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1.
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: 465; Downloads: 185
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Results of screening in early and advanced thoracic malignancies in the EORTC pan-European SPECTAlung platform
Marie Morfouace, Silvia Novello, A. Stevovic, C. Dooms, Urška Janžič, Thierry Berghmans, Rafal Dziadziuszko, T. Gorlia, Enriqueta Felip, Benjamin Besse, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Access to a comprehensive molecular alteration screening is patchy in Europe and quality of the molecular analysis varies. SPECTAlung was created in 2015 as a pan-European screening platform for patients with thoracic malignancies. Here we report the results of almost 4 years of prospective molecular screening of patients with thoracic malignancies, in terms of quality of the program and molecular alterations identified. Patients with thoracic malignancies at any stage of disease were recruited in SPECTAlung, from June 2015 to May 2019, in 7 different countries. Molecular tumour boards were organised monthly to discuss patients' molecular and clinical profile and possible biomarker-driven treatments, including clinical trial options. FFPE material was collected and analysed for 576 patients with diagnosis of pleural, lung, or thymic malignancies. Ultimately, 539 patients were eligible (93.6%) and 528 patients were assessable (91.7%). The turn-around time for report generation and molecular tumour board was 214 days (median). Targetable molecular alterations were observed in almost 20% of cases, but treatment adaptation was low (3% of patients). SPECTAlung showed the feasibility of a pan-European screening platform. One fifth of the patients had a targetable molecular alteration. Some operational issues were discovered and adapted to improve efficiency.
Keywords: thoracic neoplasms -- Europe, lung neoplasms -- Europe, diagnostic screening programs -- Europe, malignancies, lung cancer
Published in DiRROS: 24.06.2022; Views: 663; Downloads: 453
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4.
COVID-19 pandemic impact on cytopathology practice in the post-lockdown period : an international, multicenter study
Elena Vigliar, Pasquale Pisapia, Filippo Dello Iacovo, Izidor Kern, William C. Faquin, Martha Bishop Pitman, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Background. In a previous worldwide survey, the authors showed a drastic reduction in the number of cytological specimens processed during the coronavirus disease 2019 “lockdown” period along with an increase in malignancy rates. To assess the continued impact of the pandemic on cytological practices around the world, they undertook a second follow-up worldwide survey collecting data from the post-lockdown period (2020). Methods. Participants were asked to provide data regarding their cytopathology activity during the first 12 weeks of their respective national post-lockdown period (2020), which ranged from April 4 to October 31. Differences between the post-lockdown period and the corresponding 2019 period were evaluated, and the authors specifically focused on rates of malignant diagnoses. Results. A total of 29 respondents from 17 countries worldwide joined the survey. Overall, a lower number of cytological specimens (n = 236,352) were processed in comparison with the same period in 2019 (n = 321,466) for a relative reduction of 26.5%. The overall malignancy rate showed a statistically significant increase (12,442 [5.26%] vs 12,882 [4.01%]; P < .001) during the same time period. Similar results were obtained if both malignancy and suspicious for malignancy rates were considered together (15,759 [6.58%] vs 16,011 [4.98%]; P < .001). Conclusions. The data showed a persistent reduction in the cytological specimen volume during the post-lockdown period (2020). However, the relative increase in the cytological workload in the late part of the post-lockdown is a promising finding of a slow return to normality.
Keywords: covid-19, neoplasms, early detection of cancer, lung -- pathology -- cytology, diagnostic screening programs, fine-needle biopsy, cytopathology, fine-needle aspiration, malignancy rate
Published in DiRROS: 07.02.2022; Views: 727; Downloads: 232
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5.
