Attualità in Senologia

Rassegna della letteratura – gennaio/marzo 2021
Oncologia medica e terapie per il controllo sistemico

Pembrolizumab and atezolizumab in triple-negative breast cance . Dorota Kwapisz    Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2021 Mar;70 (3):607-617.

Abstract Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is defined by a lack of expression of both estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PgR) receptors as well as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) and is associated with poor prognosis. Moreover, the systemic treatment options are limited. However, the TNBC is more likely than other breast cancer subtypes to benefit from immune checkpoint blockade therapy due to its higher immunogenicity, higher enrichment by tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), and higher levels of programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression. Thus far, atezolizumab was approved in combination with nab-paclitaxel for patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic TNBC whose tumours express PD-L1. Currently, it seems that PD-L1-positive subgroup will potentially benefit the most from the immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) treatment. Moreover, it seems that better results are seen when an ICI is given as first-line treatment than when an ICI is given in later lines of treatment for advanced TNBC/metastatic TNBC. Recently, pembrolizumab has demonstrated promising results in early-stage TNBC what can lead in near future to its approval in (neo)adjuvant setting. This review summarizes the development and highlights recent advances of the atezolizumab and pembrolizumab in early and advanced/metastatic TNBC.

Effect of Capecitabine Maintenance Therapy Using Lower Dosage and Higher Frequency vs Observation on Disease-Free Survival Among Patients With Early-Stage Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Who Had Received Standard Treatment: The SYSUCC-001 Randomized Clinical Trial – Xi Wang , Shu-Sen Wang , Heng Huang et AL. – JAMA. 2021 Jan 5;325(1):50-58. doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.23370.

Importance: Among all subtypes of breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer has a relatively high relapse rate and poor outcome after standard treatment. Effective strategies to reduce the risk of relapse and death are needed.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and adverse effects of low-dose capecitabine maintenance after standard adjuvant chemotherapy in early-stage triple-negative breast cancer.

Design, setting, and participants: Randomized clinical trial conducted at 13 academic centers and clinical sites in China from April 2010 to December 2016 and final date of follow-up was April 30, 2020. Patients (n = 443) had early-stage triple-negative breast cancer and had completed standard adjuvant chemotherapy.

Interventions: Eligible patients were randomized 1:1 to receive capecitabine (n = 222) at a dose of 650 mg/m2 twice a day by mouth for 1 year without interruption or to observation (n = 221) after completion of standard adjuvant chemotherapy.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary end point was disease-free survival. Secondary end points included distant disease-free survival, overall survival, locoregional recurrence-free survival, and adverse events.

Results: Among 443 women who were randomized, 434 were included in the full analysis set (mean [SD] age, 46 [9.9] years; T1/T2 stage, 93.1%; node-negative, 61.8%) (98.0% completed the trial). After a median follow-up of 61 months (interquartile range, 44-82), 94 events were observed, including 38 events (37 recurrences and 32 deaths) in the capecitabine group and 56 events (56 recurrences and 40 deaths) in the observation group. The estimated 5-year disease-free survival was 82.8% in the capecitabine group and 73.0% in the observation group (hazard ratio [HR] for risk of recurrence or death, 0.64 [95% CI, 0.42-0.95]; P = .03). In the capecitabine group vs the observation group, the estimated 5-year distant disease-free survival was 85.8% vs 75.8% (HR for risk of distant metastasis or death, 0.60 [95% CI, 0.38-0.92]; P = .02), the estimated 5-year overall survival was 85.5% vs 81.3% (HR for risk of death, 0.75 [95% CI, 0.47-1.19]; P = .22), and the estimated 5-year locoregional recurrence-free survival was 85.0% vs 80.8% (HR for risk of locoregional recurrence or death, 0.72 [95% CI, 0.46-1.13]; P = .15). The most common capecitabine-related adverse event was hand-foot syndrome (45.2%), with 7.7% of patients experiencing a grade 3 event.

Conclusions and relevance: Among women with early-stage triple-negative breast cancer who received standard adjuvant treatment, low-dose capecitabine maintenance therapy for 1 year, compared with observation, resulted in significantly improved 5-year disease-free survival.

Adjuvant S-1 plus endocrine therapy for oestrogen receptor-positive, HER2-negative, primary breast cancer: a multicentre, open-label, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial – Masakazu Toi, Shigeru Imoto, Takanori Ishida   et Al. – Lancet Oncol. 2021 Jan;22(1):74-84 doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30534-9.

Background: Oral fluoropyrimidines, such as S-1, have been shown to have a role in controlling disease progression in metastatic breast cancer. We examined adjuvant treatment with S-1 in patients with oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive and HER2-negative primary breast cancer.

