Publications by authors named "Patrick Neven"

285 Publications

Data describing the poor outcome associated with a breast cancer diagnosis in the post-weaning period.

Data Brief 2021 Oct 10;38:107354. Epub 2021 Sep 10.

Department of Oncology, Laboratory of Gynecological Oncology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Postpartum breast cancer (PPBC) - which according to new data, can extend to 5-10 years after the birth - are estimated to represent 35-55% of all cases of breast cancer in women younger than 45 years. Increasing clinical evidence indicates that PPBC represents a high-risk form of breast cancer in young women with an approximately 2-fold increased risk for metastasis and death. Yet, the exact mechanisms that underlay this poor prognosis are incompletely understood and, hence, it is unknown why postpartum breast cancer has an enhanced risk for metastasis or how it should be effectively targeted for improved survival. This article is an accompanying resource of the original article entitled "Breast cancer diagnosed in the post-weaning period is indicative for a poor outcome" and present epidemiological data that compare standard prognostic parameters, first site of metastatic disease and survival and metastatic rates in young women with primary invasive breast cancer diagnosed within two years postpartum (PP-BC), in young women diagnosed during pregnancy (Pr-BC) and nulliparous women (NP-BC). Via an international collaboration of 13 centres participating in the International Network on Cancer, Infertility and Pregnancy (INCIP), retrospective data of 1180 patients with primary invasive breast cancer, aged 25-40 years and diagnosed between January 1995 and December 2017 were collected. In particular, tumour-, patient, and therapy-related characteristics were collected. Furthermore, patient files were reviewed thoroughly to assess, for each parity, if and for how long breastfeeding was given. For PP-BC patients, breastfeeding history was used to differentiate breast cancers identified during lactation (PP-BC) from those diagnosed post-weaning (PP-BC). Primary exposures were prior childbirth or no childbirth, time between most recent childbirth and breast cancer diagnosis, time between cessation of lactation and breast cancer diagnosis and time between breast cancer diagnosis and metastasis or death. Distribution of standard prognostic parameters and first site of distant metastasis among study groups was determined applying fisher's exact, chi-squared, One-Way ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis tests or logistic regression models, where applicable. The risks for metastasis and death were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. A subgroup analysis was performed in PP-BC patients that never lactated (PP-BC), lactated ≤3 months (PP-BC) or lactated >3 months (PP-BC).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2021.107354DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8446787PMC
October 2021

FDG positron emission tomography imaging and ctDNA detection as an early dynamic biomarker of everolimus efficacy in advanced luminal breast cancer.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 Sep 21;7(1):125. Epub 2021 Sep 21.

Nuclear Medicine, Institut Jules Bordet, Brussels, Belgium.

Biomarkers to identify patients without benefit from adding everolimus to endocrine treatment in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) are needed. We report the results of the Pearl trial conducted in five Belgian centers assessing F-FDG-PET/CT non-response (n = 45) and ctDNA detection (n = 46) after 14 days of exemestane-everolimus (EXE-EVE) to identify MBC patients who will not benefit. The metabolic non-response rate was 66.6%. Median PFS in non-responding patients (using as cut-off 25% for SUVmax decrease) was 3.1 months compared to 6.0 months in those showing response (HR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.40-1.50, p = 0.44). The difference was significant when using a "post-hoc" cut-off of 15% (PFS 2.2 months vs 6.4 months). ctDNA detection at D14 was associated with PFS: 2.1 months vs 5.0 months (HR-2.5, 95% CI: 1.3-5.0, p = 0.012). Detection of ctDNA and/or the absence of F-FDG-PET/CT response after 14 days of EXE-EVE identifies patients with a low probability of benefiting from treatment. Independent validation is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-021-00331-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8455671PMC
September 2021

Abemaciclib plus fulvestrant in hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative advanced breast cancer in premenopausal women: subgroup analysis from the MONARCH 2 trial.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 08 23;23(1):87. Epub 2021 Aug 23.

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

Background: In MONARCH 2, abemaciclib plus fulvestrant significantly improved median progression-free survival (PFS, 16.4 vs 9.3 months, hazard ratio [HR] 0.553) and overall survival (OS, 46.7 vs 37.3 months; HR 0.757) compared with placebo plus fulvestrant in hormone receptor-positive (HR-positive), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-negative) advanced breast cancer (ABC) patients who were endocrine therapy (ET) resistant, regardless of menopausal status. Here, we report findings in the premenopausal subgroup of the MONARCH 2 trial.

Methods: The premenopausal subgroup included patients with natural menstrual bleeding who received a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist at least 4 weeks prior to study treatment start date and for the entire study duration. Of the 669 patients enrolled in the MONARCH 2 trial, 114 were premenopausal (abemaciclib plus fulvestrant, n = 72; placebo plus fulvestrant, n = 42), and were included in this analysis. The primary objective was investigator-assessed PFS and secondary objectives were OS, objective response rate, and safety and tolerability. Exploratory analyses included time to second disease progression (PFS2), time to chemotherapy (TTC), and chemotherapy-free survival (CFS).

Results: At the primary objective cutoff (February 14, 2017), median PFS was not reached for the abemaciclib plus fulvestrant arm versus 10.52 months for the placebo plus fulvestrant arm (HR 0.415; 95% CI 0.246-0.698). At the pre-specified OS interim cutoff (20-June-2019), median PFS was 28.6 months in the abemaciclib plus fulvestrant arm compared with 10.26 months in the placebo plus fulvestrant arm (HR 0.477; 95% CI 0.302-0.755). A numerical OS benefit was observed with abemaciclib plus fulvestrant compared to fulvestrant alone (HR 0.689; 95% CI 0.379-1.252, median, not reached vs 47.3 months). Improvements were also observed for the exploratory outcomes of PFS2 (HR 0.599), TTC (HR 0.674), and CFS (HR 0.642) with the addition of abemaciclib to fulvestrant. The safety profile was generally consistent with results disclosed previously.

Conclusions: Results of the premenopausal subgroup in the MONARCH 2 trial were consistent with the improved clinical outcomes observed in the intent-to-treat population. The analysis provides support for the use of abemaciclib plus fulvestrant (with ovarian suppression) as an effective treatment option for premenopausal patients with HR+, HER2- ABC who are ET-resistant.

Clinical Trial Registration: NCT02107703. Registered April 08, 2014- Retrospectively registered, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02107703 .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-021-01463-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8381581PMC
August 2021

Efficacy and safety of palbociclib in patients with estrogen receptor-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative advanced breast cancer with preexisting conditions: A post hoc analysis of PALOMA-2.

Breast 2021 Oct 28;59:321-326. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

West Cancer Center, Germantown, TN, USA.

Objective: In the PALOMA-2 trial, palbociclib in combination with letrozole prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) and exhibited an acceptable safety profile in patients with estrogen receptor-positive/human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative advanced breast cancer (ABC). This post hoc analysis of PALOMA-2 evaluated the efficacy and safety of palbociclib plus letrozole in patients with preexisting conditions grouped by Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities (MedDRA) System Organ Class (SOC).

