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  • 1
    Keywords: TRIAL ; CANCER-PATIENTS ; IMMUNE-RESPONSE ; IMMUNOTHERAPY ; INTERLEUKIN-2 ; FOXP3 ; TGF-BETA ; INHIBIT ; LOW-DOSE CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE ; HUMAN TREG
    Abstract: The frequency and function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) were studied in stage II-III melanoma patients who were enrolled in a phase II randomized trial of vaccination with HLA-A*0201-modified tumor peptides versus observation. The vaccinated patients received low-dose cyclophosphamide (CTX) and low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2). Tregs were analyzed in the lymph nodes (LNs) of stage III patients who were undergoing complete lymph node dissection and in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected before vaccination and at different time points during the vaccination period. The LNs of the vaccinated patients, which were surgically removed after two rounds of vaccination and one dose of CTX, displayed a low frequency of Tregs and a less immunosuppressive environment compared with those of the untreated patients. The accurate time-course analysis of the PBMCs of patients enrolled in the vaccination arm indicated a limited and transient modulation in the frequencies of Tregs in PBMCs collected after low-dose CTX administration and a strong Treg boost in those PBMCs collected after low-dose IL-2 administration. However, a fraction of the IL-2-boosted Tregs was functionally modulated to a Th-1-like phenotype in the vaccinated patients. Moreover, low-dose IL-2 promoted the concomitant expansion of conventional activated CD4(+) T cells. Despite the amplification of Tregs, IL-2 administration maintained or further increased the number of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells that were induced by vaccination as demonstrated by the ex vivo human leukocyte antigen-multimer staining and IFN-gamma ELISpot assays. Our study suggests that the use of CTX as a Treg modulator should be revised in terms of the administration schedule and of patients who may benefit from this drug treatment. Despite the Treg expansion that was observed in this study, low-dose IL-2 is not detrimental to the functional activities of vaccine-primed CD8(+) T cell effectors when used in the inflammatory environment of vaccination.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23589107
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  • 2
    Abstract: Melanoma prognosis is dictated by tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, the migratory and functional behavior of which is guided by chemokine or cytokine gradients. Here, we retrospectively analyzed the expression patterns of 9 homing receptors (CCR/CXCR) in naive and memory CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes in 57 patients with metastatic melanoma (MMel) with various sites of metastases to evaluate whether T cell CCR/CXCR expression correlates with intratumoral accumulation, metastatic progression, and/or overall survival (OS). Homing receptor expression on lymphocytes strongly correlated with MMel dissemination. Loss of CCR6 or CXCR3, but not cutaneous lymphocyte antigen (CLA), on circulating T cell subsets was associated with skin or lymph node metastases, loss of CXCR4, CXCR5, and CCR9 corresponded with lung involvement, and a rise in CCR10 or CD103 was associated with widespread dissemination. High frequencies of CD8+CCR9+ naive T cells correlated with prolonged OS, while neutralizing the CCR9/CCL25 axis in mice stimulated tumor progression. The expansion of CLA-expressing effector memory CD8+ T cells in response to a single administration of CTLA4 blockade predicted disease control at 3 months in 47 patients with MMel. Thus, specific CCR/CXCR expression patterns on circulating T lymphocytes may guide potential diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26854930
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  • 3
    Keywords: tumor ; SYSTEM ; ANTIGEN ; METASTATIC MELANOMA ; VACCINE ; PERIPHERAL-BLOOD ; CARCINOMA PATIENTS ; DOSE INTERLEUKIN-2 ; CLINICAL CANCER STAGE ; IV-MELANOMA
    Abstract: PURPOSE: To analyze the prognostic relevance and relative impact of circulating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and regulatory T cells (Treg) compared with functional tumor antigen-specific T cells in patients with melanoma with distant metastasis. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The percentage of CD14(+)CD11b(+)HLA-DR(-/low) MDSCs, CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Tregs, and the presence of NY-ESO-1- or Melan-A-specific T cells was analyzed in 94 patients and validated in an additional cohort of 39 patients by flow cytometry. Univariate survival differences were calculated according to Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests. Multivariate analyses were performed using Cox regression models. RESULTS: NY-ESO-1-specific T cells, the M-category, and the frequency of MDSCs were associated with survival. The absence of NY-ESO-1-specific T cells and the M-category M1c independently increased the risk of death. In a second Cox model not considering results on antigen-specific T cells, a frequency of 〉11% MDSCs showed independent impact. Its association with survival was confirmed in the