Genomic Prostate Score® (GPS) can Predict Prostate Cancer Mortality and Risk of Metastases in Early Stage Prostate Cancer

SUMMARY: Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men with the exclusion of skin cancer and 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is estimated that in the United States, about 161,360 new cases of Prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2017 and 26,730 men will die of the disease. Traditionally, clinical risk assessment has been based on Tumor stage, Gleason score and PSA level, in patients who had Radical Prostatectomy for Prostate cancer. However, new validated biomarkers can improve risk stratification for men with Prostate cancer.

The Oncotype DX® Prostate Cancer Assay is a multi-gene RT-PCR expression assay that was developed for use with Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FPE) Prostate needle biopsy specimens. This 17 gene assay measures expression of 12 cancer related genes representing four biological pathways with a known role in Prostate cancer development (androgen pathway, cellular organization, proliferation and stromal response), and 5 reference genes used to control for sources of pre-analytical and analytical variability. Combined together algorithmically, the Genomic Prostate Score (GPS, scale 0-100) is calculated, with a higher GPS score representing a more aggressive tumor phenotype. Genomic Prostate Score has been shown to predict unfavorable outcomes beyond conventional clinical and pathologic factors and has been validated as an independent predictor of adverse surgical pathology and BioChemical Recurence after Radical Prostatectomy, in men with low-risk and low-volume intermediate-risk Prostate cancer.

The authors conducted a large community based study, to confirm that Genomic Prostate Score (GPS) is a predictor of BioChemical Recurrence in all clinical risk groups (low, intermediate and high), in a large cohort of Prostate cancer patients, followed up at Kaiser Permanente medical groups in Northern California. A retrospective study was performed from the Kaiser Permanente clinical database of 6,184 Prostate cancer patients, between 1995- 2010, with NCCN very low, low, intermediate and high-risk disease, who were treated with Radical Prostatectomy. BioChemical Recurrence was defined as either 2 successive post-Radical Prostatectomy PSAs of 0.2 ng/mL or more, or initiation of salvage therapy after a rising PSA of 0.1 ng/mL or more. Genomic Prostate Score was derived from the archival biopsy tissue. The researchers were able to retrieve the biopsy tissue of 334 patients of whom 279 patients met all eligibility criteria and a valid GPS score was available in 259 (93%) patients.

It was noted that Genomic Prostate Score was strongly associated with BioChemical Recurrence after adjusting for PSA, clinical T stage and tumor Gleason Score (P=0.002). Genomic Prostate Score was a strong independent predictor of Prostate cancer-specific death and disease progression (metastases) at 10 years, across all NCCN clinical risk groups. Further, the association between GPS and BioChemical Recurrence was similar within the different racial groups.

It was concluded that for patients with Prostate cancer treated with Radical Prostatectomy, a higher Genomic Prostate Score was associated with BioChemical Recurrence, independent of other clinical factors. Genomic Prostate Score can hence improve risk stratification beyond clinical risk assessment, by predicting both near term adverse pathology and long term clinical outcomes Validation of a 17-Gene Genomic Prostate Score (GPS) as a predictor of biochemical recurrence (BCR) in men with prostate cancer treated with radical prostatectomy (RP) in a community setting. VanDenEeden SK, Zhang N, Quesenberry CP, et al. J Clin Oncol 35, 2017 (suppl 6S; abstract 41)

FDA Approves BAVENCIO® for Merkel Cell Carcinoma

SUMMARY: The FDA on March 23, 2017, granted accelerated approval to BAVENCIO® (Avelumab) for the treatment of patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC). Even though skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer in the US, Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is not common. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1,500 cases of MCC are diagnosed in the United States each year and over 90% of those diagnosed with MCC are older than 50yrs of age. The incidence of MCC in the US has tripled between 1986 and 2001. Merkel Cell Carcinoma, also known as Trabecular Cancer of the Skin, is much more common in Caucasians than in people of other races, and occurs at increased frequency in individuals who are immunodeficient including patients who are transplant recipients. Other risk factors include exposure to ultraviolet light.

