Publications by authors named "Marco Filetti"

47 Publications

Clinical outcomes of NSCLC patients experiencing early immune-related adverse events to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors leading to treatment discontinuation.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2021 Aug 31. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Medical Oncology, ASST-Sette Laghi, Varese, Italy.

Background: The prognostic relevance of early immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in patients affected by non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) upon immunotherapy is not fully understood.

Methods: The Leading to Treatment Discontinuation cohort included 24 patients experiencing severe irAEs after one of two administrations of single anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in any line setting for metastatic NSCLC between November 2015 and June 2019. The control cohort was composed of 526 patients treated with single anti-PD-1/PD-L1 in any line setting with no severe irAE reported. The primary end points were median progression-free survival, overall survival, objective response rate, risk of progression of disease and risk of death. The correlation of clinic pathological features with early severe irAEs represented the secondary end point.

Results: Median PFS was 9.3 and 8.4 months, median OS was 12.0 months and 14.2 months at a median follow-up of 18.1 and 22.6 months in the LTD cohort and in the control cohort, respectively. The ORR was 40% (95% CI 17.2-78.8) in the LTD cohort and 32.7% (95% CI 27.8-38.2) in the control cohort. The risk of disease progression was higher in the LTD cohort (HR 2.52 [95% 1.10-5.78], P = .0288).

Conclusions: We found no survival benefit in LTD cohort compared to the control cohort. However, early and severe irAEs might underly an immune anti-tumor activation. We identified a significant association with first-line immune checkpoints inhibitors treatment and good PS. Further studies on risk prediction and management of serious and early irAEs in NSCLC patients are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-021-03045-9DOI Listing
August 2021

Knowledge and attitudes of Italian medical oncologists and palliative care physicians toward medical use of cannabis in cancer care: a national survey.

Support Care Cancer 2021 Jun 26. Epub 2021 Jun 26.

Medical Oncology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Sant'Andrea, Via di Grottarossa, 1035-39 00189, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: Despite advances in supportive care, cancer-related symptoms tend to be persistent regardless of cancer type, stage of disease, or treatment received. There is an increasing prescription for complementary and alternative medicines, such as medical cannabis (MC). Knowledge and attitudes of Italian medical oncologists and palliative care physicians toward medical cannabis in cancer care remain unknown.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study to investigate the knowledge and attitude toward MC prescription among cancer care professionals in Italy. All invited participants received an email with the electronic questionnaire accessible through a direct link.

Results: Among the 2616 members who received the invitation, 475 replied to the questionnaire and were considered for the survey analysis. The most prescribed formulations among those available in Italy were cannabis FM2. The most frequent clinical indications for the use of MC were pain, gastrointestinal, and mood disorders. Only 9 responders reported MC-related side effects like anxiety insomnia and muscle spasms. The question regarding the normative references for MC prescription and use in Italy had conflicting results: only 14% indicated the exact legislative reference.

Conclusion: Our study highlights a significant discrepancy between personal attitudes, prescription levels, and actual knowledge on MC. This represent a critical issue that should be systemically faced, building educational programs and national guidelines that sublimate personal physicians' beliefs and predispositions, resulting in a robust science-based MC practice. Only through coordinated interventions on science and health policy of MC, there will be success of safety and efficacy, ensuring the best knowledge for the best outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06383-7DOI Listing
June 2021

PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors during late stages of life: an ad-hoc analysis from a large multicenter cohort.

J Transl Med 2021 06 24;19(1):270. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Division of Medical Oncology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy.

Background: The favourable safety profile and the increasing confidence with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) might have boosted their prescription in frail patients with short life expectancies, who usually are not treated with standard chemotherapy.

Methods: The present analysis aims to describe clinicians' attitudes towards ICIs administration during late stages of life within a multicenter cohort of advanced cancer patients treated with single agent PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in Italy.

Results: Overall, 1149 patients with advanced cancer who received single agent PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors were screened. The final study population consisted of 567 deceased patients. 166 patients (29.3%) had received ICIs within 30 days of death; among them there was a significantly higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (28.3% vs 11.5%, p < 0.0001) and with a higher burden of disease (69.3% vs 59.4%, p = 0.0266). In total, 35 patients (6.2%) started ICIs within 30 days of death; among them there was a higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (45.7% vs 14.5%, p < 0.0001) and with a higher burden of disease (82.9% vs 60.9%, p = 0.0266). Primary tumors were significantly different across subgroups (p = 0.0172), with a higher prevalence of NSCLC patients (80% vs 60.9%) among those who started ICIs within 30 days of death. Lastly, 123 patients (21.7%) started ICIs within 3 months of death. Similarly, within this subgroup there was a higher proportion of patients with ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (29.3% vs 12.8%, p < 0.0001), with a higher burden of disease (74.0% vs 59.0%, p = 0.0025) and with NSCLC (74.0% vs 58.8%, p = 0.0236).

Conclusion: Our results confirmed a trend toward an increasing ICIs prescription in frail patients, during the late stages of life. Caution should be exercised when evaluating an ICI treatment for patients with a poor PS and a high burden of disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-021-02937-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223272PMC
June 2021

INfluenza Vaccine Indication During therapy with Immune checkpoint inhibitors: a multicenter prospective observational study (INVIDIa-2).

J Immunother Cancer 2021 05;9(5)

Medical Oncology Unit, Universita degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.

Background: Until now, no robust data supported the efficacy, safety and recommendation for influenza vaccination in patients with cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).

Methods: The prospective multicenter observational INfluenza Vaccine Indication During therapy with Immune checkpoint inhibitors (INVIDIa-2) study investigated the clinical effectiveness of influenza vaccination in patients with advanced cancer receiving ICIs, enrolled in 82 Italian centers from October 2019 to January 2020. The primary endpoint was the time-adjusted incidence of influenza-like illness (ILI) until April 30, 2020. Secondary endpoints regarded ILI severity and vaccine safety.

Results: The study enrolled 1279 patients; 1188 patients were evaluable for the primary endpoint analysis. Of them, 48.9% (581) received influenza vaccination. The overall ILI incidence was 8.2% (98 patients). Vaccinated patients were significantly more frequently elderly (p<0.0001), males (p=0.004), with poor European Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (p=0.009), affected by lung cancer (p=0.01), and by other non-cancer comorbidities (p<0.0001) when compared with unvaccinated. ILI incidence was not different basing on influenza vaccination: the time-to-ILI was similar in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients (p=0.62). ILI complications were significantly less frequent for patients receiving the vaccination (11.8% vs 38.3% in unvaccinated, p=0.002). ILI-related intravenous therapies were significantly less frequent in vaccinated patients than in unvaccinated (11.8% 29.8%, p=0.027). ILI lethality was, respectively, 0% in vaccinated and 4.3% in unvaccinated patients. Vaccine-related adverse events were rare and mild (1.5%, grades 1-2).

