Publications by authors named "Michele De Tursi"

69 Publications

Outcomes of systemic targeted therapy in recurrent RCC Renal Cell Carcinoma treated with adjuvant sunitinib.

BJU Int 2021 Feb 6. Epub 2021 Feb 6.

Medical Oncology, Gustave Roussy, Université Paris-Saclay, Villejuif, France.

Background: No available data support the potential response of relapsed recurrent renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients treated with systemic targeted therapies (TT) after completion of adjuvant sunitinib. In this study, we aimed to assess the efficacy and tolerability of rechallenge with sunitinib and other TT in advanced setting.

Methods: In this multi-institutional retrospective study, relapsed RCC patients were re-challenged with sunitinib or other systemic TT as first-line therapeutic approach after failed sunitinib adjuvant treatment. Patient characteristics, treatments and clinical outcomes were recorded. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary end points were objective response rate (ORR) and overall survival (OS).

Results: 34 relapses were recorded, 25 patients (73.5%) were male. 25 patients were treated with systemic TT: 65% of patients received TT against Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor pathway (VEGF-TT, including sunitinib), 21.7% received mTOR inhibitors and 13%, immunotherapy. Median time to relapse was 20.3 months (IQR 5.2-20.4) from diagnosis, and 7.5 months (IQR 1.0-8.5) from adjuvant suntinib (AS) ending. At a median follow-up of 23.5 months, 24/25 patients had progressed on first-line systemic therapy. Median PFS was 12.0 months (95% CI: 5.78-18.2). There were no statistical differences in PFS between different treatments or sunitinib rechallenge. PFS was not statistically different in patients relapsing on or after AS (≤ 6 or > 6 months after AS ending). ORR was 20.5%. Median OS was 29.1 months (95% CI: 16.4-41.8).

Conclusions: Rechallenge with sunitinib or other systemic therapies is still a feasible therapeutic option that provides advanced or metastastic RCC patients with additional clinical benefits on PFS and OS after failed response to adjuvant sunitinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.15356DOI Listing
February 2021

Phenotypic and Proteomic Analysis Identifies Hallmarks of Blood Circulating Extracellular Vesicles in NSCLC Responders to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Feb 3;13(4). Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Department of Pharmacy, University "G. D'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, 66100 Chieti, Italy.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) induce durable clinical responses only in a subset of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. There is a need to identify mechanisms of ICI resistance and immunotherapy biomarkers to improve clinical benefit. In this study, we evaluated the prognostic and predictive value of circulating endothelial and leukocyte-derived extracellular vesicles (EV) in patients with advanced NSCLC treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents. In addition, the relationship between total blood circulating EV proteome and response to ICIs was investigated. An optimized flow cytometry method was employed for the identification and subtyping of blood circulating EVs in 59 patients with advanced NSCLC. Blood samples were collected from patients receiving anti-PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors ( = 31) or chemotherapy ( = 28). An exploratory proteomic analysis of sorted blood EVs was conducted in a subset of patients. Our results show that a low blood concentration of circulating endothelial-derived EVs before treatment was strongly associated to longer overall survival ( = 0.0004) and higher disease control rate ( = 0.045) in patients treated with ICIs. Interestingly, shotgun proteomics revealed that EVs of responders to anti-PD-1 therapy had a specific protein cargo before treatment. In addition, EV protein cargo was specifically modulated during immunotherapy. We identified a previously unknown association between circulating endothelial-derived extracellular vesicle concentration and immunotherapy-related clinical outcomes. We also observed differences in circulating extracellular vesicle proteome according to anti-PD-1-based treatment response in NSCLC patients. Overall, these results may contribute to the identification of novel circulating biomarkers for rational immunotherapy approaches in patients affected by NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13040585DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7913165PMC
February 2021

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

Thorac Cancer 2021 Feb 1. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medical Oncology Unit, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy; Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medicine and Surgery Department, University of Parma, Parma, Italy; Medical Oncology Unit, University Hospital of Parma, Parma, Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Department of Biotechnology and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

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

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

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

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

Analysis of systemic inflammatory biomarkers in neuroendocrine carcinomas of the lung: prognostic and predictive significance of NLR, LDH, ALI, and LIPI score.

Ther Adv Med Oncol 2020 11;12:1758835920942378. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.

Background: Lung neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) is characterized by aggressive clinical behavior and lack of treatment advances. We evaluate the prognostic and the predictive roles of systemic inflammatory biomarkers in patient circulating blood: neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), advanced lung cancer inflammation index (ALI), and the Lung Immune Prognostic Index (LIPI) score.

