Publications by authors named "Valeria Tovazzi"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Accurate Triage of Oncological Patients for Safely Continuing Cancer Therapy During the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic.

Front Oncol 2021 14;11:707346. Epub 2021 Oct 14.

Medical Oncology Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, University of Brescia at the Azienda Socio Sanitaria Territoriale (ASST)-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of clinical triage of oncological patients for safe continuation of cancer therapy implemented during the first SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.

Methods: Between 25 February and 21 April 2020, patients attending the Medical Oncology Unit, Spedali Civili Hospital, Brescia (Italy) for cancer therapy underwent triage to identify those with no signs and symptoms suspicious for SARS-CoV-2 infection in which antineoplastic treatment could be continued as scheduled. Triage questions investigated common symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, dyspnea, anosmia, dysgeusia, headache, nasal congestion, conjunctival congestion, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting); body temperature and pulse oximetry were also recorded. All patients were followed-up for overt SARS-CoV-2 through to 18 May 2020.

Results: Overall, 1180 patients (median age 65 years) underwent triage during the study period. The most frequent primary malignances were breast (32%), gastrointestinal (18%), and lung (16.5%) cancer. Thirty-one (2.5%) presented with clinically evident SARS-CoV-2 infection and tested positive on nasopharyngeal swab testing and/or radiological imaging. Triage identified 69 (6%) grey zone patients with symptoms suspicious for SARS-CoV-2; 5 (7.2%) subsequently developed symptomatic disease. Neither the symptomatic nor the grey zone patients received their scheduled treatment; instead, they were referred for hospitalization or home quarantine.

Conclusion: Triage of oncological patients at our Unit provided for safe continuation of scheduled cancer treatment in 91.5% of patients during the initial SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2021.707346DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8552044PMC
October 2021

Outcome of patients with intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma: a pooled analysis.

Endocr Relat Cancer 2021 07 5;28(8):593-604. Epub 2021 Jul 5.

Medical Oncology, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health University of Brescia, ASST-Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma (ITC) is a rare thyroid tumor that resembles thymic carcinoma, for which there are no recommendations on diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. We performed a pooled analysis of published ITC cases to describe the natural history of this disease and identify prognostic factors. We performed a systematic review of histopathological-confirmed ITC cases published in the literature in English. The following keywords were used: 'intrathyroidal thymic carcinoma', 'carcinoma showing thymus-like differentiation', 'CASTLE tumor', 'thyroid carcinoma showing thymus like differentiation'. Fifty eligible publications were identified, providing data from 132 patients, plus a case diagnosed at our institution. Median disease-free survival (DFS) of this patient series was 144 months (range 91-197), while median overall survival (OS) was not reached. Upfront surgery was performed in 97% of patients and 24% of them experienced disease recurrence after a median of 19 months (range 13-25). Complaining of major symptoms, as a sign of more advanced local stage, was the only prognostic factor significantly associated with a higher risk of death at multivariate analysis (HR 4.903, 95% CI: 1.092-22.008, P = 0.038). Postoperative radiation therapy was not associated with prognosis, while not enough data were available to assess the efficacy of chemotherapy. ITC is a rather indolent disease and ITC patients have a relatively good prognosis. Surgery is the mainstay of therapy. Survival outcome of patients depends on tumor burden and complete surgical resection. Postoperative radiation effect seems to be negligible. Data on the efficacy of chemotherapy in advanced patients are lacking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/ERC-21-0123DOI Listing
July 2021

Determinants of enhanced vulnerability to coronavirus disease 2019 in UK patients with cancer: a European study.

Eur J Cancer 2021 06 6;150:190-202. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Policlinico Universitario Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy.

Background: Despite high contagiousness and rapid spread, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to heterogeneous outcomes across affected nations. Within Europe (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) is the most severely affected country, with a death toll in excess of 100,000 as of January 2021. We aimed to compare the national impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the risk of death in UK patients with cancer versus those in continental EU.

Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the OnCovid study database, a European registry of patients with cancer consecutively diagnosed with COVID-19 in 27 centres from 27th February to 10th September 2020. We analysed case fatality rates and risk of death at 30 days and 6 months stratified by region of origin (UK versus EU). We compared patient characteristics at baseline including oncological and COVID-19-specific therapy across UK and EU cohorts and evaluated the association of these factors with the risk of adverse outcomes in multivariable Cox regression models.

