Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition may overcome chemotherapy resistance by inhibiting important anti-apoptotic signals that are constitutively activated by an overstimulated EGFR pathway.
This phase I dose escalation trial assessed the safety and efficacy of vinflunine, a novel vinca alkaloid microtubule inhibitor, with erlotinib, an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in patients with refractory solid tumors.
Seventeen patients were treated, 10 with continuous erlotinib, and 7 with intermittent erlotinib. At dose level 1, vinflunine 280 mg/m2 IV day 1 and erlotinib 75 mg PO days 2–21 (“continuous erlotinib”) in 21 day cycles, two of four patients experienced DLTs. At dose level -1 (vinflunine 250 mg/m2 every 21 days and erlotinib 75 mg/day), two of six patients experienced DLTs. The study was amended to enroll to “intermittent erlotinib” dosing: vinflunine day 1 and erlotinib days 2–15 of a 21 day cycle. Two of seven experienced DLTs and the study was terminated. One patient with breast cancer had a partial response; three had stable disease ≥6 cycles. All were treated in the continuous erlotinib group.
Given the marked toxicity in our patient population, the combination of vinflunine and erlotinib cannot be recommended for further study with these dosing schemas.
Influnine; Erlotinib; Phase I; Safety and toxicity
Rectal cancer is often clinically resistant to radiotherapy and there would be value to identifying molecular markers to define the biological basis for this phenomenon. NF-κB is a potentially anti-apoptotic transcription factor that has been associated with resistance to radiotherapy in model systems. This study was designed to evaluate NF- κB activation in rectal cancers being treated with chemoradiation to determine whether NF- κB activity correlates with outcome in rectal cancer
Methods and Materials
22 patients were biopsied at multiple time points in a prospective study, and another 50 were analyzed retrospectively. Pre-treatment tumor tissue was analyzed for multiple NF- κB subunits by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Serial tumor biopsies were analyzed for NF- κB-regulated gene expression by RT-PCR and for NF-κB subunit nuclear localization by IHC.
Several NF- κB target genes (Bcl-2, cIAP-2, IL-8 and TRAF1) were significantly upregulated by a single fraction of radiotherapy at 24 hours demonstrating for the first time that NF-κB is activated by radiotherapy in human rectal tumors. Baseline NF-κB p50 nuclear expression did not correlate with pathologic response to radiotherapy, but increasing baseline p50 was prognostic for overall survival (HR 2.15, p = 0.040).
NF-κB nuclear expression at baseline in rectal cancer is prognostic for overall survival but not predictive of response to radiotherapy. Larger patient numbers would be needed to assess the effect of NF-κB target gene upregulation on response to RT. Our results suggest that NF-κB may play an important role in tumor metastasis as opposed to resistance to chemoradiotherapy.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a common and deadly malignancy with few systemic therapy options. The RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway is activated in approximately 50% to 60% of HCCs and represents a potential target for therapy. Selumetinib is an orally available inhibitor of MEK tyrosine kinase activity.
Patients and Methods
Patients with locally advanced or metastatic HCC who had not been treated with prior systemic therapy were enrolled on to the study. Patients were treated with selumetinib at its recommended phase II dose of 100 mg twice per day continuously. Cycle length was 21 days. Imaging was performed every two cycles. Biopsies were obtained at baseline and at steady-state in a subset of patients, and pharmacokinetic (PK) analysis was performed on all patients.
Nineteen patients were enrolled, 17 of whom were evaluable for response. Most (82%) had Child-Pugh A cirrhosis. Toxicity was in line with other studies of selumetinib in noncirrhotic patients. PK parameters were also comparable to those in noncirrhotic patients. No radiographic response was observed in this group, and the study was stopped at the interim analysis. Of 11 patients with elevated α-fetoprotein, three (27%) had decreases of 50% or more. Median time to progression was 8 weeks. Inhibition of ERK phosphorylation was demonstrated by Western blotting.
In this study of selumetinib for patients with HCC, no radiographic responses were seen and time to progression was short, which suggests minimal single-agent activity despite evidence of suppression of target activation.
