Istituto Nazionale Tumori "Fondazione Pascale"
Recent publications
The Great Debate session at the 2021 Melanoma Bridge virtual congress (December 2–4) featured counterpoint views from experts on seven important issues in melanoma. The debates considered the use of adoptive cell therapy versus use of bispecific antibodies, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitors versus immunotherapy in the adjuvant setting, whether the use of corticosteroids for the management of side effects have an impact on outcomes, the choice of programmed death (PD)-1 combination therapy with cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA)-4 or lymphocyte-activation gene (LAG)-3, whether radiation is needed for brain metastases, when lymphadenectomy should be integrated into the treatment plan and then the last debate, telemedicine versus face-to-face. As with previous Bridge congresses, the debates were assigned by meeting Chairs and positions taken by experts during the debates may not have necessarily reflected their respective personal view. Audiences voted both before and after each debate.
Over the past decade, immunotherapy has become an increasingly fundamental modality in the treatment of cancer. The positive impact of immune checkpoint inhibition, especially anti-programmed death (PD)-1/PD-ligand (L)1 blockade, in patients with different cancers has focused attention on the potential for other immunotherapeutic approaches. These include inhibitors of additional immune checkpoints, adoptive cell transfer (ACT), and therapeutic vaccines. Patients with advanced cancers who previously had limited treatment options available may now benefit from immunotherapies that can offer durable responses and improved survival outcomes. However, despite this, a significant proportion of patients fail to respond to immunotherapy, especially those with less immunoresponsive cancer types, and there remains a need for new treatment strategies. The virtual Immunotherapy Bridge (December 1st–2nd, 2021), organized by the Fondazione Melanoma Onlus, Naples, Italy in collaboration with the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer addressed several areas of current research in immunotherapy, including lessons learned from cell therapies, drivers of immune response, and trends in immunotherapy across different cancers, and these are summarised here.
After the success of immunotherapy in the treatment of advanced metastatic cancer, further evaluation in earlier settings, including high-risk, surgically-resectable disease is underway. Potential benefits of a neoadjuvant immunotherapeutic approach include presurgical tumor shrinkage, reduced surgical morbidity, early eradication of micrometastases and prevention of distant disease, and greater antigen-specific T cell response. For some cancers, pathologic response has been established as a surrogate measure for long-term outcomes, therefore offering the ability for early and objective assessment of treatment efficacy and the potential to inform and personalize adjuvant treatment clinical decision-making. Leveraging the neoadjuvant treatment setting offers the ability to deeply interrogate longitudinal tissue in order to gain translatable, pan-malignancy insights into response and mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy. Neoadjuvant immunotherapy across cancers was a focus of discussion at the virtual Immunotherapy Bridge meeting (December 1–2, 2021). Clinical, biomarker, and pathologic insights from prostate, breast, colon, and non-small-cell lung cancers, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers were discussed and are summarized in this report.
Background Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. The standard non-surgical approach for localized PCa is radiotherapy (RT), but one of the limitations of high-dose RT is the potential increase in gastrointestinal and genitourinary toxicities. We present the protocol of the Microstyle study, a multicentre randomized two-arm crossover clinical trial. The primary outcome will be assessed at the end of 6-month intervention, by measuring the change in adherence to a healthy lifestyle score. The hypothesis is that modifying lifestyle we change microbiome and improve quality of life and decrease side effects of RT. Methods Study participants will be recruited among men undergoing RT in two Italian centers (Milan and Naples). We foresee to randomize 300 patients in two intervention arms: Intervention Group (IG) and Control Group (CG). Participants allocated to the IG will meet a dietitian and a physiotherapist before RT to receive personalized diet and exercise recommendations, according to their health status, to improve overall lifestyle and reduce side effects (bowel and/or urinary problems). Dietitian and physiotherapist will work together to set individualized goals to reduce or eliminate side effects and pain according to their health status. All participants (IG) will be given a pedometer device (steps counter) in order to monitor and to spur participants to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior. Participants included in the CG will receive baseline general advice and materials available for patients undergoing RT. According to the cross-over design, the CG will cross to the intervention approach after 6-month, to actively enhance compliance towards suggested lifestyle recommendations for all patients. Discussion This trial is innovative in its design because we propose a lifestyle intervention during RT, that includes both dietary and physical activity counselling, as well as monitoring changes in microbiome and serum biomarkers. The promotion of healthy behaviour will be initiated before initiation of standard care, to achieve long lasting effects, controlling side effects, coping with feelings of anxiety and depression and improve efficacy of RT. Trial registration registration number: NCT05155618 . Retrospectively registered on December 13, 2021. The first patient was enrolled on October 22, 2021.
