Publications by authors named "Mark R Albertini"

44 Publications

Safety and feasibility of an in situ vaccination and immunomodulatory targeted radionuclide combination immuno-radiotherapy approach in a comparative (companion dog) setting.

PLoS One 2021 12;16(8):e0255798. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

Rationale: Murine syngeneic tumor models have revealed efficacious systemic antitumor responses following primary tumor in situ vaccination combined with targeted radionuclide therapy to secondary or metastatic tumors. Here we present studies on the safety and feasibility of this approach in a relevant translational companion dog model (n = 17 dogs) with advanced cancer.

Methods: The three component of the combination immuno-radiotherapy approach were employed either separately or in combination in companion dogs with advanced stage cancer. In situ vaccination was achieved through the administration of hypofractionated external beam radiotherapy and intratumoral hu14.18-IL2 fusion immunocytokine injections to the index tumor. In situ vaccination was subsequently combined with targeted radionuclide therapy using a theranostic pairing of IV 86Y-NM600 (for PET imaging and subject-specific dosimetry) and IV 90Y-NM600 (therapeutic radionuclide) prescribed to deliver an immunomodulatory 2 Gy dose to all metastatic sites in companion dogs with metastatic melanoma or osteosarcoma. In a subset of dogs, immunologic parameters preliminarily assessed.

Results: The components of the immuno-radiotherapy combination were well tolerated either alone or in combination, resulting in only transient low grade (1 or 2) adverse events with no dose-limiting events observed. In subject-specific dosimetry analyses, we observed 86Y-NM600 tumor:bone marrow absorbed-dose differential uptakes ≥2 in 4 of 5 dogs receiving the combination, which allowed subsequent safe delivery of at least 2 Gy 90Y-NM600 TRT to tumors. NanoString gene expression profiling and immunohistochemistry from pre- and post-treatment biopsy specimens provide evidence of tumor microenvironment immunomodulation by 90Y-NM600 TRT.

Conclusions: The combination of external beam radiotherapy, intratumoral immunocytokine, and targeted radionuclide immuno-radiotherapy known to have activity against syngeneic melanoma in murine models is feasible and well tolerated in companion dogs with advanced stage, spontaneously arising melanoma or osteosarcoma and has immunomodulatory potential. Further studies evaluating the dose-dependent immunomodulatory effects of this immuno-radiotherapy combination are currently ongoing.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255798PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8360580PMC
December 2021

Retrograde Balloon-Assisted Deep Enteroscopy in the Diagnosis of Metastatic Melanoma.

Case Rep Gastrointest Med 2021 30;2021:5572230. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH), Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

A 74-year-old male with a history of metastatic melanoma presents with persistently abnormal small bowel findings on PET-CT scan. The patient had persistent FDG uptake near the ileocolic junction on imaging, concerning for metastatic melanoma. Capsule endoscopy demonstrated ulcerated mucosa in the distal ileum. This area was biopsied and tattooed via retrograde double-balloon enteroscopy to confirm the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma and facilitate subsequent small bowel resection. The case illustrates a unique case of metastatic melanoma to the small bowel and the utility of capsule endoscopy and balloon-assisted enteroscopy to assist in diagnosis and management of metastatic disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2021/5572230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263269PMC
June 2021

Development and validation of a longitudinal soft-tissue metastatic lesion matching algorithm.

Phys Med Biol 2021 07 30;66(15). Epub 2021 Jul 30.

School of Medicine and Public Health, Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, United States of America.

Metastatic cancer presents with many, sometimes hundreds of metastatic lesions through the body, which often respond heterogeneously to treatment. Therefore, lesion-level assessment is necessary for a complete understanding of disease response. Lesion-level assessment typically requires manual matching of corresponding lesions, which is a tedious, subjective, and error-prone task. This study introduces a fully automated algorithm for matching of metastatic lesions in longitudinal medical images. The algorithm entails four steps: (1) image registration, (2) lesion dilation, (3) lesion clustering, and (4) linear assignment. In step (1), 3D deformable registration is used to register the scans. In step (2), lesion contours are conformally dilated. In step (3), lesion clustering is evaluated based on local metrics. In step (4), matching is assigned based on non-greedy cost minimization. The algorithm was optimized (e.g. choice of deformable registration algorithm, dilatation size) and validated on 140 scan-pairs of 32 metastatic cancer patients from two independent clinical trials, who received longitudinal PET/CT scans as part of their treatment response assessment. Registration error was evaluated using landmark distance. A sensitivity study was performed to evaluate the optimal lesion dilation magnitude. Lesion matching performance accuracy was evaluated for all patients and for a subset with high disease burden. Two investigated deformable registration approaches (whole body deformable and articulated deformable registrations) led to similar performance with the overall registration accuracy between 2.3 and 2.6 mm. The optimal dilation magnitude of 25 mm yielded almost a perfect matching accuracy of 0.98. No significant matching accuracy decrease was observed in the subset of patients with high lesion disease burden. In summary, lesion matching using our new algorithm was highly accurate and a significant improvement, when compared to previously established methods. The proposed method enables accurate automated metastatic lesion matching in whole-body longitudinal scans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1361-6560/ac1457DOI Listing
July 2021

Immune adverse events (irAEs) with adjuvant ipilimumab in melanoma, use of immunosuppressants and association with outcome: ECOG-ACRIN E1609 study analysis.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 05;9(5)

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Background: The impact of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) occurring from adjuvant use of immunotherapy and of their management on relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) outcomes is currently not well understood.

Patients And Methods: E1609 enrolled 1673 patients with resected high-risk melanoma and evaluated adjuvant ipilimumab 3 mg/kg (ipi3) and 10 mg/kg (ipi10) versus interferon-α. We investigated the association of irAEs and of use of immunosuppressants with RFS and OS for patients treated with ipilimumab (n=1034).

