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Cancer Statistics
Population in 2012: 7.7m
People newly diagnosed with cancer (excluding NMSC) / yr: 42,000
Age-standardised rate, incidence per 100,000 people/yr: 287.0
Risk of getting cancer before age 75:28.8%
People dying from cancer /yr: 16,400
Data from IARC GlobalCan (2012)
Swiss Cancer Organisations
Recent Research Publications from Switzerland

Swiss Cancer Organisations (14 links)

Recent Research Publications from Switzerland

Earl HM, Hiller L, Vallier AL, et al.
6 versus 12 months of adjuvant trastuzumab for HER2-positive early breast cancer (PERSEPHONE): 4-year disease-free survival results of a randomised phase 3 non-inferiority trial.
Lancet. 2019; 393(10191):2599-2612 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adjuvant trastuzumab significantly improves outcomes for patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer. The standard treatment duration is 12 months but shorter treatment could provide similar efficacy while reducing toxicities and cost. We aimed to investigate whether 6-month adjuvant trastuzumab treatment is non-inferior to the standard 12-month treatment regarding disease-free survival.
METHODS: This study is an open-label, randomised phase 3 non-inferiority trial. Patients were recruited from 152 centres in the UK. We randomly assigned patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer, aged 18 years or older, and with a clear indication for chemotherapy, by a computerised minimisation process (1:1), to receive either 6-month or 12-month trastuzumab delivered every 3 weeks intravenously (loading dose of 8 mg/kg followed by maintenance doses of 6 mg/kg) or subcutaneously (600 mg), given in combination with chemotherapy (concurrently or sequentially). The primary endpoint was disease-free survival, analysed by intention to treat, with a non-inferiority margin of 3% for 4-year disease-free survival. Safety was analysed in all patients who received trastuzumab. This trial is registered with EudraCT (number 2006-007018-39), ISRCTN (number 52968807), and ClinicalTrials.gov (number NCT00712140).
FINDINGS: Between Oct 4, 2007, and July 31, 2015, 2045 patients were assigned to 12-month trastuzumab treatment and 2044 to 6-month treatment (one patient was excluded because they were double randomised). Median follow-up was 5·4 years (IQR 3·6-6·7) for both treatment groups, during which a disease-free survival event occurred in 265 (13%) of 2043 patients in the 6-month group and 247 (12%) of 2045 patients in the 12-month group. 4-year disease-free survival was 89·4% (95% CI 87·9-90·7) in the 6-month group and 89·8% (88·3-91·1) in the 12-month group (hazard ratio 1·07 [90% CI 0·93-1·24], non-inferiority p=0·011), showing non-inferiority of the 6-month treatment. 6-month trastuzumab treatment resulted in fewer patients reporting severe adverse events (373 [19%] of 1939 patients vs 459 [24%] of 1894 patients, p=0·0002) or stopping early because of cardiotoxicity (61 [3%] of 1939 patients vs 146 [8%] of 1894 patients, p<0·0001).
INTERPRETATION: We have shown that 6-month trastuzumab treatment is non-inferior to 12-month treatment in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer, with less cardiotoxicity and fewer severe adverse events. These results support consideration of reduced duration trastuzumab for women at similar risk of recurrence as to those included in the trial.
FUNDING: UK National Institute for Health Research, Health Technology Assessment Programme.

Robert C, Grob JJ, Stroyakovskiy D, et al.
Five-Year Outcomes with Dabrafenib plus Trametinib in Metastatic Melanoma.
N Engl J Med. 2019; 381(7):626-636 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients who have unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a
METHODS: We analyzed pooled extended-survival data from two trials involving previously untreated patients who had received BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib (at a dose of 150 mg twice daily) plus MEK inhibitor trametinib (2 mg once daily) in the COMBI-d and COMBI-v trials. The median duration of follow-up was 22 months (range, 0 to 76). The primary end points in the COMBI-d and COMBI-v trials were progression-free survival and overall survival, respectively.
RESULTS: A total of 563 patients were randomly assigned to receive dabrafenib plus trametinib (211 in the COMBI-d trial and 352 in the COMBI-v trial). The progression-free survival rates were 21% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17 to 24) at 4 years and 19% (95% CI, 15 to 22) at 5 years. The overall survival rates were 37% (95% CI, 33 to 42) at 4 years and 34% (95% CI, 30 to 38) at 5 years. In multivariate analysis, several baseline factors (e.g., performance status, age, sex, number of organ sites with metastasis, and lactate dehydrogenase level) were significantly associated with both progression-free survival and overall survival. A complete response occurred in 109 patients (19%) and was associated with an improved long-term outcome, with an overall survival rate of 71% (95% CI, 62 to 79) at 5 years.
CONCLUSIONS: First-line treatment with dabrafenib plus trametinib led to long-term benefit in approximately one third of the patients who had unresectable or metastatic melanoma with a

Im SA, Lu YS, Bardia A, et al.
Overall Survival with Ribociclib plus Endocrine Therapy in Breast Cancer.
N Engl J Med. 2019; 381(4):307-316 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: An earlier analysis of this phase 3 trial showed that the addition of a cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) inhibitor to endocrine therapy provided a greater benefit with regard to progression-free survival than endocrine therapy alone in premenopausal or perimenopausal patients with advanced hormone-receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer. Here we report the results of a protocol-specified interim analysis of the key secondary end point of overall survival.
METHODS: We randomly assigned patients to receive either ribociclib or placebo in addition to endocrine therapy (goserelin and either a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor or tamoxifen). Overall survival was evaluated with the use of a stratified log-rank test and summarized with the use of Kaplan-Meier methods.
RESULTS: A total of 672 patients were included in the intention-to-treat population. There were 83 deaths among 335 patients (24.8%) in the ribociclib group and 109 deaths among 337 patients (32.3%) in the placebo group. The addition of ribociclib to endocrine therapy resulted in significantly longer overall survival than endocrine therapy alone. The estimated overall survival at 42 months was 70.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 63.5 to 76.0) in the ribociclib group and 46.0% (95% CI, 32.0 to 58.9) in the placebo group (hazard ratio for death, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.95; P = 0.00973 by log-rank test). The survival benefit seen in the subgroup of 495 patients who received an aromatase inhibitor was consistent with that in the overall intention-to-treat population (hazard ratio for death, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.98). The percentage of patients who received subsequent antineoplastic therapy was balanced between the groups (68.9% in the ribociclib group and 73.2% in the placebo group). The time from randomization to disease progression during receipt of second-line therapy or to death was also longer in the ribociclib group than in the placebo group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.55 to 0.87).
CONCLUSIONS: This trial showed significantly longer overall survival with a CDK4/6 inhibitor plus endocrine therapy than with endocrine therapy alone among patients with advanced hormone-receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. No new concerns regarding toxic effects emerged with longer follow-up. (Funded by Novartis; MONALEESA-7 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02278120.).