Background Low grade serous carcinoma of the ovary and peritoneum (LGSC) is characterized by low response rates to chemotherapy and by MAPK pathway alterations. Phase II/III clinical trials tested different MEK inhibitors (MEKis) in this complex malignancy, with heterogenous results. Purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to define activity and efficacy of these agents and explore differences in clinical outcomes related to RAS/RAF mutational status. Methods In March 2022, we searched Pubmed, Web of Science, Scopus, and the major conference proceedings (ASCO, ESMO) for randomized and non-randomized clinical trials evaluating MEKi as single agent in recurrent LGSC. The screening was performed independently by two reviewers. Objective response rate (ORR) and progression-free survival (PFS) data were extracted, and RevMan 5.3 software was used for statistical analysis. Results A total of 4 clinical trials involving 648 patients were included. In the intention-to-treat population, use of a MEK inhibitor was not associated with a significant improvement in PFS, with a pooled Hazard Ratio equal to 0.75 (95 % CI: 0.30 – 1.86, P = 0.54). Heterogeneity was significant (I² = 92 %; P = 0.0004). In the overall study population, the pooled odds ratio of ORR for MEKis compared to control treatment was 2.61 (95 % CI: 0.65 – 10.54, P = 0.18). Specifically, ORR was 20.12 % in patients treated with MEKis compared to 9.09 % in women receiving standard treatment. Heterogeneity was significant (I² = 85 %; P = 0.009). Conclusions Although no statistically significant improvement in PFS was demonstrated, the available data show clear signals of activity, at least for some MEKis.
Background The presence of KRASG12C mutation in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) correlates with poor outcome. Although different selective inhibitors are under clinical development, the optimal treatment remains uncertain. Thus, we conducted a retrospective analysis in a large cohort of patients with KRASG12C mCRC treated in 12 Italian oncology units. Patients and methods Patients with unresectable mCRC harboring KRASG12C mutation receiving a first-line chemotherapy doublet or triplet between 2011 and 2021 were included in the study. Evaluation of overall response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) analysis was carried out. Results A total of 256/6952 (3.7%) patients with mCRC displayed KRASG12C mutation; of these, 111 met the inclusion criteria. The ORR of first-line therapy was 38.7% (43/111). Median PFS (mPFS) was 9 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 7.5-10.5 months]. After progression, only 62% and 36% of the patients are fit to receive second or third lines of treatment, with limited clinical benefit. Median OS (mOS) was 21 months (95% CI 17.4-24.6 months). In patients receiving first-line triplet chemotherapy, ORR was 56.3% (9/16), mPFS was 13 months (95% CI 10.3-15.7 months) and mOS was 32 months (95% CI 7.7-56.3 months). For irinotecan-based doublets, ORR was 34.5 (10/29), mPFS was 9 months (95% CI 6.4-11.6 months) and mOS was 22 months (95% CI 16.0-28.0 months). With oxaliplatin-based doublets ORR was 36.4% (24/62), mPFS was 7 months (95% CI 4.6-9.4 months) and mOS was 18 months (95% CI, 13.6-22.4 months). Conclusion Patients with KRASG12C-mutant mCRC had a disappointing response to standard treatments. Within the limitations of a retrospective study, these results suggest that first-line chemotherapy intensification with FOLFOXIRI is a valid option in fit patients.
Background PAOLA-1/ENGOT-ov25 (NCT02477644) demonstrated a significant progression-free survival (PFS) benefit with maintenance olaparib plus bevacizumab versus placebo plus bevacizumab in newly diagnosed, advanced ovarian cancer. We report the prespecified main second progression-free survival (PFS2) analysis for PAOLA-1. Methods This randomised, double-blind, phase III trial was conducted in 11 countries. Eligible patients had newly diagnosed, advanced, high-grade ovarian cancer and were in response after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy plus bevacizumab. Patients were randomised 2:1 to olaparib (300 mg twice daily) or placebo for up to 24 months; all patients received bevacizumab (15 mg/kg every 3 weeks) for up to 15 months. Primary PFS end-point was reported previously. Time from randomisation to second disease progression or death was a key secondary end-point included in the hierarchical-testing procedure. Results After a median follow-up of 35.5 months and 36.5 months, respectively, median PFS2 was 36.5 months (olaparib plus bevacizumab) and 32.6 months (placebo plus bevacizumab), hazard ratio 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64–0.95; P = 0.0125. Median time to second subsequent therapy or death was 38.2 months (olaparib plus bevacizumab) and 31.5 months (placebo plus bevacizumab), hazard ratio 0.78; 95% CI 0.64–0.95; P = 0.0115. Seventy-two (27%) patients in the placebo plus bevacizumab group received a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor as first subsequent therapy. No new safety signals were observed for olaparib plus bevacizumab. Conclusion In newly diagnosed, advanced ovarian cancer, maintenance olaparib plus bevacizumab provided continued benefit beyond first progression, with a significant PFS2 improvement and a time to second subsequent therapy or death delay versus placebo plus bevacizumab.
