Publications by authors named "Patrizia Vici"

158 Publications

Correction: Tgf-β1 transcriptionally promotes 90K expression: possible implications for cancer progression.

Cell Death Discov 2021 May 11;7(1):100. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences and Center for Advanced Studies and Technology (CAST), G. D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41420-021-00490-4DOI Listing
May 2021

PONDx: real-life utilization and decision impact of the 21-gene assay on clinical practice in Italy.

NPJ Breast Cancer 2021 May 5;7(1):47. Epub 2021 May 5.

Istituto Nazionale Tumori Fondazione G. Pascale, Napoli, Italy.

Clinicopathological prognostic features have limited value to identify with precision newly diagnosed patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer (BC), who would benefit from chemotherapy (CT) in addition to adjuvant hormonal therapy (HT). The 21-gene Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score (RS) assay has been demonstrated to predict CT benefit, hence supporting personalized decisions on adjuvant CT. The multicenter, prospective, observational study PONDx investigated the real-life use of RS results in Italy and its impact on treatment decisions. Physicians' treatment recommendations (HT ± CT) were documented before and after availability of RS results, and changes in recommendations were determined. In the HR+ HER2- early BC population studied (N = 1738), physicians recommended CT + HT in 49% of patients pre-RS. RS-guided treatment decisions resulted in 36% reduction of CT recommendations. PONDx confirms that RS results provide clinically relevant information for CT recommendation in early-stage BC, resulting in a reduction of more than a third of CT use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41523-021-00246-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099872PMC
May 2021

Circulating HPV DNA in the Management of Oropharyngeal and Cervical Cancers: Current Knowledge and Future Perspectives.

J Clin Med 2021 Apr 6;10(7). Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are associated with invasive malignancies, including almost 100% of cervical cancers (CECs), and 35-70% of oropharyngeal cancers (OPCs). HPV infection leads to clinical implications in related tumors by determining better prognosis and predicting treatment response, especially in OPC. Currently, specific and minimally invasive tests allow for detecting HPV-related cancer at an early phase, informing more appropriately therapeutical decisions, and allowing for timely disease monitoring. A blood-based biomarker detectable in liquid biopsy represents an ideal candidate, and the use of circulating HPV DNA (ct-DNA) itself could offer the highest specificity for such a scope. Circulating HPV DNA is detectable in the greatest part of patients affected by HPV-related cancers, and studies have demonstrated its potential usefulness for CEC and OPC clinical management. Unfortunately, when using conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the detection rate of serum HPV DNA is low. Innovative techniques such as droplet-based digital PCR and next generation sequencing are becoming increasingly available for the purpose of boosting HPV ct-DNA detection rate. We herein review and critically discuss the most recent and representative literature, concerning the role of HPV ctDNA in OPC and CEC in the light of new technologies that could improve the potential of this biomarker in fulfilling many of the unmet needs in the clinical management of OPC and CEC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10071525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8038737PMC
April 2021

Tgf-β1 transcriptionally promotes 90K expression: possible implications for cancer progression.

Cell Death Discov 2021 Apr 22;7(1):86. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences and Center for Advanced Studies and Technology (CAST), G. D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.

The 90K protein, also known as Mac-2 BP or LGALS3BP, can activate the immune response in part by increasing major histocompatibility (MHC) class I levels. In studies on a non-immune cell model, the rat FRTL-5 cell line, we observed that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, like γ-interferon (IFN), increased 90K levels, despite its immunosuppressive functions and the ability to decrease MHC class I. To explain this paradoxical result, we investigated the mechanisms involved in the TGF-β1 regulation of 90K expression with the aim to demonstrate that TGF-β1 utilizes different molecular pathways to regulate the two genes. We found that TGF-β1 was able to increase the binding of Upstream Stimulatory Factors, USF1 and USF2, to an E-box element, CANNTG, at -1926 to -1921 bp, upstream of the interferon response element (IRE) in the 90K promoter. Thyrotropin (TSH) suppressed constitutive and γ-IFN-induced 90K expression by decreasing USF binding to the E-box. TGF-β1 was able to overcome TSH suppression at the transcriptional level by increasing USF binding to the E-box. We suggest that the ability of TGF-β1 to increase 90K did not result in an increase in MHC class I because of a separate suppressive action of TGF-β1 directly on the MHC class I gene. We propose that the increased levels of 90K may play a role, rather than in immune response, in the context of the TGF-β1-induced changing of the cellular microenvironment that predisposes to cell motility and cancer progression. Consistently, analyzing the publicly available cancer patient data sets cBioPortal, we found that 90K expression directly correlated with TGF-β1 and USFs and that high levels of 90K were significantly associated with increased mortality in patients affected by different types of cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41420-021-00469-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8062489PMC
April 2021

Second-line Eribulin in Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer patients. Multicentre Retrospective Study: The TETRIS Trial.