Biliary cancers (BCs) carry a poor prognosis, but targeting the RAS/RAF/mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway is of significance. Selumetinib is an inhibitor of MEK1/2, so this trial was designed to determine the safety and efficacy of selumetinib in BC.
Patients and Methods
This was a multi-institutional phase II study of selumetinib at 100 mg given orally twice per day to patients with advanced BC. The primary end point was response rate. All patients were required to provide tissue before enrolling. The levels of phosphorylated ERK (pERK) and AKT (pAKT) were assessed by immunohistochemistry. Tumors were genotyped for the presence of BRAF- and/or RAS-activating mutations.
Twenty-eight eligible patients with a median age of 55.6 years were enrolled. Thirty-nine percent of patients had received one prior systemic therapy. Three patients (12%) had a confirmed objective response. Another 17 patients (68%) experienced stable disease (SD), 14 of whom (56%) experienced prolonged SD (> 16 weeks). Patients gained an average nonfluid weight of 8.6 pounds. Median progression-free survival was 3.7 months (95% CI, 3.5 to 4.9) and median overall survival was 9.8 months (95% CI, 5.97 to not available). Toxicities were mild, with rash (90%) and xerostomia (54%) being most frequent. Only one patient experienced grade 4 toxicity (fatigue). All patients had tissue available for analysis. No BRAF V600E mutations were found. Two patients with short-lived SD had KRAS mutations. Absence of pERK staining was associated with lack of response.
Selumetinib displays interesting activity and acceptable tolerability in patients with metastatic BC. Our results warrant further evaluation of selumetinib in patients with metastatic BC.
Aurora A kinase is critical in assembly and function of the mitotic spindle. It is overexpressed in various tumor types and implicated in oncogenesis and tumor progression. This trial evaluated the dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of MLN8054, a selective small-molecule inhibitor of Aurora A kinase.
In this first-in-human, dose-escalation study, MLN8054 was given orally for 7, 14, or 21 days followed by a 14-day treatment-free period. Escalating cohorts of 3–6 patients with advanced solid tumors were treated until DLT was seen in ≥2 patients in a cohort. Serial blood samples were collected for pharmacokinetics and skin biopsies were collected for pharmacodynamics.
Sixty-one patients received 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40 mg once daily for 7 days; 25, 35, 45 or 55 mg/day in four divided doses (QID) for 7 days; or 55, 60, 70 or 80 mg/day plus methylphenidate or modafinil with daytime doses (QID/M) for 7–21 days. DLTs of reversible grade 3 benzodiazepine-like effects defined the estimated MTD of 60 mg QID/M for 14 days. MLN8054 was absorbed rapidly, exposure was dose-proportional, and terminal half-life was 30-40 hours. Three patients had stable disease for >6 cycles.
MLN8054 dosing for up to 14 days of a 28-day cycle was feasible. Reversible somnolence was dose limiting and prevented achievement of plasma concentrations predicted necessary for target modulation. A recommended dose for investigation in phase 2 trials was not established. A second-generation Aurora A kinase inhibitor is in development.
MLN8054; Aurora A kinase; dose-limiting toxicity; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics
Hepatocelluar carcinoma (HCC) has rarely been associated with familial adenomatosis polyposis (FAP). Between 1950 and 2011, only a few cases of HCC associated with classic FAP have been reported in the medical literature. Here, we report the first case to our knowledge of HCC associated with attenuated FAP (aFAP). The patient possessed a single nucleotide mutation in the noncoding region after exon 4, which is rarely observed in attenuated FAP, and not previously reported in classic FAP–associated HCC. Our patient underwent liver transplantation for a 22-cm-large HCC (in China), however, her HCC recurred 1.5 years after the transplantation. Here we review the medical literature on FAP and HCC, with a particular focus on the role of the Wnt/APC/β-catenin pathway toward a better understanding of HCC pathogenesis.
