Publications by authors named "Rita Chiari"

113 Publications

Sequential chemo-hypofractionated RT versus concurrent standard CRT for locally advanced NSCLC: GRADE recommendation by the Italian Association of Radiotherapy and Clinical Oncology (AIRO).

Radiol Med 2021 May 5. Epub 2021 May 5.

Department of Radiation Oncology, Policlinico S. Gerardo and University of Milan "Bicocca", Milan, Italy.

Introduction: Almost 30% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients have locally advanced-stage disease. In this setting, definitive radiotherapy concurrent to chemotherapy plus adjuvant immunotherapy (cCRT + IO) is the standard of care, although only 40% of these patients are eligible for this approach.

Aims: A comparison between cCRT and hypofractionated radiotherapy regimens (hypo-fx RT) with the addition of sequential chemotherapy (sCHT) could be useful for future combinations with immunotherapy. We developed a recommendation about the clinical question of whether CHT and moderately hypo-fx RT are comparable to cCRT for locally advanced NSCLC MATERIALS AND METHODS: The panel used GRADE methodology and the Evidence to Decision (EtD) framework. After a systematic literature search, five studies were eligible. We identified the following outcomes: progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), freedom from locoregional recurrence (FFLR), deterioration of quality of life (QoL), treatment-related deaths, severe G3-G4 toxicity, late pulmonary toxicity G3-G4, and acute esophageal toxicity G3-G4.

Results: The probability of OS and G3-G4 late lung toxicity seems to be worse in patients submitted to sCHT and hypo-fx RT. The panel judged unfavorable the balance benefits/harms.

Conclusions: The final recommendation was that sCHT followed by moderately hypo-fx RT should not be considered as an alternative to cCRT in unresectable stage III NSCLC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11547-021-01362-8DOI Listing
May 2021

Predictive ability of a drug-based score in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer receiving first-line immunotherapy.

Eur J Cancer 2021 Apr 29;150:224-231. Epub 2021 Apr 29.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: We previously demonstrated the cumulative poor prognostic role of concomitant medications on the clinical outcome of patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors, creating and validating a drug-based prognostic score to be calculated before immunotherapy initiation in patients with advanced solid tumours. This 'drug score' was calculated assigning score 1 for each between proton-pump inhibitor and antibiotic administration until a month before cancer therapy initiation and score 2 in case of corticosteroid intake. The good risk group included patients with score 0, intermediate risk with score 1-2 and poor risk with score 3-4.

Methods: Aiming at validating the prognostic and putative predictive ability depending on the anticancer therapy, we performed the present comparative analysis in two cohorts of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), respectively, receiving first-line pembrolizumab or chemotherapy through a random case-control matching and through a pooled multivariable analysis including the interaction between the computed score and the therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy).

Results: Nine hundred fifty and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. After the case-control random matching, 589 patients from the pembrolizumab cohort and 589 from the chemotherapy cohort were paired, with no statistically significant differences between the characteristics of the matched subjects. Among the pembrolizumab-treated group, good, intermediate and poor risk evaluable patients achieved an objective response rate (ORR) of 50.0%, 37.7% and 23.4%, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated group, patients achieved an ORR of 37.0%, 40.0% and 32.4%, respectively (p = 0.4346). The median progression-free survival (PFS) of good, intermediate and poor risk groups was 13.9 months, 6.3 months and 2.8 months, respectively, within the pembrolizumab cohort (p < 0.0001), and 6.2 months, 6.2 months and 4.3 months, respectively, within the chemotherapy cohort (p = 0.0280). Among the pembrolizumab-treated patients, the median overall survival (OS) for good, intermediate and poor risk patients was 31.4 months, 14.5 months and 5.8 months, respectively, (p < 0.0001), whereas among the chemotherapy-treated patients, it was 18.3 months, 16.8 months and 10.6 months, respectively (p = 0.0003). A similar trend was reported considering the two entire populations. At the pooled analysis, the interaction term between the score and the therapeutic modality was statistically significant with respect to ORR (p = 0.0052), PFS (p = 0.0003) and OS (p < 0.0001), confirming the significantly different effect of the score within the two cohorts.

Conclusion: Our 'drug score' showed a predictive ability with respect to ORR in the immunotherapy cohort only, suggesting it might be a useful tool for identifying patients unlikely to benefit from first-line single-agent pembrolizumab. In addition, the prognostic stratification in terms of PFS and OS was significantly more pronounced among the pembrolizumab-treated patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.041DOI Listing
April 2021

Kynurenine/Tryptophan Ratio as a Potential Blood-Based Biomarker in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Apr 22;22(9). Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Section of Pharmacology, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Perugia, 06129 Perugia, Italy.

The enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) degrade tryptophan (Trp) into kynurenine (Kyn) at the initial step of an enzymatic pathway affecting T cell proliferation. IDO1 is highly expressed in various cancer types and associated with poor prognosis. Nevertheless, the serum Kyn/Trp concentration ratio has been suggested as a marker of cancer-associated immune suppression. We measured Kyn and Trp in blood samples of a wide cohort of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, before they underwent surgery, and analyzed possible correlations of the Kyn/Trp ratio with either IDO1 expression or clinical-pathological parameters. Low Kyn/Trp significantly correlated with low IDO1 expression and never-smoker patients; while high Kyn/Trp was significantly associated with older (≥68 years) patients, advanced tumor stage, and squamous cell carcinoma (Sqcc), rather than the adenocarcinoma (Adc) histotype. Moreover, high Kyn/Trp was associated, among the Adc group, with higher tumor stages (II and III), and, among the Sqcc group, with a high density of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. A trend correlating the high Kyn/Trp ratio with the probability of recurrences from NSCLC was also found. In conclusion, high serum Kyn/Trp ratio, associated with clinical and histopathological parameters, may serve as a serum biomarker to optimize risk stratification and therapy of NSCLC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms22094403DOI Listing
April 2021

Differential influence of antibiotic therapy and other medications on oncological outcomes of patients with non-small cell lung cancer treated with first-line pembrolizumab versus cytotoxic chemotherapy.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Apr;9(4)

Pneumo-Oncology Unit, Ospedali dei Colli Monaldi Cotugno CTO, Napoli, Italy.

Background: Some concomitant medications including antibiotics (ATB) have been reproducibly associated with worse survival following immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) in unselected patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (according to programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression and treatment line). Whether such relationship is causative or associative is matter of debate.

Methods: We present the outcomes analysis according to concomitant baseline medications (prior to ICI initiation) with putative immune-modulatory effects in a large cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC with a PD-L1 expression ≥50%, receiving first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy. We also evaluated a control cohort of patients with metastatic NSCLC treated with first-line chemotherapy. The interaction between key medications and therapeutic modality (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) was validated in pooled multivariable analyses.

Results: 950 and 595 patients were included in the pembrolizumab and chemotherapy cohorts, respectively. Corticosteroid and proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy but not ATB therapy was associated with poorer performance status at baseline in both the cohorts. No association with clinical outcomes was found according to baseline statin, aspirin, β-blocker and metformin within the pembrolizumab cohort. On the multivariable analysis, ATB emerged as a strong predictor of worse overall survival (OS) (HR=1.42 (95% CI 1.13 to 1.79); p=0.0024), and progression free survival (PFS) (HR=1.29 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.59); p=0.0192) in the pembrolizumab but not in the chemotherapy cohort. Corticosteroids were associated with shorter PFS (HR=1.69 (95% CI 1.42 to 2.03); p<0.0001), and OS (HR=1.93 (95% CI 1.59 to 2.35); p<0.0001) following pembrolizumab, and shorter PFS (HR=1.30 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.56), p=0.0046) and OS (HR=1.58 (95% CI 1.29 to 1.94), p<0.0001), following chemotherapy. PPIs were associated with worse OS (HR=1.49 (95% CI 1.26 to 1.77); p<0.0001) with pembrolizumab and shorter OS (HR=1.12 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.24), p=0.0139), with chemotherapy. At the pooled analysis, there was a statistically significant interaction with treatment (pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy) for corticosteroids (p=0.0020) and PPIs (p=0.0460) with respect to OS, for corticosteroids (p<0.0001), ATB (p=0.0290), and PPIs (p=0.0487) with respect to PFS, and only corticosteroids (p=0.0033) with respect to objective response rate.

Conclusion: In this study, we validate the significant negative impact of ATB on pembrolizumab monotherapy but not chemotherapy outcomes in NSCLC, producing further evidence about their underlying immune-modulatory effect. Even though the magnitude of the impact of corticosteroids and PPIs is significantly different across the cohorts, their effects might be driven by adverse disease features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002421DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8031700PMC
April 2021

Systemic effect of radiotherapy before or after nivolumab in lung cancer: an observational, retrospective, multicenter study.

Tumori 2021 Apr 4:3008916211004733. Epub 2021 Apr 4.

Department of Oncology, San Camillo de Lellis Hospital, Rieti, Italy.

Background: The combination of radiotherapy (RT) and programmed death 1 inhibitors seems to increase antitumor immune responses.

Objective: To assess the outcome and the role of the best combination sequence, i.e. immunotherapy given before, during, and/or after RT, in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: We conducted an observational, retrospective analysis of 95 consecutive patients with advanced NSCLC who received any radiotherapy treatment and nivolumab, as clinically indicated. Median overall survival (OS) and the 95% confidence interval (CI) were estimated with the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox model was used to obtain hazard ratio (HR) and associated 95% CI with statistical inference by log-rank statistic.

Results: Median OS was 11.9 months (95% CI, 6.6-17.2). Patients who received radiotherapy during an immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment started more than 60 days before showed a better outcome than patients who started immunotherapy over 60 days after RT ending (HR, 2.90 [1.37-6.12], = 0.005; median OS, 22.4 months vs 8.6 months, = 0.005). Median progression-free survival was 6.3 months (95% CI, 4.6-8.0).

Conclusions: This study shows that combining irradiation with nivolumab for the treatment of advanced NSCLC leads to improved OS. The optimal time window for the combination of RT and immunotherapy seems to play a critical role for therapeutic antitumor response derived by abscopal effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/03008916211004733DOI Listing
April 2021

The Gustave Roussy Immune (GRIm)-Score Variation Is an Early-on-Treatment Biomarker of Outcome in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) Patients Treated with First-Line Pembrolizumab.

J Clin Med 2021 Mar 2;10(5). Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Department of Medical Oncology, Università Politecnica delle Marche, AOU Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, 60126 Ancona, Italy.