Methods: A total of 120 patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) ( = 110) and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) ( = 10) were enrolled. Overall survival (OS) was evaluated by Kaplan-Meier estimator and univariate and multivariate Cox proportional hazard analyses were performed to determine prognostic factors associated with OS while χ test was used for categorical data.

Results: NLR cutoff value was 1.93. NLR was measured before and after first-line chemotherapy; 25 (21%) patients had higher NLR (delta NLR >1), whereas NLR was lower in 37 (31%). At the univariate analysis, median OS was 12 months: OS for SCLC and LCNEC were 11 months and 14 months, respectively. OS had a prognostic positive value in patients with pre-treatment NLR <1.93 ( = 0.0002), LDH <600 U/L ( = 0,03) and ALI ⩾34 ( = 0,0065). At the multivariate analysis, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, LDH levels and response after first-line chemotherapy were independently associated with OS. Median OS for good, intermediate, and poor LIPI was 15 months, 11 months, and 9 months, respectively( = 0.091). Patients with higher NLR (>1.93) had an increased probability of tumor progression ( = 0.045, χ test).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that systemic inflammatory biomarkers could facilitate the understanding of survival differences in the clinical management of lung NEC patients, underlying the need for prospective biomarker-driven studies in the immune checkpoint inhibitors setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1758835920942378DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425322PMC
August 2020

Predictive Ability for Disease-Free Survival of the GRade, Age, Nodes, and Tumor (GRANT) Score in Patients with Resected Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Curr Urol 2020 Jun 23;14(2):98-104. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Medical Oncology Unit, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila.

Background: Recently, the GRANT (GRade, Age, Nodes, and Tumor) score was validated through an adjuvant trial population.

Methods: This retrospective study evaluated the performance of the GRANT score as a prognostic model for disease-free survival (DFS), compared to the University of California Los Angeles Integrated Staging System (UISS) score, in a "real-life" population of early renal cell carcinoma patients. A uni-/multivariate analysis of DFS was also performed, to weigh the roles of baseline clinical factors.

Results: From February 1998 to January 2018, 134 consecutive patients were enrolled, of which 85 patients (63.4%) had a favorable GRANT score, 49 (36.6%) an unfavorable GRANT score, and 21 (15.7%), 84 (62.6%), and 29 (21.6%) patients had a low, intermediate, or high risk of recurrence according to the UISS score, respectively. The median follow-up was 96 months. The median DFS of the overall study population was 53.7 months (95% CI: 38.4-87.8). Only bilateral renal cell carcinoma (p = 0.0041), Fuhrman grade 3/4 (p = 0.0008), pT3b- 4 (p = 0.0324), and pN1-2 (p = 0.0303) pathological status were confirmed as independent predictors of a shorter DFS by the multivariate analysis. The median DFS of patients with favorable and unfavorable GRANT scores were 84.9 (95% CI: 49.8-129) and 38.4 months (95% CI: 24.4-87.8), respectively, with a statistically significant difference (p = 0.0147). The median DFS of patients with low, intermediate, and high risk of recurrence according to the UISS score were 92.3 (95% CI: 18.1-153.9), 51.7 (95% CI: 36.2-87.8), and 49.8 months (95% CI: 31.3-129), respectively, without statistically significant differences (p = 0.4728). DFS c-statistic values were 0.59 (95% CI: 0.51-0.67) and 0.51 (95% CI: 0.42-0.60) for the GRANT and the UISS scores, respectively.

Conclusion: The GRANT score might be a useful tool that is user-friendly and easy to perform in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000499252DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7390980PMC
June 2020

Enzalutamide in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer: retrospective, multicenter, real life study.

Minerva Urol Nefrol 2020 Aug 4. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

Department of Urology, ASL Abruzzo2, Chieti, Italy -

Background: Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is the final stage of pCa history and represents a clinically relevant phenotype with an elevated burden of mortality. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of enzalutamide in a "real-life" setting in mCRPC patients.

Methods: Data about all mCRPC patients treated with enzalutamide from September 2017 to September 2018 were collected. Demographics, comorbidities, clinical parameters, outcomes, toxicity, overall survival and progression free survival were analyzed.

