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Nely Díaz-Mejía*, David García-Illescas*, Rafael Morales-Barrera, Cristina Suarez, Jacques Planas, Xavier Maldonado, Joan Carles, and Joaquin Mateo

Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors have antitumor activity in advanced prostate cancer associated with loss of homologous recombination repair (HRR) function. About 20% of all patients with advanced prostate cancer present germline or tumor mutations in HRR-related genes, the most common being BRCA2, mutated in approximately 10% of all advanced prostate cancers. Challenges related to sample availability, tumor heterogeneity and access to NGS technology need to be addressed for a successful implementation of genomic stratification in routine clinical practice. The recent regulatory approvals of PARP inhibitors olaparib and rucaparib represent the first molecular biomarker-guided drugs for men with prostate cancer. While these findings represent a significant advance in the field of precision medicine and prostate cancer, there are still many unsolved questions on the optimal use of PARP inhibitors in this disease. Several clinical trials have shown that different mutations in various genes are associated with distinct magnitudes of sensitivity to PARP inhibitors, with BRCA2 mutations associating with more frequent and durable responses, questioning the benefit for subset of patients with mutations in other HRR-associated genes. In this review, we scrutinize the clinical development of different PARP inhibitors for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, and we discuss how the study of additional biomarkers and the design of rational drug combinations can maximize patient benefit from this drug class.

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Sten Myrehaug, David L Chan, Victor Rodriguez-Freixinos, Hans Chung, Julie Hallet, Calvin Law, Chirag Patel, Laurent Milot, John Hudson, Hanbo Chen, and Simron Singh

Liver metastases are common in patients with neuroendocrine tumours. For patients, management must balance disease control with consideration of toxicity, given limited treatment options. Everolimus has demonstrated effectiveness in neuroendocrine neoplasms. Given emerging data of a synergistic effect with radiation therapy, we evaluated combined everolimus and radiation for neuroendocrine liver metastases. This single-arm, single-centre prospective pilot study evaluated the safety and efficacy of combined everolimus and radiotherapy for well-differentiated neuroendocrine liver metastases. Patients with unresectable liver metastases received everolimus for 30 days, followed by concurrent everolimus and liver radiotherapy, then a further 14 days of everolimus. Tolerability was evaluated using the CTCAE v.4.03. Individual metastasis response rate and local control were measured by RECIST v1.1. Overall survival, progression-free survival and freedom from a change in systemic therapy were estimated by the Kaplan–Meier method. Forty metastases were treated in 14 patients. No grade 3 or higher toxicities were identified in the concurrent treatment phase; one patient developed grade 3 toxicity in the post-radiation phase. Overall response rate was 38%. One- and 2-year local control were 97% and 71%. Median progression-free survival was 12 months. One- and 2-year overall survival were 100% and 92%. In conclusion, combined everolimus and radiation are well-tolerated for neuroendocrine liver metastases and are associated with excellent local control. The approach of selective local ablation of oligometastatic or oligoprogressive disease warrants further evaluation in this patient population.

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Anela Blazevic, Martijn P A Starmans, Tessa Brabander, Roy S Dwarkasing, Renza A H van Gils, Johannes Hofland, Gaston J H Franssen, Richard A Feelders, Wiro J Niessen, Stefan Klein, and Wouter W de Herder

Metastatic mesenteric masses of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SI-NETs) are known to often cause intestinal complications. The aim of this study was to identify patients at risk to develop these complications based on routinely acquired CT scans using a standardized set of clinical criteria and radiomics. Retrospectively, CT scans of SI-NET patients with a mesenteric mass were included and systematically evaluated by five clinicians. For the radiomics approach, 1128 features were extracted from segmentations of the mesenteric mass and mesentery, after which radiomics models were created using a combination of machine learning approaches. The performances were compared to a multidisciplinary tumor board (MTB). The dataset included 68 patients (32 asymptomatic, 36 symptomatic). The clinicians had AUCs between 0.62 and 0.85 and showed poor agreement. The best radiomics model had a mean AUC of 0.77. The MTB had a sensitivity of 0.64 and specificity of 0.68. We conclude that systematic clinical evaluation of SI-NETs to predict intestinal complications had a similar performance than an expert MTB, but poor inter-observer agreement. Radiomics showed a similar performance and is objective, and thus is a promising tool to correctly identify these patients. However, further validation is needed before the transition to clinical practice.

