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1.  Prognostic Model for Predicting Survival of Patients With Metastatic Urothelial Cancer Treated With Cisplatin-Based Chemotherapy 
A prognostic model that predicts overall survival (OS) for metastatic urothelial cancer (MetUC) patients treated with cisplatin-based chemotherapy was developed, validated, and compared with a commonly used Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) risk-score model. Data from 7 protocols that enrolled 308 patients with MetUC were pooled. An external multi-institutional dataset was used to validate the model. The primary measurement of predictive discrimination was Harrell’s c-index, computed with 95% confidence interval (CI). The final model included four pretreatment variables to predict OS: visceral metastases, albumin, performance status, and hemoglobin. The Harrell’s c-index was 0.67 for the four-variable model and 0.64 for the MSKCC risk-score model, with a prediction improvement for OS (the U statistic and its standard deviation were used to calculate the two-sided P = .002). In the validation cohort, the c-indices for the four-variable and the MSKCC risk-score models were 0.63 (95% CI = 0.56 to 0.69) and 0.58 (95% CI = 0.52 to 0.65), respectively, with superiority of the four-variable model compared with the MSKCC risk-score model for OS (the U statistic and its standard deviation were used to calculate the two-sided P = .02).
doi:10.1093/jnci/djt015
PMCID: PMC3691944  PMID: 23411591
2.  Phase II and Biomarker Study of the Dual MET/VEGFR2 Inhibitor Foretinib in Patients With Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;31(2):181-186.
Purpose
Foretinib is an oral multikinase inhibitor targeting MET, VEGF, RON, AXL, and TIE-2 receptors. Activating mutations or amplifications in MET have been described in patients with papillary renal cell carcinoma (PRCC). We aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of foretinib in patients with PRCC.
Patients and Methods
Patients were enrolled onto the study in two cohorts with different dosing schedules of foretinib: cohort A, 240 mg once per day on days 1 through 5 every 14 days (intermittent arm); cohort B, 80 mg daily (daily dosing arm). Patients were stratified on the basis of MET pathway activation (germline or somatic MET mutation, MET [7q31] amplification, or gain of chromosome 7). The primary end point was overall response rate (ORR).
Results
Overall, 74 patients were enrolled, with 37 in each dosing cohort. ORR by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) 1.0 was 13.5%, median progression-free survival was 9.3 months, and median overall survival was not reached. The presence of a germline MET mutation was highly predictive of a response (five of 10 v five of 57 patients with and without germline MET mutations, respectively). The most frequent adverse events of any grade associated with foretinib were fatigue, hypertension, gastrointestinal toxicities, and nonfatal pulmonary emboli.
Conclusion
Foretinib demonstrated activity in patients with advanced PRCC with a manageable toxicity profile and a high response rate in patients with germline MET mutations.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2012.43.3383
PMCID: PMC3532390  PMID: 23213094
3.  Prospective Analysis of Genetic Polymorphisms and Risk of Recurrence in Renal Cell Cancer 
The lancet oncology  2012;14(1):81-87.
Summary
Background
Germline genetic polymorphisms may affect the risk of recurrence in patients with localized renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Our aim was to investigate the association of genetic polymorphisms with RCC recurrence.
Patients and Methods
We analyzed germline DNA samples extracted from 554 (discovery cohort of 403 and an independent validation cohort of 151) patients with localized RCC treated at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) and of European-American ancestry (Caucasians). The discovery cohort was selected from a prospective database at Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and the validation cohort was identified from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgery and pathology department records. Single nucleotide polymorphims (SNPs) residing in 70 genes involved in RCC pathogenesis including the VHL/HIF/VEGF, PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways, and genes involved in immune regulation and metabolism were genotyped for the discovery cohort (total 285 SNPs successfully genotyped and assessable for analysis). The analyses of genotype associations with recurrence free survival (RFS) were assessed using Cox proportional hazards model, Kaplan-Meier method and logrank test. False discovery rate (FDR) q-value was used to adjust for multiple comparisons in selecting potential SNPs with RFS association. The finding from the discovery cohort was validated in an external independent cohort.
Findings
We report the significant association between genotype variants of SNP rs11762213 (c.144G>A; p.Ala48Ala, located in exon two c-MET) and primary analysis endpoint of RFS using both univariate and multivariable analysis. Specifically, patients carrying one or two copies of the minor (risk) allele had an increased risk of recurrence or death (hazard ratio (HR) =1·86, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1·17,2·95; p=0·0084) in the multivariate analysis adjusted for clinical and pathological factors. The median RFS for carriers of the risk allele was 19 months (95%CI: 9,*) compared to 50 months (95%CI: 37,75) for homozygotes of the non-risk allele. The significant association was validated using data from the validation cohort with a HR of 2·45 (95%CI: 1·01,5·95; p=0·048), although of borderline significance. The rs11762213 results in a synonymous aminoacid change in cMET gene. * unable to estimate due to small sample.
