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1.  A Review of Second-line Chemotherapy and Prognostic Models for Disseminated Germ Cell Tumors 
doi:10.1016/j.hoc.2011.03.007
PMCID: PMC3230321  PMID: 21570609
Testis Cancer; Germ Cell Neoplasm; Salvage Therapy; Chemotherapy
2.  TI-CE High-Dose Chemotherapy for Patients With Previously Treated Germ Cell Tumors: Results and Prognostic Factor Analysis 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(10):1706-1713.
Purpose
We previously reported a dose-finding and phase II trial of the TI-CE regimen (paclitaxel [T] plus ifosfamide [I] followed by high-dose carboplatin [C] plus etoposide [E] with stem-cell support) in germ cell tumor (GCT) patients predicted to have a poor prognosis with conventional-dose salvage therapy. We now report the efficacy of TI-CE with prognostic factors for disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) in our full data set of 107 patients.
Patients and Methods
Eligible patients had advanced GCTs with progressive disease following chemotherapy and unfavorable prognostic features (extragonadal primary site, incomplete response [IR] to first-line therapy, or relapse/IR to ifosfamide-cisplatin–based conventional-dose salvage). Univariate and multivariate analyses (MVAs) of prognostic factors were performed. The predictive ability of the Einhorn and Beyer prognostic models was assessed.
Results
Most patients were platinum refractory and had an IR to first-line chemotherapy. There were 54 (5%) complete and eight (8%) partial responses with negative markers; 5-year DFS was 47% and OS was 52% (median follow-up, 61 months). No relapses occurred after 2 years. Five (24%) of 21 primary mediastinal nonseminomatous GCTs are continuously disease free. On MVA, primary mediastinal site (P < .001), two or more lines of prior therapy (P < .001), baseline human chorionic gonadotropin ≥ 1,000 U/L (P = .01), and lung metastases (P = .02) significantly predicted adverse DFS. Poor-risk patients did worse than good- or intermediate-risk patients according to both Beyer (P < .002) and Einhorn (P < .05) models.
Conclusion
TI-CE is effective salvage therapy for GCT patients with poor prognostic features. Mediastinal primary site and two or more lines of prior therapy were most predictive of adverse DFS. Beyer and Einhorn models can assist in predicting outcome.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.25.1561
PMCID: PMC3651604  PMID: 20194867
3.  Long-Term Response to Sunitinib Therapy for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Clinical genitourinary cancer  2013;11(3):297-302.
A subset of patients achieves long-term responses with sunitinib therapy. We present a retrospective study of long-term responders, defined as patients achieving durable complete response (CR) or remaining progression free for > 18 months while receiving sunitinib. Favorable risk factors associated with long-term response include a lack of bone metastases or lung metastases and favorable Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) risk status.
Background
Sunitinib achieves objective response and prolongs progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). A subset of patients achieves long-term responses. The characteristics of patients who achieved long-term response (defined as patients achieving ongoing complete response [CR] or remaining progression free for > 18 months while receiving sunitinib) are reported.
Patients and Methods
A database of 186 patients treated with sunitinib alone (n = 89) or in combination (n = 97) in 9 clinical trials was reviewed; all had 1 year or more follow-up from sunitinib start to data cutoff for analysis. Median PFS was 10.8 months (95% CI, 8.3–13.3); median overall survival (OS) was 30.4 months (95% CI, 21.5–36.8 months) for the 186 patients. Thirty-four patients were identified as long-term responders because they either had durable CR or remained progression free while receiving sunitinib for > 18 months.
Results
Best response for 34 long-term responders was CR in 3 patients, partial response (PR) in 24 patients, and stable disease in 7 patients. The median duration of sunitinib therapy was 24.9 months (range, 18.1–73.9 months). The median PFS among the long-term responders was 17.4 months (95% CI, 7–29.9 months) at a landmark PFS analysis performed after 18 months from treatment start. Univariate analysis from the 186 patients identified bone metastasis, lung metastasis, and intermediate/poor risk groups as adverse prognostic factors for long-term response.
