Afshin Dowlati

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

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Publications (159)1079.04 Total impact

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    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Journal of thoracic oncology: official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Standard therapy for limited stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) (AJCC stages I-III) is concurrent chemoradiation (CRT) with cisplatin/etoposide (EP) but carboplatin/etoposide (EC) is often used in clinical practice. Though a growing proportion of this disease is diagnosed in older patients, there are limited studies of older patients comparing cisplatin to carboplatin. This study compared survival outcomes of elderly patients with limited stage SCLC treated with concurrent EC or EP and radiation.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Practical Radiation Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Genomic studies in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) lag far behind those performed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To date, most SCLC studies have evaluated patients with surgically resectable disease. Here we sought to evaluate the genomic mutation spectrum of 'every-day' SCLC patient tumors with extensive stage disease (ES-SCLC) and to correlate mutations with the main clinical outcomes of response to chemotherapy, progression-free (PFS) and overall (OS) survival. Patients and methods: A total of 50 SCLC patient tumors were examined in this study; targeted exome sequencing was obtained on 42 patients and whole-exome sequencing on 8 patients. Mutated genes were correlated with clinical outcomes using Kaplan-Meier methods (PFS, OS) and logistic regression (chemo-response). RB1 protein expression was detected by either western blotting of cultured cell lysates or IHC of tumor specimens. Results: In all, 39 patients had ES-SCLC; 15 patients had either primary refractory/ resistant disease and 21 patients had sensitive disease. The two most frequently mutated genes were TP53 (86%) and RB1 (58%); other frequently mutated genes (>10% patients) were involved in epigenetic regulation as well as the mTOR pathway. We identified a number of low frequency, targetable mutations, including RICTOR, FGFR1, KIT, PTCH1 and RET. Using multivariate analysis, RB1 was the only significant factor (p=0.038) in predicting response to first line chemotherapy, with an odds ratio of 5.58 comparing mutant RB1 to wild-type. Patients with mutant RB1 had both better OS (11.7 vs. 9.1 months p=0.04) and PFS (11.2 vs. 8.6 months, p =0.06) compared to patients with wild-type RB1. Interestingly, about 25% of SCLC cell lines and tumor specimens expressed RB1 protein, possibly representing the subgroup with wild-type RB1. Conclusion: We found that SCLC tumors harboring no mutation in RB1 had a poor response to chemotherapy.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Annals of Oncology
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
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    ABSTRACT: Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) has an annual mortality approaching that of breast and prostate cancer. Although sensitive to initial chemotherapy, SCLC rapidly develops resistance, leading to less effective second-line therapies. SCLC cells often overexpress Bcl-2, which protects cells from apoptosis both by sequestering pro-apoptotic family members and by modulating inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R)-mediated calcium signaling. BH3-mimetic agents such as ABT-263 disrupt the former activity but have limited activity in SCLC patients. Here we report for the first time that Bcl-2-IP3 receptor disruptor-2 (BIRD-2), a decoy peptide that binds to the BH4 domain of Bcl-2 and prevents Bcl-2 interaction with IP3Rs, induces cell death in a wide range of SCLC lines, including ABT-263-resistant lines. BIRD-2-induced death of SCLC cells appears to be a form of caspase-independent apoptosis mediated by calpain activation. By targeting different regions of the Bcl-2 protein and different mechanisms of action, BIRD-2 and ABT-263 induce cell death synergistically. Based on these findings, we propose that targeting the Bcl-2-IP3R interaction be pursued as a novel therapeutic strategy for SCLC, either by developing BIRD-2 itself as a therapeutic agent or by developing small-molecule inhibitors that mimic BIRD-2.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Cell Death & Disease