Merkel cells are often found at the base of the epidermis and are responsible for fine touch and pressure sensation. Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) is a very aggressive neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin. Merkel Cell PolyomaVirus (MCPyV) has been identified in over 80% of Merkel Cell tumors and a majority of MCCs contain clonally integrated viral DNA and express viral T antigen transcripts and protein. The presence of the virus in tumor cells can be confirmed by FISH analysis. This along with ultraviolet radiation-induced mutations provides the rationale for the treatment of MCC, with antibodies that target the PD-L1/PD-1 pathway. BAVENCIO® is a human IgG1 lambda monoclonal antibody, directed against Programmed cell Death Ligand1 (PD-L1) and blocks the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1. By inhibiting checkpoint proteins and their ligands, T cells are unleashed, resulting in T cell proliferation, activation and a therapeutic response. BAVENCIO® is the first FDA-approved product to treat Merkel Cell Carcinoma.

The approval of BAVENCIO® was based on data from the JAVELIN study which is a multicentre, international, prospective, open-label, phase II trial. This study enrolled 88 previously treated patients with metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma. The median age was 72 years. Visceral disease was present in over 50% of patients. Overall, 66% of patients were PD-L1-positive and 52% were positive for the Merkel Cell PolyomaVirus (MCPyV). BAVENCIO® was given intravenously at 10 mg/kg IV every 2 weeks. The Primary endpoint was Objective Response Rate (Complete Response or Partial Response), assessed by an Independent Review Committee. Safety and clinical activity were assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study drug.

The Objective Response Rate was 33% with 11% Complete Response and 22% Partial Response. Among the responding patients, the response duration ranged from 3 months to 23 months with 86% of responses durable for 6 months or longer. Responses were ongoing in 82% of the patients at the time of analysis. Responses were observed in patients regardless of PD-L1 tumor expression or presence of Merkel Cell PolyomaVirus. The most common adverse reactions were fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhea, nausea, infusion-related reaction, rash, decreased appetite, and peripheral edema.

The authors concluded that BAVENCIO® is associated with durable response rates and represents a new therapeutic option for advanced Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Avelumab in patients with chemotherapy-refractory metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma: a multicentre, single-group, open-label, phase 2 trial. Kaufman H, Russell JS, Hamid O, et al. Lancet Oncol. 2016;17:1374-1385

FDA Approves KEYTRUDA® in Combination with Chemotherapy as First-Line Treatment for Metastatic NSCLC

SUMMARY: The FDA on May 10, 2017 granted accelerated approval to KEYTRUDA® (Pembrolizumab) in combination with ALIMTA® (Pemetrexed) and Carboplatin, for the treatment of patients with previously untreated metastatic non-squamous Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and accounts for about 13% of all new cancers and 27% of all cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2017 about 222,500 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and over 155,000 patients will die of the disease. Non Small Cell Lung Cancer accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. The FDA in October 2016, approved KEYTRUDA® for the treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC, whose tumors have high PD-L1 expression (Tumor Proportion Score greater than or equal to 50%), as determined by an FDA-approved test, with no EGFR or ALK genomic tumor aberrations, and no prior systemic chemotherapy treatment for metastatic NSCLC.

KEYTRUDA® is a fully humanized, Immunoglobulin G4, anti-PD-1, monoclonal antibody, that binds to the PD-1 receptor and blocks its interaction with ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby undoing PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response and unleashing the tumor-specific effector T cells. High level of Programmed Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression is defined as

FDA Approves IMFINZI® for Advanced Bladder Cancer

SUMMARY: The FDA on May 1, 2017, granted accelerated approval to IMFINZI® (Durvalumab) for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or who have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy. The FDA also approved the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP263) Assay as a complementary diagnostic for the assessment of the PD-L1 protein in Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Urothelial Carcinoma tissue. Urothelial Carcinoma accounts for 90% of all bladder cancers and can originate in the renal pelvis, ureter and urethra. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, approximately 79,030 new cases of Bladder Cancer will be diagnosed and 16,870 patients will die of the disease. Treatment options for patients who progress after platinum based chemotherapy are limited, with poor outcomes. The response rates with standard chemotherapy in this patient population, is about 10%.