Background: The Gustave Roussy Immune (GRIm)-Score takes into account neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), serum albumin concentration and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and its prognostic value has been investigated in patients treated with immune check-point inhibitors (ICIs). To further assess the prognostic and predictive value of baseline GRIm-Score (GRImT0) in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (aNSCLC) patients, we separately investigated two cohorts of patients treated with first-line pembrolizumab or chemotherapy. We also investigated whether GRIm-Score at 45 days since treatment initiation (GRImT1) and GRIm-Score difference between the two timepoints may better predict clinical outcomes (GRImΔ = GRImT0 - GRImT1).

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated 222 aNSCLC patients: 135 treated with pembrolizumab and 87 treated with chemotherapy as the first-line regimen. NLR, serum albumin and LDH concentrations were assessed at T0 and at T1. According to the GRIm-Score, patients were assigned 1 point if they had NLR > 6, LDH > upper limit normal or albumin < 3.5 g/dL. Patients with a GRIm-Score < 2 were considered as having a low Score.

Results: In both cohorts, no difference in terms of overall survival (OS) between patients with low and high GRImT0 was found. Otherwise, median OS and progression free survival (PFS) of the low GRImT1 group were significantly longer than those of the high GRImT1 group in pembrolizumab-treated patients, but not in the CHT cohort (pembrolizumab cohort: low vs. high; median OS not reached vs. 9.2 months, = 0.004; median PFS 10.8 vs. 2.3 months, = 0.002). Patients receiving pembrolizumab with stable/positive GRImΔ had better OS (median OS not reached vs. 12.0 months, < 0.001), PFS (median PFS 20.6 vs. 2.6 months, < 0.001) and objective response rate (58.2% vs. 7.6%, = 0.003) compared to patients with negative GRImΔ.

Conclusion: Our data shown that GRImT1 and GRImΔ are more reliable peripheral blood biomarkers of outcome compared to GRImT0 in aNSCLC patients treated with pembrolizumab and might represent useful biomarkers to drive clinical decisions in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10051005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7958321PMC
March 2021

Post-progression outcomes of NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% receiving first-line single-agent pembrolizumab in a large multicentre real-world study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 May 12;148:24-35. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Medical Oncology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.

Background: Treatment sequencing with first-line immunotherapy, followed by second-line chemotherapy, is still a viable option for NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50%.

Methods: We evaluated post-progression treatment pathways in a large real-world cohort of metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50% treated with first-line pembrolizumab monotherapy.

Results: Overall, 974 patients were included. With a median follow-up of 22.7 months (95%CI: 21.6-38.2), the median overall survival (OS) of the entire population was 15.8 months (95%CI: 13.5-17.5; 548 events). At the data cutoff, among the 678 patients who experienced disease progression, 379 (55.9%) had not received any further treatment, and 359 patients (52.9%) had died. Patients who did not receive post-progression therapies were older (p = 0.0011), with a worse ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and were on corticosteroids prior to pembrolizumab (p = 0.0024). At disease progression, 198 patients (29.2%) received a switched approach and 101 (14.9%) received pembrolizumab ByPD either alone (64 [9.4%]) or in combination with local ablative treatments (37 [5.5%]) (LATs). After a random-case control matching according to ECOG-PS, CNS metastases, bone metastases, and (previous) best response to pembrolizumab, patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD plus LATs were confirmed to have a significantly longer post-progression OS compared to patients receiving pembrolizumab ByPD alone 13.9 months versus 7.8 months (p = 0.0179) 241 patients (35.5%) among the 678 who had experienced PD, received a second-line systemic treatment (regardless of previous treatment beyond PD). As compared to first-line treatment commencement, patients' features at the moment of second-line initiation showed a significantly higher proportion of patients aged under 70 years (p = 0.0244), with a poorer ECOG-PS (p < 0.0001) and having CNS (p = 0.0001), bone (p = 0.0266) and liver metastases (p = 0.0148).

Conclusions: In the real-world scenario NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% treated with first-line single-agent pembrolizumab achieve worse outcomes as compared to the Keynote-024 trial. Poor post-progression outcomes are major determinants of the global results that should be considered when counselling patients for first-line treatment choices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.02.005DOI Listing
May 2021

High PD-L1/IDO-2 and PD-L2/IDO-1 Co-Expression Levels Are Associated with Worse Overall Survival in Resected Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients.

Genes (Basel) 2021 Feb 15;12(2). Epub 2021 Feb 15.

Medical Oncology Division, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital, Piazzale Menghini 8/9, 06132 Perugia, Italy.

Programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression is a predictive biomarker of the success of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor therapy for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) but its role as a prognostic marker for early-stage resectable NSCLC remains unclear. We studied gene expression levels of immune-related genes PD-1, PD-L1, PD-L2, IDO-1, IDO-2 and INFγ in tumor tissue of surgically resected NSCLC and correlated the finding with clinicopathological features and patient outcomes. A total of 191 consecutive early-stage NSCLC patients who underwent curative pulmonary resection were studied. The mRNA expression levels of immune-related genes were evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) using RT Profiler PCR Arrays (Qiagen). PD-1, PD-L2 and IDO-2 gene expression levels were significantly higher in patients with squamous histology ( = 0.001, = 0.021 and < 0.001; respectively). PD-1, PD-L1 and IDO-2 gene expression levels were significantly higher in patients with higher stage ( = 0.005, = 0.048 and = 0.002, respectively). The univariate analysis for recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) showed that patients with higher levels of three-genes (PD-L1/PD-L2/INFγ) (hazard ratio (HR)) 1.90 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.13-3.21), = 0.015) were associated with a worse RFS, while patients with higher levels of both genes (PD-L1/IDO-2) or (PD-L2/IDO-1) were associated with a worse OS (HR 1.63 95% CI, 1.06-2.51, = 0.024; HR 1.54 95% CI, 1.02-2.33, = 0.04; respectively). The multivariate interaction model adjusted for histology and stage confirmed that higher levels of three genes (PD-L1/PD-L2/INFγ) were significantly associated with worse RFS (HR 1.98, = 0.031) and higher levels of both genes (PD-L1/IDO-2) and (PD-L2/IDO-1) with worse OS (HR 1.98, = 0.042, HR 1.92, = 0.022). PD-L1/IDO-2 and PD-L2/IDO-1 co-expression high levels are independent negative prognostic factors for survival in early NSCLC. These features may have important implications for future immune-checkpoint therapeutic approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/genes12020273DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918978PMC
February 2021