Results: Overall 158 patients were enrolled. Mean age was 75.8 (±8.7) years with a baseline median PSA of 16.5 (IQR 7.4-47.8) ng/mL. The median follow-up lasted 7.7 (IQR 4-14.1) months. Of all the 10.1% of patients reported grade 3-4 adverse events. 43.7% of patients experienced a progression. Overall the 6 and 12 months PFS rates were 69.5% (95% CI: 61.7-78.3%) and the 45.6% (95% CI: 36.5-57.1%); a median baseline PSA >16 ng/mL (HR:2.0, 95% CI: 1.2-3.3, p=0.005), the use of opioid (HR:3.1, 95% CI 1.9-5.0, p<0.001), a previous treatment (abiraterone, docetaxel or abiraterone + docetaxel) were significantly associated with higher rates of cancer progression. Conversely, a brief pain questionnaire of 0-1 (HR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.7, p<0.001), a 12 weeks 50% PSA reduction (HR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.2-0.8, p=0.006) and a longer time to mCRPC (HR: 0.4, 95% CI: 0.3-0.7, p=0.002) were related to lower cancer progression rates.

Conclusions: Our data shows an effective and safe profile of enzalutamide in a "realworld" perspective in patients with mcRPC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0393-2249.20.03723-6DOI Listing
August 2020

Cabozantinib After a Previous Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Multi-Institutional Analysis.

Target Oncol 2020 Aug;15(4):495-501

Genitourinary Cancer Unit, Dipartimento di Oncologia Medica, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Tumori, Milan, Italy.

Background: Angiogenesis has been recognized as the most important factor for tumor invasion, proliferation, and progression in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). However, few clinical data are available regarding the efficacy of cabozantinib following immunotherapy.

Objective: To describe the outcome of cabozantinib in patients previously treated with immunotherapy.

Patients And Methods: Patients with mRCC who received cabozantinib immediately after nivolumab were included. The primary endpoint was to assess the outcome in terms of efficacy and activity.

Results: Eighty-four mRCC patients met the criteria to be included in the final analysis. After a median follow-up of 9.4 months, median overall survival was 17.3 months. According to the IMDC criteria, the rates of patients alive at 12 months in the good, intermediate, and poor prognostic groups were 100%, 74%, and 33%, respectively (p < 0.001). The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 11.5 months (95% CI 8.3-14.7); no difference was found based on duration of previous first-line therapy or nivolumab PFS. The overall response rate was 52%, stable disease was found as the best response in 25.3% and progressive disease in 22.7% of patients. Among the 35 patients with progressive disease on nivolumab, 26 (74.3%) patients showed complete/partial response or stable disease with cabozantinib as best response after nivolumab. The major limitations of this study are the retrospective nature and the short follow-up.

Conclusions: Cabozantinib was shown to be effective and active in patients previously receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors. Therefore, cabozantinib can be considered a valid therapeutic option for previously treated mRCC patients, irrespective of the type and duration of prior therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11523-020-00732-yDOI Listing
August 2020

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

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

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Dermatology, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy; Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy.

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

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

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

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

Evaluation of Second-line Anti-VEGF after First-line Anti-EGFR Based Therapy in RAS Wild-Type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: The Multicenter "SLAVE" Study.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 May 16;12(5). Epub 2020 May 16.

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, University of L'Aquila, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

Background: The optimal anti-angiogenic strategy as second-line treatment in wild-type metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated with anti-EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) based first-line treatment is still debated.

Methods: This multicenter, real-world, retrospective study is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of second-line Bevacizumab- and Aflibercept-based treatments after an anti-EGFR based first-line regimen. Clinical outcomes measured were: objective response rate (ORR), progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and adverse events (AEs) profiles.

Results: From February 2011 to October 2019, 277 consecutive mCRC patients received Bevacizumab-based (228, 82.3%) or Aflibercept-based (49, 17.7%) regimen. No significant difference was found regarding ORR. The median follow-up was 27.7 months (95%CI: 24.7-34.4). Aflibercept-treated group had a significantly shorter PFS compared to Bevacizumab-treated group (5.6 vs. 7.1 months, respectively) (HR = 1.34 (95%CI: 0.95-1.89); = 0.0932). The median OS of the Bevacizumab-treated group and Aflibercept-treated group was 16.2 (95%CI: 15.3-18.1) and 12.7 (95%CI: 8.8-17.5) months, respectively (HR= 1.31 (95%CI: 0.89-1.93) = 0.16). After adjusting for the key covariates (age, gender, performance status, number of metastatic sites and primary tumor side) Bevacizumab-based regimens revealed to be significantly related with a prolonged PFS (HR = 1.44 (95%CI: 1.02-2.03); = 0.0399) compared to Aflibercept-based regimens, but not with a prolonged OS (HR = 1.47 (95%CI: 0.99-2.17); = 0.0503). The incidence of G3/G4 VEGF inhibitors class-specific AEs was 7.5% and 26.5% in the Bevacizumab-treated group and the Aflibercept-treated group, respectively ( = 0.0001).