André F, Ciruelos E, Rubovszky G, et al.
Alpelisib for
N Engl J Med. 2019; 380(20):1929-1940 [PubMed] Related Publications

Rini BI, Powles T, Atkins MB, et al.
Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab versus sunitinib in patients with previously untreated metastatic renal cell carcinoma (IMmotion151): a multicentre, open-label, phase 3, randomised controlled trial.
Lancet. 2019; 393(10189):2404-2415 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A phase 2 trial showed improved progression-free survival for atezolizumab plus bevacizumab versus sunitinib in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma who express programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1). Here, we report results of IMmotion151, a phase 3 trial comparing atezolizumab plus bevacizumab versus sunitinib in first-line metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
METHODS: In this multicentre, open-label, phase 3, randomised controlled trial, patients with a component of clear cell or sarcomatoid histology and who were previously untreated, were recruited from 152 academic medical centres and community oncology practices in 21 countries, mainly in Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific region, and were randomly assigned 1:1 to either atezolizumab 1200 mg plus bevacizumab 15 mg/kg intravenously once every 3 weeks or sunitinib 50 mg orally once daily for 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off. A permuted-block randomisation (block size of 4) was applied to obtain a balanced assignment to each treatment group with respect to the stratification factors. Study investigators and participants were not masked to treatment allocation. Patients, investigators, independent radiology committee members, and the sponsor were masked to PD-L1 expression status. Co-primary endpoints were investigator-assessed progression-free survival in the PD-L1 positive population and overall survival in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02420821.
FINDINGS: Of 915 patients enrolled between May 20, 2015, and Oct 12, 2016, 454 were randomly assigned to the atezolizumab plus bevacizumab group and 461 to the sunitinib group. 362 (40%) of 915 patients had PD-L1 positive disease. Median follow-up was 15 months at the primary progression-free survival analysis and 24 months at the overall survival interim analysis. In the PD-L1 positive population, the median progression-free survival was 11·2 months in the atezolizumab plus bevacizumab group versus 7·7 months in the sunitinib group (hazard ratio [HR] 0·74 [95% CI 0·57-0·96]; p=0·0217). In the ITT population, median overall survival had an HR of 0·93 (0·76-1·14) and the results did not cross the significance boundary at the interim analysis. 182 (40%) of 451 patients in the atezolizumab plus bevacizumab group and 240 (54%) of 446 patients in the sunitinib group had treatment-related grade 3-4 adverse events: 24 (5%) in the atezolizumab plus bevacizumab group and 37 (8%) in the sunitinib group had treatment-related all-grade adverse events, which led to treatment-regimen discontinuation.
INTERPRETATION: Atezolizumab plus bevacizumab prolonged progression-free survival versus sunitinib in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma and showed a favourable safety profile. Longer-term follow-up is necessary to establish whether a survival benefit will emerge. These study results support atezolizumab plus bevacizumab as a first-line treatment option for selected patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.
FUNDING: F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd and Genentech Inc.

Schmidt-Hieber M, Tridello G, Ljungman P, et al.
The prognostic impact of the cytomegalovirus serostatus in patients with chronic hematological malignancies after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a report from the Infectious Diseases Working Party of EBMT.
Ann Hematol. 2019; 98(7):1755-1763 [PubMed] Related Publications
It has been shown recently that donor and/or recipient cytomegalovirus (CMV) seropositivity is associated with a significant overall survival (OS) decline in acute leukemia patients who underwent allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT). We now analyzed the prognostic impact of the donor/recipient CMV serostatus in 6968 patients with chronic hematological malignancies who underwent allo-HSCT. Donor and/or recipient CMV seropositivity was associated with a significantly reduced 2-year progression-free survival (PFS, 50% vs. 52%, p = 0.03) and OS (62% vs. 65%, p = 0.01). Multivariate Cox regression analyses showed an independent negative prognostic impact of donor and/or recipient CMV seropositivity on PFS (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.0-1.2; p = 0.03), OS (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.0-1.2; p = 0.003), and non-relapse mortality (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.0-1.3; p = 0.02). OS decline was strongest for CMV-seropositive recipients with a CMV-seronegative donor (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1-1.3), followed by CMV-seropositive patients with a CMV-seropositive donor (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 1.0-1.2). Conversely, OS did not differ significantly between CMV-seronegative recipients allografted from a CMV-seropositive donor (HR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.9-1.2) and patients with donor/recipient CMV seronegativity (p = 0.001 for the four groups together). Non-relapse mortality was also significantly (p = 0.01) higher for CMV-seropositive patients with a CMV-seronegative graft (HR, 1.2; 95% CI, 1.1-1.4) than for CMV-seropositive patients with a CMV-seropositive graft (HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9-1.2) or CMV-seronegative recipients with a CMV-seropositive graft (HR, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.8-1.2). Donor and/or recipient CMV seropositivity still results in an OS decline in patients with chronic hematological malignancies who have undergone allo-HSCT. However, this OS decline seems to be lower than that described for acute leukemia patients previously.

Al-Batran SE, Homann N, Pauligk C, et al.
Perioperative chemotherapy with fluorouracil plus leucovorin, oxaliplatin, and docetaxel versus fluorouracil or capecitabine plus cisplatin and epirubicin for locally advanced, resectable gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (FLOT4): a randomised, phase 2/3 trial.
Lancet. 2019; 393(10184):1948-1957 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Docetaxel-based chemotherapy is effective in metastatic gastric and gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. This study reports on the safety and efficacy of the docetaxel-based triplet FLOT (fluorouracil plus leucovorin, oxaliplatin and docetaxel) as a perioperative therapy for patients with locally advanced, resectable tumours.
METHODS: In this controlled, open-label, phase 2/3 trial, we randomly assigned 716 patients with histologically-confirmed advanced clinical stage cT2 or higher or nodal positive stage (cN+), or both, resectable tumours, with no evidence of distant metastases, via central interactive web-based-response system, to receive either three pre-operative and three postoperative 3-week cycles of 50 mg/m
FINDINGS: Between Aug 8, 2010, and Feb 10, 2015, 716 patients were randomly assigned to treatment in 38 German hospitals or with practice-based oncologists. 360 patients were assigned to ECF/ECX and 356 patients to FLOT. Overall survival was increased in the FLOT group compared with the ECF/ECX group (hazard ratio [HR] 0·77; 95% confidence interval [CI; 0.63 to 0·94]; median overall survival, 50 months [38·33 to not reached] vs 35 months [27·35 to 46·26]). The number of patients with related serious adverse events (including those occurring during hospital stay for surgery) was similar in the two groups (96 [27%] in the ECF/ECX group vs 97 [27%] in the FLOT group), as was the number of toxic deaths (two [<1%] in both groups). Hospitalisation for toxicity occurred in 94 patients (26%) in the ECF/ECX group and 89 patients (25%) in the FLOT group.
INTERPRETATION: In locally advanced, resectable gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, perioperative FLOT improved overall survival compared with perioperative ECF/ECX.
FUNDING: The German Cancer Aid (Deutsche Krebshilfe), Sanofi-Aventis, Chugai, and Stiftung Leben mit Krebs Foundation.