Treatment patterns, testing practices, and outcomes in the pre-FLAURA era for patients with EGFR mutation-positive advanced NSCLC : a retrospective chart review (REFLECT)
Alfredo Addeo, Maximilian J Hochmair, Urška Janžič, Elizabeth Dudnik, Andriani Charpidou, Adam Płużański, Tudor Ciuleanu, Ivan Shterev Donev, Judith Elbaz, Jørgen Aarøe, René Ott, Nir Peled, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Background. Immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) recently became the standard treatment for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we present the first results of a real-world observational study on the effectiveness of ICI monotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC treated at a single academic center in a Central and Eastern European (CEE) country. Materials and methods. Overall, 66 consecutive patients with advanced NSCLC treated with ICIs in everyday clinical practice, either with first-line pembrolizumab (26 patients) or second-line atezolizumab, nivolumab, or pembrolizumab (40 patients), from August 2015 to November 2018, were included. All data were retrieved from a hospital lung cancer registry, in which the data is collected prospectively. Results. Included patients had a median age of 64 years, most were male (55%), 6% were in performance status >/=2, and 18% had controlled central nervous system metastases at baseline. In first-line, the median progression-free survival (mPFS) was 9.3 months, while the median overall survival (mOS) was not reached. The 1-year overall survival (OS) was 62%. In second-line, the mPFS and mOS were 3.5 months and 9.9 months, respectively, with a 1-year OS of 35%. In the overall population, adverse events of any grade were recorded in 79% of patients and of severe grade (3-4) in 12% of patients. Conclusion. The first real-world outcomes of NSCLC immunotherapy from a CEE country suggest comparable effectiveness to those observed in clinical trials and other real-world series, mainly coming from North America and Western European countries. Further data to inform on the real-world effectiveness of immunotherapy worldwide are needed.
Keywords: non-small cell lung carcinoma, immunotherapy, advanced non-small cell lung cancer, real-world data, Europe, Central Europe, Eastern Europe
Published in DiRROS: 15.12.2021; Views: 755; Downloads: 393
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Immunotherapy for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer : real-world data from an academic Central and Eastern European center
Marija Ivanović, Lea Knez, Ana Herzog, Mile Kovačević, Tanja Čufer, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Background. Immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) recently became the standard treatment for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we present the first results of a real-world observational study on the effectiveness of ICI monotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC treated at a single academic center in a Central and Eastern European (CEE) country. Materials and methods. Overall, 66 consecutive patients with advanced NSCLC treated with ICIs in everyday clinical practice, either with first-line pembrolizumab (26 patients) or second-line atezolizumab, nivolumab, or pembrolizumab (40 patients), from August 2015 to November 2018, were included. All data were retrieved from a hospital lung cancer registry, in which the data is collected prospectively. Results. Included patients had a median age of 64 years, most were male (55%), 6% were in performance status >/=2, and 18% had controlled central nervous system metastases at baseline. In first-line, the median progression-free survival (mPFS) was 9.3 months, while the median overall survival (mOS) was not reached. The 1-year overall survival (OS) was 62%. In second-line, the mPFS and mOS were 3.5 months and 9.9 months, respectively, with a 1-year OS of 35%. In the overall population, adverse events of any grade were recorded in 79% of patients and of severe grade (3-4) in 12% of patients. Conclusion. The first real-world outcomes of NSCLC immunotherapy from a CEE country suggest comparable effectiveness to those observed in clinical trials and other real-world series, mainly coming from North America and Western European countries. Further data to inform on the real-world effectiveness of immunotherapy worldwide are needed.
Keywords: non-small cell lung carcinoma, immunotherapy, advanced non-small cell lung cancer, real-world data, Central Europe, Europe, Eastern Europe
Published in DiRROS: 12.10.2021; Views: 875; Downloads: 267
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8.
Gene expression levels of the prolyl hydroxylase domain proteins PHD1 and PHD2 but not PHD3 are decreased in primary tumours and correlate with poor prognosis of patients with surgically resected non-small-cell lung cancer
Ana Koren, Matija Rijavec, Tomaž Krumpestar, Izidor Kern, Aleksander Sadikov, Tanja Čufer, Peter Korošec, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: Hypoxia correlates with poor prognosis in several cancer types, including lung cancer. Prolyl hydroxylase domain proteins (PHDs) play a role in cell oxygen sensing, negatively regulating the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) pathway. Our study aim was to evaluate PHD1, PHD2 and PHD3 mRNA expression levels in primary tumours and normal lungs of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients and to correlate it with selected regulators of HIF signalling, with clinicopathological characteristics and overall survival (OS). Methods: Tumour tissue samples were obtained from 60 patients with surgically resected NSCLC who were treated with radical surgery. In 22 out of 60 cases, matching morphologically normal lung tissue was obtained. PHD1, PHD2 and PHD3 mRNA expressions were measured using RT-qPCR. Results: The PHD1 and PHD2 mRNA levels in primary tumours were significantly decreased compared to those in normal lungs (both p < 0.0001). PHD1 and PHD2 expression in tumours was positively correlated (rs = 0.82; p < 0.0001) and correlated well with HIF pathway downstream genes HIF1A, PKM2 and PDK1. Decreased PHD1 and PHD2 were associated with larger tumour size, higher tumour stage (PHD1 only) and squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with low PHD1 and patients with low PHD2 expression had shorter OS than patients with high PHD1 (p = 0.02) and PHD2 expression (p = 0.01). PHD1 showed borderline independent prognostic values in multivariate analysis (p = 0.06). In contrast, we found no associations between PHD3 expression and any of the observed parameters. Conclusions: Our results show that reduced expression of PHD1 and PHD2 is associated with the development and progression of NSCLC. PHD1 could be further assessed as a prognostic marker in NSCLC.