Familial adenomatosis polyposis; Hepatocelluar carcinoma
Vinflunine is a novel vinca alkaloid with promising single agent clinical activity. Pemetrexed has at least additive activity with other vincas. A phase I trial was undertaken to assess the safety of vinflunine and pemetrexed in patients with refractory solid tumors.
A standard 3-patient cohort dose escalation scheme was used to determine the dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of the vinflunine/pemetrexed combination. Pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 was given with vinflunine 280 mg/m2 (cohort 1), 300 mg/m2 (cohort 2) or 320 mg/m2 (cohort 3) on day 1 of a 21-day cycle.
19 patients were enrolled, median age 58 years (range 32 to 77) and had a median of 3 (range 1–6) prior therapies. DLT occured 1 of 6 pts in cohort 1 (thrombocytopenia, hyponatremia), 2 of 10 pts in cohort 2 (febrile neutropenia, hyponatremia, hyperbilirubinema; febrile neutropenia), and 2 of 3 pts in cohort 3 (febrile neutropenia, hypokalemia; febrile neutropenia). 1 pt in cohort 2 died prior to completion of cycle 1 likely from disease progression. Most common grade 3/4 adverse events were neutropenia (7), leukopenia (5). Febrile neutropenia occurred in 4 patients (21%). No objective responses were seen. Two patients (breast and lung) had prolonged stable disease for 25 and 20 cycles respectively.
Based on this experience we recommend vinflunine 300 mg/m2 and pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 in combination every 3 weeks for future study. At these doses, the combination of vinflunine and pemetrexed was tolerable in this heavily pretreated population. Hematologic toxicity, including febrile neutropenia, was prominent.
Phase I; Vinflunine; Pemetrexed; Vinca alkaloid
Resistance to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) represents a major contributor to cancer-related mortality in advanced colorectal cancer patients. Genetic variations and expression alterations in genes involved in 5-FU metabolism and effect have been shown to modulate 5-FU sensitivity in vitro, however these alterations do not fully explain clinical resistance to 5-FU-based chemotherapy. To determine if alterations of DNA copy number in genes involved in 5-FU metabolism impacted clinical resistance to 5-FU-based chemotherapy, we assessed thymidylate synthetase (TYMS) and thymidine phosphorylase (TYMP) copy number in colorectal liver metastases. DNA copy number of TYMS and TYMP was evaluated using real time quantitative PCR in frozen colorectal liver metastases procured from 62 patients who were pretreated with 5-FU-based chemotherapy prior to surgical resection (5-FU exposed) and from 51 patients who received no pretreatment (unexposed). Gain of TYMS DNA copy number was observed in 18% of the 5-FU exposed metastases, while only 4% of the unexposed metastases exhibited TYMS copy gain (p=0.036). No significant differences were noted in TYMP copy number alterations between 5-FU exposed and unexposed metastases. Median survival time was similar in 5-FU exposed patients with metastases containing TYMS amplification and those with no amplification. However, TYMS amplification was associated with shorter median survival in patients receiving post-resection chemotherapy (hazard ratio = 2.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.1 to 6.6; p=0.027). These results suggest amplification of TYMS amplification as a putative mechanism for clinical resistance to 5-FU-based chemotherapy and may have important ramifications for the post-resection chemotherapy choices for metastatic colorectal cancer.
Colorectal Neoplasms; Neoplasm Metastasis; DNA Copy Number Variation; Fluorouracil; Thymidylate Synthase; Thymidine Phosphorylase
KRAS mutations may predict poor response to radiotherapy. Downstream events from KRAS, such as activation of BRAF, AKT and ERK, may also confer prognostic information but have not been tested in rectal cancer (RC). Our objective was to explore the relationships of KRAS and BRAF mutation status with p-AKT and p-ERK and outcomes in RC.
Pre-radiotherapy RC tumor biopsies were evaluated. KRAS and BRAF mutations were assessed by pyrosequencing; p-AKT and p-ERK expression by immunohistochemistry.