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    ABSTRACT: The high-grade pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC), remain among the most deadly malignancies. Therapies that effectively target and kill tumor-initiating cells (TICs) in these cancers should translate to improved patient survival. Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumors serve as excellent models to study tumor biology and characterize TICs. Increased expression of delta-like 3 (DLL3) was discovered in SCLC and LCNEC PDX tumors and confirmed in primary SCLC and LCNEC tumors. DLL3 protein is expressed on the surface of tumor cells but not in normal adult tissues. A DLL3-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), SC16LD6.5, comprised of a humanized anti-DLL3 monoclonal antibody conjugated to a DNA-damaging pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) dimer toxin, induced durable tumor regression in vivo across multiple PDX models. Serial transplantation experiments executed with limiting dilutions of cells provided functional evidence confirming that the lack of tumor recurrence after SC16LD6.5 exposure resulted from effective targeting of DLL3-expressing TICs. In vivo efficacy correlated with DLL3 expression, and responses were observed in PDX models initiated from patients with both limited and extensive-stage disease and were independent of their sensitivity to standard-of-care chemotherapy regimens. SC16LD6.5 effectively targets and eradicates DLL3-expressing TICs in SCLC and LCNEC PDX tumors and is a promising first-in-class ADC for the treatment of high-grade pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Science translational medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)therapy isclearly beneficial in patients with advanced EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, acquired resistance develops uniformly and the benefit of continuation of EGFRTKI therapy beyond progression remains unclear. Materials and Methods. This was a randomized phase II study of chemotherapy (arm A: pemetrexed or docetaxel) versus chemotherapy plus erlotinib (ERL) (arm B) in patients with progressive NSCLC following clinical benefit from erlotinib. In arm B, chemotherapy was given with erlotinib at an oral daily dose of 150 mg on days 2-19 of each cycle to minimize negative pharmacodynamic interactions. The primary endpoint was that continuation of erlotinib in this patient population could extend progression-free survival (PFS) by 50%. Results. A total of 46 patients were randomized (arm A: 24; arm B: 22). Patient characteristics were well balanced except there were more female patients in arm A (p =.075). The median PFS of patients in arm A was 5.5 months and for those in arm B, 4.4 months (p =.699). The response rates were 13% and 16% in arms A and B, respectively (p =.79). EGFR status data were available for 39 of the 46 patients and no significant difference in PFS was seen for continuing ERL beyond progression in mutation-positive patients. Substantially more toxicity was seen in arm Bthanarm A. Conclusion. There was added toxicity but no benefit with the continuation of ERL beyond progression along with chemotherapy as compared with chemotherapy alone.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · The Oncologist
  • David E Gerber · Paul K Paik · Afshin Dowlati
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    ABSTRACT: Lung cancer encompasses a diverse spectrum of histologic subtypes. Until recently, the majority of therapeutic advances were limited to the minority of patients with adenocarcinoma. With the advent of comprehensive genomic profiling of squamous and small cell lung cancers, new therapeutic targets have emerged. For squamous tumors, the most promising of these include fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, discoidin domain receptor 2 (DDR2), and G1/S checkpoint regulators. In 2014, the antiangiogenic agent ramucirumab was approved for all non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) histologies, including squamous tumors. Immunotherapeutic approaches also appear to be promising for these cases. Genomic analysis of small cell lung cancer has revealed a high mutation burden, but relatively few druggable driver oncogenic alterations. Current treatment strategies under investigation are focusing on targeting mitotic, cell cycle, and DNA repair regulation, as well as immunotherapy. Pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors represent a diverse spectrum of diseases that may be treated with somatostatin analogs, cytotoxic agents, and molecularly targeted therapies. Radiolabeled somatostatin analogs and combinations with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors also show potential. Large cell neuroendocrine tumors share numerous clinical, pathologic, and molecular features with small cell lung cancer; however, whether they should be treated similarly or according to a NSCLC paradigm remains a matter of debate.