Results: Occurrence of grades 1-2 irAEs was associated with RFS (5 years: 52% (95% CI 47% to 56%) vs 41% (95% CI 31% to 50%) with no AE; p=0.006) and a trend toward improved OS (5 years: 75% (95% CI 71% to 79%) compared with 67% (95% CI 56% to 75%) with no AE; p=0.064). Among specific irAEs, grades 1-2 rash was most significantly associated with RFS (p=0.002) and OS (p=0.003). In multivariate models adjusting for prognostic factors, the most significant associations were seen for grades 1-2 rash with RFS (p<0.001, HR=0.70) and OS (p=0.01, HR=0.71) and for grades 1-2 endocrine+rash with RFS (p<0.001, HR=0.66) and OS (p=0.008, HR=0.7). Overall, grades 1-2 irAEs had the best prognosis in terms of RFS and OS and those with grades 3-4 had less RFS benefits and no OS advantage over no irAE. Patients experiencing grades 3-4 irAE had significantly higher exposure to corticosteroids and immunosuppressants than those with grades 1-2 (92% vs 60%; p<0.001), but no significant associations were found between corticosteroid and immunosuppressant use and RFS or OS. In investigating the impact of non-corticosteroid immunosuppressants, although there were trends toward better RFS and OS favoring cases who were not exposed, no significant associations were found.

Conclusions: Rash and endocrine irAEs were independent prognostic factors of RFS and OS in patients treated with adjuvant ipilimumab. Patients experiencing lower grade irAEs derived the most benefit, but we found no significant evidence supporting a negative impact of high dose corticosteroids and immunosuppressants more commonly used to manage grades 3-4 irAEs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002535DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8108687PMC
May 2021

NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Melanoma: Cutaneous, Version 2.2021.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2021 04 1;19(4):364-376. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

30Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Over the past few years, the NCCN Guidelines for Melanoma: Cutaneous have been expanded to include pathways for treatment of microscopic satellitosis (added in v2.2020), and the following Principles sections: Molecular Testing (added in v2.2019), Systemic Therapy Considerations (added in v2.2020), and Brain Metastases Management (added in v3.2020). The v1.2021 update included additional modifications of these sections and notable revisions to Principles of: Pathology, Surgical Margins for Wide Excision of Primary Melanoma, Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, Completion/Therapeutic Lymph Node Dissection, and Radiation Therapy. These NCCN Guidelines Insights discuss the important changes to pathology and surgery recommendations, as well as additions to systemic therapy options for patients with advanced disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2021.0018DOI Listing
April 2021

FDG PET/CT for Assessment of Immune Therapy: Opportunities and Understanding Pitfalls.

Semin Nucl Med 2020 11 28;50(6):518-531. Epub 2020 Jun 28.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI; Medical Service, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI.

Immune checkpoint blockade has demonstrated the ability to modulate the immune system to produce durable responses in a wide range of cancers and has significantly impacted the standard of care. However, many cancer patients still do not respond to immune checkpoint blockade or have a limited duration of antitumor responses. Moreover, immune-related adverse events caused by immune checkpoint blockade can be severe and debilitating for some patients, limiting continuation of therapy and resulting in severe autoimmune conditions. Standard-of-care conventional anatomic imaging modalities and tumor response criteria have limitations to adequately assess tumor responses, especially early in the course of therapy, for risk-adapted clinical management to inform care of patients treated with immunotherapy. Molecular imaging with position emission tomography (PET) provides a noninvasive functional biomarker of tumor response, and of immune activation, for patients on immune-based therapies to help address these needs. F-FDG (FDG) PET/CT is readily available clinically and a number of studies have evaluated the use of this agent for assessment of prognosis, treatment response and immune activation for patients treated with immune checkpoint blockade. In this review paper, we discuss the current oncologic applications and imaging needs of cancer immunotherapy, recent studies applying FDG PET/CT for tumor response assessment, and evaluation of immune-related adverse events for improving clinical management. We largely focus on metastatic melanoma; however, we generalize where applicable to immunotherapy in other tumor types. We also briefly discuss PET imaging and quantitation as well as emerging non-FDG PET imaging radiotracers for cancer immunotherapy imaging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semnuclmed.2020.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8201415PMC
November 2020

Outcome-Related Signatures Identified by Whole Transcriptome Sequencing of Resectable Stage III/IV Melanoma Evaluated after Starting Hu14.18-IL2.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 07 9;26(13):3296-3306. Epub 2020 Mar 9.

Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin.

Purpose: We analyzed whole transcriptome sequencing in tumors from 23 patients with stage III or IV melanoma from a pilot trial of the anti-GD2 immunocytokine, hu14.18-IL2, to identify predictive immune and/or tumor biomarkers in patients with melanoma at high risk for recurrence.

Experimental Design: Patients were randomly assigned to receive the first of three monthly courses of hu14.18-IL2 immunotherapy either before (Group A) or after (Group B) complete surgical resection of all known diseases. Tumors were evaluated by histology and whole transcriptome sequencing.

Results: Tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) levels directly associated with relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) in resected tumors from Group A, where early responses to the immunotherapy agent could be assessed. TIL levels directly associated with a previously reported immune signature, which associated with RFS and OS, particularly in Group A tumors. In Group A tumors, there were decreased cell-cycling gene RNA transcripts, but increased RNA transcripts for repair and growth genes. We found that outcome (RFS and OS) was directly associated with several immune signatures and immune-related RNA transcripts and inversely associated with several tumor growth-associated transcripts, particularly in Group A tumors. Most of these associations were not seen in Group B tumors.

Conclusions: We interpret these data to signify that both immunologic and tumoral cell processes, as measured by RNA-sequencing analyses detected shortly after initiation of hu14.18-IL2 therapy, are associated with long-term survival and could potentially be used as prognostic biomarkers in tumor resection specimens obtained after initiating neoadjuvant immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3294DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334053PMC
July 2020

NCCN Guidelines Insights: Uveal Melanoma, Version 1.2019.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2020 02;18(2):120-131

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The NCCN Guidelines for Uveal Melanoma include recommendations for staging, treatment, and follow-up of patients diagnosed with uveal melanoma of the choroid or ciliary body. In addition, because distinguishing between uveal melanoma and benign uveal nevi is in some cases difficult, these guidelines also contain recommendations for workup of patients with suspicious pigmented uveal lesions, to clarify the tests needed to distinguish between those who should have further workup and treatment for uveal melanoma versus those with uncertain diagnosis and low risk who should to be followed and later reevaluated. These NCCN Guidelines Insights describe recommendations for treatment of newly diagnosed nonmetastatic uveal melanoma in patients who have already undergone a complete workup.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2020.0007DOI Listing
February 2020

Phase III Study of Adjuvant Ipilimumab (3 or 10 mg/kg) Versus High-Dose Interferon Alfa-2b for Resected High-Risk Melanoma: North American Intergroup E1609.