Findings: Compared with EU (n = 924), UK patients (n = 468) were characterised by higher case fatality rates (40.38% versus 26.5%, p < 0.0001) and higher risk of death at 30 days (hazard ratio [HR], 1.64 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.36-1.99]) and 6 months after COVID-19 diagnosis (47.64% versus 33.33%; p < 0.0001; HR, 1.59 [95% CI, 1.33-1.88]). UK patients were more often men, were of older age and have more comorbidities than EU counterparts (p < 0.01). Receipt of anticancer therapy was lower in UK than in EU patients (p < 0.001). Despite equal proportions of complicated COVID-19, rates of intensive care admission and use of mechanical ventilation, UK patients with cancer were less likely to receive anti-COVID-19 therapies including corticosteroids, antivirals and interleukin-6 antagonists (p < 0.0001). Multivariable analyses adjusted for imbalanced prognostic factors confirmed the UK cohort to be characterised by worse risk of death at 30 days and 6 months, independent of the patient's age, gender, tumour stage and status; number of comorbidities; COVID-19 severity and receipt of anticancer and anti-COVID-19 therapy. Rates of permanent cessation of anticancer therapy after COVID-19 were similar in the UK and EU cohorts.

Interpretation: UK patients with cancer have been more severely impacted by the unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic despite societal risk mitigation factors and rapid deferral of anticancer therapy. The increased frailty of UK patients with cancer highlights high-risk groups that should be prioritised for anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Continued evaluation of long-term outcomes is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2021.03.035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023206PMC
June 2021

Systemic pro-inflammatory response identifies patients with cancer with adverse outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection: the OnCovid Inflammatory Score.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 03;9(3)

Department of Medical Oncology, Catalan Institute of Oncology, University Hospital Josep Trueta, Girona, Spain.

Background: Patients with cancer are particularly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The systemic inflammatory response is a pathogenic mechanism shared by cancer progression and COVID-19. We investigated systemic inflammation as a driver of severity and mortality from COVID-19, evaluating the prognostic role of commonly used inflammatory indices in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with cancer accrued to the OnCovid study.

Methods: In a multicenter cohort of SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with cancer in Europe, we evaluated dynamic changes in neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio (NLR); platelet:lymphocyte ratio (PLR); Prognostic Nutritional Index (PNI), renamed the OnCovid Inflammatory Score (OIS); modified Glasgow Prognostic Score (mGPS); and Prognostic Index (PI) in relation to oncological and COVID-19 infection features, testing their prognostic potential in independent training (n=529) and validation (n=542) sets.

Results: We evaluated 1071 eligible patients, of which 625 (58.3%) were men, and 420 were patients with malignancy in advanced stage (39.2%), most commonly genitourinary (n=216, 20.2%). 844 (78.8%) had ≥1 comorbidity and 754 (70.4%) had ≥1 COVID-19 complication. NLR, OIS, and mGPS worsened at COVID-19 diagnosis compared with pre-COVID-19 measurement (p<0.01), recovering in survivors to pre-COVID-19 levels. Patients in poorer risk categories for each index except the PLR exhibited higher mortality rates (p<0.001) and shorter median overall survival in the training and validation sets (p<0.01). Multivariable analyses revealed the OIS to be most independently predictive of survival (validation set HR 2.48, 95% CI 1.47 to 4.20, p=0.001; adjusted concordance index score 0.611).

Conclusions: Systemic inflammation is a validated prognostic domain in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients with cancer and can be used as a bedside predictor of adverse outcome. Lymphocytopenia and hypoalbuminemia as computed by the OIS are independently predictive of severe COVID-19, supporting their use for risk stratification. Reversal of the COVID-19-induced proinflammatory state is a putative therapeutic strategy in patients with cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-002277DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7985977PMC
March 2021

Maintenance everolimus beyond progression in pancreatic NET to control insulinoma syndrome.

Endocrine 2021 01 13;71(1):258. Epub 2021 Jan 13.

Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, Medical Oncology, University of Brescia at ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02604-xDOI Listing
January 2021

The Spread of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among the Medical Oncology Staff of ASST Spedali Civili of Brescia: Efficacy of Preventive Measures.

Front Oncol 2020 18;10:1574. Epub 2020 Aug 18.

