Donald P Lawrence

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

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Publications (39)534.56 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study is a rare example of effective doses of both targeted agents being both administered and tolerated.This combination should not be used in melanoma. Sorafenib and bortezomib affect BCL family member expression. We previously demonstrated that bortezomib augmented sorafenib-mediated cytotoxicity in melanoma cell lines in vitro. We aimed to combine sorafenib 400 mg b.i.d. with increasing doses of weekly bortezomib. Patients with metastatic melanoma were enrolled in dose-escalation cohorts to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of sorafenib (twice daily) in combination with bortezomib (weekly for 3 of 4 weeks). The MTD was defined as the highest dose level at which less than 33% of patients exhibited a dose-limiting toxicity (DLT). Efficacy, as measured by 6-month progression-free survival and response rate per RECIST, was documented. Eleven patients were enrolled at three dose levels. DLTs (fatigue and rash) were seen in two of three patients at the highest dose level. Five patients were enrolled for sorafenib 400 mg b.i.d. and bortezomib 1.0 mg/m(2) weekly for 3 of every 4 weeks; none had DLTs, and this dose level was defined as the MTD. Of 10 evaluable patients, no responses were seen. Two of 11 patients (18%) remained progression free for longer than 6 months. The combination of sorafenib and bortezomib is safe but not active in patients with melanoma. ©AlphaMed Press; the data published online to support this summary is the property of the authors.
    The Oncologist 05/2015; 20(6). DOI:10.1634/theoncologist.2015-0105 · 4.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Survival with BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma is prolonged with MAP-kinase pathway inhibitors (MAPKi). Among patients with brain metastases (BM), however, the clinical course of MAPKi-treated patients is not well described. We therefore explored these patients' survival patterns compared to contemporary patients not treated with MAPKi. We analyzed 106 patients who developed melanoma BM between 2007 and 2013. Of these, 37 (35 %) received de novo MAPKi for BRAF-mutant disease, which preceded BM in 49 %. Immunotherapy was given to 54 % of MAPKi-treated patients and 94 % of those who did not receive MAPKi. We evaluated the potential influence of patient characteristics, systemic therapies, and BM-directed treatments on time to appearance of new BM and overall survival. With a median follow-up of 8.0 months after initial BM, MAPKi use was an independent predictor of prolonged survival after BM diagnosis (median 14.1 vs 7.0 months, P = 0.03, adjusted hazard ratio 0.39). This survival advantage was driven by the 16.6-month median survival of patients who initiated MAPKi after BM were diagnosed, versus 5.6 months if initiated prior to BM development (P = 0.03). Median survival from the onset of any systemic metastases was 22 months regardless of the timing of MAPKi relative to BM appearance. Time to in-brain progression was longer among patients whose MAPKi course was started after BM diagnosis, but MAPKi initiation prior to BM diagnosis was associated with longer time to intracranial involvement. These findings are consistent with potential MAPKi activity in intracranial melanoma.