Keywords: non-small-cell lung carcinoma, prognosis, non-small cell lung cancer, mRNA expression, prolyl hydroxylase domain proteins
Published in DiRROS: 21.05.2021; Views: 1131; Downloads: 842
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9.
Clinical and molecular practice of European thoracic pathology laboratories during the COVID-19 pandemic. The past and the near future
Paul Hofman, M. Ilié, E. Chamorey, P. Brest, R. Schiappa, V. Nakache, M. Antoine, M. Barberis, H. Begueret, F. Bibeau, Izidor Kern, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: This study evaluated the consequences in Europe of the COVID-19 outbreak on pathology laboratories orientated toward the diagnosis of thoracic diseases. Materials and methods: A survey was sent to 71 pathology laboratories from 21 European countries. The questionnaire requested information concerning the organization of biosafety, the clinical and molecular pathology, the biobanking, the workload, the associated research into COVID-19, and the organization of education and training during the COVID- 19 crisis, from 15 March to 31 May 2020, compared with the same period in 2019. Results: Questionnaires were returned from 53/71 (75%) laboratories from 18 European countries. The biosafety procedures were heterogeneous. The workload in clinical and molecular pathology decreased dramatically by 31% (range, 3%-55%) and 26% (range, 7%-62%), respectively. According to the professional category, between 28% and 41% of the staff members were not present in the laboratories but did teleworking. A total of 70% of the laboratories developed virtual meetings for the training of residents and junior pathologists. During the period of study, none of the staff members with confirmed COVID-19 became infected as a result of handling samples. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on most of the European pathology laboratories included in this study. Urgent implementation of several changes to the organization of most of these laboratories, notably to better harmonize biosafety procedures, was noted at the onset of the pandemic and maintained in the event of a new wave of infection occurring in Europe.
Keywords: covid-19, pathology, safety, lung neoplasms, biosafety, lung cancer
Published in DiRROS: 18.01.2021; Views: 1245; Downloads: 647
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10.
PD-L1 expression can be regarded as prognostic factor for survival of non-small cell lung cancer patients after chemoradiotherapy
Martina Vrankar, Matjaž Zwitter, Izidor Kern, Karmen Stanič, 2018, original scientific article

Abstract: The standard treatment for inoperable locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (LA NSCLC) includes concurrent or sequential chemotherapy (ChT) and radiation therapy (RT). Long term survival rates with these approaches remains only in the order of 15%, therefore new treatment strategies, including immunotherapy, are under investigation, with programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) as one of the major players. We evaluated the clinical significance of PD-L1 expression in tumor samples from patients with inoperable LA NSCLC who underwent concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in our institution between 2005 and 2010 and correlated their expression with clinicopathological parameters and outcome of treatment. Among 107 patients treated with concurrent CRT, a total of 43 (36 males and 7 females) had sufficient tissue for immunohistochemical (IHC) staining. The expression of PD-L1 was demonstrated in 7 tumors, in 6 males and 1 female. No statistical significant differences in patient characteristics, including age, smoking status and gender, were found according to the PD-L1 expression. After a median follow up of 103.6 months, median progression free survival (PFS) was 19.9 months in patients without and 10.1 months in patients with PD-L1 expression (p=0.008). Median overall survival (OS) was 28.4 and 12.1 months for PD-L1 negative and PD-L1 positive patients, respectively (p=0.012). In conclusions, patients with PD-L1 expression had shorter PFS and OS after concurrent CRT in LA NSCLC. Unfortunately, only small number of patients had tissue available for the IHC testing, therefore no firm conclusions could be made and further investigation is warranted.
Keywords: non-small cell lung cancer, lung cancer, chemoradiotherapy, survival
Published in DiRROS: 17.12.2020; Views: 1285; Downloads: 408
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