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  • 1
    Abstract: Biomarker-stratified cancer pharmacotherapy was pioneered in the care of breast cancer patients. The utility of agents modulating hormone receptors, synthesis of steroid hormones, or HER2-targeting agents has been greatly enhanced by the detection of predictive biomarkers in diagnostic tumor samples. Based on deeper understanding of breast cancer biology multiple drug candidates have been developed to modulate additional molecular targets which may associate with specific biomarker profiles. Accordingly, exploratory biomarkers are increasingly incorporated in early clinical trials, thus demanding a new process of patient selection. Here, we describe the implementation of preemptive, multiplexed biomarker profiling linked to standard diagnostic algorithms for metastatic breast cancer patients treated at the West German Cancer Center. Profiling for experimental biomarkers was prospectively offered to patients with metastatic breast cancer who met generic clinical trial inclusion criteria. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples were retrieved and studied for potentially "actionable" biomarkers related to active clinical trials by immunohistochemistry, amplicon sequencing, and in situ hybridization. The clinical course of those "profiled" patients was closely monitored to offer trial participation whenever applicable. Here, we report results from the first 131 patients enrolled in this program. PIK3CA mutations (23 %) and amplifications (2 %), loss of PTEN expression (13 %), and FGFR1 amplifications (8 %) were detected next to established biomarkers such as estrogen (67 %) and progesterone receptor expression (52 %), and HER2 overexpression or amplification (23 %). So far 16 "profiled" patients (12 %) have been enrolled in biomarker-stratified early clinical trials. Preemptive profiling of investigational biomarkers can be integrated into the diagnostic algorithm of a large Comprehensive Cancer Center. Extensive administrative efforts are required to successfully enroll "profiled" patients with metastatic breast cancer in early clinical trials stratified by exploratory biomarkers.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24122392
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  • 2
    Keywords: RISK ; chemotherapy ; TYPE-16 ; SQUAMOUS-CELL CARCINOMA ; CISPLATIN ; RANDOMIZED-TRIAL ; P16 ; oropharyngeal cancer ; PLUS CETUXIMAB ; OPEN-LABEL
    Abstract: Infection with human papillomaviruses (HPVs) characterizes a distinct subset of head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCCs). HPV-positive HNSCC preferentially affect the oropharynx and tonsils. Localized HPV-positive HNSCCs have a favorable prognosis and treatment outcome. However, the impact of HPV in advanced or metastatic HNSCC remains to be defined. In particular, it is unclear whether HPV modulates the response to cetuximab, an antibody targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is a mainstay of treatment of advanced HNSCC. To this end, we have examined the sensitivity of HPV-positive and -negative HNSCC models to cetuximab and cytotoxic drugs in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we have stably expressed the HPV oncogenes E6 and E7 in cetuximab-sensitive cancer cell lines to specifically investigate their role in the antibody response. The endogenous HPV status or the expression of HPV oncogenes had no significant impact on cetuximab-mediated suppression of EGFR signaling and proliferation in vitro. Cetuximab effectively inhibited the growth of E6- and E7-expressing tumors grafted in NOD/SCID mice. In support, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples from cetuximab-treated patients with recurrent or metastatic HNSCC were probed for p16(INK4a) expression, an established biomarker of HPV infection. Response rates (45.5% versus 45.5%) and median progression-free survival (97 versus 92 days) following cetuximab-based therapy were similar in patients with p16(INK4A)-positive and p16(INK4A)-negative tumors. In conclusion, HPV oncogenes do not modulate the anti-EGFR antibody response in HSNCC. Cetuximab treatment should be administered independently of HPV status.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24577089
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  • 3
    Keywords: GROWTH ; CELL LUNG-CANCER ; PATHWAYS ; MUTATIONS ; sensitivity ; FUTURE ; THERAPIES
