Publications by authors named "Thomas Yau"

127 Publications

Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) clinical practice guideline on immunotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Sep;9(9)

Clinica Universidad de Navarra-Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Navarra (IDISNA), Pamplona, Spain

Patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have historically had few options and faced extremely poor prognoses if their disease progressed after standard-of-care tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Recently, the standard of care for HCC has been transformed as a combination of the immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) atezolizumab plus the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody bevacizumab was shown to offer improved overall survival in the first-line setting. Immunotherapy has demonstrated safety and efficacy in later lines of therapy as well, and ongoing trials are investigating novel combinations of ICIs and TKIs, in addition to interventions earlier in the course of disease or in combination with liver-directed therapies. Because HCC usually develops against a background of cirrhosis, immunotherapy for liver tumors is complex and oncologists need to account for both immunological and hepatological considerations when developing a treatment plan for their patients. To provide guidance to the oncology community on important concerns for the immunotherapeutic care of HCC, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) convened a multidisciplinary panel of experts to develop a clinical practice guideline (CPG). The expert panel drew on the published literature as well as their clinical experience to develop recommendations for healthcare professionals on these important aspects of immunotherapeutic treatment for HCC, including diagnosis and staging, treatment planning, immune-related adverse events (irAEs), and patient quality of life (QOL) considerations. The evidence- and consensus-based recommendations in this CPG are intended to give guidance to cancer care providers treating patients with HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002794DOI Listing
September 2021

Atezolizumab plus Bevacizumab versus Sorafenib in the Chinese Subpopulation with Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Phase 3 Randomized, Open-Label IMbrave150 Study.

Liver Cancer 2021 Jul 23;10(4):296-308. Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Department of Medical Oncology, National Taiwan University Cancer Center and National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Introduction: Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab significantly improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) versus sorafenib in patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in IMbrave150. Efficacy and safety data from the Chinese subpopulation are reported.

Methods: IMbrave150, a global, randomized, open-label, phase 3 study in patients with systemic treatment-naive unresectable HCC, included an extension phase that enrolled additional patients from mainland China. Patients were randomized (2:1) to receive intravenous atezolizumab 1,200 mg plus bevacizumab 15 mg/kg once every 3 weeks or sorafenib 400 mg twice a day until unacceptable toxicity or loss of clinical benefit. Co-primary endpoints were OS and independent review facility-assessed PFS per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors version 1.1 in the intention-to-treat population.

Results: Of 194 Chinese patients enrolled from April 16, 2018, to April 8, 2019 (137 in the global study and 57 in the China extension phase), 133 received atezolizumab plus bevacizumab and 61 received sorafenib. At the data cutoff (August 29, 2019), the stratified hazard ratio for OS was 0.44 (95% CI, 0.25-0.76) and for PFS was 0.60 (95% CI, 0.40-0.90). The respective median OS and PFS with atezolizumab plus bevacizumab were not reached (NR; 95% CI, 13.5 months to NR) and 5.7 months (95% CI, 4.2-8.3) versus 11.4 months (95% CI, 6.7 to NR) and 3.2 months (95% CI, 2.6-4.8) with sorafenib. Grade 3-4 adverse events (AEs) occurred in 78 of 132 (59.1%) atezolizumab plus bevacizumab-treated and 27 of 58 (46.6%) sorafenib-treated patients. The most common grade 3-4 AE with atezolizumab plus bevacizumab was hypertension, occurring in 15.2% of patients; however, other high-grade AEs were infrequent.

Conclusion: Clinically meaningful improvements in OS and PFS observed with atezolizumab plus bevacizumab versus sorafenib suggest that atezolizumab plus bevacizumab may become a practice-changing treatment for Chinese patients with unresectable HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000513486DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8339481PMC
July 2021

Malignancies in spondyloarthritis with and without concomitant psoriasis, and the effect of disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2021 Jul 24. Epub 2021 Jul 24.

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, The University of Hong Kong, China.

Objectives: To determine the risk of 6 types of malignancies in spondyloarthritis (SpA) with and without psoriasis (PsO) and on disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), compared to non-specific back pain (NSBP).

Methods: Medical records were retrieved. Patients with SpA with and without PsO were identified and compared to those with NSBP. Clinical data; follow-up duration; comorbidities; dates and types of cancer diagnosed; types and duration of DMARD therapy were collected. Propensity score adjustment was used to compare the risks of malignancies between SpA, SpA with and without PsO, and NSBP. Cox regression analysis was used to determine the risk of malignancy in DMARD therapy.

Results: A total of 3020 patients with SpA and 2527 patients with NSBP were studied. The mean follow-up duration in patients with SpA and NSBP was 9.6 years and 13.5 years respectively. Incidence and risk of malignancies were compatible between SpA and NSBP. The incidences of various carcinomas (per 1000 patient-years) in SpA were: 1.37 for colorectal carcinoma; 0.30 for carcinoma of pancreas; 0.30 for carcinoma of stomach; and 0.91 for lymphomas. Risk of colorectal carcinoma (HR 2.46; p=0.03) and lymphomas (HR 2.86; p=0.04) was increased in SpA with concomitant PsO. DMARD therapy was not associated with increased risks of malignancies after adjustment for confounding factors.

Conclusions: Risk of malignancy was increased in SpA with PsO but not in other subtypes of SpA or DMARD therapy.
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July 2021

Safety, Efficacy, and Pharmacodynamics of Tremelimumab Plus Durvalumab for Patients With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma: Randomized Expansion of a Phase I/II Study.

J Clin Oncol 2021 Sep 22;39(27):2991-3001. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose: This phase I/II study evaluated tremelimumab (anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 monoclonal antibody) and durvalumab (antiprogrammed death ligand-1 monoclonal antibody) as monotherapies and in combination for patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), including a novel regimen featuring a single, priming dose of tremelimumab (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02519348).

