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Smith Giri, Mustafa Al-Obaidi, Alice Weaver, Kelly M. Kenzik, Andrew McDonald, Deanna Clark, Crystal Young-Smith, Ravi Paluri, Lakshmin Nandagopal, Olumide Gbolahan, Mackenzi Pergolotti, Smita Bhatia, and Grant R. Williams

Background: The NCCN Guidelines for Older Adult Oncology recommend that, when possible, older adults with cancer undergo a geriatric assessment (GA) to provide a comprehensive health appraisal to guide interventions and appropriate treatment selection. However, the association of age with GA-identified impairments (GA impairments) remains understudied and the appropriate age cutoff for using the GA remains unknown. Patients and Methods: We designed a cross-sectional study using the Cancer and Aging Resilience Evaluation (CARE) registry of older adults with cancer. We included adults aged ≥60 years diagnosed with gastrointestinal malignancy who underwent a patient-reported GA prior to their initial consultation at the gastrointestinal oncology clinic. We noted the presence of GA impairments and frailty using Rockwood’s deficit accumulation approach. We studied the relation between chronologic age and GA impairments/frailty using Spearman rank correlation and chi-square tests of trend. Results: We identified 455 eligible older adults aged ≥60 years with gastrointestinal malignancies; the median age was 68 years (range, 64–74 years) and colorectal (33%) and pancreatic (24%) cancers were the most common cancer type. The correlation between chronologic age and number of geriatric impairments was weak and did not reach statistical significance (Spearman ρ, 0.07; P=.16). Furthermore, the prevalence of domain-specific impairments or frailty was comparable across the 3 age groups (60–64 years, 65–74 years, ≥75 years) with the exception of comorbidity burden. Notably, 61% of patients aged 60 to 64 years had ≥2 GA impairments and 35% had evidence of frailty, which was comparable to patients aged 65 to 74 years (66% and 36%, respectively) and ≥75 years (70% and 40%, respectively). Conclusions: Using chronologic age alone to identify which patients may benefit from GA is problematic. Future studies should identify screening tools that may identify patients at high risk of frailty and GA impairments.

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Kavea Panneerselvam, Rajan N. Amin, Dongguang Wei, Dongfeng Tan, Phillip J. Lum, Hao Chi Zhang, David M. Richards, Mehmet Altan, Petros Grivas, John A. Thompson, Anusha S. Thomas, and Yinghong Wang

Background: Although immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have provided practice-changing outcomes in treating many cancers, ICI-related gastrointestinal toxicity can limit their use. Upper gastrointestinal toxicity is not common nor as well described as lower gastrointestinal toxicity. We aimed to characterize the clinical presentation, endoscopic and histologic features, treatment response, and outcomes of ICI-related esophagitis. Methods: We retrospectively studied patients at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in whom esophagitis developed after receiving ICIs from June 2011 through January 2020. We included patients with endoscopic evidence of esophagitis and excluded those with other obvious causes of esophagitis. A chi-square test was used to assess associations between categorical variables. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare differences between continuous variables. Results: Of 657 consecutive patients who underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) during or within 6 months of completing ICI-based therapy, 21 (3%) had esophagitis deemed to be from ICIs. Of these patients, 1 (5%) received an inhibitor of CTLA-4 alone, 15 (71%) received anti–PD-1 or PD-L1 monotherapy, and 5 (24%) received a combination of these. Median time from ICI initiation to onset of esophagitis was 4 months. Upon evaluation with EGD, only 3 patients (14%) had isolated esophageal involvement; 18 (86%) had concurrent involvement of the stomach, duodenum, or both. Most patients (67%) were treated with proton pump inhibitors, and 4 (19%) received steroids (prednisone or budesonide). The mortality rate was 38% (median follow-up, 15 months). Conclusions: Esophagitis associated with ICI use is rare. The diagnosis is one of exclusion because its clinical presentation appears similar to that of inflammation resulting from other causes. It often occurs in conjunction with other upper gastrointestinal toxicity. Symptoms are mild and respond well to nonimmunosuppressive treatment, with few severe complications.

