Loss of function STK11 alterations and poor outcomes in non-small-cell lung cancer: Literature and case series of US Veterans
Emerging evidence suggests that STK11 alterations, frequently found in non-small-cell lung cancers, may be prognostic and/or predictive of response to therapy, particularly immunotherapy. STK11 affects multiple important cellular pathways, and mutations lead to tumor growth by creating an immunosuppressive and altered metabolic environment through changes in AMPK, STING, and vascular endothelial growth factor pathways. We illustrate the questions surrounding STK11 genomic alteration in NSCLC with a case series comprising six United States Veterans from a single institution. We discuss the history of STK11, review studies on its clinical impact, and describe putative mechanisms of how loss of STK11 might engender resistance to immunotherapy or other therapies. While the exact impact of STK11 alteration in non-small-cell lung cancer remain to be fully elucidated, future research and ongoing clinical trials will help us better understand its role in cancer development and devise more effective treatment strategies.
Effect of Androgen Suppression on Clinical Outcomes in Hospitalized Men With COVID-19: The HITCH Randomized Clinical Trial
Importance/UNASSIGNED:SARS-CoV-2 entry requires the TMPRSS2 cell surface protease. Antiandrogen therapies reduce expression of TMPRSS2. Objective/UNASSIGNED:To determine if temporary androgen suppression induced by degarelix improves clinical outcomes of inpatients hospitalized with COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants/UNASSIGNED:The Hormonal Intervention for the Treatment in Veterans With COVID-19 Requiring Hospitalization (HITCH) phase 2, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized clinical trial compared efficacy of degarelix plus standard care vs placebo plus standard care on clinical outcomes in men hospitalized with COVID-19 but not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. Inpatients were enrolled at 14 Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals from July 22, 2020, to April 8, 2021. Data were analyzed from August 9 to October 15, 2021. Interventions/UNASSIGNED:Patients stratified by age, history of hypertension, and disease severity were centrally randomized 2:1 to degarelix, (1-time subcutaneous dose of 240 mg) or a saline placebo. Standard care included but was not limited to supplemental oxygen, antibiotics, vasopressor support, peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis, intravenous fluids, remdesivir, convalescent plasma, and dexamethasone. Main Outcomes and Measures/UNASSIGNED:The composite primary end point was mortality, ongoing need for hospitalization, or requirement for mechanical ventilation at day 15 after randomization. Secondary end points were time to clinical improvement, inpatient mortality, length of hospitalization, duration of mechanical ventilation, time to achieve a temperature within reference range, maximum severity of COVID-19, and the composite end point at 30 days. Results/UNASSIGNED:The trial was stopped for futility after the planned interim analysis, at which time there were 96 evaluable patients, including 62 patients randomized to the degarelix group and 34 patients in the placebo group, out of 198 initially planned. The median (range) age was 70.5 (48-85) years. Common comorbidities included chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (15 patients [15.6%]), hypertension (75 patients [78.1%]), cardiovascular disease (27 patients [28.1%]), asthma (12 patients [12.5%]), diabetes (49 patients [51.0%]), and chronic respiratory failure requiring supplemental oxygen at baseline prior to COVID-19 (9 patients [9.4%]). For the primary end point, there was no significant difference between the degarelix and placebo groups (19 patients [30.6%] vs 9 patients [26.5%]; Pâ€‰=â€‰.67). Similarly, no differences were observed between degarelix and placebo groups in any secondary end points, including inpatient mortality (11 patients [17.7%] vs 6 patients [17.6%]) or all-cause mortality (11 patients [17.7%] vs 7 patents [20.6%]). There were no differences between degarelix and placebo groups in the overall rates of adverse events (13 patients [21.0%] vs 8 patients [23.5%) and serious adverse events (19 patients [30.6%] vs 13 patients [32.4%]), nor unexpected safety concerns. Conclusions and Relevance/UNASSIGNED:In this randomized clinical trial of androgen suppression vs placebo and usual care for men hospitalized with COVID-19, degarelix did not result in amelioration of COVID-19 severity. Trial Registration/UNASSIGNED:ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04397718.