additional patient cohort. Median survival of patients with a lower frequency of MDSCs was 13 months versus 8 months for others (P 〈 0.001, combined cohorts). We observed a strong correlation between high levels of MDSCs and the absence of melanoma antigen-specific T cells implying a causal and clinically relevant interaction. No prognostic impact was observed for Tregs. CONCLUSIONS: Circulating CD14(+)CD11b(+)HLA-DR(-/low) MDSCs have a negative impact on survival and inversely correlate with the presence of functional antigen-specific T cells in patients with advanced melanoma. Our findings provide a rationale to investigate MDSC-depleting strategies in the therapeutic setting especially in combination with vaccination or T-cell transfer approaches. Clin Cancer Res; 20(6); 1601-9. (c)2013 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24323899
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  • 4
    Keywords: METASTATIC MELANOMA ; MONOCLONAL-ANTIBODIES ; ACQUIRED-RESISTANCE ; tumor microenvironment ; STAGE-IV MELANOMA ; MEK INHIBITION ; PRIMARY CUTANEOUS MELANOMA ; BRAF INHIBITOR ; IMPROVES EARLY-DETECTION ; ADOPTIVE CELL TRANSFER
    Abstract: The fourth inverted question markMelanoma Bridge Meeting inverted question mark took place in Naples, December 5 to 8th, 2013. The four topics discussed at this meeting were: Diagnosis and New Procedures, Molecular Advances and Combination Therapies, News in Immunotherapy, and Tumor Microenvironment and Biomarkers.Until recently systemic therapy for metastatic melanoma patients was ineffective, but recent research in tumor biology and immunology has led to the development of new targeted and immunotherapeutic agents that prolong progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). New therapies, such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibitors, like BRAF and MEK inhibitors, as well as other signaling pathways inhibitors, are being tested in metastatic melanoma either as monotherapy or in combination, and have yielded promising results.Improved survival rates have also been observed with immune therapy for patients with metastatic melanoma. Immune-modulating antibodies came to the forefront with anti-CTLA-4, programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway blocking antibodies that result in durable responses in a subset of melanoma patients. Agents targeting other immune inhibitory (e.g., Tim-3) or immune stimulating (e.g., CD137) receptors and other approaches such as adoptive cell transfer demonstrate clinical benefit in melanoma as well.This meeting inverted question marks specific focus was on advances in targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Both combination targeted therapy approaches and different immunotherapies were discussed. Similarly to the previous meetings, the importance of biomarkers for clinical application as markers for diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of treatment response was an integral part of the meeting. Significant consideration was given to issues surrounding the development of novel therapeutic targets as further study of patterns of resistance to both immunologic and targeted drugs are paramount to future drug development to guide existing and future therapies. The overall emphasis on biomarkers supports novel concepts toward integrating biomarkers into contemporary clinical management of patients with melanoma across the entire spectrum of disease stage. Translation of the knowledge gained from the biology of tumor microenvironment across different tumors represents a bridge to impact on prognosis and response to therapy in melanoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25348889
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  • 5
    Abstract: PURPOSE: To identify baseline peripheral blood biomarkers associated with clinical outcome following ipilimumab treatment in advanced melanoma patients. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Frequencies of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and regulatory T cells (Treg), serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), routine blood counts, and clinical characteristics were assessed in 209 patients. Endpoints were overall survival (OS) and best overall response. Statistical calculations were done by Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analysis, including calibration and discrimination by C-statistics. RESULTS: Low baseline LDH, absolute monocyte counts (AMC), Lin(-)CD14(+)HLA-DR(-/low)-MDSC frequencies, and high absolute eosinophil counts (AEC), relative lymphocyte counts (RLC), and CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+)-Treg frequencies were significantly associated with better survival, and were considered in a combination model. Patients (43.5%) presenting with the best biomarker signature had a 30% response rate and median survival of 16 months. In contrast, patients with the worst biomarkers (27.5%) had only a 3% response rate and median survival of 4 months. The occurrence of adverse events correlated with neither baseline biomarker signatures nor the clinical benefit of ipilimumab. In another model, limited to the routine parameters LDH, AMC, AEC, and RLC, the number of favorable factors (4 vs. 3 vs. 2-0) was also associated with OS (P 〈 0.001 for all pairwise comparisons) in the main study and additionally in an independent validation cohort. CONCLUSIONS: A baseline signature of low LDH, AMC, and MDSCs as well as high AEC, Tregs, and RLC is associated with favorable outcome following ipilimumab. Prospective investigation of the predictive impact of these markers following ipilimumab and other treatments, e.g., PD-1 antibodies, is warranted. Clin Cancer Res; 22(12); 2908-18. (c)2016 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26787752
