This study provides evidence on the clinical importance of BRAF-V600 mutations and BRAF inhibition in the progression to melanoma brain metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.30241DOI Listing
June 2017

Progressive Low-Grade Glioma: Assessment of Prognostic Importance of Histologic Reassessment and MRI Findings.

World Neurosurg 2017 Mar 19;99:751-757. Epub 2016 Apr 19.

Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Electronic address:

Background: In patients with progressive low-grade glioma (LGG), the presence of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enhancement is commonly used as an indicator of malignant degeneration, but its accuracy in this setting is uncertain.

Objective: We characterize the ability of new MRI enhancement to serve as a surrogate for histologic grade in patients with progressive LGG, and to explore the prognostic value of new MRI enhancement, pathologic grade, and extent of resection.

Methods: Patients at our institution with World Health Organization grade II glioma diagnosed between 1994 and 2010 and who underwent repeat biopsy or resection at progression were retrospectively reviewed (n = 108). The positive predictive value, negative predictive value, sensitivity, and specificity of new MRI enhancement were characterized. A multivariable proportional hazards model was used to test associations with overall survival (OS), and Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed to compare OS between patient subsets.

Results: The positive predictive value, negative predictive value, sensitivity, and specificity of new MRI enhancement were 82%, 77%, 92%, and 57%, respectively. In patients without malignant degeneration, new MRI enhancement was associated with inferior median OS (92.5 months vs. not reached; P = 0.03). In patients with malignant degeneration, gross or near total resection was associated with improved median OS (58.8 vs. 28.8 months; P = 0.02).

Conclusion: In patients with progressive LGG, new MRI enhancement and pathologic grade were discordant in greater than 20% of cases. Pathologic confirmation of grade should therefore be attempted, when safe, to dictate management. Beyond functioning as a surrogate for pathologic grade, new MRI enhancement may predict for worse outcomes, a concept that merits prospective investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2016.04.030DOI Listing
March 2017

Stereotactic Radiosurgery: Treatment of Brain Metastasis Without Interruption of Systemic Therapy.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2016 06 9;95(2):735-42. Epub 2016 Feb 9.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence, outcomes, and toxicities of concurrent delivery of systemic therapy with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for treatment of brain metastases.

Methods And Materials: We conducted a retrospective review of 193 patients treated at our institution with SRS without prior whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) for brain metastases between 2009 and 2014. Outcome metrics included administration of concurrent systemic therapy, myelosuppression, neurotoxicity, and survival.

Results: One hundred ninety-three patients with a median age of 61 years underwent a total of 291 SRS treatments. Thirty-seven percent of SRS treatments were delivered concurrently with systemic therapy, of which 46% were with conventional myelosuppressive chemotherapy, and 54% with targeted and immune therapy agents. Myelosuppression was minimal after treatment with both systemic therapy and SRS, with 14% grade 3-4 toxicity for lymphopenia and 4-9% for leukopenia, neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia. Neurotoxicity was also minimal after combined therapy, with no grade 4 and <5% grade 3 toxicity, 34% dexamethasone requirement, and 4% radiation necrosis, all similar to treatments with SRS alone. Median overall survival was similar after SRS alone (14.4 months) versus SRS with systemic therapy (12.9 months). In patients with a new diagnosis of primary cancer with brain metastasis, early treatment with concurrent systemic therapy and SRS correlated with improved survival versus SRS alone (41.6 vs 21.5 months, P<.05).

Conclusions: Systemic therapy can be safely given concurrently with SRS for brain metastases: our results suggest minimal myelosuppression and neurotoxicity. Concurrent therapy is an attractive option for patients who have both intracranial and extracranial metastatic disease and may be particularly beneficial in patients with a new diagnosis of primary cancer with brain metastasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2016.01.054DOI Listing
June 2016

Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and American College of Radiology Imaging Network Randomized Phase 2 Trial of Neoadjuvant Preoperative Paclitaxel/Cisplatin/Radiation Therapy (RT) or Irinotecan/Cisplatin/RT in Esophageal Adenocarcinoma: Long-Term Outcome and Implications for Trial Design.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2016 Mar 18;94(4):738-46. Epub 2015 Dec 18.

Department of Medicine-Hematology/Oncology, Lurie Cancer Center, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Purpose: Toxicity, pathologic complete response, and long-term outcomes are reported for the neoadjuvant therapies assessed in a randomized phase 2 Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and American College of Radiology Imaging Network trial for operable esophageal adenocarcinoma, staged as II-IVa by endoscopy/ultrasonography (EUS).