Int J Med Sci 2021 27;18(10):2245-2250. Epub 2021 Mar 27.

Bio-Statistics Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Large and consistent evidence supports the use of eribulin mesylate in clinical practice in third or later line treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer (mTNBC). Conversely, there is paucity of data on eribulin efficacy in second line treatment. We investigated outcomes of 44 mTNBC patients treated from 2013 through 2019 with second line eribulin mesylate in a multicentre retrospective study involving 14 Italian oncologic centres. Median age was 51 years, with 11.4% of these patients being metastatic at diagnosis. Median overall survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS) from eribulin starting were 11.9 (95%CI: 8.4-15.5) and 3.5 months (95%CI: 1.7-5.3), respectively. We observed 8 (18.2%) partial responses and 10 (22.7%) patients had stable disease as best response. A longer PFS on previous first line treatment predicted a better OS (HR=0.87, 95%CI: 0.77-0.99, p= 0.038) and a longer PFS on eribulin treatment (HR=0.92, 95%CI: 0.85-0.98, p=0.018). Progression free survival to eribulin was also favorably influenced by prior adjuvant chemotherapy (HR=0.44, 95%CI: 0.22-0.88, p=0.02). Eribulin was generally well tolerated, with grade 3-4 adverse events being recorded in 15.9% of patients. The outcomes described for our cohort are consistent with those reported in the pivotal Study301 and subsequent observational studies. Further data from adequately-sized, ad hoc trials on eribulin use in second line for mTNBC are warranted to confirm our findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.54996DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040412PMC
March 2021

Burnout of health care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic: Focus on Medical Oncologists.

Int J Med Sci 2021 26;18(10):2235-2238. Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi, 00144 Rome, Italy.

The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) has challenged hard the national health system worldwide. At any level, the role of health care providers has been rapidly revisited and eventually modified to face the pandemic. The search of the balance between the provision of the most appropriate health-related services and safety of both patients and health care providers has become an indisputable necessity. The consequently increased work load, along with a widespread feeling of intellectual isolation, emotional overload, sense of inadequacy for involvement in tasks and disciplines which are not always familiar have all been proposed as factors related to the onset and/or worsening of the burnout phenomenon. This latter is sadly renown among care givers and is particularly common among medical oncologists. We herein share our perspectives on the burnout phenomenon over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a specific focus on medical oncologists. Results from the most recent and inherent studies are presented and commented in light of hints provided by the experience matured by a quite restricted, still potentially representative, number of professionals figures from the medical oncologists' category. Reasons are proposed to explain the sense of inadequacy currently perceived in relation to the limits imposed by the current pandemic. In more detail, we illustrate the nature and extents of some of the most relevant difficulties in the optimal management of cancer patients and constant efforts towards the scientific upgrade which allows for the improvement of the professional performance. The need for a deeper understanding of the roots and consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of medical oncologists is finally stressed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/ijms.54025DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8040416PMC
April 2021

COVID-19 risk in breast cancer patients receiving CDK4/6 inhibitors: literature data and a monocentric experience.

Breast J 2021 04 6;27(4):359-362. Epub 2021 Mar 6.

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

Substantial changes in the management of cancer patients have been required worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the due details on the primitive cancer site and setting at diagnosis, these latter adaptions are most commonly exemplified by a significant reduction in the screening of asymptomatic subjects, delays in elective surgery and radiotherapy for primary tumors, and dose reductions and/or delays in systemic therapy administration. Advanced breast cancer patients with hormonal receptor positive, HER2 negative tumors are usually treated with endocrine therapy combined with CDK 4/6 inhibitors as first- and second-line treatment. During the pandemic, experts' recommendations have suggested the omission or delay of CDK 4/6 inhibitors delivery, or a careful evaluation of their real need due to the hypothesized increased risk of SARS-Cov-2 infection and disease possibly related to neutropenia. The inherent literature is sparse and inconsistent. We herein present data on the use of CDK 4/6 inhibitors during the pandemic. The evidence reported punctually reflects the experience matured at our Institution, a comprehensive cancer centre, on the topic of interest.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tbj.14204DOI Listing
April 2021

CDK4/6 Inhibitor Treatments in Patients with Hormone Receptor Positive, Her2 Negative Advanced Breast Cancer: Potential Molecular Mechanisms, Clinical Implications and Future Perspectives.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jan 18;13(2). Epub 2021 Jan 18.

Oncology Unit, Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa 1035-1039, 00189 Rome, Italy.

Hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer is the most common breast cancer subtype, and endocrine therapy (ET) remains its therapeutic backbone. Although anti-estrogen therapies are usually effective initially, approximately 50% of HR+ patients develop resistance to ET within their lifetime, ultimately leading to disease recurrence and limited clinical benefit. The recent addition of cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (CDK4) and CDK6 inhibitors (palbociclib, ribociclib, abemaciclib) to ET have remarkably improved the outcome of patients with HR+ advanced breast cancer (ABC) compared with anti-estrogens alone, by targeting the cell-cycle machinery and overcoming some aspects of endocrine resistance. However, which patients are the better candidates for these drugs, which are the main characteristics for a better selection of patients or if there are predictive biomarkers of response, is still unknown. In this review we reported the mechanism of action of CDK4/6 inhibitors as well as their potential mechanism of resistance, their implications in clinical practice and the forthcoming strategies to enhance their efficacy in improving survival and quality of life of patients affected with HR+, HER2-, ABC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13020332DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7830463PMC
January 2021

Palbociclib Plus Fulvestrant or Everolimus Plus Exemestane for Pretreated Advanced Breast Cancer with Lobular Histotype in ER+/HER2- Patients: A Propensity Score-Matched Analysis of a Multicenter Retrospective Patient Series.

J Pers Med 2020 Dec 18;10(4). Epub 2020 Dec 18.

Comprehensive Cancer Center, UOC di Oncologia Medica, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Rome, Italy.

Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i) in combination with endocrine therapy (ET) show meaningful efficacy and tolerability in patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), but the optimal sequence of ET has not been established. It is not clear if patients with lobular breast carcinomas (LBC) derive the same benefits when receiving second line CDK4/6i. This retrospective study compared the efficacy of palbociclib plus fulvestrant (PALBO-FUL) with everolimus plus exemestane (EVE-EXE) as second-line ET for hormone-resistant metastatic LBC. From 2013 to 2018, patients with metastatic LBC positivity for estrogen and/or progesterone receptors and HER2/neu negativity, who had relapsed during adjuvant hormonal therapy or first-line hormonal treatment, were enrolled from six centers in Italy in this retrospective study. A total of 74 out of 376 patients (48 treated with PALBO-FUL and 26 with EVE-EXE) with metastatic LBC were eligible for inclusion. Progression-free survival (PFS) was longer in patients receiving EVE-EXE compared with PALBO-FUL (6.1 vs. 4.5 months, univariate HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.35-0.96; = 0.025). On the propensity score (PS) analysis, PFS was confirmed to be significantly longer for patients treated with EVE-EXE compared to PALBO-FUL (6.0 vs. 4.6 months, = 0.04). This retrospective analysis suggests that EVE-EXE is more effective than PALBO-FUL for second line ET of metastatic LBC, allowing us to speculate on the optimal therapeutic sequence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jpm10040291DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7766166PMC
December 2020

Loss of HER2 and decreased T-DM1 efficacy in HER2 positive advanced breast cancer treated with dual HER2 blockade: the SePHER Study.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2020 Dec 10;39(1):279. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Medical Oncology, Paolo Giaccone University Hospital, Palermo, Italy.

Background: HER2-targeting agents have dramatically changed the therapeutic landscape of HER2+ advanced breast cancer (ABC). Within a short time frame, the rapid introduction of new therapeutics has led to the approval of pertuzumab combined with trastuzumab and a taxane in first-line, and trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) in second-line. Thereby, evidence of T-DM1 efficacy following trastuzumab/pertuzumab combination is limited, with data from some retrospective reports suggesting lower activity. The purpose of the present study is to investigate T-DM1 efficacy in pertuzumab-pretreated and pertuzumab naïve HER2 positive ABC patients. We also aimed to provide evidence on the exposure to different drugs sequences including pertuzumab and T-DM1 in HER2 positive cell lines.

Methods: The biology of HER2 was investigated in vitro through sequential exposure of resistant HER2 + breast cancer cell lines to trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and their combination. In vitro experiments were paralleled by the analysis of data from 555 HER2 + ABC patients treated with T-DM1 and evaluation of T-DM1 efficacy in the 371 patients who received it in second line. Survival estimates were graphically displayed in Kaplan Meier curves, compared by log rank test and, when possibile, confirmed in multivariate models.

