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1.  Genetic variations in the transforming growth factor-beta pathway as predictors of survival in advanced non-small cell lung cancer 
Carcinogenesis  2011;32(7):1050-1056.
The magnitude of benefit is variable for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapy. The purpose of this study is to determine whether genetic variations in the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) pathway are associated with clinical outcomes in NSCLC patients receiving first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. Five hundred and ninety-eight advanced-stage NSCLC patients who received first-line platinum-based chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy were recruited at the MD Anderson Cancer Center between 1995 and 2007. DNA from blood was genotyped for 227 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 23 TGF-β pathway-related genes to evaluate their associations with overall survival. In individual SNP analysis, 22 variants were significantly associated with overall survival, of which the strongest associations were found for BMP2:rs235756 [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.45; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–1.90] and SMAD3:rs4776342 (HR = 1.25; 95% CI, 1.06–1.47). Fifteen and 18 genetic loci displayed treatment-specific associations for chemotherapy and chemoradiation, respectively, identifying a majority of the cases who would be predicted to respond favorably to a specific treatment regimen. BMP2:rs235753 and a haplotype in SMAD3 were associated with overall survival for both treatment modalities. Cumulative effect analysis showed that multiple risk genotypes had a significant dose-dependent effect on overall survival (Ptrend = 2.44 x 10−15). Survival tree analysis identified subgroups of patients with dramatically different median survival times of 45.39 versus 13.55 months and 18.02 versus 5.89 months for high- and low- risk populations when treated with chemoradiation and chemotherapy, respectively. These results suggest that genetic variations in the TGF-β pathway are potential predictors of overall survival in NSCLC patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapy with or without radiation.
PMCID: PMC3128559  PMID: 21515830
2.  Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
Executive Summary
In February 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on evidence-based reviews of the literature surrounding three pharmacogenomic tests. This project came about when Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) asked MAS to provide evidence-based analyses on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of three oncology pharmacogenomic tests currently in use in Ontario.
Evidence-based analyses have been prepared for each of these technologies. These have been completed in conjunction with internal and external stakeholders, including a Provincial Expert Panel on Pharmacogenetics (PEPP). Within the PEPP, subgroup committees were developed for each disease area. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed by the Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment Collaborative (THETA) and is summarized within the reports.
The following reports can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: or at
Gene Expression Profiling for Guiding Adjuvant Chemotherapy Decisions in Women with Early Breast Cancer: An Evidence-Based Analysis
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) Testing for Prediction of Response to EGFR-Targeting Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (TKI) Drugs in Patients with Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: an Evidence-Based Analysis
K-RAS testing in Treatment Decisions for Advanced Colorectal Cancer: an Evidence-Based Analysis
The Medical Advisory Secretariat undertook a systematic review of the evidence on the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation testing compared with no EGFR mutation testing to predict response to tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), gefitinib (Iressa®) or erlotinib (Tarceva®) in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
With an estimated 7,800 new cases and 7,000 deaths last year, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Ontario. Those with unresectable or advanced disease are commonly treated with concurrent chemoradiation or platinum-based combination chemotherapy. Although response rates to cytotoxic chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC are approximately 30 to 40%, all patients eventually develop resistance and have a median survival of only 8 to 10 months. Treatment for refractory or relapsed disease includes single-agent treatment with docetaxel, pemetrexed or EGFR-targeting TKIs (gefitinib, erlotinib). TKIs disrupt EGFR signaling by competing with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for the binding sites at the tyrosine kinase (TK) domain, thus inhibiting the phosphorylation and activation of EGFRs and the downstream signaling network. Gefitinib and erlotinib have been shown to be either non-inferior or superior to chemotherapy in the first- or second-line setting (gefitinib), or superior to placebo in the second- or third-line setting (erlotinib).
Certain patient characteristics (adenocarcinoma, non-smoking history, Asian ethnicity, female gender) predict for better survival benefit and response to therapy with TKIs. In addition, the current body of evidence shows that somatic mutations in the EGFR gene are the most robust biomarkers for EGFR-targeting therapy selection. Drugs used in this therapy, however, can be costly, up to C$ 2000 to C$ 3000 per month, and they have only approximately a 10% chance of benefiting unselected patients. For these reasons, the predictive value of EGFR mutation testing for TKIs in patients with advanced NSCLC needs to be determined.
The Technology: EGFR mutation testing
The EGFR gene sequencing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays is the most widely used method for EGFR mutation testing. PCR assays can be performed at pathology laboratories across Ontario. According to experts in the province, sequencing is not currently done in Ontario due to lack of adequate measurement sensitivity. A variety of new methods have been introduced to increase the measurement sensitivity of the mutation assay. Some technologies such as single-stranded conformational polymorphism, denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography, and high-resolution melting analysis have the advantage of facilitating rapid mutation screening of large numbers of samples with high measurement sensitivity but require direct sequencing to confirm the identity of the detected mutations. Other techniques have been developed for the simple, but highly sensitive detection of specific EGFR mutations, such as the amplification refractory mutations system (ARMS) and the peptide nucleic acid-locked PCR clamping. Others selectively digest wild-type DNA templates with restriction endonucleases to enrich mutant alleles by PCR. Experts in the province of Ontario have commented that currently PCR fragment analysis for deletion and point mutation conducts in Ontario, with measurement sensitivity of 1% to 5%.
Research Questions
In patients with locally-advanced or metastatic NSCLC, what is the clinical effectiveness of EGFR mutation testing for prediction of response to treatment with TKIs (gefitinib, erlotinib) in terms of progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rates (ORR), overall survival (OS), and quality of life (QoL)?
What is the impact of EGFR mutation testing on overall clinical decision-making for patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC?
What is the cost-effectiveness of EGFR mutation testing in selecting patients with advanced NSCLC for treatment with gefitinib or erlotinib in the first-line setting?
What is the budget impact of EGFR mutation testing in selecting patients with advanced NSCLC for treatment with gefitinib or erlotinib in the second- or third-line setting?
A literature search was performed on March 9, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, CINAHL, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment for studies published from January 1, 2004 until February 28, 2010 using the following terms:
Non-Small-Cell Lung Carcinoma
Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor
An automatic literature update program also extracted all papers published from February 2010 until August 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, and then a group of epidemiologists, until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
The inclusion criteria were as follows:
Population: patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC (stage IIIB or IV)
Procedure: EGFR mutation testing before treatment with gefitinib or erlotinib
Language: publication in English
Published health technology assessments, guidelines, and peer-reviewed literature (abstracts, full text, conference abstract)
Outcomes: progression-free survival (PFS), Objective response rate (ORR), overall survival (OS), quality of life (QoL).
The exclusion criteria were as follows:
Studies lacking outcomes specific to those of interest
Studies focused on erlotinib maintenance therapy
Studies focused on gefitinib or erlotinib use in combination with cytotoxic agents or any other drug
Grey literature, where relevant, was also reviewed.
Outcomes of Interest
ORR determined by means of the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumours (RECIST)
Quality of Evidence
The quality of the Phase II trials and observational studies was based on the method of subject recruitment and sampling, possibility of selection bias, and generalizability to the source population. The overall quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria.
Summary of Findings
Since the last published health technology assessment by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in 2007 there have been a number of phase III trials which provide evidence of predictive value of EGFR mutation testing in patients who were treated with gefitinib compared to chemotherapy in the first- or second-line setting. The Iressa Pan Asian Study (IPASS) trial showed the superiority of gefitinib in terms of PFS in patients with EGFR mutations versus patients with wild-type EGFR (Hazard ratio [HR], 0.48, 95%CI; 0.36-0.64 versus HR, 2.85; 95%CI, 2.05-3.98). Moreover, there was a statistically significant increased ORR in patients who received gefitinib and had EGFR mutations compared to patients with wild-type EGFR (71% versus 1%). The First-SIGNAL trial in patients with similar clinical characteristics as IPASS as well as the NEJ002 and WJTOG3405 trials that included only patients with EGFR mutations, provide confirmation that gefitinib is superior to chemotherapy in terms of improved PFS or higher ORR in patients with EGFR mutations. The INTEREST trial further indicated that patients with EGFR mutations had prolonged PFS and higher ORR when treated with gefitinib compared with docetaxel.
