Publications by authors named "Markus Joerger"

96 Publications

Precision Dosing of Targeted Therapies is Ready for Prime Time.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Sep 21. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Netherlands Cancer Institute

Fixed dosing of oral targeted therapies is inadequate in the era of precision medicine. Personalized dosing, based on pharmacokinetic (PK) exposure, known as therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), is rational and supported by increasing evidence. The purpose of this perspective is to discuss whether randomized studies are needed to confirm the clinical value of precision dosing in oncology. PK-based dose adjustments are routinely made for many drugs and are recommended by health authorities, e.g. for patients with renal impairment or for drug-drug interaction management strategies. Personalized dosing simply extrapolates this paradigm from selected patient populations to each individual patient with suboptimal exposure, irrespective of the underlying cause. If it has been demonstrated that exposure is related to a relevant clinical outcome, such as efficacy or toxicity, and that exposure can be optimized by PK-guided dosing, it could be logically assumed that PK-guided dosing would result in better treatment outcomes without the need for randomized confirmatory trials. We propose a path forward to demonstrate the clinical relevance of individualized dosing of molecularly-targeted anticancer drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4555DOI Listing
September 2021

SAKK 16/14: Durvalumab in Addition to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Patients With Stage IIIA(N2) Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer-A Multicenter Single-Arm Phase II Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 12;39(26):2872-2880. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Department of Oncology, Cantonal Hospital Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland.

Purpose: For patients with resectable stage IIIA(N2) non-small-cell lung cancer, neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cisplatin and docetaxel followed by surgery resulted in a 1-year event-free survival (EFS) rate of 48% in the SAKK 16/00 trial and is an accepted standard of care. We investigated the additional benefit of perioperative treatment with durvalumab.

Methods: Neoadjuvant treatment consisted of three cycles of cisplatin 100 mg/m and docetaxel 85 mg/m once every 3 weeks followed by two doses of durvalumab 750 mg once every 2 weeks. Durvalumab was continued for 1 year after surgery. The primary end point was 1-year EFS. The hypothesis for statistical considerations was an improvement of 1-year EFS from 48% to 65%.

Results: Sixty-eight patients were enrolled, 67 were included in the full analysis set. Radiographic response rate was 43% (95% CI, 31 to 56) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and 58% (95% CI, 45 to 71) after sequential neoadjuvant immunotherapy. Fifty-five patients were resected, of which 34 (62%) achieved a major pathologic response (MPR; ≤ 10% viable tumor cells) and 10 (18%) among them a complete pathologic response. Postoperative nodal downstaging (ypN0-1) was observed in 37 patients (67%). Fifty-one (93%) resected patients had an R0 resection. There was no significant effect of pretreatment PD-L1 expression on MPR or nodal downstaging. The 1-year EFS rate was 73% (two-sided 90% CI, 63 to 82). Median EFS and overall survival were not reached after 28.6 months of median follow-up. Fifty-nine (88%) patients had an adverse event grade ≥ 3 including two fatal adverse events that were judged not to be treatment-related.

Conclusion: The addition of perioperative durvalumab to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in patients with stage IIIA(N2) non-small-cell lung cancer is safe and exceeds historical data of chemotherapy alone with a high MPR and an encouraging 1-year EFS rate of 73%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.00276DOI Listing
September 2021

Prospective real-world study on the pharmacokinetics of pembrolizumab in patients with solid tumors.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Jun;9(6)

Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Dosing schemes of pembrolizumab (anti-programmed cell death protein 1 monoclonal antibody) are solely based on pharmacokinetic (PK) modelling derived from phase I-III trials. The current study aimed to determine factors affecting PK and its relationship with clinical outcome in the real-world setting.

Methods: Advanced-stage cancer patients, who were treated with pembrolizumab monotherapy (2 mg/kg Q3W or 200 mg flat Q3W), were prospectively included for serial sampling to obtain trough concentrations. A PK model was generated, covariate effects assessed and internally validated by a bootstrap procedure. PK parameters were related to overall survival (OS) and the occurrence of immune-related adverse events (irAEs).

Results: 588 serum samples derived from 122 patients with (non-)small-cell lung cancer ([N]SCLC), malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), melanoma and urothelial cell cancer (UCC) were analyzed. Median follow-up was 2.2 years. A one-compartment PK model was generated: body surface area (BSA) and serum albumin had a significant effect on drug clearance (CL; covariate estimate 1.46 and -1.43, respectively), and serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) on the distribution volume(V; 0.34). A significant inverse CL-OS relationship was determined for NSCLC (HR:1.69; 95%CI1.07-2.68; p=0.024) and MPM (HR: 3.29; 95% CI 1.08 to 10.09; p=0.037), after correction for prognostic factors, which could not confirmed for melanoma (p=0.22) or UCC (p=0.34). No relationship could be determined between CL and grade 3 irAEs (p=0.70).

Conclusions: High interpatient variability of pembrolizumab PK is determined by BSA and serum albumin (on CL) and LDH (on V). A strong inverse CL-OS relationship was demonstrated for NSCLC and MPM, which could not be observed for melanoma and UCC. The findings suggest that personalized dosing should be prospectively explored.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002344DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8183294PMC
June 2021

Computational Treatment Simulations to Assess the Need for Personalized Tamoxifen Dosing in Breast Cancer Patients of Different Biogeographical Groups.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 18;13(10). Epub 2021 May 18.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Institute of Pharmacy, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 12169 Berlin, Germany.

Tamoxifen is used worldwide to treat estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. It is extensively metabolized, and minimum steady-state concentrations of its metabolite endoxifen (C) >5.97 ng/mL have been associated with favorable outcome. Endoxifen formation is mediated by the enzyme CYP2D6, and impaired CYP2D6 function has been associated with lower C . In the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study proposing the target concentration, 20% of patients showed subtarget C at tamoxifen standard dosing. CYP2D6 allele frequencies vary largely between populations, and as 87% of the patients in the WHEL study were White, little is known about the risk for subtarget C in other populations. Applying pharmacokinetic simulations, this study investigated the risk for subtarget C at tamoxifen standard dosing and the need for dose individualization in nine different biogeographical groups with distinct CYP2D6 allele frequencies. The high variability in CYP2D6 allele frequencies amongst the biogeographical groups resulted in an up to three-fold difference in the percentages of patients with subtarget C. Based on their CYP2D6 allele frequencies, East Asian breast cancer patients were identified as the population for which personalized, model-informed precision dosing would be most beneficial (28% of patients with subtarget C).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13102432DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8157244PMC
May 2021

Radiotherapy for thymic epithelial tumours: a review.