Results: We herein show evidence of lower activity of T-DM1 in two HER2+ breast cancer cell lines resistant to trastuzumab+pertuzumab, as compared to trastuzumab-resistant cells. Lower T-DM1 efficacy was associated with a marked reduction of HER2 expression on the cell membrane and its nuclear translocation. HER2 downregulation at the membrane level was confirmed in biopsies of four trastuzumab/pertuzumab-pretreated patients. Among the 371 patients treated with second-line T-DM1, median overall survival (mOS) from diagnosis of advanced disease and median progression-free survival to second-line treatment (mPFS2) were 52 and 6 months in 177 patients who received trastuzumab/pertuzumab in first-line, and 74 and 10 months in 194 pertuzumab-naïve patients (p = 0.0006 and 0.03 for OS and PFS2, respectively).

Conclusions: Our data support the hypothesis that the addition of pertuzumab to trastuzumab reduces the amount of available plasma membrane HER2 receptor, limiting the binding of T-DM1 in cancer cells. This may help interpret the less favorable outcomes of second-line T-DM1 in trastuzumab/pertuzumab pre-treated patients compared to their pertuzumab-naïve counterpart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-020-01797-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731769PMC
December 2020

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

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

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

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

Plant-Derived Natural Compounds in Genetic Vaccination and Therapy for HPV-Associated Cancers.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Oct 23;12(11). Epub 2020 Oct 23.

HPV-UNIT-UOSD Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Antigen-specific immunotherapy and, in particular, DNA vaccination provides an established approach for tackling human papillomavirus (HPV) cancers at different stages. DNA vaccines are stable and have a cost-effective production. Their intrinsic low immunogenicity has been improved by several strategies with some success, including fusion of HPV antigens with plant gene sequences. Another approach for the control of HPV cancers is the use of natural immunomodulatory agents like those derived from plants, that are able to interfere in carcinogenesis by modulating many different cellular pathways and, in some instances, to reduce chemo- and radiotherapy resistance of tumors. Indeed, plant-derived compounds represent, in many cases, an abundantly available, cost-effective source of molecules that can be either harvested directly in nature or obtained from plant cell cultures. In this review, an overview of the most relevant data reported in literature on the use of plant natural compounds and genetic vaccines that include plant-derived sequences against HPV tumors is provided. The purpose is also to highlight the still under-explored potential of multimodal treatments implying DNA vaccination along with plant-derived agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7690868PMC
October 2020

Neoadjuvant Immune-Checkpoint Blockade in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Current Evidence and Literature-Based Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Sep 3;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 3.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Chemotherapy based on the sequential use of anthracyclines and taxanes has long represented the most efficacious approach in the management of early-stage, triple-negative breast cancer, whose aggressive behavior is widely renowned. This standard chemotherapy backbone was subsequently enriched by the use of carboplatin, based on its association with increased pathologic complete response and efficacy in the metastatic setting. Following the results from the IMpassion130 trial, the recent approval of the immunotherapic agent atezolizumab in combination with chemotherapy as first-line treatment for programmed-death ligand 1-positive, unresectable locally advanced, or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer increasingly fueled the flourishing of trials of immune-checkpoint inhibitors in the early setting. In this work, we review the most recent inherent literature in light of key methodological issues and provide a quantitative summary of the results from phase II-III randomized trials of immunotherapic agents combined with chemotherapy in the setting of interest. Hints regarding future directions are also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12092497DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7565914PMC
September 2020

Breast cancer surgery during the Covid-19 pandemic: a monocentre experience from the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome.

J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2020 Aug 27;39(1):171. Epub 2020 Aug 27.

Department of Surgery, Division of Breast Surgery, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi 53, 00144, Rome, Italy.

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged hard the national health systems worldwide. According to the national policy issued in March 2020 in response to the evolving Covid-19 pandemic, several hospitals were re-configured as Covid-19 centers and elective surgery procedures were rescheduled according to the most recent recommendations. In addition, Covid-19 protected cancer hubs were established, including the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute of Rome, Central Italy. At our Institute, the Breast Surgery Department continued working under the sign of a multidisciplinary approach. The number of professional figures involved in case evaluation was reduced to a minimum and interactions took place in the full respect of the required safety measures. Treatments for benign disease, pure prophylactic surgery and elective reconstructive procedures were all postponed and priority was assigned to the histologically-proven malignant breast tumors and highly suspicious lesions. From March 15th though April 30th 2020, we treated a total of 79 patients. This number is fully consistent with the average quantitative standards reached by our Department under ordinary circumstances. Patients were mostly discharged the day after surgery and none was readmitted due to surgery-related late complications. More generally, post-operative complications rates were unexpectedly low, particularly in light of the relatively high number of reconstructive procedures performed in this emergency situation. A strict follow up was performed based on the close contact with the surgical staff by telephone, messaging apps and telemedicine.Patients ascertainment for their Covid-19 status prior to hospital admission and hospital discharge allowed to maintain the "no-Covid-19" status at our Institution. In addition, during the aforementioned time window, none of the care providers developed SARS-CoV-2 infection or disease, as shown by the results of anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin M and G profiling. In conclusions, elective breast cancer surgery procedures were successfully performed in a lockdown situation due to a novel viral pandemic. The well-coordinated regional and hospital efforts in terms of medical resource re-allocation and definition of clinical priorities allowed to maintain high quality standards of breast cancer care while ensuring safety to the cancer patients and care providers involved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13046-020-01683-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7450921PMC
August 2020

Cancer patients and coronavirus disease 2019: evidence in context.