In contrast, there is still a paucity of strong evidence regarding the predictive value of EGFR mutation testing for response to erlotinib in the second- or third-line setting. The BR.21 trial randomized 731 patients with NSCLC who were refractory or intolerant to prior first- or second-line chemotherapy to receive erlotinib or placebo. While the HR of 0.61 (95%CI, 0.51-0.74) favored erlotinib in the overall population, this was not a significant in the subsequent retrospective subgroup analysis. A retrospective evaluation of 116 of the BR.21 tumor samples demonstrated that patients with EGFR mutations had significantly higher ORRs when treated with erlotinib compared with placebo (27% versus 7%; P=0.03). However, erlotinib did not confer a significant survival benefit compared with placebo in patients with EGFR mutations (HR, 0.55; 95%CI, 0.25-1.19) versus wild-type (HR, 0.74; 95%CI, 0.52-1.05). The interaction between EGFR mutation status and erlotinib use was not significant (P=0.47). The lack of significance could be attributable to a type II error since there was a low sample size that was available for subgroup analysis.
A series of phase II studies have examined the clinical effectiveness of erlotinib in patients known to have EGFR mutations. Evidence from these studies has consistently shown that erlotinib yields a very high ORR (typically 70% vs. 4%) and a prolonged PFS (9 months vs. 2 months) in patients with EGFR mutations compared with patients with wild-type EGFR. Although having a prolonged PFS and higher respond in EGFR mutated patients might be due to a better prognostic profile regardless of the treatment received. In the absence of a comparative treatment or placebo control group, it is difficult to determine if the observed differences in survival benefit in patients with EGFR mutation is attributed to prognostic or predictive value of EGFR mutation status.
Based on moderate quality of evidence, patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with adenocarcinoma histology being treated with gefitinib in the first-line setting are highly likely to benefit from gefitinib if they have EGFR mutations compared to those with wild-type EGFR. This advantage is reflected in improved PFS, ORR and QoL in patients with EGFR mutation who are being treated with gefitinib relative to patients treated with chemotherapy.
Based on low quality of evidence, in patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC who are being treated with erlotinib, the identification of EGFR mutation status selects those who are most likely to benefit from erlotinib relative to patients treated with placebo in the second or third-line setting.
PMCID: PMC3377519  PMID: 23074402
3.  A Gene Expression Signature Predicts Survival of Patients with Stage I Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e467.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Nearly 50% of patients with stages I and II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will die from recurrent disease despite surgical resection. No reliable clinical or molecular predictors are currently available for identifying those at high risk for developing recurrent disease. As a consequence, it is not possible to select those high-risk patients for more aggressive therapies and assign less aggressive treatments to patients at low risk for recurrence.
Methods and Findings
In this study, we applied a meta-analysis of datasets from seven different microarray studies on NSCLC for differentially expressed genes related to survival time (under 2 y and over 5 y). A consensus set of 4,905 genes from these studies was selected, and systematic bias adjustment in the datasets was performed by distance-weighted discrimination (DWD). We identified a gene expression signature consisting of 64 genes that is highly predictive of which stage I lung cancer patients may benefit from more aggressive therapy. Kaplan-Meier analysis of the overall survival of stage I NSCLC patients with the 64-gene expression signature demonstrated that the high- and low-risk groups are significantly different in their overall survival. Of the 64 genes, 11 are related to cancer metastasis (APC, CDH8, IL8RB, LY6D, PCDHGA12, DSP, NID, ENPP2, CCR2, CASP8, and CASP10) and eight are involved in apoptosis (CASP8, CASP10, PIK3R1, BCL2, SON, INHA, PSEN1, and BIK).
Our results indicate that gene expression signatures from several datasets can be reconciled. The resulting signature is useful in predicting survival of stage I NSCLC and might be useful in informing treatment decisions.
Meta-analysis of several lung cancer gene expression studies yields a set of 64 genes whose expression profile is useful in predicting survival of patients with early-stage lung cancer and possibly informing treatment decisions.
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Most cases are of a type called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and are mainly caused by smoking. Like other cancers, how NSCLC is treated depends on the “stage” at which it is detected. Stage IA NSCLCs are small and confined to the lung and can be removed surgically; patients with slightly larger stage IB tumors often receive chemotherapy after surgery. In stage II NSCLC, cancer cells may be present in lymph nodes near the tumor. Surgery plus chemotherapy is the usual treatment for this stage and for some stage III NSCLCs. However, in this stage, the tumor can be present throughout the chest and surgery is not always possible. For such cases and in stage IV NSCLC, where the tumor has spread throughout the body, patients are treated with chemotherapy alone. The stage at which NSCLC is detected also determines how well patients respond to treatment. Those who can be treated surgically do much better than those who can't. So, whereas only 2% of patients with stage IV lung cancer survive for 5 years after diagnosis, about 70% of patients with stage I or II lung cancer live at least this long.
Why Was This Study Done?
Even stage I and II lung cancers often recur and there is no accurate way to identify the patients in which this will happen. If there was, these patients could be given aggressive chemotherapy, so the search is on for a “molecular signature” to help identify which NSCLCs are likely to recur. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells divide uncontrollably and can move around the body. These behavioral differences are caused by changes in their genetic material that alter their patterns of RNA transcription and protein expression. In this study, the researchers have investigated whether data from several microarray studies (a technique used to catalog the genes expressed in cells) can be pooled to construct a gene expression signature that predicts the survival of patients with stage I NSCLC.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers took the data from seven independent microarray studies (including a new study of their own) that recorded gene expression profiles related to survival time (less than 2 years and greater than 5 years) for stage I NSCLC. Because these studies had been done in different places with slightly different techniques, the researchers applied a statistical tool called distance-weighted discrimination to smooth out any systematic differences among the studies before identifying 64 genes whose expression was associated with survival. Most of these genes are involved in cell adhesion, cell motility, cell proliferation, and cell death, all processes that are altered in cancer cells. The researchers then developed a statistical model that allowed them to use the gene expression and survival data to calculate risk scores for nearly 200 patients in five of the datasets. When they separated the patients into high and low risk groups on the basis of these scores, the two groups were significantly different in terms of survival time. Indeed, the gene expression signature was better at predicting outcome than routine staging. Finally, the researchers validated the gene expression signature by showing that it predicted survival with more than 85% accuracy in two independent datasets.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The 64 gene expression signature identified here could help clinicians prepare treatment plans for patients with stage I NSCLC. Because it accurately predicts survival in patients with adenocarcinoma or squamous cell cancer (the two major subtypes of NSCLC), it potentially indicates which of these patients should receive aggressive chemotherapy and which can be spared this unpleasant treatment. Previous attempts to establish gene expression signatures to predict outcome have used data from small groups of patients and have failed when tested in additional patients. In contrast, this new signature seems to be generalizable. Nevertheless, its ability to predict outcomes must be confirmed in further studies before it is routinely adopted by oncologists for treatment planning.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Cancer Institute information on lung cancer for patients and health professionals.
MedlinePlus encyclopedia entries on small-cell and non-small-cell lung cancer.
Cancer Research UK, information on patients about all aspects of lung cancer.
Wikipedia pages on DNA microarrays and expression profiling (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit).
PMCID: PMC1716187  PMID: 17194181
4.  Genome-wide association study of genetic predictors of overall survival for non-small cell lung cancer in never smokers 
Cancer research  2013;73(13):4028-4038.
To identify the genetic factors that influence overall survival in never smokers who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we performed a consistency meta-analysis study utilizing genome-wide association approaches for overall survival in 327 never smoker NSCLC patients from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and 293 cases from the Mayo Clinic. We then performed a two-pronged validation of the top 25 variants that included additional validation in 1,256 NSCLC patients from Taiwan and assessment of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and differential expression of genes surrounding the top loci in 70 tumors and matched normal tissues. A total of 94 loci were significant for overall survival in both MD Anderson and Mayo studies in the consistency meta-analysis phase, with the top 25 variants reaching a p-value of 10−6. Two variants of these 25 were also significant in the Taiwanese population: rs6901416 (HR:1.44, 95%CI:1.01-2.06) and rs10766739 (HR:1.23, 95%CI:1.00-1.51). These loci resulted in a reduction in median survival time of at least 8 and 5 months in three populations, respectively. An additional six variants (rs4237904, rs7976914, rs4970833, rs954785, rs485411, and rs10906104) were validated through eQTL analysis that identified significant correlations with expression levels of six genes (LEMD3, TMBIM, ATXN7L2, SHE, ITIH2, and NUDT5, respectively) in normal lung tissue. These genes were also significantly differentially expressed between the tumor and normal lung. These findings identify several novel, candidate prognostic markers for NSCLC in never smokers, with eQTL analysis suggesting a potential biological mechanism for a subset of these observed associations.