J Clin Oncol 2020 02 27;38(6):567-575. Epub 2019 Dec 27.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Purpose: Phase III adjuvant trials have reported significant benefits in both relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) for high-dose interferon alfa (HDI) and ipilimumab at 10 mg/kg (ipi10). E1609 evaluated the safety and efficacy of ipilimumab at 3 mg/kg (ipi3) and ipi10 versus HDI.

Patients And Methods: E1609 was a phase III trial in patients with resected cutaneous melanoma (American Joint Committee on Cancer 7th edition stage IIIB, IIIC, M1a, or M1b). It had 2 coprimary end points: OS and RFS. A 2-step hierarchic approach first evaluated ipi3 versus HDI followed by ipi10 versus HDI.

Results: Between May 2011 and August 2014, 1,670 adult patients were centrally randomly assigned (1:1:1) to ipi3 (n = 523), HDI (n = 636), or ipi10 (n = 511). Treatment-related adverse events grade ≥ 3 occurred in 37% of patients receiving ipi3, 79% receiving HDI, and 58% receiving ipi10, with adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation in 35%, 20%, and 54%, respectively. Comparison of ipi3 versus HDI used an intent-to-treat analysis of concurrently randomly assigned patient cases (n = 1,051) and showed significant OS difference in favor of ipi3 (hazard ratio [HR], 0.78; 95.6% repeated CI, 0.61 to 0.99; = .044; RFS: HR, 0.85; 99.4% CI, 0.66 to 1.09; = .065). In the second step, for ipi10 versus HDI (n = 989), trends in favor of ipi10 did not achieve statistical significance. Salvage patterns after melanoma relapse showed significantly higher rates of ipilimumab and ipilimumab/anti-programmed death 1 use in the HDI arm versus ipi3 and ipi10 ( ≤ .001).

Conclusion: Adjuvant therapy with ipi3 benefits survival versus HDI; for the first time to our knowledge in melanoma adjuvant therapy, E1609 has demonstrated a significant improvement in OS against an active control regimen. The currently approved adjuvant ipilimumab dose (ipi10) was more toxic and not superior in efficacy to HDI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.01381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7030886PMC
February 2020

Enrichment of melanoma-associated T cells in 6-thioguanine-resistant T cells from metastatic melanoma patients.

Melanoma Res 2020 02;30(1):52-61

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

This study examines whether 6-thioguanine resistant T cells (mutant) from metastatic melanoma patients are enriched for melanoma-associated T cells compared to T cells obtained analogously without thioguanine selection (wild-type). Melanoma-associated antigen pentamer staining was performed on 5 tumour and 9 peripheral blood samples from metastatic melanoma patients. T cell receptor beta chain repertoire was examined via Sanger sequencing of mutant and wild-type in blood and tumour from metastatic melanoma patients at times of tumour progression (n = 8) and via Illumina sequencing in tumour derived T cells and in uncultured T cells (uncultured), wild-type and mutant from blood before and after immune checkpoint blockade (n = 1). Mutant from tumour (3 of 5; P < 0.001), but not blood (0 of 9), were enriched compared to wild-type for binding melanoma-associated antigen pentamers. T cell receptor beta analysis in patients with tumour progression (n = 8) detected increased melanoma associated T cells in mutant compared to wild-type from blood (Monte Carlo P = 10). Comparison of blood samples before and after immune checkpoint blockade with prior tumor from one metastatic melanoma patient detected increased T cell receptor beta sharing between tumour and mutant compared to tumour and wild-type or tumour and uncultured: 11.0% (72/656), 1.5% (206/13 639) and 1.3% (381/29 807), respectively (Monte Carlo P = 10 for mutant versus wild-type and mutant versus uncultured). These data demonstrate that mutant in metastatic melanoma patients are enriched for melanoma-associated T cells and are candidate probes to study in vivo melanoma-reactive T cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CMR.0000000000000625DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6874720PMC
February 2020

Cutaneous Melanoma, Version 2.2019, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology.

J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2019 04;17(4):367-402

27National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Cutaneous melanoma have been significantly revised over the past few years in response to emerging data on immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies and BRAF-targeted therapy. This article summarizes the data and rationale supporting extensive changes to the recommendations for systemic therapy as adjuvant treatment of resected disease and as treatment of unresectable or distant metastatic disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6004/jnccn.2019.0018DOI Listing
April 2019

E3611-A Randomized Phase II Study of Ipilimumab at 3 or 10 mg/kg Alone or in Combination with High-Dose Interferon-α2b in Advanced Melanoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2019 01 12;25(2):524-532. Epub 2018 Nov 12.

University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Purpose: Interferon-α favors a Th1 shift in immunity, and combining with ipilimumab (ipi) at 3 or 10 mg/kg may downregulate CTLA4-mediated suppressive effects, leading to more durable antitumor immune responses. A study of tremelimumab and high-dose interferon-α (HDI) showed promising efficacy, supporting this hypothesis.

Patients And Methods: E3611 followed a 2-by-2 factorial design (A: ipi10+HDI; B: ipi10; C: ipi3+HDI; D: ipi3) to evaluate (i) no HDI versus HDI (across ipilimumab doses) and (ii) ipi3 versus ipi10 (across HDI status). We hypothesized that median progression-free survival (PFS) would improve from 3 to 6 months with HDI versus no HDI and with ipi10 versus ipi3.