Methods: We did a multicentre, open-label, randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial in 139 sites (137 hospitals and two clinics). Eligible patients were women aged 20-75 years with histologically diagnosed stage I to IIIB invasive breast cancer (intermediate to high risk of recurrence). Patients were temporarily registered at participating institutions and biopsy or surgical samples were collected and sent for central pathological assessment. Patients received 5 years of standard adjuvant endocrine therapy (selective oestrogen receptor modulators with or without ovarian suppression and aromatase inhibitors) with or without 1 year of S-1. Oral S-1 80-120 mg/day was administered twice a day for 14 days with 7 days off. Randomisation (1:1) using the minimisation method was done with six stratification factors (age, axillary lymph node metastasis at surgery or sentinel lymph node biopsy, preoperative or postoperative (neoadjuvant or adjuvant) chemotherapy, preoperative endocrine therapy, proportion of ER-positive cells, and study site). The primary endpoint was invasive disease-free survival, in the full analysis set (all randomly assigned patients, excluding those with significant protocol deviations). The safety analysis set consisted of all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. Here, we report the results from the interim analysis at the data cutoff date Jan 31, 2019. This trial is registered with Japan Registry of Clinical Trials, jRCTs051180057, and the University hospital Medical Information Network, UMIN000003969.

Findings: Between Feb 1, 2012, and Feb 1, 2016, 1930 patients were enrolled in the full analysis set, 957 (50%) received endocrine therapy plus S-1 and 973 (50%) received endocrine therapy alone. Median follow-up was 52·2 months (IQR 42·1-58·9). 155 (16%) patients in the endocrine therapy alone group and in 101 (11%) patients in the endocrine therapy plus S-1 group had invasive disease-free survival events (hazard ratio 0·63, 95% CI 0·49-0·81, p=0·0003). As the primary endpoint was met at interim analysis, the trial was terminated early. The most common grade 3 or worse adverse events were decreased neutrophil count (72 [8%] of 954 patients in the endocrine therapy plus S-1 group vs seven [1%] of 970 patients in the endocrine therapy alone group), diarrhoea (18 [2%] vs none), decreased white blood cells (15 [2%] vs two [<1%]), and fatigue (six [<1%] vs none). Serious adverse events were reported in nine (1%) of 970 patients in the endocrine therapy alone group and 25 (3%) of 954 patients in the endocrine therapy plus S-1 group. There was one (<1%) possible treatment-related death in the endocrine therapy plus S-1 group due to suspected pulmonary artery thrombosis.

Interpretation:These data suggest that this combination of S-1 with endocrine therapy could be a potential treatment option for this intermediate and high-risk group of patients with ER-positive, HER2-negative primary breast cancer.

Fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab for subcutaneous injection plus chemotherapy in HER2-positive early breast cancer (FeDeriCa): a randomised, open-label, multicentre, non-inferiority, phase 3 study – Antoinette R Tan , Seock-Ah Im , André Mattar et AL – Lancet Oncol. 2021 Jan;22(1):85-97. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30536-2. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Background: A subcutaneous formulation of pertuzumab and trastuzumab with recombinant human hyaluronidase in one ready-to-use, fixed-dose combination vial (pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and hyaluronidase-zzxf) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on June 29, 2020. We report the primary analysis of the FeDeriCa study, which was designed to assess the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of the fixed-dose subcutaneous formulation compared to intravenous pertuzumab plus trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer in the neoadjuvant-adjuvant setting.

Methods: FeDeriCa, a randomised, open-label, international, multicentre, non-inferiority, phase 3 study, was done across 106 sites in 19 countries. Patients aged 18 years or older with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, HER2-positive, operable, locally advanced, or inflammatory stage II-IIIC breast cancer, and a left ventricular ejection fraction of 55% or more were randomly assigned (1:1), using a voice-based or web-based response system, to receive intravenous pertuzumab (840 mg loading dose, followed by 420 mg maintenance doses) plus intravenous trastuzumab (8 mg/kg loading dose, followed by 6 mg/kg maintenance doses) or the fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab for subcutaneous injection (1200 mg pertuzumab plus 600 mg trastuzumab loading dose in 15 mL, followed by 600 mg pertuzumab plus 600 mg trastuzumab maintenance doses in 10 mL), both administered every 3 weeks with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Patients were stratified by hormone receptor status, clinical stage, and chemotherapy regimen. The investigator selected one of the two protocol-approved standard chemotherapy regimens before randomisation. Four cycles of HER2-targeted therapy were administered concurrently with the taxane. After surgery, patients continued the HER2-targeted therapy to receive an additional 14 cycles (total of 18). The primary endpoint was non-inferiority of the cycle 7 pertuzumab serum trough concentration (Ctrough; ie, cycle 8 predose pertuzumab concentration) within the fixed-dose combination for subcutaneous injection versus intravenous pertuzumab plus trastuzumab in the per-protocol pharmacokinetic population (all enrolled patients who adhered to prespecified criteria for pharmacokinetic assessment). Non-inferiority was concluded if the lower bound of the 90% CI of the geometric mean ratio was 0·8 or higher. The safety population included all patients who received at least one dose of study medication, including chemotherapy or HER2-targeted therapy. Enrolment, neoadjuvant therapy, and surgery have been completed; adjuvant treatment and follow-up are ongoing. The trial is registered with, NCT03493854.