    Journal of Neuro-Oncology 04/2015; 123(1). DOI:10.1007/s11060-015-1761-x · 2.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A practice gap exists in the surgical removal of sentinel lymph nodes, from removal of only the most radioactive (hottest) lymph node to removal of all lymph nodes with radioactivity greater than 10% of the hottest lymph node. To determine the clinical significance of melanoma in sentinel lymph nodes that are not the hottest sentinel node and to determine the risk for disease progression based on sentinel lymph node status and primary tumor characteristics. Consecutive patients with cutaneous melanoma with sentinel lymph nodes resected from January 5, 2004, to June 30, 2008, with a mean follow-up of 59 months, at Massachusetts General Hospital were included in this retrospective review. The last year of follow-up was 2012. The operative protocol led to resection of all sentinel lymph nodes with radioactivity greater than 10% of the hottest lymph node. The number of lymph nodes removed, technetium-99m counts for each sentinel lymph node, presence or absence of sentinel lymph node metastases, primary tumor characteristics, disease progression, and melanoma-specific survival were recorded. Microscopic melanoma metastases in the hottest and nonhottest sentinel lymph nodes and factors that correlate with disease progression and mortality. A total of 1575 sentinel lymph nodes were analyzed in 475 patients. Ninety-one patients (19%) had positive sentinel lymph nodes. Of these, 72 (79%) had metastases in the hottest sentinel lymph node. Of 19 cases with tumor present, but not in the hottest sentinel lymph node, counts ranged from 26% to 97% of the hottest node. Progression occurred in 43% of patients with sentinel node metastasis, regardless of whether the hottest lymph node was positive. In patients with negative sentinel lymph nodes, 11% developed metastases beyond the sentinel lymph node basin and 3.4% recurred in the basin. Mitogenicity of the primary tumor was associated with mortality (odds ratio, 2.435; 95% CI, 1.351-4.391; P < .001). Removing only the hottest sentinel lymph node would have led to false-negative results in 19 of 475 (4%) of all patients and 19 of 91 patients (21%) with positive sentinel lymph nodes. The 8-year survival in patients with at least 1 positive sentinel lymph node was less than 55%. The presence of more than 1 mitosis per square millimeter in the primary cutaneous melanoma was associated with decreased survival. Microscopic melanoma metastases was associated with disease progression and mortality, whether present in the hottest sentinel lymph node or not. These observations emphasize the importance of removing the less hot nodes, addressing a practice gap in the surgical approach to patients with melanoma.
    JAMA SURGERY 04/2015; 150(5). DOI:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.3843 · 4.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Although durable responses can be achieved with tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as imatinib in melanomas harboring KIT mutations, the efficacy of alternative inhibitors after progression to imatinib and the activity of these agents on brain metastases is unknown. Experimental Design: We conducted a phase II study of nilotinib 400 mg BID in two cohorts of patients with melanomas harboring KIT mutations or amplification: A) those refractory or intolerant to a prior KIT inhibitor; and B) those with brain metastases. The primary endpoint was 4-month disease control rate. Secondary endpoints included response rate, time-to-progression and overall survival. A Simon two-stage and a single-stage design was planned to assess for the primary endpoint in Cohorts A and B, respectively. Results: Twenty patients were enrolled and 19 treated (11-Cohort A; 8-Cohort B). Three patients on Cohort A (27%; 95% CI, 8% - 56%) and 1 on Cohort B (12.5%; 90% CI, 0.6% - 47%) achieved the primary endpoint. Two partial responses were observed in Cohort A (18.2%, 90% CI, 3% - 47%); none were observed in Cohort B. The median time-to-progression and overall survival was 3·3 (90% CI, 2.1 - 3.9 months) and 9.1 months (90% CI, 4.3 - 14.2 months), respectively, in all treated patients. Conclusion: Nilotinib may achieve disease control in patients with melanoma harboring KIT alterations and whose disease progressed after imatinib therapy. The efficacy of this agent in KIT altered melanoma with brain metastasis is limited. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    Clinical Cancer Research 02/2015; 21(10). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-1630 · 8.