Results: For eligible and treated patients ( = 81) at a median follow-up time of 29.8 months, median PFS was 4.4 months [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.7-8.2] when ipilimumab was used alone and 7.5 months (95% CI, 5.1-11.0) when HDI was added. Median PFS was 3.8 months (95% CI, 2.6-7.5) with 3 mg/kg ipilimumab and 6.5 months (95% CI, 5.1-13.5) with 10 mg/kg. By study arm, median PFS was 8.0 months (95% CI, 2.8-20.2) in arm A, 6.2 months (95% CI, 2.7-25.7) in B, 5.7 months (95% CI, 1.5-11.1) in C, and 2.8 months (95% CI, 2.6-5.7) in D. The differences in PFS and overall survival (OS) did not reach statistical significance. Adverse events were consistent with the known profiles of ipilimumab and HDI and significantly higher with HDI and ipi10.

Conclusions: Although PFS was increased, the differences resulting from adding interferon-α or a higher dose of ipilimumab did not reach statistical significance and do not outweigh the added toxicity risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-2258DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335150PMC
January 2019

Chemoprevention agents for melanoma: A path forward into phase 3 clinical trials.

Cancer 2019 01 3;125(1):18-44. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

Department of Hematology and Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.

Recent progress in the treatment of advanced melanoma has led to unprecedented improvements in overall survival and, as these new melanoma treatments have been developed and deployed in the clinic, much has been learned about the natural history of the disease. Now is the time to apply that knowledge toward the design and clinical evaluation of new chemoprevention agents. Melanoma chemoprevention has the potential to reduce dramatically both the morbidity and the high costs associated with treating patients who have metastatic disease. In this work, scientific and clinical melanoma experts from the national Melanoma Prevention Working Group, composed of National Cancer Trials Network investigators, discuss research aimed at discovering and developing (or repurposing) drugs and natural products for the prevention of melanoma and propose an updated pipeline for translating the most promising agents into the clinic. The mechanism of action, preclinical data, epidemiological evidence, and results from available clinical trials are discussed for each class of compounds. Selected keratinocyte carcinoma chemoprevention studies also are considered, and a rationale for their inclusion is presented. These data are summarized in a table that lists the type and level of evidence available for each class of agents. Also included in the discussion is an assessment of additional research necessary and the likelihood that a given compound may be a suitable candidate for a phase 3 clinical trial within the next 5 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.31719DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6860362PMC
January 2019

The age of enlightenment in melanoma immunotherapy.

Authors:
Mark R Albertini

J Immunother Cancer 2018 08 22;6(1):80. Epub 2018 Aug 22.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI, USA.

An updated survival analysis by Callahan et al. published in the February 1, 2018 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported a 3-year overall survival (OS) rate of 63% for 94 patients with previously treated or untreated advanced melanoma who received ipilimumab and nivolumab as concurrent therapy in a phase 1 dose escalation study CA209-004 (n = 53) or in an expansion cohort with the dose and schedule of concurrent ipilimumab and nivolumab now approved for patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma (n = 41). While this 3-year OS rate of 63% in patients with measurable, unresectable stage III or IV melanoma is an impressive accomplishment that compares very favorably with historical metastatic melanoma survival rates, findings from larger phase 3 studies are needed to determine whether combination immunotherapy significantly improves survival more than single agent immunotherapy with PD-1 blockade. This Commentary discusses the transition from the dark ages to the age of enlightenment in melanoma immunotherapy and provides a roadmap for a better tomorrow for patients with metastatic melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-018-0397-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6103975PMC
August 2018

Pilot trial of the hu14.18-IL2 immunocytokine in patients with completely resectable recurrent stage III or stage IV melanoma.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2018 Oct 3;67(10):1647-1658. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA.

Phase I testing of the hu14.18-IL2 immunocytokine (IC) in melanoma patients showed immune activation, reversible toxicities, and a maximal tolerated dose of 7.5 mg/m/day. Preclinical data in IC-treated tumor-bearing mice with low tumor burden documented striking antitumor effects. Patients with completely resectable recurrent stage III or stage IV melanoma were scheduled to receive 3 courses of IC at 6 mg/m/day i.v. on days 1, 2 and 3 of each 28-day course. Patients were randomized to complete surgical resection either following neoadjuvant (Group A) or prior to adjuvant (Group B) IC course 1. Primary objectives were to: (1) evaluate histological evidence of anti-tumor activity and (2) evaluate recurrence-free survival (RFS) and OS. Twenty melanoma patients were randomized to Group A (11 patients) or B (9 patients). Two Group B patients did not receive IC due to persistent disease following surgery. Six of 18 IC-treated patients remained free of recurrence, with a median RFS of 5.7 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8-not reached). The 24-month RFS rate was 38.9% (95% CI 17.5-60.0%). The median follow-up of surviving patients was 50.0 months (range: 31.8-70.4). The 24-month OS rate was 65.0% (95% CI 40.3-81.5%). Toxicities were similar to those previously reported. Exploratory tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) analyses suggest prognostic value of TILs from Group A patients. Prolonged tumor-free survival was seen in some melanoma patients at high risk for recurrence who were treated with IC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-018-2223-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6168354PMC
October 2018

Pilot study of safety and feasibility of DNA microseeding for treatment of spontaneous canine melanoma.

Vet Med Sci 2017 Aug 22;3(3):134-145. Epub 2017 May 22.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer CenterMadisonWisconsinUSA.

Spontaneous canine malignant melanoma provides an excellent pre-clinical model to study DNA vaccines for melanoma immunotherapy. A USDA-approved xenogeneic human tyrosinase (huTYR) plasmid DNA vaccine delivered intramuscularly induces detectable immune responses and has clinical activity in some dogs with melanoma. The objective of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility, safety and immunogenicity of huTYR plasmid DNA administered to the skin via microseeding in dogs with spontaneous melanoma. DNA microseeding utilizes a modified tattooing device as an alternate and potentially more potent delivery method for DNA immunization. DNA was delivered to shaved inner thigh skin of six companion dogs with melanoma approximately every 14 days for a planned total of four vaccination time points. An anti-huTYR ELISA was used to test pre- and post-treatment sera. Biopsies of treated skin were obtained for detection of huTYR transgene expression. DNA microseeding was well tolerated with no significant toxicity detected beyond local site irritation, and there were no signs of autoimmunity. huTYR-expressing cells were observed in biopsies of huTYR DNA microseeding sites. Increased humoral anti-huTYR antibodies were seen in two of five evaluable dogs following microseeding compared to baseline. DNA microseeding is well tolerated in companion dogs with melanoma. Further investigation is needed to determine if combining DNA microseeding with other immunotherapy regimens potentiates this delivery platform for cancer immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/vms3.65DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5645840PMC
August 2017

Phase III Randomized Study of 4 Weeks of High-Dose Interferon-α-2b in Stage T2bNO, T3a-bNO, T4a-bNO, and T1-4N1a-2a (microscopic) Melanoma: A Trial of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-American College of Radiology Imaging Network Cancer Research Group (E1697).