Conclusion
Sunitinib achieves long-term response in a subset of patients with metastatic RCC. Lack of bone metastasis or lung metastasis and good MSKCC risk status may predict long-term response.
doi:10.1016/j.clgc.2013.04.001
PMCID: PMC3959735  PMID: 23707221
Metastatic; Renal cell carcinoma; Sunitinib; Systemic therapy; Targeted therapy
4.  Sarcomatoid-variant Renal Cell Carcinoma Treatment Outcome and Survival in Advanced Disease 
Objectives
Sarcomatoid variant is a spindle cell phenotype of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which is associated with a poor prognosis. We reviewed outcomes of systemic therapy for metastatic, sarcomatoid-variant RCC.
Methods
Clinical features, treatment outcome, and survival were evaluated in 63 patients with sarcomatoid-variant metastatic RCC (47 clear cell, 16 nonclear cell). Initial systemic treatment included antiangiogenesis-targeted therapy (n=34), cytokines (n=20), and chemotherapy (n=9).
Results
Five of 63 patients (8%) achieved an objective response to the first systemic treatment: 1 (5%) to cytokine and 4 (12%) to sunitinib-targeted therapy. Median progression-free survival for 63 patients was 3 months (95% confidence interval), and median overall survival was 10 months (95% confidence interval). The median progression-free survival for patients treated with sunitinib versus all others was 4.4 months versus 2 months (P=0.03), and 3 months for patients with clear-cell histology versus 1.6 months for nonclear-cell histology (P=0.004).
Conclusions
Metastatic sarcomatoid-variant RCC was associated with a poor response to systemic therapy. Sunitinib treatment resulted in a modest response rate, but studies to characterize the underlying tumor biology of sarcomatoid-variant RCC, to assess outcome to targeted agents, and to develop novel treatment strategies are warranted.
doi:10.1097/COC.0b013e3181f47aa4
PMCID: PMC3661202  PMID: 21127411
metastatic; sarcomatoid; renal cell carcinoma; sunitinib; targeted therapy
5.  Phase I trial of everolimus plus sunitinib in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma 
Cancer  2011;118(7):1868-1876.
Background
Simultaneous inhibition of the vascular epithelial growth factor (VEGF) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway may improve treatment response in advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Everolimus, an oral mTOR inhibitor, and sunitinib, an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) targeting VEGF are standard agents in the management of metastatic RCC.
Methods
Sequential cohorts of 3 to 6 patients with advanced RCC received dose escalated combinations of sunitinib (37.5 or 50 mg daily, 4 weeks on / 2 weeks off) with everolimus (2.5–5 mg daily or 20–30 mg weekly). Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were assessed in the first 6-week cycle to determine MTD. Pharmacokinetic profiles were obtained.
Results
20 patients (13 clear cell and 7 non-clear cell RCC) were enrolled in 5 cohorts. Daily everolimus was not tolerated when combined with sunitinib; the first 2 patients on the 2nd cohort suffered DLTs. With weekly everolimus, the MTD was 30 mg everolimus on days 7, 14, 21, and 28, plus 37.5 mg sunitinib on days 1–28 of a 42-day cycle; however, chronic treatment was associated with grade 3 and 4 toxicities. A schedule of 20 mg everolimus weekly/37.5 mg sunitinib was tolerated as chronic therapy. Five patients (25%) had confirmed partial responses, 3 had non-clear cell RCC. No unexpected accumulation of everolimus, sunitinib, or N-desethyl sunitinib was observed.
Conclusions
The combination everolimus and sunitinib is associated with significant acute and chronic toxicities and is only tolerated at attenuated doses. Responses were observed in non-clear cell and clear cell RCC.
doi:10.1002/cncr.26429
PMCID: PMC3609026  PMID: 21898375
renal cell carcinoma; everolimus; sunitinib; targeted therapy; combination drug therapy
6.  Phase II trial of sunitinib in patients with metastatic non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Investigational New Drugs  2010;30(1):335-340.
Summary
Sunitinib is associated with a robust objective response rate in patients with metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The primary objective of this phase II clinical trial was to assess the overall response rate for sunitinib in patients with papillary metastatic RCC as well as other non-clear cell histologies. A Simon 2-stage design was used to determine the number of papillary metastatic RCC patients for enrollment, and allowed for descriptive response data for other non-clear cell histologies. Twenty-three patients were enrolled, including 8 with papillary renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and the remainder with other non-clear cell histologies (unclassified in 5 patients). All patients received 50 mg of oral sunitinib in cycles of 4 weeks followed by 2 weeks of rest (4/2). The trial was stopped early because of slow accrual; no responses were observed in the 8 patients with papillary RCC. In the 22 evaluable patients, best response to sunitinib included a partial response in 1 patient with unclassified RCC, stable disease in 15, and progression in 6. The median progression-free survival was 5.5 months (95% CI, 2.5–7.1) in all 23 patients, and 5.6 months for the 8 papillary patients (95% CI, 1.4–7.1). The robust objective responses sunitinib had produced in clear cell RCC could not be demonstrated in this study comprised of patients with non-clear cell histologies.