Patients And Methods: Patients with HCC who had progressed on, were intolerant to, or refused sorafenib were randomly assigned to receive T300 + D (tremelimumab 300 mg plus durvalumab 1,500 mg [one dose each during the first cycle] followed by durvalumab 1,500 mg once every 4 weeks), durvalumab monotherapy (1,500 mg once every 4 weeks), tremelimumab monotherapy (750 mg once every 4 weeks [seven doses] and then once every 12 weeks), or T75 + D (tremelimumab 75 mg once every 4 weeks plus durvalumab 1,500 mg once every 4 weeks [four doses] followed by durvalumab 1,500 mg once every 4 weeks). Safety was the primary end point. Secondary end points included objective response rate (ORR) by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.1 and overall survival; exploratory end points included circulating lymphocyte profiles.

Results: A total of 332 patients were enrolled (T300 + D, n = 75; durvalumab, n = 104; tremelimumab, n = 69; and T75 + D, n = 84). Tolerability was acceptable across arms, with grade ≥ 3 treatment-related adverse events occurring in 37.8%, 20.8%, 43.5%, and 24.4%, respectively. Confirmed ORRs (95% CI) were 24.0% (14.9 to 35.3), 10.6% (5.4 to 18.1), 7.2% (2.4 to 16.1), and 9.5% (4.2 to 17.9), respectively. An early expansion of CD8+ lymphocytes was associated with response across arms, with highest proliferating CD8+ lymphocyte levels occurring in the T300 + D arm. The median (95% CI) overall survival was 18.7 (10.8 to 27.3), 13.6 (8.7 to 17.6), 15.1 (11.3 to 20.5), and 11.3 (8.4 to 15.0) months in the T300 + D, durvalumab, tremelimumab, and T75 + D arms, respectively.

Conclusion: All regimens were found to be tolerable and clinically active; however, the T300 + D regimen demonstrated the most encouraging benefit-risk profile. The unique pharmacodynamic activity and association with ORR of the T300 + D regimen further support its continued evaluation in HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.03555DOI Listing
September 2021

Pembrolizumab as Second-Line Therapy for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Subgroup Analysis of Asian Patients in the Phase 3 KEYNOTE-240 Trial.

Liver Cancer 2021 Jun 27;10(3):275-284. Epub 2021 Apr 27.

Department of Oncology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Introduction: KEYNOTE-240 investigated the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab plus best supportive care (BSC) in sorafenib-treated patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Results for the subgroup of patients from Asia are described.

Methods: Adults with advanced HCC previously treated with sorafenib were randomized 2:1 to pembrolizumab or placebo plus BSC. Here, the Asian subgroup comprised patients enrolled in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. Primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) per blinded central imaging review and overall survival (OS). Secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR) per blinded central imaging review, duration of response (DOR), and safety.

Results: The Asian subgroup included 157 patients. As of January 2, 2019, the median follow-up in this subgroup was 13.8 months for pembrolizumab and 8.3 months for placebo. The median PFS was 2.8 months for pembrolizumab (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.6-4.1) versus 1.4 months (95% CI 1.4-2.4) for placebo (hazard ratio [HR] 0.48; 95% CI 0.32-0.70). The median OS was 13.8 months (95% CI 10.1-16.9) for pembrolizumab versus 8.3 months (95% CI 6.3-11.8) for placebo (HR 0.55; 95% CI 0.37-0.80). ORR was 20.6% (95% CI 13.4-29.5) for pembrolizumab versus 2.0% (95% CI 0.1-10.6) for placebo (difference: 18.5%; 95% CI 8.3-27.6). The median DOR was 8.6 and 2.8 months for pembrolizumab and placebo, respectively. Any grade treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) occurred in 63 patients (58.9%) receiving pembrolizumab and 24 patients (48.0%) receiving placebo; 14 (13.1%) and 2 (4.0%) patients experienced grade 3-5 TRAEs, respectively. No treatment-related deaths occurred.

Conclusion: Pembrolizumab demonstrated antitumor activity and was well tolerated in the Asian subgroup of KEYNOTE-240. A trend toward greater benefit with pembrolizumab in the Asian subgroup was observed compared with the overall cohort, supporting further evaluation of pembrolizumab treatment in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000515553DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8237794PMC
June 2021

The Outcomes of Systemic Treatment in Recurrent Hepatocellular Carcinomas Following Liver Transplants.

Adv Ther 2021 07 1;38(7):3900-3910. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, 102 Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.

Background: Treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) recurrences following liver transplant (LT) is challenging. Most clinical trials of systemic therapies for advanced HCC excluded patients with any history of organ transplant. We aimed to assess the outcomes in using various systemic therapies in patients with post-LT recurrence.

Methods: Consecutive patients with HCC and recurrences following LT at a large tertiary centre from 2005 to 2018 were reviewed. Overall survival (OS), response rates and adverse events (AEs) were analysed.

Results: Forty-three consecutive patients with a recurrence of HCC following LT were identified from 2005 to 2018. Median OS from diagnosis of recurrence was 17 months (CI 11.3, 22.7). Early recurrence within 12 months of transplant was associated with a significantly worse median survival of 10 months (CI 8.5, 11.4) compared to 26 months (CI 18.8, 33.2) when recurrences occurred after 12 months from transplant (p < 0.001) with a hazard ratio of 0.104 (log-rank test, p < 0.001). A total of 41 patients had received systemic therapies and 79.1% of them were on sorafenib as the first-line treatment. Among these patients treated with sorafenib, median OS from recurrence was 14 months (CI 7.3, 20.7). Hand-foot syndrome (34.7%) was most common among AEs followed by diarrhoea (26.7%). Overall, AEs led to dose interruptions in 8.8% of patients. Notably, 47.1% of patients received subsequent lines of systemic therapies after sorafenib.

