[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A deeper understanding of the key role of the immune system in regulating tumor growth and progression has led to the development of a number of immunotherapies, including cancer vaccines and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoint inhibitors target molecular pathways involved in immunosuppression, such as cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death protein-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand-1 (PD-L1) pathway, with the goal to enhance the host's own immune anticancer response. In phase I-III trials, anti-PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies have demonstrated to be effective treatment strategies by inducing significant durable tumor responses, with manageable toxicities, in patients with various malignancies, including those traditionally considered non-immunogenic, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Identification of predictive biomarkers to select patients for immune therapies is currently being investigated to improve their therapeutic efficacy. Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), a pleiotropic cytokine with immunosuppressive effects on multiple cell types of the innate and adaptive immune system, has emerged as one of the potential key factors modulating response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. However, due to the complexity of the anti-cancer immune response, the predictive value of many other factors related to cancer cells or tumor microenvironment needs to be further explored.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The results of randomized clinical trials employing immune checkpoint inhibitors for pre-treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have recently revolutionised the standard available option for this disease setting. Nevertheless, the validation of reliable predictive biomarkers, able to define that proportion of patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapy, represents a crucial and still unsolved issue. This intensive research aimed at selecting potentially predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy is developed together with a wide range of analyses investigating the molecular profiling of lung cancer, leading to the spontaneous question of how these two parallel aspects of the same disease may coexist and influence one another. The potential impact of the mutational landscape of lung cancer on tumor immunogenicity (in both oncogene-addicted and molecularly unselected disease) will be explored and discussed in this review in order to begin to answer the unsolved questions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Platelets are anucleate fragments formed from the cytoplasm of megakaryocytes and represent the smallest circulating hematopoietic cells. Thought for almost a century to possess solely hemostatic potentials, platelets actually play a much wider role in tissue regeneration and repair and interact intimately with tumor cells. On the one hand, tumor cells induce platelet aggregation, known to act as the trigger of cancer-associated thrombosis and on the other hand, platelets recruited to the tumor microenvironment interact directly with tumor cells favoring proliferation, and indirectly through the release of angiogenic and mitogenic proteins. Furthermore, platelets are immunosuppressive cells that protect metastatic cancer cells from surveillance by killer cells, nullifying the effects of immunotherapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer treatment as we know it today has dramatically changed over the last couple of decades. It has moved from non-specific treatment to personalized approaches. As oncologist, we now have further understanding of the processes leading to carcinogenesis; this has led to develop new therapeutic options. We have cytotoxic treatments, targeted therapy and in recent years, immunotherapy; the time to "mix and match" has begun.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lung cancer has recently been discovered to be an immunological targetable disease, on the basis of the exciting results of the randomized trials with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Nevertheless, the survival benefit appears to not be entirely captured by the usual outcome measures, thus requiring a deep reflection about the appropriateness of the traditional statistical methodologies in this context. The intrinsic biological differences existing both in terms of mechanism of action and kinetic between immunotherapy and chemotherapy or targeted therapy, impact on patients' outcome, requiring a global revolution in the way to design clinical studies with the ideal aim to evolve towards trials carefully 'customized' on the basis of the investigational drug, the specific disease and the biological background. The exciting data recently obtained with immune checkpoint inhibitors, offer an ideal context and background to explore the major questions and future perspectives about the development of immunotherapeutic agents. In this regard, the choice of adequate endpoints, the use of modified statistical methods and the potential introduction of predictive biomarkers for immunotherapy clinical trials, will be discuss in this review in order to provide practical and rationale suggestions aimed to improve the existing model for cancer immunotherapy investigation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colorectal cancer remains a major cause of cancer mortality in the Western world both in men and women. In this manuscript a concise overview and recommendations on adjuvant chemotherapy in colon cancer are presented. An executive team from the Hellenic Society of Medical Oncology was assigned to develop a consensus statement and guidelines on the adjuvant treatment of colon cancer. Fourteen statements on adjuvant treatment were subjected to the Delphi methodology. Voting experts were 68. All statements achieved a rate of consensus above than 80% (>87%) and none revised and entered to a second round of voting. Three and 8 of them achieved a 100 and an over than 90% consensus, respectively. These statements describe evaluations of therapies in clinical practice. They could be considered as general guidelines based on best available evidence for assistance in treatment decision-making. Furthermore, they serve to identify questions and targets for further research and the settings in which investigational therapy could be considered.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Annals of Gastroenterology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite considerable improvement in the management of colon cancer, there is a great deal of variation in the outcomes among European countries, and in particular among different hospital centers in Greece and Cyprus. Discrepancy in the approach strategies and lack of adherence to guidelines for the management of colon cancer may explain the situation. The aim was to elaborate a consensus on the multidisciplinary management of colon cancer, based on European guidelines (ESMO and EURECCA), and also taking into account local special characteristics of our healthcare system. Following discussion and online communication among members of an executive team, a consensus was developed. Statements entered the Delphi voting system on two rounds to achieve consensus by multidisciplinary international experts. Statements with an agreement rate of ≥80% achieved a large consensus, while those with an agreement rate of 60-80% a moderate consensus. Statements achieving an agreement of <60% after both rounds were rejected and not presented. Sixty statements on the management of colon cancer were subjected to the Delphi methodology. Voting experts were 109. The median rate of abstain per statement was 10% (range: 0-41%). In the end of the voting process, all statements achieved a consensus by more than 80% of the experts. A consensus on the management of colon cancer was developed by applying the Delphi methodology. Guidelines are proposed along with algorithms of diagnosis and treatment. The importance of centralization, care by a multidisciplinary team, and adherence to guidelines is emphasized.