doi:10.1007/s10637-010-9491-6
PMCID: PMC3257373  PMID: 20711632
Papillary renal cell carcinoma; Non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma; Sunitinib; Phase II trial
7.  Reduced Proficiency in Homologous Recombination Underlies the High Sensitivity of Embryonal Carcinoma Testicular Germ Cell Tumors to Cisplatin and Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Inhibition 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51563.
Testicular Germ Cell Tumors (TGCT) and patient-derived cell lines are extremely sensitive to cisplatin and other interstrand cross-link (ICL) inducing agents. Nevertheless, a subset of TGCTs are either innately resistant or acquire resistance to cisplatin during treatment. Understanding the mechanisms underlying TGCT sensitivity/resistance to cisplatin as well as the identification of novel strategies to target cisplatin-resistant TGCTs have major clinical implications. Herein, we have examined the proficiency of five embryonal carcinoma (EC) cell lines to repair cisplatin-induced ICLs. Using γH2AX staining as a marker of double strand break formation, we found that EC cell lines were either incapable of or had a reduced ability to repair ICL-induced damage. The defect correlated with reduced Homologous Recombination (HR) repair, as demonstrated by the reduction of RAD51 foci formation and by direct evaluation of HR efficiency using a GFP-reporter substrate. HR-defective tumors cells are known to be sensitive to the treatment with poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor. In line with this observation, we found that EC cell lines were also sensitive to PARP inhibitor monotherapy. The magnitude of sensitivity correlated with HR-repair reduced proficiency and with the expression levels and activity of PARP1 protein. In addition, we found that PARP inhibition strongly enhanced the response of the most resistant EC cells to cisplatin, by reducing their ability to overcome the damage. These results point to a reduced proficiency of HR repair as a source of sensitivity of ECs to ICL-inducing agents and PARP inhibitor monotherapy, and suggest that pharmacological inhibition of PARP can be exploited to target the stem cell component of the TGCTs (namely ECs) and to enhance the sensitivity of cisplatin-resistant TGCTs to standard treatments.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051563
PMCID: PMC3520950  PMID: 23251575
8.  High-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplantation for advanced testicular cancer 
Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy  2011;11(7):1091-1103.
High-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) with autologous stem cell support has been studied in both the salvage and first-line setting in advanced germ cell tumor (GCT) patients with poor-risk features. While early studies reported significant treatment-related mortality, introduction of peripheral blood stem cell transplantation, recombinant growth factors and better supportive care have decreased toxicity; and in more recent reports treatment-related deaths are observed in <3% of patients. Two to three cycles of high-dose carboplatin and etoposide is the standard backbone for HDCT, given with or without additional agents including ifosfamide, cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel. Three large randomized Phase III trials have failed to show a benefit of HDCT over conventional-dose chemotherapy (CDCT) in the first-line treatment of patients with intermediate- or poor-risk advanced GCT, and to date the routine use of HDCT has been reserved for the salvage setting. Several prognostic models have been developed to help predict outcome of salvage HDCT, the most recent of which applies to both CDCT and HDCT in the initial salvage setting. Patients that relapse after HDCT are usually considered incurable, and additional therapy is provided with palliative intent.