Harper DM, Nieminen P, Donders G, et al.
The efficacy and safety of Tipapkinogen Sovacivec therapeutic HPV vaccine in cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grades 2 and 3: Randomized controlled phase II trial with 2.5 years of follow-up.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 153(3):521-529 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: While prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination exists, women are still developing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) grade 2 or 3 for which an immunotherapeutic, non-surgical, approach may be effective. The primary aim was to assess the efficacy of tipapkinogen sovacivec (TS) vaccine in achieving histologic resolution of CIN2/3 associated with high risk (HR) HPV types.
METHODS: Women 18 years and older who had confirmed CIN2/3 were enrolled in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled phase II trial and assigned to drug in a 2:1 ratio (vaccine:placebo). The primary endpoint occurred at month 6 when the excisional therapy was performed; cytology and HR HPV typing were performed at months 3, 6 and every six months through month 30. The safety population included all patients who received at least one dose of study drug.
RESULTS: Of the 129 women randomized to vaccine and 63 to placebo, complete resolution was significantly higher in the vaccine group than placebo for CIN 2/3 regardless of the 13 HR HPV types assayed (24% vs. 10%, p < 0.05); as well as for only CIN 3 also regardless of HR HPV type (21% vs. 0%, p < 0.01). Irrespective of baseline HPV infection, viral DNA clearance was higher in the vaccine group compared to placebo (p < 0.01). The vaccine was well tolerated with the most common adverse events being injection site reactions.
CONCLUSIONS: The TS vaccine provides histologic clearance of CIN 2/3 irrespective of HR HPV type in one third of subjects and is generally safe through 30 months.

Pradier MF, Reis B, Jukofsky L, et al.
Case-control Indian buffet process identifies biomarkers of response to Codrituzumab.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):278 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Codrituzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against Glypican-3 (GPC3), which is expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), was tested in a randomized phase II trial in advanced HCC patients who had failed prior systemic therapy. Biomarker analysis was performed to identify a responder population that benefits from treatment.
METHODS: A novel statistical method based on the Indian buffet process (IBP) was used to identify biomarkers predictive of response to treatment with Codrituzumab. The IBP is a novel method that allows flexibility in analysis design, and which is sensitive to slight, but meaningful between-group differences in biomarkers in very complex datasets RESULTS: The IBP model identified several subpopulations of patients having defined biomarker values. Tumor necrosis and viable cell content in the tumor were identified as prognostic markers of disease progression, as were the well-known HCC prognostic markers of disease progression, alpha-fetoprotein and Glypican-3 expression. Predictive markers of treatment response included natural killer (NK) cell surface markers and parameters influencing NK cell activity, all related to the mechanism of action of this drug CONCLUSIONS: The Indian buffet process can be effectively used to detect statistically significant signals with high sensitivity in complex and noisy biological data TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01507168 , January 6, 2012.

Bachmann N, Leiser D, Ermis E, et al.
Impact of regular magnetic resonance imaging follow-up after stereotactic radiotherapy to the surgical cavity in patients with one to three brain metastases.
Radiat Oncol. 2019; 14(1):45 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Administering stereotactic radiotherapy to the surgical cavity and thus omitting postoperative whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) is a favored strategy in limited metastatic brain disease. Little is known about the impact of regular magnetic resonance imaging follow-up (MRI FU) in such patient cohorts. The aim of this study is to examine the impact of regular MRI FU and to report the oncological outcomes of patients with one to three brain metastases (BMs) treated with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or hypo-fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (HFSRT) to the surgical cavity.
METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed patients who received SRS or HFSRT to the surgical cavity after resection of one to two BMs. Additional, non-resected BMs were managed with SRS alone. Survival was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Prognostic factors were examined with the log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards model. Regular MRI FU was defined as performing a brain MRI 3 months after radiotherapy (RT) and/or performing ≥1 brain MRI per 180 days. Primary endpoint was local control (LC). Secondary endpoints were distant brain control (DBC), overall survival (OS) and the correlation between regular MRI FU and overall survival (OS), symptom-free survival (SFS), deferment of WBRT and WBRT-free survival (WFS).
RESULTS: Overall, 75 patients were enrolled. One, 2 and 3 BMs were seen in 63 (84%), 11 (15%) and 1 (1%) patients, respectively. Forty (53%) patients underwent MRI FU 3 months after RT and 38 (51%) patients received ≥1 brain MRI per 180 days. Median OS was 19.4 months (95% CI: 13.2-25.6 months). Actuarial LC, DBC and OS at 1 year were 72% (95% CI: 60-83%), 60% (95% CI: 48-72%) and 66% (95% CI: 53-76%), respectively. A planning target volume > 15 cm
CONCLUSION: Our results regarding oncological outcomes consist with the current data from the literature. Surprisingly, regular MRI FU did not result in increased OS, SFS, WFS or deferment of WBRT in our cohort consisting mainly of patients with a single and resected BM. Therefore, the impact of regular MRI FU needs prospective evaluation.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Project ID: 2017-00033, retrospectively registered.

De Bari B, Franzetti-Pellanda A, Saidi A, et al.
Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy delivered with helical tomotherapy under daily image guidance for rectal cancer patients: efficacy and safety in a large, multi-institutional series.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2019; 145(4):1075-1084 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Helical tomotherapy (HT) has been recently introduced in the neoadjuvant treatment of locally advanced rectal cancer. Aim of this study is to report the toxicity and local control rates of a large series of locally advanced rectal cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and HT under daily image guidance followed by surgery.
METHODS: Data from 117 locally advanced rectal cancer patients treated at two Swiss Radiotherapy departments were collected and analyzed. Radiotherapy consisted of 45 Gy (1.8 Gy/fraction, 5 fractions/week delivered in 5 weeks) to the regional pelvic lymph nodes. Seventy patients also received a simultaneous integrated boost (SIB) up to 50 Gy to the tumor and involved nodes (2 Gy/fraction, 5 fractions/week delivered in 5 weeks). Chemotherapy consisted of capecitabine 825 mg/m
RESULTS: Median follow-up was 45 months (range 4-90 months). The overall rate of acute grade 2-4 toxicity was 18.8% (n = 22). Four patients (3.4%) presented a grade 3 dermatitis (n = 1) or diarrhea (n = 3), and 1 (0.8%) demonstrated grade 4 rectal toxicity. No patients presented with grade ≥ 3 hematologic toxicity. Six patients (5.1%) had late grade 3 gastrointestinal toxicity. The 4-year local control rate was 88.4% (95% CI 87.5-88.5%).
CONCLUSIONS: Neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy delivered with HT under daily image guidance is well tolerated and shows a high 4-year local control rates.