Transl Lung Cancer Res 2021 Apr;10(4):2088-2100

Department of Radiation Oncology, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Thymic epithelial tumours (TETs) represent a rare disease, yet they are the most common tumours of the anterior mediastinum. Due to the rare occurrence of TETs, evidence on optimal treatment is limited. Surgery is the treatment of choice in the management of TETs, while the role of postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) remains unresolved. PORT remains debated for thymomas, especially in completely resected stage II tumours, for which PORT may be more likely to benefit in the presence of aggressive histology (WHO subtype B2, B3) or extensive transcapsular invasion (Masaoka-Koga stage IIB). For stage III thymoma, evidence suggests an overall survival (OS) benefit for PORT after complete resection. For incompletely resected thymomas stage II or higher PORT is recommended. Thymic carcinomas at any stage with positive resection margins should be offered PORT. Radiotherapy plays an important role in the management of unresectable locally advanced TETs. Induction therapy (chemotherapy or chemoradiation) followed by surgery may be useful for locally advanced thymic malignancies initially considered as unresectable. Chemotherapy only is offered in patients with unresectable, metastatic tumours in palliative intent, checkpoint inhibitors may be promising for refractory diseases. Due to the lack of high-level evidence and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, TETs should be discussed within a multidisciplinary team and the final recommendation should reflect individual patient preferences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/tlcr-20-458DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8107733PMC
April 2021

Tumour neoantigen mimicry by microbial species in cancer immunotherapy.

Br J Cancer 2021 Aug 6;125(3):313-323. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Lung Center, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Tumour neoantigens arising from cancer-specific mutations generate a molecular fingerprint that has a definite specificity for cancer. Although this fingerprint perfectly discriminates cancer from healthy somatic and germline cells, and is therefore therapeutically exploitable using immune checkpoint blockade, gut and extra-gut microbial species can independently produce epitopes that resemble tumour neoantigens as part of their natural gene expression programmes. Such tumour molecular mimicry is likely not only to influence the quality and strength of the body's anti-cancer immune response, but could also explain why certain patients show favourable long-term responses to immune checkpoint blockade while others do not benefit at all from this treatment. This article outlines the requirement for tumour neoantigens in successful cancer immunotherapy and draws attention to the emerging role of microbiome-mediated tumour neoantigen mimicry in determining checkpoint immunotherapy outcome, with far-reaching implications for the future of cancer immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01365-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8329167PMC
August 2021

Pembrolizumab-Associated CD8 Vasculitic Mononeuritis Multiplex in a Patient With Mesothelioma.

Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm 2021 07 6;8(4). Epub 2021 Apr 6.

From the Department of Neurology (M.C.B., M.K., A.F., S.H.-F.); Department of Hematology and Oncology (M.J.); Department of Dermatology (L.F.); Department of Pathology (R.R.), Cantonal Hospital, St. Gallen; Department of Pathology (S.F.), University Hospital, Basel; and Department of Neurology and Department of Hematology and Oncology (T.H.), Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen, Switzerland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000993DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023979PMC
July 2021

Association of Supporting Trial Evidence and Reimbursement for Off-Label Use of Cancer Drugs.

JAMA Netw Open 2021 03 1;4(3):e210380. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospital Basel and University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Importance: In many health systems, access to off-label drug use is controlled through reimbursement restrictions by health insurers, especially for expensive cancer drugs.

Objective: To determine whether evidence from randomized clinical trials is associated with reimbursement decisions for requested off-label use of anticancer drugs in the Swiss health system.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cross-sectional study used reimbursement requests from routinely collected health records of 5809 patients with drug treatment for cancer between January 2015 and July 2018 in 3 major cancer centers, covering cancer care of approximately 5% of the Swiss population, to identify off-label drug use. For each off-label use indication with 3 or more requests, randomized clinical trial evidence on treatment benefits was systematically identified for overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival (PFS). Data were analyzed from August 2018 to December 2020.

Exposures: Available randomized clinical trial evidence on benefits for OS or PFS for requested off-label use indications.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The main outcome was the association between evidence for treatment benefit (expressed as improved OS or PFS) and reimbursement in multivariable regression models.

Results: Among 3046 patients with cancer, 695 off-label use reimbursement requests in 303 different indications were made for 598 patients (median [interquartile range] age, 64 [53-73] years; 420 [60%] men). Off-label use was intended as first-line treatment in 311 requests (45%). Reimbursement was accepted in 446 requests (64%). For 71 indications, including 431 requests for 376 patients, there were 3 or more requests. Of these, 246 requests (57%) had no supporting evidence for OS or PFS benefit. Reimbursement was granted in 162 of 246 requests without supporting evidence (66%). Of 117 requests supported by OS benefit, 79 (67%) were reimbursed, and of 68 requests supported by PFS benefit alone, 54 (79%) were reimbursed. Evidence of OS benefit from randomized clinical trials was not associated with a higher chance of reimbursement (odds ratio, 0.76, 95% CI, 0.45-1.27).

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings suggest that in a health care system enabling access to off-label use, it was frequently intended as a first-line treatment in cancer care. Availability of randomized clinical trial evidence showing survival benefit was not associated with reimbursement decisions for off-label anticancer drug treatment in Switzerland. A transparent process with criteria considering clinical evidence is needed for evidence-based reimbursement decisions to ensure fair access to cancer treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0380DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7926292PMC
March 2021

Simulation-Based Assessment of the Impact of Non-Adherence on Endoxifen Target Attainment in Different Tamoxifen Dosing Strategies.

Pharmaceuticals (Basel) 2021 Feb 3;14(2). Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Institute of Pharmacy, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany.

Tamoxifen is widely used in breast cancer treatment and minimum steady-state concentrations of its active metabolite endoxifen (C) above 5.97 ng/mL have been associated with favourable disease outcome. Yet, about 20% of patients do not reach target C applying conventional tamoxifen dosing. Moreover, 4-75% of patients are non-adherent, resulting in worse disease outcomes. Assuming complete adherence, we previously showed model-informed precision dosing (MIPD) to be superior to conventional and -guided dosing in minimising the proportion of patients with subtarget C. Given the high non-adherence rate in long-term tamoxifen therapy, this study investigated the impact of non-adherence on C target attainment in different dosing strategies. We show that MIPD allows to account for the expected level of non-adherence (here: up to 2 missed doses/week): increasing the MIPD target threshold from 5.97 ng/mL to 9 ng/mL (the lowest reported C in normal metabolisers) as a safeguard resulted in the lowest interindividual variability and proportion of patients with subtarget C even in non-adherent patients. This is a significant improvement to conventional and -guided dosing. Adding a fixed increment to the originally selected dose is not recommended, since it inflates interindividual variability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ph14020115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7913149PMC
February 2021

Role of TDM-based dose adjustments for taxane anticancer drugs.

