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Electrochemotherapy in mucosal cancer of the head and neck : a systematic review
Primož Strojan, Aleš Grošelj, Gregor Serša, Christina Caroline Plaschke, Jan B. Vermorken, Sandra Nuyts, Remco De Bree, Avraham Eisbruch, William M. Mendenhall, Robert Smee, Alfio Ferlito, 2021, review article

Abstract: Electrochemotherapy (ECT) is a local ablative treatment that is based on the reversible electroporation and intracellular accumulation of hydrophilic drug molecules, which greatly increases their cytotoxicity. In mucosal head and neck cancer (HNC), experience with ECT is limited due to the poor accessibility of tumors. In order to review the experience with ECT in mucosal HNC, we undertook a systematic review of the literature. In 22 articles, published between 1998 and 2020, 16 studies with 164 patients were described. Curative and palliative intent treatment were given to 36 (22%) and 128 patients (78%), respectively. The majority of tumors were squamous cell carcinomas (79.3%) and located in the oral cavity (62.8%). In the curative intent group, complete response after one ECT treatment was achieved in 80.5% of the patients, and in the palliative intent group, the objective (complete and partial) response rate was 73.1% (31.2% and 41.9%). No serious adverse events were reported during or soon after ECT and late effects were rare (19 events in 17 patients). The quality-of-life assessments did not show a significant deterioration at 12 months post-ECT. Provided these preliminary data are confirmed in randomized controlled trials, ECT may be an interesting treatment option in selected patients with HNC not amenable to standard local treatment.
Keywords: electrochemotherapy, head and neck cancer, mucosal cancer
Published in DiRROS: 23.09.2022; Views: 256; Downloads: 108
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Trends in specialized palliative care referrals at an oncology center from 2007 to 2019
Lučka Boltežar, Barbara Jezeršek Novaković, Maja Ebert Moltara, 2021, original scientific article

Keywords: palliative care, primary site of cancer, early referral
Published in DiRROS: 21.09.2022; Views: 164; Downloads: 116
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Trends and timing of risk-reducing mastectomy uptake in unaffected BRCA1 and BRCA2 carriers in Slovenia
Taja Ložar, Janez Žgajnar, Andraž Perhavec, Ana Blatnik, Srdjan Novaković, Mateja Krajc, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Objectives. Risk-reducing mastectomy (RRM) is one of key prevention strategies in female carriers of germline BRCA pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants (PV/LPV). We retrospectively investigated the rate, timing and longitudinal trends of bilateral RRM uptake and the incidence and types of cancers among unaffected BRCA carriers who underwent genetic counseling at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana in Slovenia. Materials and Methods. Female BRCA carriers without personal history of cancer were included in the study. Clinical data on PV/LPV type, date of RRM, type of reconstructive procedure, occult carcinoma and histopathology results was collected and analyzed. Results. Of the 346 unaffected BRCA carriers (median age 43 years, 70% BRCA1, 30% BRCA2, median follow-up 46 months) who underwent genetic testing between October 1999 and December 2019, 25.1% had a RRM (range 35-50 years, median age at surgery 38 years). A significant difference in time to prophylactic surgery between women undergoing RRM only vs. women undergoing RRM combined with risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy was observed (22.6 vs 8.7 months, p=0.0009). We observed an upward trend in the annual uptake in line with the previously observed Angelina Jolie effect. In 5.7% of cases, occult breast cancer was detected. No women developed breast cancer after RRM. Women who did not opt for surgical prevention developed BRCA1/2-related cancers (9.3%). Conclusion. The uptake of RRM among unaffected BRCA carriers is 25.1% and is similar to our neighboring countries. No women developed breast cancer after RRM while women who did not opt for surgical prevention developed BRCA1/2 related cancers in 9.3% of cases. The reported data may provide meaningful aid for carriers when deciding on an optimal prevention strategy.
Keywords: risk-reducing mastectomy, breast cancer, BRCA
Published in DiRROS: 21.09.2022; Views: 197; Downloads: 70
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PARP inhibitor olaparib has a potential to increase the effectiveness of electrochemotherapy in BRCA1 mutated breast cancer in mice
Maša Bošnjak, Tanja Jesenko, Boštjan Markelc, Larisa Janžič, Maja Čemažar, Gregor Serša, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Electrochemotherapy (ECT), a local therapy, has different effectiveness among tumor types. In breast can-cer, its effectiveness is low; therefore, combined therapies are needed. The aim of our study was to com-bine ECT with PARP inhibitor olaparib, which could inhibit the repair of bleomycin or cisplatin inducedDNA damage and potentiate the effectiveness of ECT. The effects of combined therapy were studied inBRCA1mutated (HCC1937) and non-mutated (HCC1143) triple negative breast cancer cell lines.Therapeutic effectiveness was studied in 2D and 3D cell cultures andin vivoon subcutaneousHCC1937 tumor model in mice. The underlying mechanism of combined therapy was determined withthe evaluation ofcH2AX foci. Combined therapy of ECT with bleomycin and olaparib potentiated theeffectiveness of ECT inBRCA1mutated HCC1937, but not in non-mutated HCC1143 cells. The combinedtherapy had a synergistic effect, which was due to the increased number of DNA double strand breaks.Addition of olaparib to ECT with bleomycinin vivoin HCC1937 tumor model had only minimal effect,indicating repetitive olaparib treatment would be needed. This study demonstrates that DNA repar inhibiting drugs, like olaparib, have the potential to increase the effectiveness of ECT with bleomycin.
