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- Clinical feasibility of (neo)adjuvant taxane-based chemotherapy in older patients: analysis of >4,500 patients from four German randomized breast cancer trials (2008)
- INTRODUCTION: Despite the fact that people older than 65 years of age have the highest incidence of developing breast cancer, these patients are excluded from clinical trials in most cases. Furthermore, most physicians tend towards therapy regimens without the use of dose-dense, highly active taxane-based treatments because of a lack of data regarding toxicities of these compounds in older patients. METHODS: Pooled side-effect data were analyzed from four prospective, randomized clinical trials in which patients of different age groups (< 60 years, between 60 and 64 years, and > 64 years) with primary breast cancer received taxane-based chemotherapy. RESULTS: Dose delays, dose reductions, hospitalization, and therapy discontinuation increased with age. Hematologic toxicities and some nonhematologic toxicities were generally more common in older patients. Leucopenia increased from 55.3% in patients aged < 60 years to 65.5% in patients aged > 64 years (P < 0.001), and neutropenia increased from 46.9% to 57.4% (P < 0.001). There was no difference, however, in clinically more relevant febrile neutropenia between the different age groups. Thrombopenia shows a similar age-dependent increase, whereas there is no difference between the age groups concerning anemia. Hot flushes and elevated liver enzymes decreased with increasing age. CONCLUSIONS: The present pooled analysis of a substantial cohort of older primary breast cancer patients demonstrates that taxane-containing (neo)adjuvant chemotherapy is feasible in older patients and that toxicity can be reduced by sequential therapy regimens.
- A clinically relevant gene signature in triple negative and basal-like breast cancer (2011)
- INTRODUCTION: Current prognostic gene expression profiles for breast cancer mainly reflect proliferation status and are most useful in ER-positive cancers. Triple negative breast cancers (TNBC) are clinically heterogeneous and prognostic markers and biology-based therapies are needed to better treat this disease. METHODS: We assembled Affymetrix gene expression data for 579 TNBC and performed unsupervised analysis to define metagenes that distinguish molecular subsets within TNBC. We used n = 394 cases for discovery and n = 185 cases for validation. Sixteen metagenes emerged that identified basal-like, apocrine and claudin-low molecular subtypes, or reflected various non-neoplastic cell populations, including immune cells, blood, adipocytes, stroma, angiogenesis and inflammation within the cancer. The expressions of these metagenes were correlated with survival and multivariate analysis was performed, including routine clinical and pathological variables. RESULTS: Seventy-three percent of TNBC displayed basal-like molecular subtype that correlated with high histological grade and younger age. Survival of basal-like TNBC was not different from non basal-like TNBC. High expression of immune cell metagenes was associated with good and high expression of inflammation and angiogenesis-related metagenes were associated with poor prognosis. A ratio of high B-cell and low IL-8 metagenes identified 32% of TNBC with good prognosis (hazard ratio (HR) 0.37, 95% CI 0.22 to 0.61; P < 0.001) and was the only significant predictor in multivariate analysis including routine clinicopathological variables. CONCLUSIONS: We describe a ratio of high B-cell presence and low IL-8 activity as a powerful new prognostic marker for TNBC. Inhibition of the IL-8 pathway also represents an attractive novel therapeutic target for this disease.