Interpretation
Patients with localized RCC and c-MET polymorphism (rs11762213) may have an increased risk of recurrence after nephrectomy. If these results are further validated, it may be incorporated in future prognostic tools, potentially aiding in the design of adjuvant clinical trials with c-MET inhibitors, and clinical management.
Funding
This project is funded by the Conquer Cancer Foundation and ASCO under a Career Development Award (CDA) for Dr. Choueiri, The Trust Family Research for Kidney cancer for Dr. Choueiri and the NIH/NCI Kidney cancer SPORE.
doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70517-X
PMCID: PMC3769687  PMID: 23219378
localized renal cell cancer; nephrectomy; recurrence free interval; genetic polymorphisms; single nucleotide polymorphisms; MET; VEGF
4.  Loss of Sh3gl2/Endophilin A1 Is a Common Event in Urothelial Carcinoma that Promotes Malignant Behavior12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2013;15(7):749-760.
Urothelial carcinoma (UC) causes substantial morbidity and mortality worldwide. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying urothelial cancer development and tumor progression are still largely unknown. Using informatics analysis, we identified Sh3gl2 (endophilin A1) as a bladder urothelium-enriched transcript. The gene encoding Sh3gl2 is located on chromosome 9p, a region frequently altered in UC. Sh3gl2 is known to regulate endocytosis of receptor tyrosine kinases implicated in oncogenesis, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and c-Met. However, its role in UC pathogenesis is unknown. Informatics analysis of expression profiles as well as immunohistochemical staining of tissue microarrays revealed Sh3gl2 expression to be decreased in UC specimens compared to nontumor tissues. Loss of Sh3gl2 was associated with increasing tumor grade and with muscle invasion, which is a reliable predictor of metastatic disease and cancer-derived mortality. Sh3gl2 expression was undetectable in 19 of 20 human UC cell lines but preserved in the low-grade cell line RT4. Stable silencing of Sh3gl2 in RT4 cells by RNA interference 1) enhanced proliferation and colony formation in vitro, 2) inhibited EGF-induced EGFR internalization and increased EGFR activation, 3) stimulated phosphorylation of Src family kinases and STAT3, and 4) promoted growth of RT4 xenografts in subrenal capsule tissue recombination experiments. Conversely, forced re-expression of Sh3gl2 in T24 cells and silenced RT4 clones attenuated oncogenic behaviors, including growth and migration. Together, these findings identify loss of Sh3gl2 as a frequent event in UC development that promotes disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3689238  PMID: 23814487
5.  Combination of a novel gene expression signature with a clinical nomogram improves the prediction of survival in high-risk bladder cancer 
Purpose
We aimed to validate and improve prognostic signatures for high-risk urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.
Experimental Design
We evaluated microarray data from 93 bladder cancer patients managed by radical cystectomy to determine gene expression patterns associated with clinical and prognostic variables. We compared our results with published bladder cancer microarray datasets comprising 578 additional patients, and with 49 published gene signatures from multiple cancer types. Hierarchical clustering was utilized to identify subtypes associated with differences in survival. We then investigated whether the addition of survival-associated gene expression information to a validated post-cystectomy nomogram utilizing clinical and pathologic variables improves prediction of recurrence.
Results
Multiple markers for muscle invasive disease with highly significant expression differences in multiple datasets were identified, such as FN1, NNMT, POSTN and SMAD6. We identified signatures associated with pathologic stage and the likelihood of developing metastasis and death from bladder cancer, as well as with two distinct clustering subtypes of bladder cancer. Our novel signature correlated with overall survival in multiple independent datasets, significantly improving the prediction concordance of standard staging in all datasets (mean ΔC-statistic: 0.14, 95% CI 0.01–0.27; P < 0.001). Tested in our patient cohort, it significantly enhanced the performance of a postoperative survival nomogram (ΔC-statistic: 0.08, 95% CI −0.04–0.20; P < 0.005).
