Publications by authors named "Teresa Gamucci"

87 Publications

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

Long-term outcome of pemetrexed maintenance for advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer: a real-world observational cohort study.

Recenti Prog Med 2020 12;111(12):761-768

Department of Medical Oncology, Central Hospital of Belcolle, Viterbo, Italy.

Introduction: Pemetrexed maintenance significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients not progressing after induction chemotherapy.

Objectives: This study is aimed at examine the association of various clinical factor and survival in a real-world cohort analysis.

Materials And Methods: One hundred ninety-four patients were included and classified as "PM" cohort ("Pemetrexed Maintenance", including patients given with pemetrexed maintenance after induction chemotherapy, n=112), and "noPM" cohort ("no Pemetrexed Maintenance" including those discontinuing pemetrexed, n=82).

Results: The median PFS was 8.8 and 5.4 months in the PM and noPM cohorts, respectively (p=0.001). The median OS was 19.6 months in the "PM" cohort and 13.2 months in the "noPM" cohort (p<0.02). In the multivariate analysis, ECOG Performance Status (PS) 0 and maintenance therapy were independently associated with improved PFS and OS. A longer median PFS was reported in patients given ≥5 cycles of pemetrexed maintenance (p<0.01).

Discussion: These results further confirm the survival benefit of pemetrexed maintenance in a real-word population. All eligible advanced NSCLC patients should be strongly considered for at least 5 of pemetrexed maintenance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1701/3509.34967DOI Listing
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.

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

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

Effect of dose-dense adjuvant chemotherapy in hormone receptor positive/HER2-negative early breast cancer patients according to immunohistochemically defined luminal subtype: an exploratory analysis of the GIM2 trial.

Eur J Cancer 2020 09 4;136:43-51. Epub 2020 Jul 4.

Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties (DiMI), School of Medicine, University of Genova, Viale Benedetto XV, 10, 16132, Genoa, GE, Italy; Breast Unit, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Largo Rosanna Benzi 10, 16132, Genoa, GE, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Luminal A-like and luminal B-like subtypes have different sensitivity to (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy, but their role in predicting dose-dense (DD) efficacy in the high-risk setting is unknown. In this exploratory analysis of the Gruppo Italiano Mammella 2 (GIM2) trial, we investigated DD efficacy according to luminal-like subtypes.

Methods: Patients with node-positive early breast cancer were randomised to receive either DD or standard-interval (SI) anthracycline-based chemotherapy followed by paclitaxel. In our analysis, luminal A-like cohort was identified as having a Ki67 < 20% and a progesterone receptor (PgR) ≥ 20%; luminal B-like cohort as having a Ki67 ≥ 20% and/or a PgR < 20%.

Results: Out of 2003 patients enrolled in the GIM2 trial, 412 had luminal A-like and 638 luminal B-like breast cancer. After a median follow-up of 7.9 years, disease-free survival (DFS) was 80.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 76.4-84.5) and 70.5% (66.5-74.2) in luminal A-like and luminal B-like cohorts; overall survival (OS) was 91.6% (88.2-94.1) and 85.1% (81.7-87.9), respectively. We found no significant interaction between treatment and luminal subtype (interaction p = 0.603 and 0.535 for DFS and OS, respectively). When DD efficacy was investigated separately in each cohort, luminal-B like cohort appeared to benefit more from the DD schedule both in terms of DFS (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR] 0.72 [95% CI 0.54-0.96]) and OS (unadjusted HR 0.61 [95% CI 0.40-0.94]), compared with the luminal A-like cohort (unadjusted HR for DFS 0.89 [95% CI 0.59-1.33]; unadjusted HR for OS 0.83 [95% CI 0.45-1.54]).

Conclusions: No significant interaction between luminal-like subtype and treatment was observed. Patients in the luminal B-like cohort seemed to benefit more from DD schedule.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2020.05.007DOI Listing
September 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

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.

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

Oral anticancer therapy project: Clinical utility of a specific home care nursing programme on behalf of Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM).

J Clin Nurs 2020 Jan 21;29(1-2):119-129. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Hospital, Negrar, Italy.

Aims And Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of a specific home care nursing programme in addition to standard care in patients (pts) receiving oral anticancer treatments.

Background: Oral anticancer therapy present challenges for pts since treatment is a home-based therapy. This study evaluates the potentiality of a home care nursing programme in decreasing hospital accesses for not severe toxicity.

