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Mei Dong and James C Yao

Although targeted therapy, including inhibitors of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and vascular endothelial growth factor, being developed for carcinoids arised from the gastrointestinal tract, treatment for locally advanced or metastatic bronchial carcinoids (BCs) remains lacking. Traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy offers essentially minimal benefit to this largely under-characterized tumor. In the September issue of Endocrine-Related Cancer, Zatelli et al. reported an anti-proliferative effect of mTOR inhibitor, everolimus, in cultured primary BC tumor cells by attenuation of IGF signaling pathway. This effect is more significant in aggressive tumors that carry higher levels of mTOR, and is consistent with the therapeutic benefit of everolimus for patients with BC observed in our phase II and III clinical trials. Although adding somatostatin analog to mTOR inhibitor did not provide a synergistic anti-tumor effect, development of rational combinations is highly warranted to further improve the outcome for patients with neuroendocrine tumors.

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Amy Moreno, Argun Akcakanat, Mark F Munsell, Alpana Soni, James C Yao and Funda Meric-Bernstam

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway has emerged as a promising target for cancer therapy. Rapamycin inhibits mTOR activity but induces upstream signaling, leading to Akt activation, potentially limiting antitumor activity. Octreotide, a somatostatin analog, decreases phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt signaling in some models, and thus theoretically may enhance rapamycin's antitumor activity. The aim of this study was to determine the antitumor activity of rapamycin and octreotide as single agents and in combination in neuroendocrine tumors. In carcinoid cell lines BON-1 and NCI-H727, cell proliferation was significantly inhibited by rapamycin in vitro, although rapamycin treatment did lead to Akt phosphorylation. Octreotide had limited antiproliferative effects alone, and did not demonstrate synergistic or additive interactions with rapamycin. Furthermore, octreotide did not overcome rapamycin-induced Akt phosphorylation. In vivo, rapamycin alone caused significant tumor suppression. Octreotide alone did not inhibit in vivo tumor growth and did not enhance rapamycin-mediated growth inhibition. In conclusion, rapamycin causes significant growth inhibition in carcinoid tumor cell lines in vitro and in vivo, thus mTOR is a promising therapeutic target for neuroendocrine tumors. Octreotide does not enhance the efficacy of rapamycin's antiproliferative effects in the models tested, and does not inhibit rapamycin-mediated feedback activation of Akt. Further study is needed in order to determine whether octreotide or other somatostatin analogs enhance the efficacy of mTOR inhibitors in other models.

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Yasuhiko Nagano, Do Ha Kim, Li Zhang, Jill A White, James C Yao, Stanley R Hamilton and Asif Rashid

Pancreatic endocrine tumors (PETs) are uncommon and the genetic alterations in these indolent tumors are not well characterized. Chromosomal imbalances are frequent in tumors but PETs have not been studied by high-density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array. We used genome-wide high-density SNP array analysis to detect copy number alterations using matched tumor and non-neoplastic tissue samples from 15 patients with PETs. In our study, whole or partial loss of chromosomes 1, 3, 11, 22 was present in 40, 47, 53, 40% of tumors respectively, and gain of chromosomes 5, 7, 12, 14, 17, and 20 was present in 47, 60, 47, 53, 53, and 47% of tumors respectively. One tumor had loss of heterozygosity of chromosome 3 and another of chromosome 22 without copy number alterations, suggesting uniparental disomy due to non-disjunction and deletion or to chromosomal recombination. Chromosomal aberrations of the autosomal chromosomes were correlated with chromosomal loss or gain of other chromosomes (r>0.5, P<0.5). About 60% of PETs had high allelic imbalances (AI) defined by more than four chromosomal aberrations, and 40% of tumors had low AI. The PETs with high AI were larger: the mean tumor size with high AI was 5.4 ± 3.1 cm compared with 2.3 ± 1.3 cm for low AI (P = 0.03). Our study shows that genome-wide allelotyping is a powerful new tool for the analysis of AI in PETs.