Br J Clin Pharmacol 2021 02 18;87(2):306-316. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Department of Oncology & Hematology, Cantonal Hospital, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

The classical taxanes (paclitaxel, docetaxel), the newer taxane cabazitaxel and the nanoparticle-bound nab-paclitaxel are among the most widely used anticancer drugs. Still, the optimal use and the value of pharmacological personalization of the taxanes is still controversial. We give an overview on the pharmacological properties of the taxanes, including metabolism, pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamic relations and aspects in the clinical use of taxanes. The latter includes the ongoing debate on the most effective and safe regimen, the recommended initial dose, and pharmacological dosing individualization. The taxanes are among the most widely used anticancer drugs in patients with solid malignancies. Despite their longtime use in clinical routine, the optimal dosing strategy (weekly versus 3-weekly) or optimal average dose (cabazitaxel, nab-paclitaxel) has not been fully resolved, as it may differ according to tumour entity and line of treatment. The value of pharmacological individualization of the taxanes (TDM, TCI) has been partly explored for 3-weekly paclitaxel and docetaxel, but remains mostly unexplored for cabazitaxel and nab-paclitaxel at present.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bcp.14678DOI Listing
February 2021

Fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy: recommendations for DPYD genotyping and therapeutic drug monitoring of the Swiss Group of Pharmacogenomics and Personalised Therapy.

Swiss Med Wkly 2020 Nov 24;150:w20375. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Switzerland / Swiss Group of Pharmacogenomics and Personalised Therapy.

Fluoropyrimidines (FPs), mainly 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and its oral prodrug capecitabine (Cap), remain the backbone of the treatment of many different solid tumors. Despite their broad use in clinical routine, 10–40% of patients experience severe, and in rare cases (0.2–0.5%) even lethal, FP-related toxicity in early chemotherapy cycles. Today, there is a plethora of evidence that genetic variants in the gene encoding for the 5-FU catabolising enzyme dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD, encoded by DPYD) are predictive of severe FP-related toxicities, and international clinical practice recommendations for DPYD genotype-guided FP dosing and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) are available. In spite of this strong evidence and DPYD genotyping becoming standard practice in other countries, it is has not been widely adopted in Switzerland to date. Here, we discuss current guidelines on genotype-guided FP dosing and TDM, and propose recommendations tailored to the situation in Switzerland to facilitate their clinical uptake for the further individualisation of FP chemotherapy. We recommend preemptive testing of four DPYD variants (c.1905+1G>A (rs3918290), c.1679T>G (rs55886062), c.2846A>T (rs67376798) and c.1129-5923C>G (rs75017182, c.1236G>A/HapB3)) in patients with an indication for FP-based chemotherapy, with the costs reimbursed through the compulsory health insurance in Switzerland. Carriers of these variants (6.5% in the Swiss population) have a 40–50% risk of developing severe early-onset toxicity when treated with standard FP doses. In these patients, we therefore recommend the use of a reduced starting dose, based on a dose adjustment scheme provided herein. Furthermore, we recommend the use of infusional 5-FU in patients with a DPYD risk genotype in order to enable TDM-based dose escalation. Only if the use of an infusional 5-FU regimen is not feasible should a slow titration of Cap, starting with the recommended reduced dose and basing further doses on monitoring of toxicity, be considered. Given that several studies have shown that TDM in 5-FU treatment improves not only the therapy’s safety, but potentially also its efficacy, we also include detailed TDM-based dosing guidelines and discuss the pre-analytical aspects of 5-FU TDM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4414/smw.2020.20375DOI Listing
November 2020

Predictive and Prognostic Value of DNA Damage Response Associated Kinases in Solid Tumors.

Front Oncol 2020 3;10:581217. Epub 2020 Nov 3.

Department of Medical Oncology and Haematology, Cantonal Hospital, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Dysfunctional DNA repair with subsequent genome instability and high mutational burden represents a major hallmark of cancer. In established malignant tumors, increased DNA repair capacity mediates resistance to DNA-damaging therapeutics, including cytotoxic drugs, radiotherapy, and selected small molecules including inhibitors of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (ATM), ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related protein (ATR), and Wee1 kinase (Wee1). In addition, DNA repair deficiency is not only associated with sensitivity to selected anticancer drugs, but also with increased mutagenicity and increased neoantigen load on tumor cells, resulting in increased immunogenicity and improved response to CTLA4- or PD-(L)1 targeting monoclonal antibodies. DNA damage response (DDR) is composed of complex signalling pathways, including the sensing of the DNA damage, signal transduction, cellular response pathways to DNA damage, and activation of DNA repair. DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) are the most dangerous form of DNA damage. Tumor cells are characterised by frequent accumulation of DSBs caused by either endogenous replication stress or the impact of cancer treatment, most prominently chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Therefore, response of cancer cells to DSBs represents a crucial mechanism for how tumors respond to systemic treatment or radiotherapy, and how resistance develops. Ample clinical evidence supports the importance of DDR associated kinases as predictive and prognostic biomarkers in cancer patients. The ATM-CHK2 and ATR-CHK1-WEE1 pathways initiate DNA DSB repair. In the current review, we focus on major DDR associated kinases including ATM, ATR, CHK1, CHK2, and WEE1, and discuss their potential prognostic and predictive value in solid malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.581217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670868PMC
November 2020

SAKK 19/17: safety analysis of first-line durvalumab in patients with PD-L1 positive, advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer and a performance status of 2.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2021 May 1;70(5):1255-1262. Epub 2020 Nov 1.

Department of Medical Oncology, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland.

Introduction: The safety of first-line (1L) durvalumab in patients with advanced nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 2 (PS2) is unknown. This is an interim unplanned safety analysis of the study SAKK 19/17 for patients with metastatic NSCLC with programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression in ≥ 25% of tumor cells and an ECOG PS2 treated with 1L durvalumab. This safety analysis was triggered by the SAKK data and safety monitoring board due to a high mortality rate observed after the recruitment of the first 21 patients.

Methods: This single-arm phase II study recruited patients with metastatic NSCLC with PD-L1 in ≥ 25% and ECOG PS2. Patients received durvalumab 1500 mg every four weeks. The trial aims to recruit 48 patients in total. This report includes safety analyses only. Adverse events (AEs) were assessed using National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for AEs (NCI CTCAE) Version 5.0. Efficacy data including the primary endpoint overall survival at 6 months and secondary endpoints (objective response rate, progression-free survival, and quality of life) will be reported at a later time point.

Results: The data from 21 patients were available at this interim safety analysis. Among these, 13 deaths (13/21; 62%) were reported, including one treatment-related fatal colonic perforation at 9 months after treatment initiation (1/13; 8%). Twelve deaths were not treatment-related (12/13; 92%), and mostly attributed to tumor progression (10/13; 77%). Of note, seven deaths (7/13; 54%) occurred during the first 5 weeks (range 0.6-4.7 weeks) after treatment initiation. Four (4/7; 57%) were respiratory failures attributed to tumor progression. One of these patients (25%) had pre-existing COPD, and three (75%) had baseline dyspnea grade 2-3 related to the tumor. Grade ≥ 3 treatment-related AEs (TRAEs) included colonic perforation (grade 5), abdominal pain, and colitis (grade 3 each) in one patient, and fatigue (grade 3) in another. Other Grade ≥ 3 AEs unrelated to treatment were all of pulmonary origin: lung infections (19%), dyspnea (24%), cough (5%), and bronchial obstruction (5%).

