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Pembrolizumab in mycosis fungoides with PD-L1 structural variants

Blood Adv

2021 Steven Fling; Nirasha Ramchurren; Srinivas Ramachandran; Martin Cheever


Modernizing Clinical Trial Eligibility Criteria: Recommendations of the ASCO-Friends of Cancer Research Washout Period and Concomitant Medication Work Group

Clin Cancer Res

2021 Thomas Uldrick

PURPOSE: Washout periods and concomitant medication exclusions are common in cancer clinical trial protocols. These exclusion criteria are often applied inconsistently and without evidence to justify their use. The authors sought to determine how washout period and concomitant medication allowances can be broadened to speed trial enrollment and improve the generalizability of trial data to a larger oncology practice population without compromising the safety of trial participants. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A multistakeholder working group was convened to define problems associated with excessively long washout periods and exclusion of patients due to concomitant medications. The group performed a literature search and evaluated study data from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA), and the FDA to understand recent approaches to these eligibility criteria. The group convened to develop consensus recommendations for broadened eligibility criteria. RESULTS: The data analysis found that exclusion criteria based on washout periods and concomitant medications are frequently inconsistent and lack scientific rationale. Scientific rationale for appropriate eligibility criteria are presented in the article; for washout periods, rationale is presented by treatment type. CONCLUSIONS: Arbitrary or blanket washout and concomitant medication exclusions should be eliminated. Where there is evidence to support them, clinically relevant washout periods and concomitant medication-related eligibility criteria may be included.

Continuing to Broaden Eligibility Criteria to Make Clinical Trials More Representative and Inclusive: ASCO-Friends of Cancer Research Joint Research Statement

Clin Cancer Res

2021 Thomas Uldrick

PURPOSE: Restrictive clinical trial eligibility criteria (EC) limit the number of patients who can enroll and potentially benefit from protocol-driven, investigational treatment plans and reduce the generalizability of trial results to the broader population. Following publication of expert stakeholder recommendations for broadening EC in 2017, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) convened working groups to produce additional recommendations and analyze the potential impact on clinical trials using real-world data. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Multistakeholder working groups were appointed by an ASCO-Friends leadership group to propose recommendations for more inclusive EC related to: washout periods, concomitant medications, prior therapies, laboratory reference ranges and test intervals, and performance status. RESULTS: The four working groups, ASCO Board of Directors, and Friends leadership support the recommendations included in this statement to modernize EC related to washout periods, concomitant medications, prior therapies, laboratory references ranges and test intervals, and performance status to make trial populations more inclusive and representative of cancer patient populations. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of the recommendations is intended to result in greater ease of determining patient eligibility. Increased opportunities for patient participation in research will help address longstanding underrepresentation of certain groups in clinical trials and produce evidence that is more informative for a broader patient population. More patients eligible will also likely speed clinical trial accrual.

Impact of Broadening Trial Eligibility Criteria for Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Real-World Analysis of Select ASCO-Friends Recommendations

Clin Cancer Res

2021 Thomas Uldrick

PURPOSE: Cancer clinical trials often accrue slowly or miss enrollment targets. Strict eligibility criteria are a major reason. Restrictive criteria also limit opportunities for patient participation while compromising external validity of trial results. We examined the impact of broadening select eligibility criteria on characteristics and number of patients eligible for trials, using recommendations of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and Friends of Cancer Research. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A retrospective, observational analysis used electronic health record data from ASCO's CancerLinQ Discovery database. Study cohort included patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated from 2011 to 2018. Patients were grouped by traditional criteria [no brain metastases, no other malignancies, and creatinine clearance (CrCl)  60 mL/minute] and broadened criteria (including brain metastases, other malignancies, and CrCl  30 mL/minute). RESULTS: The analysis cohort included 10,500 patients. Median age was 68 years, and 73% of patients were White. Most patients had stage IV disease (65%). A total of 5,005 patients (48%) would be excluded from trial participation using the traditional criteria. The broadened criteria, however, would allow 98% of patients (10,346) to be potential participants. Examination of patients included by traditional criteria (5,495) versus those added (4,851) by broadened criteria showed that the number of women, patients aged 75+ years, and those with stage IV cancer was significantly greater using broadened criteria. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis of real-world data demonstrated that broadening three common eligibility criteria has the potential to double the eligible patient population and include trial participants who are more representative of those encountered in practice.