Conclusion: Our analysis seems to reveal that Bevacizumab-based regimens have a slightly better PFS and class-specific AEs profile compared to Aflibercept-based regimen as second-line treatment of wild-type mCRC patients previously treated with anti-EGFR based treatments. These results have to be taken with caution and no conclusive considerations are allowed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12051259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281759PMC
May 2020

Speed rate (SR) as a new dynamic index of melanoma behavior.

Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 2020 09 11;33(5):709-718. Epub 2020 Jun 11.

Dermatologic Clinic, Department of Medicine and Aging Science, University G D'Annunzio Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy.

Melanomas are skin tumors that show a variety of biological behavior. Some develop very fast and some other grow extremely slow, with metastasis appearing, eventually, many years after the diagnosis. The number of mitoses in primary melanoma has been related to a more aggressive tumor and may have a potential as predictive factor for cutaneous melanoma survival. However, tumor mitotic rate is a static measure and in multivariate analysis on tumor survival, it has scored less than other tumor characteristics. We tried to evolve tumor mitotic rate from a static parameter to a time-dependent one. Similar to the already described growth rate (GR), we propose the speed rate (SR). SR is defined as the ratio of tumor mitotic rate to time to melanoma development. A prospective series of 345 patients with melanoma was investigated for the role of SR as predictive factor for sentinel lymph node (SLN) positivity and tumor progression. We calculated the best threshold for SR and GR to predict the risk of recurrence. Melanoma clinical and histological characteristics as well as GR were correlated in a multivariated analysis with SR. SR values >0.2 mitoses/month were associated with negative prognostic factors such as ulceration (82.8%), SLN positivity (80%), progression (82.8%), and death (85.7%). The association of GR > 0.3 mm/months and SR > 0.2 mitoses/month had a significant predictive value in terms of SLN positivity, progression, and recurrence-free survival. We propose SR as a new "dynamic" predictor of histological SLN positivity and melanoma recurrence risk. We think that he association with this new feature with GR may be helpful in improving the accuracy of predicted clinical outcome of patient especially with thin melanomas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/pcmr.12890DOI Listing
September 2020

Early prediction of resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitors by plasma monitoring of mutations in NSCLC: a new algorithm for patient selection and personalized treatment.

Oncotarget 2020 Mar 17;11(11):982-991. Epub 2020 Mar 17.

Laboratory of Diagnostic Molecular Oncology, Center for Advanced Studies and Technology (CAST), University of Chieti, Chieti, Italy.

In Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with Tyrosine Kinase-Inhibitors (TKIs) therapy, the emergence of acquired resistance can be investigated by plasma monitoring of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). A series of 116 patients with -positive lung adenocarcinomas were treated with first/second generation TKIs. At clinical progression, 64 (55%) T790M plasma positive patients were subjected to second line-treatment with osimertinib and strictly monitored during the first month of therapy. Plasma analysis by the Cobas test showed in 57 (89%) cases a substantial decrease in the levels of the sensitizing mutant allele (sma), down to a not detectable value. These patients were defined as plasmatic good responders (PGR). In 7 (11%) patients, the sma did not drop to zero (plasmatic poor responders, PPR). In these latter cases, Massive Parallel Sequencing (MPS) analysis at the end of the first month and at clinical progression showed the presence of resistant-inducing mutations, including MET and HER2 gene amplification, KRAS and PIK3CA gene mutations. PPR showed disease progression in 5 (71%) cases, stable disease in 2 (29%) cases, and a shorter median Progression-free survival (PFS) (4.3 ± 1.1 months) than that observed in PGR (13.3 ± 1.2 months) ( < 0.0001). Our data indicate that plasma monitoring by a simple RT-PCR-based mutation test in the first month of treatment may be useful for a rapid identification of patients to be subjected to further characterization by MPS. A diagnostic algorithm for an early detection of resistance-inducing mutations and patient management is reported.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27517DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7082112PMC
March 2020

Alectinib Induced Regression of Renal and Hepatic Cysts Caused by Crizotinib.

Int Med Case Rep J 2020 16;13:89-93. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

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

Background: Crizotinib is the first tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for the treatment of anaplastic lymphoma kinase () rearranged non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). An increased incidence of renal cysts has been described during the crizotinib treatment.

Case Presentation: We herein report the case of a 74-year-old woman who received crizotinib for metastatic -positive NSCLC. During the crizotinib treatment, complex renal cystic lesions with invasion of perirenal spaces and iliopsoas muscle appeared; two complex hepatic cysts were also observed. Almost all lesions disappeared after switching to alectinib, a second-generation inhibitor.