Open access

Jonathan R Strosberg, James C Yao, Emilio Bajetta, Mounir Aout, Bert Bakker, John D Hainsworth, Philippe B Ruszniewski, Eric Van Cutsem, Kjell Öberg and Marianne E Pavel

Somatostatin analogues (SSA) have demonstrated antiproliferative activity in addition to efficacy for carcinoid symptom control in functional neuroendocrine tumors (NET). A post hoc analysis of the placebo arm of the RAD001 In Advanced Neuroendocrine Tumors-2 (RADIANT-2) study was conducted to assess the efficacy of octreotide long-acting repeatable (LAR) on progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) estimated using the Kaplan–Meier method. Out of 213 patients randomized to placebo plus octreotide LAR in RADIANT-2, 196 patients with foregut, midgut, or hindgut NET were considered for present analysis. Of these, 41 patients were SSA-treatment naïve and 155 had received SSA therapy before study entry. For SSA-naïve patients, median PFS by adjudicated central review was 13.6 (95% CI 8.2–22.7) months. For SSA-naïve patients with midgut NET (n=24), median PFS was 22.2 (95% CI 8.3–29.5) months. For patients who had received SSA previously, the median PFS was 11.1 (95% CI 8.4–14.3) months. Among the SSA-pretreated patients who had midgut NET (n=119), the median PFS was 12.0 (95% CI 8.4–19.3) months. Median OS was 35.8 (95% CI 32.5–48.9) months for patients in the placebo plus octreotide LAR arm; 50.6 (36.4 – not reached) months for SSA-naïve patients and 33.5 (95% CI 27.5–44.7) months for those who had received prior SSA. This post hoc analysis of the placebo arm of the large phase 3 RADIANT-2 study provides data on PFS and OS among patients with progressive NET treated with octreotide therapy.

Free access

Matthew H Kulke, Thomas O'Dorisio, Alexandria Phan, Emily Bergsland, Linda Law, Phillip Banks, Joel Freiman, Kenny Frazier, Jessica Jackson, James C Yao, Larry Kvols, Pablo Lapuerta, Brian Zambrowicz, Douglas Fleming and Arthur Sands

Serotonin produced by neuroendocrine tumors is believed to be a principal cause of the diarrhea in carcinoid syndrome. We assessed the safety and efficacy of telotristat etiprate, an oral serotonin synthesis inhibitor, in patients with diarrhea associated with carcinoid syndrome. In this prospective, randomized study, patients with evidence of carcinoid tumor and ≥4 bowel movements (BMs)/day despite stable-dose octreotide LAR depot therapy were enrolled in sequential, escalating, cohorts of four patients per cohort. In each cohort, one patient was randomly assigned to placebo and three patients to telotristat etiprate, at 150, 250, 350, or 500 mg three times a day (tid). In a subsequent cohort, one patient was assigned to placebo and six patients to telotristat etiprate 500 mg tid. Patients were assessed for safety, BM frequency (daily diary), 24 h urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (u5-HIAA), and adequate relief of carcinoid gastrointestinal symptoms (using a weekly questionnaire). Twenty-three patients were treated: 18 received telotristat etiprate and five received placebo. Adverse events were generally mild. Among evaluable telotristat etiprate-treated patients, 5/18 (28%) experienced a ≥30% reduction in BM frequency for ≥2 weeks, 9/16 (56%) experienced biochemical response (≥50% reduction or normalization in 24-h u5-HIAA) at week 2 or 4, and 10/18 (56%) reported adequate relief during at least 1 of the first 4 weeks of treatment. Similar activity was not observed in placebo-treated patients. Telotristat etiprate was well tolerated. Our observations suggest that telotristat etiprate has activity in controlling diarrhea associated with carcinoid syndrome. Further studies confirming these findings are warranted.

Free access

Arvind Dasari, Alexandria Phan, Sanjay Gupta, Asif Rashid, Sai-Ching Jim Yeung, Kenneth Hess, Helen Chen, Emily Tarco, Huiqin Chen, Caimiao Wei, Kim Anh-Do, Daniel Halperin, Funda Meric-Bernstam and James Yao

