Farbod Darvishian

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Borough of Manhattan, New York, United States

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Publications (66)372.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background Median overall survival (OS) of patients with melanoma brain metastases (MBM) is usually 6 months or less. There are rare reports of patients with treated MBM who survived for years. These outlier cases represent valuable opportunities to study the somatic and germline factors that may have influenced patient outcome and led to extended survival. Case presentation Here we report the clinical scenario of a 67 year old man with a recurrent brain metastasis from melanoma who has survived over 12 years post-resection. We review the literature relating to clinical and molecular variables associated with long term survival post-brain metastasis. We present the somatic characteristics of this individual patient’s tumor as well as an analysis of inherited genetic variants related to immune function. The patient’s resected brain tumor is BRAF V600E mutated, NRAS wild type (WT), and TERT C250T mutated. The patient is a carrier of germline variants in immunomodulatory loci associated with prolonged survival. Conclusions Our data suggest that genetic variants in immunomodulatory loci may partially contribute to this patient’s unusually favorable outcome and should not be overlooked. With further and future investigation, knowledge of inherited single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may provide clinicians with more individualized prognostic information for melanoma patients, with potential implications for surveillance strategies and therapeutic interventions.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is an aggressive and rare cancer with a poor prognosis and a need for novel targeted therapeutic strategies. Preclinical IBC data showed strong activation of the phosphatidylinositide-3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathways, and expression of inflammatory cytokines and tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Patients and methods: Archival tumor tissue from 3 disease types (IBC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy [NAC], n = 45; invasive ductal carcinoma [IDC] treated with NAC [n = 24; 'treated IDC'; and untreated IDC [n = 27; 'untreated IDC']) was analyzed for the expression of biomarkers phospho-S6 (pS6) (mTOR), phospho-JAK2 (pJAK2), pSTAT3, interleukin (IL)-6, CD68 (monocytes, macrophages), and CD163 (TAMs). Surrounding nontumor tissue was also analyzed. Results: Biomarker levels and surrogate activity according to site-specific phosphorylation were shown in the tumor tissue of all 3 disease types but were greatest in IBC and treated IDC and least in untreated IDC for pS6, pJAK2, pSTAT3, and IL-6. Of 37 IBC patients with complete biomarker data available, 100% were pS6-positive and 95% were pJAK2-positive. In nontumor tissue, biomarker levels were observed in all groups but were generally greatest in untreated IDC and least in IBC, except for JAK2. Conclusion: IBC and treated IDC display similar levels of mTOR and JAK2 biomarker activation, which suggests a potential mechanism of resistance after NAC. Biomarker levels in surrounding nontumor tissue suggested that the stroma might be activated by chemotherapy and resembles the oncogenic tumor-promoting environment. Activation of pS6 and pJAK2 in IBC might support dual targeting of the mTOR and JAK/STAT pathways, and the need for prospective studies to investigate combined targeted therapies in IBC.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Clinical Breast Cancer

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cancer Research

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Brain metastasis is the major cause of mortality among melanoma patients. A molecular prognostic test that can reliably stratify patients at initial melanoma diagnosis by risk of developing brain metastasis may inform the clinical management of these patients. We performed a retrospective, cohort-based study analyzing genome-wide and targeted microRNA expression profiling of primary melanoma tumors of three patient cohorts (n= 92, n= 119, n= 45) with extensive clinical follow up. We used Cox regression analysis to establish a microRNA-based signature that improves the ability of the current clinicopathologic staging system to predict the development of brain metastasis. Our analyses identified a 4-microRNA (miR-150-5p, miR-15b-5p, miR-16-5p, and miR-374b-3p) prognostic signature that, in combination with stage, distinguished primary melanomas that metastasized to the brain from non-recurrent and non-brain-metastatic primary tumors (training cohort: C-index=81.4%, validation cohort: C-index=67.4%, independent cohort: C-index=76.9%). Corresponding Kaplan-Meier curves of high- vs. low-risk patients displayed a clear separation in brain-metastasis-free and overall survival (training: p<0.001, p<0.001, validation: p=0.033, p=0.007, independent: p=0.021, p=0.022, respectively). Finally, of the microRNA in the prognostic model, we found that the expression of a key lymphocyte miRNA, miR-150-5p, which is less abundant in primary melanomas metastatic to brain, correlated with presence of CD45+ tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. A prognostic assay based on the described miRNA expression signature combined with the currently used staging criteria may improve accuracy of primary melanoma patient prognoses and aid clinical management of patients, including selection for adjuvant treatment or clinical trials of adjuvant therapies. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Clinical Cancer Research
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    Jordan D Frey · Pascale G Levine · Farbod Darvishian · Richard L Shapiro