Medical Oncology Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, University of Brescia at ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Patients with cancer are at a higher risk of developing serious disease-related complications in case of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Oncology units should implement all possible preventive measures to reduce the risk of viral transmission by healthcare professionals (HCPs) to patients. We conducted a surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 infection among the staff members of the Medical Oncology Unit of ASST Spedali Civili in Brescia, one of the Italian areas most affected by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The aim of this study was to demonstrate whether the recommended preventive measures, promptly implemented by the unit, have been effective in reducing the spread of the virus among the HCPs. Between February 24 and May 19, 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected in 10 out of 76 healthy HCPs (13%). Six of them developed a symptomatic disease, leading to home quarantine, and four remained asymptomatic. The infection was revealed when a serology test was performed on all staff members of the unit. In seven HCPs, in which it was possible to trace the person-to-person infection, the contagion occurred as a result of unprotected contacts or partially protected with surgical masks. In particular, four asymptomatic HCPs did not stop working, but a widespread outbreak in the unit was avoided. Adherence to the recommended preventive strategies, in particular, wearing of surgical masks by both the HCPs and the patients, is effective in reducing and preventing the viral spread.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.01574DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7462005PMC
August 2020

A Rare Complex BRAF Mutation Involving Codon V600 and K601 in Primary Cutaneous Melanoma: Case Report.

Front Oncol 2020 10;10:1056. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

Unit of Medical Oncology, Spedali Civili di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

BRAF is one of the most common mutated kinases detected in human cancer, particularly in cases of primary cutaneous melanomas (PCM). Mutations of the BRAF proto-oncogene, at the p.V600 codon, has been detected in more than 50% of primary and metastatic melanoma cells in clinical samples. In addition to the most frequent BRAF p.V600E mutation, corresponding to the single base pair substitution c.1799T>A, rarer mutations, within and outside the V600 codon, have been described. Expectedly, BRAF and MEK inhibitors (or their combination) have been poorly explored as potential therapeutic strategies in metastatic melanomas harboring this rare mutation. By using a set of sequencing techniques and immunohistochemistry, this work reports the genomic and clinical features of two melanoma patients showing a rare complex mutation affecting codon V600 and K601 of the BRAF gene, leading to a V600E2; K601I change. Specifically, these two patients show a distinct clinical behavior and significantly differ in their responses to BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Indeed, although this treatment has proven to be effective and safe in both cases, the observed variability between the two patients resulted as a direct consequence of the baseline extent of brain involvement, intracranial treatment failure as well as on the PTEN status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.01056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367153PMC
July 2020

Clinical portrait of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in European cancer patients.

Cancer Discov 2020 Jul 31. Epub 2020 Jul 31.

Spedali Civili di Brescia.

The SARS-Cov-2 pandemic significantly impacted on oncology practice across the globe. There is uncertainty as to the contribution of patients' demographics and oncological features on severity and mortality from Covid-19 and little guidance as to the role of anti-cancer and anti-Covid-19 therapy in this population. In a multi-center study of 890 cancer patients with confirmed Covid-19 we demonstrated a worsening gradient of mortality from breast cancer to haematological malignancies and showed that male gender, older age, and number of co-morbidities identifies a subset of patients with significantly worse mortality rates from Covid-19. Provision of chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy did not worsen mortality. Exposure to antimalarials was associated with improved mortality rates independent of baseline prognostic factors. This study highlights the clinical utility of demographic factors for individualized risk-stratification of patients and support further research into emerging anti-Covid-19 therapeutics in SARS-Cov-2 infected cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-20-0773DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7668225PMC
July 2020

Should everolimus be stopped after radiological progression in metastatic insulinoma? A "cons" point of view.

Endocrine 2020 09 2;69(3):481-484. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, Medical Oncology, University of Brescia at ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Insulinoma is a rare pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET) potentially associated with severe hypoglycaemic crisis. The great majority of these tumors are benign. In patients with metastatic malignant insulinoma, systemic therapies aim to control both the syndrome and tumor growth. Everolimus is a drug approved for the management of advanced pNETs that can achieve both these goals. According to international guidelines and regulatory authorities, everolimus in patients with pNET should be continued until the demonstration of disease progression with standard radiologic imaging techniques. The drug is neither recommended nor authorized beyond progression. This could not be the case of advanced insulinoma patients since the antineoplastic and the glycaemic effects of everolimus seem to follow independent mechanisms. The authors present here their point of view in favor of continuing everolimus beyond progression in symptomatic insulinoma patients on the basis of a robust rationale and describing a case.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12020-020-02368-4DOI Listing
September 2020

Excess of second tumors in denosumab-treated patients: a metabolic hypothesis.

Future Oncol 2019 Jul 25;15(20):2319-2321. Epub 2019 Jun 25.

Department of Medical & Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, & Public Health, Medical Oncology, University of Brescia at ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2019-0170DOI Listing
July 2019

Outcome of EGFR-mutated adenocarcinoma NSCLC patients with changed phenotype to squamous cell carcinoma after tyrosine kinase inhibitors: A pooled analysis with an additional case.