Conclusions: Early recurrence within 1 year from transplant was the most significant risk factor. Treatment efficacy and adverse events and tolerability of sorafenib were comparable with those in the setting of advanced HCC without transplant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-021-01800-zDOI Listing
July 2021

Safety and tolerability of subcutaneous trastuzumab and intravenous pertuzumab as adjuvant treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer: a pilot study.

Postgrad Med J 2021 May 26. Epub 2021 May 26.

Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Background: Subcutaneous (SC) trastuzumab is similar to intravenous trastuzumab in terms of pharmacokinetics, efficacy and tolerability. The use of dual anti-HER2 agents trastuzumab and pertuzumab has become the new standard for node-positive HER2-positive breast cancers at adjuvant setting, but the safety and tolerability of combining SC trastuzumab and intravenous pertuzumab is not well studied.

Methods: This was a prospective single-arm pilot study with locally advanced HER2-positive breast cancer who received adjuvant SC trastuzumab and intravenous pertuzumab after standard anti-HER2 treatment with chemotherapy. Primary outcomes included adverse events (AEs), severe AEs and cardiac AEs. Secondary outcome was invasive disease-free survival (iDFS).

Results: With a median follow-up of 21.7 months, 20 patients were enrolled. One patient (5%) developed asymptomatic drop in left ventricular ejection fraction from 69% to 53%. Two patients (10%) developed grade 1 injection site reaction related to SC trastuzumab. There were no grade 2 or above AEs. All AEs were transient. No new AEs were observed. The 1-year iDFS was 90% (95% CI 0.656 to 0.974) CONCLUSIONS: Combination of SC trastuzumab and intravenous pertuzumab for HER2-positive breast cancer is a safe and well-tolerated option in adjuvant setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/postgradmedj-2021-140319DOI Listing
May 2021

Recent Advances and Future Prospects in Immune Checkpoint (ICI)-Based Combination Therapy for Advanced HCC.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 18;13(8). Epub 2021 Apr 18.

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

Advanced, unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma has a dismal outcome. Multiple immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting the programmed-cell death 1 pathway (PD-1/L1) have been approved for the treatment of advanced HCC. However, outcomes remain undesirable and unpredictable on a patient-to-patient basis. The combination of anti-PD-1/L1 with alternative agents, chiefly cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) ICIs or agents targeting other oncogenic pathways such as the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway and the c-MET pathway, has, in addition to the benefit of directly targeting alterative oncogenic pathways, in vitro evidence of synergism through altering the genomic and function signatures of T cells and expression of immune checkpoints. Several trials have been completed or are underway evaluating such combinations. Finally, studies utilizing transcriptomics and organoids are underway to establish biomarkers to predict ICI response. This review aims to discuss the biological rationale and clinical advances in ICI-based combinations in HCCs, as well as the progress and prospects of the search for the aforementioned biomarkers in ICI treatment of HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13081949DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8072916PMC
April 2021

The Use of Cabozantinib in Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Hong Kong-A Territory-Wide Cohort Study.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Apr 21;13(9). Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

(1) Background: Cabozantinib is approved in sorafenib-exposed advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (aHCC). We evaluated the real-life pattern of use, efficacy, and tolerability of cabozantinib in aHCC. (2) Methods: This territory-wide study included consecutive aHCC patients who received cabozantinib between February 2018 and September 2020 in Hong Kong. The objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), overall survival (OS), and adverse events (AE) were assessed. (3) Results: Overall, 42 patients were included. Approximately 83.3% had Child-Pugh A cirrhosis. About 64.3% received cabozantinib as a single agent, and the remaining 35.7% received cabozantinib as an add-on to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). For single-agent patients, the median follow-up was 6.7 months. The ORR was 3.7%, DCR was 44.4%, and the median OS was 8.28 months. About 74.1% of patients experienced any AEs with 7.4% having grade ≥3 AEs. Among patients who received prior ICIs ( = 16), the ORR was 6.3%, and the median OS was 8.28 months. An exploratory analysis of patients who received cabozantinib as an add-on to ICIs showed an ORR of 6.7% and a median OS of 15.1 months, with 73.3% having any AE and 13.3% having grade ≥3 AEs. (4) Conclusions: Cabozantinib had good anti-tumor activity, survival benefits, and acceptable tolerability in real-life aHCC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13092002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8122581PMC
April 2021

Clinical and Immunologic Responses to a B-Cell Epitope Vaccine in Patients with HER2/neu-Overexpressing Advanced Gastric Cancer-Results from Phase Ib Trial IMU.ACS.001.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jul 20;27(13):3649-3660. Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Imugene Limited, Sydney, Australia.

Purpose: HER2/neu is overexpressed in up to 30% of gastroesophageal adenocarcinomas (GEA) and linked to poor prognosis. Recombinant mAbs to treat HER2/neu-overexpressing cancers are effective with limitations, including resistance and toxicity. Therefore, we developed a therapeutic B-cell epitope vaccine (IMU-131/HER-Vaxx) consisting of three fused B-cell epitopes from the HER2/neu extracellular domain coupled to CRM197 and adjuvanted with Montanide. This phase Ib study aimed to evaluate the optimal/safe dose leading to immunogenicity and clinical responses (https//clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02795988).

Patients And Methods: A total of 14 patients with HER2/neu-overexpressing GEA were enrolled, and dose escalation (10, 30, 50 μg) was performed in three cohorts (C). Immunogenicity was evaluated by HER2-specific Abs and cellular responses, clinical responses by CT scans according to RECIST version 1.1.