PMCID: PMC3719971  PMID: 23704207
5.  Optimal chemotherapy treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer 
Current Oncology  2007;14(5):195-208.
What is the optimal chemotherapy treatment for women with recurrent ovarian cancer who have previously received platinum-based chemotherapy?
Currently, standard primary therapy for advanced disease involves a combination of maximal cytoreductive surgery and chemotherapy with carboplatin plus paclitaxel or with carboplatin alone. Despite initial high response rates, a large proportion of patients relapse, resulting in a therapeutic challenge. Because these patients are not curable, the goal of therapy becomes improvement in both quality and length of life. The search has therefore been to find active agents for women with recurrent disease following platinum-based chemotherapy.
Outcomes of interest included any combination of tumour response rate, progression-free survival, overall survival, adverse events, and quality of life.
The medline, embase, and Cochrane Library databases were systematically searched for primary articles and practice guidelines. The resulting evidence informed the development of clinical practice recommendations. The systematic review and recommendations were approved by the Report Approval Panel of the Program in Evidence-Based Care, and by the Gynecology Cancer Disease Site Group (dsg). The practice guideline was externally reviewed by a sample of practitioners from Ontario, Canada.
Thirteen randomized trials compared various chemotherapy regimens for patients with recurrent ovarian cancer.
In five of the thirteen trials in which 100% of patients were considered sensitive to platinum-containing chemotherapy, further platinum-based combination chemotherapy significantly improved response rates (two trials), progression-free survival (four trials), and overall survival (three trials) when compared with single-agent chemotherapy involving carboplatin or paclitaxel. Only two of these randomized trials compared the same chemotherapy regimens: carboplatin alone versus the combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel. Both trials were consistent in reporting improved survival outcomes with the combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel. In one trial, the combination of carboplatin and gemcitabine resulted in significantly higher response rates and improved progression-free survival when compared with carboplatin alone. Median survival with carboplatin alone ranged from 17 months to 24 months in four trials.
In eight of the thirteen trials in which 35%–100% of patients had platinum-refractory or -resistant disease, one trial reported a statistically significant 2-month improvement in overall survival with liposomal doxorubicin as compared with topotecan (15 months vs. 13 months, p = 0.038; hazard ratio: 1.23; 95% confidence interval: 1.01 to 1.50). In that trial, because of the limited clinical benefit and the unusual finding that a survival difference emerged only after a year of treatment with no corresponding improvement in the rate of response or of progression-free survival, the authors concluded that further confirmation by results from randomized trials were needed to establish the superiority of one agent over another in their trial. In one trial, topotecan was superior to treosulphan in patient progression-free survival by a span of approximately 2 months (5.4 months vs. 3.0 months, p < 0.001).
Toxicity was reported in all of the randomized trials, and although data on adverse events varied by treatment regimen, the observed adverse events correlated with known toxicity profiles. As expected, combination chemotherapy was associated with higher rates of adverse events.
Practice Guideline
Target Population
This clinical recommendation applies to women with recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer who have previously received platinum-based chemotherapy. Of specific interest are women who have previously shown sensitivity to platinum therapy and those who previously were refractory or resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. As a general categorization within what is actually a continuum, “platinum sensitivity” refers to disease recurrence 6 months or more after prior platinum-containing chemotherapy, and “platinum resistance” refers to a response to platinum-based chemotherapy followed by relapse less than 6 months after chemotherapy is stopped. “Platinum-refractory disease” refers to a lack of response or to progression while on platinum-based chemotherapy.
Although the body of evidence that informs the clinical recommendations is based on randomized trial data, those data are incomplete. Based on the available data and expert consensus opinion, the Gynecology Cancer dsg makes these recommendations:
Systemic therapy for recurrent ovarian cancer is not curative. It is therefore recognized that each patient must be individually assessed to determine optimal therapy in terms of recurrence, sensitivity to platinum, toxicity, ease of administration, and patient preference. All suitable patients should be offered the opportunity to participate in randomized trials, if available.
In the absence of contraindications, combination platinum-based chemotherapy should be considered for patients with prior sensitivity to platinum-containing chemotherapy. As compared with carboplatin alone, the combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel significantly improved both progression-free and overall survival.
If combination platinum-based chemotherapy is not indicated, then a single platinum agent should be considered. Carboplatin has demonstrated efficacy across trials and has a manageable toxicity profile.
If a single platinum agent is not being considered, then monotherapy with paclitaxel, topotecan, or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin are seen as reasonable treatment options.
Some patients may be repeatedly sensitive to treatment and may benefit from multiple lines of chemotherapy.
For patients with platinum-refractory or platinum-resistant disease, the goals of treatment should be to improve quality of life by extending the symptom-free interval, by reducing symptom intensity, and by increasing progression-free interval, and, if possible, to prolong life.
With non-platinum agents, monotherapy should be considered because no advantage appears to accrue to the use of non-platinum-containing combination chemotherapy in this group of patients. Single-agent paclitaxel, topotecan, or pegylated liposomal doxorubicin have demonstrated activity in this patient population and are reasonable treatment options.
No evidence either supports or refutes the use of more than one line of chemotherapy in patients with platinum-refractory or platinum-resistant recurrence. Many treatment options have shown modest response rates, but their benefits over best supportive care have not been studied in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2002482  PMID: 17938703
Chemotherapy; drug therapy; ovarian cancer; ovarian neoplasms; practice guideline; systematic review
6.  A Genetic Polymorphism in pre-miR-27a Confers Clinical Outcome of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in a Chinese Population 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79135.
Recent evidence indicates that microRNAs (miRNAs) can function as tumor suppressors and oncogenes. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at miRNA genes can influence the maturation of miRNAs or miRNA-mediated transcriptional regulation. Our objective was to investigate the association of SNPs in deregulated miRNAs with clinical outcome in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a Chinese population.
Deregulated miRNAs in NSCLC and their SNPs were identified through public databases. A single SNP, rs895819 in pre-miR-27a, was found suitable for selection. TaqMan assays were performed for genotyping and to assess the effect on the overall survival (OS) and chemotherapy response in 576 NSCLC patients.
Log-rank test and Cox regression analysis indicated that the G allele of rs895819 was associated with shorter survival and increased risk of death in NSCLC [dominant model: 22.0 vs. 46.0 months, P<0.001; adjusted hazard ratio (HR) = 1.71, 95% confidential interval (CI): 1.12–2.26]. Further stepwise regression analysis suggested that this SNP was an independently unfavorable factor for the prognosis of NSCLC and the effect remained significant in subgroup analysis stratified by clinical parameters and treatment status. Moreover, multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the subjects with AG/GG genotypes of rs895819 had significantly decreased response rate to platinum-based chemotherapy compared to those with the AA genotype.
Our results suggest that the pre-miR-27a rs895819 polymorphism may influence NSCLC patients’ clinical outcome. Further large sample studies should be used to validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC3819265  PMID: 24223174
7.  Nuclear Receptor Expression Defines a Set of Prognostic Biomarkers for Lung Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(12):e1000378.
David Mangelsdorf and colleagues show that nuclear receptor expression is strongly associated with clinical outcomes of lung cancer patients, and this expression profile is a potential prognostic signature for lung cancer patient survival time, particularly for individuals with early stage disease.
The identification of prognostic tumor biomarkers that also would have potential as therapeutic targets, particularly in patients with early stage disease, has been a long sought-after goal in the management and treatment of lung cancer. The nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily, which is composed of 48 transcription factors that govern complex physiologic and pathophysiologic processes, could represent a unique subset of these biomarkers. In fact, many members of this family are the targets of already identified selective receptor modulators, providing a direct link between individual tumor NR quantitation and selection of therapy. The goal of this study, which begins this overall strategy, was to investigate the association between mRNA expression of the NR superfamily and the clinical outcome for patients with lung cancer, and to test whether a tumor NR gene signature provided useful information (over available clinical data) for patients with lung cancer.