Conclusion: The INVIDIa-2 study results support a positive recommendation for influenza vaccination in patients with advanced cancer receiving immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002619DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8141439PMC
May 2021

Predictive ability of a drug-based score in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer receiving first-line immunotherapy.

Eur J Cancer 2021 06 3;150:224-231. Epub 2021 May 3.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: We previously demonstrated the cumulative poor prognostic role of concomitant medications on the clinical outcome of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, creating and validating a drug-based prognostic score to be calculated before immunotherapy initiation in patients with advanced solid tumours. This 'drug score' was calculated assigning score 1 for each between proton-pump inhibitor and antibiotic administration until a month before cancer therapy initiation and score 2 in case of corticosteroid intake. The good risk group included patients with score 0, intermediate risk with score 1-2 and poor risk with score 3-4.

Methods: Aiming at validating the prognostic and putative predictive ability depending on the anticancer therapy, we performed the present comparative analysis in two cohorts of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), respectively, receiving first-line pembrolizumab or chemotherapy through a random case-control matching and through a pooled multivariable analysis including the interaction between the computed score and the therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy).

Results: Nine hundred fifty and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. After the case-control random matching, 589 patients from the pembrolizumab cohort and 589 from the chemotherapy cohort were paired, with no statistically significant differences between the characteristics of the matched subjects. Among the pembrolizumab-treated group, good, intermediate and poor risk evaluable patients achieved an objective response rate (ORR) of 50.0%, 37.7% and 23.4%, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated group, patients achieved an ORR of 37.0%, 40.0% and 32.4%, respectively (p = 0.4346). The median progression-free survival (PFS) of good, intermediate and poor risk groups was 13.9 months, 6.3 months and 2.8 months, respectively, within the pembrolizumab cohort (p < 0.0001), and 6.2 months, 6.2 months and 4.3 months, respectively, within the chemotherapy cohort (p = 0.0280). Among the pembrolizumab-treated patients, the median overall survival (OS) for good, intermediate and poor risk patients was 31.4 months, 14.5 months and 5.8 months, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated patients, it was 18.3 months, 16.8 months and 10.6 months, respectively (p = 0.0003). A similar trend was reported considering the two entire populations. At the pooled analysis, the interaction term between the score and the therapeutic modality was statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0052), PFS (p = 0.0003) and OS (p < 0.0001), confirming the significantly different effect of the score within the two cohorts.

Conclusion: Our 'drug score' showed a predictive ability with respect to ORR in the immunotherapy cohort only, suggesting it might be a useful tool for identifying patients unlikely to benefit from first-line single-agent pembrolizumab. In addition, the prognostic stratification in terms of PFS and OS was significantly more pronounced among the pembrolizumab-treated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.041DOI Listing
June 2021

Breakthrough percepts of famous names.

Cortex 2021 06 23;139:267-281. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

School of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom; School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Studies have shown that presenting own-name stimuli on the fringe of awareness in Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) generates a P3 component and provides an accurate and countermeasure resistant method for detecting identity deception (Bowman et al., 2013, 2014). The current study investigates how effective this Fringe-P3 method is at detecting recognition of familiar name stimuli with lower salience (i.e., famous names) than own-name stimuli, as well as its accuracy with multi-item stimuli (i.e., first and second name pairs presented sequentially). The results demonstrated a highly significant ERP difference between famous and non-famous names at the group level and a detectable P3 for famous names for 86% of participants at the individual level. This demonstrates that the Fringe-P3 method can be used for detecting name stimuli other than own-names and for multi-item stimuli, thus further supporting the method's potential usefulness in forensic applications such as in detecting recognition of accomplices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2021.02.030DOI Listing
June 2021

Differential influence of antibiotic therapy and other medications on oncological outcomes of patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with first-line pembrolizumab versus cytotoxic chemotherapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 04;9(4)

Pneumo-Oncology Unit, Ospedali dei Colli Monaldi Cotugno CTO, Napoli, Italy.

Background: Some concomitant medications including antibiotics (ATB) have been reproducibly associated with worse survival following immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in unselected patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (according to programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression and treatment line). Whether such relationship is causative or associative is matter of debate.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to concomitant baseline medications (prior to ICI initiation) with putative immune-modulatory effects in a large cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy. We also evaluated a control cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC treated with first-line chemotherapy. The interaction between key medications and therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) was validated in pooled multivariable analyses.

Results: 950 and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Corticosteroid and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy but not ATB therapy was associated with poorer performance status at baseline in both the cohorts. No association with clinical outcomes was found according to baseline statin, aspirin, β-blocker and metformin within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the multivariable analysis, ATB emerged as a strong predictor of worse overall survival (OS) (HR=1.42 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.79); p=0.0024), and progression free survival (PFS) (HR=1.29 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.59); p=0.0192) in the pembrolizumab but not in the chemotherapy cohort. Corticosteroids were associated with shorter PFS (HR=1.69 (95% CI 1.42 to 2.03); p<0.0001), and OS (HR=1.93 (95% CI 1.59 to 2.35); p<0.0001) following pembrolizumab, and shorter PFS (HR=1.30 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.56), p=0.0046) and OS (HR=1.58 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.94), p<0.0001), following chemotherapy. PPIs were associated with worse OS (HR=1.49 (95% CI 1.26 to 1.77); p<0.0001) with pembrolizumab and shorter OS (HR=1.12 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.24), p=0.0139), with chemotherapy. At the pooled analysis, there was a statistically significant interaction with treatment (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) for corticosteroids (p=0.0020) and PPIs (p=0.0460) with respect to OS, for corticosteroids (p<0.0001), ATB (p=0.0290), and PPIs (p=0.0487) with respect to PFS, and only corticosteroids (p=0.0033) with respect to objective response rate.

Conclusion: In this study, we validate the significant negative impact of ATB on pembrolizumab monotherapy but not chemotherapy outcomes in NSCLC, producing further evidence about their underlying immune-modulatory effect. Even though the magnitude of the impact of corticosteroids and PPIs is significantly different across the cohorts, their effects might be driven by adverse disease features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8031700PMC
April 2021

Statins and immunotherapy: Togetherness makes strength The potential effect of statins on immunotherapy for NSCLC.