    Abstract: PURPOSE: Multiple investigational drugs are currently explored in cancer patient populations defined by specific biomarkers. This demands a new process of patient selection for clinical trials. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Starting January 1, 2012, preemptive biomarker profiling was offered at the West German Cancer Center to all patients with advanced non-small-cell lung (NSCLC) or colorectal cancer (CRC), who met generic study inclusion criteria. Tumour specimens were subjected to prespecified profiling algorithms to detect 'actionable biomarkers' by amplicon sequencing, in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry. The clinical course was closely monitored to offer trial participation whenever applicable. RESULTS: Within 12 months, 267 patients (188 NSCLC, 79 CRC) were profiled. Estimated additional cost for biomarker profiling was 219615.51 EUR excluding histopathology workup and administration. The most prevalent biomarkers in pulmonary adenocarcinoma were KRAS mutations (29%), loss of PTEN expression (18%), EGFR mutations (9%), HER2 amplification (5%) and BRAF mutations (3%), while the prevalence of ALK translocations and PIK3CA mutations was extremely low. In pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma FGFR1 amplifications were found in 15%, PTEN expression was lost in 20% and DDR2 was mutated in a single case. KRAS mutations (41%) predominated in CRC, followed by loss of PTEN expression (16%), PIK3CA (5%) and BRAF (5%) mutations. So far 13 patients (5%) have entered biomarker-stratified clinical trials. Therapeutic decisions for approved drugs were guided in another 45 patients (17%). CONCLUSION: Preemptive biomarker profiling can be implemented into the diagnostic algorithm of a large Comprehensive Cancer Center. Substantial investments in diagnostics and administration are required.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23876834
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  • 4
    Keywords: CELL LUNG-CANCER ; GENE ; TUMORS ; BREAST-CANCER ; immunohistochemistry ; IN-SITU HYBRIDIZATION ; PHASE-II ; RECOMMENDATIONS ; PATHOLOGISTS ; KINASE MUTATIONS
    Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Pulmonary adenocarcinomas (ADC) can be sub-grouped based on dominant oncogenic drivers. EGFR mutations define an entity of metastatic ADC with favorable prognosis and high susceptibility to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibition. In contrast, the clinical impact of additional ERBB family members in ADC is less defined. To this end we prospectively studied HER2 expression, gene amplification, and mutation in relation to outcome of patients with advanced or metastatic ADC. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Diagnostic tumor biopsies from 193 sequential patients with stage III/IV ADC were prospectively studied for HER2 expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Cases with IHC scores 2+ or 3+ were analyzed by HER2 chromogenic in situ hybridization (CISH), and sequencing of HER2 exons 20 and 23. Additional prospectively determined biomarkers included PTEN, cMET, pAKT, and pERK expression, KRAS, EGFR, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations, and ALK fluorescence ISH (FISH). RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: HER2-IHC was feasible in 176 (91.2%) cases. Of 53 (30%) cases with IHC scores 2+/3+, 45 (85%) could be studied by CISH and 34 (64%) by sequencing. The lower number of HER2-mutational analyses resulted from exhaustion of tumor tissue and DNA following mutational analysis of KRAS, EGFR, BRAF and PIK3CA. HER2 amplification was detected in 4 cases (2.3%), while no mutation was found. HER2 expression correlated with expression of pAKT and cMET. Expression of HER2 and pAKT was associated with favorable overall survival in stage IV disease. HER2-expressing ADC more frequently harbored KRAS mutations, while HER2 expression was absent in all 4 cases with BRAF mutation. HER2-IHC was not predictive of HER2 gene amplification or mutation, which both were rare events in prospectively studied patients with advanced or metastatic ADC. Expression of HER2 and pAKT define a population of patients with stage IV ADC with a distinct disease course, who could benefit from specifically tailored pharmacotherapies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25708529
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  • 5
    Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) occurs sporadically in 75% of patients. Metastatic disease is associated with significantly poorer survival. The aim of this study was to identify prognostic markers for progressive MTC and oncogenic factors associated with response to vandetanib therapy. DESIGN AND METHODS: Clinical courses of 32 patients with sporadic MTC (n=10 pN0cM0, n=8 pN1cM0, n=14 pN1cM1) were compared with genetic profiles of the patients' primary tumour tissue. Analysis for RET proto-oncogene mutations was performed by Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing (NGS). The mRNA expression (mRNA count) of 33 targets was measured by nCounter NanoString analysis. RESULTS: Somatic RET mutations occurred in 21/32 patients. The RET918 mutation was found in 8/14 pN1cM1 patients. BRAF (P=0.019), FGFR2 (P=0.007), FGFR3 (P=0.044) and VEGFC (P=0.042) mRNA expression was significantly lower in pN1cM0/pN1cM1 compared with pN0cM0 patients, whereas PDGFRA (P=0.026) mRNA expression was significantly higher in pN1cM0/pN1cM1 when compared with pN0cM0 patients. Among the 10/32 vandetanib-treated patients, 5 showed partial response (PR), all harbouring the RET918 mutation. mRNA expression of FLT1 (P=0.039), FLT4 (P=0.025) and VEGFB (P=0.042) was significantly higher in therapy responders. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we identified molecular markers in primary tumour tissue of sporadic MTC associated with the development of metastasis (both lymph node and organ metastasis) as well as response to vandetanib therapy.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27283290
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  • 6
    Abstract: CONTEXT: Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) represents one of the most aggressive carcinomas with no consistent survival benefit when treated with conventional radiochemotherapy. Approaches targeting "oncogene addiction" of ATC are increasingly explored and first promising results have been reported in single case studies. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of mutations in known thyroid oncogenes and signalling pathways amendable to targeted therapy in a large cohort of ATC. RESULTS: In 118 ATC (57 male/ 61 female) a total of 165 mutations were found. Genes involved in the MAPK/ERK and PI3K pathway (BRAF 11.0%, HRAS 4.2%, KRAS 7.6%, NRAS 7.6%, PI3KCA 11.8%) were altered in 33%. Targetable receptor tyrosine kinases were mutated in 11%. The most frequently altered genes were TERT in 86/118 (73%) and p53 in 65/118 (55%) cases. No mutations were found analysing ALK, KIT, MET and mTOR. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Next generation sequencing (NGS) was performed in FFPE samples from 118 ATC using MiSeq (Illumina) and CLC Cancer Research Workbench (CLCbio; Qiagen) for mutation analysis in: ALK, BRAF, CDKN2A, EGFR, ERBB2, HRAS, KIT, KRAS, MET, mTOR, NRAS, PDGFRA, PI3KCA, p53, RB1, RET and TSC2. Sanger sequencing was used to detect TERT promotor mutations. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge this is the largest study analysing mutations for targeted therapy of ATC. We found that 33% of ATC harbour mutations in pathways amendable to targeted therapy. Molecular screening in ATC is suggested for targeted therapies since current conventional treatment for ATC proved mainly futile.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28489587
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  • 7
    Abstract: Monoclonal antibodies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), cetuximab and panitumumab, are a mainstay of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treatment. However, a significant number of patients suffer from primary or acquired resistance. RAS mutations are negative predictors of clinical efficacy of anti-EGFR antibodies in patients with mCRC. Oncogenic RAS activates the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways, which are considered the main effectors of resistance. However, the relative impact of these pathways in RAS-mutant CRC is less defined. A better mechanistic understanding of RAS-mediated resistance may guide development of rational intervention strategies. To this end we developed cancer models for functional dissection of resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in vitro and in vivo. To selectively activate MAPK- or AKT-signaling we expressed conditionally activatable RAF-1 and AKT in cancer cells. We found that either pathway independently protected sensitive cancer models against anti-EGFR antibody treatment in vitro and in vivo. RAF-1- and AKT-mediated resistance was associated with increased expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins. Biomarkers of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway activation correlated with inferior outcome in a cohort of mCRC patients receiving cetuximab-based therapy. Dual pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K and MEK successfully sensitized primary resistant CRC models to anti-EGFR therapy. In conclusion, combined targeting of MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling, but not single pathways, may be required to enhance the efficacy of anti-EGFR antibody therapy in patients with RAS-mutated CRC as well as in RAS wild type tumors with clinical resistance.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28507280