No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Annals of Gastroenterology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Identification of predictive biomarkers is critically needed to improve selection of patients who derive the most benefit from platinum-based chemotherapy. We hypothesized that decreased expression of SMARCA4/BRG1, a known regulator of transcription and DNA repair, is a novel predictive biomarker of increased sensitivity to adjuvant platinum-based therapies in NSCLC.
The prognostic value was tested using a gene expression microarray from the Director's Challenge Lung Study (n=440). The predictive significance of SMARCA4 was determined using a gene expression microarray (n=133) from control and treatment arms of the JBR.10 trial of adjuvant cisplatin/vinorelbine. Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank tests were used to estimate and test the differences of probabilities in overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) between expression groups and treatment arms. Multivariate Cox regression models were used while adjusting for other clinical covariates.
In the Director's Challenge Study, reduced expression of SMARCA4 was associated with poor OS compared to high and intermediate expression (P<0.001 and P=0.009, respectively). In multivariate analysis, compared to low, high SMARCA4 expression predicted a decrease in risk of death (HR=0.6, 95% CI: 0.4-0.8, P=0.002). In the JBR.10 trial, improved five-year DSS was noted only in patients with low SMARCA4 expression when treated with adjuvant cisplatin/vinorelbine (HR=0.1, 95% CI: 0.0-0.5, P=0.002 (low); HR 1.0, 95% CI: 0.5-2.3, P=0.92 [high]). An interaction test was highly significant (P=0.01).
Low expression of SMARCA4/BRG1 is significantly associated with worse prognosis; however, it is a novel significant predictive biomarker for increased sensitivity to platinum-based chemotherapy in NSCLC.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Clinical Cancer Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BIM is a proapoptotic protein that initiates apoptosis triggered by EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). mTOR negatively regulates apoptosis and may influence response to EGFR TKI. We examined mRNA expression of BIM and MTOR in 57 patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC from the EURTAC trial. Risk of mortality and disease progression was lower in patients with high BIM compared with low/intermediate BIM mRNA levels. Analysis of MTOR further divided patients with high BIM expression into two groups, with those having both high BIM and MTOR experiencing shorter overall and progression-free survival to erlotinib. Validation of our results was performed in an independent cohort of 19 patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC treated with EGFR TKIs. In EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma cell lines with high BIM expression, concomitant high mTOR expression increased IC 50 of gefitinib for cell proliferation. We next sought to analyse the signalling pattern in cell lines with strong activation of mTOR and its substrate P-S6. We showed that mTOR and phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) strongly correlate in resistant EGFR-mutant cancer cell lines. These data suggest that the combination of EGFR TKI with mTOR or PDE4 inhibitors could be adequate therapy for EGFR-mutant NSCLC patients with high pretreatment levels of BIM and mTOR.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Scientific Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Targeted therapy drugs are developed against specific molecular alterations on cancer cells. Because they are "targeted" to the tumor, these therapies are more effective and better tolerated than conventional therapies such as chemotherapy. In the last decade, great advances have been made in understanding of melanoma biology and identification of molecular mechanisms involved in malignant transformation of cells. The identification of oncogenic mutated kinases involved in this process provides an opportunity for development of new target therapies. The dependence of melanoma on BRAF-mutant kinase has provided an opportunity for development of mutation-specific inhibitors with high activity and excellent tolerance that are now being used in clinical practice. This marked a new era in the treatment of metastatic melanoma and much research is now ongoing to identify other "druggable" kinases and transduction signaling networking. It is expected that in the near future the spectrum of target drugs for melanoma treatment will increase. Herein, we review the most relevant potential novel drugs for melanoma treatment based on preclinical data and the results of early clinical trials.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advances and in-depth understanding of the biology of melanoma over the past 30 years have contributed to a change in the consideration of melanoma as one of the most therapy-resistant malignancies. The finding that oncogenic BRAF mutations drive tumor growth in up to 50% of melanomas led to a molecular therapy revolution for unresectable and metastatic disease. Moving beyond BRAF, inactivation of immune regulatory checkpoints that limit T cell responses to melanoma has provided targets for cancer immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss the molecular biology of melanoma and we focus on the recent advances of molecularly targeted and immunotherapeutic approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Non-small-cell lung cancers harboring EML4-ALK rearrangements are sensitive to crizotinib. However, despite initial response, most patients will eventually relapse, and monitoring EML4-ALK rearrangements over the course of treatment may help identify these patients. However, challenges associated with serial tumor biopsies have highlighted the need for blood-based assays for the monitoring of biomarkers. Platelets can sequester RNA released by tumor cells and are thus an attractive source for the non-invasive assessment of biomarkers.