Methods: This is an open-label, multicentre, randomised trial including pts who were receiving an anticancer oral drug. The study complies with the CONSORT checklist published in 2010. Concomitant use of radiation therapy, intravenous or metronomic therapies, or the intake of previous oral drugs was not allowed. Pts were randomly assigned to home care nursing programme (A) or standard care (B). In arm A, dedicated nurses provided information to pts, a daily record on which pts would take note of drugs and dosages and a telephone monitoring during the first two cycles of therapy. The primary outcome was the reduction in improper hospital accesses for grade 1-2 toxicity according to CTCAE v4.0.

Results: Out of 432 randomised pts, 378 were analysed (184 pts in arm A and 194 in arm B). Hospital accesses were observed in 41 pts in arm A and in 42 pts in arm B (22.3% vs. 21.6%, respectively). No difference was detected in proportion of improper accesses between arm A and arm B (29.3% vs. 23.8%, respectively).

Conclusions: Our experience failed to support the role of a specific home care nursing programme for pts taking oral chemotherapy. An improved attention to specific educational practice and information offered to pts can explain these results.

Relevance To Clinical Practice: Our results underline the role of nurse educational practice and information offered to patients. A careful nurse information of patients about drugs is essential to reduce toxicities avoiding the opportunity of a specific home monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.15064DOI Listing
January 2020

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

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

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

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

Italian Cohort of Nivolumab Expanded Access Program in Squamous Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Results from a Real-World Population.

Oncologist 2019 11 17;24(11):e1165-e1171. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Medical Thoracic Oncology Unit, IRCCS Istituto Tumori Giovanni Paolo II, Bari, Italy.

Background: Nivolumab has shown a survival benefit compared with docetaxel as second-line treatment for patients with previously treated advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a randomized phase III trial. The experiences of patients and physicians in routine clinical practice are often different from those in a controlled clinical trial setting. We present data from the entire Italian cohort of patients with squamous NSCLC enrolled in a worldwide nivolumab NSCLC expanded access program.

Patients And Methods: Patients with pretreated advanced squamous NSCLC received nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks for up to 24 months. Safety was monitored throughout; efficacy data collected included objective tumor response, date of progression, and survival information.

Results: The Italian cohort comprised 371 patients who received at least one dose of nivolumab. In the overall population, the objective response rate (ORR) was 18%, the disease control rate (DCR) was 47%, and median overall survival (OS) was 7.9 months (95% confidence interval 6.2-9.6). In subgroup analyses, ORR, DCR, and median OS were, respectively, 17%, 48%, and 9.1 months in patients previously treated with two or more lines of therapy ( = 209) and 8%, 40%, and 10.0 months in patients treated beyond disease progression ( = 65). In the overall population, the rate of any-grade and grade 3-4 adverse events was 29% and 6%, respectively. Treatment-related adverse events led to treatment discontinuation in 14 patients (5%). There were no treatment-related deaths.

Conclusion: To date, this report represents the most extensive clinical experience with nivolumab in advanced squamous NSCLC in current practice outside the controlled clinical trial setting. These data suggest that the efficacy and safety profiles of nivolumab in a broad, real-world setting are consistent with those obtained in clinical trials.

Implications For Practice: Nivolumab is approved in the U.S. and Europe for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) after failure of prior platinum-based chemotherapy. In this cohort of Italian patients with previously treated, advanced squamous NSCLC treated in a real-world setting as part of the nivolumab expanded access program, the efficacy and safety of nivolumab was consistent with that previously reported in nivolumab clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2018-0737DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6853127PMC
November 2019

Combination of peripheral neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio is predictive of pathological complete response after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.

Breast 2019 Apr 2;44:33-38. Epub 2019 Jan 2.

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

The immune system seems to play a fundamental role in breast cancer responsiveness to chemotherapy. We investigated two peripheral indicators of immunity/inflammation, i.e. neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet to lymphocyte ratio (PLR), in order to reveal a possible relationship with pathological complete response (pCR) in patients with early or locally advanced breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT). We retrospectively analyzed 373 consecutive patients affected by breast cancer and candidates to NACT. The complete blood cell count before starting NACT was evaluated to calculate NLR and PLR. ROC curve analysis determined threshold values of 2.42 and 104.47 as best cut-off values for NLR and PLR, respectively. The relationships between NLR/PLR and pCR, along with other clinical-pathological characteristics, were evaluated by Pearson's χ 2 or Fisher's exact test as appropriate. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using a logistic regression model. NLR and PLR were not significantly associated with pCR if analyzed separately. However, when combining NLR and PLR, patients with a NLR/PLR profile achieved a significantly higher rate of pCR compared to those with NLR and/or PLR (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.22-4.27, p 0.009). Importantly, the predictive value of NLR/PLR was independent from common prognostic factors such as grading, Ki67, and molecular subtypes. The combination of NLR and PLR may reflect patients' immunogenic phenotype. Low levels of both NLR and PLR may thus indicate a status of immune system activation that may predict pCR in breast cancer patients treated with NACT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2018.12.014DOI Listing
April 2019

Effect of Gender on the Outcome of Patients Receiving Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Advanced Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Phase III Randomized Clinical Trials.