Conclusions: 1L durvalumab in patients with ECOG PS2 and metastatic NSCLC with PD-L1 expression ≥ 25% resulted in an unexpectedly high number of fatal early events due to rapid tumor progression. We recommend to avoid treatment with 1 L durvalumab of patients who are highly symptomatic from the tumor, particularly those with respiratory symptoms. The study is continuing its accrual after an amendment excluding these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02757-8DOI Listing
May 2021

A Novel Nomenclature for Repeat Motifs in the Thymidylate Synthase Enhancer Region and Its Relevance for Pharmacogenetic Studies.

J Pers Med 2020 Oct 19;10(4). Epub 2020 Oct 19.

University Institute of Clinical Chemistry, Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland.

Inhibition of thymidylate synthase (TS) is the primary mode of action for 5-fluorouracil (5FU) chemotherapy. TS expression is modulated by a variable number of tandem repeats in the TS enhancer region (TSER) located upstream of the TS gene (). Variability in the TSER has been suggested to contribute to 5FU-induced adverse events. However, the precise genetic associations remain largely undefined due to high polymorphism and ambiguity in defining genotypes. To assess toxicity associations, we sequenced the TSER in 629 cancer patients treated with 5FU. Of the 13 alleles identified, few could be unambiguously named using current TSER-nomenclature. We devised a concise and unambiguous systematic naming approach for TSER-alleles that encompasses all known variants. After applying this comprehensive naming system to our data, we demonstrated that the number of upstream stimulatory factor (USF1-)binding sites in the TSER was significantly associated with gastrointestinal toxicity in 5FU treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040181DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7712088PMC
October 2020

Time-to-Event Analysis of Paclitaxel-Associated Peripheral Neuropathy in Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Highlighting Key Influential Treatment/Patient Factors.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2020 12 2;375(3):430-438. Epub 2020 Oct 2.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Institute of Pharmacy, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany (F.W.O., A.H., C.K.); Graduate Research Training Program PharMetrX, Germany (F.W.O., A.H.); Department of Translational Modeling and Simulation, Roche Pharma Research and Early Development, Roche Innovation Center Basel, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Basel, Switzerland (N.F.), Institute of Mathematics, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany (N.H, W.H.); and Department of Oncology and Hematology, Cantonal Hospital, St. Gallen, Switzerland (M.J.)

Paclitaxel-associated peripheral neuropathy (PN), a major dose-limiting toxicity, significantly impacts patients' quality of life/treatment outcome. Evaluation of risk factors often ignores time of PN onset, precluding the impact of time-dependent factors, e.g., drug exposure, needed to comprehensively characterize PN. We employed parametric time-to-event (TTE) analysis to describe the time course of risk of first occurrence of clinically relevant PN grades ≥2 (PN2+, = 105, common terminology criteria v4.0) and associated patient/treatment characteristics, leveraging data from 365 patients (1454 cycles) receiving paclitaxel every 3 weeks (plus carboplatin AUC = 6 or cisplatin 80 mg/m) for ≤6 cycles. Paclitaxel was intravenously administered (3 hours) as standard 200-mg/m doses ( = 182) or as pharmacokinetic-guided dosing ( = 183). A cycle-varying hazard TTE model linking surge in hazard of PN2+ to paclitaxel administration [PN2+ proportions (i.e., cases per 1000 patients), 1 day, cycle 1: 4.87 of 1000; cycle 6: 7.36 of 1000] and linear decline across cycle (last day, cycle 1: 1.64 of 1000; cycle 6: 2.48 of 1000) adequately characterized the time-varying hazard of PN2+. From joint covariate evaluation, PN2+ proportions (1 day, cycle 1) increased by 1.00 per 1000 with 5-μmol·h/l higher paclitaxel exposure per cycle (AUC between the start and end of a cycle, most relevant covariate), 0.429 per 1000 with 5-year higher age, 1.31 per 1000 (smokers vs. nonsmokers), and decreased by 0.670 per 1000 (females vs. males). Compared to 200 mg/m dosing every 3 weeks, model-predicted cumulative risk of PN2+ was significantly higher (42%) with 80 mg/m weekly dosing but reduced by 11% with 175 mg/m dosing every 3 weeks. The established TTE modeling framework enables quantification and comparison of patient's cumulative risks of PN2+ for different clinically relevant paclitaxel dosing schedules, sparing patients PN2+ to improve paclitaxel therapy. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Characterization of risk factors of paclitaxel-associated peripheral neuropathy (PN) typically involves time-independent comparison of PN odds in patient subpopulations, concealing the impact of time-dependent factors, e.g., changing paclitaxel exposure, required to comprehensively characterize PN. We developed a parametric time-to-event model describing the time course in risk of clinically relevant paclitaxel-associated PN, identifying the highest risk in older male smokers with higher paclitaxel area under the plasma concentration-time curve between the start and end of a cycle. The developed framework enabled quantification of patient's risk of PN for clinically relevant paclitaxel dosing schedules, facilitating future dosing decisions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.120.000053DOI Listing
December 2020

Prognostic value of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and their association with PD-L1 expression and DNA repair protein RAD51 in patients with resected non-small cell lung carcinoma.

Lung Cancer 2020 09 23;147:30-38. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Cantonal Hospital, CH-9007, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Objectives: DNA repair proteins have emerged as potential predictors for immunotherapy response alongside PD-L1 expression, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and tumor mutational burden. We analyzed expression of PD-L1, TILs count and expression of the homologous recombination (HR) protein RAD51, as potential prognostic factors in patients with resected non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).

Materials And Methods: Discovery set included 96 NSCLC patients from the University Hospital Olomouc (Czech Republic) and a replication set included 1109 NSCLC patients from University Hospital Zurich (Switzerland). Tissue microarrays (TMAs) were stained using the automated staining platform Ventana Benchmark Ultra with antibodies against RAD51,CD3, CD8, CD68 and PD-L1.

Results: Loss of nuclear RAD51 protein was associated with high TILs (r=-0.25, p = 0.01) and PD-L1 status (10.6 vs. 2.4 %, p = 0.012) in patients receiving neoadjuvant chemo-/radiotherapy (CT/RT). In silico analysis from the TCGA data set showed a negative relationship between RAD51 mRNA expression and CD45 (r = ‒0.422, p < 0.0001), CD68 (r = ‒0.326, p < 0.001), CD3 (r = ‒0.266, p < 0.001) and CD8 (r = ‒0.102, p < 0.001). RAD51 low/PD-L1 high patients were clustered as separate entity in the replication set and in TCGA dataset. High TILs status was significantly associated with improved OS in the replication set (unadjusted HR = 0.57, 95 % CI 0.42-0.76, p < 0.001). Similar results have been seen for CD3, CD8 and CD68.

Conclusions: In conclusion, RAD51 nuclear loss is weakly associated with increased TILs and high PD-L1 at the time of surgery in curatively resected NSCLC and after prior exposure to neoadjuvant chemo- or radiotherapy. Both high TILs and RAD51 nuclear loss were confirmed as independent prognostic factors in curatively resected NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2020.06.025DOI Listing
September 2020

Obesity Alters Endoxifen Plasma Levels in Young Breast Cancer Patients: A Pharmacometric Simulation Approach.