Methods and Findings
Using quantitative real-time PCR to study NR expression in 30 microdissected non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) and their pair-matched normal lung epithelium, we found great variability in NR expression among patients' tumor and non-involved lung epithelium, found a strong association between NR expression and clinical outcome, and identified an NR gene signature from both normal and tumor tissues that predicted patient survival time and disease recurrence. The NR signature derived from the initial 30 NSCLC samples was validated in two independent microarray datasets derived from 442 and 117 resected lung adenocarcinomas. The NR gene signature was also validated in 130 squamous cell carcinomas. The prognostic signature in tumors could be distilled to expression of two NRs, short heterodimer partner and progesterone receptor, as single gene predictors of NSCLC patient survival time, including for patients with stage I disease. Of equal interest, the studies of microdissected histologically normal epithelium and matched tumors identified expression in normal (but not tumor) epithelium of NGFIB3 and mineralocorticoid receptor as single gene predictors of good prognosis.
NR expression is strongly associated with clinical outcomes for patients with lung cancer, and this expression profile provides a unique prognostic signature for lung cancer patient survival time, particularly for those with early stage disease. This study highlights the potential use of NRs as a rational set of therapeutically tractable genes as theragnostic biomarkers, and specifically identifies short heterodimer partner and progesterone receptor in tumors, and NGFIB3 and MR in non-neoplastic lung epithelium, for future detailed translational study in lung cancer.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer-related death, kills 1.3 million people annually. Most lung cancers are “non-small-cell lung cancers” (NSCLCs), and most are caused by smoking. Exposure to chemicals in smoke causes changes in the genes of the cells lining the lungs that allow the cells to grow uncontrollably and to move around the body. How NSCLC is treated and responds to treatment depends on its “stage.” Stage I tumors, which are small and confined to the lung, are removed surgically, although chemotherapy is also sometimes given. Stage II tumors have spread to nearby lymph nodes and are treated with surgery and chemotherapy, as are some stage III tumors. However, because cancer cells in stage III tumors can be present throughout the chest, surgery is not always possible. For such cases, and for stage IV NSCLC, where the tumor has spread around the body, patients are treated with chemotherapy alone. About 70% of patients with stage I and II NSCLC but only 2% of patients with stage IV NSCLC survive for five years after diagnosis; more than 50% of patients have stage IV NSCLC at diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
Patient responses to treatment vary considerably. Oncologists (doctors who treat cancer) would like to know which patients have a good prognosis (are likely to do well) to help them individualize their treatment. Consequently, the search is on for “prognostic tumor biomarkers,” molecules made by cancer cells that can be used to predict likely clinical outcomes. Such biomarkers, which may also be potential therapeutic targets, can be identified by analyzing the overall pattern of gene expression in a panel of tumors using a technique called microarray analysis and looking for associations between the expression of sets of genes and clinical outcomes. In this study, the researchers take a more directed approach to identifying prognostic biomarkers by investigating the association between the expression of the genes encoding nuclear receptors (NRs) and clinical outcome in patients with lung cancer. The NR superfamily contains 48 transcription factors (proteins that control the expression of other genes) that respond to several hormones and to diet-derived fats. NRs control many biological processes and are targets for several successful drugs, including some used to treat cancer.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers analyzed the expression of NR mRNAs using “quantitative real-time PCR” in 30 microdissected NSCLCs and in matched normal lung tissue samples (mRNA is the blueprint for protein production). They then used an approach called standard classification and regression tree analysis to build a prognostic model for NSCLC based on the expression data. This model predicted both survival time and disease recurrence among the patients from whom the tumors had been taken. The researchers validated their prognostic model in two large independent lung adenocarcinoma microarray datasets and in a squamous cell carcinoma dataset (adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas are two major NSCLC subtypes). Finally, they explored the roles of specific NRs in the prediction model. This analysis revealed that the ability of the NR signature in tumors to predict outcomes was mainly due to the expression of two NRs—the short heterodimer partner (SHP) and the progesterone receptor (PR). Expression of either gene could be used as a single gene predictor of the survival time of patients, including those with stage I disease. Similarly, the expression of either nerve growth factor induced gene B3 (NGFIB3) or mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) in normal tissue was a single gene predictor of a good prognosis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the expression of NR mRNA is strongly associated with clinical outcomes in patients with NSCLC. Furthermore, they identify a prognostic NR expression signature that provides information on the survival time of patients, including those with early stage disease. The signature needs to be confirmed in more patients before it can be used clinically, and researchers would like to establish whether changes in mRNA expression are reflected in changes in protein expression if NRs are to be targeted therapeutically. Nevertheless, these findings highlight the potential use of NRs as prognostic tumor biomarkers. Furthermore, they identify SHP and PR in tumors and two NRs in normal lung tissue as molecules that might provide new targets for the treatment of lung cancer and new insights into the early diagnosis, pathogenesis, and chemoprevention of lung cancer.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas (NURSA) is consortium of scientists sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health that provides scientific reagents, datasets, and educational material on nuclear receptors and their co-regulators to the scientific community through a Web-based portal
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) provides information and resources to anyone interested in the prevention and treatment of lung and other cancers
The US National Cancer Institute provides detailed information for patients and professionals about all aspects of lung cancer, including information on non-small-cell carcinoma and on tumor markers (in English and Spanish)
Cancer Research UK also provides information about lung cancer and information on how cancer starts
MedlinePlus has links to other resources about lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on nuclear receptors (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC3001894  PMID: 21179495
8.  Aberrant DNA Methylation of OLIG1, a Novel Prognostic Factor in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(3):e108.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Currently, tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) staging provides the most accurate prognostic parameter for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the overall survival of patients with resectable tumors varies significantly, indicating the need for additional prognostic factors to better predict the outcome of the disease, particularly within a given TNM subset.
Methods and Findings
In this study, we investigated whether adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas could be differentiated based on their global aberrant DNA methylation patterns. We performed restriction landmark genomic scanning on 40 patient samples and identified 47 DNA methylation targets that together could distinguish the two lung cancer subgroups. The protein expression of one of those targets, oligodendrocyte transcription factor 1 (OLIG1), significantly correlated with survival in NSCLC patients, as shown by univariate and multivariate analyses. Furthermore, the hazard ratio for patients negative for OLIG1 protein was significantly higher than the one for those patients expressing the protein, even at low levels.
Multivariate analyses of our data confirmed that OLIG1 protein expression significantly correlates with overall survival in NSCLC patients, with a relative risk of 0.84 (95% confidence interval 0.77–0.91, p < 0.001) along with T and N stages, as indicated by a Cox proportional hazard model. Taken together, our results suggests that OLIG1 protein expression could be utilized as a novel prognostic factor, which could aid in deciding which NSCLC patients might benefit from more aggressive therapy. This is potentially of great significance, as the addition of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy in T2N0 NSCLC patients is still controversial.
Christopher Plass and colleagues find thatOLIG1 expression correlates with survival in lung cancer patients and suggest that it could be used in deciding which patients are likely to benefit from more aggressive therapy.
Editors' Summary
Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Most cases are of a type called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Like other cancers, treatment of NCSLC depends on the “TNM stage” at which the cancer is detected. Staging takes into account the size and local spread of the tumor (its T classification), whether nearby lymph nodes contain tumor cells (its N classification), and whether tumor cells have spread (metastasized) throughout the body (its M classification). Stage I tumors are confined to the lung and are removed surgically. Stage II tumors have spread to nearby lymph nodes and are treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Stage III tumors have spread throughout the chest, and stage IV tumors have metastasized around the body; patients with both of these stages are treated with chemotherapy alone. About 70% of patients with stage I or II lung cancer, but only 2% of patients with stage IV lung cancer, survive for five years after diagnosis.
Why Was This Study Done?