Outcomes of Breast Cancer Patients Treated with Chemotherapy, Biologic Therapy, Endocrine Therapy, or Active Surveillance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
PURPOSE:Provide real-world data regarding the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality in breast cancer (BC) patients on active cancer treatment. METHODS:Clinical data were abstracted from the 3778 BC patients seen at a multisite cancer center in New York between February 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, including patient demographics, tumor histology, cancer treatment, and SARS-CoV-2 testing results. Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection by treatment type (chemotherapy [CT] vs endocrine and/or HER2 directed therapy [E/H]) was compared by Inverse Probability of Treatment Weighting. In those diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, Mann-Whitney test was used to a assess risk factors for severe disease and mortality. RESULTS:Three thousand sixty-two patients met study inclusion criteria with 641 patients tested for SARS-COV-2 by RT-PCR or serology. Overall, 64 patients (2.1%) were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection by either serology, RT-PCR, or documented clinical diagnosis. Comparing matched patients who received chemotherapy (n = 379) with those who received non-cytotoxic therapies (n = 2343) the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 did not differ between treatment groups (weighted risk; 3.5% CT vs 2.7% E/H, P = .523). Twenty-seven patients (0.9%) expired over follow-up, with 10 deaths attributed to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Chemotherapy was not associated with increased risk for death following SARS-CoV-2 infection (weighted risk; 0.7% CT vs 0.1% E/H, P = .246). Advanced disease (stage IV), age, BMI, and Charlson's Comorbidity Index score were associated with increased mortality following SARS-CoV-2 infection (P â‰¤ .05). CONCLUSION:BC treatment, including chemotherapy, can be safely administered in the context of enhanced infectious precautions, and should not be withheld particularly when given for curative intent.
A Population-Level Analysis of the Protective Effects of Androgen Deprivation Therapy Against COVID-19 Disease Incidence and Severity
Background/UNASSIGNED:The incidence and severity of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is substantially higher in men. Sex hormones may be a potential mechanism for differences in COVID-19 outcome in men and women. We hypothesized that men treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) have lower incidence and severity of COVID-19. Methods/UNASSIGNED:We conducted an observational study of male Veterans treated in the Veterans Health Administration from February 15th to July 15th, 2020. We developed a propensity score model to predict the likelihood to undergo Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing. We performed multivariable logistic regression modeling adjusted with inverse probability weighting to examine the relationship between ADT and COVID-19 incidence. We conducted logistic regression analysis among COVID-19 patients to test the association between ADT and COVID-19 severity. Results/UNASSIGNED:= 0.03). Conclusion/UNASSIGNED:ADT is associated with reduced incidence and severity of COVID-19 amongst male Veterans. Testosterone and androgen receptor signaling may confer increased risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and contribute to severe COVID-19 pathophysiology in men.
Socioeconomic Determinants of the Use of Molecular Testing in Stage IV Colorectal Cancer
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibodies extends life for patients with advanced colorectal cancers (CRCs) whose tumors exhibit wild-type KRAS, but KRAS testing may be underused. We studied the role of socioeconomic factors in the application of KRAS testing. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:We identified subjects with stage IV colorectal adenocarcinoma diagnosed 2010-2015 in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. We used multivariable logistic regression models to evaluate associations between clinical/demographic factors and the rate of KRAS testing. We used multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models to assess survival. RESULTS:We identified 37,676 patients with stage IV CRC, 31.1% of whom were tested for KRAS mutations, of those who had documented KRAS testing, 44% were KRAS mutant. Patients were more likely to be tested if they were younger (odds ratio [OR]=5.10 for age 20 to 29 vs. 80+, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.99-6.54, P<0.01), diagnosed more recently (OR=1.92 for 2015 vs. 2010, 95% CI: 1.77-2.08, P<0.01), or lived in an area of high median household income (OR=1.24 for median household income of >$69,311 vs. <$49,265, 95% CI: 1.14-1.35, P<0.01). Patients were less likely to be tested if they had Medicaid (OR=0.83, 95% CI: 0.77-0.88, P<0.01) or were unmarried (OR=0.78, 95% CI: 0.75-0.82, P<0.0001). The risk of death was decreased in patients who received KRAS testing (hazard ratio=0.77, 95% CI: 0.75-0.80, P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS:We found a low rate of KRAS testing in CRC patients with those living in low-income areas less likely to be tested, even after controlling for Medicaid insurance. Our study suggests that socioeconomic disparities persist despite Medicaid insurance.