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fresolimumab is an antibody capable of neutralizing all human isoforms of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) and has demonstrated anticancer activity in investigational studies. Inhibition of TGFβ by fresolimumab can potentially result in the development of cutaneous lesions. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical, histological, and immunohistochemical characteristics of cutaneous neoplasms associated with fresolimumab. Skin biopsies (n = 24) were collected and analyzed from patients (n = 5) with treatment-emergent, cutaneous lesions arising during a phase 1 study of multiple doses of fresolimumab in patients (n = 29) with melanoma or renal cell carcinoma. Blinded, independent histological review and measurements of Ki-67, p53, and HPV integration were performed. Based on central review, four patients developed lesions with histological characteristics of keratoacanthomas, and of these patients, a single case of well-differentiated squamous cell carcinoma was also found. Expression of Ki-67, no evidence of p53 overexpression, and only focal positivity for human papillomavirus RNA by in situ hybridization in 4/18 cases were consistent with these findings. Following completion of fresolimumab, lesions spontaneously resolved. Therefore, benign, reversible keratoacanthomas were the most common cutaneous neoplasms observed, a finding of importance for adverse event monitoring, patient care, and optimization of therapies targeting TGFβ.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 01/2015; 64(4). DOI:10.1007/s00262-015-1653-0 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of human cancer is a multistep process characterized by the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations that drive or reflect tumour progression. These changes distinguish cancer cells from their normal counterparts, allowing tumours to be recognized as foreign by the immune system. However, tumours are rarely rejected spontaneously, reflecting their ability to maintain an immunosuppressive microenvironment. Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1; also called B7-H1 or CD274), which is expressed on many cancer and immune cells, plays an important part in blocking the 'cancer immunity cycle' by binding programmed death-1 (PD-1) and B7.1 (CD80), both of which are negative regulators of T-lymphocyte activation. Binding of PD-L1 to its receptors suppresses T-cell migration, proliferation and secretion of cytotoxic mediators, and restricts tumour cell killing. The PD-L1-PD-1 axis protects the host from overactive T-effector cells not only in cancer but also during microbial infections. Blocking PD-L1 should therefore enhance anticancer immunity, but little is known about predictive factors of efficacy. This study was designed to evaluate the safety, activity and biomarkers of PD-L1 inhibition using the engineered humanized antibody MPDL3280A. Here we show that across multiple cancer types, responses (as evaluated by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours, version 1.1) were observed in patients with tumours expressing high levels of PD-L1, especially when PD-L1 was expressed by tumour-infiltrating immune cells. Furthermore, responses were associated with T-helper type 1 (TH1) gene expression, CTLA4 expression and the absence of fractalkine (CX3CL1) in baseline tumour specimens. Together, these data suggest that MPDL3280A is most effective in patients in which pre-existing immunity is suppressed by PD-L1, and is re-invigorated on antibody treatment.
    Nature 11/2014; 515(7528):563-7. DOI:10.1038/nature14011 · 42.35 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Cancer 11/2014; 50:102. DOI:10.1016/S0959-8049(14)70440-X · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) have led to clinical benefit in patients with melanoma. The development of a blood-based assay to detect and quantify BRAF levels in these patients has diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive capabilities that could guide treatment decisions. Blood BRAFV600E detection and quantification was performed on samples from 128 patients with Stage II (19), III (67), and IV (42) melanoma. Tissue BRAF analysis was performed in all patients with Stage IV disease and in selected patients with Stage II and III disease. Clinical outcomes were correlated to initial BRAF levels as well as BRAF level dynamics. Serial analysis was performed on 17 Stage IV melanoma patients treated with BRAFi and compared to tumor measurements by RECIST. The assay was highly sensitive (96%) and specific (95%) in the Stage IV setting, using a blood level of 4.8 pg as "positive". BRAF levels typically decreased following BRAFi. A subset of these patients (5) had an increase in BRAF V600E values 42-112 days prior to clinical or radiographic disease progression (PD). From 86 patients with resected, stage II or III melanoma, 39 had evidence of disease relapse (45.3 %). Furthermore, BRAF mutation in the blood after surgical resection in these patients was not associated with a difference in relapse risk, though tissue BRAF status was only available for a subset of patients. In summary we have developed a highly sensitive and specific, blood-based assay to detect BRAFV600 mutation in patients with melanoma.