Kensler KH, Regan MM, Heng YJ, et al.
Prognostic and predictive value of androgen receptor expression in postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer: results from the Breast International Group Trial 1-98.
Breast Cancer Res. 2019; 21(1):30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The androgen receptor (AR) is an emerging prognostic marker and therapeutic target in breast cancer. AR is expressed in 60-80% of breast cancers, with higher prevalence among estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) tumors. Androgen treatment inhibits ER signaling in ER+/AR+ breast cancer cell lines, and AR expression is associated with improved survival for this subtype in epidemiologic studies. However, whether AR expression modifies the efficacy of selective ER modulators or aromatase inhibitors for ER+ cancers remains unclear.
METHODS: We evaluated the prognostic and predictive value of AR expression among 3021 postmenopausal ER+ breast cancer patients in the Breast International Group (BIG) trial 1-98. The BIG 1-98 study was a four-armed, double-blind, phase III randomized clinical trial that compared 5 years of tamoxifen or letrozole monotherapy, or sequences of 2 years and 3 years treatment with one drug and then the other. AR expression was measured by immunohistochemistry and the percentage of AR-positive nuclei was quantified. The association between AR expression and prognosis was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models. Continuous AR-by-treatment interactions were assessed using Subpopulation Treatment Effect Pattern Plots (STEPP).
RESULTS: Eighty-two percent of patients had AR+ (≥ 1%) tumors. Patients with AR+ cancers were more likely to have smaller, lower-grade tumors, with higher expression of ER and PR. AR expression was not associated with breast cancer-free interval (BCFI) (415 events) over a median 8.0 years of follow-up (p = 0.12, log-rank test). In multivariable-adjusted models, AR expression was not associated with BCFI (HR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.83-1.36, p = 0.60). The letrozole versus tamoxifen monotherapy treatment effect did not significantly differ for AR+ tumors (HR = 0.63, 95% CI 0.44-0.75, p = 0.003) and AR- tumors (HR = 0.39, 95% CI 0.21-0.72, p = 0.002) (p-heterogeneity = 0.16). STEPP analysis also suggested no heterogeneity of the treatment effect across the continuum of AR expression.
CONCLUSIONS: AR expression was not associated with prognosis, nor was there heterogeneity of the letrozole versus tamoxifen treatment effect by AR expression. These findings suggest that AR expression may not be an informative biomarker for the selection of adjuvant endocrine therapy for postmenopausal women with ER+ breast cancers.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov , NCT00004205, Registered 27 January 2003-Retrospectively registered, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/study/NCT00004205 .

Herrlinger U, Tzaridis T, Mack F, et al.
Lomustine-temozolomide combination therapy versus standard temozolomide therapy in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma with methylated MGMT promoter (CeTeG/NOA-09): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial.
Lancet. 2019; 393(10172):678-688 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need for more effective therapies for glioblastoma. Data from a previous unrandomised phase 2 trial suggested that lomustine-temozolomide plus radiotherapy might be superior to temozolomide chemoradiotherapy in newly diagnosed glioblastoma with methylation of the MGMT promoter. In the CeTeG/NOA-09 trial, we aimed to further investigate the effect of lomustine-temozolomide therapy in the setting of a randomised phase 3 trial.
METHODS: In this open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial, we enrolled patients from 17 German university hospitals who were aged 18-70 years, with newly diagnosed glioblastoma with methylated MGMT promoter, and a Karnofsky Performance Score of 70% and higher. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) with a predefined SAS-generated randomisation list to standard temozolomide chemoradiotherapy (75 mg/m
FINDINGS: Between June 17, 2011, and April 8, 2014, 141 patients were randomly assigned to the treatment groups; 129 patients (63 in the temozolomide and 66 in the lomustine-temozolomide group) constituted the modified intention-to-treat population. Median overall survival was improved from 31·4 months (95% CI 27·7-47·1) with temozolomide to 48·1 months (32·6 months-not assessable) with lomustine-temozolomide (hazard ratio [HR] 0·60, 95% CI 0·35-1·03; p=0·0492 for log-rank analysis). A significant overall survival difference between groups was also found in a secondary analysis of the intention-to-treat population (n=141, HR 0·60, 95% CI 0·35-1·03; p=0·0432 for log-rank analysis). Adverse events of grade 3 or higher were observed in 32 (51%) of 63 patients in the temozolomide group and 39 (59%) of 66 patients in the lomustine-temozolomide group. There were no treatment-related deaths.
INTERPRETATION: Our results suggest that lomustine-temozolomide chemotherapy might improve survival compared with temozolomide standard therapy in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma with methylated MGMT promoter. The findings should be interpreted with caution, owing to the small size of the trial.
FUNDING: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Sebastian M, Schröder A, Scheel B, et al.
A phase I/IIa study of the mRNA-based cancer immunotherapy CV9201 in patients with stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2019; 68(5):799-812 [PubMed] Related Publications
CV9201 is an RNActive

Repici A, Wallace MB, East JE, et al.
Efficacy of Per-oral Methylene Blue Formulation for Screening Colonoscopy.
Gastroenterology. 2019; 156(8):2198-2207.e1 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Topically applied methylene blue dye chromoendoscopy is effective in improving detection of colorectal neoplasia. When combined with a pH- and time-dependent multimatrix structure, a per-oral methylene blue formulation (MB-MMX) can be delivered directly to the colorectal mucosa.
METHODS: We performed a phase 3 study of 1205 patients scheduled for colorectal cancer screening or surveillance colonoscopies (50-75 years old) at 20 sites in Europe and the United States, from December 2013 through October 2016. Patients were randomly assigned to groups given 200 mg MB-MMX, placebo, or 100 mg MB-MMX (ratio of 2:2:1). The 100-mg MB-MMX group was included for masking purposes. MB-MMX and placebo tablets were administered with a 4-L polyethylene glycol-based bowel preparation. The patients then underwent colonoscopy by an experienced endoscopist with centralized double-reading. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients with 1 adenoma or carcinoma (adenoma detection rate [ADR]). We calculated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for differences in detection between the 200-mg MB-MMX and placebo groups. False-positive (resection rate for non-neoplastic polyps) and adverse events were assessed as secondary endpoints.
RESULTS: The ADR was higher for the MB-MMX group (273 of 485 patients, 56.29%) than the placebo group (229 of 479 patients, 47.81%) (OR 1.46; 95% CI 1.09-1.96). The proportion of patients with nonpolypoid lesions was higher in the MB-MMX group (213 of 485 patients, 43.92%) than the placebo group (168 of 479 patients, 35.07%) (OR 1.66; 95% CI 1.21-2.26). The proportion of patients with adenomas ≤5 mm was higher in the MB-MMX group (180 of 485 patients, 37.11%) than the placebo group (148 of 479 patients, 30.90%) (OR 1.36; 95% CI 1.01-1.83), but there was no difference between groups in detection of polypoid or larger lesions. The false-positive rate did not differ significantly between groups (83 [23.31%] of 356 patients with non-neoplastic lesions in the MB-MMX vs 97 [29.75%] of 326 patients with non-neoplastic lesions in the placebo group). Overall, 0.7% of patients had severe adverse events but there was no significant difference between groups.
CONCLUSIONS: In a phase 3 trial of patients undergoing screening or surveillance colonoscopies, we found MB-MMX led to an absolute 8.5% increase in ADR, compared with placebo, without increasing the removal of non-neoplastic lesions. Clinicaltrials.gov no: NCT01694966.