J Clin Oncol 2017 Mar 30;35(8):885-892. Epub 2017 Jan 30.

Sanjiv S. Agarwala, Saint Luke's University Hospital, Easton; Uma N. Rao, Ahmad A. Tarhini, Terry L. Evans, and John M. Kirkwood, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA; Sandra J. Lee, and Waiki Yip, Dana Farber Cancer Institute-ECOG-ACRIN Biostatistics Center, Boston, MA; Gary I. Cohen, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD; Douglas S. Reintgen, Lakeland Regional Cancer Center, Lakeland; Vernon K. Sondak, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; Joanna M. Brell, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland; William E. Carson, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, OH; Mark R. Albertini, University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, WI; Michael B. Atkins, Georgetown Medical Center, Washington, DC; Shaker R. Dakhil, Cancer Center of Kansas, Wichita, KS; Robert M. Conry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; Jeffrey A. Sosman, Vanderbilt University, Nashville; Alberto S. Pappo, Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital Oncology, Memphis, TN; Lawrence E. Flaherty, Wayne State University/Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI; Michael G. Smylie, Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, Canada; and Richard F. Kefford, Sydney West Area Health Service, Westmead, Australia.

Purpose To test the efficacy of 4 weeks of intravenous (IV) induction with high-dose interferon (IFN) as part of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group regimen compared with observation (OBS) in patients with surgically resected intermediate-risk melanoma. Patients and Methods In this intergroup international trial, eligible patients had surgically resected cutaneous melanoma in the following categories: (1) T2bN0, (2) T3a-bN0, (3) T4a-bN0, and (4) T1-4N1a-2a (microscopic). Patients were randomly assigned to receive IFN α-2b at 20 MU/m/d IV for 5 days (Monday to Friday) every week for 4 weeks (IFN) or OBS. Stratification factors were pathologic lymph node status, lymph node staging procedure, Breslow depth, ulceration of the primary lesion, and disease stage. The primary end point was relapse-free survival. Secondary end points included overall survival, toxicity, and quality of life. Results A total of 1,150 patients were randomly assigned. At a median follow-up of 7 years, the 5-year relapse-free survival rate was 0.70 (95% CI, 0.66 to 0.74) for OBS and 0.70, (95% CI, 0.66 to 0.74) for IFN ( P = .964). The 5-year overall survival rate was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.79 to 0.86) for OBS and 0.83 (95% CI, 0.80 to 0.86) for IFN ( P = .558). Treatment-related grade 3 and higher toxicity was 4.6% versus 57.9% for OBS and IFN, respectively ( P < .001). Quality of life was worse for the treated group. Conclusion Four weeks of IV induction as part of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group high-dose IFN regimen is not better than OBS alone for patients with intermediate-risk melanoma as defined in this trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2016.70.2951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455684PMC
March 2017

Relationship between physician-adjudicated adverse events and patient-reported health-related quality of life in a phase II clinical trial (NCT01143402) of patients with metastatic uveal melanoma.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2017 Mar 5;143(3):439-445. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.

Purpose: Clinical trials commonly use physician-adjudicated adverse event (AE) assessment via the common terminology criteria for adverse events (CTCAE) for decision-making. Patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) data are becoming more frequent in oncology; however, the relationship between physician-adjudicated AE assessment and HRQoL is understudied.

Methods: Data from a phase II trial (clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT01143402) where patients with metastatic uveal melanoma were randomized to receive selumetinib, an oral MEK inhibitor, or chemotherapy were analyzed. Patients reported HRQoL at baseline, after 1 month, and end of treatment (n = 118), whereas physicians adjudicated AEs via CTCAE. Mean HRQoL scores were compared between patient randomization arms, as well as between those patients who did/did not receive dose modifications.

Results: Ninety-four percent had a CTCAE grade ≥1 for at least one treatment-associated AE, with 18% undergoing dose modification due to toxicity. Mean HRQoL scores did not significantly differ at each of the three time points. Patient and physician-adjudicated reports of nausea were significantly correlated at the start (r = 0.31, p < 0.01) and end of treatment (r = 0.42, p < 0.05). There were no significant correlations between need for dose modification and HRQoL scores.

Conclusions: Despite the high rate of physician-adjudicated AEs and need for dose modifications with selumetinib, patient-reported HRQoL was not impacted by treatment. Since HRQoL did not differ in the subgroup of patients who received dosage reductions due to AEs, patients may be willing to tolerate select AEs without dose modification (if medically appropriate). More research is needed to determine how to best integrate HRQoL data into clinical trial conduct.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-016-2318-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5303646PMC
March 2017

Phase I study to evaluate toxicity and feasibility of intratumoral injection of α-gal glycolipids in patients with advanced melanoma.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2016 08 20;65(8):897-907. Epub 2016 May 20.

Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.