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 10/2014; DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-14-0349 · 6.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose Preclinical and early clinical studies have demonstrated that initial therapy with combined BRAF and MEK inhibition is more effective in BRAF(V600)-mutant melanoma than single-agent BRAF inhibitors. This study assessed the safety and efficacy of dabrafenib and trametinib in patients who had received prior BRAF inhibitor treatment. Patients and Methods In this open-label phase I/II study, we evaluated the pharmacology, safety, and efficacy of dabrafenib and trametinib. Here, we report patients treated with combination therapy after disease progression with BRAF inhibitor treatment administered before study enrollment (part B; n = 26) or after cross-over at progression with dabrafenib monotherapy (part C; n = 45). Results In parts B and C, confirmed objective response rates (ORR) were 15% (95% CI, 4% to 35%) and 13% (95% CI, 5% to 27%), respectively; an additional 50% and 44% experienced stable disease >= 8 weeks, respectively. In part C, median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3.6 months (95% CI, 2 to 4), and median overall survival was 11.8 months (95% CI, 8 to 25) from cross-over. Patients who previously received dabrafenib >= 6 months had superior outcomes with the combination compared with those treated < 6 months; median PFS was 3.9 (95% CI, 3 to 7) versus 1.8 months (95% CI, 2 to 4; hazard ratio, 0.49; P = .02), and ORR was 26% (95% CI, 10% to 48%) versus 0% (95% CI, 0% to 15%). Conclusion Dabrafenib plus trametinib has modest clinical efficacy in patients with BRAF inhibitor-resistant melanoma. This regimen may be a therapeutic strategy for patients who previously benefited from BRAF inhibitor monotherapy >= 6 months but demonstrates minimal efficacy after rapid progression with BRAF inhibitor therapy. (C) 2014 by American Society of Clinical Oncology
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 10/2014; 32(33). DOI:10.1200/JCO.2014.57.3535 · 17.88 Impact Factor
  • 09/2014; 2(9):923-923. DOI:10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-14-0141
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    ABSTRACT: Context: Ipilimumab (Ipi) is approved by the FDA for treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Little is known about ipilimumab-induced hypophysitis (IH), an important treatment complication. Objective: To (i) examine the prevalence of IH, (ii) characterize the clinical course and treatment outcomes in IH, (iii) identify risk factors for the development of IH, and (iv) determine optimal strategies for the management of IH. Design: Retrospective review Setting: Tertiary referral center Subjects: 154 adult patients with metastatic melanoma evaluated at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and treated with Ipi between March 2008 and December 2013. Intervention(s): Treatment with Ipi Main Outcome Measure(s): Pituitary magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), pituitary hormone assessment, patient survival. Results: IH was diagnosed in 17 patients (11%). Male gender (p = 0.02) and older age (p = 0.005), but not the cumulative dose of Ipi, were risk factors for IH. All patients with IH had anterior hypopituitarism (none had diabetes insipidus). Hypopituitarism was persistent in most individuals (76%). Diffuse pituitary enlargement was observed exclusively in all cases of IH and, upon retrospective review of MRI's, this finding preceded the clinical diagnosis of hypophysitis in 8 patients. Pituitary enlargement resolved rapidly (within 40 days in 7/7 patients). Median survival in patients with IH was 19.4 vs 8.8 months (p = 0.05) in the remainder of the cohort. Conclusions: Male gender and older age are risk factors for IH. Pituitary enlargement is sensitive and specific for IH in the appropriate setting, can precede the clinical diagnosis, and resolves rapidly. Anterior pituitary function recovery is uncommon. The incidence of hypophysitis may positively predict survival in melanoma patients treated with Ipi.
