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Ahmad Hamad, Aatur D. Singhi, Nathan Bahary, Kevin McGrath, Rula Amarin, Herbert J. Zeh and Amer H. Zureikat

Overexpression of HER2 protein and amplification of the ERBB2 gene has been observed in various adenocarcinomas, providing a therapeutic target that can be used to extend the survival of a select cohort of patients. Anti-HER2 therapy has been successfully applied to gastric and colorectal cancers, but its use and potential benefit in small intestinal carcinomas is not well characterized. We applied anti-HER2 therapy to an ERBB2-amplified advanced duodenal adenocarcinoma, adding trastuzumab to FOLFOX in the neoadjuvant setting. A 61-year-old woman with an advanced duodenal cancer harboring an ERBB2 amplification received preoperative trastuzumab and FOLFOX. Restaging revealed significant tumor downstaging with no metastasis. After multidisciplinary assessment, she underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy. Final pathologic analysis revealed no residual invasive adenocarcinoma, consistent with a complete neoadjuvant treatment response. This case report emphasizes the need for further molecular characterization of small bowel cancers; genetic alterations may provide therapeutic targets to improve the prognosis of these rare and aggressive malignancies.

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Nina N. Sanford, Todd A. Aguilera, Michael R. Folkert, Chul Ahn, Brandon A. Mahal, Herbert Zeh, Muhammad S. Beg, John Mansour and David J. Sher

Background: Adjuvant therapy for resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma was given a category 1 NCCN recommendation in 2000, yet many patients do not receive chemotherapy after definitive surgery. Whether sociodemographic disparities exist for receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy is poorly understood. Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients diagnosed with nonmetastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma who underwent definitive surgery from 2004 through 2015. Multivariable logistic regression defined the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and associated 95% CI of receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy. Among patients receiving chemotherapy, multivariable logistic regression assessed the odds of treatment with multiagent chemotherapy. Results: Among 18,463 patients, 11,288 (61.1%) received any adjuvant chemotherapy. Sociodemographic factors inversely associated with receipt of any adjuvant chemotherapy included uninsured status (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74), Medicaid insurance (aOR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.57–0.77), and lower income (P<.001 for all income levels compared with ≥$46,000). Black race (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.57–0.90) and female sex (aOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.65–0.86) were associated with lower odds of receiving multiagent chemotherapy. There was a statistically significant interaction term between black race and age/comorbidity status (P=.03), such that 26.4% of black versus 35.8% of nonblack young (aged ≤65 years) and healthy (Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score 0) patients received multiagent adjuvant chemotherapy (P=.006), whereas multiagent adjuvant chemotherapy rates were similar among patients who were not young and healthy (P=.15). Conclusions: In this nationally representative study, receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy appeared to be associated with sociodemographic characteristics, independent of clinical factors. Sociodemographic differences in receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy may represent a missed opportunity for improving outcomes and a driver of oncologic disparities.

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Aatur D. Singhi, Siraj M. Ali, Jill Lacy, Andrew Hendifar, Khanh Nguyen, Jamie Koo, Jon H. Chung, Joel Greenbowe, Jeffrey S. Ross, Marina N. Nikiforova, Herbert J. Zeh, Inderpal S. Sarkaria, Anil Dasyam and Nathan Bahary

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers, with a 5-year survival of 8%. Current therapeutic regimens are largely ineffective and underscore the need for novel treatment strategies. Chromosomal rearrangements involving the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene have been identified in several neoplasms. In addition, ALK protein inhibitors have proven efficacy in patients with ALK-rearranged tumors. However, ALK translocations in PDAC have not been described. Through comprehensive genomic profiling of 3,170 PDACs, we identified 5 cases (0.16%) that harbored an ALK fusion gene: an exon 6 EML4–exon 20 ALK translocation (n=3), an exon 13 EML4–exon 20 ALK translocation (n=1), and an exon 3 STRN–exon 20 ALK translocation (n=1). Among the most prevalent PDAC-related genes, activating KRAS mutations were absent in all 5 cases, who were <50 years of age. Among patients aged <50 years in our study cohort, ALK translocations constituted 1.3% of PDACs. Four of 5 patients were treated with an ALK inhibitor, and 3 of these patients demonstrated stable disease, radiographic response, and/or normalization of serum CA 19-9. Although rare, ALK fusions occur in PDAC, and screening for ALK rearrangements should be considered in young patients with PDAC.