J Transl Med 2020 08 15;18(1):315. Epub 2020 Aug 15.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS IFO-Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144, Rome, Italy.

In the rapidly evolving coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, inherent literature has been increasing at an impressive rate. Such a dynamic scenario imposes the necessity to define a new framework for cancer care. The first emerging evidence has transmitted contrasting messages with regards to cancer care management. Some authors have hypothesized an increased infection risk for cancer patients, with a more severe disease, requiring a reorganization of health care system that could disrupt an established high quality cancer care routine in many developed countries. Other authors have attempted to interpret data related to cancer patients by better defining their "active status". We herein present our point of view in the light of current evidence and based on the experience matured at our cancer institute in managing cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our core idea is that "active cancer" may be considered a proxy of more recent exposure to diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, and the frequency of access to health care facilities can be predicted as a function of the severity of cancer symptoms. Hence, COVID-19 screening program and the adjustment of cancer care provision in a cancer institutions should be led by this risk model, while awaiting new evidence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12967-020-02483-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429080PMC
August 2020

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

J Immunother Cancer 2020 08;8(2)

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

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

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

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

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

Case report: 5-year progression free survival and complete liver response in a patient with metastatic breast cancer treated with everolimus plus exemestane.

Medicine (Baltimore) 2020 Jul;99(31):e21211

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

Rationale: Within a rapidly expanding therapeutic armamentarium, the combination of everolimus (Eve) plus exemestane (Exe) utility needs to be reinstated in hormone receptor positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 negative (HER2-) metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

Patient Concerns: We herein report on a patient affected by HR+ HER2- MBC treated with radical surgery after neoadjuvant chemotherapy, who relapsed early on adjuvant tamoxifen, progressed rapidly on first line anastrozole, and failed treatment with third line capecitabine.

Diagnoses: Metastatic luminal breast cancer progressed under standard endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.

Interventions: Third line with Eve plus Exe was given after chemotherapy.

Outcomes: Patient experienced a 5-year progression free interval.

Lessons: Eve plus Exe remains a valid option in HR+HER2- MBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000021211DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402792PMC
July 2020

p53 and BLC2 Immunohistochemical Expression Across Molecular Subtypes in 1099 Early Breast Cancer Patients With Long-Term Follow-up: An Observational Study.

Clin Breast Cancer 2020 12 13;20(6):e761-e770. Epub 2020 May 13.

Biostatistics and Bioinformatic Unit, Scientific Direction, IRCCS, Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy.

Introduction: p53 and antiapoptotic B-cell leukemia/lymphoma 2 (BLC2) have been proposed as prognostic markers for early breast cancer (BC), although their relationship with conventional parameters and patient prognosis, as well as their distribution within the molecular BC subtypes remains uncertain.

Patients And Methods: In this observational study, we analyzed the immunohistochemical expression of p53 and BLC2 in 1099 early BC patients surgically treated between 2000 and 2006 and followed for at least 5 years, also considering their association with pathologic factors and molecular subtypes, as well as their influence on disease-free survival.

Results: p53 and BLC2 are distributed differently across molecular subtypes (P < .0001); in particular, p53 positivity and BLC2 negativity seems to be associated with more aggressive conventional tumor phenotypes. Moreover, BLC2 negativity seems to be a significant discriminating factor for disease-free survival (P = .003) according to Kaplan-Meier analysis, while p53 seems to have no discriminating effect. Among patients with discordant p53/BLC2 phenotype, the combination p53BLC2 seems to be associated with the worst outcomes (P = .007) and significantly influenced the clinical course of node-negative patients treated only with hormone therapy (P = .004).

Conclusion: These two biomarkers, in addition to conventional pathologic factors and molecular subtype, could help define the risk and outcome of BC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clbc.2020.05.005DOI Listing
December 2020

Neoadjuvant Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer: Current Knowledge and Future Perspectives.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 May 16;21(10). Epub 2020 May 16.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, 00144 Rome, Italy.