J Clin Med 2018 Dec 12;7(12). Epub 2018 Dec 12.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences and CeSI-MeT, G. D'Annunzio University, 66100 Chieti, Italy.

Evidence has recently emerged on the influence of gender on the immune system. In this systematic review and meta-analysis of phase III randomized clinical trials (RCTs), we explored the impact of gender on survival in patients with advanced cancer treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). We performed a comprehensive search of the literature updated to April 2018, including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, and EMBASE. We extracted data on study characteristics and risk of bias in duplicate. Of 423 unique citations, 21 RCTs were included, inherently to 12,635 patients. Both males and females showed reduced risk of death associated with ICIs use (HR 0.73, < 0.001 and HR 0.77, < 0.001, respectively). Subgroup analyses by specific ICI showed similar OS in both genders for anti-PD-1/PDL-1. Anti-CTLA-4 use was associated with longer OS in men only (HR 0.77, < 0.012), with the exception of melanoma (in women, HR 0.80, = 0.006). PFS was longer in men than in women (HR 0.67, < 0.001 and HR 0.77, = 0.100, respectively). Conclusively, ICIs use was associated with more favorable outcomes in men, particularly for anti-CTLA-4 agents. In melanoma, not gender-related factors may influence the anti-tumor immune response evoked by ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm7120542DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306894PMC
December 2018

Palbociclib plus endocrine therapy in HER2 negative, hormonal receptor-positive, advanced breast cancer: A real-world experience.

J Cell Physiol 2019 06 10;234(6):7708-7717. Epub 2018 Dec 10.

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

Data from 423 human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-), hormone receptor-positive (HR+) advanced breast cancer (aBC) patients treated with palbociclib and endocrine therapy (ET) were provided by 35 Italian cancer centers and analyzed for treatment outcomes. Overall, 158 patients were treated in first line and 265 in second/later lines. We observed 19 complete responses and 112 partial responses. The overall response rate (ORR) was 31% (95% confidence interval [CI], 26.6-35.4) and clinical benefit was 52.7% (95% CI, 48-57.5). ORR was negatively affected by prior exposure to everolimus/exemestane ( p = 0.002) and favorably influenced by early line-treatment ( p < 0.0001). At 6 months, median progression-free survival was 12 months (95% CI, 8-16) and median overall survival was 24 months (95% CI, 17-30). More favorable outcomes were associated with palbociclib in early lines, no visceral metastases and no prior everolimus/exemestane. The main toxicity reported was neutropenia. Our results provide further support to the use of palbociclib with ET in HER2-, HR+ aBC. Differences in outcomes across patients subsets remain largely unexplained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.27832DOI Listing
June 2019

A multicenter REtrospective observational study of first-line treatment with PERtuzumab, trastuzumab and taxanes for advanced HER2 positive breast cancer patients. RePer Study.

Cancer Biol Ther 2019 7;20(2):192-200. Epub 2018 Nov 7.

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

We carried out a retrospective observational study of 264 HER2-positive advanced breast cancer (ABC) patients to explore the efficacy of first-line treatment with pertuzumab/trastuzumab/taxane in real-world setting. Survival data were analyzed by Kaplan Meier curves and log rank test. Median follow-up, length of pertuzumab/trastuzumab/taxane treatment and of pertuzumab, trastuzumab maintenance were 21, 4 and 15 months, respectively. The response rate was 77.3%, and the clinical benefit rate 93.6%. Median progression-free survival (mPFS) was 21 months, and median overall survival (mOS) was not reached. When comparing patients by trastuzumab-pretreatment, similar PFS were observed, although a longer OS was reached in trastuzumab-naïve patients (p = 0.02). Brain metastases at baseline and their development in course of therapy were associated with significantly shorter PFS (p = 0.0006) and shorter OS, although at a not fully statistically relevant extent (p = 0.06). The addition of maintenance endocrine therapy (ET) to pertuzumab/trastuzumab maintenance was associated with longer PFS (p = 0.0001), although no significant differences were detected in OS (p = 0.31). Results were confirmed by propensity score analysis (p = 0.003 and p = 0.46, respectively). In multivariate models, longer PFS was related to lower Performance Status (PS) (p = 0.07), metastatic stage at diagnosis (p = 0.006) and single metastatic site (p < 0.0001). An OS advantage was observed with lower PS (p < 0.0001), single metastatic site (p = 0.004), no prior exposure to trastuzumab (p = 0.004) and response to pertuzumab-based treatment (p = 0.003). Our results confirm that trastuzumab/pertuzumab/taxane is the standard of care as first-line treatment of patients with HER2-positive ABC even in the real-world setting. Moreover, the double-maintenance therapy (HER2 block and ET) is strongly recommended when feasible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15384047.2018.1523095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343690PMC
April 2020