Results: IMU-131 was safe without vaccine-related significant local/systemic reactions or serious adverse events. A total of 11 of 14 patients were evaluable for changes in tumor size and vaccine-specific immune responses. One patient showed complete, 5 partial responses, and 4 stable diseases as their best response. HER2-specific IgG levels were dose dependent. In contrast to patients in C1 and C2, all patients in C3 mounted substantial HER2-specific Ab levels. In addition, cellular vaccine responses, such as Th1-biased cytokine ratios and reduced regulatory T cell numbers, were generated. Progression-free survival was prolonged in C3, correlating with the vaccine-specific humoral and cellular responses.

Conclusions: IMU-131 was well tolerated and safe. The induced HER2-specific Abs and cellular responses were dose dependent and correlated with clinical responses. The highest dose (50 μg) was recommended for further evaluation in a phase II trial, with chemotherapy + IMU-131 or chemotherapy alone, which is currently ongoing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-3742DOI Listing
July 2021

Nivolumab + Ipilimumab for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma previously treated with Sorafenib.

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jun 19;15(6):589-598. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

Introduction: The systemic treatment of advanced, unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has undergone an evolution in recent years. In March 2020, a combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab was approved by the FDA for treatment of patients with advanced HCC who received prior sorafenib. This was based on the results of the phase I/II CheckMate-040 cohort 4 trials, which showed a promising overall response rate and encouraging overall survival with a manageable safety profile.

Areas Covered: This article reviews the pharmacology, efficacy and safety of nivolumab-ipilimumab in advanced HCC with prior sorafenib. Other existing systemic treatment options for advanced HCC will be described and compared to nivolumab-ipilimumab. Impact of different dose regimes, ongoing research and future developments of nivolumab-ipilimumab will be discussed. We focus on the analysis from the aforementioned CheckMate-040 cohort 4 registration trial.

Expert Opinion: The approval of nivolumab-ipilimumab in the second-line treatment of advanced HCC by the FDA is an important development for treatment of advanced HCC. However, further investigations are needed to optimize dosing regimens and explore the use of nivolumab-ipilimumab in other combinations and settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17474124.2021.1899808DOI Listing
June 2021

Programmed cell death-ligand 1 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma and its correlation with clinicopathological characteristics.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Sep 10;36(9):2601-2609. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Department of Pathology, Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.

Background And Aim: Programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) immunohistochemistry score has been approved as the predictive biomarker for anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapy in several advanced malignancies. Although its predictive role remained inconclusive in hepatocellular carcinoma, ongoing study of anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapy showed promising results. However, less is known about the PD-L1 immunohistochemistry score and factors correlated with it in hepatocellular carcinoma. We investigated PD-L1 immunohistochemistry scores in a large cohort of hepatocellular carcinoma, as well as its correlation with various clinical and genomic factors.

Methods: Immunohistochemistry was performed to detect the expression of PD-L1 protein in 315 hepatocellular carcinoma tissues. All slides were independently reviewed by three senior pathologists. Next-generation YS panel (450 genes) sequencing was performed on 309 patients.

Results: Higher PD-L1 expression as measured by combined positive score (CPS) was associated with increased Edmondson-Steiner grade (grade III vs II, P = 0.041) and TP53 mutations (P = 0.021). PD-L1 CPS had no correlation with tumor mutational burden (Spearman's correlation coefficient 0.067). PD-L1 CPS was not significantly associated with hepatitis B virus infection.

Conclusions: Our data indicated that patients with higher Edmondson-Steiner grade (grade III) had significantly higher PD-L1 CPS than patients with lower Edmondson-Steiner grade (grade II). Patients with TP53 mutations had significantly higher PD-L1 expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jgh.15475DOI Listing
September 2021

The Effects of COVID-19 on Cancer Care Provision: A Systematic Review.

Cancer Control 2021 Jan-Dec;28:1073274821997425

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Liverpool, UK.

This systematic review aims to gather primary data from cancer institutions that have implemented changes to cancer service provision amid the COVID-19 outbreak to inform future intervention and health care facility response strategies. A comprehensive literature search was done on Global Health Medline and EMBASE using pertinent key words and MeSH terms relating to COVID-19 and Cancer service provision. A total of 72 articles were selected for inclusion in this systematic review. Following the narrative synthesis that was conducted of the literature, 6 core themes that encompassed common cancer service intervention adopted by institutions were identified: (1) Testing and Tracking, (2) Outreach and Communication, (3) Protection, (4) Social Distancing (5) Treatment Management, (6) Service Restructuring. Since cancer patients are a high-risk population amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these areas of targeted intervention can be used to inform necessary actions in institutions facing similar risks, based on previous learning from numerous cancer centers globally.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1073274821997425DOI Listing
March 2021

Thyroid Immune-Related Adverse Events in Patients with Cancer Treated with anti-PD1/anti-CTLA4 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Combination: Clinical Course and Outcomes.

Endocr Pract 2021 Sep 11;27(9):886-893. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address:

Objective: Thyroid immune-related adverse events (irAEs) have been reported to have prognostic significance among patients with cancer treated with anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD1) and anti-programmed death-ligand 1 monotherapies. We evaluated the clinical course and predictors of thyroid irAEs in relation to outcomes of patients with advanced cancer treated with combination anti-PD1/anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA4).

Methods: We conducted a regional study and identified patients with advanced cancer who received ≥1 cycle of combination anti-PD1/anti-CTLA4 between 2015 and 2019 in Hong Kong. Thyroid function tests (TFTs) were monitored every 3 weeks. Thyroid irAE was defined by ≥2 abnormal TFTs after initiation of combination anti-PD1/anti-CTLA4 in the absence of other causes.

Results: One hundred and three patients were included (median age: 59 years; 71.8% men). About 45% had prior anti-PD1 exposure. Upon median follow-up of 6.8 months, 17 patients (16.5%) developed thyroid irAEs, where 6 initially presented with thyrotoxicosis (overt, n = 4; subclinical, n = 2) and 11 with hypothyroidism (overt, n = 2; subclinical, n = 9). Eventually, 10 patients (58.8%) required continuous thyroxine replacement. Systemic steroid was not required in all cases. Prior anti-PD1 exposure (odds ratio, 3.67; 95% CI, 1.19-11.4; P = .024) independently predicted thyroid irAEs. Multivariable Cox regression analysis revealed that occurrence of thyroid irAEs was independently associated with better overall survival (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.17-0.71; P = .004).