In locally advanced (LA) breast cancer (BC), neoadjuvant treatments have led to major achievements, which hold particular relevance in HER2-positive and triple-negative BC. Conversely, their role in hormone receptor positive (HR+), hormone epidermal growth factor 2 negative (HER2-) BC is still under debate, mainly due to the generally low rates of pathological complete response (pCR) and lower accuracy of pCR as predictors of long-term outcomes in this patient subset. While administration of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) in LA, HR+, HER2- BC patients is widely used in clinical practice, neoadjuvant endocrine therapy (NET) still retains an unfulfilled potential in the management of these subgroups, particularly in elderly and unfit patients. In addition, NET has gained a central role as a platform to test new drugs and predictive biomarkers in previously untreated patients. We herein present historical data regarding Tamoxifen and/or Aromatase Inhibitors and a debate on recent evidence regarding agents such as CDK4/6 and PI3K/mTOR inhibitors in the neoadjuvant setting. We also discuss key issues concerning the optimal treatment length, appropriate comparisons with NCT efficacy and use of NET in premenopausal patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21103528DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278946PMC
May 2020

Expanding use of rucaparib as maintenance therapy in recurrent ovarian cancer: updates from the ARIEL3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2020 05;21(5):616-617

Department of Radiological, Oncological and Anatomo-Pathological Sciences, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza University of Rome, 00161 Rome, Italy. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30079-6DOI Listing
May 2020

The Agnostic Role of Site of Metastasis in Predicting Outcomes in Cancer Patients Treated with Immunotherapy.

Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Apr 28;8(2). Epub 2020 Apr 28.

Department of Clinical and molecular oncology, University of Rome "Sapienza", 00185 Rome, Italy.

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized treatment and outcome of melanoma and many other solid malignancies including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Unfortunately, only a minority of patients have a long-term benefit, while the remaining demonstrate primary or acquired resistance. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the prevalence of programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) varies based on the anatomical site of metastases. In particular, liver seems to have more immunosuppressive microenvironment while both the presence of lymph nodal disease and lung metastases seem to have the highest prevalence of PD-L1 and TILs. The aim of the present study is to investigate the possible role of site of metastases as a predictive factor for response or resistance to immunotherapy in several types of cancer. In this multicenter retrospective study, we enrolled patients with metastatic NSCLC, melanoma, RCC, urothelial, merkel carcinoma, and colon cancer who received immunotherapy from April 2015 to August 2019. Major clinicopathological parameters were retrieved and correlated with patients' survival outcomes in order to assess their prognostic value and build a useful tool to assist in the decision-making process. A total of 291 patients were included in this study. One hundred eighty-seven (64%) patients were male and 104 (36%) female. The tumor histology was squamous NSCLC in 56 (19%) patients, non-squamous NSCLC in 99 (34%) patients, melanoma in 101 (35%) patients, RCC in 28 (10%) patients, and other tumors in the remaining 7 (2%) patients. The number of metastatic sites was 1 in 103 patients (35%), 2 in 104 patients (36%) and 3 in 84 patients (29%). Out of 183 valuable patients, the entity of response was complete response (CR), partial response (PR), stable disease (SD), and progression disease (PD) in 15, 53, 31, and 79 patients, respectively. Using an univariate analysis (UVA), tumor burden ( = 0.0004), the presence of liver ( = 0.0009), bone ( = 0.0016), brain metastases ( < 0.0001), the other metastatic sites ( = 0.0375), the number of metastatic sites ( = 0.0039), the histology ( = 0.0034), the upfront use of immunotherapy ( = 0.0032), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Perfomance status (PS) ≥ 1 ( < 0.0001) were significantly associated with poor overall survival (OS). Using a multivariate analysis (MVA) the presence of liver ( = 0.0105) and brain ( = 0.0026) metastases, the NSCLC diagnosis ( < 0.0001) and the ECOG PS ( < 0.0001) resulted as significant prognostic factors of survival. Regarding the progression free survival (PFS), using a UVA of the tumor burden ( = 0.0004), bone ( = 0.0098) and brain ( = 0.0038) metastases, the presence of other metastatic sites ( = 0.0063), the number of metastatic sites ( = 0.0007), the histology ( = 0.0007), the use of immunotherapy as first line ( = 0.0031), and the ECOG PS ≥ 1 ( ≤ 0.0001) were associated with a lower PFS rate. Using an MVA, the presence of brain ( = 0.0088) and liver metastases ( = 0.024) and the ECOG PS ( < 0.0001) resulted as predictors of poor PFS. Our study suggests that the site of metastases could have a role as prognostic and predictive factor in patients treated with immunotherapy. Indeed, regardless of the histology, the presence of liver and brain metastases was associated with a shorter PFS and OS, but these results must be confirmed in further studies. In this context, a deep characterization of microenvironment could be crucial to prepare patients through novel strategies with combination or sequential immunotherapy in order to improve treatment response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349154PMC
April 2020

The Impact of Locoregional Treatment on Response to Nivolumab in Advanced Platinum Refractory Head and Neck Cancer: The Need Trial.