Methods And Materials: A total of 86 eligible patients began treatment. For arm A, preoperative chemotherapy was cisplatin, 30 mg/m(2), and irinotecan, 50 mg/m(2), on day 1, 8, 22, 29 during 45 Gy radiation therapy (RT), 1.8 Gy per day over 5 weeks. Adjuvant therapy was cisplatin, 30 mg/m(2), and irinotecan, 65 mg/m(2) day 1, 8 every 21 days for 3 cycles. Arm B therapy was cisplatin, 30 mg/m(2), and paclitaxel, 50 mg/m(2), day 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 with RT, followed by adjuvant cisplatin, 75 mg/m(2), and paclitaxel, 175 mg/m(2), day 1 every 21 days for 3 cycles. Stratification included EUS stage and performance status.

Results: In arm A, median overall survival was 35 months, and 5-, 6-, and 7-year survival rates were 46%, 39%, and 35%, respectively, whereas for arm B, they were 21 months and 27%, 27%, and 23%, respectively. Median progression- or recurrence-free survival (PFS) was 39.8 months with a 3-year PFS of 50% for arm A and 12.4 months (P=.046) with 3-year PFS of 28% for arm B. Eighty percent of the observed incidents of progression occurred within 19 months. Survival did not differ significantly by EUS and performance status strata.

Conclusions: Long-term survival was similar for both arms and did not appear superior to results achieved with other standard regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.12.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4891943PMC
March 2016

Reply to C.T. Hiley.

J Clin Oncol 2015 Dec 14;33(34):4122-3. Epub 2015 Sep 14.

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2166DOI Listing
December 2015

Prognostic factors associated with pain palliation after spine stereotactic body radiation therapy.

J Neurosurg Spine 2015 Nov 31;23(5):620-629. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Departments of 1 Neurosurgery.

OBJECT The number of patients with spinal tumors is rapidly increasing; spinal metastases develop in more than 30% of cancer patients during the course of their illness. Such lesions can significantly decrease quality of life, often necessitating treatment. Stereotactic radiosurgery has effectively achieved local control and symptomatic relief for these patients. The authors determined prognostic factors that predicted pain palliation and report overall institutional outcomes after spine stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). METHODS Records of patients who had undergone treatment with SBRT for either primary spinal tumors or spinal metastases from June 2008 through June 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. Data were collected at the initial visit just before treatment and at 1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month follow-up visits. Collected clinical data included Karnofsky Performance Scale scores, pain status, presence of neurological deficits, and prior radiation exposure at the level of interest. Radiation treatment plan parameters (dose, fractionation, and target coverage) were recorded. To determine the initial extent of epidural spinal cord compression (ESCC), the authors retrospectively reviewed MR images, assessed spinal instability according to the Bilsky scale, and evaluated lesion progression after treatment. RESULTS The study included 99 patients (mean age 60.4 years). The median survival time was 9.1 months (95% CI 6.9-17.2 months). Significant decreases in the proportion of patients reporting pain were observed at 3 months (p < 0.0001), 6 months (p = 0.0002), and 12 months (p = 0.0019) after treatment. Significant decreases in the number of patients reporting pain were also observed at the last follow-up visit (p = 0.00020) (median follow-up time 6.1 months, range 1.0-56.6 months). Univariate analyses revealed that significant predictors of persistent pain after intervention were initial ESCC grade, stratified by a Bilsky grade of 1c (p = 0.0058); initial American Spinal Injury Association grade of D (p = 0.011); initial Karnofsky Performance Scale score, stratified by a score of 80 (p = 0.002); the presence of multiple treated lesions (p = 0.044); and prior radiation at the site of interest (p < 0.0001). However, when multivariate analyses were performed on all variables with p values less than 0.05, the only predictor of pain at last follow-up visit was a prior history of radiation at the site of interest (p = 0.0038), although initial ESCC grade trended toward significance (p = 0.073). Using pain outcomes at 3 months, at this follow-up time point, pain could be predicted by receipt of radiation above a threshold biologically effective dose of 66.7 Gy. CONCLUSIONS Pain palliation occurs as early as 3 months after treatment; significant differences in pain reporting are also observed at 6 and 12 months. Pain palliation is limited for patients with spinal tumors with epidural extension that deforms the cord and for patients who have previously received radiation to the same site. Further investigation into the optimal dose and fractionation schedule are needed, but improved outcomes were observed in patients who received radiation at a biologically effective dose (with an a/b of 3.0) of 66.7 Gy or higher.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2015.2.SPINE14618DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4733601PMC
November 2015