Systematic vs. on-demand early palliative care in gastric cancer patients: a randomized clinical trial assessing patient and healthcare service outcomes.

Support Care Cancer 2019 Jul 24;27(7):2425-2434. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Palliative Care Unit, Istituto Scientifico Romagnolo per lo Studio e la Cura dei, Tumori (IRST) IRCCS, Meldola, Italy.

Purpose: Early palliative care (EPC) has shown a positive impact on quality of life (QoL), quality of care, and healthcare costs. We evaluated such effects in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

Methods: In this prospective, multicenter study, 186 advanced gastric cancer patients were randomized 1:1 to receive standard cancer care (SCC) plus on-demand EPC (standard arm) or SCC plus systematic EPC (interventional arm). Primary outcome was a change in QoL between randomization (T0) and T1 (12 weeks after T0) in the Trial Outcome Index (TOI) scores evaluated through the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Gastric questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were patient mood, overall survival, and family satisfaction with healthcare and care aggressiveness.

Results: The mean change in TOI scores from T0 to T1 was - 1.30 (standard deviation (SD) 20.01) for standard arm patients and 1.65 (SD 22.38) for the interventional group, with a difference of 2.95 (95% CI - 4.43 to 10.32) (p = 0.430). The change in mean Gastric Cancer Subscale values for the standard arm was 0.91 (SD 14.14) and 3.19 (SD 15.25) for the interventional group, with a difference of 2.29 (95% CI - 2.80 to 7.38) (p = 0.375). Forty-three percent of patients in the standard arm received EPC.

Conclusions: Our results indicated a slight, albeit not significant, benefit from EPC. Findings on EPC studies may be underestimated in the event of suboptimally managed issues: type of intervention, shared decision-making process between oncologists and PC physicians, risk of standard arm contamination, study duration, timeliness of assessment of primary outcomes, timeliness of cohort inception, and recruitment of patients with a significant symptom burden.

Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01996540).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-018-4517-2DOI Listing
July 2019

Use of nivolumab in elderly patients with advanced squamous non-small-cell lung cancer: results from the Italian cohort of an expanded access programme.

Eur J Cancer 2018 09 13;100:126-134. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Aim: This analysis evaluated the efficacy and safety of nivolumab, an immune checkpoint inhibitor, in elderly patients with stage IIIB or IV squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) enrolled in the expanded access programme (EAP) in Italy.

Methods: Nivolumab was available on physician request. Safety data included adverse events (AEs). Efficacy data included investigator-assessed tumour response, progression date and survival information. Results were analysed for patients aged <65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years and for the overall population.

Results: A total of 371 patients with squamous NSCLC were enrolled at 96 centres between April 2015 and September 2015; 34% (n = 126), 47% (n = 175) and 19% (n = 70) were aged <65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years, respectively. Efficacy was similar among patients aged <65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years and the overall population (objective response rates: 18%, 18%, 19% and 18%, respectively; disease control rates: 49%, 47%, 43% and 47%, respectively). Median overall survival was reduced in patients aged ≥75 years (5.8 months) versus patients aged <65; years (8.6 months), patients aged 65-<75 years (8.0 months) and the overall population (7.9 months). The incidence of grade 3-4 treatment-related AEs was low in patients aged 65, 65-<75 and ≥75 years and the overall population (3%, 9%, 3%, 6%, respectively). Discontinuation rates due to treatment-related AEs were low irrespective of age (4-5%).

Conclusions: These EAP results suggest that elderly patients with advanced squamous NSCLC benefit from nivolumab, with tolerability similar to that in the overall population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2018.05.015DOI Listing
September 2018

Family history of cancer as surrogate predictor for immunotherapy with anti-PD1/PD-L1 agents: preliminary report of the FAMI-L1 study.

Immunotherapy 2018 06 22;10(8):643-655. Epub 2018 Mar 22.

Medical Oncology Unit, St Salvatore Hospital, Department of Biotechnological & Applied Clinical Sciences, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, 67100, L'Aquila, Italy.