Sonnenblick A, Bailey A, Uziely B, et al.
Autoimmunity and Benefit from Trastuzumab Treatment in Breast Cancer: Results from the HERA Trial.
Anticancer Res. 2019; 39(2):797-802 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIM: This study sought to determine whether an autoimmune background could identify patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) who derive differential benefit from primary adjuvant trastuzumab-based therapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: HERA is an international randomized trial of 5,102 women with HER2-positive EBC, who were enrolled to either receive adjuvant trastuzumab or not. In this exploratory analysis, the interaction between autoimmune history and the magnitude of trastuzumab benefit was evaluated.
RESULTS: A total of 5,099 patients were included in the current analysis. Among them, 325 patients (6.4%) had autoimmune disease history, 295 of whom had active disease. Patients were randomly assigned to trastuzumab or no-trastuzumab groups. Similar reductions in the risk of events in patients with and without autoimmune history were observed (interaction p=0.95 for disease-free survival, and p=0.62 for overall survival).
CONCLUSION: No evidence of a differential benefit from trastuzumab in patients with a medical history of autoimmune disease was found.

Frey N, Jang JH, Szer J, et al.
Eltrombopag treatment during induction chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukaemia: a randomised, double-blind, phase 2 study.
Lancet Haematol. 2019; 6(3):e122-e131 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with acute myeloid leukaemia frequently have thrombocytopenia during induction chemotherapy. Eltrombopag, an oral thrombopoietin receptor agonist, stimulates platelet production by a similar mechanism to endogenous thrombopoietin. This study investigated safety and efficacy of eltrombopag versus placebo during anthracycline-based induction treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukaemia.
METHODS: In this randomised, double-blind, phase 2 study, treatment-naive patients were recruited from clinical centres across 10 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Hungary, Israel, South Korea, Poland, Russia, and the USA). Patients with acute myeloid leukaemia of any subtype except M3 and M7 were stratified by antecedent malignant haematological disorder (yes or no) and age (18-60 years or >60 years) and were then randomly assigned (1:1) using an automated interactive voice-response system randomisation schedule. Investigators and patients were blinded to study treatment. Starting on day 4, patients received standard induction chemotherapy (daunorubicin bolus intravenous infusion on days 1-3 [90 mg/m
FINDINGS: Between Sept 7, 2013, and Jan 30, 2015, 149 patients were assessed for eligibility and 148 were then randomly assigned to receive eltrombopag (n=74) and placebo (n=74). Groups were matched in mean (SD) age (56·7 years [12·3] in the eltrombopag group vs 56·6 years [11·6] in the placebo group), mean (SD) initial platelet count (59·5 × 10
INTERPRETATION: Data from this trial do not support combining eltrombopag with induction chemotherapy in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia.
FUNDING: Novartis Pharma AG.

Hansson J, Bartley K, Karagiannis T, et al.
Assessment of quality of life using Skindex-16 in patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma treated with vismodegib in the STEVIE study.
Eur J Dermatol. 2018; 28(6):775-783 [PubMed] Related Publications
Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) data are limited in patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma. To report HRQoL outcomes based on STEVIE (NCT01367665), a phase 2 study of vismodegib safety in patients with metastatic BCC or locally advanced BCC that is unsuitable for surgery or radiotherapy. Skindex-16 and MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) questionnaires were completed at baseline and at three subsequent visits. Clinically meaningful improvement was defined as a ≥10-point decrease from baseline (Skindex-16) or improvement of at least 3 points from baseline (MDASI). HRQoL-evaluable patients with locally advanced BCC (n = 730) had ≥10-point improvements in Skindex-16 emotion domain scores at all time points. Changes in symptom and function scores in these patients or in any domain scores at any time point in patients with metastatic BCC (n = 10) were not clinically meaningful. Of 10 patients with symptomatic metastatic BCC at baseline, six had ≥3-point improvements in MDASI symptom severity. Skindex-16 and MDASI showed improvement in HRQoL in vismodegib-treated patients with locally advanced or metastatic BCC or BCC.

Heidenreich A, Gillessen S, Heinrich D, et al.
Radium-223 in asymptomatic patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer and bone metastases treated in an international early access program.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Radium-223, a targeted alpha therapy, is used to treat symptomatic patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and bone metastases. Data for radium-223 in asymptomatic CRPC patients with bone metastases are lacking.
METHODS: This was a prospective, single-arm phase 3b study. Patients with metastatic CRPC (malignant lymphadenopathy not exceeding 6 cm was allowed, visceral disease was excluded) received radium-223, 55 kBq/kg intravenously, every 4 weeks for up to 6 cycles. Co-primary endpoints were safety and overall survival. Post hoc analyses were performed according to baseline asymptomatic or symptomatic disease status. Asymptomatic status was defined as no pain and no opioid use at baseline.
RESULTS: Seven hundred eight patients received ≥1 radium-223 injection: 548 (77%) were symptomatic to various degrees, and 135 (19%) were asymptomatic. Asymptomatic patients had more favorable baseline disease characteristics than symptomatic. A lower proportion of asymptomatic versus symptomatic patients had received prior abiraterone (25% vs 35%) and prior docetaxel (52% vs 62%). A higher proportion of asymptomatic (71%) versus symptomatic (55%) patients completed radium-223 treatment. Overall survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0.486), time to disease progression (HR 0.722) and time to first symptomatic skeletal event (HR 0.328) were better in asymptomatic than symptomatic patients. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) response rates were similar (46% vs 47%), and ALP normalization (44% vs 25%) and prostate-specific antigen response rates (21% vs 13%) were higher in asymptomatic than symptomatic patients. A lower proportion of asymptomatic patients reported treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs, 61% vs 79%), grade 3-4 TEAEs (29% vs 40%) and drug-related TEAEs (28% vs 44%). There were two treatment-related deaths, both in patients with baseline symptomatic disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Using radium-223 earlier in the disease course, when patients are asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic, may enable patients to complete treatment and optimize treatment outcome compared to symptomatic patients, and therefore may allow sequencing with other life-prolonging therapies.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov , number NCT01618370 on June 13, 2012 and the European Union Clinical Trials Register, EudraCT number 2012-000075-16 on April 4, 2012.