Methods: Postmenopausal patients without prior treatment for ABC were randomized 2:1 to receive palbociclib (125 mg/d on a 3 weeks on/1 week off schedule) plus letrozole (2.5 mg/d, continuous) or placebo plus letrozole. Patients were grouped by the following MedDRA SOC preexisting conditions: gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, metabolic, and vascular/cardiac. Median PFS was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method, and treatment emergent adverse events (AEs) were compared between treatment arms within each preexisting condition subgroup.

Results: At baseline, 276 (41.4 %) patients had preexisting gastrointestinal disorders, 390 (58.6 %) had musculoskeletal disorders, 259 (38.9 %) had metabolic disorders, and 382 (57.4 %) had vascular/cardiac disorders. Baseline characteristics were similar between subgroups and between each arm within subgroups. Regardless of baseline preexisting condition, palbociclib plus letrozole prolonged PFS compared with placebo plus letrozole. Treatment-emergent AEs associated with palbociclib plus letrozole and dose modifications due to AEs were similar across preexisting condition subgroups.

Conclusion: This post hoc analysis of PALOMA-2 demonstrated a favorable effect of palbociclib on PFS and a safety profile consistent with previous observations, regardless of underlying preexisting condition. Pfizer Inc (NCT01740427).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2021.07.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8361185PMC
October 2021

MONARCH 2: Subgroup Analysis of Patients Receiving Abemaciclib Plus Fulvestrant as First-Line and Second-Line Therapy for HR, HER2-Advanced Breast Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Aug 10. Epub 2021 Aug 10.

Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California.

Purpose: In MONARCH 2, abemaciclib plus fulvestrant significantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) versus placebo plus fulvestrant in patients with hormone receptor positive (HR), HER2 advanced breast cancer. This exploratory analysis assessed the efficacy of abemaciclib plus fulvestrant across subgroups of patients receiving study therapy as first- or second-line treatment for metastatic disease.

Patients And Methods: Improvements were estimated using Cox models, and a test of interactions of subgroups with treatment was performed.

Results: The benefit in PFS [first-line, HR, 0.57; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.45-0.73; second-line, HR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.36-0.64] and OS (first-line, HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.64-1.14; second-line, HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.46-0.94) was observed across both subgroups, consistent with the intent-to-treat (ITT) population. In first-line patients (abemaciclib arm, = 265; placebo arm, = 133), the numerically largest effect on PFS and OS was observed in patients with primary resistance to endocrine therapy (ET; PFS, HR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.26-0.63; OS, HR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.35-0.97) and visceral disease (PFS, HR, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.39-0.73; OS, HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.58-1.20). In second-line patients (abemaciclib arm, = 170; placebo arm, = 86), a numerical benefit in PFS and OS was observed across primary and secondary ET resistance, with numerically more pronounced effects observed in patients with visceral disease (PFS, HR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.27-0.57; OS, HR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.33-0.81). Prolongation of time to second disease progression, time to chemotherapy, and chemotherapy-free survival was observed in both subgroups.

Conclusions: Consistent with the ITT population, a benefit in PFS and OS was observed across the first- and second-line subgroups in MONARCH 2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4685DOI Listing
August 2021

Breast cancer diagnosed in the post-weaning period is indicative for a poor outcome.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Sep 27;155:13-24. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Department of Oncology, Laboratory of Gynecological Oncology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Department of Gynecology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute - Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Department of Gynecological Oncology, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: In young women, a breast cancer diagnosis after childbirth increases the risk for metastasis and death. Studies in rodents suggest that post-weaning mammary gland involution contributes to the poor prognosis of postpartum breast cancers. However, this association has not been investigated in humans, mainly because of missing information on the patient's lactation status at diagnosis.

Patients And Methods: Clinicopathological data of 1180 young women with primary invasive breast cancer, diagnosed within 2 years postpartum (PP-BC), during pregnancy (Pr-BC), or nulliparous (NP-BC), were collected. For PP-BC patients, breastfeeding history was retrieved to differentiate breast cancers identified during lactation (PP-BC) from those diagnosed post-weaning (PP-BC). Differences in prognostic parameters, first site of distant metastasis, and risks for metastasis and death were determined between patient groups.

Results: Cox proportional hazard models pointed to a twofold increased the risk of metastasis and death in PP-BC patients compared with PP-BC (hazard ratio [HR] 2.1 [P = 0.021] and 2.9 [P = 0.004]), Pr-BC (HR 2.1 [P<0.001] and 2.3 [P<0.001]) and NP-BC (HR 2.1 [P<0.001] and 2.0 [P<0.001]) patients. Prognosis was poorest for PP-BC patients who did not breastfeed or only for ≤ 3 months before diagnosis. This could not fully be attributed to differences in standard prognostic characteristics. In addition, PP-BC tumours showed a 3- to 8-fold increased risk to metastasise to the liver, yet this did not correlate with the poor outcome of this patient cohort.

Conclusions: Breast cancer diagnosed shortly after weaning specifically adds to the poor prognosis in women diagnosed with PP-BC. Apart from the importance of an increased awareness, these data show that detailed lactation data need to be registered when breast cancer outcome in young women is investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.06.009DOI Listing
September 2021

Toward predicting CYP2D6-mediated variable drug response from gene sequencing data.

Sci Transl Med 2021 07;13(603)

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology, Leiden University Medical Center, 2333 ZA Leiden, Netherlands.

Pharmacogenomics is a key component of personalized medicine that promises safer and more effective drug treatment by individualizing drug choice and dose based on genetic profiles. In clinical practice, genetic biomarkers are used to categorize patients into *-alleles to predict CYP450 enzyme activity and adjust drug dosages accordingly. However, this approach leaves a large part of variability in drug response unexplained. Here, we present a proof-of-concept approach that uses continuous-scale (instead of categorical) assignments to predict enzyme activity. We used full gene sequences obtained with long-read amplicon-based sequencing and cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2D6-mediated tamoxifen metabolism data from a prospective study of 561 patients with breast cancer to train a neural network. The model explained 79% of interindividual variability in CYP2D6 activity compared to 54% with the conventional *-allele approach, assigned enzyme activities to known alleles with previously reported effects, and predicted the activity of previously uncharacterized combinations of variants. The results were replicated in an independent cohort of tamoxifen-treated patients (model adjusted = 0.66 versus *-allele adjusted = 0.35) and a cohort of patients treated with the CYP2D6 substrate venlafaxine (model adjusted = 0.64 versus *-allele adjusted = 0.55). Human embryonic kidney cells were used to confirm the effect of five genetic variants on metabolism of the CYP2D6 substrate bufuralol in vitro. These results demonstrate the advantage of a continuous scale and a completely phased genotype for prediction of CYP2D6 enzyme activity and could potentially enable more accurate prediction of individual drug response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abf3637DOI Listing
July 2021

Radical hysterectomy without adjuvant radiotherapy in patients with cervix carcinoma FIGO 2009 IB1, with or without positive Sedlis criteria.