Cancer Rep (Hoboken) 2021 08 31;4(4):e1368. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Oncology Unit, "La Sapienza" University of Rome, Azienda Ospedaliera Sant'Andrea, Rome, Italy.

Background: Recent researches suggested that statins, beside their role in inhibiting endogenous cholesterol synthesis and in cardiovascular prevention, could influence several processes in cancer biology. In fact, a recent meta-analysis demonstrated that statins could positively influence OS in lung cancer patients.

Aim: There is a lack of large cohort studies that could support a potential antineoplastic role of statins in clinical practice. We collected data from 162 patients treated with immunotherapy for Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) in first- and second-line setting to investigate the impact of these drugs on survival parameters.

Methods And Results: In our observational study, we enrolled 162 patients who received immunotherapy for lung cancer between October 2015 and April 2020. We used descriptive statistics to analyze patients' baseline features. Tumor response was evaluated using RECIST version 1.1 guidelines. Uni and multivariate analysis were conducted to investigate the relationship between statin use and response to immunotherapy, using the χ -test. We used Kaplan-Meier curves to estimate OS and PFS in statin and nonstatin users. We included 122 patients in the final analysis. Median PFS was 17.57 months in the statin group and 9.57 months in the nonstatin group, with a P = <.001. Moreover, median OS was superior in the statin-users group, with a statistically significant difference (19.94 vs 10.94 months, P = <.001).

Conclusion: Although in our study, statin use positively correlates with PFS and OS in lung cancer patient treated with immunotherapy, these results require a further validation with randomized clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cnr2.1368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8388159PMC
August 2021

CT based radiomic approach on first line pembrolizumab in lung cancer.

Sci Rep 2021 03 23;11(1):6633. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Radiology Unit, Department of Medical-Surgical Sciences and Translational Medicine-"Sapienza", University of Rome, Sant'Andrea University Hospital, via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189, Rome, Italy.

Clinical evaluation poorly predicts outcomes in lung cancer treated with immunotherapy. The aim of the study is to assess whether CT-derived texture parameters can predict overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with first line Pembrolizumab. Twenty-one patients with NSLC were prospectively enrolled; they underwent contrast enhanced CT (CECT) at baseline and during Pembrolizumab treatment. Response to therapy was assessed both with clinical and iRECIST criteria. Two radiologists drew a volume of interest of the tumor at baseline CECT, extracting several texture parameters. ROC curves, a univariate Kaplan-Meyer analysis and Cox proportional analysis were performed to evaluate the prognostic value of texture analysis. Twelve (57%) patients showed partial response to therapy while nine (43%) had confirmed progressive disease. Among texture parameters, mean value of positive pixels (MPP) at fine and medium filters showed an AUC of 72% and 74% respectively (P < 0.001). Kaplan-Meyer analysis showed that MPP < 56.2 were significantly associated with lower OS and PFS (P < 0.0035). Cox proportional analysis showed a significant correlation between MPP4 and OS (P = 0.0038; HR = 0.89[CI 95%:0.83,0.96]). In conclusion, MPP could be used as predictive imaging biomarkers of OS and PFS in patients with NSLC with first line immune treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-86113-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7988058PMC
March 2021

Post-progression outcomes of NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% receiving first-line single-agent pembrolizumab in a large multicentre real-world study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 05 12;148:24-35. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: Treatment sequencing with first-line immunotherapy, followed by second-line chemotherapy, is still a viable option for NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50%.

Methods: We evaluated post-progression treatment pathways in a large real-world cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% treated with first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy.

Results: Overall, 974 patients were included. With a median follow-up of 22.7 months (95%CI: 21.6-38.2), the median overall survival (OS) of the entire population was 15.8 months (95%CI: 13.5-17.5; 548 events). At the data cutoff, among the 678 patients who experienced disease progression, 379 (55.9%) had not received any further treatment, and 359 patients (52.9%) had died. Patients who did not receive post-progression therapies were older (p = 0.0011), with a worse ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and were on corticosteroids prior to pembrolizumab (p = 0.0024). At disease progression, 198 patients (29.2%) received a switched approach and 101 (14.9%) received pembrolizumab ByPD either alone (64 [9.4%]) or in combination with local ablative treatments (37 [5.5%]) (LATs). After a random-case control matching according to ECOG-PS, CNS metastases, bone metastases, and (previous) best response to pembrolizumab, patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD plus LATs were confirmed to have a significantly longer post-progression OS compared to patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD alone 13.9 months versus 7.8 months (p = 0.0179) 241 patients (35.5%) among the 678 who had experienced PD, received a second-line systemic treatment (regardless of previous treatment beyond PD). As compared to first-line treatment commencement, patients' features at the moment of second-line initiation showed a significantly higher proportion of patients aged under 70 years (p = 0.0244), with a poorer ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and having CNS (p = 0.0001), bone (p = 0.0266) and liver metastases (p = 0.0148).

Conclusions: In the real-world scenario NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% treated with first-line single-agent pembrolizumab achieve worse outcomes as compared to the Keynote-024 trial. Poor post-progression outcomes are major determinants of the global results that should be considered when counselling patients for first-line treatment choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.005DOI Listing
May 2021

Smoking status during first-line immunotherapy and chemotherapy in NSCLC patients: A case-control matched analysis from a large multicenter study.

Thorac Cancer 2021 03 1;12(6):880-889. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Thoracic Oncology Unit, Clinical Cancer Center IRCCS Istituto Tumori "Giovanni Paolo II", Bari, Italy.

Background: Improved outcome in tobacco smoking patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following immunotherapy has previously been reported. However, little is known regarding this association during first-line immunotherapy in patients with high PD-L1 expression. In this study we compared clinical outcomes according to the smoking status of two large multicenter cohorts.

Methods: We compared clinical outcomes according to the smoking status (never smokers vs. current/former smokers) of two retrospective multicenter cohorts of metastatic NSCLC patients, treated with first-line pembrolizumab and platinum-based chemotherapy.

