[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Context .- Hormone receptors HER2/neu and Ki-67 are markers of residual risk in early breast cancer. An algorithm (IHC4) combining these markers may provide additional information on residual risk of recurrence in patients treated with hormone therapy. Objective .- To independently validate the IHC4 algorithm in the multinational Tamoxifen Versus Exemestane Adjuvant Multicenter Trial (TEAM) cohort, originally developed on the trans-ATAC (Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Alone or in Combination Trial) cohort, by comparing 2 methodologies. Design .- The IHC4 biomarker expression was quantified on TEAM cohort samples (n = 2919) by using 2 independent methodologies (conventional 3,3'-diaminobezidine [DAB] immunohistochemistry with image analysis and standardized quantitative immunofluorescence [QIF] by AQUA technology). The IHC4 scores were calculated by using the same previously established coefficients and then compared with recurrence-free and distant recurrence-free survival, using multivariate Cox proportional hazards modeling. Results .- The QIF model was highly significant for prediction of residual risk (P < .001), with continuous model scores showing a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.012 (95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 1.010-1.014), which was significantly higher than that for the DAB model (HR: 1.008, 95% CI: 1.006-1.009); P < .001). Each model added significant prognostic value in addition to recognized clinical prognostic factors, including nodal status, in multivariate analyses. Quantitative immunofluorescence, however, showed more accuracy with respect to overall residual risk assessment than the DAB model. Conclusions .- The use of the IHC4 algorithm was validated on the TEAM trial for predicting residual risk in patients with breast cancer. These data support the use of the IHC4 algorithm clinically, but quantitative and standardized approaches need to be used.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Archives of pathology & laboratory medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive subtype with no clinically proven biologically targeted treatment options. The molecular heterogeneity of TNBC and lack of high frequency driver mutations other than TP53 have hindered the development of new and effective therapies that significantly improve patient outcomes. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), global regulators of survival and proliferation pathways important in tumor development and maintenance, are becoming promising therapeutic agents. We performed miRNA-profiling studies in different TNBC subtypes to identify miRNAs that significantly contribute to disease progression. We found that miR-34a was lost in TNBC, specifically within mesenchymal and mesenchymal-stem cell like subtypes, whereas expression of miR-34a targets were significantly enriched. Furthermore, restoration of miR-34a in cell lines representing these subtypes inhibited proliferation and invasion, activated senescence, and promoted sensitivity to dasatinib by targeting the proto-oncogene c-SRC. Notably, SRC-depletion in TNBC cell lines phenocopied the effects of miR-34a re-introduction, while SRC overexpression rescued the anti-tumorigenic properties mediated by miR-34a. miR-34a levels also increased when cells were treated with c-SRC inhibitors, suggesting a negative-feedback exists between miR-34a and c-SRC. Moreover, miR-34a administration significantly delayed tumor growth of subcutaneously and orthotopically implanted tumors in nude mice, and was accompanied by c-SRC downregulation. Finally, we found that miR-34a and SRC levels were inversely correlated in human tumor specimens. Together, our results demonstrate that miR-34a exerts potent anti-tumorigenic effects in vitro and in vivo, and suggests that miR-34a replacement therapy, which is currently being tested in human clinical trials, represents a promising therapeutic strategy for TNBC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Archived tumor specimens, particularly those collected by large cooperative groups and trials, provide a wealth of material for post hoc clinical investigation. As these tissues are rigorously collected and preserved for many decades, subsequent use of the specimens to answer clinical questions must rely on the assumption that expression and detection of target biomarkers are not degraded with time. To test this assumption, we measured the expression of estrogen receptor (ER), human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER2), and Ki67 in human breast carcinoma using quantitative immunofluorescence (QIF) in a series of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues from 1295 individual patients preserved for 7 to 53 years in four cohorts on tissue microarrays. Protein expression was measured using the automated quantitative analysis method for QIF. Change in quantitative protein expression over time was estimated in positive cases using both Pearson's correlation and a polynomial regression analysis with a random effects model. The average signal decreased with preservation time for all biomarkers measured. For ER and HER2, there was an average of 10% signal loss after 9.9 years and 8.5 years, respectively, compared with the most recent tissue. Detection of Ki67 expression was lost more rapidly, with 10% signal loss in just 4.5 years. Overall, these results demonstrate the need for adjustment of tissue age when studying FFPE biospecimens. The rate of antigenicity loss is biomarker specific and should be considered as an important variable for studies using archived tissues.Laboratory Investigation advance online publication, 16 November 2015; doi:10.1038/labinvest.2015.138.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Laboratory Investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Importance