Clin Pharmacol Ther 2020 09 23;108(3):661-670. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Institute of Pharmacy, Freie Universitaet Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Endoxifen is one of the most important metabolites of the prodrug tamoxifen. High interindividual variability in endoxifen steady-state concentrations (C ) is observed under tamoxifen standard dosing and patients with breast cancer who do not reach endoxifen concentrations above a proposed therapeutic threshold of 5.97 ng/mL may be at a 26% higher recurrence risk compared with patients with endoxifen concentrations exceeding this value. In this investigation, 10 clinical tamoxifen studies were pooled (1,388 patients) to investigate influential factors on C using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. Age and body weight were found to significantly impact C in addition to CYP2D6 phenotype. Compared with postmenopausal patients, premenopausal patients had a 30% higher risk for subtarget C at tamoxifen 20 mg per day. In treatment simulations for distinct patient subpopulations, young overweight patients had a 3.1-13.8-fold higher risk for subtarget C compared with elderly low-weight patients. Considering ever-rising obesity rates and the clinical importance of tamoxifen for premenopausal patients, this subpopulation may benefit most from individualized tamoxifen dosing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cpt.1960DOI Listing
September 2020

Integrated Data Analysis of Six Clinical Studies Points Toward Model-Informed Precision Dosing of Tamoxifen.

Front Pharmacol 2020 31;11:283. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biochemistry, Institute of Pharmacy, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Introduction: At tamoxifen standard dosing, ∼20% of breast cancer patients do not reach proposed target endoxifen concentrations >5.97 ng/mL. Thus, better understanding the large interindividual variability in tamoxifen pharmacokinetics (PK) is crucial. By applying non-linear mixed-effects (NLME) modeling to a pooled 'real-world' clinical PK database, we aimed to (i) dissect several levels of variability and identify factors predictive for endoxifen exposure and (ii) assess different tamoxifen dosing strategies for their potential to increase the number of patients reaching target endoxifen concentrations.

Methods: Tamoxifen and endoxifen concentrations with genetic and demographic data of 468 breast cancer patients from six reported studies were used to develop a NLME parent-metabolite PK model. Different levels of variability on model parameters or measurements were investigated and the impact of covariates thereupon explored. The model was subsequently applied in a simulation-based comparison of three dosing strategies with increasing degree of dose individualization for a large virtual breast cancer population. Interindividual variability of endoxifen concentrations and the fraction of patients at risk for not reaching target concentrations were assessed for each dosing strategy.

Results And Conclusions: The integrated NLME model enabled to differentiate and quantify four levels of variability (interstudy, interindividual, interoccasion, and intraindividual). Strong influential factors, i.e., CYP2D6 activity score, drug-drug interactions with CYP3A and CYP2D6 inducers/inhibitors and age, were reliably identified, reducing interoccasion variability to <20% CV. Yet, unexplained interindividual variability in endoxifen formation remained large (47.2% CV). Hence, therapeutic drug monitoring seems promising for achieving endoxifen target concentrations. Three tamoxifen dosing strategies [standard dosing (20 mg QD), CYP2D6-guided dosing (20, 40, and 60 mg QD) and individual model-informed precision dosing (MIPD)] using three therapeutic drug monitoring samples (5-120 mg QD) were compared, leveraging the model. The proportion of patients at risk for not reaching target concentrations was 22.2% in standard dosing, 16.0% in CYP2D6-guided dosing and 7.19% in MIPD. While in CYP2D6-guided- and standard dosing interindividual variability in endoxifen concentrations was high (64.0% CV and 68.1% CV, respectively), it was considerably reduced in MIPD (24.0% CV). Hence, MIPD demonstrated to be the most promising strategy for achieving target endoxifen concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00283DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7136483PMC
March 2020

Evaluating the role of ENOSF1 and TYMS variants as predictors in fluoropyrimidine-related toxicities: An IPD meta-analysis.

Pharmacol Res 2020 02 12;152:104594. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

University Institute of Clinical Chemistry, University of Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:

To assess the proposed associations of the c.742-227G>A (rs2612091) polymorphism within the Enolase Superfamily Member 1 gene (ENOSF1) and two variants in the adjacent Thymidylate Synthase gene (TYMS): the 5'VNTR 28bp-repeat (rs45445694) and 3'UTR 6bp-indel (rs11280056) with severe toxicity in fluoropyrimidine-treated cancer patients, we performed an individual patient data meta-analysis. Only studies investigating all three-abovementioned variants with fluoropyrimidine-related toxicities were considered for meta-analysis. Associations were tested individually for each study using multivariate regression. Meta-analysis was performed using a random-effects model. One-stage multivariate regressions including tests for independent SNP effects were applied to investigate individual effects of the variants. Multivariate haplotype regression analyses were performed on a pooled dataset to test multi-SNP effects. Of four studies including 2'067 patients, 1'912 were eligible for meta-analysis. All variants were exclusively associated with severe hand-foot-syndrome (HFS) (TYMS 2R: OR = 1.50, p = 0.0002; TYMS 6bp-ins: OR = 1.42 p = 0.0036; ENOSF1 c.742-227G: OR = 1.64 p < 0.0001, per allele). We observed independent effects for ENOSF1 c.742-227G>A and the TYMS 28bp-repeat: each toxicity-associated allele increased the risk for severe HFS (OR = 1.32 per allele, p < 0.0001). Patients homozygous for both variants were at the 3-fold higher risk for severe HFS compared to wild-type patients. Our results confirm an essential role for ENOSF1 c.742-227G and TYMS 2R-alleles in the development of fluoropyrimidine-related HFS. This suggests an important function of these genes in the development of severe HFS. Furthermore, these variants might help stratify patients in studies investigating measures of HFS prevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104594DOI Listing
February 2020

Phase 1 Dose Escalation Study of the Allosteric AKT Inhibitor BAY 1125976 in Advanced Solid Cancer-Lack of Association between Activating AKT Mutation and AKT Inhibition-Derived Efficacy.

Cancers (Basel) 2019 Dec 10;11(12). Epub 2019 Dec 10.

Bayer AG, 13353 Berlin, Germany.