Results: A total of 962 NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% who received first-line pembrolizumab and 462 NSCLC patients who received first-line platinum-based chemotherapy were included in the study. Never smokers were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of disease progression (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.49 [95% CI: 1.15-1.92], p = 0.0022) and death (HR = 1.38 [95% CI: 1.02-1.87], p = 0.0348) within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the contrary, a nonsignificant trend towards a reduced risk of disease progression (HR = 0.74 [95% CI: 0.52-1.05], p = 0.1003) and death (HR = 0.67 [95% CI: 0.45-1.01], p = 0.0593) were reported for never smokers within the chemotherapy cohort. After a random case-control matching, 424 patients from both cohorts were paired. Within the matched pembrolizumab cohort, never smokers had a significantly shorter progression-free survival (PFS) (HR = 1.68 [95% CI: 1.17-2.40], p = 0.0045) and a nonsignificant trend towards a shortened overall survival (OS) (HR = 1.32 [95% CI: 0.84-2.07], p = 0.2205). On the contrary, never smokers had a significantly longer PFS (HR = 0.68 [95% CI: 0.49-0.95], p = 0.0255) and OS (HR = 0.66 [95% CI: 0.45-0.97], p = 0,0356) compared to current/former smoker patients within the matched chemotherapy cohort. On pooled multivariable analysis, the interaction term between smoking status and treatment modality was concordantly statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0074), PFS (p = 0.0001) and OS (p = 0.0020), confirming the significantly different impact of smoking status across the two cohorts.

Conclusions: Among metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab, current/former smokers experienced improved PFS and OS. On the contrary, worse outcomes were reported among current/former smokers receiving first-line chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952794PMC
March 2021

[Comprehensive genomic profiling in large cell neuroendocrine lung cancer: the times they are a-changin'.]

Recenti Prog Med 2021 Jan;112(1):1e-4e

Oncologia Medica, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Sant'Andrea, Roma - Dipartimento di Scienze Medico-Chirurgiche e Medicina Traslazionale, Sapienza Università di Roma.

The discovery of gene driver mutations and the increase of next-generation sequencing techniques have radically changed the natural history of NSCLCs. Neuroendocrine lung cancers are a heterogeneous entity whose biology is little known. Sporadic actionable mutations are also reported in this subtype of neoplasms, especially in tumors derived from a transformation of adenocarcinomas. ROS-1 gene rearrangements are found in about 1-2% of lung neoplasms and are characterized by a high sensitivity to specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKis). Here we report the case of a large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma precisely framed and treated thanks to a next-generation genomic approach.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1701/3525.35130DOI Listing
January 2021

High Prevalence and Early Occurrence of Skeletal Complications in EGFR Mutated NSCLC Patients With Bone Metastases.

Front Oncol 2020 12;10:588862. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Medical Oncology, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health University of Brescia, ASST-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Objectives: The prevalence of Skeletal Related Adverse Events (SREs) in EGFR mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with bone metastases, treated with modern tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), has been scarcely investigated.

Materials And Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the data of EGFR mutated NSCLC patients with bone metastases treated with TKIs in 12 Italian centers from 2014 to 2019, with the primary aim to explore type and frequency of SREs.

Results: Seventy-seven out of 274 patients enrolled (28%) developed at least one major SRE: 55/274 (20%) bone fractures, 30/274 (11%) spinal cord compression, 5/274 (2%) hypercalcemia. Median time to the onset of SRE was 3.63 months. Nine patients (3%) underwent bone surgery and 150 (55%) radiation therapy on bone. SREs were more frequently observed within the 12 months from TKI start than afterwards (71 29%, p 0.000). Patient Performance Status and liver metastases where independently associated with the risk of developing SREs. Median TKI exposure and overall survival were 11 and 28 months, respectively. Bone resorption inhibitors were associated with a lower risk of death (HR 0.722, 95% CI: 0.504-1.033, p = 0.075) although not statistically significant at multivariate analysis.

Conclusion: Bone metastatic NSCLC patients with EGFR mutated disease, treated with EGFR TKIs, have a relatively long survival expectancy and are at high risk to develop SREs. The early SRE occurrence after the TKI start provides the rationale to administer bone resorption inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.588862DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689017PMC
November 2020

Palliative- and non-palliative indications for glucocorticoids use in course of immune-checkpoint inhibition. Current evidence and future perspectives.

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 2021 Jan 17;157:103176. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sapienza - University of Rome, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Immune-checkpoint inhibitors significantly reshaped treatment landscapes in several solid tumors. Concurrently with disease-oriented therapies, cancer patients often require proper management of drug-related adverse events and/or cancer-related symptoms. Glucocorticoids (GC) are a cornerstone of symptom management in advanced cancer care and in the management of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) due to immune-modulating therapies. Moreover, GC are often administered in patients with autoimmune diseases (AID), either alone or in combination with other treatments. While handling of irAEs with GC is supported by multiple guidelines, it is unclear whether GC administration because of pre-existing AID or because of palliative needs is associated with inferior outcomes in cancer patients treated with immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). When globally considered, the available evidence seems to orient towards less favorable survival outcomes when GC administration is driven by a palliative intent. Conversely, steroid administration for non-palliative intent seems to be associated with stable or negligibly reduced survival outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.critrevonc.2020.103176DOI Listing
January 2021

Symptomatic COVID-19 in advanced-cancer patients treated with immune-checkpoint inhibitors: prospective analysis from a multicentre observational trial by FICOG.

Ther Adv Med Oncol 2020 2;12:1758835920968463. Epub 2020 Nov 2.

UOC Oncologia, Ospedale Monaldi, Azienda Ospedaliera Specialistica dei Colli, Napoli, Italy.

Background: This prospective, multicentre, observational INVIDIa-2 study is investigating the clinical efficacy of influenza vaccination in advanced-cancer patients receiving immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), enrolled in 82 Italian centres, from October 2019 to January 2020. The primary endpoint was the incidence of influenza-like illness (ILI) until 30 April 2020. All the ILI episodes, laboratory tests, complications, hospitalizations and pneumonitis were recorded. Therefore, the study prospectively recorded all the COVID-19 ILI events.

Patients And Methods: Patients were included in this non-prespecified COVID-19 analysis, if alive on 31 January 2020, when the Italian government declared the national emergency. The prevalence of confirmed COVID-19 cases was detected as ILI episode with laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2. Cases with clinical-radiological diagnosis of COVID-19 (COVID-like ILIs), were also reported.