    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism 07/2014; DOI:10.1210/jc.2014-2306 · 6.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The immunotherapy (IT) agents ipilimumab and interleukin-2 as well as BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) vemurafenib and dabrafenib, with or without trametinib (MEK inhibitors), are all FDA-approved treatments for BRAF metastatic melanoma, but there are few studies to guide optimal sequencing. This retrospective analysis describes the outcomes of patients treated with either BRAFi before IT or IT before BRAFi. A cohort of patients treated with BRAFi alone or with MEK inhibitor was retrospectively identified. Response rate (RR), overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS) were evaluated for the entire cohort, subdivided by BRAFi prior to or after IT. RR and median PFS and OS calculated from commencement of BRAFi following IT (N = 32) were 57%, 6.7 months (95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.3-9.1 months), and 19.6 months (95% CI = 10.0-undefined months), respectively; whereas for BRAFi initially (N = 242) were 66%, 5.6 months (95% CI = 4.7-6.8 months), and 13.4 months (95% CI = 10.1-17.0 months). Results were similar when controlled for prognostic variables. A total of 193 patients discontinued BRAFi, with OS of 2.9 months (range of 1.8-4.4 months) from day of BRAFi discontinuation. Forty patients subsequently received IT with ipilimumab. Only half could complete 4 doses of ipilimumab; PFS with ipilimumab was 2.7 months (95% CI = 1.8-3.1 months) and OS was 5.0 months (95% CI = 3.0-8.8 months). In this retrospective analysis, prior treatment with IT does not appear to negatively influence response to BRAFi. Outcomes for IT with ipilimumab following BRAFi discontinuation are poor. Randomized controlled trials are needed to define if sequencing IT prior to BRAFi therapy is superior to sequencing BRAFi prior to IT. Cancer 2014. © 2014 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 06/2014; 120(11). DOI:10.1002/cncr.28620 · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ipilimumab improves survival in advanced melanoma and can induce immune-mediated tumor vasculopathy. Besides promoting angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) suppresses dendritic cell maturation and modulates lymphocyte endothelial trafficking. This study investigated the combination of CTLA4 blockade with ipilimumab and VEGF inhibition with bevacizumab. Patients with metastatic melanoma were treated in four dosing cohorts of ipilimumab (3 or 10 mg/kg) with four doses at 3-week intervals and then every 12 weeks, and bevacizumab (7.5 or 15 mg/kg) every 3 weeks. Forty-six patients were treated. Inflammatory events included giant cell arteritis (n = 1), hepatitis (n = 2), and uveitis (n = 2). On-treatment tumor biopsies revealed activated vessel endothelium with extensive CD8(+) and macrophage cell infiltration. Peripheral blood analyses demonstrated increases in CCR7(+/-)/CD45RO(+) cells and anti-galectin antibodies. Best overall response included 8 partial responses, 22 instances of stable disease, and a disease-control rate of 67.4%. Median survival was 25.1 months. Bevacizumab influences changes in tumor vasculature and immune responses with ipilimumab administration. The combination of bevacizumab and ipilimumab can be safely administered and reveals VEGF-A blockade influences on inflammation, lymphocyte trafficking, and immune regulation. These findings provide a basis for further investigating the dual roles of angiogenic factors in blood vessel formation and immune regulation, as well as future combinations of antiangiogenesis agents and immune checkpoint blockade. Cancer Immunol Res; 2(7); 1-11. ©2014 AACR.
    04/2014; 2(7). DOI:10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-14-0053
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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma is an invasive malignancy with a high frequency of blood-borne metastases, but circulating tumor cells (CTCs) have not been readily isolated. We adapted microfluidic CTC capture to a tamoxifen-driven B-RAF/PTEN mouse melanoma model. CTCs were detected in all tumor-bearing mice and rapidly declined after B-RAF inhibitor treatment. CTCs were shed early from localized tumors, and a short course of B-RAF inhibition following surgical resection was sufficient to dramatically suppress distant metastases. The large number of CTCs in melanoma-bearing mice enabled a comparison of RNA-sequencing profiles with matched primary tumors. A mouse melanoma CTC-derived signature correlated with invasiveness and cellular motility in human melanoma. CTCs were detected in smaller numbers in patients with metastatic melanoma and declined with successful B-RAF-targeted therapy. Together, the capture and molecular characterization of CTCs provide insight into the hematogenous spread of melanoma.