This open-label, phase I first-in-human study (NCT01915576) of BAY 1125976, a highly specific and potent allosteric inhibitor of AKT1/2, aimed to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and maximum tolerated dose of BAY 1125976 in patients with advanced solid tumors. Oral dose escalation was investigated with a continuous once daily (QD) treatment (21 days/cycle) and a twice daily (BID) schedule. A dose expansion in 28 patients with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer, including nine patients harboring the mutation, was performed at the recommended phase 2 dose (R2D) of 60 mg BID. Dose-limiting toxicities (Grades 3-4) were increased in transaminases, γ-glutamyltransferase (γ-GT), and alkaline phosphatase in four patients in both schedules and stomach pain in one patient. Of the 78 patients enrolled, one patient had a partial response, 30 had stable disease, and 38 had progressive disease. The clinical benefit rate was 27.9% among 43 patients treated at the R2D. mutation status was not associated with tumor response. Genetic analyses revealed additional mutations that could promote tumor cell growth despite the inhibition of AKT1/2. BAY 1125976 was well tolerated and inhibited AKT1/2 signaling but did not lead to radiologic or clinical tumor responses. Thus, the refinement of a selection of biomarkers for AKT inhibitors is needed to improve their monotherapy activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers11121987DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6966663PMC
December 2019

Contrasting evidence to reimbursement reality for off-label use (OLU) of drug treatments in cancer care: rationale and design of the CEIT-OLU project.

ESMO Open 2019 1;4(6):e000596. Epub 2019 Dec 1.

Department of Medical Oncology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Background: Off-label use (OLU) of a drug reflects a perceived unmet medical need, which is common in oncology. Cancer drugs are often highly expensive and their reimbursement is a challenge for many healthcare systems. OLU is frequently regulated by reimbursement restrictions. For evidence-based healthcare, treatment ought to be reimbursed if there is sufficient clinical evidence for treatment benefit independently of patient factors not related to the treatment indication. However, little is known about the reality of OLU reimbursement and its association with the underlying clinical evidence. Here, we aim to investigate the relationship of reimbursement decisions with the underlying clinical evidence.

Methods/ Design: We will extract patient characteristics and details on treatment and reimbursement of cancer drugs from over 3000 patients treated in three Swiss hospitals. We will systematically search for clinical trial evidence on benefits associated with OLU in the most common indications. We will describe the prevalence of OLU in Switzerland and its reimbursement in cancer care, and use multivariable logistic regression techniques to investigate the association of approval/rejection of a reimbursement requests to the evidence on treatment effects and to further factors, including type of drug, molecular predictive markers and the health insurer.

Discussion: Our study will provide a systematic overview and assessment of OLU and its reimbursement reality in Switzerland. We may provide a better understanding of the access to cancer care that is regulated by health insurers and we hope to identify factors that determine the level of evidence-based cancer care in a highly diverse western healthcare system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2019-000596DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6890379PMC
June 2020

A Phase Ib/II, open-label, multicenter study of INC280 (capmatinib) alone and in combination with buparlisib (BKM120) in adult patients with recurrent glioblastoma.

J Neurooncol 2020 Jan 27;146(1):79-89. Epub 2019 Nov 27.

Clinical Cooperation Unit Neurooncology, German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), and Neurology Clinic and National Center for Tumor Diseases, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Purpose: To estimate the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and/or identify the recommended Phase II dose (RP2D) for combined INC280 and buparlisib in patients with recurrent glioblastoma with homozygous phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) deletion, mutation or protein loss.

Methods: This multicenter, open-label, Phase Ib/II study included adult patients with glioblastoma with mesenchymal-epithelial transcription factor (c-Met) amplification. In Phase Ib, patients received INC280 as capsules or tablets in combination with buparlisib. In Phase II, patients received INC280 only. Response was assessed centrally using Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology response criteria for high-grade gliomas. All adverse events (AEs) were recorded and graded.

Results: 33 patients entered Phase Ib, 32 with altered PTEN. RP2D was not declared due to potential drug-drug interactions, which may have resulted in lack of efficacy; thus, Phase II, including 10 patients, was continued with INC280 monotherapy only. Best response was stable disease in 30% of patients. In the selected patient population, enrollment was halted due to limited activity with INC280 monotherapy. In Phase Ib, the most common treatment-related AEs were fatigue (36.4%), nausea (30.3%) and increased alanine aminotransferase (30.3%). MTD was identified at INC280 Tab 300 mg twice daily + buparlisib 80 mg once daily. In Phase II, the most common AEs were headache (40.0%), constipation (30.0%), fatigue (30.0%) and increased lipase (30.0%).

Conclusion: The combination of INC280/buparlisib resulted in no clear activity in patients with recurrent PTEN-deficient glioblastoma. More stringent molecular selection strategies might produce better outcomes.

Trial Registration: NCT01870726.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-019-03337-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6938467PMC
January 2020

Predictive impact of antibiotics in patients with advanced non small-cell lung cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors : Antibiotics immune checkpoint inhibitors in advanced NSCLC.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2020 01 19;85(1):121-131. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Purpose: In this study, we test the hypothesis that the use of ATB reduces the efficacy of PD(L)1-targeting mAb.

Methods: We included patients with locally advanced, inoperable or metastatic, EGFR wildtype and ALK-negative non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received a PD(L)1 targeting mAb (immune checkpoint inhibitor, ICI) between January 2013 and December 2017. The primary study objective was to assess the predictive impact of ATB use within 2 months prior to starting ICI treatment on overall survival from the time of starting ICI treatment (OS-ICI).

Results: 33 out of 218 evaluable patients (15.1%) received ATB within 2 months prior to starting ICI treatment. The use of ATB prior to starting ICI was associated with a lower rate of radiological response (18.2 vs. 28.3%, respectively, P = 0.02). PFS was significantly shorter in patients receiving ATB within 2 months prior to ICI compared to those not receiving ATB (median PFS 1.4 vs. 5.5 months, HR = 2.22, P < 0.01). OS-ICI was significantly shorter in NSCLC patients receiving ATB within 2 months prior to ICI compared to those not receiving ATB (median OS-ICI 1.8 vs. 15.4 months, HR = 2.61, P < 0.01; adjusted HR = 3.73, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that ATB may have a deleterious effect in patients with advanced NSCLC receiving ICI treatment, and more research seems to be justified to explore potential mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00280-019-03993-1DOI Listing
January 2020

Safety, Tolerability, and Potential Clinical Activity of a Glucocorticoid-Induced TNF Receptor-Related Protein Agonist Alone or in Combination With Nivolumab for Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors: A Phase 1/2a Dose-Escalation and Cohort-Expansion Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 Jan;6(1):100-107

Bras and Family Drug Development Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Importance: Multiple immunostimulatory agonist antibodies have been clinically tested in solid tumors to evaluate the role of targeting glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-related protein in anticancer treatments.

Objective: To evaluate the safety and activity of the fully human glucocorticoid-induced TNF receptor-related protein agonist IgG1 monoclonal antibody BMS-986156 with or without nivolumab in patients with advanced solid tumors.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This global, open-label, phase 1/2a study of BMS-986156 with or without nivolumab enrolled 292 patients 18 years or older with advanced solid tumors and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 1 or less. Prior checkpoint inhibitor therapy was allowed. Monotherapy and combination dose-escalation cohorts ran concurrently to guide expansion doses beginning October 16, 2015; the study is ongoing.