Ando Y, Iwasa S, Takahashi S, et al.
Phase I study of alpelisib (BYL719), an α-specific PI3K inhibitor, in Japanese patients with advanced solid tumors.
Cancer Sci. 2019; 110(3):1021-1031 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
This phase I study aimed to determine tolerability and preliminary efficacy of single-agent alpelisib (BYL719) in Japanese patients with advanced solid malignancies. The primary objective of the study was to estimate the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and/or recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of oral alpelisib in patients with advanced solid tumors who had progressed despite standard therapy. The expansion part included patients with PIK3CA mutation/amplification; safety, preliminary efficacy, pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic profile, and food effect on the PK profile of alpelisib at the MTD/RP2D were determined. Oral alpelisib was given as a single agent on a continuous 28-day treatment cycle once daily. Overall, 33 patients received alpelisib. Dose-limiting toxicities were observed in 2 patients in the escalation part (at 400 mg/day) and 1 patient in the expansion part (at 350 mg/day). The RP2D of alpelisib was determined as 350 mg/day based on overall safety profile in the dose escalation part and previous data from a Western population; the MTD was not determined. The most common all-grade treatment-suspected adverse events were hyperglycemia and maculopapular rash (48.5% each) and diarrhea (45.5%). The PK of alpelisib in the Japanese population was similar to that reported in the Western population. The overall response rate, disease control rate, and median progression-free survival at 350 mg/day were 3%, 57.6%, and 3.4 months, respectively. Alpelisib as single agent showed a favorable safety profile and encouraging preliminary efficacy in Japanese patients with advanced solid tumors.

Hilf N, Kuttruff-Coqui S, Frenzel K, et al.
Actively personalized vaccination trial for newly diagnosed glioblastoma.
Nature. 2019; 565(7738):240-245 [PubMed] Related Publications
Patients with glioblastoma currently do not sufficiently benefit from recent breakthroughs in cancer treatment that use checkpoint inhibitors

Dimopoulos MA, Gay F, Schjesvold F, et al.
Oral ixazomib maintenance following autologous stem cell transplantation (TOURMALINE-MM3): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial.
Lancet. 2019; 393(10168):253-264 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Maintenance therapy following autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) can delay disease progression and prolong survival in patients with multiple myeloma. Ixazomib is ideally suited for maintenance therapy given its convenient once-weekly oral dosing and low toxicity profile. In this study, we aimed to determine the safety and efficacy of ixazomib as maintenance therapy following ASCT.
METHODS: The phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled TOURMALINE-MM3 study took place in 167 clinical or hospital sites in 30 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Eligible participants were adults with a confirmed diagnosis of symptomatic multiple myeloma according to International Myeloma Working Group criteria who had achieved at least a partial response after undergoing standard-of-care induction therapy followed by high-dose melphalan (200 mg/m
FINDINGS: Between July 31, 2014, and March 14, 2016, 656 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive ixazomib maintenance therapy (n=395) or placebo (n=261). With a median follow-up of 31 months (IQR 27·3-35·7), we observed a 28% reduction in the risk of progression or death with ixazomib versus placebo (median PFS 26·5 months [95% CI 23·7-33·8] vs 21·3 months [18·0-24·7]; hazard ratio 0·72, 95% CI 0·58-0·89; p=0·0023). No increase in second malignancies was noted with ixazomib therapy (12 [3%] patients) compared with placebo (eight [3%] patients) at the time of this analysis. 108 (27%) of 394 patients in the ixazomib group and 51 (20%) of 259 patients in the placebo group experienced serious adverse events. During the treatment period, one patient died in the ixazomib group and none died in the placebo group.
INTERPRETATION: Ixazomib maintenance prolongs PFS and represents an additional option for post-transplant maintenance therapy in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.
FUNDING: Millennium Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.

Schuster SJ, Bishop MR, Tam CS, et al.
Tisagenlecleucel in Adult Relapsed or Refractory Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.
N Engl J Med. 2019; 380(1):45-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that is refractory to primary and second-line therapies or that has relapsed after stem-cell transplantation have a poor prognosis. The chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy tisagenlecleucel targets and eliminates CD19-expressing B cells and showed efficacy against B-cell lymphomas in a single-center, phase 2a study.
METHODS: We conducted an international, phase 2, pivotal study of centrally manufactured tisagenlecleucel involving adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who were ineligible for or had disease progression after autologous hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. The primary end point was the best overall response rate (i.e., the percentage of patients who had a complete or partial response), as judged by an independent review committee.
RESULTS: A total of 93 patients received an infusion and were included in the evaluation of efficacy. The median time from infusion to data cutoff was 14 months (range, 0.1 to 26). The best overall response rate was 52% (95% confidence interval, 41 to 62); 40% of the patients had complete responses, and 12% had partial responses. Response rates were consistent across prognostic subgroups. At 12 months after the initial response, the rate of relapse-free survival was estimated to be 65% (79% among patients with a complete response). The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse events of special interest included cytokine release syndrome (22%), neurologic events (12%), cytopenias lasting more than 28 days (32%), infections (20%), and febrile neutropenia (14%). Three patients died from disease progression within 30 days after infusion. No deaths were attributed to tisagenlecleucel, cytokine release syndrome, or cerebral edema. No differences between response groups in tumor expression of CD19 or immune checkpoint-related proteins were found.
CONCLUSIONS: In this international study of CAR T-cell therapy in relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in adults, high rates of durable responses were produced with the use of tisagenlecleucel. (Funded by Novartis; JULIET ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02445248 .).