Effective uptake of tumor cell-derived antigens by antigen-presenting cells is achieved pre-clinically by in situ labeling of tumor with α-gal glycolipids that bind the naturally occurring anti-Gal antibody. We evaluated toxicity and feasibility of intratumoral injections of α-gal glycolipids as an autologous tumor antigen-targeted immunotherapy in melanoma patients (pts). Pts with unresectable metastatic melanoma, at least one cutaneous, subcutaneous, or palpable lymph node metastasis, and serum anti-Gal titer ≥1:50 were eligible for two intratumoral α-gal glycolipid injections given 4 weeks apart (cohort I: 0.1 mg/injection; cohort II: 1.0 mg/injection; cohort III: 10 mg/injection). Monitoring included blood for clinical, autoimmune, and immunological analyses and core tumor biopsies. Treatment outcome was determined 8 weeks after the first α-gal glycolipid injection. Nine pts received two intratumoral injections of α-gal glycolipids (3 pts/cohort). Injection-site toxicity was mild, and no systemic toxicity or autoimmunity could be attributed to the therapy. Two pts had stable disease by RECIST lasting 8 and 7 months. Tumor nodule biopsies revealed minimal to no change in inflammatory infiltrate between pre- and post-treatment biopsies except for 1 pt (cohort III) with a post-treatment inflammatory infiltrate. Two and four weeks post-injection, treated nodules in 5 of 9 pts exhibited tumor cell necrosis without neutrophilic or lymphocytic inflammatory response. Non-treated tumor nodules in 2 of 4 evaluable pts also showed necrosis. Repeated intratumoral injections of α-gal glycolipids are well tolerated, and tumor necrosis was seen in some tumor nodule biopsies after tumor injection with α-gal glycolipids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-016-1846-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4958541PMC
August 2016

Incidence, Survival, and Mortality of Malignant Cutaneous Melanoma in Wisconsin, 1995-2011.

WMJ 2015 Oct;114(5):196-201

Objective: To assess trends in malignant melanoma incidence, survival, and mortality in Wisconsin.

Methods: Incidence data for Wisconsin were obtained from the Wisconsin Cancer Reporting System Bureau of Health Information using Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health, while incidence data for the United States were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results system (SEER). The mortality to incidence ratio [1 - (mortality/incidence)] was used as a proxy to estimate relative 5-year survival in Wisconsin, while observed 5-year survival rates for the United States were obtained from SEER. Mortality data for both Wisconsin and the United States were extracted using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research.

Results: During the past decade, malignant melanoma incidence rates increased 57% in Wisconsin (from 12.1 to 19.0 cases per 100,000) versus a 33% increase (from 20.9 to 27.7 cases per 100,000) in the United States during the same time period. The greatest Wisconsin increase in incidence was among women ages 45-64 years and among men ages 65 years and older. Overall relative percent difference in 5-year survival in Wisconsin rose 10% (from 77% to 85%) and was unchanged (82%) for the United States. Wisconsin overall mortality rates were unchanged at 2.8 deaths per 100,000, compared to a 10% increase in the United States (from 3.1 to 3.4 deaths per 100,000). Wisconsin mortality rates improved for women ages 45-64 and for men ages 25-44.

Conclusion: Despite improvements in malignant melanoma survival rates, increases in incidence represent a major public health challenge for physicians and policymakers.
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October 2015

Effect of selumetinib vs chemotherapy on progression-free survival in uveal melanoma: a randomized clinical trial.

JAMA 2014 Jun;311(23):2397-405

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York2Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York.

Importance: Uveal melanoma is characterized by mutations in GNAQ and GNA11, resulting in mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway activation.

Objective: To assess the efficacy of selumetinib, a selective, non-adenosine triphosphate competitive inhibitor of MEK1 and MEK2, in uveal melanoma.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Randomized, open-label, phase 2 clinical trial comparing selumetinib vs chemotherapy conducted from August 2010 through December 2013 among 120 patients with metastatic uveal melanoma at 15 academic oncology centers in the United States and Canada.

Interventions: One hundred one patients were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive selumetinib, 75 mg orally twice daily on a continual basis (n = 50), or chemotherapy (temozolomide, 150 mg/m2 orally daily for 5 of every 28 days, or dacarbazine, 1000 mg/m2 intravenously every 21 days [investigator choice]; n = 51) until disease progression, death, intolerable adverse effects, or withdrawal of consent. After primary outcome analysis, 19 patients were registered and 18 treated with selumetinib without randomization to complete the planned 120-patient enrollment. Patients in the chemotherapy group could receive selumetinib at the time of radiographic progression.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Progression-free survival, the primary end point, was assessed as of April 22, 2013. Additional end points, including overall survival, response rate, and safety/toxicity, were assessed as of December 31, 2013.

Results: Median progression-free survival among patients randomized to chemotherapy was 7 weeks (95% CI, 4.3-8.4 weeks; median treatment duration, 8 weeks; interquartile range [IQR], 4.3-16 weeks) and among those randomized to selumetinib was 15.9 weeks (95% CI, 8.4-21.1 weeks; median treatment duration, 16.1 weeks; IQR, 8.1-25.3 weeks) (hazard ratio, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.30-0.71; P < .001). Median overall survival time was 9.1 months (95% CI, 6.1-11.1 months) with chemotherapy and 11.8 months (95% CI, 9.8-15.7 months) with selumetinib (hazard ratio, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.41-1.06; P = .09). No objective responses were observed with chemotherapy. Forty-nine percent of patients treated with selumetinib achieved tumor regression, with 14% achieving an objective radiographic response to therapy. Treatment-related adverse events were observed in 97% of patients treated with selumetinib, with 37% requiring at least 1 dose reduction.

Conclusions And Relevance: In this hypothesis-generating study of patients with advanced uveal melanoma, selumetinib compared with chemotherapy resulted in a modestly improved progression-free survival and response rate; however, no improvement in overall survival was observed. Improvement in clinical outcomes was accompanied by a high rate of adverse events.

Trial Registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01143402.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.6096DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4249701PMC
June 2014

A conditional predictive p-value to compare a multinomial with an overdispersed multinomial in the analysis of T-cell populations.

Biostatistics 2014 Jan 4;15(1):129-39. Epub 2013 Oct 4.

Department of Statistics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Immunological experiments that record primary molecular sequences of T-cell receptors produce moderate to high-dimensional categorical data, some of which may be subject to extra-multinomial variation caused by technical constraints of cell-based assays. Motivated by such experiments in melanoma research, we develop a statistical procedure for testing the equality of two discrete populations, where one population delivers multinomial data and the other is subject to a specific form of overdispersion. The procedure computes a conditional-predictive p-value by splitting the data set into two, obtaining a predictive distribution for one piece given the other, and using the observed predictive ordinate to generate a p-value. The procedure has a simple interpretation, requires fewer modeling assumptions than would be required of a fully Bayesian analysis, and has reasonable operating characteristics as evidenced empirically and by asymptotic analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/biostatistics/kxt039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3862212PMC
January 2014

MAGE-C2 promotes growth and tumorigenicity of melanoma cells, phosphorylation of KAP1, and DNA damage repair.