doi:10.1586/era.10.231
PMCID: PMC3253700  PMID: 21806332
chemotherapy; germ cell tumors; high-dose chemotherapy; stem cell transplantation; testicular cancer
9.  Testicular Cancer Survivorship: Research Strategies and Recommendations 
Testicular cancer represents the most curable solid tumor, with a 10-year survival rate of more than 95%. Given the young average age at diagnosis, it is estimated that effective treatment approaches, in particular, platinum-based chemotherapy, have resulted in an average gain of several decades of life. This success, however, is offset by the emergence of considerable long-term morbidity, including second malignant neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity, pulmonary toxicity, hypogonadism, decreased fertility, and psychosocial problems. Data on underlying genetic or molecular factors that might identify those patients at highest risk for late sequelae are sparse. Genome-wide association studies and other translational molecular approaches now provide opportunities to identify testicular cancer survivors at greatest risk for therapy-related complications to develop evidence-based long-term follow-up guidelines and interventional strategies. We review research priorities identified during an international workshop devoted to testicular cancer survivors. Recommendations include 1) institution of lifelong follow-up of testicular cancer survivors within a large cohort setting to ascertain risks of emerging toxicities and the evolution of known late sequelae, 2) development of comprehensive risk prediction models that include treatment factors and genetic modifiers of late sequelae, 3) elucidation of the effect(s) of decades-long exposure to low serum levels of platinum, 4) assessment of the overall burden of medical and psychosocial morbidity, and 5) the eventual formulation of evidence-based long-term follow-up guidelines and interventions. Just as testicular cancer once served as the paradigm of a curable malignancy, comprehensive follow-up studies of testicular cancer survivors can pioneer new methodologies in survivorship research for all adult-onset cancer.
doi:10.1093/jnci/djq216
PMCID: PMC2914759  PMID: 20585105
10.  Is High Dose Therapy Superior to Conventional Dose Therapy as Initial Treatment for Relapsed Germ Cell Tumors? The TIGER Trial 
Journal of Cancer  2011;2:374-377.
Metastatic germ cell tumours (GCTs) are usually cured with cisplatin based chemotherapy and standard treatment algorithms are established. However when this treatment fails and the disease relapses, standard treatment is much more uncertain. Both conventional dose therapy (CDT) and high dose therapy (HDT) are widely used, due to the lack of conclusive data supporting one specific approach. A recent retrospective analysis focusing on this population suggested a significant benefit for HDT. Retrospective analyses are prone to bias, and therefore while this data is provocative it is by no mean conclusive. For this reason the international community is supporting a prospective randomised trial in this area comparing CDT(TIP) with sequential HDT (TICE). The planned open labelled randomised phase III study (TIGER) is due to open in 2011 and will recruit 390 patients to detect a 13% difference in 2 year progression free survival (primary endpoint). It is hoped that this large study will conclusively resolve the uncertainty which currently exists.
PMCID: PMC3133961  PMID: 21750688
Metastatic germ cell tumours; dose therapy; relapses
11.  Identification and Validation of a Gene Expression Signature That Predicts Outcome in Adult Men With Germ Cell Tumors 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(31):5240-5247.
Purpose
Germ cell tumor (GCT) is the most common malignancy in young adult men. Currently, patients are risk-stratified on the basis of clinical presentation and serum tumor markers. The introduction of molecular markers could improve outcome prediction.
Patients and Methods
Expression profiling was performed on 74 nonseminomatous GCTs (NSGCTs) from cisplatin-treated patients (ie, training set) and on 34 similarly treated patients with NSGCTs (ie, validation set). A gene classifier was developed by using prediction analysis for microarrays (PAM) for the binary end point of 5-year overall survival (OS). A predictive score was developed for OS by using the univariate Cox model.
Results
In the training set, PAM identified 140 genes that predicted 5-year OS (cross-validated classification rate, 60%). The PAM model correctly classified 90% of patients in the validation set. Patients predicted to have good outcome had significantly longer survival than those with poor predicted outcome (P < .001). For the OS end point, a 10-gene model had a predictive accuracy (ie, concordance index) of 0.66 in the training set and a concordance index of 0.83 in the validation set. Dichotomization of the samples on the basis of the median score resulted in significant differences in survival (P = .002). For both end points, the gene-based predictor was an independent prognostic factor in a multivariate model that included clinical risk stratification (P < .01 for both).
Conclusion
We have identified gene expression signatures that accurately predict outcome in patients with GCTs. These predictive genes should be useful for the prediction of patient outcome and could provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.20.0386
PMCID: PMC3651602  PMID: 19770384
12.  A Phase I Study of Flavopiridol Administered with Oxaliplatin and Fluorouracil/Leucovorin (FOLFOX) in Advanced Solid Tumors: Encouraging Activity in Refractory Germ Cell Tumors 
Purpose
Flavopiridol, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, has promising clinical activity when combined with chemotherapy. Preclinical data indicate that flavopiridol enhances oxaliplatin (OX)- and fluorouracil (5FU)-induced apoptosis in a sequence-dependent manner.