Preclinical data suggest multiple roles for the IGF1 receptor (IGF1R) in neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), including mediating resistance to mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors. Everolimus, an oral mTOR inhibitor, and octreotide long-acting repeatable (LAR) are approved for subgroups of well-differentiated NET. The primary objective of the present study was to establish the safety and recommended phase II dose (RP2D) of cixutumumab, a monoclonal antibody (MAB) against IGF1R, with everolimus and octreotide LAR. Patients with well-differentiated NET were treated with 10 mg everolimus p.o. daily, 20 mg octreotide LAR i.m. every 21 days, and escalating doses of cixutumumab. An expansion cohort was enrolled at RP2D. Correlative studies included the evaluation of mTOR pathway inhibition in paired tumor biopsies and the effects of this combination on metabolism via indirect calorimetry. Nineteen patients with progressive disease were enrolled, including nine to the expansion portion. Two patients had dose-limiting toxicities of grade 3 mucositis at 15 mg/kg cixutumumab. Long-term tolerance at RP2D was problematic, and the most common ≥grade 3 adverse event was fatigue. One patient with metastatic insulinoma had a confirmed partial response, whereas 17 had stable disease. The median progression-free survival was 43.6 weeks, and the median overall survival was 25.5 months. The RP2D of this combination per the predefined study protocol of 10 mg/kg cixutumumab i.v., 20 mg octreotide LAR i.m. every 21 days plus 10 mg everolimus p.o. daily is associated with non-dose-limiting toxicities that limit long-term tolerance. Although a signal of activity was noted in the present study, this will need to be reconciled with limited tolerance of the combination and data from larger studies of anti-IGF1R MABs in NET that have been disappointing.

Free access

Kyle M Walsh, Murim Choi, Kjell Oberg, Matthew H Kulke, James C Yao, Chengqing Wu, Magdalena Jurkiewicz, Ling-I Hsu, Susanne M Hooshmand, Manal Hassan, Eva T Janson, Janet L Cunningham, Evan Vosburgh, Richard S Sackler, Richard P Lifton, Andrew T DeWan and Josephine Hoh

Genetic studies of midgut carcinoid cancer have exclusively focused on genomic changes of the tumor cells. We investigated the role of constitutional genetic polymorphisms in predisposing individuals to ileal carcinoids. In all, 239 cases and 110 controls were collected from three institutions: the Uppsala University Hospital; the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and were genotyped using microarrays assaying >300 000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. Association with rs2208059 in KIF16B approached statistical significance (Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio=2.42, P=4.16×10−7) at a Bonferroni-corrected level (<1.62×10−7). Using two computational algorithms, four copy-number variants (CNVs) were identified in multiple cases that were absent in study controls and markedly less frequent in ∼1500 population-based controls. Of these four constitutional CNVs identified in blood-derived DNA, a 40 kb heterozygous deletion in Chr18q22.1 corresponded with a region frequently showing loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in ileal carcinoid tumor cells based on our meta-analysis of previously published cytogenetic studies (69.7% LOH, 95% confidence interval=60.0–77.9%). We analyzed the constitutional 40 kb deletion on chr18 in our study samples with a real-time quantitative PCR assay; 14/226 cases (6.19%) and 2/97 controls (2.06%) carried the CNV, although the exact boundaries of each deletion have not been determined. Given the small sample size, our findings warrant an independent cohort for a replication study. Owing to the rarity of this disease, we believe these results will provide a valuable resource for future work on this serious condition by allowing others to make efficient use of their samples in targeted studies.

Open access

James Yao, Abhishek Garg, David Chen, Jaume Capdevila, Paul Engstrom, Rodney Pommier, Eric Van Cutsem, Simron Singh, Nicola Fazio, Wei He, Markus Riester, Parul Patel, Maurizio Voi, Michael Morrissey, Marianne Pavel and Matthew Helmut Kulke

Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) have historically been subcategorized according to histologic features and the site of anatomic origin. Here, we characterize the genomic alterations in patients enrolled in three phase 3 clinical trials of NET of different anatomic origins and assess the potential correlation with clinical outcomes. Whole-exome and targeted panel sequencing was used to characterize 225 NET samples collected in the RADIANT series of clinical trials. Genomic profiling of NET was analyzed along with nongenomic biomarker data on the tumor grade and circulating chromogranin A (CgA) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE) levels from these patients enrolled in clinical trials. Our results highlight recurrent large-scale chromosomal alterations as a common theme among NET. Although the specific pattern of chromosomal alterations differed between tumor subtypes, the evidence for generalized chromosomal instability (CIN) was observed across all primary sites of NET. In pancreatic NET, although the P value was not significant, higher CIN suggests a trend toward longer survival (HR, 0.55, P = 0.077), whereas in the gastrointestinal NET, lower CIN was associated with longer survival (HR, 0.44, P = 0.0006). Our multivariate analyses demonstrated that when combined with other clinical data among patients with progressive advanced NETs, chromosomal level alteration adds important prognostic information. Large-scale CIN is a common feature of NET, and specific patterns of chromosomal gain and loss appeared to have independent prognostic value in NET subtypes. However, whether CIN in general has clinical significance in NET requires validation in larger patient cohort and warrants further mechanistic studies.