[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sentinel lymph node biopsy is used to stage Merkel cell carcinoma, but its prognostic value has been questioned. Furthermore, predictors of outcome in sentinel lymph node positive Merkel cell carcinoma patients are poorly defined. In breast carcinoma, isolated immunohistochemically positive tumor cells have no impact, but in melanoma they are considered significant. The significance of sentinel lymph node metastasis tumor burden (including isolated tumor cells) and pattern of involvement in Merkel cell carcinoma are unknown. In this study, 64 Merkel cell carcinomas involving sentinel lymph nodes and corresponding immunohistochemical stains were reviewed and clinicopathological predictors of outcome were sought. Five metastatic patterns were identified: (1) sheet-like (n=38, 59%); (2) non-solid parafollicular (n=4, 6%); (3) sinusoidal, (n=11, 17%); (4) perivascular hilar (n=1, 2%); and (5) rare scattered parenchymal cells (n=10, 16%). At the time of follow-up, 30/63 (48%) patients had died with 21 (33%) attributable to Merkel cell carcinoma. Patients with pattern 1 metastases had poorer overall survival compared with patients with patterns 2-5 metastases (P=0.03), with 22/30 (73%) deaths occurring in pattern 1 patients. Three (10%) deaths occurred in patients showing pattern 5, all of whom were immunosuppressed. Four (13%) deaths occurred in pattern 3 patients and 1 (3%) death occurred in a pattern 2 patient. In multivariable analysis, the number of positive sentinel lymph nodes (1 or 2 versus >2, P<0.0001), age (<70 versus ≥70, P=0.01), sentinel lymph node metastasis pattern (patterns 2-5 versus 1, P=0.02), and immune status (immunocompetent versus suppressed, P=0.03) were independent predictors of outcome, and could be used to stratify Stage III patients into three groups with markedly different outcomes. In Merkel cell carcinoma, the pattern of sentinel lymph node involvement provides important prognostic information and utilizing this data with other clinicopathological features facilitates risk stratification of Merkel cell carcinoma patients who may have management implications.Modern Pathology advance online publication, 6 November 2015; doi:10.1038/modpathol.2015.109.
Modern Pathology 11/2015; DOI:10.1038/modpathol.2015.109 · 6.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the effect of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and peptide vaccination (PV) on relapse-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with resected high-risk melanoma.
Patients and methods:
Patients with completely resected stage IV or high-risk stage III melanoma were grouped by human leukocyte antigen (HLA) -A2 status. HLA-A2-positive patients were randomly assigned to receive GM-CSF, PV, both, or placebo; HLA-A2-negative patients, GM-CSF or placebo. Treatment lasted for 1 year or until recurrence. Efficacy analyses were conducted in the intent-to-treat population.
A total of 815 patients were enrolled. There were no significant improvements in OS (stratified log-rank P = .528; hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% repeated CI, 0.77 to 1.15) or RFS (P = .131; hazard ratio, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.04) in the patients assigned to GM-CSF (n = 408) versus those assigned to placebo (n = 407). The median OS times with GM-CSF versus placebo treatments were 69.6 months (95% CI, 53.4 to 83.5 months) versus 59.3 months (95% CI, 44.4 to 77.3 months); the 5-year OS probability rates were 52.3% (95% CI, 47.3% to 57.1%) versus 49.4% (95% CI, 44.3% to 54.3%), respectively. The median RFS times with GM-CSF versus placebo were 11.4 months (95% CI, 9.4 to 14.8 months) versus 8.8 months (95% CI, 7.5 to 11.2 months); the 5-year RFS probability rates were 31.2% (95% CI, 26.7% to 35.9%) versus 27.0% (95% CI, 22.7% to 31.5%), respectively. Exploratory analyses showed a trend toward improved OS in GM-CSF-treated patients with resected visceral metastases. When survival in HLA-A2-positive patients who received PV versus placebo was compared, RFS and OS were not significantly different. Treatment-related grade 3 or greater adverse events were similar between GM-CSF and placebo groups.
Neither adjuvant GM-CSF nor PV significantly improved RFS or OS in patients with high-risk resected melanoma. Exploratory analyses suggest that GM-CSF may be beneficial in patients with resected visceral metastases; this observation requires prospective validation.
Journal of Clinical Oncology 09/2015; DOI:10.1200/JCO.2015.62.0500 · 18.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
In a phase 1 dose-escalation study, combined inhibition of T-cell checkpoint pathways by nivolumab and ipilimumab was associated with a high rate of objective response, including complete responses, among patients with advanced melanoma.
In this double-blind study involving 142 patients with metastatic melanoma who had not previously received treatment, we randomly assigned patients in a 2:1 ratio to receive ipilimumab (3 mg per kilogram of body weight) combined with either nivolumab (1 mg per kilogram) or placebo once every 3 weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab (3 mg per kilogram) or placebo every 2 weeks until the occurrence of disease progression or unacceptable toxic effects. The primary end point was the rate of investigator-assessed, confirmed objective response among patients with BRAF V600 wild-type tumors.
Among patients with BRAF wild-type tumors, the rate of confirmed objective response was 61% (44 of 72 patients) in the group that received both ipilimumab and nivolumab (combination group) versus 11% (4 of 37 patients) in the group that received ipilimumab and placebo (ipilimumab-monotherapy group) (P<0.001), with complete responses reported in 16 patients (22%) in the combination group and no patients in the ipilimumab-monotherapy group. The median duration of response was not reached in either group. The median progression-free survival was not reached with the combination therapy and was 4.4 months with ipilimumab monotherapy (hazard ratio associated with combination therapy as compared with ipilimumab monotherapy for disease progression or death, 0.40; 95% confidence interval, 0.23 to 0.68; P<0.001). Similar results for response rate and progression-free survival were observed in 33 patients with BRAF mutation-positive tumors. Drug-related adverse events of grade 3 or 4 were reported in 54% of the patients who received the combination therapy as compared with 24% of the patients who received ipilimumab monotherapy. Select adverse events with potential immunologic causes were consistent with those in a phase 1 study, and most of these events resolved with immune-modulating medication.