Cohen EEW, Soulières D, Le Tourneau C, et al.
Pembrolizumab versus methotrexate, docetaxel, or cetuximab for recurrent or metastatic head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma (KEYNOTE-040): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 study.
Lancet. 2019; 393(10167):156-167 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There are few effective treatment options for patients with recurrent or metastatic head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma. Pembrolizumab showed antitumour activity and manageable toxicity in early-phase trials. We aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of pembrolizumab versus standard-of-care therapy for the treatment of head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma.
METHODS: We did a randomised, open-label, phase 3 study at 97 medical centres in 20 countries. Patients with head-and-neck squamous cell carcinoma that progressed during or after platinum-containing treatment for recurrent or metastatic disease (or both), or whose disease recurred or progressed within 3-6 months of previous multimodal therapy containing platinum for locally advanced disease, were randomly assigned (1:1) in blocks of four per stratum with an interactive voice-response and integrated web-response system to receive pembrolizumab 200 mg every 3 weeks intravenously or investigator's choice of standard doses of methotrexate, docetaxel, or cetuximab intravenously (standard-of-care group). The primary endpoint was overall survival in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was analysed in the as-treated population. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02252042, and is no longer enrolling patients.
FINDINGS: Between Dec 24, 2014, and May 13, 2016, 247 patients were randomly allocated to pembrolizumab and 248 were randomly allocated to standard of care. As of May 15, 2017, 181 (73%) of 247 patients in the pembrolizumab group and 207 (83%) of 248 patients in the standard-of-care group had died. Median overall survival in the intention-to-treat population was 8·4 months (95% CI 6·4-9·4) with pembrolizumab and 6·9 months (5·9-8·0) with standard of care (hazard ratio 0·80, 0·65-0·98; nominal p=0·0161). Fewer patients treated with pembrolizumab than with standard of care had grade 3 or worse treatment-related adverse events (33 [13%] of 246 vs 85 [36%] of 234). The most common treatment-related adverse event was hypothyroidism with pembrolizumab (in 33 [13%] patients) and fatigue with standard of care (in 43 [18%]). Treatment-related death occurred in four patients treated with pembrolizumab (unspecified cause, large intestine perforation, malignant neoplasm progression, and Stevens-Johnson syndrome) and two patients treated with standard of care (malignant neoplasm progression and pneumonia).
INTERPRETATION: The clinically meaningful prolongation of overall survival and favourable safety profile of pembrolizumab in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma support the further evaluation of pembrolizumab as a monotherapy and as part of combination therapy in earlier stages of disease.
FUNDING: Merck Sharp & Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck & Co.

González Martín A, Oza AM, Embleton AC, et al.
Exploratory outcome analyses according to stage and/or residual disease in the ICON7 trial of carboplatin and paclitaxel with or without bevacizumab for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer.
Gynecol Oncol. 2019; 152(1):53-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: In the randomized phase 3 ICON7 trial (ISRCTN91273375), adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS; primary endpoint) but not overall survival (OS; secondary endpoint) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population. We explored treatment effect according to stage and extent of residual disease.
METHODS: Patients with stage IIB-IV or high-risk (grade 3/clear-cell) stage I-IIA ovarian cancer were randomized to receive six cycles of carboplatin and paclitaxel either alone or with bevacizumab 7.5 mg/kg every 3 weeks followed by single-agent bevacizumab for 12 further cycles (total duration 12 months). Post hoc exploratory analyses of subgroups defined by stage and extent of residual disease at diagnosis within the stage IIIB-IV population (European indication) was performed.
RESULTS: The PFS benefit from bevacizumab was seen consistently in all subgroups explored. The PFS hazard ratio was 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.59-0.99) in 411 patients with stage IIIB-IV ovarian cancer with no visible residuum and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.69-0.95) in 749 patients with stage IIIB-IV disease and visible residuum. As in the ITT population, no OS difference was detected in any subgroup except the previously described 'high-risk' subgroup. Safety results in analyzed subgroups were consistent with the overall population.
CONCLUSIONS: Adding bevacizumab to front-line chemotherapy improves PFS irrespective of stage/residual disease. In patients with stage III with >1 cm residuum, stage IV or inoperable disease, this translates into an OS benefit. No OS benefit or detriment was seen in other subgroups explored.

Ladenstein R, Pötschger U, Valteau-Couanet D, et al.
Interleukin 2 with anti-GD2 antibody ch14.18/CHO (dinutuximab beta) in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma (HR-NBL1/SIOPEN): a multicentre, randomised, phase 3 trial.
Lancet Oncol. 2018; 19(12):1617-1629 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Immunotherapy with the chimeric anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody dinutuximab, combined with alternating granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and intravenous interleukin-2 (IL-2), improves survival in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma. We aimed to assess event-free survival after treatment with ch14.18/CHO (dinutuximab beta) and subcutaneous IL-2, compared with dinutuximab beta alone in children and young people with high-risk neuroblastoma.
METHODS: We did an international, open-label, phase 3, randomised, controlled trial in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma at 104 institutions in 12 countries. Eligible patients were aged 1-20 years and had MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma with stages 2, 3, or 4S, or stage 4 neuroblastoma of any MYCN status, according to the International Neuroblastoma Staging System. Patients were eligible if they had been enrolled at diagnosis in the HR-NBL1/SIOPEN trial, had completed the multidrug induction regimen (cisplatin, carboplatin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and etoposide, with or without topotecan, vincristine, and doxorubicin), had achieved a disease response that fulfilled prespecified criteria, had received high-dose therapy (busulfan and melphalan or carboplatin, etoposide, and melphalan) and had received radiotherapy to the primary tumour site. In this component of the trial, patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive dinutuximab beta (20 mg/m
FINDINGS: Between Oct 22, 2009, and Aug 12, 2013, 422 patients were eligible to participate in the immunotherapy randomisation, of whom 406 (96%) were randomly assigned to a treatment group (n=200 to dinutuximab beta and n=206 to dinutuximab beta with subcutaneous IL-2). Median follow-up was 4·7 years (IQR 3·9-5·3). Because of toxicity, 117 (62%) of 188 patients assigned to dinutuximab beta and subcutaneous IL-2 received their allocated treatment, by contrast with 160 (87%) of 183 patients who received dinutuximab beta alone (p<0·0001). 3-year event-free survival was 56% (95% CI 49-63) with dinutuximab beta (83 patients had an event) and 60% (53-66) with dinutuximab beta and subcutaneous IL-2 (80 patients had an event; p=0·76). Four patients died of toxicity (n=2 in each group); one patient in each group while receiving immunotherapy (n=1 congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension due to capillary leak syndrome; n=1 infection-related acute respiratory distress syndrome), and one patient in each group after five cycles of immunotherapy (n=1 fungal infection and multi-organ failure; n=1 pulmonary fibrosis). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were hypersensitivity reactions (19 [10%] of 185 patients in the dinutuximab beta group vs 39 [20%] of 191 patients in the dinutuximab plus subcutaneous IL-2 group), capillary leak (five [4%] of 119 vs 19 [15%] of 125), fever (25 [14%] of 185 vs 76 [40%] of 190), infection (47 [25%] of 185 vs 64 [33%] of 191), immunotherapy-related pain (19 [16%] of 122 vs 32 [26%] of 124), and impaired general condition (30 [16%] of 185 vs 78 [41%] of 192).
INTERPRETATION: There is no evidence that addition of subcutaneous IL-2 to immunotherapy with dinutuximab beta, given as an 8 h infusion, improved outcomes in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma who had responded to standard induction and consolidation treatment. Subcutaneous IL-2 with dinutuximab beta was associated with greater toxicity than dinutuximab beta alone. Dinutuximab beta and isotretinoin without subcutaneous IL-2 should thus be considered the standard of care until results of ongoing randomised trials using a modified schedule of dinutuximab beta and subcutaneous IL-2 are available.
FUNDING: European Commission 5th Frame Work Grant, St. Anna Kinderkrebsforschung, Fondation ARC pour la recherche sur le Cancer.