    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Archives of Plastic Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Surgical management of primary melanoma is curative for most patients with clinically localized disease at diagnosis; however, a substantial number of patients recur and progress to advanced disease. Understanding molecular alterations that influence differential tumor progression of histopathologically similar lesions may lead to improved prognosis and therapies to slow or prevent metastasis. Methods: We examined microRNA dysregulation by expression profiling of primary melanoma tumors from 92 patients. We screened candidate microRNAs selected by differential expression between recurrent and nonrecurrent tumors or associated with primary tumor thickness (Student's t test, Benjamini-Hochberg False Discovery Rate [FDR] < 0.05), in in vitro invasion assays. We performed in vivo metastasis assays, matrix remodeling experiments, and molecular studies to identify metastasis-regulating microRNAs and their cellular and molecular mechanisms. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results: We identified two microRNAs (hsa-miR-382, hsa-miR-516b) whose expression was lower in aggressive vs nonaggressive primary tumors, which suppressed invasion in vitro and metastasis in vivo (mean metastatic foci: control: 37.9, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 25.6 to 50.2; miR-382: 19.5, 95% CI = 12.2 to 26.9, P = .009; miR-516b: 12.5, 95% CI = 7.7 to 17.4, P < .001, Student's t test). Mechanistically, miR-382 overexpression inhibits extracellular matrix degradation by melanoma cells. Moreover, we identified actin regulators CTTN, RAC1, and ARPC2 as direct targets of miR-382. Depletion of CTTN partially recapitulates miR-382 effects on matrix remodeling, invasion, and metastasis. Inhibition of miR-382 in a weakly tumorigenic melanoma cell line increased tumor progression and metastasis in vivo. Conclusions: Aberrant expression of specific microRNAs that can functionally impact progression of primary melanoma occurs as an early event of melanomagenesis.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2015 · JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute
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    ABSTRACT: Heat-shock factor 1 (HSF1) orchestrates the heat-shock response in eukaryotes. Although this pathway has evolved to help cells adapt in the presence of challenging conditions, it is co-opted in cancer to support malignancy. However, the mechanisms that regulate HSF1 and thus cellular stress response are poorly understood. Here we show that the ubiquitin ligase FBXW7α interacts with HSF1 through a conserved motif phosphorylated by GSK3β and ERK1. FBXW7α ubiquitylates HSF1 and loss of FBXW7α results in impaired degradation of nuclear HSF1 and defective heat-shock response attenuation. FBXW7α is either mutated or transcriptionally downregulated in melanoma and HSF1 nuclear stabilization correlates with increased metastatic potential and disease progression. FBXW7α deficiency and subsequent HSF1 accumulation activates an invasion-supportive transcriptional program and enhances the metastatic potential of human melanoma cells. These findings identify a post-translational mechanism of regulation of the HSF1 transcriptional program both in the presence of exogenous stress and in cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Nature Cell Biology