Results: Out of 1257 enrolled patients, 955 matched the inclusion criteria for this unplanned analysis. From 31 January to 30 April 2020, 66 patients had ILI: 9 of 955 cases were confirmed COVID-19 ILIs, with prevalence of 0.9% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.3-2.4], a hospitalization rate of 100% and a mortality rate of 77.8%. Including 5 COVID-like ILIs, the overall COVID-19 prevalence was 1.5% (95% CI: 0.5-3.1), with 100% hospitalization and 64% mortality. The presence of elderly, males and comorbidities was significantly higher among patients vaccinated against influenza unvaccinated (0.009, 0.0001, 0.0001). Overall COVID-19 prevalence was 1.2% for vaccinated (six of 482 cases, all confirmed) and 1.7% for unvaccinated (8 of 473, 3 confirmed COVID-19 and 5 COVID-like), 0.52. The difference remained non-significant, considering confirmed COVID-19 only (0.33).

Conclusion: COVID-19 has a meaningful clinical impact on the cancer-patient population receiving ICIs, with high prevalence, hospitalization and an alarming mortality rate among symptomatic cases. Influenza vaccination does not protect from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1758835920968463DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7649863PMC
November 2020

Effect of concomitant medications with immune-modulatory properties on the outcomes of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors: development and validation of a novel prognostic index.

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 16;142:18-28. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Clinical Oncology Unit, S.S. Annunziata Hospital, Chieti, Italy.

Background: Concomitant medications are known to impact on clinical outcomes of patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). We aimed weighing the role of different concomitant baseline medications to create a drug-based prognostic score.

Methods: We evaluated concomitant baseline medications at immunotherapy initiation for their impact on objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in a single-institution cohort of patients with advanced cancer treated with ICIs (training cohort, N = 217), and a drug-based prognostic score with the drugs resulting significantly impacting the OS was computed. Secondly, we externally validated the score in a large multicenter external cohort (n = 1012).

Results: In the training cohort (n = 217), the median age was 69 years (range: 32-89), and the primary tumours were non-small-cell lung cancer (70%), melanoma (14.7%), renal cell carcinoma (9.2%) and others (6%). Among baseline medications, corticosteroids (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.60-3.30), systemic antibiotics (HR = 2.07; 95% CI: 1.31-3.25) and proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) (HR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.13-2.18) were significantly associated with OS. The prognostic score was calculated using these three drug classes, defining good, intermediate and poor prognosis patients. Within the training cohort, OS (p < 0.0001), PFS (p < 0.0001) and ORR (p = 0.0297) were significantly distinguished by the score stratification. The prognostic value of the score was also demonstrated in terms of OS (p < 0.0001), PFS (p < 0.0001) and ORR (p = 0.0006) within the external cohort.

Conclusion: Cumulative exposure to corticosteroids, antibiotics and PPIs (three likely microbiota-modulating drugs) leads to progressively worse outcomes after ICI therapy. We propose a simple score that can help stratifying patients in routine practice and clinical trials of ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.09.033DOI Listing
January 2021

Integrated analysis of concomitant medications and oncological outcomes from PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in clinical practice.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria, Terni, Italy.

Background: Concomitant medications, such as steroids, proton pump inhibitors (PPI) and antibiotics, might affect clinical outcomes with immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter observational retrospective study aimed at evaluating the impact of concomitant medications on clinical outcomes, by weighing their associations with baseline clinical characteristics (including performance status, burden of disease and body mass index) and the underlying causes for their prescription. This analysis included consecutive stage IV patients with cancer, who underwent treatment with single agent antiprogrammed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1/PD-L1) with standard doses and schedules at the medical oncology departments of 20 Italian institutions. Each medication taken at the immunotherapy initiation was screened and collected into key categories as follows: corticosteroids, antibiotics, gastric acid suppressants (including proton pump inhibitors - PPIs), statins and other lipid-lowering agents, aspirin, anticoagulants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ACE inhibitors/Angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium antagonists, β-blockers, metformin and other oral antidiabetics, opioids.

Results: From June 2014 to March 2020, 1012 patients were included in the analysis. Primary tumors were: non-small cell lung cancer (52.2%), melanoma (26%), renal cell carcinoma (18.3%) and others (3.6%). Baseline statins (HR 1.60 (95% CI 1.14 to 2.25), p=0.0064), aspirin (HR 1.47 (95% CI 1.04 to 2.08, p=0.0267) and β-blockers (HR 1.76 (95% CI 1.16 to 2.69), p=0.0080) were confirmed to be independently related to an increased objective response rate. Patients receiving cancer-related steroids (HR 1.72 (95% CI 1.43 to 2.07), p<0.0001), prophylactic systemic antibiotics (HR 1.85 (95% CI 1.23 to 2.78), p=0.0030), prophylactic gastric acid suppressants (HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.09 to 1.53), p=0.0021), PPIs (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.07 to 1.48), p=0.0050), anticoagulants (HR 1.43 (95% CI: 1.16 to 1.77), p=0.0007) and opioids (HR 1.71 (95% CI 1.28 to 2.28), p=0.0002) were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of disease progression. Patients receiving cancer-related steroids (HR 2.16 (95% CI 1.76 to 2.65), p<0.0001), prophylactic systemic antibiotics (HR 1.93 (95% CI 1.25 to 2.98), p=0.0030), prophylactic gastric acid suppressants (HR 1.29 (95% CI 1.06 to 1.57), p=0.0091), PPI (HR 1.26 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.52), p=0.0172), anticoagulants (HR 1.45 (95% CI 1.14 to 1.84), p=0.0024) and opioids (HR 1.53 (95% CI 1.11 to 2.11), p=0.0098) were confirmed to have a significantly higher risk of death.

Conclusion: We confirmed the association between baseline steroids administered for cancer-related indication, systemic antibiotics, PPIs and worse clinical outcomes with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors, which can be assumed to have immune-modulating detrimental effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001361DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7646355PMC
November 2020

Chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer patients after prior immunotherapy: The multicenter retrospective CLARITY study.

Lung Cancer 2020 12 22;150:123-131. Epub 2020 Oct 22.

Oncologia Medica, Università Campus Bio-Medico, Roma, Italy.

Objectives: In the most of cases, for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who progressed to previous immune checkpoint inhibitors (CKI) administered as first- or as second-line therapy, chemotherapy (CT) remains the only viable options in the absence of "druggable" mutations. We aimed to explore the efficacy of salvage chemotherapy after immunotherapy (SCAI) in advanced NSCLC patients.