Keywords: electrochemotherapy, breast cancer, olaparib, bleomycin
Published in DiRROS: 21.09.2022; Views: 206; Downloads: 76
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BAP1-defficient breast cancer in a patient with BAP1 cancer syndrome
Ana Blatnik, Domen Ribnikar, Vita Šetrajčič Dragoš, Srdjan Novaković, Vida Stegel, Biljana Grčar-Kuzmanov, Nina Boc, Barbara Perić, Petra Škerl, Gašper Klančar, Mateja Krajc, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: BAP1 cancer syndrome is a rare and highly penetrant hereditary cancer predisposition. Uveal melanoma, mesothelioma, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and cutaneous melanoma are considered BAP1 cancer syndrome core cancers, whereas association with breast cancer has previously been suggested but not confirmed so far. In view of BAP1 immunomodulatory functions, BAP1 alterations could prove useful as possible biomarkers of response to immunotherapy in patients with BAP1-associated cancers. We present a case of a patient with BAP1 cancer syndrome who developed a metastatic breast cancer with loss of BAP1 demonstrated on immunohistochemistry. She carried a germline BAP1 likely pathogenic variant (c.898_899delAG p.(Arg300Glyfs*6)). In addition, tumor tissue sequencing identified a concurrent somatic variant in BAP1 (partial deletion of exon 12) and a low tumor mutational burden. As her triple negative tumor was shown to be PD-L1 positive, the patient was treated with combination of atezolizumab and nab-paclitaxel. She had a complete and sustained response to immunotherapy even after discontinuation of nab-paclitaxel. This case strengthens the evidence for including breast cancer in the BAP1 cancer syndrome tumor spectrum with implications for future cancer prevention programs. It also indicates immune checkpoint inhibitors might prove to be an effective treatment for BAP1-deficient breast cancer.
Keywords: BAP1, breast cancer, hereditary cancer syndromes, immunotherapy
Published in DiRROS: 19.09.2022; Views: 199; Downloads: 86
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Real-world testing practices, treatment patterns and clinical outcomes in patients from Central Eastern Europe with EGFR-mutated advanced non-small cell lung cancer : a retrospective chart review study (REFLECT)
Urška Janžič, Nina Turnšek, Mircea Dediu, Ivan Shterev Donev, Roxana Lupu, Gabriela Teodorescu, Tudor Ciuleanu, Adam Płużański, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: The targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) against the epidermal growth factor receptor mutation (EGFRm) in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) changed the treatment paradigm. REFLECT study (NCT04031898) explored EGFR/T790M testing and treatment patterns in EGFRm NSCLC patients receiving first- or second-generation (1G/2G) EGFR TKIs as front-line (1L) in eight countries. Pooled data from Central Eastern Europe (CEE) countries from this study (Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia) are presented here. This physician-led chart review study was conducted in patients with confirmed-EGFRm NSCLC initiating 1L 1G/2G EGFR TKIs between 2015–2018. The CEE cohort included 389 patients receiving 1L erlotinib (37%), afatinib (34%), and gefitinib (29%). Overall, 320 (82%) patients discontinued 1L, and 298 (77%) progression events were registered. Median progression free survival on 1L TKIs was 14.0 (95% CI: 12.6–15.6) months. Median overall survival from 1L start was 26.6 (95% CI: 24.1–29.0) months. Attrition rate between 1L and next line was 30%. Among patients with 1L progression, 200 (67%) were tested for T790M and 58% were positive. This first CEE analysis of treatments and outcomes in EGFRm NSCLC patients highlights the importance of using the most efficacious therapies currently available in 1L to reduce attrition and improve patient outcomes.