Conclusions
Prognostic information obtained from gene expression data can aid in post-treatment prediction of bladder cancer recurrence. Our findings require further validation in external cohorts and prospectively in a clinical trial setting.
doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2271
PMCID: PMC3569085  PMID: 22228636
Bladder cancer; gene expression analysis; molecular subtypes; survival analysis; bioinformatics
6.  Advanced Urothelial Carcinoma: Overcoming Treatment Resistance through Novel Treatment Approaches 
The current standard of care for metastatic urothelial carcinoma is cisplatin-based chemotherapy but treatment is generally not curative. Mechanisms of resistance to conventional cytotoxic regimens include tumor cell drug efflux pumps, intracellular anti-oxidants, and enhanced anti-apoptotic signaling. Blockade of signaling pathways with small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors has produced dramatic responses in subsets of other cancers. Multiple potential signaling pathway targets are altered in Urothelial carcinoma (UC). Blockade of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway may prove efficacious because 21% have activating PI3K mutations and another 30% have PTEN inactivation (which leads to activation of this pathway). The fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 protein may be overactive in 50–60% and agents which block this pathway are under development. Blockade of multiple other pathways including HER2 and aurora kinase also have potential efficacy. Anti-angiogenic and immunotherapy strategies are also under development in UC and are discussed in this review. Novel therapeutic approaches are needed in UC. We review the various strategies under investigation and discuss how best to evaluate and optimize their efficacy.
doi:10.3389/fphar.2013.00003
PMCID: PMC3565214  PMID: 23390417
urothelial cancer; bladder cancer; oncogenes; chemotherapy; resistance mechanisms
7.  Personalized therapy for urothelial cancer: review of the clinical evidence 
Clinical investigation  2011;1(4):546-555.
Despite a detailed understanding of the molecular aberrations driving the development of urothelial cancers, this knowledge has not translated into advances for the treatment of this disease. Urothelial cancers are chemosensitive, and platinum-based combination chemotherapy remains the standard of care for advanced disease, as well as neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy for locally advanced disease. However, nearly half of patients who undergo resection of locally advanced urothelial cancer will relapse and eventually develop platinum-resistant disease. Clinical trials of targeted agents against angiogenesis and growth factors, as well as novel chemotheraputics, have generally been unsuccessful in urothelial cancers. Improvements in the theraputic arsenal for urothelial cancer depend upon identification of new targets and strategies to overcome platinum resistance.
doi:10.4155/cli.11.26
PMCID: PMC3384687  PMID: 22754656
8.  Abiraterone acetate: oral androgen biosynthesis inhibitor for treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer 
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the US and Europe. The treatment of advanced-stage prostate cancer has been androgen deprivation. Medical castration leads to decreased production of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone by the testes, but adrenal glands and even prostate cancer tissue continue to produce androgens, which eventually leads to continued prostate cancer growth despite castrate level of androgens. This stage is known as castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), which continues to be a challenge to treat. Addition of androgen antagonists to hormonal deprivation has been successful in lowering the prostate-specific antigen levels further, but has not actually translated into life-prolonging options. The results of several contemporary studies have continued to demonstrate activation of the androgen receptor as being the key factor in the continued growth of prostate cancer. Blockade of androgen production by nongonadal sources has led to clinical benefit in this setting. One such agent is abiraterone acetate, which significantly reduces androgen production by blocking the enzyme, cytochrome P450 17 alpha-hydroxylase (CYP17). This has provided physicians with another treatment option for patients with CRPC. The landscape for prostate cancer treatment has changed with the approval of cabazitaxel, sipuleucel-T and abiraterone. Here we provide an overview of abiraterone acetate, its mechanism of action, and its potential place for therapy in CRPC.
doi:10.2147/DDDT.S15850
PMCID: PMC3267518  PMID: 22291466
CRPC; abiraterone; CYP17; inhibitors; androgens; castration resistant prostate cancer
9.  Phase III Trial of Bevacizumab Plus Interferon Alfa Versus Interferon Alfa Monotherapy in Patients With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Final Results of CALGB 90206 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(13):2137-2143.
Purpose
Bevacizumab is an antibody that binds vascular endothelial growth factor and has activity in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Interferon alfa (IFN-α) is the historic standard initial treatment for RCC. A prospective, randomized, phase III trial of bevacizumab plus IFN-α versus IFN-α monotherapy was conducted.
Patients and Methods
Patients with previously untreated, metastatic clear cell RCC were randomly assigned to receive either bevacizumab (10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks) plus IFN-α (9 million units subcutaneously three times weekly) or the same dose and schedule of IFN-α monotherapy in a multicenter phase III trial. The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points were progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate, and safety.