    Cell Reports 04/2014; 7(3). DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2014.03.039 · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In advanced cancers, transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ) promotes tumor growth and metastases and suppresses host antitumor immunity. GC1008 is a human anti-TGFβ monoclonal antibody that neutralizes all isoforms of TGFβ. Here, the safety and activity of GC1008 was evaluated in patients with advanced malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. In this multi-center phase I trial, cohorts of patients with previously treated malignant melanoma or renal cell carcinoma received intravenous GC1008 at 0.1, 0.3, 1, 3, 10, or 15 mg/kg on days 0, 28, 42, and 56. Patients achieving at least stable disease were eligible to receive Extended Treatment consisting of 4 doses of GC1008 every 2 weeks for up to 2 additional courses. Pharmacokinetic and exploratory biomarker assessments were performed. Twenty-nine patients, 28 with malignant melanoma and 1 with renal cell carcinoma, were enrolled and treated, 22 in the dose-escalation part and 7 in a safety cohort expansion. No dose-limiting toxicity was observed, and the maximum dose, 15 mg/kg, was determined to be safe. The development of reversible cutaneous keratoacanthomas/squamous-cell carcinomas (4 patients) and hyperkeratosis was the major adverse event observed. One malignant melanoma patient achieved a partial response, and six had stable disease with a median progression-free survival of 24 weeks for these 7 patients (range, 16.4-44.4 weeks). GC1008 had no dose-limiting toxicity up to 15 mg/kg. In patients with advanced malignant melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, multiple doses of GC1008 demonstrated acceptable safety and preliminary evidence of antitumor activity, warranting further studies of single agent and combination treatments. NCT00356460.
    PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e90353. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0090353 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) is an inhibitory receptor expressed by activated T cells that downmodulates effector functions and limits the generation of immune memory. PD-1 blockade can mediate tumor regression in a substantial proportion of patients with melanoma, but it is not known whether this is associated with extended survival or maintenance of response after treatment is discontinued. Patients with advanced melanoma (N = 107) enrolled between 2008 and 2012 received intravenous nivolumab in an outpatient setting every 2 weeks for up to 96 weeks and were observed for overall survival, long-term safety, and response duration after treatment discontinuation. Median overall survival in nivolumab-treated patients (62% with two to five prior systemic therapies) was 16.8 months, and 1- and 2-year survival rates were 62% and 43%, respectively. Among 33 patients with objective tumor regressions (31%), the Kaplan-Meier estimated median response duration was 2 years. Seventeen patients discontinued therapy for reasons other than disease progression, and 12 (71%) of 17 maintained responses off-therapy for at least 16 weeks (range, 16 to 56+ weeks). Objective response and toxicity rates were similar to those reported previously; in an extended analysis of all 306 patients treated on this trial (including those with other cancer types), exposure-adjusted toxicity rates were not cumulative. Overall survival following nivolumab treatment in patients with advanced treatment-refractory melanoma compares favorably with that in literature studies of similar patient populations. Responses were durable and persisted after drug discontinuation. Long-term safety was acceptable. Ongoing randomized clinical trials will further assess the impact of nivolumab therapy on overall survival in patients with metastatic melanoma.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 03/2014; 32(10). DOI:10.1200/JCO.2013.53.0105 · 17.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment of BRAF-mutant melanoma with combined dabrafenib and trametinib, which target RAF and the downstream MAP-ERK kinase (MEK)1 and MEK2 kinases, respectively, improves progression-free survival and response rates compared with dabrafenib monotherapy. Mechanisms of clinical resistance to combined RAF/MEK inhibition are unknown. We performed whole-exome sequencing (WES) and whole-transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) on pretreatment and drug-resistant tumors from five patients with acquired resistance to dabrafenib/trametinib. In three of these patients, we identified additional mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway alterations in the resistant tumor that were not detected in the pretreatment tumor, including a novel activating mutation in MEK2 (MEK2(Q60P)). MEK2(Q60P) conferred resistance to combined RAF/MEK inhibition in vitro, but remained sensitive to inhibition of the downstream kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). The continued MAPK signaling-based resistance identified in these patients suggests that alternative dosing of current agents, more potent RAF/MEK inhibitors, and/or inhibition of the downstream kinase ERK may be needed for durable control of BRAF-mutant melanoma.