- Phase I clinical study of the recombinant antibody toxin scFv(FRP5)-ETA specific for the ErbB2/HER2 receptor in patients with advanced solid malignomas (2005)
- Introduction: ScFv(FRP5)-ETA is a recombinant antibody toxin with binding specificity for ErbB2 (HER2). It consists of an N-terminal single-chain antibody fragment (scFv), genetically linked to truncated Pseudomonas exotoxin A (ETA). Potent antitumoral activity of scFv(FRP5)-ETA against ErbB2-overexpressing tumor cells was previously demonstrated in vitro and in animal models. Here we report the first systemic application of scFv(FRP5)-ETA in human cancer patients. Methods: We have performed a phase I dose-finding study, with the objective to assess the maximum tolerated dose and the dose-limiting toxicity of intravenously injected scFv(FRP5)-ETA. Eighteen patients suffering from ErbB2-expressing metastatic breast cancers, prostate cancers, head and neck cancer, non small cell lung cancer, or transitional cell carcinoma were treated. Dose levels of 2, 4, 10, 12.5, and 20 μg/kg scFv(FRP5)-ETA were administered as five daily infusions each for two consecutive weeks. Results: No hematologic, renal, and/or cardiovascular toxicities were noted in any of the patients treated. However, transient elevation of liver enzymes was observed, and considered dose limiting, in one of six patients at the maximum tolerated dose of 12.5 μg/kg, and in two of three patients at 20 μg/kg. Fifteen minutes after injection, peak concentrations of more than 100 ng/ml scFv(FRP5)-ETA were obtained at a dose of 10 μg/kg, indicating that predicted therapeutic levels of the recombinant protein can be applied without inducing toxic side effects. Induction of antibodies against scFv(FRP5)-ETA was observed 8 days after initiation of therapy in 13 patients investigated, but only in five of these patients could neutralizing activity be detected. Two patients showed stable disease and in three patients clinical signs of activity in terms of signs and symptoms were observed (all treated at doses ≥ 10 μg/kg). Disease progression occurred in 11 of the patients. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that systemic therapy with scFv(FRP5)-ETA can be safely administered up to a maximum tolerated dose of 12.5 μg/kg in patients with ErbB2-expressing tumors, justifying further clinical development.
- Clinical response after two cycles compared to HER2, Ki-67, p53, and bcl-2 in independently predicting a pathological complete response after preoperative chemotherapy in patients with operable carcinoma of the breast (2008)
- Introduction To investigate the predictive value of clinical and biological markers for a pathological complete remission after a preoperative dose-dense regimen of doxorubicin and docetaxel, with or without tamoxifen, in primary operable breast cancer. Methods Patients with a histologically confirmed diagnosis of previously untreated, operable, and measurable primary breast cancer (tumour (T), nodes (N) and metastases (M) score: T2-3(>= 3 cm) N0-2 M0) were treated in a prospectively randomised trial with four cycles of dose-dense (bi-weekly) doxorubicin and docetaxel (ddAT) chemotherapy, with or without tamoxifen, prior to surgery. Clinical and pathological parameters (menopausal status, clinical tumour size and nodal status, grade, and clinical response after two cycles) and a panel of biomarkers (oestrogen and progesterone receptors, Ki-67, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), p53, bcl-2, all detected by immunohistochemistry) were correlated with the detection of a pathological complete response (pCR). Results A pCR was observed in 9.7% in 248 patients randomised in the study and in 8.6% in the subset of 196 patients with available tumour tissue. Clinically negative axillary lymph nodes, poor tumour differentiation, negative oestrogen receptor status, negative progesterone receptor status, and loss of bcl-2 were significantly predictive for a pCR in a univariate logistic regression model, whereas in a multivariate analysis only the clinical nodal status and hormonal receptor status provided significantly independent information. Backward stepwise logistic regression revealed a response after two cycles, with hormone receptor status and lymph-node status as significant predictors. Patients with a low percentage of cells stained positive for Ki-67 showed a better response when treated with tamoxifen, whereas patients with a high percentage of Ki-67 positive cells did not have an additional benefit when treated with tamoxifen. Tumours overexpressing HER2 showed a similar response to that in HER2-negative patients when treated without tamoxifen, but when HER2-positive tumours were treated with tamoxifen, no pCR was observed. Conclusion Reliable prediction of a pathological complete response after preoperative chemotherapy is not possible with clinical and biological factors routinely determined before start of treatment. The response after two cycles of chemotherapy is a strong but dependent predictor. The only independent factor in this subset of patients was bcl-2. Trial registration number NCT00543829
- T-cell metagene predicts a favorable prognosis in estrogen receptor-negative and HER2-positive breast cancers (2009)
- Introduction Lymphocyte infiltration (LI) is often seen in breast cancer but its importance remains controversial. A positive correlation of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) amplification and LI has been described, which was associated with a more favorable outcome. However, specific lymphocytes might also promote tumor progression by shifting the cytokine milieu in the tumor. Methods Affymetrix HG-U133A microarray data of 1,781 primary breast cancer samples from 12 datasets were included. The correlation of immune system-related metagenes with different immune cells, clinical parameters, and survival was analyzed. Results A large cluster of nearly 600 genes with functions in immune cells was consistently obtained in all datasets. Seven robust metagenes from this cluster can act as surrogate markers for the amount of different immune cell types in the breast cancer sample. An IgG metagene as a marker for B cells had no significant prognostic value. In contrast, a strong positive prognostic value for the T-cell surrogate marker (lymphocyte-specific kinase (LCK) metagene) was observed among all estrogen receptor (ER)-negative tumors and those ER-positive tumors with a HER2 overexpression. Moreover ER-negative tumors with high expression of both IgG and LCK metagenes seem to respond better to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Conclusions Precise definitions of the specific subtypes of immune cells in the tumor can be accomplished from microarray data. These surrogate markers define subgroups of tumors with different prognosis. Importantly, all known prognostic gene signatures uniformly assign poor prognosis to all ER-negative tumors. In contrast, the LCK metagene actually separates the ER-negative group into better or worse prognosis.