Conclusion: Thyroid irAEs are common in routine clinical practice among patients with advanced cancer treated with anti-PD1/anti-CTLA4 combination and might have potential prognostic significance. Regular TFT monitoring is advised for timely treatment of thyroid irAEs to prevent potential morbidities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eprac.2021.01.017DOI Listing
September 2021

Ipilimumab and nivolumab/pembrolizumab in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma refractory to prior immune checkpoint inhibitors.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 02;9(2)

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Background: Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) pathway blockade with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) is a standard therapy in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) nowadays. No strategies to overcome ICI resistance have been described. We aimed to evaluate the use of ipilimumab and anti-PD-1 ICIs (nivolumab or pembrolizumab) combinations in patients with advanced HCC with progression on prior ICIs.

Methods: Patients with advanced HCC with documented tumor progression on prior ICIs and subsequently received ipilimumab with nivolumab/pembrolizumab were analyzed. Objective response rate (ORR), median duration of response (DOR), time-to-progression (TTP), overall survival (OS), and treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were assessed.

Results: Twenty-five patients were included. The median age was 62 (range: 51-83). About 68% were of Child-Pugh (CP) Grade A and 48% had primary resistance to prior ICI. At median follow-up of 37.7 months, the ORR was 16% with a median DOR of 11.5 months (range: 2.76-30.3). Three patients achieved complete response. The median TTP was 2.96 months (95% CI: 1.61 to 4.31). Median OS was 10.9 months (95% CI: 3.99 to 17.8) and the 1 year, 2 year and 3 year survival rates were 42.4%, 32.3% and 21.6%, respectively. The ORR was 16.7% in primary resistance group and 15.4% in acquired resistance group (p=1.00). All responders were of CP A and Albumin-Bilirubin (ALBI) Grade 1 or 2. CP and ALBI Grades were significantly associated with OS (p=0.006 and p<0.001, respectively). Overall, 52% of patients experienced TRAEs and 12% experienced Grade 3 or above TRAEs.

Conclusions: Ipilimumab and nivolumab/pembrolizumab can achieve durable antitumor activity and encouraging survival outcomes with acceptable toxicity in patients with advanced HCC who had prior treatment with ICIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001945DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875295PMC
February 2021

Sorafenib plus doxorubicin in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma patients: hope or hype?

Ann Transl Med 2020 Dec;8(24):1695

Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/atm-2020-130DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7812207PMC
December 2020

Placental growth factor promotes tumour desmoplasia and treatment resistance in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

Gut 2021 Jan 11. Epub 2021 Jan 11.

Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Objective: Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC)-a rare liver malignancy with limited therapeutic options-is characterised by aggressive progression, desmoplasia and vascular abnormalities. The aim of this study was to determine the role of placental growth factor (PlGF) in ICC progression.

Design: We evaluated the expression of PlGF in specimens from ICC patients and assessed the therapeutic effect of genetic or pharmacologic inhibition of PlGF in orthotopically grafted ICC mouse models. We evaluated the impact of PlGF stimulation or blockade in ICC cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) using in vitro 3-D coculture systems.

Results: PlGF levels were elevated in human ICC stromal cells and circulating blood plasma and were associated with disease progression. Single-cell RNA sequencing showed that the major impact of PlGF blockade in mice was enrichment of quiescent CAFs, characterised by high gene transcription levels related to the Akt pathway, glycolysis and hypoxia signalling. PlGF blockade suppressed Akt phosphorylation and myofibroblast activation in ICC-derived CAFs. PlGF blockade also reduced desmoplasia and tissue stiffness, which resulted in reopening of collapsed tumour vessels and improved blood perfusion, while reducing ICC cell invasion. Moreover, PlGF blockade enhanced the efficacy of standard chemotherapy in mice-bearing ICC.PlGF blockade leads to a reduction in intratumorous hypoxia and metastatic dissemination, enhanced chemotherapy sensitivity and increased survival in mice-bearing aggressive ICC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322493DOI Listing
January 2021

Reply to T. J. A. Dekker, D.-C. Mo et al, and A. Seidman et al.

J Clin Oncol 2021 01 17;39(3):254-255. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Cristina Saura, MD, PhD and Mafalda Oliveira, MD, PhD, Vall d'Hebron University Hospital, Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), SOLTI Breast Cancer Cooperative Group, Barcelona, Spain; Sung-Bae Kim, MD, PhD, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea; Thomas Yau, MD, MBBS, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, Toshimi Takano, MD, Toranomon Hospital, Tokyo, Japan; and Adam Brufsky, MD, PhD, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.02963DOI Listing
January 2021

An overview in management of hepatocellular carcinoma in Hong Kong using the Hong Kong Liver Cancer (HKLC) staging system.

Glob Health Med 2020 Oct;2(5):312-318

Department of Surgery, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, China.

In Hong Kong, liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer deaths. The prevalence of hepatitis B is high in Hong Kong because of the high rate of hepatitis B virus infection, and chronic hepatitis B has remained the leading cause of hepatocellular carcinoma in the city, accounting for 80% of all cases in the period from 1992 to 2016. In view of the different etiologies of hepatocellular carcinoma around the world, a group of liver experts in Hong Kong developed the Hong Kong Liver Cancer staging system in order to provide more aggressive treatment guidance (predominantly a wider use of surgical resection) for Asian patients of hepatocellular carcinoma. In this article focussing on the Hong Kong Liver Cancer staging system, we briefly reviewed the screening criteria adopted in Hong Kong for liver resection, local ablation, transcatheter arterial chemoembolization, transcatheter arterial radioembolization, stereotactic body radiation therapy, and systemic therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.35772/ghm.2020.01062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7731182PMC
October 2020

Health-related quality-of-life impact of pembrolizumab versus best supportive care in previously systemically treated patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: KEYNOTE-240.