    No preview · Article · May 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with squamous non-small-cell lung cancer that is refractory to multiple treatments have poor outcomes. We assessed the activity of nivolumab, a fully human IgG4 PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor antibody, for patients with advanced, refractory, squamous non-small-cell lung cancer. We did this phase 2, single-arm trial at 27 sites (academic, hospital, and private cancer centres) in France, Germany, Italy, and USA. Patients who had received two or more previous treatments received intravenous nivolumab (3 mg/kg) every 2 weeks until progression or unacceptable toxic effects. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with a confirmed objective response as assessed by an independent radiology review committee. We included all treated patients in the analyses. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01721759. Between Nov 16, 2012, and July 22, 2013, we enrolled and treated 117 patients. 17 (14·5%, 95% CI 8·7-22·2) of 117 patients had an objective response as assessed by an independent radiology review committee. Median time to response was 3·3 months (IQR 2·2-4·8), and median duration of response was not reached (95% CI 8·31-not applicable); 13 (77%) of 17 of responses were ongoing at the time of analysis. 30 (26%) of 117 patients had stable disease (median duration 6·0 months, 95% CI 4·7-10·9). 20 (17%) of 117 patients reported grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events, including: fatigue (five [4%] of 117 patients), pneumonitis (four [3%]), and diarrhoea (three [3%]). There were two treatment-associated deaths caused by pneumonia and ischaemic stroke that occurred in patients with multiple comorbidities in the setting of progressive disease. Nivolumab has clinically meaningful activity and a manageable safety profile in previously treated patients with advanced, refractory, squamous non-small cell lung cancer. These data support the assessment of nivolumab in randomised, controlled, phase 3 studies of first-line and second-line treatment. Bristol-Myers Squibb. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · The Lancet Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: CD30 is a cytokine receptor belonging to the tumor necrosis factor superfamily (TNFRSF8) that acts as a regulator of apoptosis. The presence of CD30 antigen is important in the diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease and anaplastic large cell lymphoma. There have been sporadic reports of CD30 expression in non-lymphoid tumors, including malignant mesothelioma. Given the remarkable success of brentuximab vedotin, an antibody-drug conjugate directed against CD30 antigen, in lymphoid malignancies, we undertook a study to examine the incidence of CD30 in mesothelioma and to investigate the ability to target CD30 antigen in mesothelioma. Mesothelioma tumor specimens (N = 83) were examined for CD30 expression by immunohistochemistry. Positive CD30 expression was noted in 13 mesothelioma specimens, primarily those of epithelial histology. There was no significant correlation of CD30 positivity with either tumor grade, stage or survival. Examination of four mesothelioma cell lines (H28, H2052, H2452, and 211H) for CD30 expression by both FACS analysis and confocal microscopy showed that CD30 antigen localized to the cell membrane. Brentuximab vedotin treatment of cultured mesothelioma cells produced a dose-dependent decrease in cell growth and viability at clinically relevant concentrations. Our studies validate the presence of CD30 antigen in a subgroup of epithelial-type mesothelioma tumors and indicate that selected mesothelioma patients may derive benefit from brentuximab vedotin treatment. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Unlike lung adenocarcinoma, little progress has been made in the treatment of squamous cell lung carcinoma (SCC). The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) has recently reported that receptor tyrosine kinase signaling pathways are altered in 26% of SCC tumors, validating the importance of downstream Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription 3 (STAT3) activity as a prime therapeutic target in this cancer. In the present report we examine the status of an endogenous inhibitor of STAT3, called Protein Inhibitor of Activated STAT3 (PIAS3), in SCC and its potential role in this disease. We examine PIAS3 expression in SCC tumors and cell lines by immunohistochemistry of a tissue microarray and western blotting. PIAS3 mRNA expression and survival data are analyzed in the TCGA data set. SCC cell lines are treated with curcumin to regulate PIAS3 expression and cell growth. PIAS3 protein expression is decreased in a majority of lung SCC tumors and cell lines. Analysis of PIAS3 mRNA transcript levels demonstrated that low PIAS3 levels predicted poor survival; Cox regression analysis revealed a hazard ratio of 0.57 (95% CI: 0.37-0.87), indicating a decrease in the risk of death by 43% for every unit elevation in PIAS3 gene expression. Curcumin treatment increased endogenous PIAS3 expression and decreased cell growth and viability in Calu-1 cells, a model of SCC. Our results implicate PIAS3 loss in the pathology of lung SCC and raise the therapeutic possibility of upregulating PIAS3 expression as a single target that can suppress signaling from the multiple receptor tyrosine kinase receptors found to be amplified in SCC. © 2015 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Cancer Medicine