TNM staging is the best way to predict the likely outcome (prognosis) for patients with NSCLC, but survival times for patients with stage I and II tumors vary widely. Another prognostic marker—maybe a “molecular signature”—that could distinguish patients who are likely to respond to treatment from those whose cancer will inevitably progress would be very useful. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells divide uncontrollably and can move around the body. These behavioral changes are caused by alterations in the pattern of proteins expressed by the cells. But what causes these alterations? The answer in some cases is “epigenetic changes” or chemical modifications of genes. In cancer cells, methyl groups are aberrantly added to GC-rich gene regions. These so-called “CpG islands” lie near gene promoters (sequences that control the transcription of DNA into mRNA, the template for protein production), and their methylation stops the promoters working and silences the gene. In this study, the researchers have investigated whether aberrant methylation patterns vary between NSCLC subtypes and whether specific aberrant methylations are associated with survival and can, therefore, be used prognostically.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used “restriction landmark genomic scanning” (RLGS) to catalog global aberrant DNA methylation patterns in human lung tumor samples. In RLGS, DNA is cut into fragments with a restriction enzyme (a protein that cuts at specific DNA sequences), end-labeled, and separated using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis to give a pattern of spots. Because methylation stops some restriction enzymes cutting their target sequence, normal lung tissue and lung tumor samples yield different patterns of spots. The researchers used these patterns to identify 47 DNA methylation targets (many in CpG islands) that together distinguished between adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, two major types of NSCLCs. Next, they measured mRNA production from the genes with the greatest difference in methylation between adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. OLIG1 (the gene that encodes a protein involved in nerve cell development) had one of the highest differences in mRNA production between these tumor types. Furthermore, three-quarters of NSCLCs had reduced or no expression of OLIG1 protein and, when the researchers analyzed the association between OLIG1 protein expression and overall survival in patients with NSCLC, reduced OLIG1 protein expression was associated with reduced survival.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that different types of NSCLC can be distinguished by examining their aberrant methylation patterns. This suggests that the establishment of different DNA methylation patterns might be related to the cell type from which the tumors developed. Alternatively, the different aberrant methylation patterns might reflect the different routes that these cells take to becoming tumor cells. This research identifies a potential new prognostic marker for NSCLC by showing that OLIG1 protein expression correlates with overall survival in patients with NSCLC. This correlation needs to be tested in a clinical setting to see if adding OLIG1 expression to the current prognostic parameters can lead to better treatment choices for early-stage lung cancer patients and ultimately improve these patients' overall survival.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Patient and professional information on lung cancer, including staging (in English and Spanish), is available from the US National Cancer Institute
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on non-small cell lung cancer (in English and Spanish)
Cancerbackup provides patient information on lung cancer
CancerQuest, provided by Emory University, has information about how cancer develops (in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian)
Wikipedia pages on epigenetics (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
The Epigenome Network of Excellence gives background information and the latest news about epigenetics (in several European languages)
PMCID: PMC1831740  PMID: 17388669
9.  Survival Following Surgery with or without Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Stage I–IIIA Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: An East Asian Population-Based Study 
The Oncologist  2012;17(10):1294-1302.
The survival impact of platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy for Asian patients with stage I–IIIA non-small cell lung cancer is examined. The lower risk for death provided by adjuvant chemotherapy among the Asian population is comparable with that found in the literature based mainly on data from white patients.
Asian ethnicity is associated with a distinct molecular etiology, treatment response, and survival outcome among patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study examines the survival impact of platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy for Asian patients with stage I–IIIA NSCLC.
This study recruited patients aged ≥18 years with histologically proven stage IA–IIIA NSCLC registered in the Taiwan Cancer Registry database in January 2004 to December 2007. Platinum-containing adjuvant chemotherapy had to be started within 90 days of the primary surgery. Kaplan–Meier survival curves, log-rank tests, and the Cox proportional hazards regression model were used to assess the influence of various risk factors on survival time.
This study included 2,231 patients with stage IA–IIIA NSCLC who underwent primary surgery with a clear surgical margin. The percentages of all causes of death were significantly lower for the chemotherapy group for both stage II and stage IIIA patients. Multivariate analysis identified platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy as an independent prognostic factor for the overall survival outcome of stage II (hazard ratio [HR], 0.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.39–0.94; p = .024) and IIIA (HR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.52–0.96; p = .029) patients. Among these patients, those who received adjuvant chemotherapy had a superior overall survival outcome for both genders, for the subgroup of patients aged ≥70 years, and for those with adenocarcinoma.
Platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy should be considered in the treatment plan for Asian patients with resected stage II and stage IIIA NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3481895  PMID: 22826374
Non-small cell lung cancer; Adjuvant chemotherapy; Asian ethnicity; Survival; Comparative effectiveness
10.  DNA Repair Capacity in Peripheral Lymphocytes Predicts Survival of Patients With Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Treated With First-Line Platinum-Based Chemotherapy  
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(31):4121-4128.
Platinum-based regimens are the standard chemotherapy for patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). DNA repair capacity (DRC) in tumor cells plays an important role in resistance to platinum-based drugs. We have previously reported that efficient DRC, as assessed by an in vitro lymphocyte-based assay, was a determinant of poor survival in patients with NSCLC in a relatively small data set. In this larger independent study of 591 patients with NSCLC, we further evaluated whether DRC in peripheral lymphocytes predicts survival of patients with NSCLC who receive platinum-based chemotherapy.
Patients and Methods
All patients were recruited at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and donated blood samples before the start of any chemotherapy. We measured DRC in cultured T lymphocytes by using the host-cell reactivation assay, and we assessed associations between DRC in peripheral lymphocytes and survival of patients with NSCLC who were treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy.
We found an inverse association between DRC in peripheral lymphocytes and patient survival. Compared with patients in the low tertile of DRC, patients with NSCLC in the high tertile of DRC had significantly worse overall and 3-year survival (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 1.33; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.71; P = .023; and HR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.76; P = .025, respectively). This trend was more pronounced in patients with early-stage tumors, adenocarcinoma, or squamous cell carcinoma.
We confirmed that DRC in peripheral lymphocytes is an independent predictor of survival for patients with NSCLC treated with platinum-based chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3675702  PMID: 21947825
11.  Preoperative chemotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data 
Lancet  2014;383(9928):1561-1571.
Individual participant data meta-analyses of postoperative chemotherapy have shown improved survival for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We aimed to do a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis to establish the effect of preoperative chemotherapy for patients with resectable NSCLC.
We systematically searched for trials that started after January, 1965. Updated individual participant data were centrally collected, checked, and analysed. Results from individual randomised controlled trials (both published and unpublished) were combined using a two-stage fixed-effect model. Our primary outcome, overall survival, was defined as the time from randomisation until death (any cause), with living patients censored on the date of last follow-up. Secondary outcomes were recurrence-free survival, time to locoregional and distant recurrence, cause-specific survival, complete and overall resection rates, and postoperative mortality. Prespecified analyses explored any variation in effect by trial and patient characteristics. All analyses were by intention to treat.
Analyses of 15 randomised controlled trials (2385 patients) showed a significant benefit of preoperative chemotherapy on survival (hazard ratio [HR] 0·87, 95% CI 0·78–0·96, p=0·007), a 13% reduction in the relative risk of death (no evidence of a difference between trials; p=0·18, I2=25%). This finding represents an absolute survival improvement of 5% at 5 years, from 40% to 45%. There was no clear evidence of a difference in the effect on survival by chemotherapy regimen or scheduling, number of drugs, platinum agent used, or whether postoperative radiotherapy was given. There was no clear evidence that particular types of patient defined by age, sex, performance status, histology, or clinical stage benefited more or less from preoperative chemotherapy. Recurrence-free survival (HR 0·85, 95% CI 0·76–0·94, p=0·002) and time to distant recurrence (0·69, 0·58–0·82, p<0·0001) results were both significantly in favour of preoperative chemotherapy although most patients included were stage IB–IIIA. Results for time to locoregional recurrence (0·88, 0·73–1·07, p=0·20), although in favour of preoperative chemotherapy, were not statistically significant.
Findings, which are based on 92% of all patients who were randomised, and mainly stage IB–IIIA, show preoperative chemotherapy significantly improves overall survival, time to distant recurrence, and recurrence-free survival in resectable NSCLC. The findings suggest this is a valid treatment option for most of these patients. Toxic effects could not be assessed.
Medical Research Council UK.
PMCID: PMC4022989  PMID: 24576776
12.  Polymorphisms in XPD Gene Could Predict Clinical Outcome of Platinum-Based Chemotherapy for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients: A Meta-Analysis of 24 Studies 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79864.