Cancer 2021 Mar 24;127(6):865-874. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Kindai University School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.

Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is an important outcome measure and prognostic indicator in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). KEYNOTE-240 (NCT02702401) assessed the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab plus best supportive care (BSC) versus placebo plus BSC in patients with HCC who previously received sorafenib. This study presents the results of a prespecified exploratory analysis of patient-reported outcomes.

Methods: Patients completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and its HCC supplement (EORTC QLQ-HCC18) electronically at baseline; at weeks 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18; and then every 9 weeks until 1 year or end of treatment, and at the 30-day safety follow-up visit.

Results: The HRQoL population included 271 and 127 patients randomly assigned to pembrolizumab and placebo, respectively. From baseline to week 12, changes in both scores were similar between pembrolizumab and placebo; global health status/QoL scores were stable. The proportions of patients who improved, remained stable, or deteriorated across all functional domain and symptom scores were generally similar between pembrolizumab and placebo. Time to deterioration was similar between the 2 arms based on the prespecified analysis of EORTC QLQ-HCC18 domains of abdominal swelling, fatigue, and pain.

Conclusion: Pembrolizumab preserved HRQoL during treatment for advanced HCC. Combined with efficacy and safety results from KEYNOTE-240, these findings support a positive benefit/risk profile for pembrolizumab in a second-line treatment setting for patients with HCC who previously received sorafenib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33317DOI Listing
March 2021

Efficacy and Safety of Nivolumab Plus Ipilimumab in Patients With Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma Previously Treated With Sorafenib: The CheckMate 040 Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 Nov 12;6(11):e204564. Epub 2020 Nov 12.

Department of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.

Importance: Most patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are diagnosed with advanced disease not eligible for potentially curative therapies; therefore, new treatment options are needed. Combining nivolumab with ipilimumab may improve clinical outcomes compared with nivolumab monotherapy.

Objective: To assess efficacy and safety of nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with advanced HCC who were previously treated with sorafenib.

Design, Setting, And Participants: CheckMate 040 is a multicenter, open-label, multicohort, phase 1/2 study. In the nivolumab plus ipilimumab cohort, patients were randomized between January 4 and September 26, 2016. Treatment group information was blinded after randomization. Median follow-up was 30.7 months. Data cutoff for this analysis was January 2019. Patients were recruited at 31 centers in 10 countries/territories in Asia, Europe, and North America. Eligible patients had advanced HCC (with/without hepatitis B or C) previously treated with sorafenib. A total of 148 patients were randomized (50 to arm A and 49 each to arms B and C).

Interventions: Patients were randomized 1:1:1 to either nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg, administered every 3 weeks (4 doses), followed by nivolumab 240 mg every 2 weeks (arm A); nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg, administered every 3 weeks (4 doses), followed by nivolumab 240 mg every 2 weeks (arm B); or nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 6 weeks (arm C).

Main Outcomes And Measures: Coprimary end points were safety, tolerability, and objective response rate. Duration of response was also measured (investigator assessed with the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors v1.1).

Results: Of 148 total participants, 120 were male (81%). Median (IQR) age was 60 (52.5-66.5). At data cutoff (January 2019), the median follow-up was 30.7 months (IQR, 29.9-34.7). Investigator-assessed objective response rate was 32% (95% CI, 20%-47%) in arm A, 27% (95% CI, 15%-41%) in arm B, and 29% (95% CI, 17%-43%) in arm C. Median (range) duration of response was not reached (8.3-33.7+) in arm A and was 15.2 months (4.2-29.9+) in arm B and 21.7 months (2.8-32.7+) in arm C. Any-grade treatment-related adverse events were reported in 46 of 49 patients (94%) in arm A, 35 of 49 patients (71%) in arm B, and 38 of 48 patients (79%) in arm C; there was 1 treatment-related death (arm A; grade 5 pneumonitis).

Conclusions And Relevance: In this randomized clinical trial, nivolumab plus ipilimumab had manageable safety, promising objective response rate, and durable responses. The arm A regimen (4 doses nivolumab 1 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 3 mg/kg every 3 weeks then nivolumab 240 mg every 2 weeks) received accelerated approval in the US based on the results of this study.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01658878.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.4564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7530824PMC
November 2020

Second-line cabozantinib after sorafenib treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: a subgroup analysis of the phase 3 CELESTIAL trial.

ESMO Open 2020 08;5(4)

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, United States.

Objective: In the phase 3 CELESTIAL trial, cabozantinib improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) compared with placebo in patients with previously treated advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This subgroup analysis evaluated cabozantinib in patients who had received sorafenib as the only prior systemic therapy.

Methods: CELESTIAL randomised (2:1) patients with advanced HCC and Child-Pugh class A liver function to treatment with cabozantinib (60 mg daily) or placebo. Eligibility required prior treatment with sorafenib, and patients could have received ≤2 prior systemic regimens. The primary endpoint was OS. Outcomes in patients who had received sorafenib as the only prior therapy were analysed by duration of prior sorafenib (<3 months, 3 to <6 months and ≥6 months).

Results: Of patients who had received only prior sorafenib, 331 were randomised to cabozantinib and 164 to placebo; 136 patients had received sorafenib for <3 months, 141 for 3 to <6 months and 217 for ≥6 months. Cabozantinib improved OS relative to placebo in the overall second-line population who had received only prior sorafenib (median 11.3 vs 7.2 months; HR=0.70, 95% CI 0.55 to 0.88). This improvement was maintained in analyses by prior sorafenib duration with longer duration generally corresponding to longer median OS-median OS 8.9 vs 6.9 months (HR=0.72, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.10) for prior sorafenib <3 months, 11.5 vs 6.5 months (HR=0.65, 95% CI 0.43 to 1.00) for 3 to <6 months and 12.3 vs 9.2 months (HR=0.82, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.16) for ≥6 months. Cabozantinib also improved PFS in all duration subgroups. Safety data were consistent with the overall study population.