Gynecol Oncol 2021 Sep 10;162(3):539-545. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Division of Gynaecological Oncology, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Leuven Cancer Institute, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:

Introduction: Lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI), deep (>1/3) stromal invasion (DSI) and large tumor size (>4 cm) have been identified as predictors for intermediate risk for recurrence according to Sedlis (at least two of the prior risk factors) in FIGO stage I cervical cancer. Adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) has been advocated in these patients(1,2), but remains controversial.

Method: All consecutive patients (1997-2017) with cervical cancer FIGO (2009) stage IB1 (≤4 cm) were included. Primary aim was to analyze the recurrence rate. Secondary aim was to identify the risk factors for disease recurrence and survival.

Results: One-hundred-and-eighty-two patients were included in this retrospective study. Median follow-up was 13 years (range 8-17). Postoperatively, 21 patients received adjuvant therapy due to presence of positive lymph nodes, positive section margins or if a simple hysterectomy was performed (RT: n = 7, concomitant chemo radiotherapy (CCRT): n = 14). None of the patients with a combination of intermediate risk factors according to Sedlis (excluding patients >4 cm) underwent adjuvant RT/CCRT. Disease recurrence was observed in 19 patients (10%). Eleven patients died of disease. LVSI influenced progression-free survival (PFS) (HR 3.950, p = 0.0163) and disease-specific survival (DSS) (HR 4.637, p = 0.0497) significantly. However, the combination of LVSI, tumor size and DSI according to Sedlis did not influence overall survival (OS), DSS or PFS.

Conclusion: Recurrence rate was low (10%), despite the fact that patients with intermediate risk factors according to Sedlis did not receive postoperative RT/CCRT. LVSI was the sole risk factor influencing PFS and DSS. Combinations of risk factors according to Sedlis did not predict worse outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygyno.2021.06.026DOI Listing
September 2021

Cause of death for patients with breast cancer: discordance between death certificates and medical files, and impact on survival estimates.

Arch Public Health 2021 Jun 23;79(1):111. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Belgian Cancer Registry, Research Department, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Registration and coding of cause of death is prone to error since determining the exact underlying condition leading directly to death is challenging. In this study, causes of death from the death certificates were compared to patients' medical files interpreted by experts at University Hospitals Leuven (UHL), to assess concordance between sources and its impact on cancer survival assessment.

Methods: Breast cancer patients treated at UHL (2009-2014) (follow-up until December 31st 2016) were included in this study. Cause of death was obtained from death certificates and expert-reviewed medical files at UHL. Agreement was calculated using Cohen's kappa coefficient. Cause-specific survival (CSS) was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and the relative survival probability (RS) using the Ederer II and Pohar Perme method.

Results: A total of 2862 patients, of whom 354 died, were included. We found an agreement of 84.7% (kappa-value of 0.69 (95% C.I.: 0.62-0.77)) between death certificates and medical files. Death certificates had 10.7% false positive and 4.5% false negative rates. However, five-year CSS and RS measures were comparable for both sources.

Conclusion: For breast cancer patients included in our study, fair agreement of cause of death was seen between death certificates and medical files with similar CSS and RS estimations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13690-021-00637-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8220845PMC
June 2021

Safety and impact of dose reductions on efficacy in the randomised MONALEESA-2, -3 and -7 trials in hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer.

Br J Cancer 2021 Aug 22;125(5):679-686. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Tennessee Oncology, Nashville, TN, USA.

Background: This pooled analysis of MONALEESA trials evaluated the safety of ribociclib plus endocrine therapy (RIB + ET) with a focus on dose reductions in first-line patients.

Methods: In the dose reduction analysis, data were pooled from MONALEESA-2 (all patients), MONALEESA-3 (patients receiving treatment as first-line ET) and MONALEESA-7 (patients receiving combination therapy with an NSAI as initial ET). Efficacy was analysed by ribociclib relative dose intensity (DI). Safety was analysed in all patients in the trials (except those receiving tamoxifen in MONALEESA-7) and those with/without ≥1 ribociclib dose reduction.

Results: Of 818 women who received first-line RIB + ET, 41.8% required ≥1 dose reduction due to AEs (most commonly, neutropenia). Median RIB relative DI in patients without and with dose reductions was 99.3% and 65.6% in MONALEESA-2, 98.4% and 67.8% in MONALEESA-3 and 98·0% and 66·3% in MONALEESA-7. Median PFS was 24.8, 24.9 and 29.6 months for patients who received ≤71% (30th percentile), 72-96% (60th percentile) and 97-100% (90th percentile) RIB relative DI, respectively. No new safety signals emerged in the pooled safety analysis.

Conclusions: This analysis provides reassuring data showing that the clinical benefit of RIB is preserved when dose modifications are undertaken to manage AEs.

Trial Registration: MONALEESA-2 (NCT01958021) first posted October 8, 2013; MONALEESA-3 (NCT02422615) first posted April 21, 2015; MONALEESA-7 (NCT02278120) first posted October 29, 2014.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01415-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8405616PMC
August 2021

Blood Immunosenescence Signatures Reflecting Age, Frailty and Tumor Immune Infiltrate in Patients with Early Luminal Breast Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 May 2;13(9). Epub 2021 May 2.

Laboratory of Experimental Oncology, Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Background: Immune/senescence-related host factors play a pivotal role in numerous biological and pathological process like aging, frailty and cancer. The assessment of these host factors via robust, non-invasive, and easy-to-measure blood biomarkers could improve insights in these processes. Here, we investigated in a series of breast cancer patients in which way single circulating biomarkers or biomarker panels relate to chronological age, frailty status, and tumor-associated inflammatory microenvironment.

Methods: An extensive panel of blood immune/senescence markers and the tumor immune infiltrate was studied in young, middle-aged, and old patients with an early invasive hormone-sensitive, HER2-negative breast cancer. In the old group, clinical frailty was estimated via the G8-scores.

Results: Several three-blood biomarker panels proved to be able to separate old chronological age from young age very efficiently. Clinically more important, several three-blood biomarker panels were strongly associated with clinical frailty. Performance of blood biomarker panels for prediction of the tumor immune infiltrate was lower.

Conclusion: Immune/senescence blood biomarker panels strongly correlate with chronological age, and clinically more importantly with frailty status in early breast cancer patients. They require further investigation on their ability to provide a more complete picture on clinical frailty status and direct personalized therapy in older persons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8125302PMC
May 2021

Cognitions and physical impairments in relation to upper limb function in women with pain and myofascial dysfunctions in the late stage after breast cancer surgery: an exploratory cross-sectional study.

Disabil Rehabil 2021 Jun 1:1-8. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Pain in Motion International Research Group, Brussels, Belgium.

Purpose: Upper limb (UL) function is one of the health outcomes that matters the most for women with breast cancer. However, a better understanding of the factors contributing to UL dysfunctions in the late stage after breast cancer surgery is needed. This study explores associations between impairment-related and cognition-related factors and UL function in women with pain and myofascial dysfunctions at the affected UL region in this late stage after breast cancer surgery.