  • No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
  • E. Kim · T. Biswas · A. Dowlati · N. Sharma · M. Machtay

    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics

  • No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: There are currently no molecular targeted approaches to treat small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) similar to those used successfully against non-small-cell lung cancer. This failure is attributable to our inability to identify clinically-relevant subtypes of this disease. Thus, a more systematic approach to drug discovery for SCLC is needed. In this regard, two comprehensive studies recently published in Nature, the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia and the Cancer Genome Project, provide a wealth of data regarding the drug sensitivity and genomic profiles of many different types of cancer cells. In the present study we have mined these two studies for new therapeutic agents for SCLC and identified heat shock proteins, cyclin-dependent kinases and polo-like kinases (PLK) as attractive molecular targets with little current clinical trial activity in SCLC. Remarkably, our analyses demonstrated that most SCLC cell lines clustered into a single, predominant subgroup by either gene expression or CNV analyses, leading us to take a pharmacogenomic approach to identify subgroups of drug-sensitive SCLC cells. Using PLK inhibitors as an example, we identified and validated a gene signature for drug sensitivity in SCLC cell lines. This gene signature could distinguish subpopulations among human SCLC tumors, suggesting its potential clinical utility. Finally, circos plots were constructed to yield a comprehensive view of how transcriptional, copy number and mutational elements affect PLK sensitivity in SCLC cell lines. Taken together, this study outlines an approach to predict drug sensitivity in SCLC to novel targeted therapeutics.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Sep 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Background: There is growing interest in defining the somatic mutations associated with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Unfortunately, a serious blockade to genomic analyses of this disease is a limited access to tumors because surgery is rarely performed. We used our clinical/pathologic database of SCLC patients to determine the availability of biopsy specimens that could be used for genomic studies and to identify tumors for initial oncogene analysis. Methods: DNA was extracted from six tumors, three primary and three metastatic, and analyzed by SEQUENOM platform technology. Results: Primary-resected tumor tissue represents less than 3% of all diagnostic specimens in this disease, highlighting the limited access to tissue sufficient for comprehensive genomic analyses. We identified an activating M918T RET somatic mutation in a metastatic SCLC tumor specimen. Bioinformatic search identified RET mutations in other SCLC studies. Stable overexpression of both mutant M918T and wild-type RET in two SCLC cell lines, H1048 and SW1271, activated ERK signaling, MYC expression, and increased cell proliferation, particularly by mutant RET. Stable cells became sensitized to the RET tyrosine kinase inhibitors, vandetanib and ponatinib. Further analysis of RET mRNA expression in SCLC revealed wide variability in both cells and tumors, and SCLC cells demonstrated significantly higher RET expression compared with adenocarcinoma lung cells. Conclusions: Our data suggest that a subpopulation of SCLC patients may derive benefit from tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeting RET. Coupled with the presence of RET fusion proteins in non-small-cell lung cancer, our data indicate an emerging role for RET in SCLC.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of thoracic oncology: official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

Publication Stats

9k Citations
1,079.04 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2002-2015
    • Cleveland State University
      Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • 2001-2015
    • Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
      • Department of Medicine
      Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • 1999-2015
    • Case Western Reserve University
      • • Division of Hematology and Oncology
      • • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
      • • School of Medicine
      Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • 2000-2009
    • Vanderbilt University
      Нашвилл, Michigan, United States
  • 2008
    • Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
      Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
    • Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2005
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      North Carolina, United States
  • 1996-1998
    • University of Liège
      • • Division of Laboratory Hematology and Immuno-Hematology
      • • Department of Pneumology
      Luik, Wallonia, Belgium