Conclusion: Cabozantinib improved efficacy outcomes versus placebo in the second-line population who had received only prior sorafenib irrespective of duration of prior sorafenib treatment, further supporting the utility of cabozantinib in the evolving treatment landscape of HCC.

Clinical Trial Number: NCT01908426.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/esmoopen-2020-000714DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7451459PMC
August 2020

SARS-CoV-2 infects human neural progenitor cells and brain organoids.

Cell Res 2020 10 4;30(10):928-931. Epub 2020 Aug 4.

School of Biomedical Sciences, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, 3/F, Laboratory Block, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41422-020-0390-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7399356PMC
October 2020

Association of inflammatory biomarkers with clinical outcomes in nivolumab-treated patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

J Hepatol 2020 12 22;73(6):1460-1469. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background & Aims: Nivolumab, a programmed death (PD)-1 (PD-1) inhibitor, led to durable responses, manageable safety, and increased survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In our retrospective analysis, we studied the immunobiology and potential associations between biomarkers and outcomes with nivolumab in HCC.

Methods: Fresh and archival tumour samples from dose-escalation and dose-expansion phases of the CheckMate 040 trial were analysed by immunohistochemistry and RNA sequencing to assess several inflammatory gene expression signatures, including CD274 (PD-ligand 1 [PD-L1]), CD8A, LAG3, and STAT1. Biomarkers were assessed for association with clinical outcomes (best overall response by blinded independent central review per RECIST v1.1 and overall survival [OS]).

Results: Complete or partial tumour responses were observed in PD-L1-positive and PD-L1-negative patients treated with nivolumab monotherapy. Median OS was 28.1 (95% CI 18.2-n.a.) vs. 16.6 months (95% CI 14.2-20.2) for patients with tumour PD-L1 ≥1% vs. <1% (p = 0.03). Increased CD3 and CD8 showed a non-significant trend towards improved OS (both p = 0.08), and macrophage markers were not associated with OS. Tumour PD-1 and PD-L1 expression were associated with improved OS (p = 0.05 and p = 0.03, respectively). An inflammatory gene signature consisting of 4 genes was associated with improved objective response rate (p = 0.05) and OS (p = 0.01).

Conclusions: PD-1 and PD-L1 expression, biomarkers of inflammation, and inflammatory gene signatures trended with improved survival and response. While further confirmation within a larger phase III trial is needed to evaluate predictive value of these biomarkers, these exploratory analyses suggest that anti-tumour immune response may play a role in the treatment benefit of nivolumab in HCC.

Lay Summary: Certain tests may be used to provide a picture of how a tumour is escaping the immune system, allowing it to continue to grow and create more tumours. Therapies such as nivolumab are designed to help the immune system fight the tumour. These tests may be used to determine how effective such therapies will be in the treatment of advanced liver cancer.

Nct Number: NCT01658878.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.07.026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7751218PMC
December 2020

Neratinib Plus Capecitabine Versus Lapatinib Plus Capecitabine in HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Previously Treated With ≥ 2 HER2-Directed Regimens: Phase III NALA Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2020 09 17;38(27):3138-3149. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

Graduate School of Medicine, Gunma University, Gunma, Japan.

Purpose: NALA (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01808573) is a randomized, active-controlled, phase III trial comparing neratinib, an irreversible pan-HER tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), plus capecitabine (N+C) against lapatinib, a reversible dual TKI, plus capecitabine (L+C) in patients with centrally confirmed HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer (MBC) with ≥ 2 previous HER2-directed MBC regimens.

Methods: Patients, including those with stable, asymptomatic CNS disease, were randomly assigned 1:1 to neratinib (240 mg once every day) plus capecitabine (750 mg/m twice a day 14 d/21 d) with loperamide prophylaxis, or to lapatinib (1,250 mg once every day) plus capecitabine (1,000 mg/m twice a day 14 d/21 d). Coprimary end points were centrally confirmed progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). NALA was considered positive if either primary end point was met (α split between end points). Secondary end points were time to CNS disease intervention, investigator-assessed PFS, objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DoR), clinical benefit rate, safety, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL).

Results: A total of 621 patients from 28 countries were randomly assigned (N+C, n = 307; L+C, n = 314). Centrally reviewed PFS was improved with N+C (hazard ratio [HR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.63 to 0.93; stratified log-rank 0059). The OS HR was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.72 to 1.07; 2098). Fewer interventions for CNS disease occurred with N+C versus L+C (cumulative incidence, 22.8% 29.2%; 043). ORRs were N+C 32.8% (95% CI, 27.1 to 38.9) and L+C 26.7% (95% CI, 21.5 to 32.4; 1201); median DoR was 8.5 versus 5.6 months, respectively (HR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.33 to 0.74; .0004). The most common all-grade adverse events were diarrhea (N+C 83% L+C 66%) and nausea (53% 42%). Discontinuation rates and HRQoL were similar between groups.

Conclusion: N+C significantly improved PFS and time to intervention for CNS disease versus L+C. No new N+C safety signals were observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.20.00147DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499616PMC
September 2020

Novel systemic therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatol Int 2020 Sep 13;14(5):638-651. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Graduate Institute of Oncology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.