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Feb 2015
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    ABSTRACT: The TLR7/8 agonist, Resiquimod has been used as an immune adjuvant in cancer vaccines. We evaluated the safety and immunogenicity of the cancer testis antigen NY-ESO-1 given in combination with Montanide with or without Resiquimod in high risk melanoma patients. In Part I of the study, patients received 100ug full length NY-ESO-1 protein emulsified in 1.25mL Montanide (day 1) followed by topical application of 1000mg of 0.2% Resiquimod gel on days 1 and 3 (Cohort 1) versus days 1, 3, and 5 (Cohort 2) of a 21 day cycle. In Part II, patients were randomized to receive 100ug NY-ESO-1 protein plus Montanide (day 1) followed by topical application of placebo gel (Arm-A; N=8) or 1000mg of 0.2% Resiquimod gel (Arm-B; N=12) using the dosing regimen established in Part I. The vaccine regimens were generally well-tolerated. NY-ESO-1 specific humoral responses were induced or boosted in all patients, many with high titers. In Part II, 16 of 20 patients in both arms had NY-ESO-1-specific CD4+ T cell responses. CD8+ T cell responses were only seen in 3 of 12 patients in Arm B. Patients with TLR7 SNP rs179008 had a greater likelihood of developing NY-ESO-1-specific CD8+ responses. In conclusion, NY-ESO-1 protein in combination with Montanide with or without topical Resiquimod is safe and induces both antibody and CD4+ cell responses in the majority of patients; the small proportion of CD8+ cell responses suggests that the addition of topical Resiquimod to Montanide is not sufficient to induce consistent NY-ESO-1 specific CD8+ cell responses. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Background Matrix metalloproteinase-23 (MMP-23) can block the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.3, whose function is important for sustained Ca2+ signaling during T cell activation. MMP-23 may also alter T cell activity and phenotype through cleavage of proteins affecting cytokine and chemokine signaling. We therefore tested the hypothesis that MMP-23 can negatively regulate the anti-tumor T cell response in human melanoma.Methods We characterized MMP-23 expression in primary melanoma patients who received adjuvant immunotherapy. We examined the association of MMP-23 with the anti-tumor immune response - as assessed by the prevalence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Further, we examined the association between MMP-23 expression and response to immunotherapy. Considering also an in trans mechanism, we examined the association of melanoma MMP-23 and melanoma Kv1.3 expression.ResultsOur data revealed an inverse association between primary melanoma MMP-23 expression and the anti-tumor T cell response, as demonstrated by decreased tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) (P¿=¿0.05), in particular brisk TILs (P¿=¿0.04), and a trend towards an increased proportion of immunosuppressive Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (P¿=¿0.07). High melanoma MMP-23 expression is also associated with recurrence in patients treated with immune biologics (P¿=¿0.037) but not in those treated with vaccines (P¿=¿0.64). Further, high melanoma MMP-23 expression is associated with shorter periods of progression-free survival for patients receiving immune biologics (P¿=¿0.025). On the other hand, there is no relationship between melanoma MMP-23 and melanoma Kv1.3 expression (P¿=¿0.27).Conclusions Our data support a role for MMP-23 as a potential immunosuppressive target in melanoma, as well as a possible biomarker for informing melanoma immunotherapies.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Translational Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionEstrogen inhibition is effective in preventing breast cancer in only up to 50% of women with precancerous lesions and many experience side effects that are poorly tolerated. As insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) underlies both estrogen and progesterone actions and has other direct effects on mammary development and carcinogenesis, we hypothesized that IGF-I inhibition might provide a novel approach for breast cancer chemoprevention.Methods In total, 13 women with core breast biopsies diagnostic of atypical hyperplasia (AH) were treated for 10 days with pasireotide, a somatostatin analog which uniquely inhibits IGF-I action in the mammary gland. They then had excision biopsies. 