Experimental Design
We conducted a phase I trial of flavopiridol + FOLFOX (folinic acid, 5FU, and OX) for advanced solid tumors. Flavopiridol was administered every two weeks with OX before 5FU, based on sequence-dependent growth inhibition. Flavopiridol pharmacokinetics and p53 status were evaluated.
Results
Forty-eight patients were treated on study. With dose escalation of OX (85 mg/m2) and 5FU (2400 mg/m2), dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) included hyponatremia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. 5FU was subsequently reduced to allow for dose escalation of flavopiridol. DLTs with escalation of flavopiridol were nausea, vomiting, and neutropenia. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was flavopiridol 70 mg/m2, oxaliplatin 85 mg/m2, and 5FU 1800 mg/m2 continuous infusion over 48 hours. Clinical activity was noted in platinum-refractory germ cell tumors (GCTs): 3 out of 9 (33%) evaluable patients demonstrated a partial response on imaging, and 7 out of 10 (70%) had a decline in serum tumor markers. Responses were also observed in pancreatic, gastric, and sweat gland tumors. Flavopiridol pharmacokinetics had significant interpatient variability. At the MTD, tumor samples were p53 mutant (>30% positive cells) for responders and p53 wild-type for non-responders.
Conclusions
Flavopiridol with FOLFOX is a safe and tolerable regimen. Promising clinical activity was seen across tumor types. Encouraging results in the platinum-refractory GCT population has prompted a phase II trial which is currently open for accrual.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-1502
PMCID: PMC2787644  PMID: 19934304
flavopiridol; FOLFOX; germ cell tumor; solid tumor; refractory
13.  Phase I Trial of Bevacizumab Plus Escalated Doses of Sunitinib in Patients With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(9):1432-1439.
Purpose
Both bevacizumab and sunitinib target the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway and demonstrate activity against advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this phase I study, the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and safety of sunitinib in combination with bevacizumab were examined in patients with advanced RCC.
Patients and Methods
Three cohorts of three to six patients were treated with escalated doses of daily oral sunitinib (ie, 25 mg, 37.5 mg, 50 mg) for 4 weeks followed by a 2-week break and with fixed doses of bevacizumab (10 mg/kg) intravenously once every 2 weeks. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were assessed during the first cycle to determine the MTD, and an expanded cohort was treated to obtain additional safety information.
Results
Of 26 study participants, 25 received treatment at one of three dose levels. Grade 4 hemorrhage, identified as a DLT, occurred in one patient in each of cohorts 2 and 3. The MTD was determined to be sunitinib 50 mg/bevacizumab 10 mg/kg, but chronic therapy at this dose level frequently resulted in grades 3 to 4 hypertension and hematologic and vascular toxicities. Overall, 48% of patients discontinued treatment because of adverse events. One complete and 12 partial responses were observed, which provided an objective response rate of 52%.
Conclusion
In this phase I trial of patients with metastatic RCC, the combination of sunitinib and bevacizumab caused a high degree of hypertension and vascular and hematologic toxicities at the highest dose level. We do not plan to pursue additional study of this regimen at these doses in patients with RCC.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.19.0108
PMCID: PMC3655420  PMID: 19224847
14.  Treatment of stage I seminoma: is it time to change your practice? 
At the plenary session of the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, updated results were presented from a large randomized phase III trial comparing adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) and one cycle of Carboplatin for the adjuvant treatment of Stage I seminoma. Results of this Medical Research Council (MRC) trial led its investigators to conclude that one cycle of carboplatin was equivalent in safety and efficacy and less toxic than RT. In this editorial, the trial's design, statistics, toxicity, and length of follow-up are discussed within the context of historical treatments of this disease. With a 1.3% increase in relapse rate (5.3% with carboplatin vs. 4.0% with radiation), a 3% or greater increase in relapse rate could not be excluded, the primary endpoint of the study. A decrease in second testicular germ cell tumors was observed, but was equivalent to the increase in relapse rate. Acute toxicity was generally less with carboplatin. However, the extent of late toxicity, including late second neoplasms, cannot be evaluated because of the short median follow-up. Carboplatin is not yet a standard of care. Surveillance-based strategies, including risk-adapted policies that limit RT to patients with the greatest likelihood of relapse remain prudent at this time.
doi:10.1186/1756-8722-1-22
PMCID: PMC2588624  PMID: 18992162

Results 1-14 (14)