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Marc Diedisheim, Solène Dermine, Anne Jouinot, Amandine Septier, Sébastien Gaujoux, Bertrand Dousset, Guillaume Cadiot, Etienne Larger, Jérôme Bertherat, Raphael Scharfmann, Benoit Terris, Romain Coriat, and Guillaume Assié

Duodenopancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (DPNETs) aggressiveness is heterogeneous. Tumor grade and extension are commonly used for prognostic determination. Yet, grade classes are empirically defined, with regular updates changing the definition of classes. Genomic screening may provide more objective classes and reflect tumor biology. The aim of this study was to provide a transcriptome classification of DPNETs. We included 66 DPNETs, covering the entire clinical spectrum of the disease in terms of secretion, grade, and stage. Three distinct molecular groups were identified, associated with distinct outcomes (log-rank P < 0.01): (i) better-outcome DPNETs with pancreatic beta-cell signature. This group was mainly composed of well-differentiated, grade 1 insulinomas; (ii) poor-outcome DPNETs with pancreatic alpha-cell and hepatic signature. This group included all neuroendocrine carcinomas and grade 3 DPNETs, but also some grade 1 and grade 2 DPNETs and (iii) intermediate-outcome DPNETs with pancreatic exocrine and progenitor signature. This group included grade 1 and grade 2 DPNETs, with some insulinomas. Fibrinogen gene FGA expression was one of the topmost expressed liver genes. FGA expression was associated with disease-free survival (HR = 1.13, P = 0.005) and could be validated on two independent cohorts. This original pathophysiologic insight provides new prognostic classification perspectives.

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Wafa Bouleftour, Karima Boussoualim, Sandrine Sotton, Cecile Vassal, Thierry Thomas, Nicolas Magne, and Aline Guillot

Prostate cancer (Pca) is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting men in France. Before the age of 75 years old, 1 in 8 French men will have Pca. Androgen deprivation therapies (ADT) remain the standard of care. Such therapies induce significant bone loss. The bone-remodelling cycle depends on the androgen synthesis signalling pathways. Furthermore, age-specific hormonal decline plays a key role in the decrease in bone mass. As a result, the older the patients, the more likely they are to have osteoporosis if they are treated with hormone therapy. Their risk of osteoporotic fracture has an impact on their quality of life and their capacity of independent living. In recent years, newer hormone therapies (acetate abiraterone, enzalutamide, apalutamide and darolutamide) have proved efficient in metastatic castration-resistant Pca (mCRPC) patients as well as in hormone naïve patients, and actually in nonmetastatic diagnosis. The combination of these treatments with ADT highly inhibit androgen production pathways. They are prescribed to aged patients undergoing bone density loss after first-generation antiandrogen treatment. Specific recommendations for bone health management in Pca patients are currently lacking. To date, bone mineral density in patients treated with second-generation hormone therapy has never been assessed in a prospective study. This review aims at reviewing what is known about the impact of second-generation hormonotherapy on bone microenvironment.

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Alastair H Davies and Amina Zoubeidi

The first case of prostate cancer was identified by histological examination by Adams, a surgeon at The London Hospital, in 1853. In his report, Adams noted that the condition was 'a very rare disease'. Now, over 150 years later, with increased life expectancy and screening, prostate cancer has become one of the most common cancers in men. In the United States alone, nearly 200,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually and about 33,000 succumb to their disease. Fifty years ago, men were typically diagnosed with prostate cancer in their seventies with disease that had metastasized to the bone and/or soft tissue. Diagnosis at such an advanced stage was a death sentence, with patients dying within 2 years. The pioneering work of Charles Huggins in the 1940s found that metastatic prostate cancer responds to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), ushering in the rational use of hormone therapies that have irrevocably changed the course of prostate cancer disease management. Medical castration was the first effective systemic targeted therapy for any cancer and, to this day, androgen ablation remains the mainstay of prostate cancer therapy.

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Himisha Beltran and Francesca Demichelis

Lineage plasticity and histologic transformation to small cell neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) is an increasingly recognized mechanism of treatment resistance in advanced prostate cancer. This is associated with aggressive clinical features and poor prognosis. Recent work has identified genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptome changes that distinguish NEPC from prostate adenocarcinoma, pointing to new mechanisms and therapeutic targets. Treatment-related NEPC arises clonally from prostate adenocarcinoma during the course of disease progression, retaining early genomic events and acquiring new molecular features that lead to tumor proliferation independent of androgen receptor activity, and ultimately demonstrating a lineage switch from a luminal prostate cancer phenotype to a small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. Identifying the subset of prostate tumors most vulnerable to lineage plasticity and developing strategies for earlier detection and intervention for patients with NEPC may ultimately improve prognosis. Clinical trials focused on drug targeting of the lineage plasticity process and/or NEPC will require careful patient selection. Here, we review emerging targets and discuss biomarker considerations that may be informative for the design of future clinical studies.

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Louis de Mestier, Angela Lamarca, Jorge Hernando, Wouter Zandee, Teresa Alonso-Gordoa, Marine Perrier, Annemiek ME Walenkamp, Bipasha Chakrabarty, Stefania Landolfi, Marie-Louise F Van Velthuysen, Gursah Kats-Ugurlu, Alejandra Caminoa, Maxime Ronot, Prakash Manoharan, Alejandro Garcia-Alvarez, Tessa Brabander, María Isabel García Gómez-Muriel, Guillaume Cadiot, Anne Couvelard, Jaume Capdevila, Marianne E Pavel, and Jérôme Cros