Interventions: The protein agonist BMS-986156 was administered intravenously at a dose of 10, 30, 100, 240, or 800 mg every 2 weeks as monotherapy, and in the combination group 30, 100, 240, or 800 mg plus 240 mg of nivolumab every 2 weeks; same-dose cohorts were pooled for analysis. One cohort also received 480 mg of BMS-986156 plus 480 mg of nivolumab every 4 weeks.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end points were safety, tolerability, and dose-limiting toxic effects. Additional end points included antitumor activity per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1, and exploratory biomarker analyses.

Results: With a follow-up range of 1.4 to 101.7 weeks (follow-up ongoing), 34 patients (16 women and 18 men; median age, 56.6 years [range, 28-75 years]) received monotherapy (4 patients completed initial treatment), and 258 patients (140 women and 118 men; median age, 60 years [range, 21-87 years]) received combination therapy (65 patients completed initial treatment). No grade 3 to 5 treatment-related adverse events occurred with BMS-986156 monotherapy; grade 3 to 4 treatment-related adverse events occurred in 24 patients (9.3%) receiving BMS-986156 plus nivolumab, with no grade 5 treatment-related adverse events. One dose-limiting toxic effect (grade 4 elevated creatine phosphokinase levels) occurred in a patient receiving 800 mg of BMS-986156 plus 240 mg of nivolumab every 2 weeks; BMS-986156 with or without nivolumab exhibited linear pharmacokinetics with dose-related increase after a single dose. Peripheral T-cell and natural killer-cell proliferation increased after administration of BMS-986156 with or without nivolumab. No consistent and significant modulation of intratumoral CD8+ T cells and FoxP3+ regulatory T cells was observed. No responses were seen with BMS-986156 alone; objective response rates ranged from 0% to 11.1% (1 of 9) across combination therapy cohorts, with a few responses observed in patients previously treated with anti-programmed death receptor (ligand) 1 therapy.

Conclusions And Relevance: Based on this cohort, BMS-986156 appears to have had a manageable safety profile, and BMS-986156 plus nivolumab demonstrated safety and efficacy comparable to historical data reported for nivolumab monotherapy.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02598960.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.3848DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6865300PMC
January 2020

Pharmacokinetics of Capecitabine and Four Metabolites in a Heterogeneous Population of Cancer Patients: A Comprehensive Analysis.

CPT Pharmacometrics Syst Pharmacol 2019 12 20;8(12):940-950. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Capecitabine is an oral prodrug of the anticancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). The primary aim of this study was to develop a pharmacokinetic model for capecitabine and its metabolites, 5'-deoxy-5-fluorocytidine (dFCR), 5'-deoxy-5-fluorouridine (dFUR), 5-FU, and fluoro-β-alanine (FBAL) using data from a heterogeneous population of cancer patients (n = 237) who participated in seven clinical studies. A four-transit model adequately described capecitabine absorption. Capecitabine, dFCR, and FBAL pharmacokinetics were well described by two-compartment models, and dFUR and 5-FU were subject to flip-flop pharmacokinetics. Partial and total gastrectomy were associated with a significantly faster capecitabine absorption resulting in higher capecitabine and metabolite peak concentrations. Patients who were heterozygous polymorphic for a genetic mutation encoding dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, the DPYD*2A mutation, demonstrated a 21.5% (relative standard error 11.2%) reduction in 5-FU elimination. This comprehensive population model gives an extensive overview of capecitabine and metabolite pharmacokinetics in a large and heterogeneous population of cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/psp4.12474DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930859PMC
December 2019

Does Older Age Lead to Higher Risk for Neutropenia in Patients Treated with Paclitaxel?

Pharm Res 2019 Oct 15;36(12):163. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek - Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Purpose: There is ongoing concern regarding increased toxicity from paclitaxel in elderly patients, particularly of severe neutropenia. Yet, data so far is controversial and this concern is not supported by a clinically relevant age-dependent difference in pharmacokinetics (PK) of paclitaxel. This study assessed whether age is associated with increased risk for paclitaxel-induced neutropenia.

Methods: Paclitaxel plasma concentration-time data, pooled from multiple different studies, was combined with available respective neutrophil count data during the first treatment cycle. Paclitaxel pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) data was modeled using a non-linear mixed effects approach and a semiphysiological neutropenia model, where systemic paclitaxel exposure was linked to reduced proliferation of neutrophils. The impact of age was evaluated on relevant variables in the model, using a significance threshold of p < 0.005.

Results: Paclitaxel PK-PD data was evaluated from 300 patients, with a median age of 65 years (range 23-84 years), containing 116 patients ≥70 years (39%). First cycle neutrophil counts were adequately described by a threshold effect model of paclitaxel on the proliferation rate of neutrophils. Age as a continuous or dichotomous variable (≥70 versus <70 years) did not significantly impact sensitivity of the bone marrow to paclitaxel nor the average maturation time of neutrophils (both p > 0.005), causing a decline in the respective interindividual variability of <1%.

Conclusion: Results from this large retrospective patient cohort do not suggest elderly patients to be at an increased risk of developing paclitaxel-associated neutropenia during the first treatment cycle. Reflexive dose reductions of paclitaxel in elderly patients are unlikely to improve the risk of severe neutropenia and may be deleterious.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11095-019-2697-1DOI Listing
October 2019

[Molecularly-targeted anticancer treatments - a short appraisal].

Authors:
Markus Joerger

Ther Umsch 2019 Sep;76(4):179-185

Medizinische Onkologie und Hämatologie, Kantonsspital, St. Gallen.

Molecularly-targeted anticancer treatments - a short appraisal Molecularly-targeted or personalized systemic treatment has substantially transformed modern oncology, and has improved the prognosis of many tumor entities, in particular advanced solid and hematological malignancies. The bulk of molecularly-targeted anticancer drugs comprise small orally administered molecules, most prominently the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). The respective tumor entities treated by those drugs typically harbour specific genetic aberrations that we often call 'driver mutations', referring to their transforming and tumorigenic properties. Molecularly-targeted anticancer drugs fit to these genetic aberrations as they are able to specifically inhibit growth-stimulating signals. The success story of modern TKI's started 1999 with the use of the anti-BCR / ABL TKI imatinib in chronic myelogenous leucemia (CML) that enables those patients to achieve a virtually normal life expectancy. Since then, many molecularly-targeted anticancer drugs and TKI's have been approved for a wide range of malignancies. The next level of personalized oncological treatment will have to deal with much less frequent genetic aberrations that are inherently more difficult to spot in the tumor and to study. Newer techniques including next-generation sequencing (NGS) will help cancer specialists to screen their patients for genetic aberrations and get the most benefit from personalized oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1024/0040-5930/a001082DOI Listing
September 2019

A Phase 1 study of BAL101553, a novel tumor checkpoint controller targeting microtubules, administered as 48-h infusion in adult patients with advanced solid tumors.

Invest New Drugs 2020 08 30;38(4):1067-1076. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Department of Medical Oncology, Cantonal Hospital Graubünden, Chur, Switzerland.