Interaction between race and prostate cancer treatment benefit in the Veterans Health Administration
BACKGROUND:Studies have demonstrated that Black men may undergo definitive prostate cancer (CaP) treatment less often than men of other races, but it is unclear whether they are avoiding overtreatment of low-risk disease or experiencing a reduction in appropriate care. The authors' aim was to assess the role of race as it relates to treatment benefit in access to CaP treatment in a single-payer population. METHODS:The authors used the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Corporate Data Warehouse to perform a retrospective cohort study of veterans diagnosed with low- or intermediate-risk CaP between 2011 and 2017. RESULTS:The authors identified 35,427 men with incident low- or intermediate-risk CaP. When they controlled for covariates, Black men had 1.05 times the odds of receiving treatment in comparison with non-Black men (P < .001), and high-treatment-benefit men had 1.4 times the odds of receiving treatment in comparison with those in the low-treatment-benefit group (P < .001). The interaction of race and treatment benefit was significant, with Black men in the high-treatment-benefit category less likely to receive treatment than non-Black men in the same treatment category (odds ratio, 0.89; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS:Although race does appear to influence the receipt of definitive treatment in the VHA, this relationship varies in the context of the patient's treatment benefit, with Black men receiving less definitive treatment in high-benefit situations. The influence of patient race at high treatment benefit levels invites further investigation into the driving forces behind this persistent disparity in this consequential group.
COVID-19 outcomes in hospitalized patients with active cancer: Experiences from a major New York City health care system
BACKGROUND:The authors sought to study the risk factors associated with severe outcomes in hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients with cancer. METHODS:The authors queried the New York University Langone Medical Center's records for hospitalized patients who were polymerase chain reaction-positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV-2) and performed chart reviews on patients with cancer diagnoses to identify patients with active cancer and patients with a history of cancer. Descriptive statistics were calculated and multivariable logistic regression was used to determine associations between clinical, demographic, and laboratory characteristics with outcomes, including death and admission to the intensive care unit. RESULTS:A total of 4184 hospitalized SARS CoV-2+ patients, including 233 with active cancer, were identified. Patients with active cancer were more likely to die than those with a history of cancer and those without any cancer history (34.3% vs 27.6% vs 20%, respectively; P < .01). In multivariable regression among all patients, active cancer (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; CI, 1.34-2.67; P < .01), older age (OR, 1.06; CI, 1.05-1.06; P < .01), male sex (OR for female vs male, 0.70; CI, 0.58-0.84; P < .01), diabetes (OR, 1.26; CI, 1.04-1.53; P = .02), morbidly obese body mass index (OR, 1.87; CI, 1.24-2.81; P < .01), and elevated D-dimer (OR, 6.41 for value >2300; CI, 4.75-8.66; P < .01) were associated with increased mortality. Recent cancer-directed medical therapy was not associated with death in multivariable analysis. Among patients with active cancer, those with a hematologic malignancy had the highest mortality rate in comparison with other cancer types (47.83% vs 28.66%; P < .01). CONCLUSIONS:The authors found that patients with an active cancer diagnosis were more likely to die from COVID-19. Those with hematologic malignancies were at the highest risk of death. Patients receiving cancer-directed therapy within 3 months before hospitalization had no overall increased risk of death. LAY SUMMARY/UNASSIGNED:Our investigators found that hospitalized patients with active cancer were more likely to die from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than those with a history of cancer and those without any cancer history. Patients with hematologic cancers were the most likely among patients with cancer to die from COVID-19. Patients who received cancer therapy within 3 months before hospitalization did not have an increased risk of death.
