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  • 1
    Abstract: Multiple independent studies have shown that tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) are prognostic in breast cancer with potential relevance for response to immune-checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Although many groups are currently evaluating TIL, there is no standardized system for diagnostic applications. This study reports the results of two ring studies investigating TIL conducted by the International Working Group on Immuno-oncology Biomarkers. The study aim was to determine the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) for evaluation of TIL by different pathologists. A total of 120 slides were evaluated by a large group of pathologists with a web-based system in ring study 1 and a more advanced software-system in ring study 2 that included an integrated feedback with standardized reference images. The predefined aim for successful ring studies 1 and 2 was an ICC above 0.7 (lower limit of 95% confidence interval (CI)). In ring study 1 the prespecified endpoint was not reached (ICC: 0.70; 95% CI: 0.62-0.78). On the basis of an analysis of sources of variation, we developed a more advanced digital image evaluation system for ring study 2, which improved the ICC to 0.89 (95% CI: 0.85-0.92). The Fleiss' kappa value for 〈60 vs 〉/=60% TIL improved from 0.45 (ring study 1) to 0.63 in RS2 and the mean concordance improved from 88 to 92%. This large international standardization project shows that reproducible evaluation of TIL is feasible in breast cancer. This opens the way for standardized reporting of tumor immunological parameters in clinical studies and diagnostic practice. The software-guided image evaluation approach used in ring study 2 may be of value as a tool for evaluation of TIL in clinical trials and diagnostic practice. The experience gained from this approach might be applicable to the standardization of other diagnostic parameters in histopathology.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27363491
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  • 2
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hormone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) receptors are the most important breast cancer biomarkers, and additional objective and quantitative test methods such as messenger RNA (mRNA)-based quantitative analysis are urgently needed. In this study, we investigated the clinical validity of RT-PCR-based evaluation of estrogen receptor (ESR1) and HER2 mRNA expression. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 1050 core biopsies from two retrospective (GeparTrio, GeparQuattro) and one prospective (PREDICT) neoadjuvant studies were evaluated by quantitative RT-PCR for ESR1 and HER2. RESULTS: ESR1 mRNA was significantly predictive for reduced response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy in univariate and multivariate analysis in all three cohorts. The complete pathologically documented response (pathological complete response, pCR) rate for ESR1+/HER2- tumors was 7.3%, 8.0% and 8.6%; for ESR1-/HER2- tumors it was 34.4%, 33.7% and 37.3% in GeparTrio, GeparQuattro and PREDICT, respectively (P 〈 0.001 in each cohort). In the Kaplan-Meier analysis in GeparTrio patients with ESR1+/HER2- tumors had the best prognosis, compared with ESR1-/HER2- and ESR1-/HER2+ tumors [disease-free survival (DFS): P 〈 0.0005, overall survival (OS): P 〈 0.0005]. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that mRNA levels of ESR1 and HER2 predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and are significantly associated with long-term outcome. As an additional option to standard immunohistochemistry and gene-array-based analysis, quantitative RT-PCR analysis might be useful for determination of the receptor status in breast cancer.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23131391
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  • 3
    Abstract: The validated EndoPredict assay is a novel tool to predict the risk of metastases of patients with estrogen receptor positive, HER2 negative breast cancer treated with endocrine therapy alone. It has been designed to integrate genomic and clinical information and includes clinico-pathological factors such as tumor size and nodal status. The test is feasible in a decentral setting in molecular pathology laboratories. In this project, we investigated the performance of this test in clinical practice, and performed a retrospective evaluation of its impact on treatment decisions in breast cancer. During one year, EndoPredict assays from 167 patients could be successfully performed. For retrospective evaluation of treatment decisions, a questionnaire was sent to the clinical partner. Regarding the molecular EP class, samples from 56 patients (33.5%) had a low-risk, whereas 111 patients (66.5%) showed a high-risk gene profile. After integration of the clinicopathological factors the combined clinical and molecular score (EPclin) resulted in a low-risk group of 77 patients (46.4%), while 89 (53.6%) had a high risk EPclin score. The EPclin-based estimated median 10-year-risk for metastases with endocrine therapy alone was 11% for the whole cohort. The median handling time averaged three days (range: 0 to 11 days), 59.3% of the tests could be performed in three or less than three days. Comparison of pre- and post-test therapy decisions showed a change of therapy in 37.7% of patients. 