Materials And Methods: We designed a retrospective, multicenter study, involving 20 Italian centers, with the primary objective of describing the clinical outcome of advanced NSCLC patients treated with SCAI at the participating institutions from November 2013 to July 2019. The primary endpoint of the study was represented by overall survival (OS), defined as the time from CT initiation to death. Secondary outcome endpoints of the SCAI (progression free survival, PFS, objective response rate, ORR and toxicity) and explorative biomarkers (lactate dehydrogenase, LDH, and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, NLR during immunotherapy) were also analyzed.

Results: In our study population of 342 NSCLC patients, SCAI obtained a median OS of 6.8 months (95 % confidence interval, CI 5.5-8.1), median PFS of 4.1 months (95 % CI 3.4-4.8) and ORR of 22.8 %. A "Post-CKI score" was constructed by combining significant predictors of OS at the multivariate analyses (sex, ECOG PS, disease control with prior immunotherapy), Harrell'C was 0.65, (95 % CI:0.59-0.71).

Conclusions: Despite the late-line settings, our findings support the hypothesis that previous immunotherapy might increase the sensitivity of the tumor to the subsequent chemotherapy. The "Post-CKI score" was clinically effective in successfully discriminating three distinct prognostic subgroups of patients after the failure of CKI, representing a possibly useful tool for the tailored decision-making process of advanced treatment-line settings in NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.10.008DOI Listing
December 2020

Baseline BMI and BMI variation during first line pembrolizumab in NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%: a multicenter study with external validation.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Medical Oncology Unit, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Roma, Lazio, Italy.

Background: The association between obesity and outcomes in patients receiving programmed death-1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors has already been confirmed in pre-treated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, regardless of PD-L1 tumor expression.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to baseline body mass index (BMI) and BMI variation in a large cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first line pembrolizumab. We also evaluated a control cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients treated with first line platinum-based chemotherapy. Normal weight was set as control group.

Results: 962 patients and 426 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Obese patients had a significantly higher objective response rate (ORR) (OR=1.61 (95% CI: 1.04-2.50)) in the pembrolizumab cohort, while overweight patients had a significantly lower ORR (OR=0.59 (95% CI: 0.37-0.92)) within the chemotherapy cohort. Obese patients had a significantly longer progression-free survival (PFS) (HR=0.61 (95% CI: 0.45-0.82)) in the pembrolizumab cohort. Conversely, they had a significantly shorter PFS in the chemotherapy cohort (HR=1.27 (95% CI: 1.01-1.60)). Obese patients had a significantly longer overall survival (OS) within the pembrolizumab cohort (HR=0.70 (95% CI: 0.49-0.99)), while no significant differences according to baseline BMI were found in the chemotherapy cohort. BMI variation significantly affected ORR, PFS and OS in both the pembrolizumab and the chemotherapy cohorts.

Conclusions: Baseline obesity is associated to significantly improved ORR, PFS and OS in metastatic NSCLC patients with a PD-L1 expression of ≥50%, receiving first line pembrolizumab, but not among patients treated with chemotherapy. BMI variation is also significantly related to clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001403DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7574933PMC
October 2020

Efficacy of immunotherapy in lung cancer with co-occurring mutations in NOTCH and homologous repair genes.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 08;8(2)

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy

Background: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) provide significant survival benefits in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Nevertheless, while some patients obtain a prolonged benefit, a non-negligible fraction of patients experiences an ultrarapid disease progression. Identifying specific molecular backgrounds predicting opposite outcomes is instrumental to optimize the use of these agents in clinical practice.

Methods: We carried out an observational study with prospective design envisioning targeted next-generation sequencing (NGS) with an approved assay in 55 patients with metastatic NSCLC (Rome cohort), of whom 35 were treated with ICIs. Data from three clinically comparable datasets were collected and combined into a metadataset containing 779 patients. The datasets were related to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) cohort (tissue-based NGS) and the randomized phase II and III POPLAR and OAK trials (blood-based NGS).

Results: In patients treated with ICIs in the Rome cohort, co-occurring mutations in NOTCH1-3 and homologous repair (HR) genes were associated with durable clinical benefit. Using the MSKCC/POPLAR/OAK metadaset, we confirmed the relationship between the NOTCH/HR signature and longer progression-free survival (PFS) in ICI-treated patients (multivariate Cox: HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.76, p=0.001). The NOTCH/HR genomic predictor was also associated with longer survival (log-rank p=0.008), despite patients whose tumors carried the NOTCH/HR signature had higher metastatic burden as compared with their negative counterpart. Finally, we observed that this genomic predictor was also associated with longer survival in patients with other tumor types treated with ICIs (n=1311, log-rank p=0.002).

Conclusions: Co-occurring mutations in the NOTCH and HR pathways are associated with increased efficacy of immunotherapy in advanced NSCLC. This genomic predictor deserves further investigation to fully assess its potential in informing therapeutic decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-000946DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7409965PMC
August 2020

Immune-related Adverse Events of Pembrolizumab in a Large Real-world Cohort of Patients With NSCLC With a PD-L1 Expression ≥ 50% and Their Relationship With Clinical Outcomes.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 11 21;21(6):498-508.e2. Epub 2020 Jun 21.

Department of Oncology, Macerata Hospital, Macerata, Italy.

Background: The role of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), as a surrogate predictor of the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, has not yet been described in the setting of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung-cancer (NSCLC) with a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Patients And Methods: We previously conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis in patients with treatment-naive metastatic NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab. Here, we report the results of the irAE analysis and the potential correlation between irAEs and clinical outcomes.

Results: A total of 1010 patients were included in this analysis; after a 6-week landmark selection, 877 (86.8%) patients were included in the efficacy analysis. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), grade 3/4 irAEs (P = .0025), leading to discontinuation irAEs (P = .0144), multiple-site and single-site irAEs (P < .0001), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0001), endocrine irAEs (P = .0227), pulmonary irAEs (P = .0479), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0018) were significantly related to a higher objective response rate. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0005), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0042), endocrine irAEs (P < .0001), gastrointestinal irAEs (P = .0391), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0086) were significantly related to progression-free survival. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0003), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0002), endocrine irAEs (P = .0001), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0214) were significantly related to overall survival.

Conclusions: This study confirms the feasibility and the safety of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab, in a large, real-world cohort of patients with NSCLC with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%. The occurrence of irAEs may be a surrogate of clinical activity and improved outcomes in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.06.010DOI Listing
November 2020

Clinicopathologic correlates of first-line pembrolizumab effectiveness in patients with advanced NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2020 Nov 30;69(11):2209-2221. Epub 2020 May 30.