Impact of Antiretroviral Therapy on Cancer Treatment Outcomes among People Living with HIV in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: a Systematic Review


2021 Thomas Uldrick; Rachel Bender Ignacio

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The relationship between antiretroviral therapy (ART) and cancer treatment outcomes among people living with HIV (PLWH) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is complex and poorly understood for many cancers. We aimed to summarize existing evidence from LMICs regarding the benefit of ART on cancer treatment-related outcomes. RECENT FINDINGS: We included twelve observational studies that reported associations between ART status and cancer treatment outcomes among HIV-positive patients in LMICs. Most confirmed ART was associated with improved cancer treatment outcomes. Heterogeneity in cancers under study, outcome measurement, categorization of ART status, and reporting of HIV-related immune function made formal comparison between studies untenable. Where evaluated, ART generally has a positive effect on cancer outcomes in people with HIV in LMICs. However, there remains a substantial gap in the literature regarding the impact of ART on treatment outcomes for most cancer types. Future research should focus on the optimal timing and integration of ART and cancer treatment for PLWH with strategies applicable to constrained-resource settings.

Sustained Helicobacter pylori infection accelerates gastric dysplasia in a mouse model

Life Sci Alliance

2021 Christina Leverich; Robert Pierce; Nina Salama; Julien Dubrulle; Valerie O'Brien; Jean Campbell; Vattanak Kong; Amanda Koehne; Armando Rodriguez

More than 80% of gastric cancer is attributable to stomach infection with Helicobacter pylori (Hp). Gastric preneoplastic progression involves sequential tissue changes, including loss of parietal cells, metaplasia and dysplasia. In transgenic mice, active KRAS expression recapitulates these tissue changes in the absence of Hp infection. This model provides an experimental system to investigate additional roles of Hp in preneoplastic progression, beyond its known role in initiating inflammation. Tissue histology, gene expression, the immune cell repertoire, and metaplasia and dysplasia marker expression were assessed in KRAS+ mice +/-Hp infection. Hp+/KRAS+ mice had severe T-cell infiltration and altered macrophage polarization; a different trajectory of metaplasia; more dysplastic glands; and greater proliferation of metaplastic and dysplastic glands. Eradication of Hp with antibiotics, even after onset of metaplasia, prevented or reversed these tissue phenotypes. These results suggest that gastric preneoplastic progression differs between Hp+ and Hp- cases, and that sustained Hp infection can promote the later stages of gastric preneoplastic progression.

Detection of engineered T cells in FFPE tissue by multiplex in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry

J Immunol Methods

2020 Ratsamy Chanthaphavong; Jean Campbell; Marie Bleakley; Megan McAfee; Cameron Turtle; Anthony Rongvaux; Alexandre Hirayama; Robert Pierce; Aude Chapuis

Identifying engineered T cells in situ is important to understand the location, persistence, and phenotype of these cells in patients after adoptive T cell therapy. While engineered cells are routinely characterized in fresh tissue or blood from patients by flow cytometry, it is difficult to distinguish them from endogenous cells in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue biopsies. To overcome this limitation, we have developed a method for characterizing engineered T cells in fixed tissue using in situ hybridization (ISH) to the woodchuck hepatitis post-transcriptional regulatory element (WPRE) common in many lentiviral vectors used to transduce chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) and T cell receptor T (TCR-T) cells, coupled with alternative permeabilization conditions that allows subsequent multiplex immunohistochemical (mIHC) staining within the same image. This new method provides the ability to mark the cells by ISH, and simultaneously stain for cell-associated proteins to immunophenotype CAR/TCR modified T cells within tumors, as well as assess potential roles of these cells in on-target/off-tumor toxicity in other tissue.