16 patients (12.3%) had a change to an additional chemotherapy while 25.4% of patients (n = 33) changed to an endocrine therapy alone. In 73 patients (56.2%) no change of therapy resulted. In 6.1% of patients (n = 8), the patients did not agree to the recommendation of the tumor board. Our results show that the EndoPredict assay could be routinely performed in decentral molecular pathology laboratories and the results markedly change treatment decisions.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23826382
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  • 4
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Modulation of immunologic interactions in cancer tissue is a promising therapeutic strategy. To investigate the immunogenicity of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -positive and triple-negative (TN) breast cancers (BCs), we evaluated tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and immunologically relevant genes in the neoadjuvant GeparSixto trial. PATIENTS AND METHODS: GeparSixto investigated the effect of adding carboplatin (Cb) to an anthracycline-plus-taxane combination (PM) on pathologic complete response (pCR). A total of 580 tumors were evaluated before random assignment for stromal TILs and lymphocyte-predominant BC (LPBC). mRNA expression of immune-activating (CXCL9, CCL5, CD8A, CD80, CXCL13, IGKC, CD21) as well as immunosuppressive factors (IDO1, PD-1, PD-L1, CTLA4, FOXP3) was measured in 481 tumors. RESULTS: Increased levels of stromal TILs predicted pCR in univariable (P 〈 .001) and multivariable analyses (P 〈 .001). pCR rate was 59.9% in LPBC and 33.8% for non-LPBC (P 〈 .001). pCR rates 〉/= 75% were observed in patients with LPBC tumors treated with PMCb, with a significant test for interaction with therapy in the complete (P = .002) and HER2-positive (P = .006), but not the TNBC, cohorts. Hierarchic clustering of mRNA markers revealed three immune subtypes with different pCR rates (P 〈 .001). All 12 immune mRNA markers were predictive for increased pCR. The highest odds ratios (ORs) were observed for PD-L1 (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.34 to 1.86; P 〈 .001) and CCL5 (OR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.23 to 1.62; P 〈 .001). CONCLUSION: Immunologic factors were highly significant predictors of therapy response in the GeparSixto trial, particularly in patients treated with Cb. After further standardization, they could be included in histopathologic assessment of BC.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25534375
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  • 5
    Abstract: Although subtypes of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) have been described, this malignancy is clinically still treated as a single disease. Here we present patient-derived models representing the full spectrum of previously identified quasi-mesenchymal (QM-PDA), classical and exocrine-like PDAC subtypes, and identify two markers-HNF1A and KRT81-that enable stratification of tumors into different subtypes by using immunohistochemistry. Individuals with tumors of these subtypes showed substantial differences in overall survival, and their tumors differed in drug sensitivity, with the exocrine-like subtype being resistant to tyrosine kinase inhibitors and paclitaxel. Cytochrome P450 3A5 (CYP3A5) metabolizes these compounds in tumors of the exocrine-like subtype, and pharmacological or short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated CYP3A5 inhibition sensitizes tumor cells to these drugs. Whereas hepatocyte nuclear factor 4, alpha (HNF4A) controls basal expression of CYP3A5, drug-induced CYP3A5 upregulation is mediated by the nuclear receptor NR1I2. CYP3A5 also contributes to acquired drug resistance in QM-PDA and classical PDAC, and it is highly expressed in several additional malignancies. These findings designate CYP3A5 as a predictor of therapy response and as a tumor cell-autonomous detoxification mechanism that must be overcome to prevent drug resistance.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26855150
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  • 6