Medical Oncology, F. Spaziani Hospital, Frosinone, Italy.

Background: Single-agent pembrolizumab represents the standard first-line option for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with a PD-L1 (programmed death-ligand 1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Methods: We conducted a multicenter retrospective study aimed at evaluating the clinicopathologic correlates of pembrolizumab effectiveness in patients with treatment-naïve NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50%.

Results: One thousand and twenty-six consecutive patients were included. The objective response rate (ORR) was 44.5% (95% CI 40.2-49.1), while the median progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 7.9 months (95% CI 6.9-9.5; 599 events) and 17.2 months (95% CI 15.3-22.3; 598 censored patients), respectively. ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (p < 0.0001) and bone metastases (p = 0.0003) were confirmed to be independent predictors of a worse ORR. Former smokers (p = 0.0002), but not current smokers (p = 0.0532) were confirmed to have a significantly prolonged PFS compared to never smokers at multivariate analysis. ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001), bone metastases (p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (p < 0.0001) were also confirmed to be independent predictors of a worse PFS. Previous palliative RT was significantly related to a shortened OS (p = 0.0104), while previous non-palliative RT was significantly related to a prolonged OS (p = 0.0033). Former smokers (p = 0.0131), but not current smokers (p = 0.3433) were confirmed to have a significantly prolonged OS compared to never smokers. ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001), bone metastases (p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (p < 0.0001) were also confirmed to be independent predictors of a shortened OS. A PD-L1 expression of ≥ 90%, as assessed by recursive partitioning, was associated with significantly higher ORR (p = 0.0204), and longer and OS (p = 0.0346) at multivariable analysis.

Conclusion: Pembrolizumab was effective in a large cohort of NSCLC patients treated outside of clinical trials. Questions regarding the effectiveness in clinical subgroups, such as patients with poorer PS and with liver/bone metastases, still remain to be addressed. We confirmed that the absence of tobacco exposure, and the presence of bone and liver metastasis are associated with worse clinical outcomes to pembrolizumab. Increasing levels of PD-L1 expression may help identifying a subset of patients who derive a greater benefit from pembrolizumab monotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02613-9DOI Listing
November 2020

Late immune-related adverse events in long-term responders to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: A multicentre study.

Eur J Cancer 2020 07 23;134:19-28. Epub 2020 May 23.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, University G. D'Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara, Italy.

Background: Data on spectrum and grade of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in long-term responders to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are lacking.

Methods: We performed a retrospective multicenter study to characterized irAEs occurring after a 12-months minimum treatment period with PD-(L)1 ICIs in patients with advanced cancer. IrAEs were categorized into 'early' (≤12 months) and 'late' (>12 months).

Results: From September 2013 to October 2019, 436 consecutive patients were evaluated. Two hundred twenty-three experienced any grade early-irAEs (51.1%), whereas 132 experienced any grade late-irAEs (30.3%) (p < 0.0001). Among the latter, 29 (22%) experienced a recurrence of an early-irAEs, whereas 103 (78%) experienced de novo late-irAEs involving different system/organ. Among patients with late-irAEs, 21 experienced GIII/GIV irAEs (4.8%). Median time to onset of early-irAEs was 3.4 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.8-4.2), whereas the median time to onset of late-irAEs was 16.6 months (95% CI: 15.8-17.6). Cumulative time-adjusted risk of disease progression according to both the early-irAEs (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.63 [95% CI: 0.30-1.29], p = 0.204) and late-irAEs occurrence revealed no statistically significant differences (HR = 0.75 [95% CI: 0.37-1.56], p = 0.452). In addition, the time-adjusted cumulative risk of death in accordance with both early-irAEs (HR = 0.79 [95% CI: 0.34-1.86], p = 0.598) and late-irAEs (HR = 0.92 [95% CI: 0.49-1.74], p = 0.811) did not show statistically significant differences.

Conclusion: Although less frequent than early-irAEs, late-irAEs are quite common in long responders to PD-(L)1 ICIs and are different in terms of spectrum and grade. Time-adjusted analysis revealed that the cumulative risk of disease progression and death were not significantly reduced in patients who experienced late-irAEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.04.025DOI Listing
July 2020

Late immune-related adverse events in long-term responders to PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: A multicentre study.

Eur J Cancer 2020 07 23;134:19-28. Epub 2020 May 23.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, University G. D'Annunzio, Chieti-Pescara, Italy.

Background: Data on spectrum and grade of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in long-term responders to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are lacking.

Methods: We performed a retrospective multicenter study to characterized irAEs occurring after a 12-months minimum treatment period with PD-(L)1 ICIs in patients with advanced cancer. IrAEs were categorized into 'early' (≤12 months) and 'late' (>12 months).

Results: From September 2013 to October 2019, 436 consecutive patients were evaluated. Two hundred twenty-three experienced any grade early-irAEs (51.1%), whereas 132 experienced any grade late-irAEs (30.3%) (p < 0.0001). Among the latter, 29 (22%) experienced a recurrence of an early-irAEs, whereas 103 (78%) experienced de novo late-irAEs involving different system/organ. Among patients with late-irAEs, 21 experienced GIII/GIV irAEs (4.8%). Median time to onset of early-irAEs was 3.4 months (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.8-4.2), whereas the median time to onset of late-irAEs was 16.6 months (95% CI: 15.8-17.6). Cumulative time-adjusted risk of disease progression according to both the early-irAEs (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.63 [95% CI: 0.30-1.29], p = 0.204) and late-irAEs occurrence revealed no statistically significant differences (HR = 0.75 [95% CI: 0.37-1.56], p = 0.452). In addition, the time-adjusted cumulative risk of death in accordance with both early-irAEs (HR = 0.79 [95% CI: 0.34-1.86], p = 0.598) and late-irAEs (HR = 0.92 [95% CI: 0.49-1.74], p = 0.811) did not show statistically significant differences.

Conclusion: Although less frequent than early-irAEs, late-irAEs are quite common in long responders to PD-(L)1 ICIs and are different in terms of spectrum and grade. Time-adjusted analysis revealed that the cumulative risk of disease progression and death were not significantly reduced in patients who experienced late-irAEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.04.025DOI Listing
July 2020

Correction to: Exploring the molecular insights of concurrent composite mucoepidermoid carcinoma and papillary thyroid carcinoma.

Endocrine 2020 Apr;68(1):248

Department of Translational and Precision Medicine, "Sapienza" University of Rome, 00185, Rome, Italy.