Findings: Between June 14, 2018, and Dec 24, 2018, 252 patients were randomly assigned to the intravenous infusion group and 248 to the fixed-dose combination group. The geometric mean ratio of pertuzumab serum Ctrough subcutaneous to serum Ctrough intravenous was 1·22 (90% CI 1·14-1·31). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events occurring during neoadjuvant treatment with HER2-targeted therapy plus chemotherapy in 5% or more of patients were neutropenia (34 [13%] of 252 patients in the intravenous infusion group vs 35 [14%] of 248 patients in the fixed-dose combination group), decreased neutrophil count (31 [12%] vs 27 [11%]), febrile neutropenia (14 [6%] vs 16 [6%]), diarrhoea (12 [5%] vs 17 [7%]), and decreased white blood cell count (18 [7%] vs nine [4%]). At least one treatment-related serious adverse event was reported in 25 (10%) patients in the intravenous infusion group and 26 (10%) patients in the fixed-dose combination group. One patient in each treatment group had an adverse event that led to death (urosepsis in the intravenous infusion group and acute myocardial infarction in the fixed-dose combination group); neither death was related to HER2-targeted therapy.

Interpretation: The study met its primary endpoint: the fixed-dose combination of pertuzumab and trastuzumab for subcutaneous injection provides non-inferior cycle 7 pertuzumab serum Ctrough concentrations to intravenous pertuzumab plus trastuzumab in the neoadjuvant setting with comparable total pathological complete response rates, supporting the FDA approval. Safety was similar between treatment groups, and in line with other pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and chemotherapy trials. Follow-up is ongoing for long-term outcomes, including efficacy and long-term safety

Phase III randomized study of taselisib or placebo with fulvestrant in estrogen receptor-positive, PIK3CA-mutant, HER2-negative, advanced breast cancer: the SANDPIPER trial – S Dent , J Cortés, Y-H Im  et AL. – Ann. Oncol. 2021 Feb;32(2):197-207. doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2020.10.596. Epub 2020 Nov 10.

Background: The phase III SANDPIPER study assessed taselisib (GDC-0032), a potent, selective PI3K inhibitor, plus fulvestrant in estrogen receptor-positive, HER2-negative, PIK3CA-mutant locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

Patients and methods: Postmenopausal women with disease recurrence/progression during/after an aromatase inhibitor were randomized 2 : 1 to receive taselisib (4 mg; taselisib arm) or placebo (placebo arm) plus fulvestrant (500 mg). Stratification factors were visceral disease, endocrine sensitivity, and geographic region. Patients with PIK3CA-mutant tumors (central cobas® PIK3CA Mutation Test) were randomized separately from those without detectable mutations. The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival (INV-PFS) in patients with PIK3CA-mutant tumors. Secondary endpoints included objective response rate, overall survival, clinical benefit rate, duration of objective response, PFS by blinded independent central review (BICR-PFS), safety, and time to deterioration in health-related quality of life.

Results: The PIK3CA-mutant intention-to-treat population comprised 516 patients (placebo arm: n = 176; taselisib arm: n = 340). INV-PFS was significantly improved in the taselisib {7.4 months [95% confidence interval (CI), 7.26-9.07]} versus placebo arm (5.4 months [95% CI, 3.68-7.29]) (stratified hazard ratio [HR] 0.70; 95% CI, 0.56-0.89; P = 0.0037) and confirmed by BICR-PFS (HR 0.66). Secondary endpoints, including objective response rate, clinical benefit rate, and duration of objective response, showed consistent improvements in the taselisib arm. Safety was assessed in all randomized patients who received at least one dose of taselisib/placebo or fulvestrant regardless of PIK3CA-mutation status (n = 629). Serious adverse events were lower in the placebo versus taselisib arm (8.9% versus 32.0%). There were more discontinuations (placebo arm: 2.3%; taselisib arm: 16.8%) and dose reductions (placebo arm: 2.3%; taselisib arm: 36.5%) in the taselisib arm.

Conclusion: SANDPIPER met its primary endpoint; however, the combination of taselisib plus fulvestrant has no clinical utility given its safety profile and modest clinical benefit.