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Eric D. Miller, Ansel P. Nalin, Dayssy A. Diaz Pardo, Andrea L. Arnett, Emily Huang, Alessandra C. Gasior, Pannaga Malalur, Hui-Zi Chen, Terence M. Williams, and Jose G. Bazan

Background: The incidence of squamous cell carcinoma of the anus (SCCA) is increasing, particularly among the elderly (age ≥65 years). We sought to compare patterns of care for the treatment of SCCA in elderly versus nonelderly patients. Methods: Data for patients with stages I–III SCCA diagnosed from 2004 through 2015 were obtained from the National Cancer Database. Patients were categorized as having received standard-of-care (SOC) chemoradiation (CRT) with multiagent chemotherapy, non-SOC therapy, palliative therapy, or no treatment. Differences in treatment groups were tested using the chi-square test. We used logistic regression to identify predictors of SOC CRT and multiagent versus single-agent chemotherapy in patients receiving CRT. Propensity score matching was used to compare overall survival (OS) in elderly patients receiving multiagent versus single-agent chemotherapy for those receiving CRT. Results: We identified 9,156 elderly and 17,640 nonelderly patients. A lower proportion of elderly versus nonelderly patients (54.5% vs 65.0%; P<.0001) received SOC CRT than other treatments or no treatment. In multivariate analysis, elderly patients were 38% less likely than nonelderly patients to receive SOC CRT (odds ratio, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.58–0.65; P<.0001). A higher proportion of the elderly were treated with single-agent versus multiagent chemotherapy (16.9% vs 11.8%; P<.0001), which resulted in a >1.5-fold increase in the likelihood of elderly patients receiving single-agent chemotherapy (odds ratio, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.39–1.66) in multivariate analysis. After propensity score matching, 3-year OS was higher in elderly patients who received CRT with multiagent versus single-agent chemotherapy (77.1% vs 67.5%; hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.68–0.89; P=.0002). Conclusions: In this comprehensive study of patients with stages I–III SCCA, elderly patients were less likely than nonelderly patients to receive SOC CRT. The low proportion of elderly patients receiving SOC CRT with multiagent chemotherapy for localized anal cancer suggests that the optimal treatment approach for this vulnerable population remains undefined.

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Julie Hallet, Calvin Law, Simron Singh, Alyson Mahar, Sten Myrehaug, Victoria Zuk, Haoyu Zhao, Wing Chan, Angela Assal, and Natalie Coburn

Background: Although patients with neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are known to have prolonged overall survival, the contribution of cancer-specific and noncancer deaths is undefined. This study examined cancer-specific and noncancer death after NET diagnosis. Methods: We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study of adult patients with NETs from 2001 through 2015. Using competing risks methods, we estimated the cumulative incidence of cancer-specific and noncancer death and stratified by primary NET site and metastatic status. Subdistribution hazard models examined prognostic factors. Results: Among 8,607 included patients, median follow-up was 42 months (interquartile range, 17–82). Risk of cancer-specific death was higher than that of noncancer death, at 27.3% (95% CI, 26.3%–28.4%) and 5.6% (95% CI, 5.1%–6.1%), respectively, at 5 years. Cancer-specific deaths largely exceeded noncancer deaths in synchronous and metachronous metastatic NETs. Patterns varied by primary tumor site, with highest risks of cancer-specific death in bronchopulmonary and pancreatic NETs. For nonmetastatic gastric, small intestine, colonic, and rectal NETs, the risk of noncancer death exceeded that of cancer-specific deaths. Advancing age, higher material deprivation, and metastases were independently associated with higher hazards, and female sex and high comorbidity burden with lower hazards of cancer-specific death. Conclusions: Among all NETs, the risk of dying of cancer was higher than that of dying of other causes. Heterogeneity exists by primary NET site. Some patients with nonmetastatic NETs are more likely to die of noncancer causes than of cancer causes. This information is important for counseling, decision-making, and design of future trials. Cancer-specific mortality should be included in outcomes when assessing treatment strategies.