Early-phase trials with monoclonal antibodies targeting PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) and PD-L1 (programmed cell death 1 ligand 1) have demonstrated durable clinical responses in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, current assays for the prognostic and/or predictive role of tumor PD-L1 expression are not standardized with respect to either quantity or distribution of expression.Objective
To demonstrate PD-L1 protein distribution in NSCLC tumors using both conventional immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative immunofluorescence (QIF) and compare results obtained using 2 different PD-L1 antibodies.Design, Setting, and Participants
PD-L1 was measured using E1L3N and SP142, 2 rabbit monoclonal antibodies, in 49 NSCLC whole-tissue sections and a corresponding tissue microarray with the same 49 cases. Non–small-cell lung cancer biopsy specimens from 2011 to 2012 were collected retrospectively from the Yale Thoracic Oncology Program Tissue Bank. Human melanoma Mel 624 cells stably transfected with PD-L1 as well as Mel 624 parental cells, and human term placenta whole tissue sections were used as controls and for antibody validation. PD-L1 protein expression in tumor and stroma was assessed using chromogenic IHC and the AQUA (Automated Quantitative Analysis) method of QIF. Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) were scored in hematoxylin-eosin slides using current consensus guidelines. The association between PD-L1 protein expression, TILs, and clinicopathological features were determined.Main Outcomes and Measures
PD-L1 expression discordance or heterogeneity using the diaminobenzidine chromogen and QIF was the main outcome measure selected prior to performing the study.Results
Using chromogenic IHC, both antibodies showed fair to poor concordance. The PD-L1 antibodies showed poor concordance (Cohen κ range, 0.124-0.340) using conventional chromogenic IHC and showed intra-assay heterogeneity (E1L3N coefficient of variation [CV], 6.75%-75.24%; SP142 CV, 12.17%-109.61%) and significant interassay discordance using QIF (26.6%). Quantitative immunofluorescence showed that PD-L1 expression using both PD-L1 antibodies was heterogeneous. Using QIF, the scores obtained with E1L3N and SP142 for each tumor were significantly different according to nonparametric paired test (P < .001). Assessment of 588 serial section fields of view from whole tissue showed discordant expression at a frequency of 25%. Expression of PD-L1 was correlated with high TILs using both E1L3N (P = .007) and SP142 (P = .02).Conclusions and Relevance
Objective determination of PD-L1 protein levels in NSCLC reveals heterogeneity within tumors and prominent interassay variability or discordance. This could be due to different antibody affinities, limited specificity, or distinct target epitopes. Efforts to determine the clinical value of these observations are under way.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in the residual disease (RD) of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) after neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) are associated with improved survival, but insight into tumor cell-autonomous molecular pathways affecting these features are lacking.
We analyzed TILs in the RD of clinically and molecularly characterized TNBCs after NAC and explored therapeutic strategies targeting combinations of MEK inhibitors with PD-1/PD-L1-targeted immunotherapy in mouse models of breast cancer.
Presence of TILs in the RD was significantly associated with improved prognosis. Genetic or transcriptomic alterations in Ras/MAPK signaling were significantly correlated with lower TILs. MEK inhibition up-regulated cell-surface major histocompatibility complex (MHC) expression and PD-L1 in TNBC cells both in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, combined MEK and PDL-1/PD-1 inhibition enhanced anti-tumor immune responses in mouse models of breast cancer.
These data suggest the possibility that Ras/MAPK pathway activation promotes immune-evasion in TNBC, and support clinical trials combining MEK- and PD-L1-targeted therapies. Furthermore, Ras/MAPK activation and MHC expression may be predictive biomarkers of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Clinical Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1; also known as CD274 or B7-H1), expression represents a mechanism of immune escape for cancer. Our purpose was to characterize tumor PD-L1 expression and associated T cell infiltration in primary laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas (SCC).