Of 70 patients, mean age was 58; 36% stage II, 56% stage III, and 9% stage IV. Responses to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy: 64% limited, 19% major, and 17% pathologic complete response. 64% were KRAS WT, 95% were BRAF WT. High p-ERK levels were associated with improved OS but not for p-AKT. High levels of p-AKT and p-ERK expression were associated with better responses. KRAS WT correlated with lower p-AKT expression but not p-ERK expression. No differences in OS, residual disease, or tumor downstaging were detected by KRAS status.
KRAS mutation was not associated with lesser response to chemoradiotherapy or worse OS. High p-ERK expression was associated with better OS and response. Higher p-AKT expression was correlated with better response but not OS.
Rectal cancer; KRAS analysis; phosphoERK; phosphoAKT; radiation response
Patients with portal vein thrombosis (PVT) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) have limited treatment options due to increased disease burden and diminished hepatic perfusion. 90Y-microspheres may be better tolerated than chemoembolization in these patients. Here we review the safety and efficacy of 90Y-microsphere use for HCC with major PVT.
Materials and Methods
A retrospective review of HCC with main (n=10) or first (n=12) branch PVT treated with 90Y-microspheres (n=22) was conducted. CLIP scores ranged from 2 to 5 with 18% scoring 4 or greater. Response was determined 8-12 weeks following treatment using magnetic resonance or computed tomography and RECIST criteria. Overall survival was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method.
32 treatments (26 glass, 6 resin) were administered to 22 patients. Common grade 1–2 toxicities included abdominal pain (38%), nausea (28%), fatigue (22%). Four post-therapy hospitalizations occurred, all <48hrs in duration. 1 death occurred 10 days following therapy Response data: 2 partial responses, progressive disease 42%, stable disease 50% of treatments. Median overall survival (OS) was 7 months from time of initial 90Y-microsphere treatment. Child-Pugh A patients had a median OS of 7.7 months; B and C = 2.7 months (p = 0.01). Median OS for CLIP scores 2–3 was 7 months versus 1.3 months for scores 4–5 (p = 0.04).
90Y-microspheres are tolerated in patients with HCC and major PVT. Compared with chemoembolization, rates of severe adverse events appear low. Radiographic response rates are low. Median OS of 7 months is promising and warrants further study versus systemic therapy.
Hepatocelluar carcinoma (HCC) is the most common primary malignancy of the liver in adults and the third most common cause of cancer death worldwide. The incidence of HCC in the United States is rising steadily because of the prevalence of hepatitis C viral infection and other causes of hepatic cirrhosis. The majority of patients have underlying hepatic dysfunction, which complicates patient management and the search for safe and effective therapies. The Clinical Trials Planning Meeting (CTPM) in HCC was convened by the National Cancer Institute's Gastrointestinal Cancer Steering Committee to identify the key knowledge gaps in HCC and define clinical research priorities. The CTPM structured its review according to current evidence-based treatment modalities in HCC and prioritized the recommendations on the basis of the patient populations representing the greatest unmet medical need.
NF-κB is an antiapoptotic transcription factor that has been shown to be a mediator of treatment resistance. Bcl-3 is a regulator of NF-κB that may play a role in oncogenesis. The goal of this study was to correlate the activation status of NF-κB and Bcl-3 with clinical outcome in a group of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC).
A retrospective study of 23 patients who underwent surgical resection of CRC at the University of North Carolina (UNC). Activation of NF-κB was defined by nuclear expression of select components of NF-κB (p50, p52, p65) and Bcl-3. Tissue microarrays were created from cores of normal mucosa, primary tumor, lymph node metastases and liver metastases in triplicate from disparate areas of the blocks, and an intensity score was generated by multiplying intensity (0–3+) by percent of positive tumor cells. Generalized estimating equations were used to note differences in intensity scores among normal mucosa and nonnormal tissues. Cox regression models were fit to see if scores were significantly associated with overall survival.
p65 NE was significantly higher in primary tumor and liver metastases than normal mucosa (both p < 0.01). p50 nuclear expression was significantly higher for all tumor sites than for normal mucosa (primary tumor and lymph node metastases p < 0.0001, liver metastases p < 0.01). Bcl-3 nuclear expression did not differ significantly between normal mucosa and tumor; however, nuclear expression in primary tumor for each of these components was strongly associated with survival: the increase in hazard for each 50-point increase in nuclear expression was 91% for Bcl-3, 66% for p65, and 52% for p50 (all p < 0.05).