The treatment paradigm for solid tumors has been rapidly evolving, with a better understanding of the Immune checkpoints or gate keepers. Immune checkpoints are cell surface inhibitory proteins/receptors that are expressed on activated T cells. They harness the immune system and prevent uncontrolled immune reactions. With the recognition of Immune checkpoint proteins and their role in suppressing antitumor immunity, antibodies are being developed that target the membrane bound inhibitory Immune checkpoint proteins/receptors such as CTLA-4 (Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Antigen 4, also known as CD152), PD-1(Programmed cell Death 1), as well as Programmed cell Death Ligands (PD-L1) that are expressed by cells in the tumor micro environment. By inhibiting checkpoint proteins and their ligands, T cells are unleashed, resulting in T cell proliferation, activation and a therapeutic response. It has been noted that PD-L1 is widely expressed in tumor and immune cells of patients with Urothelial Carcinoma. This in turn helps cancer cells to evade detection from the immune system by binding to the PD-1 receptor on cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

IMFINZI® is a selective, high-affinity human IgG1 monoclonal antibody directed against PD-L1 and blocks the interaction of PD-L1 with PD-1 and CD80. The accelerated FDA approval of IMFINZI® was based on evaluation of 182 patients in the bladder cancer cohort of Study 1108, which is a single-arm Phase I/II trial. This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of IMFINZI® in patients with locally-advanced or metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma of the bladder, who had progressed while on or after a platinum-containing chemotherapy regimen. This study included patients who had progressed within 12 months of receiving therapy, in a neoadjuvant or adjuvant setting. Treatment consisted of IMFINZI® 10 mg/kg IV every 2 weeks until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Tumor PD-L1 expression was assessed using the validated VENTANA SP263 Assay, in Formalin-Fixed, Paraffin-Embedded Urothelial Carcinoma tissue. High PD-L1 expression was defined as 25% or more expression on tumor and immune cells. The Primary endpoints were Objective Response Rate and Safety. Secondary endpoints included Duration of Response (DoR) and Overall Survival (OS).

The confirmed Objective Response Rate as assessed by blinded Independent Central Review was 17% and the median response duration was not reached. Objective Response Rate was also analyzed by PD-L1 expression status. In the 182 patients, the confirmed Objective Response Rate was 26.3% in patients with a high PD-L1 score and 4.1% in patients with a low or negative PD-L1 score. The most common adverse reactions were fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, constipation, decreased appetite, nausea, peripheral edema, and urinary tract infection.

The authors concluded that IMFINZI® has significant clinical activity and an excellent safety profile in patients with locally advanced or metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma. Clinical trials are underway, evaluating IMFINZI® as monotherapy and in combination with other checkpoint inhibitors, in the first line treatment of patients with advanced bladder cancer. Updated Efficacy and Tolerability of Durvalumab in Locally Advanced or Metastatic Urothelial Carcinoma. Powles T, O’Donnell PH, Massard C, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35 (suppl 6S; abstract 286).

Late Breaking Abstract – ECCO 2017 Breast Conserving Therapy Better Than Mastectomy in Some Patients with Early Stage Breast Cancer