- Targeting cyclin B1 inhibits proliferation and sensitizes breast cancer cells to taxol (2008)
- Background Cyclin B1, the regulatory subunit of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1), is essential for the transition from G2 phase to mitosis. Cyclin B1 is very often found to be overexpressed in primary breast and cervical cancer cells as well as in cancer cell lines. Its expression is correlated with the malignancy of gynecological cancers. Methods In order to explore cyclin B1 as a potential target for gynecological cancer therapy, we studied the effect of small interfering RNA (siRNA) on different gynecological cancer cell lines by monitoring their proliferation rate, cell cycle profile, protein expression and activity, apoptosis induction and colony formation. Tumor formation in vivo was examined using mouse xenograft models. Results Downregulation of cyclin B1 inhibited proliferation of several breast and cervical cancer cell lines including MCF-7, BT-474, SK-BR-3, MDA-MB-231 and HeLa. After combining cyclin B1 siRNA with taxol, we observed an increased apoptotic rate accompanied by an enhanced antiproliferative effect in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, control HeLa cells were progressively growing, whereas the tumor growth of HeLa cells pre-treated with cyclin B1 siRNA was strongly inhibited in nude mice, indicating that cyclin B1 is indispensable for tumor growth in vivo. Conclusion Our data support the notion of cyclin B1 being essential for survival and proliferation of gynecological cancer cells. Concordantly, knockdown of cyclin B1 inhibits proliferation in vitro as well as in vivo. Moreover, targeting cyclin B1 sensitizes breast cancer cells to taxol, suggesting that specific cyclin B1 targeting is an attractive strategy for the combination with conventionally used agents in gynecological cancer therapy.
- Identification of biology-based breast cancer types with distinct predictive and prognostic features : role of steroid hormone and HER2 receptor expression in patients treated with neoadjuvant anthracycline/taxane-based chemotherapy (2009)
- Introduction: Reliable predictive and prognostic markers for routine diagnostic purposes are needed for breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We evaluated protein biomarkers in a cohort of 116 participants of the GeparDuo study on anthracycline/taxane-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy for operable breast cancer to test for associations with pathological complete response (pCR) and disease-free survival (DFS). Particularly, we evaluated if interactions between hormone receptor (HR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) expression might lead to a different clinical behavior of HR+/HER2+ coexpressing and HR+/HER2- tumors and whether subgroups of triple negative tumors might be identified by the help of Ki67 labeling index, cytokeratin 5/6 (CK5/6), as well as cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1) expression. Methods: Expression analysis was performed using immunohistochemistry and silver-enhanced in situ hybridization on tissue microarrays (TMAs) of pretherapeutic core biopsies. Results: pCR rates were significantly different between the biology-based tumor types (P = 0.044) with HR+/HER2+ and HR-/HER2- tumors having higher pCR rates than HR+/HER2-tumors. Ki67 labeling index, confirmed as significant predictor of pCR in the whole cohort (P = 0.001), identified HR-/HER- (triple negative) carcinomas with a higher chance for a pCR (P = 0.006). Biology-based tumor type (P = 0.046 for HR+/HER2+vs. HR+/HER2-), Ki67 labeling index (P = 0.028), and treatment arm (P = 0.036) were independent predictors of pCR in a multivariate model. DFS was different in the biology-based tumor types (P < 0.0001) with HR+/HER2- and HR+/HER2+ tumors having the best prognosis and HR-/HER2+ tumors showing the worst outcome. Biology-based tumor type was an independent prognostic factor for DFS in multivariate analysis (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that a biology-based breast cancer classification using estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PgR), and HER2 bears independent predictive and prognostic potential. The HR+/HER2+ coexpressing carcinomas emerged as a group of tumors with a good response rate to neoadjuvant chemotherapy and a favorable prognosis. HR+/HER2- tumors had a good prognosis irrespective of a pCR, whereas patients with HR-/HER- and HR-/HER+ tumors, especially if they had not achieved a pCR, had an unfavorable prognosis and are in need of additional treatment options. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00793377