Lung Cancer 2019 01 13;127:12-18. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Department of Medical & Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences & Public Health, Medical Oncology Unit, University of Brescia at ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, 25123, Italy. Electronic address:

The onset of a new histology is a resistant mechanism to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in lung adenocarcinoma (ADK), but this phenomenon has not yet been fully clarified. We present a pooled analysis of the outcomes of EGFR-mutated ADK patients with changed phenotype to squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) following TKI, along with the description of an additional case. A 67-year-old woman with EGFR-mutated NSCLC received gefitinib and subsequently osimertinib, due to the presence of T790 M at progression. The re-biopsy after third-generation TKI revealed SqCC histology along with the basal EGFR mutation, while T790 M disappeared. The patient rapidly progressed and died despite two chemotherapy cycles. Since this first description of SqCC transformation appearing after treatment with the third-generation TKI osimertinib, other 16 patients, with EGFR-mutated ADK developing a transformation to SqCC histology after treatment with TKIs, were up to now published. From our pooled analysis emerged that most patients were female (82%), 41% were former smokers and no current smokers were identified. Median time to SqCC onset was 11.5 months. In all cases, basal EGFR mutation was maintained, and 11 patients (65%) developed an acquired mutation on exon 20. Interestingly also 790 M mutation appeared in 8 patients (47%). The median survival after SqCC diagnosis was 3.5 months regardless the treatments received. Therefore, EGFR-mutated lung ADK destined to develop a squamous phenotype were often smokers and maintained the baseline genomic alterations. The prognosis after SqCC diagnosis was extremely poor and current treatments largely inefficacious.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.11.016DOI Listing
January 2019

Eight-week interval in flushing and locking port-a-cath in cancer patients: A single-institution experience and systematic review.

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl) 2019 Mar 10;28(2):e12978. Epub 2018 Dec 10.

Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences, and Public Health, Medical Oncology, University of Brescia at ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Port-a-cath (PAC) system is one of the most frequently employed venous accesses for administration of chemotherapy and supportive care. To prevent late complications, the latest guidelines recommend flushing/locking procedures every four weeks. In this retrospective study, we evaluate the frequencies of late complications with a eight-week flushing/locking procedure compared to the standard one. This study retrospectively compares the frequency of complications occurred using standard versus delayed flushing schedules. We performed a systematic review of the published studies about PAC complications associated with longer flushing intervals. Three hundred and ninety fully available patients were enrolled. One hundred and six patients had their PAC flushed/locked every month, 347 patients performed the flushing/locking procedures every eight weeks, 63 patients switched from the four to the eight-week schedule. No difference was seen in the number of occlusions, infections and mechanical dysfunctions between the two patient groups. The systematic literature review confirmed, in a total of 1,347 patients, the absence of an increased proportion of complications with delayed schedules. PAC flushing and locking every eight weeks are feasible and safe. This delayed schedule may improve patients' quality of life and decrease both nursing workload and costs for the national health system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecc.12978DOI Listing
March 2019

Hepatoprotective effect of N-acetylcysteine in trabectedin-induced liver toxicity in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma.

Support Care Cancer 2018 Aug 15;26(8):2929-2935. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Dipartimento di Specialità Medico-Chirurgiche, Scienze Radiologiche e Sanità Pubblica, Oncologia Medica, Università degli Studi di Brescia, ASST Spedali Civili, Brescia, Italy.

Purpose: Trabectedin is one of the few active agents in soft tissue sarcoma (STS) but hepatotoxicity is frequent and represents a dose-limiting factor. Protective strategies aiming at counteracting this important side effect have a crucial clinical impact. Due to its antioxidant properties, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has a recognized hepatoprotective effect and this provides the rationale for testing NAC in the management of trabectedin-induced hepatotoxicity.

Methods: Patients with recurrent or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma, consecutively observed at our institution, who were considered eligible to trabectedin, received concomitant NAC if they had impaired hepatic or renal function at baseline or developed hepatotoxicity during treatment. The study aim was to retrospectively explore trabectedin administration in terms of number of cycles, mean dose, and dose intensity (DI) in patients who received NAC as compared with those who did not. Secondary end points were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

Results: A total number of 18 patients were enrolled in this study. Nine received NAC and nine did not. The median number of administered trabectedin cycles, mean trabectedin dose/cycles, and median DI was comparable in the two groups (p = 0.450, p = 0.534, and p = 0.450, respectively). The PFS and OS curves overlapped.

Conclusion: This explorative study suggests that NAC can have a hepatoprotective activity in patients receiving trabectedin allowing to maintain an adequate dose intensity and continuative administration in patients with impaired liver and renal function or developing treatment-induced hepatotoxicity. A prospective randomized trial is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00520-018-4129-xDOI Listing
August 2018
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