The objective-response rate and the progression-free survival among patients with advanced melanoma who had not previously received treatment were significantly greater with nivolumab combined with ipilimumab than with ipilimumab monotherapy. Combination therapy had an acceptable safety profile. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01927419.).
New England Journal of Medicine 04/2015; 372(21). DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1414428 · 55.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A growing body of evidence suggests that BRAF-inhibitors, in addition to their acute tumor growth-inhibitory effects, can also promote immune responses to melanoma. The present studies aimed to define the immunological basis of BRAF-inhibitor therapy using the Braf/Pten model of inducible, autochthonous melanoma on a pure C57BL/6 background. In the tumor microenvironment, PLX4720 functioned by on-target mechanisms to selectively decrease both the proportions and absolute numbers of CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) and CD11b+Gr1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), while preserving numbers of CD8+ effector T cells. In PLX4720-treated mice, intratumoral Treg populations were quantitatively lost, demonstrating enhanced apopotosis. CD11b+ myeloid cells taken from PLX4720-treated tumors also exhibited decreased immunosuppressive function on a per-cell basis. In accordance with a reversion of tumor immune suppression, tumors that had been treated with PLX4720 grew with reduced kinetics after treatment was discontinued, and this growth delay was dependent on CD8 T cells. These findings demonstrate that BRAF inhibition selectively reverses two major mechanisms of immunosuppression in melanoma, and liberates host adaptive anti-tumor immunity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vemurafenib is an orally bioavailable BRAF inhibitor approved for the treatment of BRAF(V600) -mutant metastatic melanoma. It is important to understand the effects of a high-fat meal on the pharmacokinetics (PK) of vemurafenib in humans because it is a Biopharmaceutics Classification System Class IV drug and its PK can be altered by food. An open-label, multicenter, randomized, 2-period crossover study was performed to evaluate the effect of food (high-fat meal) on the PK of a single oral dose of vemurafenib. Secondary objectives were safety and tolerability, efficacy with best overall response rate, and overall survival during the treatment period. The concomitant intake of food (high-fat meal) increased mean Cmax 3.5 to 7.5 µg/mL and mean AUC0-∞ 119 to 360 µg · h/mL after a single 960 mg dose of vemurafenib (N = 13-15 patients). An effect of food on single-dose exposure is suggested by point estimates and 90% CI of geometric mean ratios for vemurafenib plasma AUC0-∞ (4.7) and Cmax (2.5). Toxicity and response rate of vemurafenib in this study were consistent with prior experience in patients with BRAF(V600) -mutant metastatic melanoma. A high-fat meal increased the exposure to vemurafenib without altering the mean terminal half-life.
The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 04/2014; 54(4). DOI:10.1002/jcph.255 · 2.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy has been well established as a viable technique for measurement of free radicals and oxygen in biological systems, from in vitro cellular systems to in vivo small animal models of disease. However, the use of EPR in human subjects in the clinical setting, although attractive for a variety of important applications such as oxygen measurement, is challenged with several factors including the need for instrumentation customized for human subjects, probe, and regulatory constraints. This article describes the rationale and development of the first clinical EPR systems for two important clinical applications, namely, measurement of tissue oxygen (oximetry) and radiation dose (dosimetry) in humans. The clinical spectrometers operate at 1.2 GHz frequency and use surface-loop resonators capable of providing topical measurements up to 1 cm depth in tissues. Tissue pO2 measurements can be carried out noninvasively and repeatedly after placement of an oxygen-sensitive paramagnetic material (currently India ink) at the site of interest. Our EPR dosimetry system is capable of measuring radiation-induced free radicals in the tooth of irradiated human subjects to determine the exposure dose. These developments offer potential opportunities for clinical dosimetry and oximetry, which include guiding therapy for individual patients with tumors or vascular disease by monitoring of tissue oxygenation. Further work is in progress to translate this unique technology to routine clinical practice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the positive impact of targeted therapies on metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), durable responses are infrequent and an unmet need exists for novel therapies with distinct mechanisms of action. We investigated the combination of recombinant Interleukin 21 (IL-21), a cytokine with unique immunostimulatory properties, plus sorafenib, a VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor.
In this phase 1/2 study, 52 mRCC patients received outpatient treatment with oral sorafenib 400 mg twice daily plus intravenous IL-21 (10-50 mcg/kg) on days 1-5 and 15-19 of each 7-week treatment course. The safety, antitumor activity, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of the combination were evaluated.
In phase 1 (n = 19), the maximum tolerated dose for IL-21 with the standard dose of sorafenib was determined to be 30 mcg/kg/day; grade 3 skin rash was the only dose-limiting toxicity. In phase 2, 33 previously-treated patients tolerated the combination therapy well with appropriate dose reductions; toxicities were mostly grade 1 or 2. The objective response rate was 21% and disease control rate was 82%. Two patients have durable responses that are ongoing, despite cessation of both IL-21 and sorafenib, at 41+ and 30+ months, respectively. The median progression-free survival in phase 2 was 5.6 months. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of IL-21 appeared to be preserved in the presence of sorafenib.
IL-21 plus sorafenib has antitumor activity and acceptable safety in previously treated mRCC patients. IL-21 may represent a suitable immunotherapy in further exploration of combination strategies in mRCC.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00389285.