ACCELERATE: A Patient-Powered Natural History Study Design Enabling Clinical and Therapeutic Discoveries in a Rare Disorder

Cell Rep Med

2020 Corey Casper; Thomas Uldrick

Geographically dispersed patients, inconsistent treatment tracking, and limited infrastructure slow research for many orphan diseases. We assess the feasibility of a patient-powered study design to overcome these challenges for Castleman disease, a rare hematologic disorder. Here, we report initial results from the ACCELERATE natural history registry. ACCELERATE includes a traditional physician-reported arm and a patient-powered arm, which enables patients to directly contribute medical data and biospecimens. This study design enables successful enrollment, with the 5-year minimum enrollment goal being met in 2 years. A median of 683 clinical, laboratory, and imaging data elements are captured per patient in the patient-powered arm compared with 37 in the physician-reported arm. These data reveal subgrouping characteristics, identify off-label treatments, support treatment guidelines, and are used in 17 clinical and translational studies. This feasibility study demonstrates that the direct-to-patient design is effective for collecting natural history data and biospecimens, tracking therapies, and providing critical research infrastructure.

International evidence-based consensus diagnostic and treatment guidelines for unicentric Castleman disease

Blood Adv

2020 Thomas Uldrick; David Wu; Corey Casper

Castleman disease (CD) includes a group of rare and heterogeneous disorders with characteristic lymph node histopathological abnormalities. CD can occur in a single lymph node station, which is referred to as unicentric CD (UCD). CD can also involve multicentric lymphadenopathy and inflammatory symptoms (multicentric CD [MCD]). MCD includes human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8)-associated MCD, POEMS-associated MCD, and HHV-8-/idiopathic MCD (iMCD). The first-ever diagnostic and treatment guidelines were recently developed for iMCD by an international expert consortium convened by the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN). The focus of this report is to establish similar guidelines for the management of UCD. To this purpose, an international working group of 42 experts from 10 countries was convened to establish consensus recommendations based on review of treatment in published cases of UCD, the CDCN ACCELERATE registry, and expert opinion. Complete surgical resection is often curative and is therefore the preferred first-line therapy, if possible. The management of unresectable UCD is more challenging. Existing evidence supports that asymptomatic unresectable UCD may be observed. The anti-interleukin-6 monoclonal antibody siltuximab should be considered for unresectable UCD patients with an inflammatory syndrome. Unresectable UCD that is symptomatic as a result of compression of vital neighboring structures may be rendered amenable to resection by medical therapy (eg, rituximab, steroids), radiotherapy, or embolization. Further research is needed in UCD patients with persisting constitutional symptoms despite complete excision and normal laboratory markers. We hope that these guidelines will improve outcomes in UCD and help treating physicians decide the best therapeutic approach for their patients.

Immunogenic Chemotherapy Enhances Recruitment of CAR-T Cells to Lung Tumors and Improves Antitumor Efficacy when Combined with Checkpoint Blockade

Cancer Cell

2020 Robert Amezquita; Sylvia Lee; A. McGarry Houghton; Jennifer Specht; Shivani Srivastava; Sarah Garrison; David Maloney; Sushma Yechan Gunja; Raphael Gottardo; Stanley Riddell; Kimberly Smythe; Valentin Voillet; Megha Sarvothama; Susanna Berger; Carla Jaeger; Smitha Pillai; Scott Furlan; Robert Pierce

Adoptive therapy using chimeric antigen receptor-modified T cells (CAR-T cells) is effective in hematologic but not epithelial malignancies, which cause the greatest mortality. In breast and lung cancer patients, CAR-T cells targeting the tumor-associated antigen receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 1 (ROR1) infiltrate tumors poorly and become dysfunctional. To test strategies for enhancing efficacy, we adapted the KrasLSL-G12D/+;p53f/f autochthonous model of lung adenocarcinoma to express the CAR target ROR1. Murine ROR1 CAR-T cells transferred after lymphodepletion with cyclophosphamide (Cy) transiently control tumor growth but infiltrate tumors poorly and lose function, similar to what is seen in patients. Adding oxaliplatin (Ox) to the lymphodepletion regimen activates tumor macrophages to express T-cell-recruiting chemokines, resulting in improved CAR-T cell infiltration, remodeling of the tumor microenvironment, and increased tumor sensitivity to anti-PD-L1. Combination therapy with Ox/Cy and anti-PD-L1 synergistically improves CAR-T cell-mediated tumor control and survival, providing a strategy to improve CAR-T cell efficacy in the clinic.