Epidemiology and clinical course of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection in cancer patients in the Veneto Oncology Network: The Rete Oncologica Veneta covID19 study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 04 3;147:120-127. Epub 2021 Feb 3.

Medical Oncology 2, Istituto Oncologico Veneto IRCCS, Padova, Italy; Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, University of Padova, Italy. Electronic address:

Introduction: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic started in Italy with clusters identified in Northern Italy. The Veneto Oncology Network (Rete Oncologica Veneta) licenced dedicated guidelines to ensure proper care minimising the risk of infection in patients with cancer. Rete Oncologica Veneta covID19 (ROVID) is a regional registry aimed at describing epidemiology and clinical course of Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in patients with cancer.

Materials And Methods: Patients with cancer diagnosis and documented SARS-CoV-2 infection are eligible. Data on cancer diagnosis, comorbidities, anticancer treatments, as well as details on SARS-CoV-2 infection (hospitalisation, treatments, fate of the infection), have been recorded. Logistic regression analysis was applied to calculate the association between clinical/laboratory variables and death from any cause.

Results: One hundred seventy patients have been enrolled. The median age at time of the SARS-CoV infection was 70 years (25-92). The most common cancer type was breast cancer (n = 40). The majority of the patients had stage IV disease. Half of the patients had two or more comorbidities. The majority of the patients (78%) presented with COVID-19 symptoms. More than 77% of the patients were hospitalized and 6% were admitted to intensive care units. Overall, 104 patients have documented resolution of the infection. Fifty-seven patients (33%) have died. In 29 cases (17%), the cause of death was directly correlated to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Factors significantly correlated with the risk of death were the following: Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS), age, presence of two or more comorbidities, presence of dyspnoea, COVID-19 phenotype ≥ 3, hospitalisation, intensive care unit admission, neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio and thrombocytopenia.

Conclusions: The mortality rate reported in this confirms the frailty of this population. These data reinforce the need to protect patients with cancer from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.01.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7857033PMC
April 2021

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

Thorac Cancer 2021 03 1;12(6):880-889. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Thoracic Oncology Unit, Clinical Cancer Center IRCCS Istituto Tumori "Giovanni Paolo II", Bari, Italy.

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

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

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

Conclusions: Among metastatic NSCLC patients with PD-L1 expression ≥50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab, current/former smokers experienced improved PFS and OS. On the contrary, worse outcomes were reported among current/former smokers receiving first-line chemotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13852DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7952794PMC
March 2021

Five-Year Outcomes From the Randomized, Phase III Trials CheckMate 017 and 057: Nivolumab Versus Docetaxel in Previously Treated Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Mar 15;39(7):723-733. Epub 2021 Jan 15.

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD.

Purpose: Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In two phase III trials (CheckMate 017 and CheckMate 057), nivolumab showed an improvement in overall survival (OS) and favorable safety versus docetaxel in patients with previously treated, advanced squamous and nonsquamous NSCLC, respectively. We report 5-year pooled efficacy and safety from these trials.

Methods: Patients (N = 854; CheckMate 017/057 pooled) with advanced NSCLC, ECOG PS ≤ 1, and progression during or after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy were randomly assigned 1:1 to nivolumab (3 mg/kg once every 2 weeks) or docetaxel (75 mg/m once every 3 weeks) until progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end point for both trials was OS; secondary end points included progression-free survival (PFS) and safety. Exploratory landmark analyses were investigated.

Results: After the minimum follow-up of 64.2 and 64.5 months for CheckMate 017 and 057, respectively, 50 nivolumab-treated patients and nine docetaxel-treated patients were alive. Five-year pooled OS rates were 13.4% versus 2.6%, respectively; 5-year PFS rates were 8.0% versus 0%, respectively. Nivolumab-treated patients without disease progression at 2 and 3 years had an 82.0% and 93.0% chance of survival, respectively, and a 59.6% and 78.3% chance of remaining progression-free at 5 years, respectively. Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were reported in 8 of 31 (25.8%) nivolumab-treated patients between 3-5 years of follow-up, seven of whom experienced new events; one (3.2%) TRAE was grade 3, and there were no grade 4 TRAEs.

Conclusion: At 5 years, nivolumab continued to demonstrate a survival benefit versus docetaxel, exhibiting a five-fold increase in OS rate, with no new safety signals. These data represent the first report of 5-year outcomes from randomized phase III trials of a programmed death-1 inhibitor in previously treated, advanced NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.01605DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078445PMC
March 2021

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

Eur J Cancer 2021 01 16;142:18-28. Epub 2020 Nov 16.

