Bromodomain and Extra-Terminal Protein Inhibitors: Biologic Insights and Therapeutic Potential in Pediatric Brain Tumors
Pediatric brain tumors have surpassed leukemia as the leading cause of cancer-related death in children. Several landmark studies from the last two decades have shown that many pediatric brain tumors are driven by epigenetic dysregulation within specific developmental contexts. One of the major determinants of epigenetic control is the histone code, which is orchestrated by a number of enzymes categorized as writers, erasers, and readers. Bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) proteins are reader proteins that bind to acetylated lysines in histone tails and play a crucial role in regulating gene transcription. BET inhibitors have shown efficacy in a wide range of cancers, and a number have progressed to clinical phase testing. Here, we review the evidence for BET inhibitors in pediatric brain tumor experimental models, as well as their translational potential.
"I Want to be President of Liberia": Reflections on Pediatric Cancer Management in West Africa
Outcomes after first relapse of childhood intracranial ependymoma
BACKGROUND:Ependymoma is the third most common malignant CNS tumor in children. Despite multimodal therapy, prognosis of relapsed ependymoma remains poor. Approaches to therapy for relapsed ependymoma are varied. We present a single-institution retrospective review of the outcomes after first relapse of intracranial ependymoma in children. PROCEDURE:We performed a retrospective, IRB-approved chart review of patients with recurrent intracranial ependymoma treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center from 1990 to 2019. RESULTS:Thirty-four patients with relapsed intracranial ependymoma were identified. At initial diagnosis, 11 patients had supratentorial disease, 22 with posterior fossa disease and one with metastatic disease. Median time-to-first relapse was 14.9Â months from initial diagnosis (range 1.4-52.5). Seven patients had metastatic disease at first relapse. Gross total resection (GTR) was associated with improved 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) relative to subtotal resection (STR) and no surgery (pÂ =Â .005). Localized disease at relapse was associated with improved 5-year overall survival (OS) when compared to metastatic disease (pÂ =Â .02). Irradiation at first relapse seemed to delay progression but was not associated with statistically prolonged PFS or OS. Tumor location, histology, and chromosomal 1q status did not impact outcome at first relapse, although available molecular data were limited making definitive conclusions difficult. Median time-to-second relapse was 10Â months (range 0.7-124). Five-year PFS and OS after first relapse were 19.9% and 45.1%, respectively. Median PFS and OS were 10.0 and 52.5Â months after first relapse, respectively. CONCLUSIONS:Relapsed intracranial ependymoma has a poor prognosis despite multimodal therapy. Novel therapeutic strategies are desperately needed for this disease.
Bromodomain and extra-terminalÂ inhibitors-A consensus prioritisation after the Paediatric Strategy Forum for medicinal product development of epigenetic modifiers in children-ACCELERATE
Based on biology and pre-clinical data, bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) inhibitors have at least three potential roles in paediatric malignancies: NUT (nuclear protein in testis) carcinomas, MYC/MYCN-driven cancersÂ and fusion-driven malignancies. However, there are now at least 10 BET inhibitors in development, with a limited relevant paediatric population in which to evaluate these medicinal products. Therefore, a meeting was convened with the specific aim to develop a consensus among relevant biopharmaceutical companies, academic researchers, as well as patient and family advocates, about the development of BET inhibitors, including prioritisation and their specific roles in children. Although BET inhibitors have been in clinical trials in adults since 2012, the first-in-child study (BMS-986158) only opened in 2019. In the future, when there is strong mechanistic rationale or pre-clinical activity of a class of medicinal product in paediatrics, early clinical evaluation with embedded correlative studies of a member of the class should be prioritised and rapidly executed in paediatric populations. There is a strong mechanistic and biological rationale to evaluate BET inhibitors in paediatrics, underpinned by substantial, but not universal, pre-clinical data. However, most pan-BET inhibitors have been challenging to administer in adults, since monotherapy results in only modest anti-tumour activity and provides a narrow therapeutic index due to thrombocytopenia. It was concluded that it is neither scientifically justified nor feasible to undertake simultaneously early clinical trials in paediatrics of all pan-BET inhibitors. However, there is a clinical need for global access to BET inhibitors for patients with NUT carcinoma, a very rare malignancy driven by bromodomain fusions, with proof of concept of clinical benefit in a subset of patients treated with BET inhibitors. Development and regulatory pathway in this indication should include children and adolescents as well as adults. Beyond NUT carcinoma, it was proposed that further clinical development of other pan-BET inhibitors in children should await the results of the first paediatric clinical trial of BMS-986158, unless there is compelling rationale based on the specific agent of interest. BDII-selective inhibitors, central nervous system-penetrant BET inhibitors (e.g. CC-90010), and those dual-targeting BET/p300 bromodomain are of particular interest and warrant further pre-clinical investigation. This meeting emphasised the value of a coordinated and integrated strategy to drug development in paediatric oncology. A multi-stakeholder approach with multiple companies developing a consensus with academic investigators early in the development of a class of compounds, and then engaging regulatory agencies would improve efficiency, productivity, conserve resourcesÂ and maximise potential benefit for children with cancer.