Xeroderma pigmentosum group D (XPD) is an essential gene involved in the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway. Two commonly studied single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of XPD (Lys751Gln, A>C, rs13181; Asp312Asn, G>A, rs1799793) are implicated in the modulation of DNA repair capacity, thus related to the responses to platinum-based chemotherapy. Here we performed a meta-analysis to better evaluate the association between the two XPD SNPs and clinical outcome of platinum-based chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients.
A comprehensive search of PubMed database was conducted to identify relevant articles. Primary outcomes included objective response (i.e., complete response + partial response vs. stable disease + progressive disease), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). The pooled and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of ORs (odds ratios) and HRs (hazard ratios) were estimated using the fixed or random effect model.
Twenty-four studies were eligible according to the inclusion criteria. None of the XPD Lys751Gln/Asp312Asn polymorphisms was associated with objective response, PFS or OS in NSCLC patients treated with platinum drugs. However, in stratified analysis by ethnicity, the XPD Lys751Gln (A>C) polymorphism was not significantly associated with increased response in Caucasians (OR = 1.35, 95%CI = 1.0–1.83, P = 0.122 for heterogeneity) but was associated with decreased PFS in Asians (HR = 1.39, 95%CI = 1.07–1.81, P = 0.879 for heterogeneity). Furthermore, a statistically significant difference existed in the estimates of effect between the two ethnicities (P = 0.014 for TR; P<0.001 for PFS).
XPD Lys751Gln (A>C) may have inverse predictive and prognostic role in platinum-based treatment of NSCLC according to different ethnicities. Further studies are needed to validate our findings.
PMCID: PMC3829883  PMID: 24260311
13.  Real-World Effectiveness of Systemic Agents Approved for Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A SEER–Medicare Analysis 
The Oncologist  2013;18(5):600-610.
Disparity exists between patients with lung cancer enrolled in clinical trials and patients treated in the community setting. This study assessed the real-world effectiveness of cytotoxic agents that became available for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the last 2 decades using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results–Medicare database. Study findings support the effectiveness of currently approved drugs for the treatment of advanced NSCLC in the real-world oncology practice.
Disparity exists between patients with lung cancer enrolled in clinical trials and patients treated in the community setting. This study assessed the real-world effectiveness of cytotoxic agents that became available for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the last 2 decades.
We employed the linked Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)–Medicare database for patients diagnosed with stage IIIB/IV NSCLC between 1988 and 2005 to assess the effectiveness of newly approved agents. Effectiveness of specific agents was assessed at time periods immediately following the approval of the agent for NSCLC: baseline, 1988–1994; platinum, 1995–1999; docetaxel, 1999–2003; pemetrexed and bevacizumab, 2004–2005. Significant associations between specific drug treatment and survival improvement were determined using the Kaplan-Meier method, Cox proportional hazard model, and propensity score analyses. Significant differences were established by log-rank test.
This analysis employed data from 143,548 patients by sex (58% male, 42% female), cancer stage (35% stage IIIB, 65% stage IV), and age (12% 20–64 years, 22% 65–69 years, 45% 70–79 years, 22% 80 years and older). There was temporal improvement in survival for patients treated with newly approved chemotherapy (1-year survival rates: 32.41% in 1988–1994, 32.95% in 1995–1998, 37.40% in 1999–2003, and 39.55% in 2004–2005). Patients treated with a newly approved drug during the relevant treatment era had a significant reduction in the risk of death when compared with patients treated with chemotherapy other than the newly approved agent (hazard ratios [95% confidence interval] were 0.76 [0.71–0.81] for platinum, 0.73 [0.70–0.75] for docetaxel, 0.40 [0.37–0.44] for pemetrexed, and 0.33 [0.27–0.40] for bevacizumab; p < .001). Propensity score adjustment did not significantly alter these results.
Currently approved drugs for the treatment of advanced NSCLC are associated with improved survival in the U.S. Medicare patient population. Our findings support the effectiveness of these agents in the real-world oncology practice.
PMCID: PMC3662852  PMID: 23635558
SEER–Medicare; Lung cancer; Chemotherapy; Effectiveness; Survival; Real world
14.  Chemotherapy Outcomes by Histologic Subtypes of Non-Small cell Lung Cancer: Analysis of the Southwest Oncology Group Database for Antimicrotubule-Platinum Therapy 
Clinical lung cancer  2013;14(6):627-635.
Histological subtyping has been advocated to select chemotherapy for patients with advanced stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Data from four randomized trials (S9308, S9509, S9806 and S0003) administering an antimicrotubular agent (a taxane or vinorelbine) plus platinum in patients receiving first line treatment for advanced stage NSCLC were analyzed. Of 1146 patients included in this analysis there was no difference in OS or PFS by histological subtype. Since the great majority of advanced NSCLC patients continue to receive chemotherapy, defining molecular-based predictive markers of responsiveness is warranted.
Histologic subtyping has been advocated to select chemotherapy for patients with advanced-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To determine if histologic subtype was associated with efficacy for the commonly used antimicrotubular (AMT) agents, paclitaxel, docetaxel and vinorelbine plus a platinum compound, we examined the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) lung cancer database.
Data from 4 randomized trials (S9308, S9509, S9806 and S0003) administering an AMT agent plus platinum in patients receiving first-line treatment for advanced stage NSCLC were analyzed. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) comparisons were performed using Cox proportional hazard regression, adjusting for sex. Median survival times were estimated by Kaplan-Meier.
Of 1146 patients included in this analysis, 640 had adenocarcinoma (56%), 220 had squamous cell carcinoma (19%), 121 had large cell carcinoma (11%) and 165 had NSCLC not otherwise specified (NOS)(14%). Median OS times by histologic subtypes were 8.5, 8.4, 8.2, and 9.6 months, respectively, and median PFS times were 4.2, 4.3, 4.3, and 4.6 months, respectively. No difference in OS or PFS was observed by histologic subtype and, specifically, between nonsquamous and squamous histologies.
This pooled analysis from 4 SWOG trials employing an AMT-platinum regimen did not show a difference in survival outcomes by histologic subtype. Because the majority of patients with advanced NSCLC continue to receive chemotherapy, defining molecular-based predictive markers of responsiveness is warranted.
PMCID: PMC4122504  PMID: 23910067
Chemotherapy outcomes; Histology; Lung cancer
15.  Efficacy of platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy in T2aN0 stage IB non-small cell lung cancer 
Although overall survival for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has increased, survival rate for pathologically staged T2aN0M0 stage IB NSCLC remains low. Adjuvant chemotherapy is not a standard treatment for stage IB NSCLC. Our purpose was to determine the efficacy of platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy in stage IB NSCLC.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 119 stage IB patients who underwent lobectomy and mediastinal lymph node dissection. Among these, 60 patients underwent platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy (adjuvant group) and 59 did not receive chemotherapy (observation group).
Participants had a mean age of 62.12 ± 11.51 years and 73 (61.3%) were male. The median follow-up period was 49.04 months. Mean age was higher in the observation group whereas patients in the adjuvant group had larger tumors, more dissected lymph nodes, and better performance status. The 5-year overall survival was 64.7% in the observation group and 88.2% in the adjuvant group (p = 0.010). The 5-year disease-free survival was 51.3% in the observation group and 74.0% in the adjuvant group (p = 0.011). In multivariate analysis, only platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy was a risk factor for overall survival [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.428, p = 0.049] and disease-free survival (HR = 0.57, p = 0.043). In subset analysis, patients with a larger tumor (greater than 3.2 cm), moderate to poor differentiation, and good performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, 0) benefitted from platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy.
Platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy for surgically treated stage IB NSCLC might offer better survival than observation alone. A large-scale randomized clinical trial is needed to validate these findings.
PMCID: PMC3684513  PMID: 23759129
Lung cancer surgery; Adjuvant therapy; Statistics; Survival analysis
16.  Excision Repair Cross-Complementation Group 1 (ERCC1) Status and Lung Cancer Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Published Studies and Recommendations 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25164.
Despite discrepant results on clinical utility, several trials are already prospectively randomizing non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients by ERCC1 status. We aimed to characterize the prognostic and predictive effect of ERCC1 by systematic review and meta-analysis.