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  • 6
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Biomarkers for outcome after immune-checkpoint blockade are strongly needed as these may influence individual treatment selection or sequence. We aimed to identify baseline factors associated with overall survival (OS) after pembrolizumab treatment in melanoma patients. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), routine blood count parameters, and clinical characteristics were investigated in 616 patients. Endpoints were OS and best overall response following pembrolizumab treatment. Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox regression were applied for survival analysis. RESULTS: Relative eosinophil count (REC) 〉/=1.5%, relative lymphocyte count (RLC) 〉/=17.5%, 〈/=2.5-fold elevation of LDH, and the absence of metastasis other than soft-tissue/lung were associated with favorable OS in the discovery (n = 177) and the confirmation (n = 182) cohort and had independent positive impact (all P 〈 0.001). Their independent role was subsequently confirmed in the validation cohort (n = 257; all P 〈 0.01). The number of favorable factors was strongly associated with prognosis. One-year OS probabilities of 83.9% versus 14.7% and response rates of 58.3% versus 3.3% were observed in patients with four of four compared to those with none of four favorable baseline factors present, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: High REC and RLC, low LDH, and absence of metastasis other than soft-tissue/lung are independent baseline characteristics associated with favorable OS of patients with melanoma treated with pembrolizumab. Presence of four favorable factors in combination identifies a subgroup with excellent prognosis. In contrast, patients with no favorable factors present have a poor prognosis, despite pembrolizumab, and additional treatment advances are still needed. A potential predictive impact needs to be further investigated. Clin Cancer Res; 1-10. (c)2016 AACR.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27185375
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  • 7
    Abstract: The role of the assessment of peripheral T-cell phenotypes in predicting overall survival (OS) after ipilimumab treatment is unclear. Here, we analysed mononuclear cells in the blood before and at different time points during treatment with ipilimumab in 137 late-stage melanoma patients. The proportions of baseline naive and memory T-cells were measured by flow cytometry and correlated with OS, with an emphasis on PD-1 expression. High frequencies (〉13%) of CD8 effector-memory type 1 (EM1) T-cells at baseline correlated with longer OS (p = 0.029) and higher clinical response rates (p = 0.01). The frequency of these EM1 cells and the M category had independent impacts on OS (hazard ratio = 1.5, p = 0.033; and hazard ratio = 1.9, p = 0.007). In contrast, high baseline frequencies of late stage-differentiated effector memory CD8 cells (〉23.8%) were negatively associated with OS (p = 0.034) but did not correlate with clinical response. Following treatment, a decrease of CD8 cells from baseline to the time of the second drug dose and at later time points was strongly and consistently correlated with a high clinical response rate. Our observations thus suggest an important predictive role of baseline CD8 EM1 cells and changes in CD8 cells for clinical response of ipilimumab. Further validation of these biomarker candidates is warranted.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28167454
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  • 8
    Abstract: Immune checkpoint blockers (ICB) have become pivotal therapies in the clinical armamentarium against metastatic melanoma (MMel). Given the frequency of immune related adverse events and increasing use of ICB, predictors of response to CTLA-4 and/or PD-1 blockade represent unmet clinical needs. Using a systems biology-based approach to an assessment of 779 paired blood and tumor markers in 37 stage III MMel patients, we analyzed association between blood immune parameters and the functional immune reactivity of tumor-infiltrating cells after ex vivo exposure to ICB. Based on this assay, we retrospectively observed, in eight cohorts enrolling 190 MMel patients treated with ipilimumab, that PD-L1 expression on peripheral T cells was prognostic on overall and progression-free survival. Moreover, detectable CD137 on circulating CD8+ T cells was associated with the disease-free status of resected stage III MMel patients after adjuvant ipilimumab + nivolumab (but not nivolumab alone). These biomarkers should be validated in prospective trials in MMel.The clinical management of metastatic melanoma requires predictors of the response to checkpoint blockade. Here, the authors use immunological assays to identify potential prognostic/predictive biomarkers in circulating blood cells and in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes from patients with resected stage III melanoma.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28928380
