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Neelima Vidula, Leif W. Ellisen and Aditya Bardia

Metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is associated with a poor prognosis, and the development of better therapeutics represents a major unmet clinical need. Although the mainstay of treatment of metastatic TNBC is chemotherapy, advances in genomics and molecular profiling have helped better define subtypes of TNBC with distinct biologic drivers to guide the therapeutic development of targeted therapies, including AKT inhibitors for PI3K/AKT-altered TNBC, checkpoint inhibitors for PD-L1–positive TNBC, and PARP inhibitors for BRCA1/2 mutant TNBC. This progress may ultimately convert TNBC from a disease traditionally defined by the absence of therapeutically actionable receptors to one that is defined by the presence of discrete molecular targets with therapeutic implications. Furthermore, antibody drug conjugates have emerged as an important therapeutic strategy to target genomically complex tumors that lack actionable oncogenes but have overexpressed actionable surface receptors such as trop-2. In this article, we discuss promising novel agents for advanced TNBC, some of which have been incorporated into current clinical practice, and others that will likely change the therapeutic landscape and redefine the TNBC terminology in the near future.

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David E. Gerber, Thomas Y. Sheffield, M. Shaalan Beg, Erin L. Williams, Valerie L. Clark, Yang Xie, M.E. Blair Holbein, Celette Sugg Skinner and Simon J. Craddock Lee

Background: During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the FDA and NIH altered clinical trial requirements to protect participants and manage study conduct. Given their detailed knowledge of research protocols and regular contact with patients, clinicians, and sponsors, clinical research professionals offer important perspectives on these changes. Methods: We developed and distributed an anonymous survey assessing COVID-19–related clinical trial adjustment experiences, perceptions, and recommendations to Clinical Research Office personnel at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Responses were compared using the Fisher exact test. Results: A total of 94 of 109 contacted research personnel (87%) responded. Among these individuals, 58% had >5 years’ professional experience in clinical research, and 56% had personal experience with a COVID-19–related change. Respondents perceived that these changes had a positive impact on patient safety; treatment efficacy; patient and staff experience; and communication with patients, investigators, and sponsors. More than 90% felt that positive changes should be continued after COVID-19. For remote consent, telehealth, therapy shipment, off-site diagnostics, and remote monitoring, individuals with personal experience with the specific change and individuals with >5 years’ professional experience were numerically more likely to recommend continuing the adjustment, and these differences were significant for telehealth (P=.04) and therapy shipment (P=.02). Conclusions: Clinical research professionals perceive that COVID-19–related clinical trial adjustments positively impact multiple aspects of study conduct. Those with greatest experience—both specific to COVID-19–related changes and more generally—are more likely to recommend that these adjustments continue in the future.

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Andrea Maurichi, Rosalba Miceli, Roberto Patuzzo, Francesco Barretta, Gianfranco Gallino, Ilaria Mattavelli, Consuelo Barbieri, Andrea Leva, Umberto Cortinovis, Elena Tolomio, Milena Sant, Gianpiero Castelli, Leonardo Zichichi, Giovanni Pellacani, Ignazio Stanganelli, Marco Simonacci, Ausilia Manganoni, Corrado Del Forno, Gioachino Caresana, Catherine Harwood, Daniele Bergamaschi, Konstantinos Lasithiotakis, Dorothy Bennett, Vittoria Espeli, Cristina Mangas, Sandra Leoni Parvex, Barbara Valeri, Mara Cossa, Marta Barisella, Alessandro Pellegrinelli, Claudia Miranda, Andrea Anichini, Roberta Mortarini, Odysseas Zoras and Mario Santinami

Background: Atypical melanocytic tumors (AMTs) include a wide spectrum of melanocytic neoplasms that represent a challenge for clinicians due to the lack of a definitive diagnosis and the related uncertainty about their management. This study analyzed clinicopathologic features and sentinel node status as potential prognostic factors in patients with AMTs. Patients and Methods: Clinicopathologic and follow-up data of 238 children, adolescents, and adults with histologically proved AMTs consecutively treated at 12 European centers from 2000 through 2010 were retrieved from prospectively maintained databases. The binary association between all investigated covariates was studied by evaluating the Spearman correlation coefficients, and the association between progression-free survival and all investigated covariates was evaluated using univariable Cox models. The overall survival and progression-free survival curves were established using the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: Median follow-up was 126 months (interquartile range, 104–157 months). All patients received an initial diagnostic biopsy followed by wide (1 cm) excision. Sentinel node biopsy was performed in 139 patients (58.4%), 37 (26.6%) of whom had sentinel node positivity. There were 4 local recurrences, 43 regional relapses, and 8 distant metastases as first events. Six patients (2.5%) died of disease progression. Five patients who were sentinel node–negative and 3 patients who were sentinel node–positive developed distant metastases. Ten-year overall and progression-free survival rates were 97% (95% CI, 94.9%–99.2%) and 82.2% (95% CI, 77.3%–87.3%), respectively. Age, mitotic rate/mm2, mitoses at the base of the lesion, lymphovascular invasion, and 9p21 loss were factors affecting prognosis in the whole series and the sentinel node biopsy subgroup. Conclusions: Age >20 years, mitotic rate >4/mm2, mitoses at the base of the lesion, lymphovascular invasion, and 9p21 loss proved to be worse prognostic factors in patients with ATMs. Sentinel node status was not a clear prognostic predictor.