Conclusion: It would seem that alectinib is able to reduce in size and number hepatic and renal cysts caused by the crizotinib treatment. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to clarify the role of both crizotinib in the onset of renal and hepatic cysts and alectinib in their disappearance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IMCRJ.S229080DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7083626PMC
March 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impact of influenza syndrome and flu vaccine on survival of cancer patients during immunotherapy in the INVIDIa study.

Immunotherapy 2020 02;12(2):151-159

Biostatistical Unit, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, IRCCS, Rome, Italy.

INVIDIa was a retrospective, multicenter study, exploring the clinical efficacy of influenza vaccine in 300 cancer patients undergoing immunotherapy. Overall survival (OS) was immature at the initial report. We reported the final OS analysis from the original study population and within subgroups. Both at the univariate and multivariate analysis, the occurrence of influenza syndrome (IS) was significantly related to better OS in the overall population (OR: 0.53 [95% CI: 0.32-0.88]; p = 0.01). In the lung cancer subgroup, receiving flu vaccine and/or developing IS was related to better OS (p = 0.04). Within elderly patients, the flu vaccine was the main variable for the relative OS advantage (p = 0.05). Receiving the flu vaccine and/or developing IS was related to better OS within the INVIDIa population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/imt-2019-0180DOI Listing
February 2020

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

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

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, L'Aquila, Italy.

: We investigate the role of family history of cancer (FHC) and diagnosis of metachronous and/or synchronous multiple neoplasms (MN), during anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. : This was a multicenter retrospective study of advanced cancer patients treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. FHC was collected in lineal and collateral lines, and patients were categorized as follows: FHC-high (in case of cancer diagnoses in both the lineal and collateral family lines), FHC-low (in case of cancer diagnoses in only one family line), and FHC-negative. Patients were also categorized according to the diagnosis of MN as follows: MN-high (>2 malignancies), MN-low (two malignancies), and MN-negative. Objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and incidence of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) of any grade were evaluated. : 822 consecutive patients were evaluated. 458 patients (55.7%) were FHC-negative, 289 (35.2%) were FHC-low, and 75 (9.1%) FHC-high, respectively. 29 (3.5%) had a diagnosis of synchronous MN and 94 (11.4%) of metachronous MN. 108 (13.2%) and 15 (1.8%) patients were MN-low and MN-high, respectively. The median follow-up was 15.6 months. No significant differences were found regarding ORR among subgroups. FHC-high patients had a significantly longer PFS (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.69 [95% CI: 0.48-0.97], = .0379) and OS (HR = 0.61 [95% CI: 0.39-0.93], = .0210), when compared to FHC-negative patients. FHC-high was confirmed as an independent predictor for PFS and OS at multivariate analysis. No significant differences were found according to MN categories. FHC-high patients had a significantly higher incidence of irAEs of any grade, compared to FHC-negative patients ( = .0012). : FHC-high patients seem to benefit more than FHC-negative patients from anti-PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2162402X.2019.1710389DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959456PMC
January 2020

Weighing the role of skeletal muscle mass and muscle density in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: a multicenter real-life study.

Sci Rep 2020 01 29;10(1):1456. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Medical Oncology, San Salvatore Hospital, University of L'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy.

Sarcopenia represents one of the hallmarks of all chronic diseases, including cancer, and was already investigated as a prognostic marker in the pre-immunotherapy era. Sarcopenia can be evaluated using cross-sectional image analysis of CT-scans, at the level of the third lumbar vertebra (L3), to estimate the skeletal muscle index (SMI), a surrogate of skeletal muscle mass, and to evaluate the skeletal muscle density (SMD). We performed a retrospective analysis of consecutive advanced cancer patient treated with PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors. Baseline SMI and SMD were evaluated and optimal cut-offs for survival, according to sex and BMI (+/-25) were computed. The evaluated clinical outcomes were: objective response rate (ORR), immune-related adverse events (irAEs), progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). From April 2015 to April 2019, 100 consecutive advanced cancer patients were evaluated. 50 (50%) patients had a baseline low SMI, while 51 (51%) had a baseline low SMD according to the established cut offs. We found a significant association between SMI and ECOG-PS (p = 0.0324), while no correlations were found regarding SMD and baseline clinical factors. The median follow-up was 20.3 months. Patients with low SMI had a significantly shorter PFS (HR = 1.66 [95% CI: 1.05-2.61]; p = 0.0291) at univariate analysis, but not at the multivariate analysis. They also had a significantly shorter OS (HR = 2.19 [95% CI: 1.31-3.64]; p = 0.0026). The multivariate analysis confirmed baseline SMI as an independent predictor for OS (HR = 2.19 [1.31-3.67]; p = 0.0027). We did not find significant relationships between baseline SMD and clinical outcomes, nor between ORR, irAEs and baseline SMI (data not shown). Low SMI is associated with shortened survival in advanced cancer patients treated with PD1/PDL1 checkpoint inhibitors. However, the lack of an association between SMI and clinical response suggests that sarcopenia may be generally prognostic in this setting rather than specifically predictive of response to immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58498-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6989679PMC
January 2020

Palliative radiotherapy in advanced cancer patients treated with immune-checkpoint inhibitors: The PRACTICE study.