Eligible studies assessed survival and/or chemotherapy response in NSCLC or SCLC by ERCC1 status. Effect measures of interest were hazard ratio (HR) for survival or relative risk (RR) for chemotherapy response. Random-effects meta-analyses were used to account for between-study heterogeneity, with unadjusted/adjusted effect estimates considered separately.
23 eligible studies provided survival results in 2,726 patients. Substantial heterogeneity was observed in all meta-analyses (I2 always >30%), partly due to variability in thresholds defining ‘low’ and ‘high’ ERCC1. Meta-analysis of unadjusted estimates showed high ERCC1 was associated with significantly worse overall survival in platinum-treated NSCLC (average unadjusted HR = 1.61, 95%CI:1.23–2.1, p = 0.014), but not in NSCLC untreated with chemotherapy (average unadjusted HR = 0.82, 95%CI:0.51–1.31). Meta-analysis of adjusted estimates was limited by variable choice of adjustment factors and potential publication bias (Egger's p<0.0001). There was evidence that high ERCC1 was associated with reduced response to platinum (average RR = 0.80; 95%CI:0.64–0.99). SCLC data were inadequate to draw firm conclusions.
Current evidence suggests high ERCC1 may adversely influence survival and response in platinum-treated NSCLC patients, but not in non-platinum treated, although definitive evidence of a predictive influence is lacking. International consensus is urgently required to provide consistent, validated ERCC1 assessment methodology. ERCC1 assessment for treatment selection should currently be restricted to, and evaluated within, clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3194810  PMID: 22022380
17.  Associations of Polymorphisms in DNA Repair Genes and MDR1 Gene with Chemotherapy Response and Survival of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99843.
We aimed to determine the associations of genetic polymorphisms of excision repair cross-complementation group 1 (ERCC1) rs11615, xeroderma pigmentosum group D (XPD/ERCC2) rs13181, X-ray repair cross complementing group 1 (XRCC1) rs25487, XRCC3 rs1799794, and breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) rs1799966 from the DNA repair pathway and multiple drug resistance 1 (MDR1/ABCB1) rs1045642 with response to chemotherapy and survival of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in a Chinese population.
Materials and Methods
A total of 352 NSCLC patients were enrolled to evaluate the associations of the six SNPs with response to chemotherapy and overall survival. Logistic regressions were applied to test the associations of genetic polymorphisms with response to chemotherapy in 161 advanced NSCLC patients. Overall survival was analyzed in 161 advanced and 156 early stage NSCLC patients using the Kaplan-Meier method with log-rank test, respectively. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards model was performed to determine the factors independently associated with NSCLC prognosis.
BRCA1 rs1799966 minor allele C (TC+CC vs. TT, OR = 0.402, 95%CI = 0.204−0.794, p = 0.008) and MDR1/ABCB1 rs1045642 minor allele A (GA +AA vs. GG, OR = 0.478, 95%CI = 0.244−0.934, p = 0.030) were associated with a better response to chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC patients. Survival analyses indicated that BRCA1 rs1799966 TC+CC genotypes were associated with a decreased risk of death (HR = 0.617, 95% CI = 0.402−0.948, p = 0.028) in advanced NSCLC patients, and the association was still significant after the adjustment for covariates. Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that ERCC1 rs11615 AA genotype (P = 0.020) and smoking (p = 0.037) were associated with increased risks of death in early stage NSCLC patients after surgery.
Polymorphisms of genes in DNA repair pathway and MDR1 could contribute to chemotherapy response and survival of patients with NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC4059653  PMID: 24933103
18.  Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency Carriers, Serum Alpha 1-Antitrypsin Concentration, and Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Survival 
Although the association between alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (α1ATD) carriers and lung cancer risk has been found, the effects of α1ATD carriers and serum alpha 1-antitrypsin (α1AT) concentration on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) survival remained unclear.
Patients were selected from the Epidemiology and Genetics of Lung Cancer study at the Mayo Clinic with the criteria of 1) primary NSCLC diagnosis, and 2) available α1ATD carrier status tested by isoelectric focusing serum α1AT concentration by immunonephelometry. The effects of carrier status and serum α1AT concentration on survival were evaluated by Cox proportional hazards models with (1) a landmark approach where overall survival was defined from the time of blood draw to death from any cause, and (2) included only patients with blood draw time prior to initial treatment.
1,321 patients were included in this study, with 179 α1ATD carriers and 1,142 non-carriers. No differences in overall survival by α1ATD carrier status were found [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR): 0.98; 95% CI: 0.82-1.18]. However, serum α1AT concentration was significantly associated with survival among all patients in the landmark model [AHR per 50 mg/dL increments: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.10-1.20] and among patients whose blood were drawn for serum α1AT level assessment before any treatment [AHR per 50 mg/dL increments: 1.44; 95% CI: 1.21-1.71].
Being an α1ATD carrier had no significant effect on NSCLC survival. The increased serum α1AT concentration was a poor prognosis marker for NSCLC, regardless of carrier status.
PMCID: PMC3927968  PMID: 21173712
alpha 1-antitrypsin; alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency; non-small-cell lung cancer; survival
19.  Association Between CASP8 and CASP10 Polymorphisms and Toxicity Outcomes With Platinum-Based Chemotherapy in Chinese Patients With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
The Oncologist  2012;17(12):1551-1561.
Thirteen tag SNPs at the CASP8 and CASP10 loci in patients with advanced NSCLC were genotyped in a two-stage analysis consisting of a discovery set and an independent validation set. These SNPs were evaluated for their association with toxicity outcomes with platinum-based chemotherapy.
Caspase-8 and caspase-10 play crucial roles in both cancer development and chemotherapy efficacy. In this study, we aimed to comprehensively assess single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the caspase-8 (CASP8) and caspase-10 (CASP10) genes in relation to toxicity outcomes with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We genotyped 13 tag SNPs of CASP8 and CASP10 in 663 patients with advanced NSCLC treated with platinum-based chemotherapy regimens. Associations between SNPs and chemotherapy toxicity outcomes were identified in a discovery set of 279 patients and then validated in an independent set of 384 patients. In both the discovery and validation sets, variant homozygotes of CASP8 rs12990906 and heterozygotes of CASP8 rs3769827 and CASP10 rs11674246 and rs3731714 had a significantly lower risk for severe toxicity overall. However, only the association with the rs12990906 variant was replicated in the validation set for hematological toxicity risk. In a stratified analysis, we found that some other SNPs, including rs3769821, rs3769825, rs7608692, and rs12613347, were significantly associated with severe toxicity risk in some subgroups, such as in nonsmoking patients, patients with adenocarcinoma, and patients treated with cisplatin combinations. Consistent results were also found in haplotype analyses. Our results provide novel evidence that polymorphisms in CASP8 and CASP10 may modulate toxicity outcomes in patients with advanced NSCLC treated with platinum-based chemotherapy. If validated, the findings will facilitate the genotype-based selection of platinum-based chemotherapy regimens.
PMCID: PMC3528388  PMID: 22843554
CASP8; CASP10; Polymorphisms; Platinum-based chemotherapy; Toxicity; Non-small cell lung cancer; Association
Clinical lung cancer  2011;12(6):393-401.
Observational studies have demonstrated an association between ERCC1 expression level and health outcomes in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with platinum-based regimens. This analysis presents pooled estimates of association from these studies to better elucidate the prognostic role of ERCC1 in advanced NSCLC.
A systematic literature search was conducted using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and ASCO annual meeting databases from June, 1995 to December, 2010. Included studies were evaluated for clinical, methodological, and statistical heterogeneity. Pooled analyses were conducted using fixed and random effects models.
In high ERCC1 expression vs. low ERCC1 expression patients, pooled analysis results demonstrated a significantly lower response (RR: 0.80, 0.66–0.98) and significantly higher risk of death (HR: 2.03, 1.49–2.78), respectively. Sub-group analyses demonstrated significant heterogeneity in outcomes by ERCC1 measurement method (I2: 90.7%, p=0.001) and patient population ethnicity (I2: 66%, p=0.003).