J Invest Dermatol 2013 Mar 25;133(3):759-767. Epub 2012 Oct 25.

Department of Dermatology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Electronic address:

Melanoma-associated antigen-encoding (MAGE) genes are expressed in melanoma and other cancers but not in normal somatic cells. MAGE expression is associated with aggressive tumor growth, poor clinical outcome, and resistance to chemotherapy, but the mechanisms have not been completely elucidated. In this study, we show that downregulation of MAGE-C2 in A375 melanoma cells and low-passage cultures from human metastatic melanomas (MRA cells) results in increased apoptosis and decreased growth of tumor xenografts in athymic nude mice. Previously, we showed that MAGE-C2 binds KAP1, a scaffolding protein that regulates DNA repair. Phosphorylation of KAP1-Serine 824 (Ser824) by ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) kinase is necessary for repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs); now we show that MAGE-C2 knockdown reduces, whereas MAGE-C2 overexpression increases, ATM kinase-dependent phosphorylation of KAP1-Ser824. We demonstrate that MAGE-C2 increases co-precipitation of KAP1 with ATM and that binding of MAGE-C2 to KAP1 is necessary for increased KAP1-Ser824 phosphorylation. Furthermore, ectopic expression of MAGE-C2 enhances repair of I-SceI endonuclease-induced DSBs in U-2OS cells. As phosphorylation of KAP1-Ser824 facilitates relaxation of heterochromatin, which is necessary for DNA repair and cellular proliferation, our results suggest that MAGE-C2 can promote tumor growth by phosphorylation of KAP1-Ser824 and by enhancement of DNA damage repair.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/jid.2012.355DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570725PMC
March 2013

Phase II trial of hu14.18-IL2 for patients with metastatic melanoma.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2012 Dec 8;61(12):2261-71. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI, USA.

Phase I testing of the hu14.18-IL2 immunocytokine in melanoma patients showed immune activation, reversible toxicities, and a maximal tolerated dose of 7.5 mg/m(2)/day. In this phase II study, 14 patients with measurable metastatic melanoma were scheduled to receive hu14.18-IL2 at 6 mg/m(2)/day as 4-h intravenous infusions on Days 1, 2, and 3 of each 28 day cycle. Patients with stable disease (SD) or regression following cycle 2 could receive two additional treatment cycles. The primary objective was to evaluate antitumor activity and response duration. Secondary objectives evaluated adverse events and immunologic activation. All patients received two cycles of treatment. One patient had a partial response (PR) [1 PR of 14 patients = response rate of 7.1 %; confidence interval, 0.2-33.9 %], and 4 patients had SD and received cycles 3 and 4. The PR and SD responses lasted 3-4 months. All toxicities were reversible and those resulting in dose reduction included grade 3 hypotension (2 patients) and grade 2 renal insufficiency with oliguria (1 patient). Patients had a peripheral blood lymphocytosis on Day 8 and increased C-reactive protein. While one PR in 14 patients met protocol criteria to proceed to stage 2 and enter 16 additional patients, we suspended stage 2 due to limited availability of hu14.18-IL2 at that time and the brief duration of PR and SD. We conclude that subsequent testing of hu14.18-IL2 should involve melanoma patients with minimal residual disease based on compelling preclinical data and the confirmed immune activation with some antitumor activity in this study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-012-1286-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3502633PMC
December 2012

OMIP-008: measurement of Th1 and Th2 cytokine polyfunctionality of human T cells.

Cytometry A 2012 Jun 19;81(6):450-2. Epub 2012 Mar 19.

University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cyto.a.22035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3418807PMC
June 2012

Clinical and pharmacologic evaluation of two dose levels of intetumumab (CNTO 95) in patients with melanoma or angiosarcoma.

Invest New Drugs 2012 Jun 18;30(3):1074-81. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

The Angeles Clinic and Research Institute, 2001 Santa Monica Boulevard, Suite 560W, Santa Monica, CA 90404, USA.

Purpose: In this Phase 1, multicenter, open-label study, intetumumab (CNTO 95), a fully human anti-αv integrin monoclonal antibody was evaluated for safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamic activity in patients with melanoma or angiosarcoma.

Patients And Methods: Patients with histologically-confirmed inoperable melanoma or angiosarcoma refractory to standard treatment were allocated to treatment with 10 mg/kg or 20 mg/kg intetumumab, administered once every 3 weeks for up to four cycles unless unacceptable toxicity or disease progression occurred. Extended dosing was available for patients who responded with stable disease or better.

Results: Eight patients received 10 mg/kg and 11 received 20 mg/kg intetumumab. Baseline patient characteristics were comparable between treatment groups; 18 patients had metastatic malignant melanoma and one had angiosarcoma. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. Headache was the most common adverse event across both dose groups. Vomiting, nausea and chills were more common, and uveitic reactions lasted longer, in patients treated with 20 mg/kg compared with 10 mg/kg intetumumab. No patient developed antibodies to intetumumab. Intetumumab drug exposure as assessed by area under the curve and maximum serum concentration appeared to increase approximately dose-proportionally from 10 to 20 mg/kg, while volume of distribution remained constant for both doses. Stable disease was observed in two patients with metastatic malignant melanoma (one in each dose group) for at least 6 weeks.

Conclusions: In patients with metastatic malignant melanoma and angiosarcoma in this study, intetumumab demonstrated manageable toxicity, was well tolerated, and presented approximately dose-proportional pharmacokinetics for the 10 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg doses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-011-9639-zDOI Listing
June 2012

In vivo 6-thioguanine-resistant T cells from melanoma patients have public TCR and share TCR beta amino acid sequences with melanoma-reactive T cells.

J Immunol Methods 2011 Feb 21;365(1-2):76-86. Epub 2010 Dec 21.