Vaccines (Basel) 2020 Apr 20;8(2). Epub 2020 Apr 20.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Rome "Sapienza", 00161 Rome, Italy.

Background: Previous locoregional treatment could affect the response to nivolumab in platinum-refractory recurrent/metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (R/M HNSCC). The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of the clinicopathological characteristics and previous treatment in predicting early progression to nivolumab in a real-world population.

Methods: This is an observational, multicenter retrospective/prospective study including patients (pts) with platinum refractory R/M HNSCC who received nivolumab 240 mg every 2 weeks from October 2018 to October 2019. We analyzed the association between previous treatment, clinicopathological characteristics, and early progression (within 3 months).

Results: Data from 61 pts were reviewed. Median age was 67 years (30-82). Forty-two pts (69%) received previous locoregional treatment. Early progression to nivolumab occurred in 36 pts (59%), while clinical benefit (stable disease and partial response) was achieved in 25 pts (41%). Early progression to nivolumab was significantly associated to previous locoregional treatment both at univariate and multivariate analysis ( = 0.005 and = 0.048, respectively).

Conclusion: nivolumab in R/M HNSCC is burdened with a high early progression rate. Previous wide neck dissection and high dose radiotherapy may compromise the efficacy of nivolumab, distorting the anatomy of the local lymphatic system and hindering the priming of immune response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020191DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7349768PMC
April 2020

Observational Multicenter Study on the Prognostic Relevance of Coagulation Activation in Risk Assessment and Stratification in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer. Outline of the ARIAS Trial.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Apr 1;12(4). Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi, 00144 Rome, Italy.

A hypercoagulable state may either underlie or frankly accompany cancer disease at its onset or emerge in course of cancer development. Whichever the case, hypercoagulation may severely limit administration of cancer therapies, impose integrative supporting treatments and finally have an impact on prognosis. Within a flourishing research pipeline, a recent study of stage I-IIA breast cancer patients has allowed the development of a prognostic model including biomarkers of coagulation activation, which efficiently stratified prognosis of patients in the study cohort. We are now validating our risk assessment tool in an independent cohort of 108 patients with locally advanced breast cancer with indication to neo-adjuvant therapy followed by breast surgery. Within this study population, we will use our tool for risk assessment and stratification in reference to 1. pathologic complete response rate at definitive surgery, intended as our primary endpoint, and 2. rate of thromboembolic events, intended as our secondary endpoint. Patients' screening and enrollment procedures are currently in place. The trial will be shortly enriched by experimental tasks centered on next-generation sequencing techniques for identifying additional molecular targets of treatments which may integrate current standards of therapy in high-risk patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12040849DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226579PMC
April 2020

Is There Still a Role for Endocrine Therapy Alone in HR+/HER2- Advanced Breast Cancer Patients? Results from the Analysis of Two Data Sets of Patients Treated with High-Dose Fulvestrant as First-Line Therapy in the Real-World Setting: The EVA and GIM-13 AMBRA Studies.

Breast Care (Basel) 2020 Feb 17;15(1):30-37. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Oncology Unit, Ospedale Moriggia Pelascini, Gravedona, Italy.

Background: Different studies suggest that fulvestrant 500 mg every 28 days (HD-FUL) could be an active treatment in HR+ advanced breast cancer (ABC) patients even treated with aromatase inhibitors in the adjuvant setting. The aim of this analysis is to describe the outcome of ABC patients treated with HD-FUL as first-line treatment in terms of median duration of treatment and the overall response rate in a real-world setting.

Methods: For the purpose of the present analysis, we considered two data sets of HR+ ABC patients collected in Italy between 2012 and 2015 (EVA and GIM-13 AMBRA studies).

Results: Eighty-one and 91 patients have been identified from the two data sets. The median age was 63 years (range 35-82) for the EVA and 57.8 years (range 35.0-82.3) for the AMBRA patients. ORRs were 23.5 and 24.3% in the whole population, 26.9% in the patients with bone only, and 21.8 and 21.4% in those with visceral metastases. The median duration of HD-FUL was 11.6 months (range 1-48) and 12.4 months (range 2.9-70.0) in the two data sets, respectively.

Conclusion: These data suggest that HD-FUL should still continue to play a significant role as first-line therapy in HR+ ABC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000495469DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7098305PMC
February 2020

Impact of BMI on HER2+ metastatic breast cancer patients treated with pertuzumab and/or trastuzumab emtansine. Real-world evidence.