Context: Camidanlumab tesirine (Cami), an antibody–drug conjugate comprising a human IgG1 anti-CD25 monoclonal antibody conjugated to a pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) dimer, displayed antitumor activity and manageable toxicity in a phase 1 trial in lymphoma, including R/R cHL (NCT02432235). Objective: Present updated efficacy and safety data from a phase 2 study of Cami monotherapy in R/R cHL (NCT04052997). Methods: Patients with R/R cHL and ≥3 prior systemic therapies including brentuximab vedotin and anti–PD-1 were enrolled. Primary endpoint: overall response rate (ORR). Patients received Cami 45 µg/kg on Day 1 of each 3-week cycle (2 cycles), then 30 µg/kg (subsequent cycles) for up to 1 year. Results: Enrollment is complete (N=117). Median age was 37 years, 62% of patients were male, and 95% had an ECOG score of 0–1. Fourteen patients (12.0%) withdrew to undergo transplant (12 [10.3%] received transplant and were censored). In the all-treated population (N=117), ORR was 70.1% (82/117; 95% CI: 60.9–78.2); 33.3% (39/117) had complete response (CR). At median (range) follow-up of 10.7 (1.2–25.2+) months, the median (95% CI) duration of response (DOR) was 13.7 months (7.4–14.7) for all responders, 14.5 (7.4–not reached, NR) months and 7.9 (3.8–NR) months for patients with CR or PR. Median (95% CI) progression-free survival (PFS) was 9.1 (5.1–15.0) months. All-grade treatment-emergent AEs (TEAEs) in ≥25% of 117 patients were fatigue (38.5%), maculopapular rash (MR, 32.5%), pyrexia (29.9%), nausea (27.4%), and rash (26.5%). Grade ≥3 TEAEs in ≥5% of patients were thrombocytopenia (9.4%), anemia (8.5%), hypophosphatemia (7.7%), neutropenia (7.7%), MR (6.8%), and lymphopenia (5.1%). TEAEs considered immune-related (IR) occurred in 32.5% of patients; Grade ≥3 IR AEs (TEAEs and non-TEAEs; 8.5%). Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS)/polyradiculopathy occurred in 8 patients (6.8%). At data cutoff, 4 cases had recovered (grade 2, n=2; grade 4, n=2); 4 had not recovered (grade 4, n=1; grade 3, n=3). Conclusions: Cami demonstrated an ORR of 70.1% (CR: 33.3%) with an encouraging median DOR of 13.7 months and median PFS of 9.1 months. Safety is consistent with prior findings, including similar incidence rates of GBS/polyradiculopathy. Abstract accepted/presented at the EHA 2022 Congress; Funding: ADC Therapeutics SA; medical writing: CiTRUS Health Group.