Activation of canonical NF-κB subunits p50 and p65 as measured by nuclear expression is strongly associated with survival suggesting NF-κB as a prognostic factor in this disease. Primary tumor nuclear expression appears to be as good as, or better than, metastatic sites at predicting prognosis. Bcl-3 nuclear expression is also negatively associated with survival and deserves further study in CRC.
NF-κB; P65; P50; Colorectal carcinoma
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is frequently resistant to chemotherapy. However, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibition has demonstrated activity in HCC and overcomes chemotherapy resistance in other settings. We studied the efficacy of combining the anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab with capecitabine and oxaliplatin in advanced HCC.
Patients who had chemotherapy-naive advanced/unresectable HCC and any Childs-Pugh–class chronic liver disease (provided bilirubin was <3 mg/dl) received capecitabine 850 mg/m2 bid days 1–14, oxaliplatin 130 mg/m2 day 1, and cetuximab 400 mg/m2 day 1 then 250 mg/m2 weekly for each 21 day cycle.
Twenty-nine patients received any protocol therapy, but 24 completed at least one cycle. Of the 24 patients evaluable for response, 3 had a partial response (12.5%, 95% confidence interval [CI], 3–32%) and 17 had stable disease (71%), for a disease control rate of 83%. Of patients with an elevated AFP, 57% had a >50% reduction in AFP. Median time to progression was 4.5 months (95% CI, 3.2–6.4), and overall survival was 4.4 months (95% CI, 2.4–7.3). Most common toxicities included diarrhea (13 patients, 45%), fatigue (12 patients, 41%), and hypomagnesemia (12 patients, 41%). Fatigue (6 patients) and diarrhea (5 patients) were the most common grade 3–4 toxicities. Three patients died within the first 30 days of treatment (one of toxicity, two of liver failure presumed to be related to disease progression).
The capecitabine/oxaliplatin/cetuximab combination was tolerable, though diarrhea was pronounced, in this population. The combination was associated with a modest response rate, but a high rate of AFP response and radiographic stable disease. Time to progression and overall survival were shorter than would be expected for treatment with sorafenib.
Subcutaneous metastasis from a visceral malignancy is rare with an incidence of 5.3%. Skin involvement as the presenting sign of a silent internal malignancy is an even rarer event occurring in approximately 0.8%. We report a case of a patient who presented to her dermatologist complaining of rapidly developing subcutaneous nodules which subsequently proved to be metastatic colon cancer, and we provide a review of the literature.
Colorectal cancer; Subcutaneous metastasis; Cutaneous metastasis
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is on the rise worldwide. HCC responds poorly to chemotherapy. Lapatinib is an inhibitor of EGFR and HER2/NEU both implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis. This trial was designed to determine the safety and efficacy of lapatinib in HCC.
A Fleming phase II design with a single stage of 25 patients with a 90% power to exclude a true response rate of < 10% and detect a true response rate of ≥30% was utilized. The dose of lapatinib was 1,500 mg/d administered orally in 28-day cycles. Tumor and blood specimens were analyzed for expression of HER2/NEU/CEP17 and status of downstream signal pathway proteins.
Twenty-six patients with HCC enrolled on this study. 19% had one prior therapy. Most common toxicities were diarrhea (73%), nausea (54%) and rash (42%). No objective responses were observed. Ten (40%) patients had stable disease (SD) as their best response including 6 (23%) with SD lasting > 120 days. Median progression-free-survival was 1.9 months and median overall survival 12.6 months. Patients who developed a rash had a borderline statistically significant longer survival. Tissue and blood specimens were available on >90% of patients. No somatic mutations in EGFR (exons 18–21) were found. In contrast to our previous findings, we did not find evidence of HER2/NEU somatic mutations. PTEN, P-AKT and P70S6K expression did not correlate with survival.