SUMMARY: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US and about 1 in 8 women (12%) will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Approximately, 255,180 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2017 and over 41,070 women will die of the disease. The National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NASBP) protocols B-04 and B-06 have clearly established after more than a 2 decades of evaluation and follow up that, in Stage I and II breast cancer, there is no significant difference in either distant Disease Free or Overall Survival between the Breast Conserving Therapy (BCT) and Breast Removal Surgery (Mastectomy). This data established Breast Conserving Therapy (BCT) as the preferred local-regional procedure. These trials however often excluded elderly patients or patients with co-morbidities. Radiotherapy after breast- conserving surgery significantly decreases the risk of local recurrence and improves Breast Cancer Specific Survival (BCSS) in certain subgroups of patients. According to the American Cancer Society, 42% of all invasive breast cancers in the US occur in women 65 years of age or older. These patients may have associated co-morbidities and may therefore be appropriate candidates for breast- conserving surgery rather than mastectomy. These patients also have better outcomes, as post-op recovery time is shorter. There is however limited data to confirm these findings, as most studies evaluated limited numbers of patients, lacked long term follow up and the cause of death in these patients could not be clearly determined.

To further address this question, the authors in this study compared breast-conserving surgery plus radiation therapy (BCT) with Mastectomy, for Breast Cancer Specific (BCSS) and Overall Survival (OS), in a population-based study of 129,692 breast cancer patients without metastatic disease, in the Netherlands. Patients were selected from the Netherlands Cancer Registry, who had T1-2, N0-2, M0 breast cancer, diagnosed between1999 and 2012. Patients were divided into two time cohorts: those diagnosed between 1999 and 2005 (long term follow up), and those diagnosed between 2006 and 2012, (contemporary adjuvant systemic therapy). The influence of prognostic factors such as age, stage, adjuvant systemic therapy, hormonal and HER2 receptor status and co-morbidities was studied in these two groups of patients, in order to identify possible prognostic factors, that might predict patient groups, who could benefit the most from Breast Conserving Therapy (BCT). Information on the cause of death was obtained from Statistics Netherlands, also known as the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics.

It was noted that for patients in the long-term follow up cohort, Breast Conservation Therapy was associated with a statistically significant improvement in Breast Cancer Specific Survival and Overall Survival compared to Mastectomy in all T1-2, N0-2 stages. For patients diagnosed between 2006 to 2012 (contemporary adjuvant systemic therapy), Breast Conserving Therapy was again associated with a statistically significant improvement in Breast Cancer Specific Survival and Overall Survival for patients in the T1-2, N0-1 stage but not those with T1-2, N2 disease, and in this later group, Breast Cancer Specific Survival (BCSS) with conservation therapy was equal to that with mastectomy. Subgroup analyses in the T1-2, N0-1 subset showed superior BCSS with breast conservation in patients older than 50 years, those who did not receive chemotherapy and those who had co-morbid conditions, irrespective of hormone receptor or HER2 status. The Overall Survival (OS) results were similar. Among patients younger than 50 years of age without co-morbidities, and those who received chemotherapy, BCSS with breast conservation was equal to that with mastectomy, but OS was better with Breast Conservation Therapy than with Mastectomy.

It was concluded that in this large population of “real world” patients as seen in daily clinical practice, Breast Conserving Therapy is associated with superior Breast Cancer-Specific and Overall Survival when compared to Mastectomy in patients over 50 years of age, T1-2, N0-1 M0 stage, patients who had not received chemotherapy and patients with co-morbidities. This benefit was confirmed for patients in both time cohorts. This study information allows the Health Care Provider to decide which type of surgical treatment is best suited for some subtypes of Breast cancer. Breast conserving therapy and mastectomy revisited: Breast cancer-specific survival and the influence of prognostic factors in 129,692 patients. Lagendijk M, van Maaren MC, Saadatmand S, et al. ECCO2017 European Cancer Congress. Abstract number: 4LBA

RITUXAN® Maintenance Prolongs Survival in Mantle Cell Lymphoma

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017, about 72,240 people will be diagnosed with Non Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) in the United States and about 20,140 individuals will die of this disease. Mantle Cell Lymphomas (MCL) account for approximately 6% of all Non Hodgkin Lymphomas in adults and have a high relapse rate following dose-intensive therapies. Early and late relapses in patients with MCL have been attributed to persistence of residual disease. Maintenance therapy with RITUXAN® (Rituximab) following induction chemotherapy with R-CHOP, prolonged remission and significantly improved Overall Survival in elderly patients with MCL (N Engl J Med. 2012;367:520-531). The role of maintenance RITUXAN® and its impact on Overall Survival in young patients following Autologous Stem Cell Transplant (ASCT) has however not been investigated.