Keywords: lung neoplasms, non-small cell lung carcinoma, Eastern Europe, real-world study, REFLECT study, epidermal growth factor receptor, lung cancer
Published in DiRROS: 09.09.2022; Views: 202; Downloads: 70
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Identification of spliceogenic variants beyond canonical GT-AG splice sites in hereditary cancer genes
Vita Šetrajčič Dragoš, Ksenija Strojnik, Gašper Klančar, Petra Škerl, Vida Stegel, Ana Blatnik, Marta Banjac, Mateja Krajc, Srdjan Novaković, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in susceptibility genes that interrupt RNA splicing are a well-documented mechanism of hereditary cancer syndromes development. However, if RNA studies are not performed, most of the variants beyond the canonical GT-AG splice site are characterized as variants of uncertain significance (VUS). To decrease the VUS burden, we have bioinformatically evaluated all novel VUS detected in 732 consecutive patients tested in the routine genetic counseling process. Twelve VUS that were predicted to cause splicing defects were selected for mRNA analysis. Here, we report a functional characterization of 12 variants located beyond the first two intronic nucleotides using RNAseq in APC, ATM, FH, LZTR1, MSH6, PALB2, RAD51C, and TP53 genes. Based on the analysis of mRNA, we have successfully reclassified 50% of investigated variants. 25% of variants were downgraded to likely benign, whereas 25% were upgraded to likely pathogenic leading to improved clinical management of the patient and the family members.
Keywords: hereditary cancer, RNA sequencing, spliceogenic
Published in DiRROS: 07.09.2022; Views: 213; Downloads: 115
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Neuroendocrine carcinoma of the larynx and pharynx : a clinical and histopathological study
Primož Strojan, Robert Šifrer, Alfio Ferlito, Cvetka Grašič-Kuhar, Boštjan Lanišnik, Gaber Plavc, Nina Zidar, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) of the head and neck are rare and the experience scanty. The Cancer Registry of Slovenia database was used to identify cases of laryngeal and pharyngeal NECs diagnosed between 1995%2020. Biopsies were analyzed for the expression of standard neuroendocrine markers (synaptophysin, chromogranin, CD56), INSM1, Ki-67, p16, and PD-L1 (using the combined positive score, CPS). In situ hybridization for human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein%Barr virus (EBV) was performed. Twenty patients (larynx, 12; pharynx, 8) were identified. One tumor was well differentiated (WD), five were moderately differentiated (MD), and 14 were poorly differentiated (PD). Disease control was achieved solely by surgery in 4/4 MD/PD T1-2N0-1 tumors. Eight patients died of the disease, seven of which were due to distant metastases. All three traditional markers were positive in 11/17 NECs and the INSM1 marker in all 20 tumors. Two of fourteen p16-positive tumors were HPV-positive, but all three nasopharyngeal NECs were EBV-negative. Three tumors had CPSs % 1. In conclusion, INSM1 was confirmed to be a reliable marker of neuroendocrine differentiation. Except in WD and early-stage MD/PD tumors, aggressive multimodal therapy is needed; the optimal systemic therapy remains to be determined. p16, HPV, and EBV seem to bear no prognostic information.
Keywords: electrochemotherapy, head and neck cancer, neuroendocrinic carcinoma
Published in DiRROS: 07.09.2022; Views: 226; Downloads: 97
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Real-world data on detection of germline and somatic pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in BRCA1/2 and other susceptibility genes in ovarian cancer patients using next generation sequencing
Vida Stegel, Ana Blatnik, Erik Škof, Vita Šetrajčič Dragoš, Mateja Krajc, Brigita Gregorčič, Petra Škerl, Ksenija Strojnik, Gašper Klančar, Marta Banjac, Janez Žgajnar, Maja Ravnik-Oblak, Srdjan Novaković, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Detection of germline and somatic pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants (PV/LPV) in BRCA genes is at the moment a prerequisite for use of PARP inhibitors in different treatment settings of different tumors. The aim of our study was to determine the most appropriate testing workflow in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) patients using germline and tumor genotyping of BRCA and other hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer (HBOC) susceptibility genes. Consecutive patients with advanced non-mucinous EOC, who responded to platinum-based chemotherapy, were included in the study. DNA extracted from blood and FFPE tumor tissue were genotyped using NGS panels TruSightCancer/Hereditary and TruSight Tumor 170. Among 170 EOC patients, 21.8% had BRCA germline or somatic PV/LPV, and additionally 6.4% had PV/LPV in other HBOC genes. Sensitivity of tumor genotyping for detection of germline PV/LPV was 96.2% for BRCA genes and 93.3% for HBOC genes. With germline genotyping-only strategy, 58.8% of HBOC PV/LPV and 68.4% of BRCA PV/LPV were detected. By tumor genotyping-only strategy, 96.1% of HBOC PV/LPV and 97.4% of BRCA PV/LPV were detected. Genotyping of tumor first, followed by germline genotyping seems to be a reasonable approach for detection of PV/LPV in breast and/or ovarian cancer susceptibility genes in non-mucinous EOC patients.
Keywords: BRCA, ovarian cancer, tumor genotyping, HBOC
Published in DiRROS: 06.09.2022; Views: 229; Downloads: 125
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