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Ashwin Rao, Nicole E. Rich, Jorge A. Marrero, Adam C. Yopp, and Amit G. Singal

Background: Delays in diagnosis and treatment have been reported for many cancers, with resultant stage migration and worse survival; however, few data exist in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These data are of particular importance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused disruptions in healthcare processes and may continue to impact cancer care for the foreseeable future. The aim of our study was to characterize the prevalence and clinical significance of diagnostic and treatment delays in patients with HCC. Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients diagnosed with HCC between January 2008 and July 2017 at 2 US health systems. Diagnostic and treatment delays were defined as >90 days between presentation and HCC diagnosis and between diagnosis and treatment, respectively. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify factors associated with diagnostic and treatment delays and Cox proportional hazard models to identify correlates of overall survival. Results: Of 925 patients with HCC, 39.0% were diagnosed via screening, 33.1% incidentally, and 27.9% symptomatically. Median time from presentation to diagnosis was 37 days (interquartile range, 18–94 days), with 120 patients (13.0%) experiencing diagnostic delays. Median time from HCC diagnosis to treatment was 46 days (interquartile range, 29–74 days), with 17.2% of patients experiencing treatment delays. Most (72.5%) diagnostic delays were related to provider-level factors (eg, monitoring indeterminate nodules), whereas nearly half (46.2%) of treatment delays were related to patient-related factors (eg, missed appointments). In multivariable analyses, treatment delays were not associated with increased mortality (hazard ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.60–1.35); these results were consistent across subgroup analyses by Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer stage and treatment modality. Conclusions: Diagnostic and therapeutic delays exceeding 3 months are common in patients with HCC; however, observed treatment delays do not seem to significantly impact overall survival.

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Stephen R. Grant, Benjamin D. Smith, Lauren E. Colbert, Qunyh-Nhu Nguyen, James B. Yu, Steven H. Lin, and Aileen B. Chen

Background: There exists wide practice variability in palliative treatment schedules for bone metastases. In an effort to reduce variation and promote high-quality, cost-conscious care, the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed measure 1822 in 2012. This measure recommends the use of 30 Gy in 10 fractions, 24 Gy in 6 fractions, 20 Gy in 5 fractions, or 8 Gy in a single fraction for palliative radiation for bone metastases. We report on longitudinal compliance with this measure. Methods: Using the National Cancer Database, patients with metastatic thoracic non–small cell lung cancer diagnosed between 2004 and 2016 who received radiation therapy for bony sites of metastatic disease were identified. Treatment courses fitting 1 of the 4 recommended schedules under NQF 1822 were coded as compliant. Rates of compliance by patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics were analyzed. Results: A total of 42,685 patients met the criteria for inclusion. Among all patients, 60.2% of treatment courses were compliant according to NQF 1822. Compliance increased over time and was highest for treatments to the extremity (69.8%), lowest for treatments to the skull or head (48.8%), and higher for academic practice (67.1%) compared with community (56.0%) or integrated network facilities (61.2%). On multivariable analysis, predictors of NQF 1822 compliance included year of diagnosis after 2011, treatment to an extremity, or treatment at an academic facility. Of noncompliant treatment courses, extended fractionation (≥11 fractions) occurred in 62.6% and was more common before 2012, in community practice, and for treatments of the skull or head. Conclusions: Among patients treated for metastatic non–small cell lung cancer, compliance with NQF 1822 increased over time. Although extended fractionation constituted a majority of noncompliant treatment courses, a substantial proportion also involved shorter courses.

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Baijun Dong, Liancheng Fan, Bin Yang, Wei Chen, Yonghong Li, Kaijie Wu, Fengbo Zhang, Haiying Dong, Huihua Cheng, Jiahua Pan, Yinjie Zhu, Chenfei Chi, Liang Dong, Jianjun Sha, Lei Li, Xudong Yao, and Wei Xue