Clinical Oncology Unit, S.S. Annunziata Hospital, Chieti, Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

J Immunother Cancer 2020 11;8(2)

Medical Oncology, Azienda Ospedaliera S. Maria, Terni, Italy.

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

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

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

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

Incidence and outcomes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Eur J Cancer 2020 11 20;140:140-146. Epub 2020 Oct 20.

Medical Oncology Department, ASST Cremona, Viale Concordia 1, 26100, Cremona, Italy.

Background: Patients with cancer are at increased risk of complicated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, but it is still unclear if the risk of mortality is influenced by cancer type or ongoing anti-cancer treatments. An interesting debate concerning the potential relationship between androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and SARS-CoV-2 infection has recently been opened in the case of prostate cancer (PC), and the aim of this multi-centre cohort study was to investigate the incidence and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostrate cancer (mCRPC).

Patients And Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of patients with mCRPC who developed SARS-CoV-2 infection, and recorded their baseline clinical characteristics, their history of PC and SARS-CoV-2 infection, and their oncological status and treatment at the time of infection. The primary study end point was the death rate and the possible impact of the patients' PC-related history and treatments on mortality.

Results: Thirty-four of the 1433 patients with mCRPC attending the participating centres (2.3%) developed SARS-CoV-2 infection, 22 (64.7%) of whom were hospitalised. Most of the patients were symptomatic, the most frequent symptoms being fever (70.6%), dyspnoea (61.8%), cough (52.9%) and fatigue (38.2%). After a median follow-up of 21 days (interquartile range: 13-41), 13 patients had died (38.2%), 17 recovered (50.0%) and four (11.7%) were still infected. The number of treatments previously administered for mCRPC had a significant impact on mortality (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: Our findings contribute additional data to the current debate concerning the postulated protective role of ADT, which seems to be less in patients with metastatic PC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.09.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7572507PMC
November 2020

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

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Medical Oncology Unit, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Roma, Lazio, Italy.

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

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

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

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

Exploring metastatic breast cancer treatment changes during COVID-19 pandemic.

J Chemother 2020 Oct 13:1-6. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

UOC Oncologia, Ospedali Riuniti Padova Sud, AULSS6 Euganea, Padua, Italy.

The emergency caused by COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a sudden reorganization of the healthcare structures and has created consequences in cancer patients management. General clinical recommendations for cancer patients were released, even if limited clinical cancer-specific data were available. A number of critical issues have come out during COVID-19 pandemic in the management of patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). To explore the changes in the treatment of patients with MBC during COVID-19 pandemic, we promoted a survey to the oncologists operating in the Italian breast units. The results of this survey show that Italian oncologists have tried to ensure continuity of care for patients with MBC. De-escalation of cancer treatments, especially monotherapy administration, and greater use of oral anticancer drugs are the main changes that emerge from this survey. Some subgroups of patients, especially the elderly and endocrine-responsive patients, have been undertreated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1120009X.2020.1829328DOI Listing
October 2020

Immune-related Adverse Events of Pembrolizumab in a Large Real-world Cohort of Patients With NSCLC With a PD-L1 Expression ≥ 50% and Their Relationship With Clinical Outcomes.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 11 21;21(6):498-508.e2. Epub 2020 Jun 21.

Department of Oncology, Macerata Hospital, Macerata, Italy.

Background: The role of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), as a surrogate predictor of the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, has not yet been described in the setting of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab for patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung-cancer (NSCLC) with a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression of ≥ 50%.

Patients And Methods: We previously conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis in patients with treatment-naive metastatic NSCLC and a PD-L1 expression of ≥ 50% receiving first-line pembrolizumab. Here, we report the results of the irAE analysis and the potential correlation between irAEs and clinical outcomes.

Results: A total of 1010 patients were included in this analysis; after a 6-week landmark selection, 877 (86.8%) patients were included in the efficacy analysis. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), grade 3/4 irAEs (P = .0025), leading to discontinuation irAEs (P = .0144), multiple-site and single-site irAEs (P < .0001), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0001), endocrine irAEs (P = .0227), pulmonary irAEs (P = .0479), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0018) were significantly related to a higher objective response rate. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0005), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0042), endocrine irAEs (P < .0001), gastrointestinal irAEs (P = .0391), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0086) were significantly related to progression-free survival. Any grade irAEs (P < .0001), single-site irAEs (P < .0001), multiple-site irAEs (P = .0003), cutaneous irAEs (P = .0002), endocrine irAEs (P = .0001), and rheumatologic irAEs (P = .0214) were significantly related to overall survival.

Conclusions: This study confirms the feasibility and the safety of first-line, single-agent pembrolizumab, in a large, real-world cohort of patients with NSCLC with PD-L1 expression ≥ 50%. The occurrence of irAEs may be a surrogate of clinical activity and improved outcomes in this setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.06.010DOI Listing
November 2020

Indoleamine 2,3-Dioxygenase 2 Immunohistochemical Expression in Resected Human Non-small Cell Lung Cancer: A Potential New Prognostic Tool.

Front Immunol 2020 27;11:839. Epub 2020 May 27.