Context: R-CHOP is the standard of care for newly diagnosed DLBCL patients; however, 40% remain uncured. Polatuzumab vedotin (Pola), a CD79b-targeting antibody-drug conjugate, has shown promising activity/safety in a Phase Ib/II study (Tilly, et al. Lancet Oncol 2019). We report the Phase III double-blind, placebo-controlled, international POLARIX study (NCT03274492), which compared Pola-R-CHP with R-CHOP in treatment-naïve DLBCL patients with an International Prognostic Index score of 2–5. Design: Patients were randomized (1:1) to six cycles of Pola-R-CHP or R-CHOP and on Day 1 of each cycle received Pola 1.8mg/kg or vincristine 1.4mg/m2, plus intravenous rituximab 375mg/m2, cyclophosphamide 750mg/m2, and doxorubicin 50mg/m². Patients also received oral prednisone 100mg once daily (Days 1–5) and two further cycles of rituximab. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS). Results: Overall, 879 patients (median age 65 [range 19–80] years) were randomized (Pola-R-CHP: n=440; R-CHOP: n=439). At primary data cut-off (28 June 2021), median follow-up was 28.2 months. PFS was superior with Pola-R-CHP vs R-CHOP (hazard ratio [HR] 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.57–0.95; P=0.02) and 2-year PFS rate was improved (76.7% [95% CI: 72.7–80.8] vs 70.2% [95% CI: 65.8–74.6], respectively). Investigator-assessed event-free survival favored Pola-R-CHP vs R-CHOP (HR 0.75; 95% CI: 0.58–0.96; P=0.02) and overall survival was comparable (HR 0.94; 95% CI: 0.65–1.37; P=0.75). While independent review committee-assessed end-of-treatment complete response rate by positron emission tomography-computed tomography was not significantly different with Pola-R-CHP (78.0%) vs R-CHOP (74.0%; P=0.16), disease-free survival suggested more durable responses with Pola-R-CHP vs R-CHOP (HR 0.70; 95% CI: 0.50–0.98). Safety profiles were similar for Pola-R-CHP vs R-CHOP: grade 3–4 adverse event (AE) rates, 57.7% vs 57.5%, respectively; serious AEs, 34.0% vs 30.6%; grade 5 AEs, 3.0% vs 2.3%; AEs leading to dose reduction, 9.2% vs 13.0%; and peripheral neuropathy, any grade, 52.9% vs 53.9%. At data cut-off, fewer patients treated with Pola-R-CHP (23%) vs R-CHOP (30%) had received ≥1 subsequent anti-lymphoma therapy. Conclusions: As the first-line treatment of DLBCL, Pola-R-CHP demonstrated a 27% reduction in the relative risk of disease progression, relapse, or death, and a similar safety profile, compared with R-CHOP.
Background The detection of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) can identify patients who are more responsive to platinum and poly ADP ribose polymerase inhibitors (PARPi). MyChoice CDx (Myriad) is the most used HRD test in ovarian cancer (OC). However, some limitations of commercial tests exist, because of the high rate of inconclusive results, costs, and the impossibility of evaluating functional resistance mechanisms. Patients and methods Two academic genomic tests and a functional assay, the RAD51 foci, were evaluated to detect HRD. One hundred patients with high-grade OC enrolled in the MITO16A/MaNGO-OV2 trial and treated with first-line therapy with carboplatin, paclitaxel, and bevacizumab were analyzed. Results The failure rate of the two genomic assays was 2%. The sensitivity in detecting HRD when compared with Myriad was 98.1% and 90.6%, respectively. The agreement rate with Myriad was 0.92 and 0.87, with a Cohen’s κ coefficient corresponding to 0.84 and 0.74, respectively. For the RAD51 foci assay, the failure rate was 30%. When the test was successful, discordant results for deficient and proficient tumors were observed, and additional HRD patients were identified compared to Myriad; sensitivity was 82.9%, agreement rate was 0.65, and Cohen’s κ coefficient was 0.18. The HRD detected by genomic assays and residual tumor at primary surgery and stage was correlated with progression-free survival at multivariate analysis. Conclusions Results suggest the feasibility of academic tests for assessing HRD status that show robust concordance with Myriad and correlation with clinical outcome. The contribution of the functional information related to the RAD51 foci test to the genomic data needs further investigation.
Background: Many evidences show that elevated plasma levels of uric acid (UA) are associated to the increased risk of developing athero-thrombotic cardiovascular events. Hyperuricemia is a risk factors for endothelial dysfunction (ED). ED is involved in the pathophysiology of athero-thrombosis since dysfunctional cells lose their physiological, antithrombotic properties. We have investigated whether UA might promote ED by modulating the TF/TFPI balance finally changing the antithrombotic characteristics of endothelial cells. Methods: Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells (HUVEC) were incubated with increasing doses of UA (up to 9 mg/dl). TF gene and protein expression were evaluated by Real-Time PCR and Western Blot. Surface expression and procoagulant activity were assessed by FACS analysis and coagulation assay. The mRNA and protein levels of TF physiological inhibitor, TFPI were measured by Real-Time PCR and Western Blot. The role of inflammasome and of NF-B as possible mechanism(s) of action of the UA on TF/TFPI balance were also investigated. Results: UA significantly increased TF gene and protein levels, surface expression and procoagulant activity. In parallel, TFPI levels were significantly reduced. The NF-κB pathways appeared involved in modulating these phenomena. Additionally, also inflammasome might play a role. Conclusions: The present in vitro study, shows that one of the mechanisms by which high levels of UA contributes to ED might be the imbalance between TF/TFPI levels in endothelial cells, shifting them to a non-physiological, pro-thrombotic phenotype. These UA effects might hypothetically explain, at least in part, the relationship observed between elevated plasma levels of UA and cardiovascular events.