    Abstract: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is a central predictive biomarker in breast cancer. Inaccurate HER2 results in different laboratories could be as high as 20%. However, this statement is based on data generated more than 13 years ago and may not reflect the standards of modern diagnostic pathology. We compared central and local HER2 testing in a total of 1581 HER2-positive tumors from five clinical trials. We evaluated the clinical relevance for pathological complete response (pCR) and disease-free survival in a subgroup of 677 tumors, which received an anti-HER2 therapy. Over the period of 12 years, the discordance rate for HER2 decreased from 52.4 (GeparTrio) to 8.4% (GeparSepto). Discordance rates were significantly higher in hormone receptor (HR)-positive tumors (26.6%), compared to HR-negative tumors (16.3%, P〈0.0001), which could be explained by a different distribution of HER2 mRNA levels in HR-positive and HR-negative tumors. pCR rates were significantly lower in discordant tumors (13.7%) compared to concordant tumors (32.2%, GeparQuattro and GeparQuinto, P〈0.001). In survival analysis, tumors with discordant HER2 testing had a reduced overall survival (OS) in the HR-negative group (P=0.019) and a trend for improved OS in the HR-positive group (P=0.125). The performance of local HER2 testing was considerably improved over time and has reached a 92% concordance, which shows that quality initiatives in diagnostic pathology are working. Tumors with discordant HER2 testing had a reduced therapy response and different survival rates.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29271415
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  • 7
    Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Recent data suggest that benefit from trastuzumab and chemotherapy might be related to expression of HER2 and estrogen receptor (ESR1). Therefore, we investigated HER2 and ESR1 mRNA levels in core biopsies of HER2-positive breast carcinomas from patients treated within the neoadjuvant GeparQuattro trial. METHODS: HER2 levels were centrally analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), silver in situ hybridization (SISH) and qRT-PCR in 217 pretherapeutic formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) core biopsies. All tumors had been HER2-positive by local pathology and had been treated with neoadjuvant trastuzumab/ chemotherapy in GeparQuattro. RESULTS: Only 73% of the tumors (158 of 217) were centrally HER2-positive (cHER2-positive) by IHC/SISH, with cHER2-positive tumors showing a significantly higher pCR rate (46.8% vs. 20.3%, P 〈0.0005). HER2 status by qRT-PCR showed a concordance of 88.5% with the central IHC/SISH status, with a low pCR rate in those tumors that were HER2-negative by mRNA analysis (21.1% vs. 49.6%, P 〈0.0005). The level of HER2 mRNA expression was linked to response rate in ESR1-positive tumors, but not in ESR1-negative tumors. HER2 mRNA expression was significantly associated with pCR in the HER2-positive/ESR1-positive tumors (P = 0.004), but not in HER2-positive/ESR1-negative tumors. CONCLUSIONS: Only patients with cHER2-positive tumors - irrespective of the method used - have an increased pCR rate with trastuzumab plus chemotherapy. In patients with cHER2-negative tumors the pCR rate is comparable to the pCR rate in the non-trastuzumab treated HER-negative population. Response to trastuzumab is correlated to HER2 mRNA levels only in ESR1-positive tumors. This study adds further evidence to the different biology of both subsets within the HER2-positive group.Introduction The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is the prototype of a predictive biomarker for targeted treatment 12345678. International initiatives have established the combination of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization as the current gold standard 910. As an additional approach determination of HER2 mRNA expression is technically feasible in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue 111213. Crosstalk between the estrogen receptor (ER) and the HER2 pathway has been suggested based on cell culture and animal models 14. Consequently, the 2011 St Gallen panel has pointed out that HER2-positive tumors should be divided into two groups based on expression of the ER 15.A retrospective analysis of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) B31 study has suggested that mRNA levels of HER2 and ESR1 might be relevant for the degree of benefit from adjuvant trastuzumab. By subpopulation treatment effect pattern plot (STEPP) analysis in ER-positive tumors, benefit from trastuzumab was shown to be restricted to those with higher levels of HER2 mRNA (S Paik, personal communication, results summarized in 15).In our study we evaluated this hypothesis in the neoadjuvant setting in a cohort of 217 patients from the neoadjuvant GeparQuattro trial 5. All patients had been HER2- positive by local pathology assessment and had received 24 to 36 weeks of neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus an anthracycline/taxane-based chemotherapy. For central evaluation we used three different methods, HER2 IHC, and HER2 silver in situ hybridization (SISH), as well as measurement of HER2 mRNA by quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR 11.The primary objective of this analysis was to investigate if pathological complete response (pCR) rate in HER2-positive breast cancer would depend on the level of HER2 mRNA expression, with a separate analysis for HR-positive and -negative tumors. Central evaluation of the HER2 status showed that 27% of the tumors with HER2 overexpression by local pathology were HER2-negative. This enabled us to compare response rates in patients with HER2-positive and -negative tumors as a secondary objective.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23391338
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