MULTI-INSTITUTIONAL STUDY OF THE INCIDENCE AND OUTCOME OF PEDIATRIC IDH-MUTANT GLIOMA [Meeting Abstract]
Off-label prescribing of targeted anticancer therapy at a large pediatric cancer center
BACKGROUND:Off-label drug prescribing is common in pediatric clinical medicine, though the extent and impact of this practice in pediatric oncology has not yet been characterized. METHODS:We completed a retrospective single-institution cohort study evaluating prevalence, characteristics, and clinical outcomes of off-label prescribing of 108 FDA-approved targeted anticancer drugs in patientsÂ <Â 30Â years old treated for cancer from 2007 to 2017. Dosing strategies were adjusted for body size and compared to FDA-approved adult dosing regimen. A composite toxicity endpoint was defined as a patient having unplanned clinic visits, emergency department visits, or unplanned hospital admissions that were at least possibly related to the off-label treatment. RESULTS:The overall prevalence of off-label use of targeted therapies was 9.2% (nÂ =Â 374 patients). The prevalence increased significantly over the study period (PÂ <Â .0001). Patients treated off-label were more likely to have neuro-oncology diagnoses compared to patients not treated off-label (46% vs 29%; PÂ <Â .0001). Of the 108 potential agents, 38 (35%) were used by at least one patient. The median starting dose was below the FDA-approved normalized dose for 44.4% of agents. Fifteen percent of patients had a complete response while receiving off-label therapy, 38% experienced toxicity as defined, and 13% discontinued off-label therapy due to toxicity. CONCLUSIONS:In this real-world evaluation of prescribing at a large pediatric cancer center, off-label prescribing of FDA-approved targeted therapies was common, increasing in prevalence, encompassed a broad sample of targeted agents, and was tolerable. Clinicians commonly start dosing below the equivalent FDA-approved dose.
Trametinib for the treatment of recurrent/progressive pediatric low-grade glioma
PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:Pediatric low-grade gliomas (pLGGs) are the most common CNS tumor of childhood and comprise a heterogenous group of tumors. Children with progressive pLGG often require numerous treatment modalities including surgery, chemotherapy, rarely radiation therapy and, more recently, molecularly targeted therapy. We describe our institutional experience using the MEK inhibitor, trametinib, for recurrent/progressive pLGGs. METHODS:We performed a retrospective, IRB-approved, chart review of all pediatric patients treated with trametinib for recurrent/progressive pLGGs at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorder Center between 2016 and 2018. RESULTS:Eleven patients were identified, of which 10 were evaluable for response. Median age at commencement of trametinib treatment was 14.7Â years (range 7.3-25.9Â years). Tumor molecular status included KIAA1549-BRAF fusionÂ (nâ€‰=â€‰4), NF1 mutationÂ (nâ€‰=â€‰4), FGFR mutationÂ (nâ€‰=â€‰1) and CDKN2A loss (nâ€‰=â€‰1). Median number of prior treatment regimens was 5 (range 1-12). Median duration of treatment with trametinib was 19.2Â months (range 3.8-29.8Â months). Based on modified RANO criteria, best responses included partial (nâ€‰=â€‰2), minor response (nâ€‰=â€‰2) and stable disease (nâ€‰=â€‰6). Two patients remain on therapy (29.8 and 25.9Â months, respectively). The most common toxicities attributable to trametinib were rash, fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbance. Five patients required dose reduction for toxicities. Two patients experienced significant intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) while on trametinib. While it is unclear whether ICH was directly attributable to trametinib, therapy was discontinued. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Trametinib appears to be an effective treatment for patients with recurrent/progressive pLGG. The toxicities of this therapy warrant further investigation, with particular attention to the potential risk for intracranial hemorrhage. Early phase multi-institutional clinical trials are underway.