EML4-ALK rearrangements were analyzed by RT-PCR in platelets and plasma isolated from blood obtained from 77 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, 38 of whom had EML4-ALK-rearranged tumors. In a subset of 29 patients with EML4-ALK-rearranged tumors who were treated with crizotinib, EML4-ALK rearrangements in platelets were correlated with progression-free and overall survival.
RT-PCR demonstrated 65% sensitivity and 100% specificity for the detection of EML4-ALK rearrangements in platelets. In the subset of 29 patients treated with crizotinib, progression-free survival was 3.7 months for patients with EML4-ALK+ platelets and 16 months for those with EML4-ALK- platelets (hazard ratio, 3.5; P = 0.02). Monitoring of EML4-ALK rearrangements in the platelets of one patient over a period of 30 months revealed crizotinib resistance two months prior to radiographic disease progression.
Platelets are a valuable source for the non-invasive detection of EML4-ALK rearrangements and may prove useful for predicting and monitoring outcome to crizotinib, thereby improving clinical decisions based on radiographic imaging alone.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Different approaches for treating lung cancer have been developed over time, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies against activating mutations. Lately, better understanding of the role of the immunological system in tumor control has opened multiple doors to implement different strategies to enhance immune response against cancer cells. It is known that tumor cells elude immune response by several mechanisms. The development of monoclonal antibodies against the checkpoint inhibitor programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand (PD-L1), on T cells, has led to high activity in cancer patients with long lasting responses. Nivolumab, an anti PD-1 inhibitor, has been recently approved for the treatment of squamous cell lung cancer patients, given the survival advantage demonstrated in a phase III trial. Pembrolizumab, another anti PD-1 antibody, has received FDA breakthrough therapy designation for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), supported by data from a phase I trial. Clinical trials with anti PD-1/PD-L1 antibodies in NSCLC have demonstrated very good tolerability and activity, with response rates around 20% and a median duration of response of 18 months.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Cancer Biology and Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Significant advances have been made in the analysis of the human genome in the first decades of the 21st century and understanding of tumor biology has matured greatly. The identification of tumor-associated mutations and the pathways involved has led to the development of targeted anticancer therapies. However, the challenge now in using chemotherapy to treat nonsmall-cell lung cancer is to identify more molecular markers predictive of drug sensitivity and determine the optimal drug sequences in order to tailor treatment to each patient. This approach could permit selection of patients who could benefit most from a specific type of chemotherapy by matching their tumor and individual genetic profile. Nevertheless, this potential has been limited so far by reliance on the single biomarker approach, though this is now on the way to being overcome through whole genome studies.
No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Pharmacogenomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract: Immunotherapy has emerged as an exciting strategy for cancer treatment. Therapeutic blockade of immune checkpoint regulators favors the ability of T cell responses to increase anti-tumor immunity. The cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) are two T cell-inhibitory receptors with independent mechanisms of action. Immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting either CTLA-4, PD-1 or its ligand PD-L1 are currently yielding promising results in terms of efficacy in several clinical studies with melanoma patients and are being developed and tested as immunotherapy agents for multiple cancer types. To date, no reliable predictors of activity and efficacy of immunotherapy have yet been identified or validated. Even so, determining which patients derive clinical benefit from immune checkpoint agents remains an important clinical question and efforts to identify predictive markers of response are ongoing. This article reviews the current potential predictive factors for CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoints inhibitors in melanoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BRAFV600E is a unique molecular marker for metastatic melanoma, being the most frequent somatic point mutation in this malignancy. Detection of BRAFV600E in blood could have prognostic and predictive value and could be useful for monitoring response to BRAF-targeted therapy. We developed a rapid, sensitive method for the detection and quantification of BRAFV600E in circulating free DNA (cfDNA) isolated from plasma and serum on the basis of a quantitative 5'-nuclease PCR (Taqman) in the presence of a peptide-nucleic acid. We validated the assay in 92 lung, colon, and melanoma archival serum and plasma samples with paired tumor tissue (40 wild-type and 52 BRAFV600E). The correlation of cfDNA BRAFV600E with clinical parameters was further explored in 22 metastatic melanoma patients treated with BRAF inhibitors. Our assay could detect and quantify BRAFV600E in mixed samples with as little as 0.005% mutant DNA (copy number ratio 1 : 20 000), with a specificity of 100% and a sensitivity of 57.7% in archival serum and plasma samples. In 22 melanoma patients treated with BRAF inhibitors, the median progression-free survival was 3.6 months for those showing BRAFV600E in pretreatment cfDNA compared with 13.4 months for those in whom the mutation was not detected (P=0.021). Moreover, the median overall survival for positive versus negative BRAFV600E tests in pretreatment cfDNA differed significantly (7 vs. 21.8 months, P=0.017). This finding indicates that the sensitive detection and accurate quantification of low-abundance BRAFV600E alleles in cfDNA using our assay can be useful for predicting treatment outcome.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Melanoma research