Section of Anatomic Pathology and Histology, Department of Experimental Medicine, Medical School, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 2 (IDO2) is an analog of the tryptophan degrading and immunomodulating enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1). Although the role of IDO1 is largely understood, the function of IDO2 is not yet well-elucidated. IDO2 overexpression was documented in some human tumors, but the linkage between IDO2 expression and cancer progression is still unclear, in particular in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Immunohistochemical expression and cellular localization of IDO2 was evaluated on 191 formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded resected NSCLC. Correlations between IDO2 expression, clinical-pathological data, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), immunosuppressive tumor molecules (IDO1 and programmed cell death ligand-1 - PD-L1 -) and patients' prognosis were evaluated. IDO2 high expression is strictly related to high PD-L1 level among squamous cell carcinomas group ( = 0.012), to either intratumoral or mixed localization of TILs ( < 0.001) and to adenocarcinoma histotype ( < 0.001). Furthermore, a significant correlation between IDO2 high expression and poor non-small cell lung cancer prognosis was detected ( = 0.011). The current study reaches interesting knowledge about IDO2 in non-small cell lung cancer. The close relationship between IDO2 expression, PD-L1 increased levels, TILs localization and NSCLC poor prognosis, assumed IDO2 as a potential prognostic biomarker to be exploited for optimizing innovative combined therapies with immune checkpoint inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.00839DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7267213PMC
March 2021

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

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

Medical Oncology, F. Spaziani Hospital, Frosinone, Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Treatment Patterns and Clinical Outcomes Among Patients With ROS1-rearranged Non-small-cell Lung Cancer Progressing on Crizotinib.

Clin Lung Cancer 2020 09 15;21(5):e478-e487. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

Medical Oncology, Santa Maria della Misericordia Hospital, University of Perugia, Piazzale Menghini, Perugia, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: ROS1 rearrangements define a subset of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) that are susceptible to therapeutic ROS1 kinase inhibition. Despite the fact that most patients initially respond to the first-generation ROS1 tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) crizotinib, relapse invariably occurs, and therapeutic options upon disease progression are limited.

Patients And Methods: We conducted a multicenter study of patients with ROS1-rearranged NSCLC who progressed on ROS1 TKIs and examined the clinical outcomes based on the post-progression treatment approaches.

Results: Among 29 patients with ROS1-rearrangement who received at least 1 ROS1 inhibitor, the median age was 51 years (range, 30-80 years), 70.8% of patients were female, and 68.9% were never-smokers. Upon progression to the first TKI, 11 patients (37.9%) received treatment with TKIs beyond progression. The median second progression-free survival to TKIs in patents treated beyond progression was 5.5 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1-9.1 months), whereas the post-progression survival was 21.0 months (95% CI, 5.5 months-not reached [NR]). Eleven (37.9%) patients received a sequential treatment with lorlatinib ROS1 TKIs following a first generation ROS1 TKI. The overall response rate, median progression-free survival, and median overall survival (OS) to next-generation TKIs were 41.7% (95% CI, 15.2%-72.3%), 12.7 months (95% CI, 8.5 months-NR), and 17.0 months (95% CI, 15.8 months-NR), respectively. Patients treated with sequential ROS1 TKIs had a significantly longer median OS compared with those who were not (NR vs. 16.1 months; hazard ratio, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.10-0.78; P = .017).

Conclusion: In this study, we reported that a subset of patients with ROS1-rearranged NSCLC may benefit from treatment with TKIs beyond progression and that sequential treatment with crizotinib followed by lorlatinib is associated with improved OS in patients with ROS1-rearranged NSCLC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cllc.2020.03.008DOI Listing
September 2020

Correction to: Outcomes associated with immune-related adverse events in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer treated with nivolumab: a pooled exploratory analysis from a global cohort.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2020 07;69(7):1189

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.

The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake. The second sentence of the section "irAEs and ICI efficacy" should read as.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02582-zDOI Listing
July 2020

Concomitant Mutation Confers Worse Prognosis in -Mutated Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Treated with TKIs.

J Clin Med 2020 Apr 7;9(4). Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Biosciences Laboratory, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, 47014 Meldola, Italy.

Background: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the primary cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor ()-mutated patients usually benefit from TKIs treatment, but a significant portion show unresponsiveness due to primary resistance mechanisms. We investigated the role of mutations in predicting survival and response to -TKIs in EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients, to confirm, on an independent case series, our previous results.

Methods: An independent retrospective cohort study was conducted, on a case series of 136 -mutated NSCLC patients receiving first or second generation TKIs as a first line therapy, and a smaller fraction of patients who acquired the T790M resistance mutation and were treated with third generation TKIs in the second or further line of treatment. mutations were evaluated in relation to disease control rate (DCR), objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of the patients.

Results: Forty-two patients (30.9%) showed a mutation. Considered together, mutations had no significant impact on time-to-event endpoints. Considering the different mutations separately, exon 8 mutations confirmed their negative effect on PFS (HR 3.16, 95% 1.59-6.28, = 0.001). In patients who developed the T790M resistance mutation, treated with third generation TKIs, the exon 8 mutations predicted worse PFS (even though not statistically significant), and OS (HR 4.86, 95% CI: 1.25-18.90, = 0.023).

Conclusions: exon 8 mutations confirmed their negative prognostic impact in patients treated with first and second generation TKIs and demonstrated a role in affecting clinical outcome in patients treated with third generation TKIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9041047DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230306PMC
April 2020

Outcomes associated with immune-related adverse events in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer treated with nivolumab: a pooled exploratory analysis from a global cohort.

Cancer Immunol Immunother 2020 Jul 5;69(7):1177-1187. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.