Aim: Tumors related to hereditary susceptibility seem to have an immunosensitive phenotype.

Materials & Methods: We conducted a multicenter retrospective study, to investigate if family history of cancer, multiple neoplasms and early onset of cancer could be related to clinical outcomes of anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy. Activity and efficacy data of 211 advanced cancer patients (kidney, non-small-cell lung cancer, melanoma, urothelium, colorectal and HeN), treated at seven Italian centers with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 agents, were analyzed.

Results: In this preliminary report at multivariate analyses, positive family history of cancer showed a statistically significant relationship with a better objective response rate (p = 0.0024), disease control rate (p = 0.0161), median time to treatment failure (p = 0.0203) and median overall survival (p = 0.0221). Diagnosis of multiple neoplasms significantly correlates only to a better disease control rate, while interestingly non-early onset of cancer and sex (in favor of female patients) showed significant correlation with a better median overall survival (p = 0.0268 and p = 0.0272, respectively).

Conclusion: This pilot study seems to individuate easily available patient's features as possible predictive surrogates of clinical benefit for anti-PD-1/PD-L1 treatments. These preliminary results need to be confirmed with a greater sample size, in prospective trials with immunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/imt-2017-0167DOI Listing
June 2018

Body mass index in HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer treated with first-line paclitaxel and bevacizumab.

Cancer Biol Ther 2018 04 16;19(4):328-334. Epub 2018 Feb 16.

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

The evidence emerged from the TOURANDOT trial encourages evaluating the role of anthropometric determinants on treatment outcomes in HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer patients treated with bevacizumab-including regimens. We thus analyzed data from a subgroup of these patients from a larger cohort previously assessed for treatment outcomes. Patients were included in the present analysis if body mass index values had been recorded at baseline. Clinical benefit rates, progression free survival and overall survival were assessed for the overall study population and subgroups defined upon molecular subtype. One hundred ninety six patients were included (N:196). Body mass index showed no impact on clinical benefit rates in the overall study sample and in the luminal cancer subset (p = 0.12 and p = 0.79, respectively), but did so in the triple negative subgroup, with higher rates in patients with body mass index ≥25 (p = 0.03). In the overall study sample, body mass index did no impact progression free or overall survival (p = 0.33 and p = 0.67, respectively). Conversely, in triple negative patients, progression free survival was significantly longer with body mass index ≥25 (6 vs 14 months, p = 0.04). In this subset, overall survival was more favorable (25 vs 19 months, p = 0.02). The impact of the molecular subtype was confirmed in multivariate models including the length of progression free survival, and number of metastatic sites (p < 0.0001). Further studies are warranted to confirm our findings in more adequately sized, ad hoc, prospective studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15384047.2017.1416938DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5902232PMC
April 2018

Prevalence of malnutrition in patients at first medical oncology visit: the PreMiO study.

Oncotarget 2017 Oct 10;8(45):79884-79896. Epub 2017 Aug 10.

Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology Sapienza, St. Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Background: In cancer patients, malnutrition is associated with treatment toxicity, complications, reduced physical functioning, and decreased survival. The Prevalence of Malnutrition in Oncology (PreMiO) study identified malnutrition or its risk among cancer patients making their first medical oncology visit. Innovatively, oncologists, not nutritionists, evaluated the nutritional status of the patients in this study.

Methods: PreMiO was a prospective, observational study conducted at 22 medical oncology centers across Italy. For inclusion, adult patients (>18 years) had a solid tumor diagnosis, were treatment-naive, and had a life expectancy >3 months. Malnutrition was identified by the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA), appetite status with a visual analog scale (VAS), and appetite loss with a modified version of Anorexia-Cachexia Subscale (AC/S-12) of the Functional Assessment of Anorexia-Cachexia Therapy (FAACT).

Findings: Of patients enrolled (1,952), 51% had nutritional impairment; 9% were overtly malnourished, and 43% were at risk for malnutrition. Severity of malnutrition was positively correlated with the stage of cancer. Over 40% of patients were experiencing anorexia, as reported in the VAS and FAACT questionnaire. During the prior six months, 64% of patients lost weight (1-10 kg).

Interpretation: Malnutrition, anorexia, and weight loss are common in cancer patients, even at their first visit to a medical oncology center.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5668103PMC
October 2017

Anthropometric, clinical and molecular determinants of treatment outcomes in postmenopausal, hormone receptor positive metastatic breast cancer patients treated with fulvestrant: Results from a real word setting.

Oncotarget 2017 Sep 9;8(40):69025-69037. Epub 2017 Apr 9.