Lapatinib is well-tolerated but appears to benefit only a subgroup of patients for whom predictive molecular or clinical characteristics are not yet fully defined.
Standard therapy for stage II/III rectal cancer consists of a fluoropyrimidine and radiation therapy followed by surgery. Preclinical data demonstrated that bortezomib functions as a radiosensitizer in colorectal cancer models. The purpose of this study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of bortezomib in combination with chemotherapy and radiation.
Patients and Methods
Patients with locally advanced rectal adenocarcinomas, as staged by endoscopic ultrasound, were eligible. Bortezomib was administered on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 every 21 days for 2 cycles with 5-fluorouracil at 225 mg/m2/day continuously and 50.4 Gy of radiation. Dose escalation of bortezomib was conducted via a standard 3 + 3 dose escalation design. A subset of patients underwent serial tumor biopsies for correlative studies.
Nine patients in 2 dose cohorts were enrolled. Diarrhea was the principal dose-limiting toxicity and occurred at the 1.0-mg/m2 dose level. There was no clear evidence of suppression of nuclear factor-κB target gene expression in biopsy samples.
The MTD of bortezomib in combination with chemotherapy and radiation may be below a clinically relevant dose, limiting the clinical applicability of this combination. Performing biopsies before and during irradiation for determining gene expression in response to radiation therapy is feasible.
Maximum tolerated dose; NF-κB; PS-341; Proteasome inhibitors
Albumin-bound paclitaxel, ABI-007 (Abraxane ®), has a different toxicity profile than solvent-based paclitaxel, including a lower rate of severe neutropenia. The combination of ABI-007 and carboplatin may have significant activity in a variety of tumor types including non-small and small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. The purpose of this study was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of ABI-007, on three different schedules in combination with carboplatin.
Forty-one patients with solid tumors were enrolled, and received ABI-007 in combination with carboplatin AUC of 6 on day 1. Group A received ABI-007 at doses ranging from 220 to 340 mg/m2 on day 1 every 21 days; group B received ABI-007 at 100 or 125 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15 every 28 days; and group C received ABI-007 125 or 150 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8 every 21 days. Dose-limiting toxicities were assessed after the first cycle. Doses were escalated in cohorts of three to six patients. Fifteen patients participated in a pharmacokinetic study investigating the effects of the sequence of infusion. ABI-007 was infused first followed by carboplatin in cycle 1, and vice versa in cycle 2.
The MTD of ABI-007 in combination with carboplatin was 300, 100, and 125 mg/m2 in groups A, B, and C, respectively. Myelosuppression was the primary dose limiting toxicity. No unexpected or new toxicities were reported. Sequence of infusion did not affect either the pharmacokinetics of ABI-007 or the degree of neutropenia. Responses were seen in melanoma, lung, bladder, esophageal, pancreatic, breast cancer, and cancer of unknown primary.
The recommended dose for phase II studies of ABI-007 in combination with carboplatin (AUC of 6) is 300, 100, 125 mg/m2 for the schedules A, B, and C, respectively. The combination of ABI-007 and carboplatin is well tolerated and active in this heavily pretreated patient population.
Dose-limiting toxicity; Maximum tolerated dose; Melanoma; Non-small-cell lung cancer; Small-cell lung cancer; Clinical trial
Studies of octreotide in hepatocellular carcinoma have yielded conflicting results. Since past studies have excluded patients with highly advanced disease and given the fact that octreotide offers several potential physiologic benefits in patients with advanced cirrhosis, such as improving renal physiology and decreasing portal venous pressure, we designed a trial to examine the survival of patients with both advanced HCC and advanced cirrhosis as defined by a CLIP score of 3 or higher.
Patients and Methods:
The study was designed as a phase-II, multicenter trial, enrolling patients with advanced HCC in three tertiary care academic centers in the United States. The primary objective was to verify whether long-acting octreotide will extend median survival from 5 months to 8.75 months for patients with CLIP scores of 3 or higher, representing a 75% increase in median survival time. Secondary objectives included assessing safety and tolerability in this patient population.