12 patients also had proliferative lesions and one a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Primary outcomes were changes in cell proliferation and apoptosis after treatment. Expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and phosphorylated Insulin-like growth factor I receptor (IGF-1R), protein kinase B (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) were also assessed. Core and excision biopsies from 14 untreated patients served as non-blinded controls. Hyperglycemia and other side effects were carefully monitored.ResultsPasireotide decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis in all AH (from 3.6¿±¿2.6% to 1.3¿±¿1.2% and from 0.3¿±¿0.2% to 1.5¿±¿1.6%, respectively) and proliferative lesions (from 3.8¿±¿2.5% to 1.8¿±¿1.8% and from 0.3¿±¿0.2% to 1.3¿±¿0.6%, respectively). The DCIS responded similarly. ER and PR were not affected by pasireotide, while IGF-1R, ERK1/2 and AKT phosphorylation decreased significantly. In contrast, tissue from untreated controls showed no change in cell proliferation or phosphorylation of IGF-1R, AKT or ERK 1/2. Mild to moderate hyperglycemia associated with reduced insulin levels was found. Glucose fell into the normal range after discontinuing treatment. Pasireotide was well tolerated and did not cause symptoms of estrogen deprivation.ConclusionsIGF-I inhibition by pasireotide, acting through the IGF-1R, was associated with decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis in pre-malignant breast lesions and one DCIS. Assuming hyperglycemia can be controlled, these data suggest that inhibiting the IGF-I pathway may prove an effective alternative for breast cancer chemoprevention.Trial registration NCT01372644 Trial date: July 1, 2007.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Breast cancer research: BCR
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    Preview · Article · Nov 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Neural infiltration in primary melanoma is a histopathologic feature that has been associated with desmoplastic histopathologic subtype and local recurrence in the literature. We tested the hypothesis that improved detection and characterization of neural infiltration into peritumoral or intratumoral location and perineural or intraneural involvement could have prognostic relevance. We studied 128 primary melanoma cases prospectively accrued and followed at New York University using immunohistochemical detection with anti-human neurofilament protein and routine histology with hematoxylin and eosin. Neural infiltration, defined as the presence of tumor cells involving or immediately surrounding nerve foci, was identified and characterized using both detection methods. Neural infiltration rate of detection was enhanced by immunohistochemistry for neurofilament in matched pair design (47% by immunohistochemistry vs. 25% by routine histology). Immunohistochemical detection of neural infiltration was significantly associated with ulceration (p = 0.021), Desmoplastic and Acral Lentiginous histologic subtype (p = 0.008), as well as head/neck/hands/feet tumor location (p = 0.037). Routinely detected neural infiltration was significantly associated with local recurrence (p = 0.010). Immunohistochemistry detected more intratumoral neural infiltration cases compared to routine histology (30% vs. 3%, respectively). Peritumoral and intratumoral nerve location had no impact on clinical outcomes. Using a multivariate model controlling for stage, neither routinely detected neural infiltration nor enhanced immunohistochemical characterization of neural infiltration were significantly associated with disease free or overall survival. Our data demonstrate that routinely detected neural infiltration is associated with local recurrence in all histologic subtypes, but that improved detection and characterization of neural infiltration with immunohistochemistry in primary melanoma does not add to prognostic relevance.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Human pathology