University of Wisconsin, Carbone Cancer Center, WI, USA.

In vivo hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT)-deficient T cells (MT) from melanoma patients are enriched for T cells with in vivo clonal amplifications that traffic between blood and tumor tissues. Melanoma is thus a model cancer to test the hypothesis that in vivo MT from cancer patients can be used as immunological probes for immunogenic tumor antigens. MT were obtained by 6-thioguanine (TG) selection of lymphocytes from peripheral blood and tumor tissues, and wild-type T cells (WT) were obtained analogously without TG selection. cDNA sequences of the T cell receptor beta chains (TRB) were used as unambiguous biomarkers of in vivo clonality and as indicators of T cell specificity. Public TRB were identified in MT from the blood and tumor of different melanoma patients. Such public TRB were not found in normal control MT or WT. As an indicator of T cell specificity for melanoma, the >2600 MT and WT TRB, including the public TRB from melanoma patients, were compared to a literature-derived empirical database of >1270 TRB from melanoma-reactive T cells. Various degrees of similarity, ranging from 100% conservation to 3-amino acid motifs (3-mer), were found between both melanoma patient MT and WT TRBs and the empirical database. The frequency of 3-mer and 4-mer TRB matching to the empirical database was significantly higher in MT compared with WT in the tumor (p=0.0285 and p=0.006, respectively). In summary, in vivo MT from melanoma patients contain public TRB as well as T cells with specificity for characterized melanoma antigens. We conclude that in vivo MT merit study as novel probes for uncharacterized immunogenic antigens in melanoma and other malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2010.12.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3035723PMC
February 2011

Antitumor activity of hu14.18-IL2 in patients with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma: a Children's Oncology Group (COG) phase II study.

J Clin Oncol 2010 Nov 4;28(33):4969-75. Epub 2010 Oct 4.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA, USA.

Purpose: The hu14.18-IL2 fusion protein consists of interleukin-2 molecularly linked to a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes the GD2 disialoganglioside expressed on neuroblastoma cells. This phase II study assessed the antitumor activity of hu14.18-IL2 in two strata of patients with recurrent or refractory neuroblastoma.

Patients And Methods: Hu14.18-IL2 was given intravenously (12 mg/m(2)/daily) for 3 days every 4 weeks for patients with disease measurable by standard radiographic criteria (stratum 1) and for patients with disease evaluable only by [(123)I]metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy and/or bone marrow (BM) histology (stratum 2). Response was established by independent radiology review as well as BM histology and immunocytology, and durability was assessed by repeat evaluation after more than 3 weeks.

Results: Thirty-nine patients were enrolled (36 evaluable). No responses were seen in stratum 1 (n = 13). Of 23 evaluable patients in stratum 2, five patients (21.7%) responded; all had a complete response (CR) of 9, 13, 20, 30, and 35+ months duration. Grade 3 and 4 nonhematologic toxicities included capillary leak, hypoxia, pain, rash, allergic reaction, elevated transaminases, and hyperbilirubinemia. Two patients required dopamine for hypotension, and one patient required ventilatory support for hypoxia. Most toxicities were reversible within a few days of completing a treatment course and were expected based on phase I results.

Conclusion: Patients with disease evaluable only by MIBG and/or BM histology had a 21.7% CR rate to hu14.8-IL2, whereas patients with bulky disease did not respond. Hu14.18-IL2 warrants further testing in children with nonbulky high-risk neuroblastoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2009.27.8861DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3020698PMC
November 2010

In Situ Conversion of Melanoma Lesions into Autologous Vaccine by Intratumoral Injections of α-gal Glycolipids.

Cancers (Basel) 2010 4;2(2):773-93. Epub 2010 May 4.

Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Avenue North, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.

Autologous melanoma associated antigens (MAA) on murine melanoma cells can elicit a protective anti-tumor immune response following a variety of vaccine strategies. Most require effective uptake by antigen presenting cells (APC). APC transport and process internalized MAA for activation of anti-tumor T cells. One potential problem with clinical melanoma vaccines against autologous tumors may be that often tumor cells do not express surface markers that label them for uptake by APC. Effective uptake of melanoma cells by APC might be achieved by exploiting the natural anti-Gal antibody which constitutes ~1% of immunoglobulins in humans. This approach has been developed in a syngeneic mouse model using mice capable of producing anti-Gal. Anti-Gal binds specifically to α-gal epitopes (Galα1-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc-R). Injection of glycolipids carrying α-gal epitopes (α-gal glycolipids) into melanoma lesions results in glycolipid insertion into melanoma cell membranes, expression of α-gal epitopes on the tumor cells and binding of anti-Gal to these epitopes. Interaction between the Fc portions of bound anti-Gal and Fcγ receptors on APC induces effective uptake of tumor cells by APC. The resulting anti-MAA immune response can be potent enough to destroy distant micrometastases. A clinical trial is now open testing effects of intratumoral α-gal glycolipid injections in melanoma patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers2020773DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475649PMC
November 2013

The development of antibody-IL-2 based immunotherapy with hu14.18-IL2 (EMD-273063) in melanoma and neuroblastoma.

Expert Opin Investig Drugs 2009 Jul;18(7):991-1000

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Departments of Surgery, WI 53792, USA.

Patients with high risk melanoma and neuroblastoma frequently experience recurrence despite surgical resection and appropriate adjuvant therapies. Immunotherapy with the immunocytokine hu14.18-IL2 (EMD-273063) was developed by means of fusion of two molecules of IL-2 to the monoclonal antibody, 14.18, that recognizes GD2, expressed on the earlier mentioned malignancies. This article will discuss the results of preclinical work using EMD-273063 therapy, including data suggesting that intratumoral therapy may have enhanced antitumor benefit compared with intravenous therapy. Initial clinical trials in adult melanoma and pediatric neuroblastoma have demonstrated acceptable toxicity profiles in dosing that induces immune activation. Preclinical and initial clinical data suggest greater efficacy in the setting of minimal residual disease; therefore, future clinical testing is planned to test the benefit of EMD-273063 in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1517/13543780903048911DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952306PMC
July 2009
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