- Homogeneous datasets of triple negative breast cancers enable the identification of novel prognostic and predictive signatures (2011)
- Background: Current prognostic gene signatures for breast cancer mainly reflect proliferation status and have limited value in triple-negative (TNBC) cancers. The identification of prognostic signatures from TNBC cohorts was limited in the past due to small sample sizes. Methodology/Principal Findings: We assembled all currently publically available TNBC gene expression datasets generated on Affymetrix gene chips. Inter-laboratory variation was minimized by filtering methods for both samples and genes. Supervised analysis was performed to identify prognostic signatures from 394 cases which were subsequently tested on an independent validation cohort (n = 261 cases). Conclusions/Significance: Using two distinct false discovery rate thresholds, 25% and <3.5%, a larger (n = 264 probesets) and a smaller (n = 26 probesets) prognostic gene sets were identified and used as prognostic predictors. Most of these genes were positively associated with poor prognosis and correlated to metagenes for inflammation and angiogenesis. No correlation to other previously published prognostic signatures (recurrence score, genomic grade index, 70-gene signature, wound response signature, 7-gene immune response module, stroma derived prognostic predictor, and a medullary like signature) was observed. In multivariate analyses in the validation cohort the two signatures showed hazard ratios of 4.03 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.71–9.48; P = 0.001) and 4.08 (95% CI 1.79–9.28; P = 0.001), respectively. The 10-year event-free survival was 70% for the good risk and 20% for the high risk group. The 26-gene signatures had modest predictive value (AUC = 0.588) to predict response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, however, the combination of a B-cell metagene with the prognostic signatures increased its response predictive value. We identified a 264-gene prognostic signature for TNBC which is unrelated to previously known prognostic signatures.
- Tumor inhibition by genomically integrated inducible RNAi-cassettes (2006)
- RNA interference (RNAi) has emerged as a powerful tool to induce loss-of-function phenotypes by post-transcriptional silencing of gene expression. In this study we wondered whether inducible RNAi-cassettes integrated into cellular DNA possess the power to trigger neoplastic growth. For this purpose inducible RNAi vectors containing tetracycline (Tet)-responsive derivatives of the H1 promoter for the conditional expression of short hairpin RNA (shRNA) were used to target human polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1), which is overexpressed in a broad spectrum of human tumors. In the absence of doxycycline (Dox) HeLa clones expressing TetR, that carry the RNAi-cassette stably integrated, exhibited no significant alteration in Plk1 expression levels. In contrast, exposure to Dox led to marked downregulation of Plk1 mRNA to 3% and Plk1 protein to 14% in cell culture compared to mismatch shRNA/Plk1-expressing cells. As a result of Plk1 depletion cell proliferation decreased to 17%. Furthermore, for harnessing RNAi for silencing disease-related genes in vivo we transplanted inducible RNAi-HeLa cells onto nude mice. After administration of Dox knockdown of Plk1 expression was observed correlating to a significant inhibition of tumor growth. Taken together, our data revealed that genomically integrated RNAi-elements are suitable to hamper tumor growth by conditional expression of shRNA.