J Cell Physiol 2020 11 15;235(11):7900-7910. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Medical Oncology Unit, Belcolle Hospital, Viterbo, Italy.

Body mass index (BMI) is a main indicator of obesity and its association with breast cancer is well established. However, little is known in the metastatic setting, especially in HER2-positive patients. We assessed the influence of BMI on clinical outcomes of patients treated with pertuzumab and/or trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) for HER2+ metastatic breast cancer (mBC). BMI was addressed as a categorical variable, being classified on the basis of the following ranges, that is, 18.5-24.9, 25-29.9, and 30.0-34.9, namely, normal weight, overweight, and Class I obesity. The outcomes chosen were progression-free survival to first-line chemotherapy (PFS1) and overall survival (OS). Overall (N = 709), no impact of BMI was observed on PFS1 (p = .15), while BMI ≥ 30 was associated with worse OS (p = .003). In subjects who progressed to first line (N = 575), analyzing data across PFS1 quartiles and strata of disease burden, BMI predicted lower PFS1 in patients within the I PFS1 quartile and with the lowest disease burden (p = .001). Univariate analysis showed a detrimental effect of BMI ≥ 30 on OS for women within the I PFS1 quartile (p = .03). Results were confirmed in multivariate analysis. According to PFS1 quartiles a higher percentage of patients with high BMI and low disease burden progressed within 6 months of therapy. The effect of BMI on prognosis was also confirmed in multivariate analysis of OS for overall population. In our cohort, a BMI ≥ 30 correlated with worse OS in patients with HER2+ mBC who received pertuzumab and/or T-DM1 but had no impact on PFS to first line. BMI predicted worse I PFS1 quartile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29445DOI Listing
November 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

Eribulin in Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer: Critic Interpretation of Current Evidence and Projection for Future Scenarios.

J Cancer 2019 12;10(24):5903-5914. Epub 2019 Oct 12.

Division of Medical Oncology 2, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi, 53, 00144 Rome, Italy.

Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by distinctive biological features that confer an aggressive clinical behavior. In TNBC patients, the absence of well-defined driver pathways such as hormonal receptor expression or hyperactivation of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) significantly reduce the spectrum of therapeutic options, which are currently mainly confined to chemotherapy. Thus far, median overall survival for patients with metastatic TNBC is about 9-12 months with conventional cytotoxic agents. However, the heterogeneity recently revealed at a gene expression level inside the TNBC family may help inform therapeutic decisions concerning the use of chemotherapy and hopefully lead the way to novel targeted options that include immunotherapy. Eribulin, a halichondrin class antineoplastic drug, is currently recommended for treatment of HER2 negative metastatic or recurrent breast cancer (BC) previously exposed to anthracyclines and taxanes, also for patients with a TNBC. It is currently indicated from the second line of treatment. In this review, we aim to analyze a wide range of cumulated evidence on eribulin use in TNBC including preclinical studies, intervention and observational clinical trials. Data from the real-world setting and the emerging evidence increasingly substantiating the rationale for combinations with new generation treatment strategies, e.g., PARP-inhibitors, immune checkpoint inhibitors, will be also discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7150/jca.35109DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6856581PMC
October 2019

Expression of ER, PgR, HER-2, and Ki-67 in core biopsies and in definitive histological specimens in patients with locally advanced breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2020 01 21;85(1):105-111. Epub 2019 Nov 21.

Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Policlinico Umberto I, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Purpose: Many studies have indicated that the response to therapy and the prognostic impact of a pathologic complete response after neoadjuvant treatment differ among breast cancer subtypes.

Methods: The aim of our study is to evaluate the effect of this treatment on the expression of estrogen and progesterone receptors, human epidermal growth hormone receptor 2 and Ki67 in breast cancer. We identified 125 patients.

Results: The estrogen receptor modified its expression from positive to negative in 8% patients and from negative to positive in 22%; progesterone in 21% and in 37% cases. Median Ki-67 value was 20.9% at biopsy and 18% after, HER-2 status did not show a remarkable change before or after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). We have identified a significant reduction in Ki-67 expression levels after chemotherapy in patients with a pathologic response. Detection of pretreatment Ki-67 could identify patients most likely to benefit from NACT.

Conclusions: NACT can change the status of ER, PgR, and Ki-67 expression in patients with breast adenocarcinoma, but it did not exert a significant effect on HER-2 status; HER-2 amplification appears to be more stable. We have identified a prognostic role for a decreased expression of PgR and Ki-67 after preoperative chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00280-019-03981-5DOI Listing
January 2020