Biomed Rep 2020 Feb 13;12(2):59-67. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Department of Biotechnological and Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, I-67100 L'Aquila, Italy.

In the present study, the influence of purely palliative radiotherapy (pRT) on the outcomes of patients with advanced cancer undergoing immune checkpoint blockade was evaluated. Patients were stratified into three groups: Patients who had received pRT within 6 months prior to the initiation of immunotherapy (previous pRT); patients who received pRT during immunotherapy (concurrent pRT); and patients who did not receive RT prior to or during immunotherapy (no RT group), and these groups were compared. The median overall survival (mOS), median progression free survival (mPFS) and median time-to-treatment failure (mTTF) for the previous pRT group were significantly shorter compared with the no RT group (mOS, 3.6 vs. 12.1 months, respectively, P=0.0095; mPFS 1.8 vs. 5.4 months, respectively, P=0.0016; mTTF 1.8 vs. 5.7 months, respectively, P=0.0035). The concurrent pRT group had a longer mTTF compared with the previous pRT group and similar outcomes to the no RT group. In the previous pRT group, 26.9% of the patients experienced immune-related adverse events compared with 40.1% of patients in the no RT group. Despite the use of pRT during immunotherapy being considered safe, the results of the present study suggest that pRT has a negative effect on immune balance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3892/br.2019.1265DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6951237PMC
February 2020

Persistence and adherence to androgen deprivation therapy in men with prostate cancer: an administrative database study.

Minerva Urol Nefrol 2020 Oct 12;72(5):615-621. Epub 2019 Dec 12.

Department of Urology, ASL Abruzzo 02, Chieti, Italy.

Background: The aim of this study was to assess adherence to and persistence with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in a large cohort of prostate cancer (PCa) patients selected from an administrative database, with special attention to elderly patients.

Methods: Patients treated with LHRH analogues, LHRH antagonists, the novel androgen antagonist enzalutamide, and the CYP17 inhibitor abiraterone were included spanning the years 2011-2017. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze persistence and adherence in older patients stratified by age (46-55, 56-65, 66-75, 76-85, and >85 years). The effect of persistence duration on overall survival in super-elderly patients was analyzed by the Kaplan-Meier method, together with the influence of multiple prescriptions on overall survival.

Results: A total of 1160 male patients were treated with ADT. Of these, 1075 were given LHRH analogues, 80 LHRH antagonists, 14 novel androgen antagonists, and 109 the CYP17 inhibitor. Median adherence values were 0.93, 0.97, 0.95, and 0.99 respectively. The highest persistence was recorded for LHRH analogues/antagonists (24 months), followed enzalutamide and abiraterone (8 months). A total of 107 patients (9.2%) were classified as super-elderly (age range 85-97 years). Median persistence and OS in this group were 13 months and 29 months, respectively. The adherence was 0.92. Overall survival was significantly associated with additional prescriptions for other conditions-indications (P=0.0047) but not with differences in adherence rates (P=0.98).

Conclusions: Our data showed high adherence and persistence rates in men on ADT. The overall survival in the super-elderly is not influenced by persistence and/or adherence but rather by coprescriptions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.23736/S0393-2249.19.03595-1DOI Listing
October 2020

Impact of primary tumor location in patients with RAS wild-type metastatic colon cancer treated with first-line chemotherapy plus anti-EGFR or anti-VEGF monoclonal antibodies: a retrospective multicenter study.