Twenty-two patients were enrolled from 2003 to 2005. The mean age was 66, with the majority of patients being men. The median CLIP score was 4 with a median KPS of 80%. Ten of 22 patients died without evidence of progression of HCC. The median TTP was 5.7 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8–10.7). The median PFS time was approximately 3 months (95% CI, 1.7–5.7). The median OS time was 4.5 months (95% CI, 2.3–8) and therefore did not meet the established primary end point. Six of 22 patients achieved an OS of greater than 10 months. One patient experienced a radiographic partial response.
Long-acting octreotide was not associated with a survival benefit in patients with significant liver disease related to HCC. The identification of one patient with disease regression and a subgroup of patients with significantly greater survival underscores the need to gain a better understanding of the role of somatostatin receptors on HCC cells before further clinical testing of this drug in HCC patients.
The adoptive transfer of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) with interleukin-2 (IL-2) has antitumor activity in some patients with metastatic melanoma. We have analyzed molecular mechanisms of TIL recognition of human melanoma. Some cultured TILs specifically lysed autologous and some allogeneic melanomas sharing a variety of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. HLA-A2-restricted melanoma-specific TILs lysed many HLA-A2+ melanoma cell lines from different patients but failed to lyse HLA-A2− melanoma and HLA-A2+ nonmelanoma cell lines. However, these TILs were capable of lysing many naturally HLA-A2− melanomas after introduction of the HLA-A2.1 gene by vaccinia virus. These results indicate that shared melanoma antigens (Ag) are expressed in melanomas regardless of their human leukocyte antigen types. In order to identify these shared melanoma Ags, we have tested some known proteins expressed in melanoma. Expression of tyrosinase or HMB45 Ag correlated with lysis of TILs. We are also attempting to isolate antigenic peptides by high performance liquid chromatography separation and genes encoding melanoma Ag by cDNA expression cloning. The T-cell component of the antimelanoma response was also analyzed by determining the genetic structure of the T-cell receptor (TCR) used by melanoma TILs. However, we did not observe common TCR variable region usage by different melanoma TILs. We could establish melanoma cell clones and lines resistant to TIL lysis due to the absence of or defects in the expression of Ag, MHC, or β2-microglobulin molecules. These data indicate multiple mechanisms for melanoma escape from T-cell immunosurveillance. These findings have important implications for the development of immunotherapies for melanoma.
Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes; Melanoma antigens; T-cell receptor; HLA-A2.1; Immunotherapy
To detect shared human melanoma Ag that are recognized by HLA-A2 restricted, melanoma-specific CTL derived from tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, we have developed a convenient method to insert and express foreign HLA genes capable of presenting Ag on target cell lines. Seventeen melanoma cell lines and 11 nonmelanoma cell lines were infected with recombinant vaccinia virus containing the HLA-A2.1 gene. Infection by the vaccinia virus resulted in expression of functional HLA-A2 molecules on the cell surface of virtually 100% of infected cells within a 3.5-h period. The results showed that 11 of 17 (65%) naturally HLA-A2− melanoma cell lines were specifically lysed by the HLA-A2-restricted, melanoma-specfic TIL after infection with the vaccinia-HLA-A2.1 virus. None of the nine human nonmelanoma cell lines tested (three colon cancer, four breast cancer, or two immortalized non-tumor cell lines) or two murine melanoma cell lines were lysed by the HLA-A2-restricted TIL after vaccinia-HLA-A2.1 infection. Coinfection of the vaccinia virus containing the β2-microglobulin gene with the vaccinia-HLA-A2.1 virus increased the surface expression of HLA-A2 and subsequent lysis by melanoma-specific tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. With this new method we could extend previous findings demonstrating that shared melanoma Ag recognized by HLA-A2-restricted tumor infiltrating lymphocytes exist among melanoma cells from different patients regardless of HLA type. These Ag represent excellent candidates for the development of vaccines to induce T cell responses for the immunotherapy of patients with melanoma.