    Cancer Discovery 11/2013; 4(1). DOI:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-13-0631 · 15.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There have been significant advances with regard to BRAF-targeted therapies against metastatic melanoma. However, the majority of patients receiving BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) manifest disease progression within a year. We have recently shown that melanoma patients treated with BRAFi exhibit an increase in melanoma-associated antigens and in CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in response to therapy. To characterize such a T-cell infiltrate, we analyzed the complementarity-determining region 3 (CDR3) of rearranged T-cell receptor (TCR) β chain-coding genes in tumor biopsies obtained before the initiation of BRAFi and 10-14 d later. We observed an increase in the clonality of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in 7 of 8 patients receiving BRAFi, with a statistically significant 21% aggregate increase in clonality. Over 80% of individual T-cell clones detected after initiation of BRAFi treatment were new clones. Interestingly, the comparison of tumor infiltrates with clinical responses revealed that patients who had a high proportion of pre-existing dominant clones after the administration of BRAFi responded better to therapy than patients who had a low proportion of such pre-existing dominant clones following BRAFi. These data suggest that although the inhibition of BRAF in melanoma patients results in tumor infiltration by new lymphocytes, the response to treatment appears to be related to the presence of a pre-existing population of tumor-infiltrating T-cell clones.
    OncoImmunology 10/2013; 2(10):e26615. DOI:10.4161/onci.26615 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Uveal melanoma exhibits a high incidence of metastases; and, to date, there is no systemic therapy that clearly improves outcomes. The anticytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (anti-CTLA-4) antibody ipilimumab is a standard of care for metastatic melanoma; however, the clinical activity of CTLA-4 inhibition in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma is poorly defined. To assess ipilimumab in this setting, the authors performed a multicenter, retrospective analysis of 4 hospitals in the United States and Europe. Clinical characteristics, toxicities, and radiographic disease burden, as determined by central, blinded radiology review, were evaluated. Thirty-nine patients with uveal melanoma were identified, including 34 patients who received 3 mg/kg ipilimumab and 5 who received 10 mg/kg ipilimumab. Immune-related response criteria and modified World Health Organization criteria were used to assess the response rate (RR) and the combined response plus stable disease (SD) rate after 12 weeks, after 23 weeks, and overall (median follow-up, 50.4 weeks [12.6 months]). At week 12, the RR was 2.6%, and the response plus SD rate was 46.%; at week 23, the RR was 2.6%, and the response plus SD rate was 28.2%. There was 1 complete response and 1 late partial response (at 100 weeks after initial SD) for an immune-related RR of 5.1%. Immune-related adverse events were observed in 28 patients (71.8%) and included 7 (17.9%) grade 3 and 4 events. Immune-related adverse events were more frequent in patients who received 10 mg/kg ipilimumab than in those who received 3 mg/kg ipilimumab. The median overall survival from the first dose of ipilimumab was 9.6 months (95% confidence interval, 6.3-13.4 months; range, 1.6-41.6 months). Performance status, lactate dehydrogenase level, and an absolute lymphocyte count ≥1000 cells/μL at week 7 were associated significantly with survival. In this multicenter, retrospective analysis of 4 hospitals in the United States and Europe of patients with uveal melanoma, durable responses to ipilimumab and manageable toxicity were observed. Cancer 2013. © 2013 American Cancer Society.
    Cancer 08/2013; DOI:10.1002/cncr.28282 · 4.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 68-year-old man presented with metastatic melanoma to the groin and pelvis 11 years after excision of a superficial spreading melanoma on the right leg. A diagnostic test was performed, and management decisions were made.
    New England Journal of Medicine 07/2013; 369(2):173-183. DOI:10.1056/NEJMcpc1302332 · 54.42 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
534.56 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Department of Medicine
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2014–2015
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Dermatology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009–2015
    • Massachusetts General Hospital
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2010–2013
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States