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

To characterize determinants of treatment outcome in a real world population of 161 post-menopausal hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer patients treated with fulvestrant. Descriptive statistics for demographics, anthropometrics, clinical and molecular characteristic were compared across subgroups of sensitivity/resistance to prior endocrine therapy and tested in uni/multivariate models. Clinical benefit was more common in sensitive patients with higher estrogen receptor expression and when fulvestrant was given in first line (=0.02 and 0.046). In resistant patients, PFS was longer with lower BMI (=0.01). Among endocrine sensitive women, longer PFS was associated with fulvestrant in first-line, single metastasis and no visceral involvement (=0.01, 0.003 and 0.01). OS was shorter in resistant patients with HER2-positive disease and if fulvestrant was given in second and subsequent line (=0.03). In sensitive patients, we observed worse OS with multiple metastases (=0.008). Multivariate analyses confirmed longer PFS in resistant patients with lower BMI and older age (=0.002 and 0.007). OS in resistant patients was negatively influenced by HER2 positivity and fulvestrant in second and subsequent line (=0.04). In sensitive women, multiple metastases were associated with poorer survival (=0.002). This evidence encourages considering patient and disease characteristics in decision making and outcome interpretation for patients candidate to fulvestrant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16982DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5620318PMC
September 2017

A retrospective multicentric observational study of trastuzumab emtansine in HER2 positive metastatic breast cancer: a real-world experience.

Oncotarget 2017 08 25;8(34):56921-56931. Epub 2017 May 25.

Medical Oncology Unit, ASL Frosinone, Frosinone, Italy.

We addressed trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) efficacy in HER2+ metastatic breast cancer patients treated in real-world practice, and its activity in pertuzumab-pretreated patients. We conducted a retrospective, observational study involving 23 cancer centres, and 250 patients. Survival data were analyzed by Kaplan Meier curves and log rank test. Factors testing significant in univariate analysis were tested in multivariate models. Median follow-up was 15 months and median T-DM1 treatment-length 4 months. Response rate was 41.6%, clinical benefit 60.9%. Median progression-free and median overall survival were 6 and 20 months, respectively. Overall, no differences emerged by pertuzumab pretreatment, with median progression-free and median overall survival of 4 and 17 months in pertuzumab-pretreated (p=0.13), and 6 and 22 months in pertuzumab-naïve patients (p=0.27). Patients who received second-line T-DM1 had median progression-free and median overall survival of 3 and 12 months (p=0.0001) if pertuzumab-pretreated, and 8 and 26 months if pertuzumab-naïve (p=0.06). In contrast, in third-line and beyond, median progression-free and median overall survival were 16 and 18 months in pertuzumab-pretreated (p=0.05) and 6 and 17 months in pertuzumab-naïve patients (p=0.30). In multivariate analysis, lower ECOG performance status was associated with progression-free survival benefit (p<0.0001), while overall survival was positively affected by lower ECOG PS (p<0.0001), absence of brain metastases (p 0.05), and clinical benefit (p<0.0001). Our results are comparable with those from randomized trials. Further studies are warranted to confirm and interpret our data on apparently lower T-DM1 efficacy when given as second-line treatment after pertuzumab, and on the optimal sequence order.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5593613PMC
August 2017

Fulvestrant 500 milligrams as endocrine therapy for endocrine sensitive advanced breast cancer patients in the real world: the Ful500 prospective observational trial.

Oncotarget 2017 Aug 20;8(33):54528-54536. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Division of Medical Oncology, AUSL Viterbo, Belcolle Hospital Strada Sammartinese, 01100 Viterbo, Italy.

The observational prospective trial herein presented aimed at evaluating the efficacy of fulvestrant 500 mg in the treatment of endocrine sensitive advanced breast cancer patients from the real world setting. The primary end point was clinical benefit rate (CBR). Secondary end points were overall survival (OS), progression free survival (PFS) and tolerability. One hundred sixty three patients were enrolled. At a median follow up of 20 months, the 61% of patients reached CBR, whose median duration was 10.8 months. Median PFS and OS were 7 and 35 months, respectively. Endocrine sensitive patients showed better PFS and OS. No relevant toxicity appeared when analyzing safety data. In multivariate analysis, visceral involvement, endocrine sensitivity and previous endocrine therapy were prognostic factor for PFS, whereas endocrine sensitivity and metastasis at diagnosis had prognostic relevance for OS. Estrogen receptor expression >50%, single metastatic site, and no prior endocrine therapy for advanced disease were predictive of CBR. In this prospective trial, fulvestrant 500 mg appeared to be a safe and active treatment and confirmed its efficacy in the daily clinical practice. A high percent expression of estrogen receptors (above 50%) was associated with higher CBR. Treatment was very well tolerated. Endocrine sensitivity had a major impact on treatment outcome. As expected, patients who had received first-line endocrine therapy for advanced disease exhibited worse outcome and a lower CBR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17262DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5589600PMC
August 2017

Fasting glucose and body mass index as predictors of activity in breast cancer patients treated with everolimus-exemestane: The EverExt study.