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a heterogeneous, chronic connective tissue disease, characterized by skin fibrosis as well as vascular and visceral lesions. It can involve the lungs, heart, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and bones. The orofacial manifestations of SSc can cause functional, aesthetic, and social distress, resulting in significant psychological implications for the patients. In recent decades , fat grafting improved the aesthetic outcomes in terms of volume deficiency, contour asymmetry , and skin elasticity of the face thanks to the regenerative action of the stem cells contained within it. We describe five cases of a patient with SSc treated with fat grafting used to correct volume loss and facial elasticity of the lips and perioral region on the middle and lower third of the face. All the patients received regular postoperative checks at weeks 1 and 2. A multiple choice questionnaire was administered to assess the degree of tolerability of the procedure. The reliability of the questionnaire was evaluated by calculating the Cronbach alpha using the MedCalc Statistical Software version 20.113. The aim of our study is to describe three different types of fat grafting used to correct volume loss and restore facial elasticity of the lips and perioral region on the middle and lower third of the face.
Background: The most effective strategy for managing cancer pain remotely should be better defined. There is a need to identify those patients who require increased attention and calibrated follow-up programs. Methods: Machine learning (ML) models were developed using the data prospectively obtained from a single-center program of telemedicine-based cancer pain management. These models included random forest (RF), gradient boosting machine (GBM), artificial neural network (ANN), and the LASSO-RIDGE algorithm. Thirteen demographic, social, clinical, and therapeutic variables were adopted to define the conditions that can affect the number of teleconsultations. After ML validation, the risk analysis for more than one remote consultation was assessed in target individuals. Results: The data from 158 patients were collected. In the training set, the accuracy was about 95% and 98% for ANN and RF, respectively. Nevertheless, the best accuracy on the test set was obtained with RF (70%). The ML-based simulations showed that young age (<55 years), lung cancer, and occurrence of breakthrough cancer pain help to predict the number of remote consultations. Elderly patients (>75 years) with bone metastases may require more telemedicine-based clinical evaluations. Conclusion: ML-based analyses may enable clinicians to identify the best model for predicting the need for more remote consultations. It could be useful for calibrating care interventions and resource allocation.
Purpose In light of recently published clinical reports and trials, the TheraSphere Global Dosimetry Steering Committee (DSC) reconvened to review new data and to update previously published clinical and dosimetric recommendations for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods The TheraSphere Global DSC is comprised of health care providers across multiple disciplines involved in the treatment of HCC with yttrium-90 (Y-90) glass microsphere–based transarterial radioembolization (TARE). Literature published between January 2019 and September 2021 was reviewed, discussed, and adjudicated by the Delphi method. Recommendations included in this updated document incorporate both the results of the literature review and the expert opinion and experience of members of the committee. Results Committee discussion and consensus led to the expansion of recommendations to apply to five common clinical scenarios in patients with HCC to support more individualized efficacious treatment with Y-90 glass microspheres. Existing clinical scenarios were updated to reflect recent developments in dosimetry approaches and broader treatment paradigms evolving for patients presenting with HCC. Conclusion Updated consensus recommendations are provided to guide clinical and dosimetric approaches for the use of Y-90 glass microsphere TARE in HCC, accounting for disease presentation, tumor biology, and treatment intent.
In the United States, from 1999 to 2019, opioid overdose, either regularly prescribed or illegally acquired, was the cause of death for nearly 500,000 people. In addition to this pronounced mortality burden that has increased gradually over time, opioid overdose has significant morbidity with se-vere risks and side effects. As a result, opioid misuse is a cause for concern and is considered an epidemic. This article examines the trends and consequences of the opioid epidemic presented in recent international literature, reflecting on the causes of this phenomenon and the possible strat-egies to address it. The detailed analysis of 33 international articles highlights numerous impacts in the social, public health, economic, and political spheres. The prescription opioid epidemic is an almost exclusively North American problem. This phenomenon should be carefully evaluated from a healthcare systems perspective, for consequential risks and harms of aggressive opioid prescrip-tion practices for pain management. Appropriate policies are required to manage opioid use and prevent abuse efficiently. Examples of proper policies vary, such as the use of validated question-naires for the early identification of patients at risk of addiction, the effective use of regional and national prescription monitoring programs, and the proper dissemination and translation of knowledge to highlight the risks of prescription opioid abuse.
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305 members
Giuseppe Pirozzi
  • Dipartimento della Ricerca
Gaetano Rocco
  • S.C. Chirurgica Oncologica Toracica
Luigi Buonaguro
  • Dipartimento della Ricerca
Caterina Bonfiglio
  • epidemiologia
Via Semmola, 80131, Naples, Campania, Italy