Development of paediatric non-stage prognosticator guidelines for population-based cancer registries and updates to the 2014 Toronto Paediatric Cancer Stage Guidelines
Population-based cancer registries (PBCRs) generate measures of cancer incidence and survival that are essential for cancer surveillance, research, and cancer control strategies. In 2014, the Toronto Paediatric Cancer Stage Guidelines were developed to standardise how PBCRs collect data on the stage at diagnosis for childhood cancer cases. These guidelines have been implemented in multiple jurisdictions worldwide to facilitate international comparative studies of incidence and outcome. Robust stratification by risk also requires data on key non-stage prognosticators (NSPs). Key experts and stakeholders used a modified Delphi approach to establish principles guiding paediatric cancer NSP data collection. With the use of these principles, recommendations were made on which NSPs should be collected for the major malignancies in children. The 2014 Toronto Stage Guidelines were also reviewed and updated where necessary. Wide adoption of the resultant Paediatric NSP Guidelines and updated Toronto Stage Guidelines will enhance the harmonisation and use of childhood cancer data provided by PBCRs.
Immune checkpoint inhibition for pediatric patients with recurrent/refractory CNS tumors: a single institution experience
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Immune checkpoint inhibition through PD-1 and CTLA-4 blockade has shown efficacy in some adult malignancies and generated interest in pediatrics, including central nervous system (CNS) tumors. We describe our experience with immune checkpoint inhibition in recurrent/refractory pediatric CNS tumors. METHODS:We performed a retrospective chart review of pediatric patients with recurrent or refractory CNS tumors treated with ipilimumab, nivolumab and/or pembrolizumab at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Hospital between 2018 and 2019. RESULTS:Eleven patients were identified. Diagnoses included diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) (nâ€‰=â€‰2), high-grade glioma (HGG) (nâ€‰=â€‰5), ependymoma (nâ€‰=â€‰1), craniopharyngioma (nâ€‰=â€‰1), high-grade neuroepithelial tumor (nâ€‰=â€‰1) and non-germinomatous germ cell tumor (NGGCT) (nâ€‰=â€‰1). Eight patients had recurrent disease, while three had refractory disease. Nine patients received combination therapy (ipilimumab/nivolumab); two patients received either nivolumab or pembrolizumab. Median time from diagnosis-to-treatment was 8Â months (range 0.8-156). All patients received prior radiation therapy (RT), with median time from RT-to-immunotherapy was 3.8Â years. One patient received concurrent then adjuvant immunotherapy with RT. Median duration of treatment was 6.1Â months (range 1-25). Therapy was discontinued in nine patients: seven due to disease progression and two due to toxicity (colitis; transaminitis). Other pertinent toxicities included Type 1 diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and skin toxicity. Based on iRANO criteria, best responses included partial response (nâ€‰=â€‰3), stable disease (nâ€‰=â€‰7) and progressive disease (nâ€‰=â€‰1). Durable response was noted in two patients. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Immune checkpoint inhibition was relatively well tolerated in a cohort of pediatric patients spanning several CNS tumor diagnoses. Results from prospective clinical trials will be critical to inform clinical decisions.
Increasing value of autopsies in patients with brain tumors in the molecular era
BACKGROUND:Pediatric brain tumors are associated with high morbidity and mortality, in part due to insufficient understanding of tumor biology. With limited tissue allocation for research from surgical specimens, a key barrier to improving biological understanding, brain tumor autopsies have become an increasingly valuable resource. This study reviews the brain tumor autopsy practice at our institution and describes specific emerging research utilization patterns beyond the clinical autopsy report. METHODS:We performed a retrospective analysis of brain tumor autopsies at Boston Children's Hospital (BCH) between 2007 and 2017 and reviewed their consents, neuropathology reports and final diagnoses. We reviewed the method of tissue triaging for research consented autopsies (bioregistry, frozen and fresh tissue) and documented their specific uses. RESULTS:Ninety-six deaths at BCH were due to brain tumors; 56 autopsies were performed (58.3%), of which 49 (87.5%) were consented for research. Tumor mapping was performed on all cases and tissue was allocated for DNA- and RNA-based sequencing studies (published and ongoing). Three tissue allocations with a postmortem interval of 8Â h or less resulted in successful cell lines. Tissue from 14 autopsies was contributed to the National DIPG Registry. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Our institutional pediatric brain tumor autopsy clinical experience demonstrates the increased utility and wide utilization of autopsy-derived tissue for multiple types of research. These results support the increased efforts to obtain research consent for brain tumor autopsy and active collection of unfixed autopsy material in the molecular era.