Sci Rep 2017 09 6;7(1):10597. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

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

Evidence on everolimus in breast cancer has placed hyperglycemia among the most common high grade adverse events. Anthropometrics and biomarkers of glucose metabolism were investigated in a observational study of 102 postmenopausal, HR + HER2- metastatic breast cancer patients treated with everolimus-exemestane in first and subsequent lines. Best overall response (BR) and clinical benefit rate (CBR) were assessed across subgroups defined upon fasting glucose (FG) and body mass index (BMI). Survival was estimated by Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. Survival predictors were tested in Cox models. Median follow up was 12.4 months (1.0-41.0). The overall cohort showed increasing levels of FG and decreasing BMI (p < 0.001). Lower FG fasting glucose at BR was more commonly associated with C/PR or SD compared with PD (p < 0.001). We also observed a somewhat higher BMI associated with better response (p = 0.052). More patients in the lowest FG category achieved clinical benefit compared to the highest (p < 0.001), while no relevant differences emerged for BMI. Fasting glucose at re-assessment was also predictive of PFS (p = 0.037), as confirmed in models including BMI and line of therapy (p = 0.049). Treatment discontinuation was significantly associated with changes in FG (p = 0.014). Further research is warranted to corroborate these findings and clarify the underlying mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10061-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587713PMC
September 2017

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy in triple-negative breast cancer: A multicentric retrospective observational study in real-life setting.

J Cell Physiol 2018 Mar 27;233(3):2313-2323. Epub 2017 Sep 27.

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

We aimed to assess the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) in a cohort of 213 triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients treated in real-world practice at eight Italian cancer centers. We computed descriptive statistics for all the variable of interest. Factors testing significant in univariate analysis were included in multivariate models. Survival data were compared by Kaplan-Meier curves and log-rank test. The median follow-up was 45 months. We observed 60 (28.2%) pathological complete response (pCR). The sequential anthracyclines-taxanes-based regimens produced the highest rate of pCR (42.6%), followed by concomitant anthracycline-taxane (24.2%), and other regimens (15.6%) (p = 0.008). When analyzing the role of baseline Ki-67, a 50% cut-off was the optimal threshold value for pCR prediction (p = 0.0005). The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) was 57.3% and the 5-year overall survival (OS) was 70.8%. In patients not achieving pCR, the optimal Ki-67 variation between biopsy and surgical specimen with prognostic relevance on long-term outcomes was 13% (p = 0.04). Patients with a Ki-67 reduction (rKi-67)<13% had worse outcomes compared to those who experienced pCR or a rKi-67≥13%. The number of NACT cycles also affected long-term outcomes (5-year DFS 65.7% vs 51.6% in patients having received >6 cycles compared with their counterparts, p = 0.02). In multivariate analysis, node status, grading, and bio-pathological treatment response (including pCR and rKi-67) impacted DFS and OS. Our results confirmed the advantage conferred by more than 6 cycles of a sequential antracycline-taxane-based NACT. Higher baseline Ki-67 values shows greater predictive significance on pathogical response, while the rKi-67 plays a prognostic role on long-term outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.26103DOI Listing
March 2018

Reply to Kadri Altundag: Do cut-off values of lymph node ratio and presence of perineural invasion affect survival in breast cancer patients with pathologic N3a lymph node stage?

Breast 2017 10 17;35:218-219. Epub 2017 May 17.

Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, G. D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy; Center of Aging Sciences and Translational Medicine (CeSI-MeT), G. D'Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2017.05.006DOI Listing
October 2017

ESAS and FACT-B in eribulin-treated metastatic breast cancer patients: a multicenter, prospective and observational study.

Future Oncol 2017 Jul 21;13(17):1517-1525. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Medical Oncology Unit, ASL Frosinone, Frosinone, Italy.

Aim: Quality of life (QoL) is a critical issue for women with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Eribulin mesylate represents a novel and active drug for pretreated MBC. Regretfully, few data exploring health-related (HR) QoL are available in unselected populations.

Patients & Methods: A multicenter prospective observational study was conducted in 50 MBC patients treated with eribulin mesylate, in order to evaluate HRQoL and patients' well-being by using the Edmonton symptoms assessment scale (ESAS) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast questionnaires.