Methods: In forty-one women, UL function (dependent variable) was evaluated by the Disabilities of Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire. As independent impairment-related factors, relative excessive arm volume (perimetry), pain intensity (maximum score on the visual analogue scale past week) and humerothoracic elevation and scapular lateral rotation (kinematic analysis) were assessed. As independent cognition-related factors, pain catastrophizing (Pain Catastrophizing Scale) and pain hypervigilance (Pain Vigilance and Awareness Questionnaire) were evaluated. Bi-variable analyses and a stepwise regression analysis were used to explore associations.

Results: A higher pain intensity ( = 0.52;  < 0.001), more pain catastrophizing ( = 0.49;  < 0.001) and more pain hypervigilance ( = 0.40;  = 0.01) were related to more UL dysfunction. Pain intensity ( = 0.029) and pain catastrophizing ( = 0.027) explained furthermore 29.9% of variance in UL function.

Conclusions: Pain intensity and cognition-related factors are significantly associated with UL function in women with pain and myofascial dysfunctions, indicating the need of assessing pain beliefs in women in the late stage after breast cancer surgery.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONPain intensity and pain-related beliefs, including pain attention and catastrophizing, are related to the severity of upper limb dysfunctions in the late stage after breast cancer surgery.Impairments such as lymphedema and movement restrictions seem not related to upper limb function in the assessed sample.To understand upper limb dysfunctions in the late stage after breast cancer, assessing pain beliefs is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2021.1931482DOI Listing
June 2021

Comprehensive genome-wide analysis of routine non-invasive test data allows cancer prediction: A single-center retrospective analysis of over 85,000 pregnancies.

EClinicalMedicine 2021 May 13;35:100856. Epub 2021 May 13.

Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, Leuven, Belgium.

Background: Implausible false positive results in non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) have been occasionally associated with the detection of occult maternal malignancies. Hence, there is a need for approaches allowing accurate prediction of whether the NIPT result is pointing to an underlying malignancy, as well as for organized programs ensuring efficient downstream clinical management of these cases.

Methods: Using a data set of 88,294 NIPT performed at University Hospital Leuven (Belgium) between November 2013 and March 2020, we retrospectively evaluated the positive predictive value (PPV) of our NIPT approach for cancer detection. In this approach, whole-genome cell-free DNA (cfDNA) data from NIPT were scrutinized for the presence of (sub)chromosomal copy number alterations (CNAs) predictive for a malignancy, using an unbiased NIPT analysis pipeline coined GIPSeq. For suspected cases, the presence of a maternal cancer was evaluated via subsequent multidisciplinary clinical follow-up examinations. The cancer-specificity of the identified CNAs in cfDNA was assessed through genetic analyses of a tumor biopsy.

Findings: Fifteen women without a cancer history were identified with a GIPSeq result suggestive of a malignant process. Their cfDNA profiles showed either genome-wide aberrations or a single trisomy 8. Upon clinical examinations, a solid or hematological cancer was identified in 4 and 7 cases, respectively. Three women were identified as having a clonal mosaicism. For one case no underlying condition was found. These numbers add to a PPV of 73%. Based on this experience, we presented a multidisciplinary care path for efficient clinical management of these cases.

Interpretation: The presented approach for analysing NIPT results has a high PPV, yet unknown sensitivity, for detecting asymptomatic malignancies upon routine NIPT. Given the complexity of diagnosing a pregnant woman with cancer, clinical follow-up should occur in a well-designed multidisciplinary setting, such as via the care model that we presented here.

Funding: This work was supported by Research Foundation Flanders and KU Leuven funding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100856DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8138727PMC
May 2021

A single-cell map of intratumoral changes during anti-PD1 treatment of patients with breast cancer.

Nat Med 2021 05 6;27(5):820-832. Epub 2021 May 6.

Laboratory for Translational Genetics, Department of Human Genetics, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Immune-checkpoint blockade (ICB) combined with neoadjuvant chemotherapy improves pathological complete response in breast cancer. To understand why only a subset of tumors respond to ICB, patients with hormone receptor-positive or triple-negative breast cancer were treated with anti-PD1 before surgery. Paired pre- versus on-treatment biopsies from treatment-naive patients receiving anti-PD1 (n = 29) or patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy before anti-PD1 (n = 11) were subjected to single-cell transcriptome, T cell receptor and proteome profiling. One-third of tumors contained PD1-expressing T cells, which clonally expanded upon anti-PD1 treatment, irrespective of tumor subtype. Expansion mainly involved CD8 T cells with pronounced expression of cytotoxic-activity (PRF1, GZMB), immune-cell homing (CXCL13) and exhaustion markers (HAVCR2, LAG3), and CD4 T cells characterized by expression of T-helper-1 (IFNG) and follicular-helper (BCL6, CXCR5) markers. In pre-treatment biopsies, the relative frequency of immunoregulatory dendritic cells (PD-L1), specific macrophage phenotypes (CCR2 or MMP9) and cancer cells exhibiting major histocompatibility complex class I/II expression correlated positively with T cell expansion. Conversely, undifferentiated pre-effector/memory T cells (TCF7, GZMK) or inhibitory macrophages (CX3CR1, C3) were inversely correlated with T cell expansion. Collectively, our data identify various immunophenotypes and associated gene sets that are positively or negatively correlated with T cell expansion following anti-PD1 treatment. We shed light on the heterogeneity in treatment response to anti-PD1 in breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01323-8DOI Listing
May 2021

Alpelisib plus fulvestrant in PIK3CA-mutated, hormone receptor-positive advanced breast cancer after a CDK4/6 inhibitor (BYLieve): one cohort of a phase 2, multicentre, open-label, non-comparative study.

Lancet Oncol 2021 04;22(4):489-498

British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Background: Alpelisib, a PI3Kα-selective inhibitor and degrader, plus fulvestrant showed efficacy in hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, PIK3CA-mutated advanced breast cancer in SOLAR-1; limited data are available in the post-cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitor setting. BYLieve aimed to assess alpelisib plus endocrine therapy in this setting in three cohorts defined by immediate previous treatment; here, we report results from cohort A.

Methods: This ongoing, phase 2, multicentre, open-label, non-comparative study enrolled patients with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, advanced breast cancer with tumour PIK3CA mutation, following progression on or after previous therapy, including CDK4/6 inhibitors, from 114 study locations (cancer centres, medical centres, university hospitals, and hospitals) in 18 countries worldwide. Participants aged 18 years or older with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 2 or less, with no more than two previous anticancer treatments and no more than one previous chemotherapy regimen, were enrolled in three cohorts. In cohort A, patients must have had progression on or after a CDK4/6 inhibitor plus an aromatase inhibitor as the immediate previous treatment. Patients received oral alpelisib 300 mg/day (continuously) plus fulvestrant 500 mg intramuscularly on day 1 of each 28-day cycle and on day 15 of cycle 1. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients alive without disease progression at 6 months per local assessment using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1, in patients with a centrally confirmed PIK3CA mutation. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03056755.