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  • 9
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Nivolumab combined with ipilimumab resulted in longer progression-free survival and a higher objective response rate than ipilimumab alone in a phase 3 trial involving patients with advanced melanoma. We now report 3-year overall survival outcomes in this trial. METHODS: We randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, patients with previously untreated advanced melanoma to receive nivolumab at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight plus ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 3 weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks; nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 2 weeks plus placebo; or ipilimumab at a dose of 3 mg per kilogram every 3 weeks for four doses plus placebo, until progression, the occurrence of unacceptable toxic effects, or withdrawal of consent. Randomization was stratified according to programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) status, BRAF mutation status, and metastasis stage. The two primary end points were progression-free survival and overall survival in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and in the nivolumab group versus the ipilimumab group. RESULTS: At a minimum follow-up of 36 months, the median overall survival had not been reached in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and was 37.6 months in the nivolumab group, as compared with 19.9 months in the ipilimumab group (hazard ratio for death with nivolumab plus ipilimumab vs. ipilimumab, 0.55 [P〈0.001]; hazard ratio for death with nivolumab vs. ipilimumab, 0.65 [P〈0.001]). The overall survival rate at 3 years was 58% in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group and 52% in the nivolumab group, as compared with 34% in the ipilimumab group. The safety profile was unchanged from the initial report. Treatment-related adverse events of grade 3 or 4 occurred in 59% of the patients in the nivolumab-plus-ipilimumab group, in 21% of those in the nivolumab group, and in 28% of those in the ipilimumab group. CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with advanced melanoma, significantly longer overall survival occurred with combination therapy with nivolumab plus ipilimumab or with nivolumab alone than with ipilimumab alone. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and others; CheckMate 067 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01844505 .).
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28889792
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  • 10
    Keywords: CELLS ; EXPRESSION ; tumor ; TUMOR-CELLS ; Germany ; human ; GENE ; HYBRIDIZATION ; TISSUE ; LINES ; PATIENT ; MARKER ; TISSUES ; ANTIGEN ; SKIN ; T cells ; T-CELLS ; CELL-LINES ; DOWN-REGULATION ; SIGNAL ; IN-SITU ; DESIGN ; MUTATION ; CELL-LINE ; LINE ; ABERRATIONS ; HETEROZYGOSITY ; MELANOMA ; REGION ; MUTATIONS ; MONOCLONAL-ANTIBODIES ; MHC CLASS-I ; PHENOTYPE ; IMMUNE ESCAPE ; TUMOR ESCAPE ; in situ hybridization ; MALIGNANT-CELLS ; RE ; LEVEL ; EVENTS ; LOSSES ; CD8(+) T cell ; B2M GENE ; MEDIATED LYSIS ; PROCESSING MACHINERY
    Abstract: Purpose: Total loss of surface presentation of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules, protecting tumor cells from the recognition by cytotoxic host CD8(+) T cells, is known to be caused by mutations in the beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2m) gene. We asked whether abnormalities of chromosome 15, harboring the beta 2m gene on 15q21, in addition to beta 2m gene mutations, are causative for the HILA class I-negative phenotype of melanoma cells. Experimental Design: To answer this, we established primary cell lines from the beta 2m-negative metastatic melanoma tissues of four different patients and analyzed them for beta 2m gene mutations and chromosome 15 aberrations, the latter by loss of heterozygosity analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and multicolor FISH. Results: Mutations at the beta 2m gene level were detected in all cell lines. The loss of heterozygosity analysis of microsatellite markers located on chromosome 15 in three of the four cell lines pointed to an extensive loss of chromosome 15 material. Subsequent molecular cytogenetic analysis revealed the coexistence of apparently normal and rearranged versions of chromosome 15 in three cell lines whereas the fourth cell line solely showed rearranged versions. Two of the four cell lines exhibited a special type of intrachromosomal rearrangement characterized by FISH signals specific for the subtelomeric region of 15q at both ends of the chromosome and one centromeric signal in between. Conclusions: Our data indicate that the complete loss of HLA class I expression in melanoma cells is due to the coincidence of the following mutational events: (a) chromosome 15 instability associated with an extensive loss of genetic material and (b) beta 2m gene mutations
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 16740750
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