J Cancer 2019 15;10(24):5926-5934. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

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

Emerging evidence supports a prognostic role of primary tumor location in metastatic colon cancer (mCC). We conducted a retrospective analysis to evaluate the effect of tumor location on prognosis and efficacy of biological agents (anti-EGFR, Cetuximab and Panitumumab, or anti-VEGF, Bevacizumab) added to first-line chemotherapy in patients with RAS wild-type (wt) mCC. Patients with newly diagnosed RAS wt mCC candidates to first-line chemotherapy with anti-EGFRs or Bevacizumab were selected. Clinical outcomes were assessed and stratified by tumor location and type of treatment. Overall, 351 patients met the inclusion criteria. Primary colon cancer was right-sided (RCC) in 105 (29.9%) patients and left-sided (LCC) in 246 (70.1%). Patients with LCC had a better OS compared to those with RCC (33.6 vs 23.5 months, HR 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.99; p=0.049). In the overall study population, OS was not significantly different for patients treated with Cetuximab or Panitumumab as compared to those receiving Bevacizumab. However, when comparing treatment outcome according to tumor sidedness, patients with LCC treated with Cetuximab or Panitumumab had a significantly longer PFS (12.4 vs 10.7 months; HR: 0.69; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.93; p= 0.015) and OS (40.7 vs 28.6 months; HR: 0.67; 95% CI 0.47 to 0.95; p= 0.026). No relevant differences were observed in patients with RCC. We found evidence in support of the impact of tumor location in RAS wt mCC treated with first-line chemotherapy in association with targeted therapy. More favorable outcomes were observed in LCC patients, but not in RCC patients, treated with anti-EGFR agents compared with those who received Bevacizumab. Further, prospective and adequately sized studies are warranted to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.34550DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6856567PMC
October 2019

Early fatigue in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors: an insight from clinical practice.

J Transl Med 2019 11 15;17(1):376. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

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

Background: Fatigue was reported as the most common any-grade adverse event (18.3%), and the most common grade 3 or higher immune-related adverse event (irAE) (0.89%) in patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors in clinical trial.

Methods: The aim of this retrospective multicenter study was to evaluate the correlations between "early ir-fatigue", "delayed ir-fatigue", and clinical outcomes in cancer patients receiving PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in clinical practice.

Results: 517 patients were evaluated. After the 12-weeks landmark selection, 386 (74.7%) patients were eligible for the clinical outcomes analysis. 40.4% were NSCLC, 42.2% were melanoma, 15.3% renal cell carcinoma and 2.1% other malignancies. 76 patients (19.7%) experienced early ir-fatigue (within 1 month from treatment commencement), while 150 patients (38.9%) experienced delayed ir-fatigue. Early ir-fatigue was significantly related to shortened PFS (HR = 2.29 [95% CI 1.62-3.22], p < 0.0001) and OS (HR = 2.32 [95% CI 1.59-3.38], p < 0.0001) at the multivariate analysis. On the other hand, we found a significant association between the occurrence of early ir-fatigue, ECOG-PS ≥ 2 (p < 0.0001), and disease burden (p = 0.0003). Delayed ir-fatigue was not significantly related to PFS nor OS.

Conclusions: Early ir-fatigue seems to be negative prognostic parameter, but to proper weight its role we must to consider the predominant role of performance status, which was related to early ir-fatigue in the study population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-019-02132-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6857130PMC
November 2019

Second line therapy with axitinib after only prior sunitinib in metastatic renal cell cancer: Italian multicenter real world SAX study final results.

J Transl Med 2019 08 29;17(1):296. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Division of Medical Oncology, AORN Dei Colli "Ospedali Monaldi-Cotugno-CTO", Napoli, Italy.

Background: This multi-institutional retrospective real life study was conducted in 22 Italian Oncology Centers and evaluated the role of Axitinib in second line treatment in not selected mRCC patients.

Methods: 148 mRCC patients were evaluated. According to Heng score 15.5%, 60.1% and 24.4% of patients were at poor risk, intermediate and favorable risk, respectively.

Results: PFS, OS, DCR and ORR were 7.14 months, 15.5 months, 70.6% and 16.6%, respectively. The duration of prior sunitinib treatment correlated with a longer significant mPFS, 8.8 vs 6.3 months, respectively. Axitinib therapy was safe, without grade 4 adverse events. The most frequent toxicities of all grades were: fatigue (50%), hypertension (26%), and hypothyroidism (18%). G3 blood pressure elevation significantly correlated with longer mPFS and mOS compared to G1-G2 or no toxicity. Dose titration (DT) to 7 mg and 10 mg bid was feasible in 24% with no statistically significant differences in mPFS and mOS. The sunitinib-axitinib sequence was safe and effective, the mOS was 41.15 months. At multivariate analysis, gender, DCR to axitinib and to previous sunitinib correlated significantly with PFS; whereas DCR to axitinib, nephrectomy and Heng score independently affected overall survival.

Conclusions: Axitinib was effective and safe in a not selected real life mRCC population. Trial registration INT - Napoli - 11/16 oss. Registered 20 April 2016. http://www.istitutotumori.na.it.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-019-2047-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716812PMC
August 2019

A Case of Stage I Vulvar Squamous Cell Carcinoma with Early Relapse and Rapid Disease Progression.