There is no standardized treatment for grade 3 neuroendocrine tumors (G3 NETs). We aimed to describe the treatments received in patients with advanced G3 NETs and compare their efficacy. Patients with advanced digestive G3 NETs treated between 2010 and 2018 in seven expert centers were retrospectively studied. Pathological samples were centrally reviewed, and radiological data were locally reviewed. We analyzed RECIST-defined objective response (OR), tumor growth rate (TGR) and progression-free survival (PFS) obtained with first- (L1) or second-line (L2) treatments. We included 74 patients with advanced G3 NETs, mostly from the duodenal or pancreatic origin (71.6%), with median Ki-67 of 30%. The 126 treatments (L1 = 74; L2 = 52) included alkylating-based (n = 32), etoposide-platinum (n = 22) or adenocarcinoma-like (n = 20) chemotherapy, somatostatin analogs (n = 21), targeted therapies (n = 22) and liver-directed therapies (n = 7). Alkylating-based chemotherapy achieved the highest OR rate (37.9%) compared to other treatments (multivariable OR 4.22, 95% CI (1.5–12.2); P = 0.008). Adenocarcinoma-like and alkylating-based chemotherapies showed the highest reductions in 3-month TGR (P < 0.001 and P = 0.008, respectively). The longest median PFS was obtained with adenocarcinoma-like chemotherapy (16.5 months (9.0–24.0)) and targeted therapies (12.0 months (8.2–15.8)), while the shortest PFS was observed with somatostatin analogs (6.2 months (3.8–8.5)) and etoposide-platinum chemotherapy (7.2 months (5.2–9.1)). Etoposide-platinum CT achieved shorter PFS than adenocarcinoma-like (multivariable HR 3.69 (1.61–8.44), P = 0.002) and alkylating-based chemotherapies (multivariable HR 1.95 (1.01–3.78), P = 0.049). Overall, adenocarcinoma-like and alkylating-based chemotherapies may be the most effective treatments for patients with advanced G3 NETs regarding OR and PFS. Etoposide-platinum chemotherapy has poor efficacy in this setting.

Open access

J T W Kwon, R J Bryant, and E E Parkes

The landscape of cancer treatment has been transformed over the past decade by the success of immune-targeting therapies. However, despite sipuleucel-T being the first-ever approved vaccine for cancer and the first immunotherapy licensed for prostate cancer in 2010, immunotherapy has since seen limited success in the treatment of prostate cancer. The tumour microenvironment of prostate cancer presents particular barriers for immunotherapy. Moreover, prostate cancer is distinguished by being one of only two solid tumours where increased T cell-infiltration correlates with a poorer, rather than improved, outlook. Here, we discuss the specific aspects of the prostate cancer microenvironment that converge to create a challenging microenvironment, including myeloid-derived immune cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts. By exploring the immune microenvironment of defined molecular subgroups of prostate cancer, we propose an immunogenomic subtyping approach to single-agent and combination immune-targeting strategies that could lead to improved outcomes in prostate cancer treatment.

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Donatella Treppiedi, Genesio Di Muro, Giusy Marra, Anna Maria Barbieri, Federica Mangili, Rosa Catalano, Andreea Serban, Emanuele Ferrante, Marco Locatelli, Andrea G Lania, Maura Arosio, Anna Spada, Erika Peverelli, and Giovanna Mantovani

Cushing’s disease (CD) is a rare endocrine disorder caused by an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary tumor. Pasireotide is the only pituitary-targeted drug approved for adult patients. Nevertheless, many side effects are encountered and curative therapy is still challenging. Ubiquitin-specific peptidase 8 (USP8) plays a crucial role in the modulation of corticotroph cells growth and ACTH secretion. Here, we explored the anticancer potential of the USP8 inhibitor RA-9 in USP8-WT human tumor corticotroph cells and murine AtT-20 cells. Our results showed that RA-9 causes cell proliferation decrease (−24.3 ± 5.2%, P < 0.01) and cell apoptosis increase (207.4 ± 75.3%, P < 0.05) in AtT-20 cells, as observed with pasireotide. Moreover, RA-9 reduced ACTH secretion in AtT-20 cells (−34.1 ± 19.5%, P < 0.01), as well as in AtT-20 cells transfected with USP8 mutants, and in one out of two primary cultures in vitro responsive to pasireotide (−40.3 ± 6%). An RA-9 mediated decrease of pERK1/2 levels was observed in AtT-20 cells (−52.3 ± 13.4%, P < 0.001), comparable to pasireotide, and in primary cultures, regardless of their in vitro responsiveness to pasireotide. Upregulation of p27 was detected upon RA-9 treatment only, both in AtT-20 cells (167.1 ± 36.7%, P < 0.05) and in one primary culture tested (168.4%), whilst pCREB level was similarly halved in AtT-20 cells by both RA-9 and pasireotide. Altogether, our data demonstrate that RA-9 is efficient in exerting cytotoxic effects and inhibitory actions on cell proliferation and hormone secretion by modulating the expression of pERK1/2, pCREB and p27. Inhibition of USP8 might represent a novel strategy to target both USP8-WT and USP8-mutated tumors in CD patients.