Systemic therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) used to be limited to patients with advanced diseases and multi-kinase inhibitors targeting tumor angiogenesis the major approach of developing new treatment options. In the past 3 years, new data from trials of both molecular targeted therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) provided many new options of first- and second-line treatment for advanced HCC. Most notably, combination of ICI targeting the program cell death-1 (PD-1) pathway with other novel agents or conventional anti-cancer therapy may further improve treatment efficacy in different clinical settings. In this paper updated data of clinical trials of systemic therapy in the first- and second-line settings for advanced HCC were reviewed and the following issues were discussed: (1) lessons of trial design learned from positive and negative trials; (2) the balance between efficacy and safety in clinical practice; and (3) impact on future multi-disciplinary management of HCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12072-020-10073-7DOI Listing
September 2020

Serum Alpha-fetoprotein Levels and Clinical Outcomes in the Phase III CELESTIAL Study of Cabozantinib versus Placebo in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Clin Cancer Res 2020 09 7;26(18):4795-4804. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.

Purpose: The phase III CELESTIAL study demonstrated improved overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) with cabozantinib versus placebo in patients with previously treated, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We analyzed outcomes by baseline alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and on-treatment AFP changes.

Patients And Methods: Serum AFP was measured every 8 weeks by blinded, centralized testing. Outcomes were analyzed by baseline AFP bifurcated at 400 ng/mL and by on-treatment AFP response (≥20% decrease from baseline at Week 8). The optimal cutoff for change in AFP at Week 8 was evaluated using maximally selected rank statistics.

Results: Median OS for cabozantinib versus placebo was 13.9 versus 10.3 months [HR, 0.81; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.62-1.04] for patients with baseline AFP <400 ng/mL, and 8.5 versus 5.2 months (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.54-0.94) for patients with baseline AFP ≥400 ng/mL. Week 8 AFP response rate was 50% for cabozantinib versus 13% for placebo. In the cabozantinib arm, median OS for patients with and without AFP response was 16.1 versus 9.1 months (HR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.45-0.84). AFP response was independently associated with longer OS. The optimal cutoff for association with OS in the cabozantinib arm was ≤0% change in AFP at Week 8 [AFP control; HR 0.50 (95% CI, 0.35-0.71)]. HRs for PFS were consistent with those for OS.

Conclusions: Cabozantinib improved outcomes versus placebo across a range of baseline AFP levels. On-treatment AFP response and control rates were higher with cabozantinib than placebo, and were associated with longer OS and PFS with cabozantinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-19-3884DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7779341PMC
September 2020

Mining of epitopes on spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 patients.

Cell Res 2020 08 1;30(8):702-704. Epub 2020 Jul 1.

CAS Key Laboratory of Quantitative Engineering Biology, Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518055, China.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41422-020-0366-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7327194PMC
August 2020

Cabozantinib in combination with atezolizumab versus sorafenib in treatment-naive advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: COSMIC-312 Phase III study design.

Future Oncol 2020 Jul 3;16(21):1525-1536. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Medical Oncology & Hematology Unit, Humanitas Cancer Center, Humanitas Clinical & Research Center, IRCCS, Rozzano, Milan, Italy.

Cabozantinib is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets VEGFR, MET and the TAM (TYRO3, AXL, MER) family of kinase receptors. In addition to their role in tumor growth and angiogenesis, cabozantinib targets promote an immune-suppressive microenvironment. Cabozantinib is approved as single-agent therapy for patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma who received prior sorafenib. Owing to its antitumor and immunomodulatory properties, cabozantinib is being developed in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Early studies of these combinations have shown promising antitumor activity and tolerability in patients with solid tumors. Here, we describe the rationale and design of COSMIC-312, a Phase III study evaluating the safety and efficacy of cabozantinib in combination with atezolizumab (anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody) versus sorafenib for treatment-naive patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. ClinicalTrial.gov Registration: NCT03755791.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-0283DOI Listing
July 2020

Comparative Efficacy of Cabozantinib and Regorafenib for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Adv Ther 2020 06 18;37(6):2678-2695. Epub 2020 May 18.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: No trials have compared cabozantinib and regorafenib for the second-line treatment of advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Objectives: Conduct a matching-adjusted indirect comparison (MAIC) of the efficacy and safety of second-line cabozantinib and regorafenib in patients with advanced HCC and disease progression after prior sorafenib.

Methods: The CELESTIAL and RESORCE trials were used for indirect comparison of second-line cabozantinib and regorafenib in advanced HCC. Population-level data were available for RESORCE, individual patient data (IPD) for CELESTIAL. To align with RESORCE, the CELESTIAL population was limited to patients who received first-line sorafenib only. To minimize potential effect-modifying population differences, the CELESTIAL IPD were weighted to balance the distribution of clinically relevant baseline characteristics with those of RESORCE. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated for the matching-adjusted second-line CELESTIAL population and compared with those for RESORCE using weighted Kaplan-Meier curves and parametric modeling. Rates of grade 3/4 treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) affecting > 5% of patients in any study arm were compared.

Results: In the matching-adjusted second-line populations (CELESTIAL, effective sample size = 266; RESORCE, n = 573), median (95% confidence interval) OS was similar for cabozantinib and regorafenib (11.4 [8.9-17.0] versus 10.6 [9.1-12.1] months; p = 0.3474, log-rank test). Median PFS was longer for cabozantinib than regorafenib (5.6 [4.9-7.3] versus 3.1 [2.8-4.2] months; p = 0.0005, log-rank test). There was a trend for lower rates of some grade 3/4 TEAEs with regorafenib than with cabozantinib, which may reflect the exclusion of sorafenib-intolerant patients from RESORCE but not from CELESTIAL, a difference that the MAIC methods could not remove. Only diarrhea rates were statistically significantly lower for regorafenib (p  ≤ 0.001).

Conclusions: Cabozantinib may achieve similar OS and prolonged PFS compared with regorafenib in patients with progressive advanced HCC after prior sorafenib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12325-020-01378-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7467441PMC
June 2020
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