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  • 8
    Abstract: OBJECTIVES: Chromosomal rearrangements involving ROS1 define a rare entity of lung adenocarcinomas with exquisite sensitivity to molecularly targeted therapy. We report clinical outcomes and genomic findings of patients with ROS1-positive lung cancer who were prospectively identified within a multiplex biomarker profiling program at the West German Cancer Center. METHODS: Standardized immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and hotspot mutation analyses were performed in 1345 patients with advanced cancer, including 805 patients with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. Clinical and epidemiological data were retrieved from the institutional database. RESULTS: ROS1 positivity by IHC analysis was detected in 25 patients with lung cancer (4.8% of lung adenocarcinomas), including 13 patients (2.5%) with ROS1 FISH positivity with a cutoff of at least 15% of events. Of the ROS1 IHC analysis-positive cases, 36% presented with concomitant oncogenic driver mutations involving EGFR (six cases, five of which were clinically validated by response to EGFR-targeting agents), KRAS (two cases), phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha gene (PIK3CA), and BRAF. Three cases initially classified as ROS1 FISH-negative passed the threshold of 15% positive events when repeat biopsies were analyzed at progression. The median overall survival of the ROS1-positive patients (104 months) was significantly superior to that of the 261 patients with EGFR/anaplastic lymphoma kinase/ROS1-negative lung adenocarcinoma (24.4 months, p = 0.044). Interestingly, the overall survival of the 13 ROS1-positive patients with lung cancer from initiation of pemetrexed-based chemotherapy was significantly prolonged when compared with that of 169 pemetrexed-treated patients with EGFR/anaplastic lymphoma kinase/ROS1-negative adenocarcinoma (p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: ROS1-positive metastatic lung adenocarcinomas frequently harbor concomitant oncogenic driver mutations. Levels of ROS1 FISH-positive events are variable over time. This heterogeneity provides additional therapeutic options if discovered by multiplex biomarker testing and repeat biopsies.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27575422
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  • 9
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Polo like kinase 1 (PLK1) is frequently upregulated in tumors and is thus viewed as a promising therapeutic target in various cancers. Several PLK1 inhibitors have recently been developed and clinically tested in solid cancers, albeit with limited success. So far, no predictive biomarkers for PLK1 inhibitors have been established. To this end, we conducted a post-hoc biomarker analysis of tumor samples from non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with the PLK1 inhibitor BI2536 in a phase II study. METHODS: We analyzed formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded surplus tumor tissue from 47 study patients using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and DNA sequencing of KRAS, EGFR, BRAF, and PIK3CA. RESULTS: KRAS-mutated patients showed numerically prolonged progression-free survival, but statistical significance was not established. Interestingly, when pathways rather than single genes were analyzed, a positive correlation between IHC staining of activated ERK (p-ERK) and mutated KRAS was detected, whereas KRAS mutation status was found to be negatively correlated with activated AKT (p-AKT). CONCLUSION: With this hypothesis-generating study in BI2531-treated patients, we could not establish a correlation between KRAS mutations and relevant clinical endpoints. Future clinical trials with concomitant systematic biosampling and comprehensive molecular analyses are required to identify biomarkers predictive for response to PLK1 inhibitors.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28628916
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  • 10
    ISSN: 0304-4165
    Source: Elsevier Journal Backfiles on ScienceDirect 1907 - 2002
    Topics: Biology , Chemistry and Pharmacology , Medicine , Physics
    Type of Medium: Electronic Resource
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