Barriers and facilitators of germline genetic evaluation for prostate cancer
BACKGROUND:Genetic counseling and germline testing have an increasingly important role for patients with prostate cancer (PCa); however, recent data suggests they are underutilized. Our objective was to perform a qualitative study of the barriers and facilitators of germline genetic evaluation among physicians who manage PCa. METHODS:We conducted semi-structured interviews with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and urologists from different U.S. practice settings until thematic saturation was achieved at nâ€‰=â€‰14. The interview guide was based on the Tailored Implementation in Chronic Diseases Framework to identify key determinants of practice. Interview transcripts were independently coded by â‰¥2 investigators using a constant comparative method. RESULTS:The decision to perform or refer for germline genetic evaluation is affected by factors at multiple levels. Although patient factors sometimes play a role, the dominant themes in the decision to conduct germline genetic evaluation were at the physician and organizational level. Physician knowledge, coordination of care, perceptions of the guidelines, and concerns about cost were most frequently discussed as the main factors affecting utilization of germline genetic evaluation. CONCLUSIONS:There are currently numerous barriers to implementation of germline genetic evaluation for PCa. Efforts to expand physician education, to develop tools to enhance genetics in practice, and to facilitate coordination of care surrounding genetic evaluation are important to promote guideline-concordant care.
Hormonal intervention for the treatment of veterans with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization (HITCH): a multicenter, phase 2 randomized controlled trial of best supportive care vs best supportive care plus degarelix: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND:Therapeutic targeting of host-cell factors required for SARS-CoV-2 entry is an alternative strategy to ameliorate COVID-19 severity. SARS-CoV-2 entry into lung epithelium requires the TMPRSS2 cell surface protease. Pre-clinical and correlative data in humans suggest that anti-androgenic therapies can reduce the expression of TMPRSS2 on lung epithelium. Accordingly, we hypothesize that therapeutic targeting of androgen receptor signaling via degarelix, a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonist, will suppress COVID-19 infection and ameliorate symptom severity. METHODS:This is a randomized phase 2, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial in 198 patients to compare efficacy of degarelix plus best supportive care versus placebo plus best supportive care on improving the clinical outcomes of male Veterans who have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. Enrolled patients must have documented infection with SARS-CoV-2 based on a positive reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction result performed on a nasopharyngeal swab and have a severity of illness of level 3-5 (hospitalized but not requiring invasive mechanical ventilation). Patients stratified by age, history of hypertension, and severity are centrally randomized 2:1 (degarelix: placebo). The composite primary endpoint is mortality, ongoing need for hospitalization, or requirement for mechanical ventilation at 15 after randomization. Important secondary endpoints include time to clinical improvement, inpatient mortality, length of hospitalization, duration of mechanical ventilation, time to achieve a normal temperature, and the maximum severity of COVID-19 illness. Exploratory analyses aim to assess the association of cytokines, viral load, and various comorbidities with outcome. In addition, TMPRSS2 expression in target tissue and development of anti-viral antibodies will also be investigated. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:In this trial, we repurpose the FDA approved LHRH antagonist degarelix, commonly used for prostate cancer, to suppress TMPRSS2, a host cell surface protease required for SARS-CoV-2 cell entry. The objective is to determine if temporary androgen suppression with a single dose of degarelix improves the clinical outcomes of patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04397718. Registered on May 21, 2020.
The Association of Veterans' PSA Screening Rates with Changes in USPSTF Recommendations
BACKGROUND:In 2012, the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) formally recommended against all Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer. Our goal was to characterize PSA screening trends in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) before and after the USPSTF recommendation, and to determine if PSA screening was more likely to be ordered based on a Veteran's race or age. METHODS:Using the VA Corporate Data Warehouse, we created 10 annual groups of PSA-eligible men covering 2009-2018. We identified all PSA tests performed in the VA to determine yearly rates of PSA screening. All statistical tests were two-sided. RESULTS:The overall rate of PSA testing in the VA decreased from 63.3% in 2009 to 51.2% in 2018 (p<.001). PSA screening rates varied markedly by age group during our study period, with men aged 70-80 having the highest initial rate and greatest decline (70.6% in 2009 to 48.4% in 2018, p<.001). Men aged 55-69 saw a smaller decline (65.2% in 2009 to 58.9% in 2018, p<.001) while the youngest men, aged 40-54, had an increase in PSA screening (26.2% in 2009 to 37.8 in 2018, p<.001). CONCLUSIONS:In this analysis of PSA screening rates among veterans before and after the 2012 USPSTF recommendation against screening, we found that overall PSA screening decreased only modestly, continuing for more than half of the men in our study. Veterans of different races had similar screening rates, suggesting that VA care may minimize racial disparities. Veterans of varying age experienced significantly different trends in PSA screening.