Background: Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) comprise a distinct spectrum of auto-inflammatory manifestations triggered due to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI). Current data on the association of irAEs with outcomes in NSCLC treated with nivolumab are limited.

Methods And Objectives: We pooled data from 531 metastatic NSCLC patients from five centers treated with nivolumab after failing platinum-based chemotherapy. The primary objective was to investigate the relationship between irAEs with clinical benefit to nivolumab as well as to elucidate patterns of irAE-related ICI discontinuations and their impact on survival.

Results: 33.0% (173/531) of patients treated with nivolumab were noted to have an irAE. Patients with irAEs had a significantly longer median PFS [6.1 vs. 3.1 months, HR 0.68 95% CI (0.55-0.85); p = 0.001] and OS [14.9 vs. 7.4 months, HR 0.66 95% CI (0.52-0.82); p < 0.001)] compared to those without irAEs. In multivariate analysis, the presence of irAEs showed a significantly better PFS [HR 0.69, 95% CI (0.55-0.87); p = 0.002] and a trend for better OS [HR 0.62, 95% CI (0.55-1.03); p = 0.057]. Patients with permanent ICI discontinuation secondary to index irAE had a significantly shorter median PFS [2.3 vs. 6.6 months, HR 1.74 95% CI (1.06-2.80); p = 0.02] and median OS [3.6 vs. 17.6 months; HR 2.61 95% CI (1.61-4.21); p < 0.001] compared to those that did not have permanent ICI discontinuation.

Conclusions: Our pooled exploratory analysis demonstrates improved clinical benefit to nivolumab in NSCLC patients experiencing irAEs. We also observed negative impact of irAE-related treatment discontinuation on survival in this group of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00262-020-02536-5DOI Listing
July 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Antibody-drug conjugates for lung cancer in the era of personalized oncology.

Semin Cancer Biol 2021 Feb 30;69:268-278. Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Unit of Internal Medicine, Angiology and Arteriosclerosis Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Perugia, Perugia, 06129, Italy. Electronic address:

With 9.6 million deaths in 2018, cancer represents one of the most common causes of death, both in men and women. Despite recent advances in the understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in cancer development and progression, treatment options are still limited. Limitations of traditional chemotherapy include the lack of selectivity and the unfavorable safety profile. The efficacy of targeted therapies (e.g., tyrosine kinase inhibitors) is also limited by their cytostatic action, which inhibits tumor cell proliferation without inducing tumor cell death, and by the risk of acquired resistance. Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a newly developed class of engineered anticancer drugs, consist of recombinant monoclonal antibodies against tumor-specific antigens that are covalently bound to cytotoxic agents. They have been designed to overcome the limitations of traditional chemotherapy and targeted therapies by combining the target selectivity of monoclonal antibodies with the high potency of cytotoxic drugs. Currently, ADCs that have received regulatory approval include brentuximab vedotin for CD30-positive Hodgkin lymphoma and trastuzumab emtansine for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer. However, over 80 novel ADCs are actively being investigated in preclinical studies and early-phase clinical trials. In this review, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the biological rational, efficacy and safety of ADCs as therapeutic agents against non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.semcancer.2019.12.024DOI Listing
February 2021

Be-TeaM: An Italian real-world observational study on second-line therapy for EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients.

Lung Cancer 2020 02 16;140:71-79. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Oncology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, Viale Cappuccini, 1, 71013, San Giovanni Rotondo, FG, Italy. Electronic address:

Objectives: Molecular diagnostics and care of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are continuously evolving. Few data document the current strategies to manage advanced NSCLC patients beyond progression in clinical practice.

Patients And Methods: Be-TeaM is an Italian multi-center observational study conducted on consecutive EGFR-mutated stage IV NSCLC patients, progressed during/after a first-line EGFR-TKI. It consists of a retrospective phase, from first-line EGFR-TKI therapy start until study entry (i.e. beginning of the diagnostic process), and a prospective phase, until treatment choice or for 3 months if no therapy was prescribed. Primary objective was to describe the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches adopted after progression in a real-world setting.

Results: Of 308 patients enrolled in 63 centers from July 2017 to June 2018, 289 were included in the analysis. In first line, 53.3 % received gefitinib, 32.5 % afatinib and 14.2 % erlotinib. The testing rate (i.e. rate of all patients undergone any biopsy -liquid and/or tissue- for the T790 M detection) was 90.7 %, with liquid biopsy being the most frequently executed. Of 262 biopsied patients, 64.5 % underwent only 1 liquid biopsy, 10.7 % only 1 tissue biopsy and 18.3 % >1 biopsy, both liquid and solid in 85.4 %. The T790M positivity rate was 45.3 %; of 166 patients undergone only a liquid biopsy and tested for the mutation, 39.8 % were T790M+ and 60.2 % T790M-/undetermined. By the observation end, 87.9 % patients had a post-progression treatment chosen, osimertinib being the most frequent among the T790M+.

Conclusion: Be-TeaM provides the first snapshot of current practices for the management of NSCLC patients beyond progression in Italy; in clinical practice, assessing the T790M status is not always feasible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2019.12.006DOI Listing
February 2020

Bone metastases and immunotherapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

J Immunother Cancer 2019 11 21;7(1):316. Epub 2019 Nov 21.

Department of Oncology and Hematology, AUSL Romagna, Ravenna, Italy.