  • No preview · Article · May 2014 · Cancer Research

  • No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Cancer Research
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    Farbod Darvishian · Fumiko Konno · Meng Qian · Joan Cangiarella
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    ABSTRACT: Papillary carcinoma of the breast consists of 3 morphologically distinct established subtypes: encapsulated papillary carcinoma, solid papillary carcinoma, and invasive papillary carcinoma. Papillary carcinoma is one of the special types of breast cancer and, as such, carries a more favorable prognosis. We sought to identify primary breast tumors with tubulopapillary morphology and correlate this finding with predictors of adverse prognosis. We investigated our pathology files for breast tumors exhibiting tubulopapillary features. The dominant morphology consisted of infiltrating gaping tubules with intratubular papillary projections. The study group consisted of 12 cases of papillary carcinoma with tubulopapillary features. A control group of 17 cases of papillary carcinoma were selected consisting of 4 encapsulated papillary carcinomas, 3 solid papillary carcinomas, and 10 invasive papillary carcinomas. The study group showed significantly higher mitotic rate, ki67 proliferation index, nuclear grade 3, lymphovascular invasion, p53 overexpression, unfavorable biomarker signature, and axillary nodal involvement compared to the control group (P = .01, .01, .04, .01, .007, .0001, .03, respectively). Invasive breast carcinomas with tubulopapillary features demonstrate significant correlation with predictors of adverse prognosis compared to ordinary papillary carcinomas. Larger studies with survival analysis are required to confirm aggressiveness in this group of breast cancers.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2013 · International Journal of Surgical Pathology
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Age is an understudied factor when considering treatment options for melanoma. Here, we examine the impact of age on primary melanoma treatment in a prospective cohort of patients. Methods: We used logistic regression models to examine the associations between age and initial treatment, using recurrence and melanoma-specific survival as endpoints. Results: 444 primary melanoma patients were categorized into three groups by age at diagnosis: 19-45 years (24.3%), 46-70 (50.2%), and 71-95 (25.5%). In multivariate models, older patients experienced a higher risk of recurrence (hazard ratio 3.34, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.53-7.25; p < 0.01). No significant differences were observed in positive biopsy margin rates or extent of surgical margins across age groups. Patients in the middle age group were more likely to receive adjuvant therapy than those in the older group (odds ratio 2.78, 95% CI 1.19-6.45; p = 0.02) and showed a trend to longer disease-free survival when receiving adjuvant therapy (p = 0.09). Conclusion: Our data support age as an independent negative prognostic factor in melanoma. Our data suggest that age does not affect primary surgical treatment but may affect decisions of whether or not patients receive postoperative treatment(s). Further work is needed to better understand the biological variables affecting treatment decisions and efficacy in older patients.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Metastatic melanoma remains a mostly incurable disease. Although newly approved targeted therapies are efficacious in a subset of patients, resistance and relapse rapidly ensue. Alternative therapeutic strategies to manipulate epigenetic regulators and disrupt the transcriptional program that maintains tumor cell identity are emerging. Bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins are epigenome readers known to exert key roles at the interface between chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation. Here we report that BRD4, a BET family member, is significantly upregulated in primary and metastatic melanoma tissues compared to melanocytes and nevi. Treatment with BET inhibitors impaired melanoma cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth and metastatic behavior in vivo, effects that were mostly recapitulated by individual silencing of BRD4. RNA sequencing of BET inhibitor-treated cells followed by gene ontology analysis showed a striking impact on transcriptional programs controlling cell growth, proliferation, cell-cycle regulation and differentiation. In particular, we found that, rapidly after BET displacement, key cell cycle genes (SKP2, ERK1 and c-MYC) were downregulated concomitantly with the accumulation of CDK inhibitors (p21, p27), followed by melanoma cell cycle arrest. Importantly, BET inhibitor efficacy was not influenced by BRAF or NRAS mutational status, opening the possibility of using these small molecule compounds to treat patients for whom no effective targeted therapy exists. Collectively, our study reveals a critical role for BRD4 in melanoma tumor maintenance, and renders it a legitimate and novel target for epigenetic therapy directed against the core transcriptional program of melanoma.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: The prognostic value of mitotic rate in melanoma is increasingly recognized, particularly in thin melanoma in which the presence or absence of a single mitosis/mm can change staging from T1a to T1b. Still, accurate mitotic rate calculation (mitoses/mm) on hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections can be challenging. Antimonoclonal mitotic protein-2 (MPM-2) and antiphosphohistone-H3 (PHH3) are 2 antibodies reported to be more mitosis-specific than other markers of proliferation such as Ki-67. We used light microscopy and computer-assisted image analysis software to quantify MPM-2 and PHH3 staining in melanoma. We then compared mitotic rates by each method with conventional H&E-based mitotic rate for correlation with clinical outcomes. Our study included primary tissues from 190 nonconsecutive cutaneous melanoma patients who were prospectively enrolled at New York University Langone Medical Center with information on age, gender, and primary tumor characteristics. The mitotic rate was quantified manually by light microscopy of corresponding H&E-stained, MPM-2-stained, and PHH3-stained sections. Computer-assisted image analysis was then used to quantify immunolabeled mitoses on the previously examined PHH3 and MPM-2 slides. We then analyzed the association between mitotic rate and both progression-free and melanoma-specific survival. Univariate analysis of PHH3 found significant correlation between increased PHH3 mitotic rate and decreased progression-free survival (P=0.04). Computer-assisted image analysis enhanced the correlation of PHH3 mitotic rate with progression-free survival (P=0.02). Regardless of the detection method, neither MPM-2 nor PHH3 offered significant advantage over conventional H&E determination of mitotic rate.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · The American journal of surgical pathology

Publication Stats

1k Citations
372.08 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
      • Tisch Cancer Institute
      Borough of Manhattan, New York, United States
  • 2008-2015
    • NYU Langone Medical Center
      • Department of Pathology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2007-2015
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2004-2011
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Department of Pathology
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2009
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Dermatology
      New York, New York, United States