The LyMa trial is a prospective, international, randomized, phase III study that evaluated the benefit of RITUXAN® maintenance following ASCT, in young previously untreated MCL patients. This study enrolled 299 treatment-naïve MCL patients, diagnosed according to WHO 2008 classification, with a median age of 57 years, of whom 277 patients (N=277) were included in the study. Induction chemotherapy consisted of 4 cycles of R-DHAP (RITUXAN®, Dexamethasone, High dose Ara-C, Cisplatin) given every 3 weeks followed by ASCT. Patients who did not respond to R-DHAP received 4 additional courses of R-CHOP-14 before undergoing ASCT (N=20). The conditioning regimen for ASCT was R-BEAM (RITUXAN® BiCNU, Etoposide, Ara-C, and Melphalan). Following ASCT, 240 patients who responded, were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive RITUXAN® maintenance at 375 mg/m2 every 2 months for 3 years or no maintenance treatment. The Primary endpoint was Event Free Survival (EFS) calculated from time of randomization and these events included disease progression, relapse, death, severe infection or allergy to RITUXAN®. Secondary endpoints included Progression Free Survival and Overall Survival from time of diagnosis and time of randomization.

In the final analysis, the 4-year Event Free Survival (EFS) was 78.9% with RITUXAN® maintenance compared with 61.4% for those who did not get maintenance therapy (P=0.0012). The EFS duration was significantly superior in the RITUXAN® maintenance arm with a 54% reduction in the risk of events (HR=0.46; P=0.0016). The 4-year Progression Free Survival was 82.2% versus 64.6% with and without RITUXAN® maintenance, respectively (P=0.0005). The Overall Survival at 4 years was 88.7% and 81.4%, for RITUXAN® maintenance and no maintenance respectively (P=0.04). Patients in the RITUXAN® maintenance group had a 60% reduction in the risk of progression (HR=0.40; P=0.0007) and a 50% reduction in the risk of death (HR=0.50; P=0.05).

The authors concluded that RITUXAN® maintenance after ASCT prolongs Event Free Survival, Progression Free Survival and Overall Survival and is a new standard of care for young Mantle Cell Lymphoma patients. Rituximab Maintenance after Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation Prolongs Survival in Younger Patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma: Final Results of the Randomized Phase 3 LyMa Trial of the Lysa/Goelams Group. Le Gouill S, Thieblemont C, Oberic L, et al. Presented at: 58th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition; December 3, 2016; San Diego, CA. Abstract 145.

ALUNBRIG® (Brigatinib)

The FDA on April 28, 2017 granted accelerated approval to ALUNBRIG ® tablets for the treatment of patients with metastatic Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK)-positive Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), who have progressed on or are intolerant to XALKORI® (Crizotinib). ALUNBRIG® is a product of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, through its wholly owned subsidiary ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

RYDAPT® (Midostaurin)

The FDA on April 28, 2017 approved RYDAPT® for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) who are FLT3 mutation-positive (FLT3+), as detected by an FDA-approved test, in combination with standard Cytarabine and Daunorubicin induction and Cytarabine consolidation. RYDAPT® is a product of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp.

STIVARGA® (Regorafenib)

The FDA on April 27, 2017 expanded the indications of STIVARGA® to include the treatment of patients with HepatoCellular Carcinoma (HCC) who have been previously treated with NEXAVAR® (Sorafenib). STIVARGA® is a product of Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.

IBRANCE® (Palbociclib)

The FDA on March 31, 2017 granted regular approval to IBRANCE® for the treatment of Hormone Receptor (HR) positive, Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2) negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer, in combination with an Aromatase Inhibitor, as initial endocrine based therapy in postmenopausal women. IBRANCE® is marketed by Pfizer Inc.