Findings: Between Aug 14, 2017, and Dec 17, 2019 (data cutoff), 127 patients with at least 6 months' follow-up were enrolled into cohort A. 121 patients had a centrally confirmed PIK3CA mutation. At data cutoff, median follow-up was 11·7 months (IQR 8·5-15·9). 61 (50·4%; 95% CI 41·2-59·6) of 121 patients were alive without disease progression at 6 months. The most frequent grade 3 or worse adverse events were hyperglycaemia (36 [28%] of 127 patients), rash (12 [9%]), and rash maculopapular (12 [9%]). Serious adverse events occurred in 33 (26%) of 127 patients. No treatment-related deaths were reported.

Interpretation: BYLieve showed activity of alpelisib plus fulvestrant with manageable toxicity in patients with PIK3CA-mutated, hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer, after progression on a CDK4/6 inhibitor plus an aromatase inhibitor.

Funding: Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00034-6DOI Listing
April 2021

Postpartum breast cancer: mechanisms underlying its worse prognosis, treatment implications, and fertility preservation.

Int J Gynecol Cancer 2021 03;31(3):412-422

Department of Oncology, KU Leuven University Hospitals Leuven Gasthuisberg Campus, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium

Breast cancers that occur in young women up to 5 to 10 years' postpartum are associated with an increased risk for metastasis and death compared with breast cancers diagnosed in young, premenopausal women during or outside pregnancy. Given the trend to delay childbearing, this frequency is expected to increase. The (immuno)biology of postpartum breast cancer is poorly understood and, hence, it is unknown why postpartum breast cancer has an enhanced risk for metastasis or how it should be effectively targeted for improved survival. The poorer prognosis of women diagnosed within 10 years of a completed pregnancy is most often contributed to the effects of mammary gland involution. We will discuss the most recent data and mechanistic insights of the most important processes associated with involution and their role in the adverse effects of a postpartum diagnosis. We will also look into the effect of lactation on breast cancer outcome after diagnosis. In addition, we will discuss the available treatment strategies that are currently being used to treat postpartum breast cancer, keeping in mind the importance of fertility preservation in this group of young women. These additional insights might offer potential therapeutic options for the improved treatment of women with this specific condition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/ijgc-2020-002072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7925817PMC
March 2021

The efficacy and safety of enzalutamide with trastuzumab in patients with HER2+ and androgen receptor-positive metastatic or locally advanced breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 May 16;187(1):155-165. Epub 2021 Feb 16.

Division of Breast Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA, 02215, USA.

Purpose: Androgen receptor (AR) expression occurs in up to 86% of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+) breast cancers. In vitro, AR inhibitors enhance antitumor activity of trastuzumab, an anti-HER2 antibody, in trastuzumab-resistant HER2+ cell lines. This open-label, single-arm, phase II study evaluated the efficacy and safety of enzalutamide, an AR-signaling inhibitor, in patients with advanced HER2+ AR+ breast cancer previously treated with trastuzumab.

Methods: Eligible patients had measurable or non-measurable evaluable disease per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) v1.1, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group status ≤ 1, no history of brain metastases, and previously received ≥ 1 anti-HER2 regimen for advanced disease. Patients received 160 mg oral enzalutamide daily and 6 mg/kg intravenous trastuzumab every 21 days until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Primary end point was clinical benefit rate at 24 weeks (CBR24); secondary end points included progression-free survival (PFS) and safety.

Results: Overall, 103 women were enrolled [median age 60 years (range 34-83)]; 62% had received ≥ 3 lines of prior anti-HER2 therapy. CBR24, comprising patients with confirmed partial responses (5%) and durable stable disease at 24 weeks (19%), was 24% in the efficacy evaluable set (n = 89). CBR24 did not seem related to AR-expression levels or hormone receptor status. Median PFS was 3.4 months (95% confidence interval 2.0-3.8). Overall, 97 (94%) patients experienced treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs), with fatigue most common (34%). Dyspnea (4%) and malignant neoplasm progression (3%) were the only TEAEs grade ≥ 3 reported in ≥ 3 patients. 22 patients (21%) reported serious TEAEs. Four patients (4%) experienced fatal, non-drug-related TEAEs.

Conclusions: Enzalutamide plus trastuzumab was well tolerated, and a subset of patients in this heavily pretreated population had durable disease control. Determination of biomarkers is needed to identify patients most likely to benefit from this combination. CLINICALTRIALS.

Gov Number: NCT02091960.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-021-06109-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062601PMC
May 2021

Concordance between results of inexpensive statistical models and multigene signatures in patients with ER+/HER2- early breast cancer.

Mod Pathol 2021 07 8;34(7):1297-1309. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department of Imaging and Pathology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Multigene signatures (MGS) are used to guide adjuvant chemotherapy (aCT) decisions in patients diagnosed with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive HER2-negative early breast cancer. We used results from three MGS (Oncotype DX® (ODX), MammaPrint® (MP) or Prosigna®) and assessed the concordance between high or low risk of recurrence and the predicted risk of recurrence based on statistical models. In addition, we looked at the impact of MGS results on final aCT administration during the multidisciplinary meeting (MDM). We retrospectively included 129 patients with ER-positive HER2-negative early breast cancer for which MGS testing was performed after MDM at University Hospitals Leuven between May 2013 and April 2019 in case there was doubt about aCT recommendation. Tumor tissue was analyzed either by ODX (N = 44), MP (N = 28), or Prosigna® (N = 57). Eight statistical models were computed: Magee equations (ME), Memorial Sloan Kettering simplified risk score (MSK-SRS), Breast Cancer Recurrence Score Estimator (BCRSE), OncotypeDXCalculator (ODXC), new Adjuvant! Online (nAOL), Mymammaprint.com (MyMP), PREDICT, and SiNK. Concordance, negative percent agreement, and positive percent agreement were calculated. Of 129 cases, 53% were MGS low and 47% MGS high risk. Concordances of 100.0% were observed between risk results obtained by ODX and ME. For MP, BCRSE demonstrated the best concordance, and for Prosigna® the average of ME. Concordances of <50.0% were observed between risk results obtained by ODX and nAOL, ODX and MyMP, ODX and SiNK, MP and MSK-SRS, MP and nAOL, MP and MyMP, MP and SiNK, and Prosigna® and ODXC. Integration of MGS results during MDM resulted in change of aCT recommendation in 47% of patients and a 15% relative and 9% absolute reduction. In conclusion, statistical models, especially ME and BCRSE, can be useful in selecting ER-positive HER2-negative early breast cancer patients who may need MGS testing resulting in enhanced cost-effectiveness and reduced delay in therapeutic decision-making.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-021-00743-8DOI Listing
July 2021

The mitotic checkpoint is a targetable vulnerability of carboplatin-resistant triple negative breast cancers.