A well annotated cohort of 260 operable primary laryngeal SCCs (formalin-fixed paraffin embedded [FFPE] specimens) was morphologically characterized for stromal tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), on hematoxylin/eosin-stained whole sections and for PD-L1 mRNA expression by qRT-PCR in formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) specimens. For PD-L1 protein expression automated quantitative protein analysis (AQUA) was applied on tissue microarrays consisting of two cores from these tumors. In addition, PD-L1 mRNA expression in fresh frozen tumors and normal adjacent tissue specimens was assessed in a second independent cohort of 89 patients with primary laryngeal SCC.
PD-L1 mRNA levels were upregulated in tumors compared to surrounding normal tissue (p=0.009). TILs density correlated with tumor PD-L1 AQUA levels (p=0.021). Both high TILs density and high PD-L1 AQUA levels were significantly associated with superior disease-free survival (DFS) (TILs: p=0.009 and PD-L1: p=0.044) and overall survival (OS) (TILs: p=0.015 and PD-L1: p=0.059) of the patients and retained significance in multivariate analysis.
Increased TILs density and PD-L1 levels are associated with better outcome in laryngeal squamous cell cancer. Assessment of TILs and PD-L1 expression could be useful to predict response to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Clinical Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) accounts for a disproportionate share of the total breast cancer morbidity because of its aggressive behavior and lack of effective targeted therapies to treat the disease. MicroRNAs, global regulators of survival and proliferation pathways important in tumor development and maintenance, are highly dysregulated in cancer. We identified miR-34a to be aberrantly lost in TNBC lines when compared to both a luminal cancer subtype as well as normal breast cells. Re-introduction of miR-34a in TNBC lines results in inhibition of cell proliferation and invasion, reactivation of senescence, and enhanced sensitivity to apoptosis-inducing agents. Furthermore, intratumoral delivery of miR-34a into subcutaneous tumors in nude mice, as well as systemic delivery of poly(amine-co-ester) PACE-loaded miR-34a in an orthotopic setting, delayed tumor growth. In conclusion, re-introduction of miR-34a in TNBC promotes potent anti-tumorigenic phenotypes in vitro and in vivo, and could be a promising targeted therapeutic agent to treat the disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Studies have shown that antibodies targeting the intracellular (ICD) or extracellular domains (ECD) of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) are equivalent when traditional methods are used. We describe a new method to quantify ICD and ECD expression separately and assess the prognostic value of domain-specific HER2 results in patients who received adjuvant trastuzumab therapy.
We measured HER2 protein expression with quantitative immunofluorescence (QIF) in tissue microarrays (TMA) using two different antibodies targeting the ICD (CB11 and A0485) and ECD (SP3 and D8F12). We assessed the prognostic value of ICD and ECD expression in 180 patients from a clinical trial of adjuvant chemotherapy followed by trastuzumab (HeCOG 10/05). We performed an exploratory univariate domain-specific, disease-free survival (DFS) analysis and compared DFS functions with Kaplan-Meier estimates. All statistical tests were two-sided.
HER2 ICD expression by QIF showed slightly higher sensitivity to predict ERBB2 (HER2) gene amplification than ECD expression, which was more specific and had higher positive predictive value. In the HeCOG 10/05 trial specimens, 15% of cases showed discordant results for ICD and ECD expression. High ECD was statistically associated with longer DFS (log-rank P = .049, HR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.144 to 0.997), while ICD status was not. Among patients with low ECD, there was no difference in DFS by ICD status. However, when ICD was high, high ECD was statistically associated with longer DFS (log-rank P = .027, HR = 0.23, 95% CI = 0.037 to 0.82) compared with low ECD.
Quantitative measurements of HER2 ICD and ECD expression in breast cancer suggest a subclassification of HER2-positive tumors. Trastuzumab-treated patients with high ECD showed better DFS than patients with low ECD. This suggests differential benefit from trastuzumab therapy based on HER2 ECD expression.