Background: Bone metastases (BoM) are a negative prognostic factor in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Beyond its supportive role, bone is a hematopoietic organ actively regulating immune system. We hypothesized that BoM may influence sensitivity to immunotherapy.

Methods: Pretreated non-squamous (cohort A) and squamous (cohort B) NSCLCs included in the Italian Expanded Access Program were evaluated for nivolumab efficacy according to BoM.

Results: Cohort A accounted for 1588 patients with non-squamous NSCLC, including 626 (39%) with (BoM+) and 962 (61%) without BoM (BoM-). Cohort B accounted for 371 patients with squamous histology including 120 BoM+ (32%) and 251 (68%) BoM- cases. BoM+ had lower overall response rate (ORR; Cohort A: 12% versus 23%, p <  0.0001; Cohort B: 13% versus 22%, p = 0.04), shorter progression free survival (PFS; Cohort A: 3.0 versus 4.0 months, p <  0.0001; Cohort B: 2.7 versus 5.2 months, p <  0.0001) and overall survival (OS; Cohort A: 7.4 versus 15.3 months, p <  0.0001; Cohort B: 5.0 versus 10.9 months, p < 0.0001). Moreover, BoM negatively affected outcome irrespective of performance status (PS; OS in both cohorts: p < 0.0001) and liver metastases (OS cohort A: p < 0.0001; OS Cohort B: p = 0.48). At multivariate analysis, BoM independently associated with higher risk of death (cohort A: HR 1.50; cohort B: HR 1.78).

Conclusions: BoM impairs immunotherapy efficacy. Accurate bone staging should be included in clinical trials with immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0793-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6868703PMC
November 2019

Lorlatinib in advanced ROS1-positive non-small-cell lung cancer: a multicentre, open-label, single-arm, phase 1-2 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 12 25;20(12):1691-1701. Epub 2019 Oct 25.

University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA.

Background: Lorlatinib is a potent, brain-penetrant, third-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that targets ALK and ROS1 with preclinical activity against most known resistance mutations in ALK and ROS1. We investigated the antitumour activity and safety of lorlatinib in advanced, ROS1-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: In this open-label, single-arm, phase 1-2 trial, we enrolled patients (aged ≥18 years) with histologically or cytologically confirmed advanced ROS1-positive NSCLC, with or without CNS metastases, with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 2 or less (≤1 for phase 1 only) from 28 hospitals in 12 countries worldwide. Lorlatinib 100 mg once daily (escalating doses of 10 mg once daily to 100 mg twice daily in phase 1 only) was given orally in continuous 21-day cycles until investigator-determined disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, withdrawal of consent, or death. The primary endpoint was overall and intracranial tumour response, assessed by independent central review. Activity endpoints were assessed in patients who received at least one dose of lorlatinib. This study is ongoing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01970865.

Findings: Between Jan 22, 2014, and Oct 2, 2016, we assessed 364 patients, of whom 69 with ROS1-positive NSCLC were enrolled. 21 (30%) of 69 patients were TKI-naive, 40 (58%) had previously received crizotinib as their only TKI, and eight (12%) had previously received one non-crizotinib ROS1 TKI or two or more ROS1 TKIs. The estimated median duration of follow-up for response was 21·1 months (IQR 15·2-30·3). 13 (62%; 95% CI 38-82) of 21 TKI-naive patients and 14 (35%; 21-52) of 40 patients previously treated with crizotinib as their only TKI had an objective response. Intracranial responses were achieved in seven (64%; 95% CI 31-89) of 11 TKI-naive patients and 12 (50%; 29-71) of 24 previous crizotinib-only patients. The most common grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events were hypertriglyceridaemia (13 [19%] of 69 patients) and hypercholesterolaemia (ten [14%]). Serious treatment-related adverse events occurred in five (7%) of 69 patients. No treatment-related deaths were reported.

Interpretation: Lorlatinib showed clinical activity in patients with advanced ROS1-positive NSCLC, including those with CNS metastases and those previously treated with crizotinib. Because crizotinib-refractory patients have few treatment options, lorlatinib could represent an important next-line targeted agent.

Funding: Pfizer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30655-2DOI Listing
December 2019

Women With Synchronous or Metachronous Lung and Ovarian Cancer: A Multi-Institutional Report.

In Vivo 2019 Nov-Dec;33(6):2021-2026

Department of Oncology, University of Torino at San Luigi University Hospital, Orbassano, Italy.

Background/aim: Double diagnosis of lung cancer (LC) and ovarian cancer (OC) is rare. Here, we describe patients with synchronous/metachronous LC and OC to identify common clinical and pathological patterns.

Patients And Methods: Clinical, pathological and molecular data of patients diagnosed and treated at 30 European Institutions from 2008 to 2018 were retrieved and analysed. Whenever tissue was available, centralized pathology revision was performed.

Results: A total of 19 cases were found; one was excluded at pathology revision. Most LCs were adenocarcinomas (15/18) and most OCs were high-grade serous (15/18) carcinomas. Of the 9 patients analysed, 7 carried oncogene-addicted LC (4 EGFR, 1 B-RAF and 2 ALK) and five out of 7 carried BRCA mutations. One patient with a germline-BRCA1 mutation received olaparib, resulting in a durable response of both malignancies. Median overall survival was 33 months.

Conclusion: In our series, most synchronous/metachronous LCs and OCs showed genetic alterations. Further analyses with wide NGS panel could shed light on the biological mechanisms driving their occurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21873/invivo.11699DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6899106PMC
March 2020