Results: A significant ESAS score improvement was observed with a 10% median decrease. No differences were revealed for the QoL scores.

Conclusion: The analysis of ESAS and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy scores showed that eribulin mesylate contributes to preserve QoL in MBC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2017-0062DOI Listing
July 2017

Expression of phosphorylated Hippo pathway kinases (MST1/2 and LATS1/2) in HER2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant therapy.

Cancer Biol Ther 2017 05 7;18(5):339-346. Epub 2017 Apr 7.

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

The Hippo kinases MST1/2 and LATS1/2 inhibit the oncoproteins TAZ/YAP and regulate T cell function. Hippo kinases also cooperate with the ATR-Chk1 and ATM-Chk2 pathways, central orchestrators of the DNA damage response (DDR). We hypothesized that MST1/2 and LATS1/2 localization differently impacts the efficacy of neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) in breast cancer, being protective when expressed in the cytoplasm of tumor cells and in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, whereas representing molecular determinants of chemoresistance when present in the nucleus as a consequence of their cooperation with the DDR. Diagnostic biopsies from 57 HER2-positive and triple-negative breast cancer patients treated with NAT were immunostained for evaluating the expression of phosphorylated MST1/2 (pMST1/2) and LATS1/2 (pLATS1/2) in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and in cancer cells. TAZ and Chk1 immunostaining was exploited for investigating subcellular compartment-dependent activity of Hippo kinases. Nuclear pMST1/2 (pMST1/2) expression was significantly associated with nuclear expression of Chk1 (p = 0.046), whereas cytoplasmic pMST1/2 (pMST1/2) expression was marginally associated with cytoplasmic TAZ staining (p = 0.053). Patients whose tumors expressed pMST1/2 were at increased risk of residual disease after NAT (pCR ypT0/is ypN0: OR 4.91, 95%CI: 1.57-15.30; pCR ypT0 ypN0: OR 3.59, 95%CI 1.14-11.34). Conversely, exclusive cytoplasmic localization of pMST1/2 (pMST1/2)seemed to be a protective factor (pCR ypT0/is ypN0: OR 0.34, 95%CI: 0.11-1.00; pCR ypT0 ypN0: OR 0.31, 95%CI 0.10-0.93). The subcellular localization-dependent significance of pMST1/2 expression suggests their involvement in different molecular networks with opposite impact on NAT efficacy. Larger studies are warranted to confirm these novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15384047.2017.1312230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499753PMC
May 2017

Body mass index modifies the relationship between γ-H2AX, a DNA damage biomarker, and pathological complete response in triple-negative breast cancer.

BMC Cancer 2017 Feb 6;17(1):101. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

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

Background: Body mass index (BMI) is largely investigated as a prognostic and predictive factor in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Overweight and obesity are linked to a variety of pathways regulating tumor-promoting functions, including the DNA damage response (DDR). The DDR physiologically safeguards genome integrity but, in a neoplastic background, it is aberrantly engaged and protects cancer cells from chemotherapy. We herein verified the role of BMI on a previously assessed association between DDR biomarkers and pathological complete response (pCR) in TNBC patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT).

Methods: In this retrospective analysis 54 TNBC patients treated with NACT were included. The relationship between DDR biomarkers, namely phosphorylated H2A Histone Family Member X (γ-H2AX) and phosphorylated checkpoint kinase 1 (pChk1), and pCR was reconsidered in light of BMI data. The Pearson's Chi-squared test of independence (2-tailed) and the Fisher Exact test were employed to assess the relationship between clinical-molecular variables and pCR. Uni- and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify variables impacting pCR. Internal validation was carried out.

Results: We observed a significant association between elevated levels of the two DDR biomarkers and pCR in patients with BMI < 25 (p = 0.009 and p = 0.022 for γ-H2AX and pChk1, respectively), but not in their heavier counterpart. Results regarding γ-H2AX were confirmed in uni- and multivariate models and, again, for leaner patients only (γ-H2AX vs γ-H2AX: OR 10.83, 95% CI: 1.79-65.55, p = 0.009). The consistency of this finding was confirmed upon internal validation.

Conclusions: The predictive significance of γ-H2AX varies according to BMI status. Indeed, elevated levels of γ-H2AX seemed associated with lower pCR rate only in leaner patients, whereas differences in pCR rate according to γ-H2AX levels were not appreciable in heavier patients. Larger investigations are warranted concerning the potential role of BMI as effect modifier of the relationship between DDR-related biomarkers and clinical outcomes in TNBC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-3045-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5294880PMC
February 2017