Background: This study aimed to describe the aberrations of DNA damage repair genes and other important driving genes in Chinese patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) using circulating tumor (ctDNA) sequencing and to evaluate the associations between the clinical outcomes of multiple therapies and key genomic alterations in mCRPC, especially DNA damage repair genes. Patients and Methods: A total of 292 Chinese patients with mCRPC enrolled from 8 centers. Multigene targeted sequencing was performed on 306 ctDNA samples and 23 matched tumor biopsies. The frequency of genomic alterations were compared with the Stand Up to Cancer–Prostate Cancer Foundation (SU2C-PCF) cohort. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to evaluate progression-free survival (PFS) following standard systemic treatments for mCRPC. Cox regression analyses were performed to determine prognostic factors associated with PFS resulting from treatments for mCRPC. Results: In total, 33 of 36 (91.7%) mutations were found consistently between ctDNA and paired biopsy samples. The most common recurrent genomic alterations were found in AR (34.6%), TP53 (19.5%), CDK12 (15.4%), BRCA2 (13%), and RB1 (5.8%). The frequency of CDK12 alterations (15.4%) in our cohort was significantly higher than that in Western populations (5%–7%). AR amplification and TP53 and/or RB1 alterations were associated with resistance to abiraterone or docetaxel. Patients with a CDK12 defect showed rapid disease progression after abiraterone treatment. However, the clinical outcome after docetaxel treatment was similar between patients with and without CDK12 defects. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, a CDK12 defect was significantly associated with inferior PFS after abiraterone treatment. Patients with a BRCA2 defect showed marked response to both PARP inhibitors and platinum-based chemotherapy. Conclusions: Our study explored the genomic landscape of Chinese patients with mCRPC at different treatment stages using minimally invasive methods and evaluated the clinical implications of the driver genomic alterations on patients’ response to the most widely used therapies for mCRPC. We observed a significantly higher alteration frequency of CDK12 in our cohort compared with the SU2C-PCF cohort.

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Ganessan Kichenadasse, John O. Miners, Arduino A. Mangoni, Christos S. Karapetis, Ashley M. Hopkins, and Michael J. Sorich

Background: Concomitant use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may negatively affect the efficacy of anticancer drugs such as fluoropyrimidines in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC). The primary objective of this study was to assess whether there is an association between concomitant PPI use and survival outcomes in patients with CRC treated with a fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy. Patients and Methods: A secondary analysis of 6 randomized controlled clinical trials in patients with advanced CRC was conducted using individual patient data through data-sharing platforms. The outcome measures were progression-free survival and overall survival in PPI users and nonusers. Subgroup analysis included the type of chemotherapy, capecitabine versus 5-FU, line of therapy, and addition of a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitor. Overall pooled hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated using a random effects model. Results: A total of 5,594 patients with advanced CRC across 6 trials and 11 trial arms were included; 902 patients were receiving a PPI at trial entry and initiation of chemotherapy. PPI use was significantly associated with worse overall survival (pooled HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.03–1.40; P=.02; I 2 for heterogeneity = 69%) and progression-free survival (overall pooled HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.05–1.37; P=.009; I 2 = 65%) after adjusting for clinical covariates. Furthermore, the association between concomitant PPI use and survival outcomes was similar across most treatment subgroups. Conclusions: We speculate that alterations in the gut microbiome, altered immune milieu within the tumor, and interactions through transporters are potential mechanisms behind this association between PPI use and chemotherapy in patients with CRC, which warrant further study. Concomitant use of PPIs is associated with worse survival outcomes in patients with CRC treated with fluoropyrimidine-based chemotherapy. Clinicians should cautiously consider the concomitant use of PPIs in such patients.

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Vaia Florou, Christopher Nevala-Plagemann, Jonathan Whisenant, Patricia Maeda, Glynn W. Gilcrease, and Ignacio Garrido-Laguna

NTRK gene fusions are found in <1% of all cancers but are uniformly present in mammary analog secretory carcinomas (MASC) of the salivary glands. Two selective histology-agnostic tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) inhibitors are currently approved for malignancies with these oncogenic fusions. Resistance to TRK inhibition has been recognized, and the mediating mechanisms are presently being studied. This report describes a patient diagnosed with an MASC of the parotid gland who after undergoing multiple lines of treatment was found to have an ETV6-NTRK3 fusion and initiated TRK-targeted therapy using entrectinib. Upon disease progression, we performed tumor genetic sequencing that showed a secondary resistance mutation. The patient subsequently responded to selitrectinib, a next-generation TRK inhibitor.