Case Rep Oncol Med 2019 3;2019:1018492. Epub 2019 Jul 3.

Medical Oncology Unit, SS Annunziata Hospital, Chieti, Italy.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common subtype of vulvar cancer. Locoregional surgery is often curative when the tumor is diagnosed at an early stage. However, the disease can unexpectedly evolve with a dismal prognosis even after an early diagnosis. We report a case of a woman who experienced a rapid, chemorefractory tumor progression after surgery for stage IB vulvar SCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/1018492DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6636578PMC
July 2019

Distinct HR expression patterns significantly affect the clinical behavior of metastatic HER2+ breast cancer and degree of benefit from novel anti-HER2 agents in the real world setting.

Int J Cancer 2020 04 7;146(7):1917-1929. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

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

We analyzed data from 738 HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (mbc) patients treated with pertuzumab-based regimens and/or T-DM1 at 45 Italian centers. Outcomes were explored in relation to tumor subtype assessed by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The median progression-free survival at first-line (mPFS1) was 12 months. Pertuzumab as first-line conferred longer mPFS1 compared to other first-line treatments (16 vs. 9 months, p = 0.0001), regardless of IHC subtype. Median PFS in second-line (mPFS2) was 7 months, with no difference by IHC subtype, but it was more favorable with T-DM1 compared to other agents (7 vs. 6 months, p = 0.03). There was no PFS2 gain in patients with tumors expressing both hormonal receptors (HRs; p = 0.17), while a trend emerged for tumors with one HR (p = 0.05). Conversely, PFS2 gain was significant in HRs-negative tumors (p = 0.04). Median overall survival (mOS) was 74 months, with no significant differences by IHC subtypes. Survival rates at 2 and 3 years in patients treated with T-DM1 in second-line after pertuzumab were significantly lower compared to pertuzumab-naïve patients (p = 0.01). When analyzed by IHC subtype, the outcome was confirmed if both HRs or no HRs were expressed (p = 0.02 and p = 0.006, respectively). Our results confirm that HRs expression impacts the clinical behavior and novel treatment-related outcomes of HER2-positive tumors when treatment sequences are considered. Moreover, multivariate analysis showed that HRs expression had no effect on PFS and OS. Further studies are warranted to confirm our findings and clarify the interplay between HER2 and estrogen receptor pathways in HER2-positive (mbc) patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32583DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7027476PMC
April 2020

Weight loss and body mass index in advanced gastric cancer patients treated with second-line ramucirumab: a real-life multicentre study.

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 2019 Sep 6;145(9):2365-2373. Epub 2019 Jul 6.

Medical Oncology, St. Salvatore Hospital, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, 67100, L'Aquila, Italy.

Aims And Methods: This multicenter retrospective study aims to evaluate the correlations between Body Weight Loss (BWL), Body Mass Index (BMI) and clinical outcomes (ORR, PFS, and OS) of advanced gastric cancer (aGC) patients treated with second-line ramucirumab-based therapy in a "real-life" setting.

Results: From December 2014 to October 2018, 101 consecutive aGC patients progressed to a first-line chemotherapy were treated with ramucirumab alone (10.9%) or in combination with paclitaxel (89.1%). Median BMI was 21.2 kg/m and mBWL since first-line treatment commencement was 4.5%. Among 53 patients who underwent primary tumor resection (PTR), 73.6% experienced BWL, while 26.4% did not experience BWL (p = 0.0429). Patients who underwent PTR had a significantly higher probability of experiencing BWL (yes vs no) [OR = 2.35 (95% CI 1.02-5.42), p = 0.0439]. Among the 89 evaluable patients, ORR was 26.9% (95% CI 17.2-40.1). At a median follow-up of 17.3 months, mPFS was 5.4 months (95% CI 3.6-6.8) and mOS was 8.7 months (95% CI 7.3-11.9). In the multivariate analysis, only ECOG-PS and BMI were confirmed independent predictors for shorter PFS [HR = 1.69 (95% CI 1.01-2.82), p = 0.04] [HR = 1.97 (95% CI 1.12-3.46), p = 0.01] and OS [HR = 1.69 (95% CI 1.01-2.83), p = 0.04] [HR = 2.08 (95% CI 1.17-3.70), p = 0.01].

Conclusion: Efficacy of ramucirumab is confirmed in this "real-life" analysis. BWL seems not to have correlations with clinical outcomes in these patients, while BMI and ECOG-PS remain major prognostic factors. A possible explanation for the lack of prognostic effect of BWL might be the proportion of patients subjected to PTR in this series (52.5%).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00432-019-02971-7DOI Listing
September 2019