Results
Seven hundred thirty-two patients were enrolled. The median OS time was 18.3 months (95% CI, 16.5 to 22.5 months) for bevacizumab plus IFN-α and 17.4 months (95% CI, 14.4 to 20.0 months) for IFN-α monotherapy (unstratified log-rank P = .097). Adjusting on stratification factors, the hazard ratio was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.73 to 1.01; stratified log-rank P = .069) favoring bevacizumab plus IFN-α. There was significantly more grade 3 to 4 hypertension (HTN), anorexia, fatigue, and proteinuria for bevacizumab plus IFN-α. Patients who developed HTN on bevacizumab plus IFN-α had a significantly improved PFS and OS versus patients without HTN.
Conclusion
OS favored the bevacizumab plus IFN-α arm but did not meet the predefined criteria for significance. HTN may be a biomarker of outcome with bevacizumab plus IFN-α.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.26.5561
PMCID: PMC2860433  PMID: 20368558
10.  Phase I Clinical Trial of the CYP17 Inhibitor Abiraterone Acetate Demonstrating Clinical Activity in Patients With Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Who Received Prior Ketoconazole Therapy 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2010;28(9):1481-1488.
Purpose
Abiraterone acetate is a prodrug of abiraterone, a selective inhibitor of CYP17, the enzyme catalyst for two essential steps in androgen biosynthesis. In castration-resistant prostate cancers (CRPCs), extragonadal androgen sources may sustain tumor growth despite a castrate environment. This phase I dose-escalation study of abiraterone acetate evaluated safety, pharmacokinetics, and effects on steroidogenesis and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men with CPRC with or without prior ketoconazole therapy.
Patients and Methods
Thirty-three men with chemotherapy-naïve progressive CRPC were enrolled. Nineteen patients (58%) had previously received ketoconazole for CRPC. Bone metastases were present in 70% of patients, and visceral involvement was present in 18%. Three patients (9%) had locally advanced disease without distant metastases. Fasted or fed cohorts received abiraterone acetate doses of 250, 500, 750, or 1,000 mg daily. Single-dose pharmacokinetic analyses were performed before continuous daily dosing.
Results
Adverse events were predominantly grade 1 or 2. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed. Hypertension (grade 3, 12%) and hypokalemia (grade 3, 6%; grade 4, 3%) were the most frequent serious toxicities and responded to medical management. Confirmed ≥ 50% PSA declines at week 12 were seen in 18 (55%) of 33 patients, including nine (47%) of 19 patients with prior ketoconazole therapy and nine (64%) of 14 patients without prior ketoconazole therapy. Substantial declines in circulating androgens and increases in mineralocorticoids were seen with all doses.
Conclusion
Abiraterone acetate was well tolerated and demonstrated activity in CRPC, including in patients previously treated with ketoconazole. Continued clinical study is warranted.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2009.24.1281
PMCID: PMC2849769  PMID: 20159824
11.  Urothelial carcinoma: Stem cells on the edge 
Cancer metastasis reviews  2009;28(3-4):291-304.
Tumors are heterogeneous collections of cells with highly variable abilities to survive, grow, and metastasize. This variability likely stems from epigenetic and genetic influences, either stochastic or hardwired by cell type-specific lineage programs. That differentiation underlies tumor cell heterogeneity was elegantly demonstrated in hematopoietic tumors, in which rare primitive cells (cancer stem cells (CSCs)) resembling normal hematopoietic stem cells are ultimately responsible for tumor growth and viability. Because of the compelling clinical implications CSCs pose—across the entire spectrum of cancers—investigators applied the CSC model to cancers arising in tissues with crudely understood differentiation programs. Instead of relying on differentiation, these studies used empirically selected markers and statistical arguments to identify CSCs. The empirical approach has stimulated important questions about “stemness” in cancer cells as well as the validity and stoichiometry of CSC assays. The recent identification of urothelial differentiation programs in urothelial carcinomas (UroCas) supports the idea that solid epithelial cancers (carcinomas) develop and differentiate analogously to normal epithelia and provides new insights about the spatial localization and molecular makeup of carcinoma CSCs. Importantly, CSCs from invasive UroCas (UroCSCs) appear well situated to exchange important signals with adjacent stroma, to escape immune surveillance, and to survive cytotoxic therapy. These signals have potential roles in treatment resistance and many participate in druggable cellular pathways. In this review, we discuss the implications of these findings in understanding CSCs and in better understanding how UroCas form, progress, and should be treated.
doi:10.1007/s10555-009-9187-6
PMCID: PMC2930269  PMID: 20012172
Differentiation; Cancer stem cell; Stroma; Bladder; Wnt; Carcinoma in situ
12.  Phase I Study of Ixabepilone, Mitoxantrone, and Prednisone in Patients With Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Previously Treated With Docetaxel-Based Therapy: A Study of the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Consortium 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(17):2772-2778.