Sci Rep 2021 02 4;11(1):3176. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

Department of Oncology, KU Leuven and Leuven Cancer Institute (LKI), 3000, Leuven, Belgium.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive breast cancer subtype, lacking effective therapy. Many TNBCs show remarkable response to carboplatin-based chemotherapy, but often develop resistance over time. With increasing use of carboplatin in the clinic, there is a pressing need to identify vulnerabilities of carboplatin-resistant tumors. In this study, we generated carboplatin-resistant TNBC MDA-MB-468 cell line and patient derived TNBC xenograft models. Mass spectrometry-based proteome profiling demonstrated that carboplatin resistance in TNBC is linked to drastic metabolism rewiring and upregulation of anti-oxidative response that supports cell replication by maintaining low levels of DNA damage in the presence of carboplatin. Carboplatin-resistant cells also exhibited dysregulation of the mitotic checkpoint. A kinome shRNA screen revealed that carboplatin-resistant cells are vulnerable to the depletion of the mitotic checkpoint regulators, whereas the checkpoint kinases CHEK1 and WEE1 are indispensable for the survival of carboplatin-resistant cells in the presence of carboplatin. We confirmed that pharmacological inhibition of CHEK1 by prexasertib in the presence of carboplatin is well tolerated by mice and suppresses the growth of carboplatin-resistant TNBC xenografts. Thus, abrogation of the mitotic checkpoint by CHEK1 inhibition re-sensitizes carboplatin-resistant TNBCs to carboplatin and represents a potential strategy for the treatment of carboplatin-resistant TNBCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-82780-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7862668PMC
February 2021

A phase Ib/II study of xentuzumab, an IGF-neutralising antibody, combined with exemestane and everolimus in hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative locally advanced/metastatic breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Res 2021 01 15;23(1). Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Breast Cancer Group, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Xentuzumab-a humanised IgG1 monoclonal antibody-binds IGF-1 and IGF-2, inhibiting their growth-promoting signalling and suppressing AKT activation by everolimus. This phase Ib/II exploratory trial evaluated xentuzumab plus everolimus and exemestane in hormone receptor-positive, locally advanced and/or metastatic breast cancer (LA/MBC).

Methods: Patients with hormone receptor-positive/HER2-negative LA/MBC resistant to non-steroidal aromatase inhibitors were enrolled. Maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of xentuzumab/everolimus/exemestane were determined in phase I (single-arm, dose-escalation). In phase II (open-label), patients were randomised 1:1 to the RP2D of xentuzumab/everolimus/exemestane or everolimus/exemestane alone. Randomisation was stratified by the presence of visceral metastases. Primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS).

Results: MTD was determined as xentuzumab 1000 mg weekly plus everolimus 10 mg/day and exemestane 25 mg/day. A total of 140 patients were enrolled in phase II (70 to each arm). Further recruitment was stopped following an unfavourable benefit-risk assessment by the internal Data Monitoring Committee appointed by the sponsor. Xentuzumab was discontinued; patients could receive everolimus/exemestane if clinically indicated. Median PFS was 7.3 months (95% CI 3.3-not calculable) in the xentuzumab/everolimus/exemestane group and 5.6 months (3.7-9.1) in the everolimus/exemestane group (hazard ratio 0.97, 95% CI 0.57-1.65; P = 0.9057). In a pre-specified subgroup of patients without visceral metastases at screening, xentuzumab/everolimus/exemestane showed evidence of PFS benefit versus everolimus/exemestane (hazard ratio 0.21 [0.05-0.98]; P = 0.0293). Most common any-cause adverse events in phase II were diarrhoea (29 [41.4%] in the xentuzumab/everolimus/exemestane group versus 20 [29.0%] in the everolimus/exemestane group), mucosal inflammation (27 [38.6%] versus 21 [30.4%]), stomatitis (24 [34.3%] versus 24 [34.8%]), and asthenia (21 [30.0%] versus 24 [34.8%]).

Conclusions: Addition of xentuzumab to everolimus/exemestane did not improve PFS in the overall population, leading to early discontinuation of the trial. Evidence of PFS benefit was observed in patients without visceral metastases when treated with xentuzumab/everolimus/exemestane, leading to initiation of the phase II XENERA™-1 trial (NCT03659136).

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02123823 . Prospectively registered, 8 March 2013.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13058-020-01382-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7811234PMC
January 2021

Clinical behavior of recurrent hormone receptor-positive breast cancer by adjuvant endocrine therapy within the Breast International Group 1-98 clinical trial.

Cancer 2021 03 8;127(5):700-708. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts.

Background: Endocrine therapy resistance is a major cause of distant recurrence (DR) in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. This study evaluated differences in survival after DR in patients treated with different adjuvant endocrine therapy regimens in the Breast International Group (BIG) 1-98 trial.

Methods: BIG 1-98 compared 5 years of adjuvant treatment among 4 arms: tamoxifen (T), letrozole (L), tamoxifen followed by letrozole (TL), and letrozole followed by tamoxifen (LT). After a median follow-up of 8.1 years, 911 of 8010 patients (T, 302; L, 285; TL, 170; and LT, 154) had DR as the site of first recurrence. Univariate and multivariate Cox analyses were performed to determine features associated with post-DR survival.

Results: The median follow-up time after DR was 59 months (interquartile range, 29-88 months). Among all patients with DR, 38.1% were 65 years old or older at enrollment, 61.9% had tumors larger than 2 cm, and 69.7% were node positive. Neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 35.6% of the patients. There was no difference in post-DR survival by treatment arm (median survival, 20.8 months for T, 17.9 months for L, 17.3 months for TL, and 20.8 months for LT; P = .21). In multivariate analysis, older patients (hazard ratio [HR], 1.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-1.59) and patients with tumors larger than 2 cm (HR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.00-1.41), 4 or more positive nodes (HR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.05-1.64), progesterone receptor (PR)-negative tumors (HR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.02-1.52), or shorter disease-free survival (DFS) had significantly worse post-DR survival.

Conclusions: Treatment with adjuvant T, L, or their sequences was not associated with differences in survival after DR. Significant differences in survival were observed by age, primary tumor size, nodal and PR status, and DFS, and this suggests that traditional baseline high-risk features remain prognostic in the metastatic setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33318DOI Listing
March 2021

Impact of a compression garment, on top of the usual care, in patients with breast cancer with early disturbance of the lymphatic transport: protocol of a randomised controlled trial.

BMJ Open 2020 12 4;10(12):e042018. Epub 2020 Dec 4.

Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Introduction: Breast cancer-related lymphoedema (BCRL) is a common phenomenon. When lymphoedema is diagnosed late, options for treatment are diminished. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are very important to alter the potential deleterious evolution. Lymphofluoroscopy visualises the superficial lymphatic architecture in detail, giving the opportunity to detect a disturbance in the lymphatic transport (ie, dermal backflow) before the lymphoedema is clinically visible.The main objective is to investigate if there is an additional effect of a compression garment on top of the usual care (ie, information and exercises) in patients with early disturbance of the lymphatic transport after breast cancer treatment. Development of clinical lymphoedema and/or deterioration of the dermal backflow visualised by lymphofluoroscopy is investigated.