Iannitto E, Bellei M, Amorim S, et al.
Efficacy of bendamustine and rituximab in splenic marginal zone lymphoma: results from the phase II BRISMA/IELSG36 study.
Br J Haematol. 2018; 183(5):755-765 [PubMed] Related Publications
Splenectomy in addition to immunotherapy with rituximab can provide quick and sometimes durable disease control in patients with splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL). However, systemic chemotherapy is ultimately required in many cases. The BRISMA (Bendamustine-rituximab as first-line treatment of splenic marginal zone lymphoma)/IELSG (International Extranodal Lymphoma Study Group)36 trial is an open-label, single arm phase II study designed by the IELSG in cooperation with the Fondazione Italiana Linfomi and the lymphoma Study Association according to Simon's two-stage method. The primary endpoint was complete response rate. Fifty-six patients with SMZL diagnosis confirmed on central revision were treated with bendamustine (90 mg/m

Rivera F, Benavides M, Gallego J, et al.
Tumor treating fields in combination with gemcitabine or gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel in pancreatic cancer: Results of the PANOVA phase 2 study.
Pancreatology. 2019; 19(1):64-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumor Treating Fields (TTFields), low intensity alternating electric fields with antimitotic activity, have demonstrated survival benefit in patients with glioblastoma. This phase 2 PANOVA study was conducted to examine the combination of TTFields plus chemotherapy in patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
METHODS: Forty patients with newly-diagnosed, locally advanced or metastatic PDAC received continuous TTFields (150 KHz for ≥18 h/day) plus gemcitabine (1000 mg/m
RESULTS: Seventeen patients (85%) in each cohort reported Grade ≥3 adverse events (AEs). No increase in serious AEs (SAEs) was observed compared to that anticipated with systemic chemotherapy alone. Twenty-one patients reported TTFields-related skin toxicity, of which 7 were Grade 3; all resolved following temporary reduction of daily TTFields usage. No TTFields-related SAEs were reported. Compliance to TTFields was 68-78% of the recommended average daily use in both cohorts. Median PFS was 8.3 months (95% CI 4.3, 10.3) and median OS was 14.9 months (95% CI 6.2, NA) in the TTFields + gemcitabine cohort. In the TTFields + gemcitabine + nab-paclitaxel cohort, the median PFS was 12.7 months (95% CI 5.4, NA); median OS has not been reached.
CONCLUSION: The PANOVA trial demonstrated that the combination of TTFields and systemic chemotherapy is safe and tolerable in patients with advanced PDAC. Based on the safety and preliminary efficacy results of this phase 2 study, a randomized phase 3 study (PANOVA-3) is underway.

Groener JB, Gelen D, Mogler C, et al.
BRAF V600E and Retinoic Acid in Radioiodine-Refractory Papillary Thyroid Cancer.
Horm Metab Res. 2019; 51(1):69-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Radioiodine refractoriness in differentiated thyroid cancer remains an unsolved therapeutic problem. Response to retinoids might depend on specific genetic markers. In this retrospective analysis, associations between BRAF V600E and clinical outcomes after redifferentiation with retinoic acid (RA) and radioiodine therapy (RIT) were investigated. Thirteen patients with radioiodine-refractory (RAI-R) papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) were treated with 13-cis-RA followed by iodine-131 treatment at the Department of Endocrinology, Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg, Germany. DNA sequencing was performed in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. Clinical outcome parameters were tumor size, thyroglobulin, and radioiodine uptake in correlation to mutational status. Differences of each parameter were compared before and after RA/RIT. Initial response showed no difference in patients with BRAF V600E compared to patients with wild type. However, after a median follow-up of 2 and a half years, 2 out of 3 patients with BRAF V600E showed response compared to 5 out of 9 with wild type under consideration of all 3 parameters. In this small cohort, more RAI-R PTC patients with BRAF V600E receiving redifferentiation therapy showed response. Verification in a larger study population analyzing mutational status in patients with RAI-R PTC might be helpful to identify patients where redifferentiation therapy might lead to an improved outcome.

Sprave T, Verma V, Förster R, et al.
Bone density and pain response following intensity-modulated radiotherapy versus three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy for vertebral metastases - secondary results of a randomized trial.
Radiat Oncol. 2018; 13(1):212 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: This was a prespecified secondary analysis of a randomized trial that analyzed bone density and pain response following fractionated intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) versus three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT) for palliative management of spinal metastases.
METHODS/MATERIALS: Sixty patients were enrolled in the single-institutional randomized exploratory trial, randomly assigned to receive IMRT or 3DCRT (30 Gy in 10 fractions). Along with pain response (measured by the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Chow criteria), quantitative bone density was evaluated at baseline, 3, and 6 months in both irradiated and unirradiated spinal bodies, along with rates of pathologic fractures and vertebral compression fractures.
RESULTS: Relative to baseline, bone density increased at 3 and 6 months following IMRT by a median of 24.8% and 33.8%, respectively (p < 0.01 and p = 0.048). These figures in the 3DCRT cohort were 18.5% and 48.4%, respectively (p < 0.01 for both). There were no statistical differences in bone density between IMRT and 3DCRT at 3 (p = 0.723) or 6 months (p = 0.341). Subgroup analysis of osteolytic and osteoblastic metastases showed no differences between groups; however, mixed metastases showed an increase in bone density over baseline in the IMRT (but not 3DCRT) arm. The 3-month rate of the pathological fractures was 15.0% in the IMRT arm vs. 10.5% in the 3DCRT arm. There were no differences in pathological fractures at 3 (p = 0.676) and 6 (p = 1.000) months. The IMRT arm showed improved VAS scores at 3 (p = 0.037) but not 6 months (p = 0.430). Using Chow criteria, pain response was similar at both 3 (p = 0.395) and 6 (p = 0.732) months.
CONCLUSIONS: This the first prospective investigation evaluating the impact of IMRT vs. 3DCRT on bone density. Along with pain response and pathologic fracture rates, significant rises in bone density after 3 and 6 months were similar in both cohorts. Future randomized investigations with larger sample sizes are recommended.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT, NCT02832830 . Registered 14 July 2016.

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