Purpose
Mitoxantrone plus prednisone and ixabepilone each have modest activity as second-line chemotherapy in docetaxel-refractory castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients. Clinical noncrossresistance was previously observed.
Patients and Methods
Metastatic CRPC patients progressing during or after taxane-based chemotherapy enrolled in a phase I multicenter study of ixabepilone and mitoxantrone administered every 21 days along with prednisone. Ixabepilone and mitoxantrone doses were alternately escalated in a standard 3 + 3 design. Patients were evaluated for toxicity and disease response. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were defined as treatment related, occurring during cycle 1, and included grade 4 prolonged or febrile neutropenia, thrombocytopenia (grade 4 or grade 3 with bleeding), or ≥ grade 3 nonhematologic toxicity.
Results
Thirty-six patients were treated; 59% of patients experienced grade 3/4 neutropenia. DLTs included grade 3 diarrhea (n = 1), prolonged grade 4 neutropenia (n = 4), and grade 5 neutropenic infection (n = 1). Due to prolonged neutropenia, the highest dose levels were repeated with pegfilgrastim on day 2 of each cycle. The maximum tolerated dose in combination with pegfilgrastim was not exceeded. The recommended phase II dose is mitoxantrone 12 mg/m2 and ixabepilone 35 mg/m2 every 21 days, pegfilgrastim 6 mg subcutaneously day 2, and continuous prednisone 5 mg twice per day. Thirty-one percent of patients have experienced ≥ 50% prostate-specific antigen (PSA) declines, and two experienced objective responses. Of 21 patients treated with mitoxantrone 12 mg/m2 plus ixabepilone ≥ 30 mg/m2, nine (43%) experienced ≥ 50% PSA declines (95% CI, 22% to 66%).
Conclusion
These results suggest that the combination of ixabepilone and mitoxantrone is feasible and active in CRPC and requires dosing with pegfilgrastim.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.19.8002
PMCID: PMC2698016  PMID: 19349545
13.  Bevacizumab Plus Interferon Alfa Compared With Interferon Alfa Monotherapy in Patients With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: CALGB 90206 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(33):5422-5428.
Purpose
Bevacizumab is an antibody that binds to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and has activity in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Interferon alfa (IFN) is a historic standard first-line treatment for RCC. A prospective, randomized phase III trial of bevacizumab plus IFN versus IFN monotherapy was conducted.
Patients and Methods
Patients with previously untreated, metastatic clear-cell RCC were randomly assigned to receive either bevacizumab (10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks) plus IFN (9 million U subcutaneously three times weekly) or the same dose and schedule of IFN monotherapy in a multicenter phase III trial. The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points were progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate (ORR), and safety.
Results
Between October 2003 and July 2005, 732 patients were enrolled. The prespecified stopping rule for OS has not yet been reached. The median PFS was 8.5 months in patients receiving bevacizumab plus IFN (95% CI, 7.5 to 9.7 months) versus 5.2 months (95% CI, 3.1 to 5.6 months) in patients receiving IFN monotherapy (log-rank P < .0001). The adjusted hazard ratio was 0.71 (95% CI, 0.61 to 0.83; P < .0001). Bevacizumab plus IFN had a higher ORR as compared with IFN (25.5% [95% CI, 20.9% to 30.6%] v 13.1% [95% CI, 9.5% to 17.3%]; P < .0001). Overall toxicity was greater for bevacizumab plus IFN, including significantly more grade 3 hypertension (9% v 0%), anorexia (17% v 8%), fatigue (35% v 28%), and proteinuria (13% v 0%).
Conclusion
Bevacizumab plus IFN produces a superior PFS and ORR in untreated patients with metastatic RCC as compared with IFN monotherapy. Toxicity is greater in the combination therapy arm.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.16.9847
PMCID: PMC2651074  PMID: 18936475
14.  Novel agents for advanced bladder cancer 
Conventional front-line platinum-based combination chemotherapy yields high response rates but suboptimal long-term outcomes for advanced transitional cell carcinoma. Salvage therapy is an unmet need with disappointing outcomes. The emergence of novel biologic agents offers the promise of improved outcomes. Neoadjuvant therapy preceding cystectomy for muscle-invasive bladder cancer provides an important paradigm and an interesting approach in developing novel agents. Patients who are not candidates for cisplatin require special attention. A multidisciplinary approach and collaboration among laboratory scientists, oncologists, urologists and radiation oncologists is necessary to make therapeutic advances. Recent and ongoing trials of novel chemotherapeutic and biologic agents are reviewed.
doi:10.1177/1758834009337776
PMCID: PMC3125992  PMID: 21789112
transitional cell carcinoma; chemotherapy; biologic agents

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