Methodology: All patients scheduled for breast cancer surgery with unilateral axillary lymph node dissection or sentinel node biopsy in the Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic of the University Hospitals Leuven are being considered. Patients are assessed before surgery and at 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months postoperatively. At each visit, a clinical assessment is performed determining the volume difference between both arms and hands (through circumference measurements and water displacement), the water content, the extracellular fluid, the pitting status and the skinfold thickness. Quality of life questionnaires are filled in. At each visit, a lymphofluoroscopy is performed as well. When a disturbance of the lymphatic transport is seen on lymphofluoroscopy, without the presence of clinical lymphoedema, the patient is randomised in either a control group receiving usual care or a preventive treatment group receiving usual care and a compression garment (whether or not combined with a glove).

Ethics And Dissemination: The trial is conducted in compliance with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (2008), the principles of Good Clinical Practice and in accordance with all applicable regulatory requirements. This protocol has been approved by the Ethical Committee of the University Hospitals Leuven. Results will be disseminated by peer-reviewed scientific journals and presentation at international congresses.

Trial Registration Number: NCT03210311 CONCLUSION: The investigators hypothesise that development of clinical BCRL can be prevented and/or the dermal backflow can be stabilised or improved, if a preventive treatment with compression garment is started in the early phase of disturbance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-042018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7722384PMC
December 2020

Therapeutic Strategies for the Management of Hormone Receptor-Positive, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Positive (HR+/HER2+) Breast Cancer: A Review of the Current Literature.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 10;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Medical Oncology 2, Istituto Oncologico Veneto IOV IRCCS, 35128 Padua, Italy.

Enormous advances have been made in the understanding and treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer (HER2+ BC) in the last 30 years that have resulted in survival gains for affected patients. A growing body of evidence suggests that hormone receptor-positive (HR+)/HER2+ BC and HR-negative (HR-)/HER2+ BC are biologically different, with complex molecular bidirectional crosstalk between the estrogen receptor and HER2 pathway potentially affecting sensitivity to both HER2-targeted and endocrine therapy in patients with HR+/HER2+ BC. Subgroup analyses from trials enrolling patients with HER2+ BC and the results of clinical trials specifically designed to evaluate therapy in patients with HR+/HER2+ BC are helping to guide treatment decisions. In this context, encouraging results with strategies aimed at delaying or reversing drug resistance, including extended adjuvant therapy and the addition of drugs targeting alternative pathways, such as cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 and 6 inhibitors, have recently emerged. We have reached the point where tailoring the treatment according to risk and biology has become the paradigm in early BC. However, further clinical trials are needed that integrate translational research principles and identify and consider specific patient subgroups and biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113317DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696181PMC
November 2020

Cumulative incidence of cardiovascular events under tamoxifen and letrozole alone and in sequence: a report from the BIG 1-98 trial.

Breast Cancer Res Treat 2021 Feb 7;185(3):697-707. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Division of Biostatistics, IBCSG Statistical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.

Background: Compared to tamoxifen, adjuvant treatment with aromatase inhibitors improves disease outcomes of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer. In the international, randomized, double-blind BIG 1-98 trial, 8010 women were randomized to receive tamoxifen, letrozole, or sequential use of the agents for 5 years. With a focus on switching between agents, we investigated cardiovascular events over the entire 5-year treatment period.

Methods: Of the 6182 patients enrolled, 6144 started trial treatment and were included in this analysis. Adverse events occurring during study treatment until 30 days after cessation were considered. Eight cardiovascular event types were defined. Cumulative incidence of events were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method, without consideration for competing events. Multivariable Cox models estimated hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for pairwise comparisons of treatment arms.

Results: While on study treatment, 6.5% of patients (n = 397) had any cardiac events reported; for 2.4%, the event was grades 3-5, of which 11 (0.2%) were grade 5. Letrozole monotherapy was associated with higher risk of grade 1-5 ischemic heart disease (HR = 1.81; 95% CI, 1.06-3.08) compared with tamoxifen monotherapy. Patients assigned sequential tamoxifen →letrozole (HR = 1.59; 95% CI, 0.92-2.74) or sequential letrozole → tamoxifen (HR = 1.20; 95% CI, 0.68-2.14) showed a lesser degree of risk elevation. Patients assigned to tamoxifen-containing regimens had significantly higher risk of grade 1-5 thromboembolic events (tamoxifen monotherapy HR = 2.10; 95% CI, 1.42-3.12; tamoxifen → letrozole HR = 1.96; 95% CI, 1.32-2.92; letrozole → tamoxifen HR = 1.56; 95% CI 1.03-2.35) as compared with patients assigned letrozole alone.

Conclusion: When initiating or switching between adjuvant endocrine treatments in postmenopausal patients, age and medical history, with special attention to prior cardiovascular events, should be balanced with expected benefit of the treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10549-020-05981-zDOI Listing
February 2021

Body Mass Index and Tumor-Infiltrating Lymphocytes in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 02;113(2):146-153

Laboratory for Translational Breast Cancer Research, Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Background: High levels of stromal tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (sTIL) are associated with increased pathological complete response (pCR) rate and longer survival after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. Here, we evaluated the value of sTIL in predicting pCR and explored prognosis in TNBC patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy according to body mass index (BMI).

Methods: sTIL were scored centrally on pretreatment biopsies from 2 retrospective series of nonunderweight TNBC patients (n = 445). sTIL and BMI were considered as binary (sTIL: <30.0% vs ≥30.0%; BMI: lean vs overweight and obese) and continuous variables. Associations with pCR (ypT0/isN0) were assessed using logistic regression, and associations with event-free survival and overall survival were assessed using Cox regressions.

Results: 236 (53.0%) patients were lean and 209 (47.0%) overweight and obese. pCR was achieved in 181 of 445 (41.7%) patients. Median sTIL was 11.0%, and 99 of 445 (22.2%) tumors had high sTIL. A statistically significant interaction between sTIL and BMI, considered as categorical or continuous variables, for predicting pCR was observed in the multivariable analysis (Pinteraction = .03 and .04, respectively). High sTIL were statistically significantly associated with pCR in lean (odds ratio [OR] = 4.24, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.10 to 8.56; P < .001) but not in heavier patients (OR = 1.48, 95% CI = 0.75 to 2.91; P = .26) in the multivariable analysis. High sTIL were further associated with increased event-free survival in lean (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.22, 95% CI = 0.08 to 0.62; P = .004) but not in heavier patients (HR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.26 to 1.08; P = .08). Similar results were obtained for overall survival.

Conclusion: BMI is modifying the effect of sTIL on pCR and prognosis in TNBC patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa090DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7850533PMC
February 2021

Breast Cancer Detection and Treatment Monitoring Using a Noninvasive Prenatal Testing Platform: Utility in Pregnant and Nonpregnant Populations.