This study’s findings support the hypothesis that ERCC1 expression is associated with response rate and overall survival in advanced NSCLC patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapy. Heterogeneity in sub-group analyses demonstrates the need for standardized methods to classify ERCC1 expression level, studies evaluating the association between ERCC1 expression and overall survival in non-Asian populations, and studies evaluating interaction between ERCC1 and other known prognostic factors in advanced NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3206990  PMID: 21723790
ERCC1; advanced lung cancer; non-small cell lung cancer; prognostic; meta-analysis
21.  Genetic variation predicting cisplatin cytotoxicity associated with overall survival in lung cancer patients receiving platinum-based chemotherapy †, ‡ 
Inherited variability in the prognosis of lung cancer patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapy has been widely investigated. However, the overall contribution of genetic variation to platinum response is not well established. To identify novel candidate SNPs/genes, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for cisplatin cytotoxicity using lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), followed by an association study of selected SNPs from the GWAS with overall survival (OS) in lung cancer patients.
Experimental Design
GWAS for cisplatin were performed with 283 ethnically diverse LCLs. 168 top SNPs were genotyped in 222 small cell and 961 non-small cell lung cancer (SCLC, NSCLC) patients treated with platinum-based therapy. Association of the SNPs with OS was determined using the Cox regression model. Selected candidate genes were functionally validated by siRNA knockdown in human lung cancer cells.
Among 157 successfully genotyped SNPs, 9 and 10 SNPs were top SNPs associated with OS for patients with NSCLC and SCLC, respectively, although they were not significant after adjusting for multiple testing. Fifteen genes, including 7 located within 200 kb up or downstream of the four top SNPs and 8 genes for which expression was correlated with three SNPs in LCLs were selected for siRNA screening. Knockdown of DAPK3 and METTL6, for which expression levels were correlated with the rs11169748 and rs2440915 SNPs, significantly decreased cisplatin sensitivity in lung cancer cells.
This series of clinical and complementary laboratory-based functional studies identified several candidate genes/SNPs that might help predict treatment outcomes for platinum-based therapy of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3167019  PMID: 21775533
Lung cancer; cisplatin; pharmacogenomics; lymphoblastoid cell lines; GWAS
22.  Outcomes of Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated in a Phase I Clinic 
The Oncologist  2011;16(3):327-335.
The presenting characteristics and outcomes of patients with advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer treated in MD Anderson Cancer Center phase I clinical studies are reported.
The outcomes of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated in phase I clinical trials have not been systematically analyzed.
We reviewed the records of consecutive patients with advanced/metastatic NSCLC who were treated in the Phase I Clinical Trials Program at MD Anderson from August 2004 to May 2009.
Eighty-five patients (51 men, 34 women) treated on various phase I protocols were identified. The median age was 62 years (range, 30–85). The median number of previous systemic therapies was two (range, 0–5). A partial response was observed in eight patients (9.5%) and stable disease lasting >4 months was observed in 16 patients (19%). The median overall survival time was 10.6 months and median progression-free survival (PFS) time was 2.8 months, which was 0.6 months shorter than the median PFS of 3.4 months following prior second-line therapy. Factors predicting longer survival in the univariate analysis were an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS) score of 0–1, no prior smoking, two or fewer organ systems involved, a hemoglobin level ≥12 g/dL, liver metastases, a history of thromboembolism, and a platelets count > 440 × 109/L. In the multivariate analysis, a PS score of 0–1 and history negative for smoking predicted longer survival. Sixty-two (73%) patients had grade ≤2 toxicity, and there were no treatment-related deaths.
Phase I clinical trials were well tolerated by selected patients with advanced NSCLC treated at M.D. Anderson. Nonsmokers and patients with a good PS survived longer. PFS in our population was shorter in smokers/ex-smokers and patients with a PS score of 2. It is reasonable to refer pretreated patients with a good PS to phase I clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3228100  PMID: 21339262
Phase I; Non-small cell lung cancer; Survival
23.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Prognosis in Advanced Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Platinum-Based Chemotherapy 
Genetic variation may influence chemotherapy response and overall survival in cancer patients.
Experimental design
We conducted a genome-wide scan in 535 advanced-stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients from two independent cohorts (307 from Nanjing and 228 from Beijing). A replication was carried out on an independent cohort of 340 patients from Southeastern China followed by a second validation on 409 patients from the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA).
Consistent associations with NSCLC survival were identified for five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in Chinese populations with P values ranging from 3.63 × 10−5 to 4.19 × 10−7 in the additive genetic model. The minor allele of three SNPs (rs7629386 at 3p22.1, rs969088 at 5p14.1, and rs3850370 at 14q24.3) were associated with worse NSCLC survival while 2 (rs41997 at 7q31.31 and rs12000445 at 9p21.3) were associated with better NSCLC survival. In addition, rs7629386 at 3p22.1 (CTNNB1) and rs3850370 at 14q24.3 (SNW1-ALKBH1-NRXN3) were further replicated in the Caucasian population.
In this three-stage genome-wide association studies, we identified five SNPs as markers for survival of advanced-stage NSCLC patients treated with first-line platinum-based chemotherapy in Chinese Han populations. Two of these SNPs, rs7629386 and rs3850370, could also be markers for survival among Caucasian patients.
PMCID: PMC3723686  PMID: 22872573
24.  SSBP2 variants are associated with survival in glioblastoma patients 
Glioblastoma is a devastating, incurable disease with few known prognostic factors. Here we present the first genome-wide survival and validation study for glioblastoma.
Cox regressions for survival with 314,635 inherited autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among 315 San Francisco Adult Glioma Study patients for discovery and three independent validation datasets (87 Mayo Clinic, 232 GliomaSE and 115 The Cancer Genome Atlas patients) were used to identify SNPs associated with overall survival for Caucasian glioblastoma patients treated with the current standard of care, resection, radiation and temozolomide (total n=749). Tumor expression of the gene that contained the identified prognostic SNP was examined in three separate datasets (total n=619). Genotype imputation was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for SNPs that had not been directly genotyped.
From the discovery and validation analyses, we identified a variant in SSBP2 (single-stranded DNA-binding protein 2) on 5q14.1 associated with overall survival in combined analyses (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.64; P = 1.3X10−6). Expression of SSBP2 in tumors from three independent datasets also was significantly related to patient survival (P = 5.3 X 10−4). Using genotype imputation, the SSBP2 SNP rs17296479 had the strongest statistically significant genome-wide association with poorer overall patient survival (HR = 1.79; 95% CI: 1.45–2.22; P = 1.0 X 10−7).
The minor allele of SSBP2 SNP rs17296479 and the increased tumor expression of SSBP2 were statistically significantly associated with poorer overall survival among glioblastoma patients. With further confirmation, previously unrecognized inherited variations influencing survival may warrant inclusion in clinical trials to improve randomization. Unaccounted for genetic influence on survival could produce unwanted bias in such studies.
PMCID: PMC3607457  PMID: 22472174
glioma; glioblastoma; GWAS; survival; epidemiology; SSBP2
25.  HSPB1 Gene Polymorphisms Predict Risk of Mortality for U.S. Patients after Radio(chemo)therapy for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
We investigated potential associations between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the heat shock protein beta-1 (HSPB1) gene and overall survival in U.S. patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Materials and Methods
Using available genomic DNA samples from 224 patients with NSCLC treated with definitive radio(chemo)therapy, we genotyped two SNPs of HSPB1 (rs2868370 and rs2868371). We used both Kaplan-Meier cumulative probability and Cox proportional hazards analyses to evaluate the effect of HSPB1 genotypes on survival.
Our cohort comprised 117 men and 107 women, mostly white (79.5%), with a median age of 70 years. The median radiation dose was 66 Gy (range 63–87.5 Gy), and 183 patients (82%) received concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy. The most common genotype of the rs2868371 SNP was CC (61%). Univariate and multivariate analyses showed that this genotype was associated with poorer survival than carriers of CG/GG genotypes (univariate hazard ratio [HR]=1.39, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02–1.90, P = 0.037; multivariate HR=1.39; 95% CI 1.01–1.92; P = 0.045).
Our results show that the CC genotype of HSPB1 rs2868371 was associated with poorer overall survival in patients with NSCLC after radio(chemo)therapy, findings that contradict those of a previous study of Chinese patients. Validation of our findings with larger numbers of similar patients is needed, as are mechanical and clinical studies to determine the mechanism underlying these associations.
PMCID: PMC3426644  PMID: 22608953
Non–small cell lung cancer; radiation therapy; overall survival; single-nucleotide polymorphisms; heat shock protein beta-1

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