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02262-zDOI Listing
April 2020

Another side of the association between body mass index (BMI) and clinical outcomes of cancer patients receiving programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/ Programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors: A multicentre analysis of immune-related adverse events.

Eur J Cancer 2020 03 5;128:17-26. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Melanoma, Cancer Immunotherapy and Development Therapeutics Unit, Istituto Nazionale Tumori-IRCCS Fondazione "G. Pascale", Naples, Italy.

Background: Several studies have found an association between higher body mass index (BMI) and improved clinical outcomes in cancer patients receiving programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) checkpoint inhibitors. In a previous study, we found that overweight/obese patients were significantly more likely to experience any grade immune-related adverse events (irAEs) compared to non-overweight patients.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a 'real-life', multi centre, retrospective observational study aimed at comparing the incidence of irAEs among cancer patients treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors according to baseline BMI.

Results: One thousand and seventy advanced cancer patients were evaluated. The median age was 68 years (range: 21-92), male/female ratio was 724/346. Primary tumours were: non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) (653 patients), melanoma (233 patients), renal cell carcinoma (RCC) (152 patients) and others (29 patients). Median BMI was 25 (13.6-46.6); according to World Health Organisation (WHO) classification, 44 patients (4.1%) were defined as underweight, 480 patients (44.9%) as having a normal weight, 416 patients (38.9%) as overweight and 130 patients (12.1%) as obese. Higher BMI was significantly related to higher occurrence of any grade immune-related adverse events [irAEs] (p < 0.0001), G3/G4 irAEs (p < 0.0001) and irAEs leading to discontinuation (LTD) (p < 0.0001). Overweight and obesity were confirmed predictors for irAEs of any grade at both univariate and multivariate analysis. The adjusted odds ratios (ORs) (compared to normal-weight) were 10.6; 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 7.5-14.9 for overweight, and 16.6 (95%CI: 10.3-26.7) for obese patients. Obesity was the only factor significantly related to a higher incidence of G3/G4 irAEs (OR = 11.9 [95%CI: 6.4-22.3], p < 0.0001) and LTD irAEs (OR = 8.8 [95%CI: 4.3-18.2], p < 0.0001). Overweight and obese patients experienced a significantly higher occurrence of cutaneous, endocrine, gastro-intestinal (GI), hepatic and 'others' irAEs, compared to normal-weight patients. Only obese patients experienced a significantly higher occurrence of pulmonary and rheumatic irAEs, compared to normal-weight patients.

Conclusions: Considering the previously evidenced association between higher BMI and better outcome, the current finding about the relationship between BMI and irAEs occurrence can contribute to consideration of these findings as the upside of the downside, which underlies an 'immunogenic phenotype'.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2019.12.031DOI Listing
March 2020

Evaluating the role of FAMIly history of cancer and diagnosis of multiple neoplasms in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: the multicenter FAMI-L1 study.

Oncoimmunology 2020 7;9(1):1710389. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

Medical Oncology Unit, University Hospital of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy.

: We investigate the role of family history of cancer (FHC) and diagnosis of metachronous and/or synchronous multiple neoplasms (MN), during anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. : This was a multicenter retrospective study of advanced cancer patients treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. FHC was collected in lineal and collateral lines, and patients were categorized as follows: FHC-high (in case of cancer diagnoses in both the lineal and collateral family lines), FHC-low (in case of cancer diagnoses in only one family line), and FHC-negative. Patients were also categorized according to the diagnosis of MN as follows: MN-high (>2 malignancies), MN-low (two malignancies), and MN-negative. Objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and incidence of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) of any grade were evaluated. : 822 consecutive patients were evaluated. 458 patients (55.7%) were FHC-negative, 289 (35.2%) were FHC-low, and 75 (9.1%) FHC-high, respectively. 29 (3.5%) had a diagnosis of synchronous MN and 94 (11.4%) of metachronous MN. 108 (13.2%) and 15 (1.8%) patients were MN-low and MN-high, respectively. The median follow-up was 15.6 months. No significant differences were found regarding ORR among subgroups. FHC-high patients had a significantly longer PFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.69 [95% CI: 0.48-0.97], = .0379) and OS (HR = 0.61 [95% CI: 0.39-0.93], = .0210), when compared to FHC-negative patients. FHC-high was confirmed as an independent predictor for PFS and OS at multivariate analysis. No significant differences were found according to MN categories. FHC-high patients had a significantly higher incidence of irAEs of any grade, compared to FHC-negative patients ( = .0012). : FHC-high patients seem to benefit more than FHC-negative patients from anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2019.1710389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959456PMC
July 2021

Motivational intensity and visual word search: Layout matters.

PLoS One 2019 23;14(7):e0218926. Epub 2019 Jul 23.

Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.

Motivational intensity has been previously linked to information processing. In particular, it has been argued that affects which are high in motivational intensity tend to narrow cognitive scope. A similar effect has been attributed to negative affect, which has been linked to narrowing of cognitive scope. In this paper, we investigated how these phenomena manifest themselves during visual word search. We conducted three studies in which participants were instructed to perform word category identification. We manipulated motivational intensity by controlling reward expectations and affect via reward outcomes. Importantly, we altered visual search paradigms, assessing the effects of affective manipulations as modulated by information arrangement. We recorded multiple physiological signals (EEG, EDA, ECG and eye tracking) to assess whether motivational states can be predicted by physiology. Across the three studies, we found that high motivational intensity narrowed visual attentional scope by altering visual search strategies, especially when information was displayed sparsely. Instead, when information was vertically listed, approach-directed motivational intensity appeared to improve memory encoding. We also observed that physiology, in particular eye tracking, may be used to detect biases induced by motivational intensity, especially when information is sparsely organised.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0218926PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650057PMC
February 2020

Unexpected serious aplastic anemia from PD-1 inhibitors: beyond what we know.

Tumori 2019 Dec 21;105(6):NP48-NP51. Epub 2019 Jun 21.

Medical Oncology Unit, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Sant'Andrea, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: The recent introduction of checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of advanced lung cancers, becoming standard of care in both first- and second-line treatment. New types of toxicity are emerging with the increasingly widespread use of these inhibitors.

Case Presentation: We describe a case of aplastic anemia in a patient with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer after a single administration of nivolumab.

Conclusions: Several similar case reports reported in literature show an increasing rate of toxicities from immunotherapy in this setting. These real-world data provide an insight into patient outcomes and treatment decisions being made in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0300891619856197DOI Listing
December 2019
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