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Aaron P. Mitchell, Sara M. Tabatabai, Pranammya Dey, Jennifer A. Ohn, Michael A. Curry and Peter B. Bach

Background: The cost of cancer treatment has increased significantly in recent decades, but it is unclear whether these costs have been associated with commensurate improvement in clinical value. This study aimed to assess the association between the cost of cancer treatment and 4 of the 5 NCCN Evidence Blocks (EB) measures of clinical value: efficacy of regimen/agent, safety of regimen/agent, quality of evidence, and consistency of evidence. Methods: This is a cross-sectional, observational study. We obtained NCCN EB ratings for all recommended, first-line, and/or maintenance treatments for the 30 most prevalent cancers in the United States and calculated direct pharmacologic treatment costs (drug acquisition, administration fees, guideline-concordant supportive care medications) using Medicare reimbursement rates in January 2019. We used generalized estimating equations to estimate the association between NCCN EB measures and treatment cost with clustering at the level of the treatment indication. Results: A total of 1,386 treatments were included. Among time-unlimited treatments (those administered on an ongoing basis without a predetermined stopping point), monthly cost was positively associated with efficacy ($3,036; 95% CI, $1,782 to $4,289) and quality of evidence ($1,509; 95% CI, $171 to $2,847) but negatively associated with safety (–$1,470; 95% CI, –$2,790 to –$151) and consistency of evidence (–$2,003; 95% CI, –$3,420 to –$586). Among time-limited treatments (those administered for a predetermined interval or number of cycles), no NCCN EB measure was significantly associated with treatment cost. Conclusions: An association between NCCN EB measures and treatment cost was inconsistent, and the magnitude of the association was small compared with the degree of cost variation among treatments with the same EB scores. The clinical value of cancer treatments does not seem to be a primary determinant of treatment cost.

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Michael W. Deininger, Neil P. Shah, Jessica K. Altman, Ellin Berman, Ravi Bhatia, Bhavana Bhatnagar, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Jason Gotlib, Gabriela Hobbs, Lori Maness, Monica Mead, Leland Metheny, Sanjay Mohan, Joseph O. Moore, Kiran Naqvi, Vivian Oehler, Arnel M. Pallera, Mrinal Patnaik, Keith Pratz, Iskra Pusic, Michal G. Rose, B. Douglas Smith, David S. Snyder, Kendra L. Sweet, Moshe Talpaz, James Thompson, David T. Yang, Kristina M. Gregory and Hema Sundar

Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is defined by the presence of Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) which results from a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 9 and 22 [t(9;22] that gives rise to a BCR-ABL1 fusion gene. CML occurs in 3 different phases (chronic, accelerated, and blast phase) and is usually diagnosed in the chronic phase. Tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy is a highly effective first-line treatment option for all patients with newly diagnosed chronic phase CML. This manuscript discusses the recommendations outlined in the NCCN Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with chronic phase CML.

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Jason Hu, Armen G. Aprikian, Marie Vanhuyse and Alice Dragomir

Background: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a cornerstone of treatment for advanced prostate cancer (PCa); however, it accelerates the loss of bone mineral density (BMD), which increases fracture risk. Guidelines recommend BMD testing when initiating ADT to assess baseline fracture risk properly. The objective of this study was to examine the proportion of BMD testing in men initiating ADT in Quebec and to identify factors associated with receipt of this testing. Methods: The study cohort consisted of men extracted from Quebec public healthcare insurance administrative databases who initiated continuous ADT from 2000 to 2015 for >12 months. The primary study outcome was receipt of BMD testing in the period from 6 months before through 12 months after ADT initiation. Multivariable generalized linear mixed regression modeling with a logit link was performed to identify variables associated with BMD testing. Results: We identified 22,033 patients, of whom 3,910 (17.8%) underwent BMD testing. Rates of BMD testing increased from 4.1% in 2000 to 23.4% in 2015. After multivariable analyses, prior history of osteoporosis (odds ratio [OR], 1.84; 95% CI, 1.32–2.57; P<.001), rheumatoid arthritis (OR, 1.64; 95% CI, 1.15–2.34; P=.006), use of bisphosphonates (OR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.25–1.73; P<.001), and long-term corticosteroid use (OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.15–2.31; P=.006) were associated with higher odds of BMD testing. Patient age >80 years (OR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.59–0.76; P<.001), metastases (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.70–0.89; P<.001), higher Charlson comorbidity score (OR, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.51–0.81; P<.001), and rural residence (OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.68–0.87; P<.001) were associated with lower odds of BMD testing. Conclusions: In our study population, BMD testing rates in men initiating ADT were low, although they increased over the years especially in the years after the publication of recommendations for BMD testing in these patients. Potential gaps identified include being older, more comorbid, and rural areas. Overall, additional efforts emphasizing the importance of BMD testing in PCa guidelines may be needed.

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Sanjeev Kumar Gupta, Nitin Jain, Guilin Tang, Andrew Futreal, Sa A. Wang, Joseph D. Khoury, Richard K. Yang, Hong Fang, Keyur P. Patel, Rajyalakshmi Luthra, Mark Routbort, Bedia A. Barkoh, Wei Chen, Xizeng Mao, Jianhua Zhang, L. Jeffrey Medeiros, Carlos E. Bueso-Ramos and Sanam Loghavi

RNA-seq was used to identify the partner gene and confirm the presence of a BCR-PDGFRB fusion. Identification of this fusion product resulted in successful treatment and long-term remission of this myeloid neoplasm. Based on our results, we suggest that despite current WHO recommendations, screening for PDGFRB rearrangement in cases of leukocytosis with eosinophilia and no other etiologic explanation is necessary, even if the karyotype is normal.

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Margaret Tempero