Purpose BAL101553, the prodrug of the microtubule-destabilizer BAL27862, previously showed signs of antitumor activity when administered as a 2-h infusion, but its use was limited by vascular toxicity. We investigated an alternative dosing strategy aimed at improving the safety profile of BAL101553. Methods This multicenter, open-label, Phase 1 dose-escalation study used a 3 + 3 design to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs), pharmacokinetics, and antitumor activity of BAL101553 administered as a 48-h IV infusion on Days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. Patients received oral BAL101553 on Days 15-21 of cycle 2 to assess oral bioavailability. Results BAL101553 was well tolerated at doses up to ≤70 mg/m. Three grade 3 DLTs occurred: hypotension (70 mg/m), hyponatremia and neutropenia (both 90 mg/m). The MTD for 48-h IV BAL101553 was 70 mg/m. At this dose level, the AUC for BAL27862 was 8580 ng.h/mL and the C was 144 ng/mL. No apparent dose-related effects on blood pressure were observed with 48-h BAL101553 IV infusion. BAL27862 oral bioavailability was >80%. Conclusions Continuous 48-h IV BAL101553 infusion achieved higher exposure of the BAL27862 active metabolite than a 2-h infusion at the RP2D and did not cause vascular toxicity. Clinicaltrials.gov registration: NCT02895360.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-019-00850-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340672PMC
August 2020

Rogaratinib in patients with advanced cancers selected by FGFR mRNA expression: a phase 1 dose-escalation and dose-expansion study.

Lancet Oncol 2019 10 9;20(10):1454-1466. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Cantonal Hospital, St Gallen, Switzerland.

Background: The clinical activity of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors seems restricted to cancers harbouring rare FGFR genetic aberrations. In preclinical studies, high tumour FGFR mRNA expression predicted response to rogaratinib, an oral pan-FGFR inhibitor. We aimed to assess the safety, maximum tolerated dose, recommended phase 2 dose, pharmacokinetics, and preliminary clinical activity of rogaratinib.

Methods: We did a phase 1 dose-escalation and dose-expansion study of rogaratinib in adults with advanced cancers at 22 sites in Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Singapore, Spain, and France. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, and were ineligible for standard therapy, with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-2, a life expectancy of at least 3 months, and at least one measurable or evaluable lesion according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) version 1.1. During dose escalation, rogaratinib was administered orally twice daily at 50-800 mg in continuous 21-day cycles using a model-based dose-response analysis (continuous reassessment method). In the dose-expansion phase, all patients provided an archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumour biopsy or consented to a new biopsy at screening for the analysis of FGFR1-3 mRNA expression. In the dose-expansion phase, rogaratinib was given at the recommended dose for expansion to patients in four cohorts: urothelial carcinoma, head and neck squamous-cell cancer (HNSCC), non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and other solid tumour types. Primary endpoints were safety and tolerability, determination of maximum tolerated dose including dose-limiting toxicities and determination of recommended phase 2 dose, and pharmacokinetics of rogaratinib. Safety analyses were reported in all patients who received at least one dose of rogaratinib. Patients who completed cycle 1 or discontinued during cycle 1 due to an adverse event or dose-limiting toxicity were included in the evaluation of recommended phase 2 dose. Efficacy analyses were reported for all patients who received at least one dose of study drug and who had available post-baseline efficacy data. This ongoing study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01976741, and is fully recruited.

Findings: Between Dec 30, 2013, and July 5, 2017, 866 patients were screened for FGFR mRNA expression, of whom 126 patients were treated (23 FGFR mRNA-unselected patients in the dose-escalation phase and 103 patients with FGFR mRNA-overexpressing tumours [52 patients with urothelial carcinoma, eight patients with HNSCC, 20 patients with NSCLC, and 23 patients with other tumour types] in the dose-expansion phase). No dose-limiting toxicities were reported and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached; 800 mg twice daily was established as the recommended phase 2 dose and was selected for the dose-expansion phase. The most common adverse events of any grade were hyperphosphataemia (in 77 [61%] of 126 patients), diarrhoea (in 65 [52%]), and decreased appetite (in 48 [38%]); and the most common grade 3-4 adverse events were fatigue (in 11 [9%] of 126 patients) and asymptomatic increased lipase (in 10 [8%]). Serious treatment-related adverse events were reported in five patients (decreased appetite and diarrhoea in one patient with urothelial carcinoma, and acute kidney injury [NSCLC], hypoglycaemia [other solid tumours], retinopathy [urothelial carcinoma], and vomiting [urothelial carcinoma] in one patient each); no treatment-related deaths occurred. Median follow-up after cessation of treatment was 32 days (IQR 25-36 days). In the expansion cohorts, 15 (15%; 95% CI 8·6-23·5) out of 100 evaluable patients achieved an objective response, with responses recorded in all four expansion cohorts (12 in the urothelial carcinoma cohort and one in each of the other three cohorts), and in ten (67%) of 15 FGFR mRNA-overexpressing tumours without apparent FGFR genetic aberration.

Interpretation: Rogaratinib was well tolerated and clinically active against several types of cancer. Selection by FGFR mRNA expression could be a useful additional biomarker to identify a broader patient population who could be eligible for FGFR inhibitor treatment.

Funding: Bayer AG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30412-7DOI Listing
October 2019

A prospective cohort study on the pharmacokinetics of nivolumab in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, and renal cell cancer patients.

J Immunother Cancer 2019 07 19;7(1):192. Epub 2019 Jul 19.

Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Erasmus University Medical Center, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: Nivolumab is administered in a weight-based or fixed-flat dosing regimen. For patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a potential exposure-response relationship has recently been reported and may argue against the current dosing strategies. The primary objectives were to determine nivolumab pharmacokinetics (PK) and to assess the relationship between drug clearance and clinical outcome in NSCLC, melanoma, and renal cell cancer (RCC).

Methods: In this prospective observational cohort study, individual estimates of nivolumab clearance and the impact of baseline covariates were determined using a population-PK model. Clearance was related to best overall response (RECISTv1.1), and stratified by tumor type.

Results: Two-hundred-twenty-one patients with metastatic cancer receiving nivolumab-monotherapy were included of whom 1,715 plasma samples were analyzed. Three baseline parameters had a significant effect on drug clearance and were internally validated in the population-PK model: gender, BSA, and serum albumin. Women had 22% lower clearance compared to men, while the threshold of BSA and albumin that led to > 20% increase of clearance was > 2.2m and < 37.5 g/L, respectively. For NSCLC, drug clearance was 42% higher in patients with progressive disease (mean: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.22-0.27 L/day) compared to patients with partial/complete response (mean: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.15-0.19 L/day). A similar trend was observed in RCC, however, no clearance-response relationship was observed in melanoma.

Conclusions: Based on the first real-world population-PK model of nivolumab, covariate analysis revealed a significant effect of gender, BSA, and albumin on nivolumab clearance. A clearance-response relationship was observed in NSCLC, with a non-significant trend in RCC, but not in melanoma. Individual pharmacology of nivolumab in NSCLC appears important and should be prospectively studied.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0669-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642527PMC
July 2019
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