Clin Chem 2020 11;66(11):1414-1423

Department of Oncology, Laboratory of Gynecological Oncology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Background: Numerous publications have reported the incidental detection of occult malignancies upon routine noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). However, these studies were not designed to evaluate the NIPT performance for cancer detection.

Methods: We investigated the sensitivity of a genome-wide NIPT pipeline, called GIPSeq, for detecting cancer-specific copy number alterations (CNAs) in plasma tumor DNA (ctDNA) of patients with breast cancer. To assess whether a pregnancy itself, with fetal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in the maternal circulation, might influence the detection of ctDNA, results were compared in pregnant (n = 25) and nonpregnant (n = 25) cancer patients. Furthermore, the ability of GIPSeq to monitor treatment response was assessed.

Results: Overall GIPSeq sensitivity for detecting cancer-specific CNAs in plasma cfDNA was 26%. Fifteen percent of detected cases were asymptomatic at the time of blood sampling. GIPSeq sensitivity mainly depended on the tumor stage. Also, triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) were more frequently identified compared to hormone-positive or HER2-enriched tumors. This might be due to the presence of high-level gains and losses of cfDNA or high ctDNA loads in plasma of TNBC. Although higher GIPSeq sensitivity was noted in pregnant (36%) than in nonpregnant women (16%), the limited sample size prohibits a definite conclusion. Finally, GIPSeq profiling of cfDNA during therapy allowed monitoring of early treatment response.

Conclusions: The results underscore the potential of NIPT-based tests, analyzing CNAs in plasma cfDNA in a genome-wide and unbiased fashion for breast cancer detection, cancer subtyping and treatment monitoring in a pregnant and nonpregnant target population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clinchem/hvaa196DOI Listing
November 2020

Ribociclib plus fulvestrant in the treatment of breast cancer.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2021 01 5;21(1):93-106. Epub 2020 Nov 5.

CHU Liège and Liège University , Liège, Belgium.

Introduction: Endocrine therapy (ET) is a standard first-line treatment for hormone receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced breast cancer (ABC) Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i) have demonstrated significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) with ET in patients with ABC. Recent reports indicate that the addition of the CDK4/6i ribociclib to ET, including fulvestrant, significantly improves PFS and overall survival (OS).

Areas Covered: This review summarizes the efficacy and safety of ribociclib plus fulvestrant in HR+/HER2- ABC and its role in clinical practice. Various post-progression strategies are discussed.

Expert Opinion: In MONALEESA-3, ribociclib +fulvestrant significantly improved PFS and OS in postmenopausal patients who received no prior chemotherapy and ≤1 prior line of ET for ABC and benefited many patient subgroups, including those with visceral metastases and ET resistance. The safety of this combination is manageable and consistent with the known safety profile of ribociclib, with myelosuppression being a common and expected toxicity; other relevant toxicities requiring monitoring that occur at a low rate include hepatobiliary toxicity, pneumonitis, and QTc prolongation. There is an important role for CDK4/6i + ET, including ribociclib + fulvestrant, in clinical practice. The optimal position of CDK4/6i in first or subsequent lines of treatment and the optimal post-CDK4/6i progression strategies are not yet elucidated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737140.2021.1840360DOI Listing
January 2021

Genomic Aberrations and Late Recurrence in Postmenopausal Women with Hormone Receptor-positive Early Breast Cancer: Results from the SOLE Trial.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 01 20;27(2):504-512. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, IEO, European Institute of Oncology IRCCS, Milan, International Breast Cancer Study Group Central Pathology Office and University of Milan, Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Purpose: Women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancers have a persistent risk of relapse and biomarkers for late recurrence are needed. We sought to identify tumor genomic aberrations associated with increased late-recurrence risk.

Experimental Design: In a secondary analysis of Study of Letrozole Extension trial, a case-cohort-like sampling selected 598 primary breast cancers for targeted next-generation sequencing analysis of gene mutations and copy-number gains (CNGs). Correlations of genomic aberrations with clinicopathologic factors and breast and distant recurrence-free intervals (BCFIs and DRFIs) were analyzed using weighted Cox models.

Results: Analysis of mutations and CNGs was successfully performed for 403 and 350 samples, including 148 and 134 patients with breast cancer recurrences (median follow-up time, 5.2 years), respectively. The most frequent alterations were mutations (42%) and CNGs of (15%), (10%), (8%), and (8%). mutations and CNGs were associated with lower ( = 0.03) and higher ( = 0.004) tumor grade, respectively; a higher Ki-67 was seen in tumor with , and CNGs ( = 0.01, < 0.001, and = 0.03, respectively). CNG was associated with an increased risk of late events in univariate analyses [17/29 patients; BCFI: HR, 3.2; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.48-6.92; = 0.003 and DRFI: HR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.61-7.75; = 0.002) and in multivariable models adjusted for clinicopathologic factors.

Conclusions: Postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive early breast cancer harboring CNG had an increased risk of late recurrence despite extended therapy. CNG may represent a useful prognostic biomarker for late recurrence and a therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-0126DOI Listing
January 2021

Ribociclib plus fulvestrant for advanced breast cancer: Health-related quality-of-life analyses from the MONALEESA-3 study.

Breast 2020 Dec 23;54:148-154. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

Practice for Haematology and Internal Oncology, Velbert, Germany.

Purpose: In the MONALEESA-3 Phase III trial of patients with hormone receptor-positive human epidermal growth factor receptor-negative advanced breast cancer, ribociclib plus fulvestrant significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Here, we present patient-reported outcomes from the trial, including health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Methods: Patients were randomized (2:1) to receive ribociclib plus fulvestrant or placebo plus fulvestrant. Time to definitive 10% deterioration (TTD) from baseline in HRQOL (global health status [GHS] from the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire) and pain (BPI-SF questionnaire) were assessed using Kaplan-Meier estimates; a stratified Cox regression model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) and 95% CIs.

Results: Deterioration ≥10% in the EORTC-QLQ-C30 GHS was observed in 33% of patients in the ribociclib group vs 34% of patients in the placebo (reference) group (HR for TTD ≥ 10% = 0.81 [95% CI, 0.62-1.1]). Similar findings were noted for TTD ≥5% (HR = 0.79 [95% CI, 0.61-1.0]) and TTD ≥15% (HR = 0.81 [95% CI, 0.60-1.08]). TTD ≥10% in emotional functioning (HR = 0.76 [95% CI, 0.57-1.01]) trended in favor of the ribociclib group, whereas results for fatigue and pain were similar between arms. TTD ≥10% in BPI-SF pain severity index score (HR = 0.77 [95% CI, 0.57-1.05]) and worst pain item score (HR = 0.81 [95% CI, 0.58-1.12]) trended in favor of ribociclib vs placebo.

Conclusions: In addition to significantly prolonging PFS and OS compared with placebo plus fulvestrant, adding ribociclib to fulvestrant maintains HRQOL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2020.09.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567051PMC
December 2020
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