Central Nervous System as Possible Site of Relapse in ERBB2-Positive Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Long-term Results of Treatment With Trastuzumab and Lapatinib | Colorectal Cancer | JAMA Oncology | JAMA Network
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Table.  RECIST Objective Responses to Treatment of 32 Patients Evaluable in HERACLES-A2
RECIST Objective Responses to Treatment of 32 Patients Evaluable in HERACLES-A
1.
Siena  S, Sartore-Bianchi  A, Marsoni  S,  et al.  Targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) oncogene in colorectal cancer.   Ann Oncol. 2018;29(5):1108-1119. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdy100PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Sartore-Bianchi  A, Trusolino  L, Martino  C,  et al.  Dual-targeted therapy with trastuzumab and lapatinib in treatment-refractory, KRAS codon 12/13 wild-type, HER2-positive metastatic colorectal cancer (HERACLES): a proof-of-concept, multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial.   Lancet Oncol. 2016;17(6):738-746. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(16)00150-9PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
3.
Bertotti  A, Migliardi  G, Galimi  F,  et al.  A molecularly annotated platform of patient-derived xenografts (“xenopatients”) identifies HER2 as an effective therapeutic target in cetuximab-resistant colorectal cancer.   Cancer Discov. 2011;1(6):508-523. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0109PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Siravegna  G, Sartore-Bianchi  A, Nagy  RJ,  et al.  Plasma HER2 (ERBB2) copy number predicts response to HER2-targeted therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer.   Clin Cancer Res. 2019. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3389Google Scholar
5.
Siravegna  G, Lazzari  L, Crisafulli  G,  et al.  Radiologic and genomic evolution of individual metastases during HER2 blockade in colorectal cancer.   Cancer Cell. 2018;34(1):148-162.e7. doi:10.1016/j.ccell.2018.06.004PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
6.
Strickler  JH, Zemla  T, Ou  F-S,  et al  527PDTrastuzumab and tucatinib for the treatment of HER2 amplified metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC): initial results from the MOUNTAINEER trial.   Ann Oncol. 2019;30(Supple 5). doi:10.1093/annonc/mdz246.005Google Scholar
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    Research Letter
    April 23, 2020

    Central Nervous System as Possible Site of Relapse in ERBB2-Positive Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Long-term Results of Treatment With Trastuzumab and Lapatinib

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Niguarda Cancer Center, Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milan, Italy
    • 2Dipartimento di Oncologia ed Emato-Oncologia, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
    • 3Oncologia Medica 1, Istituto Oncologico Veneto, IRCCS, Padova, Italy
    • 4Istituto di Candiolo, Fondazione del Piemonte per l’Oncologia, IRCCS, Candiolo, Italy
    • 5Dipartimento di Oncologia, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin, Italy
    • 6Università della Campania “L. Vanvitelli”, Naples, Italy
    • 7Precision Oncology, IFOM-FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology, Milan, Italy
    JAMA Oncol. 2020;6(6):927-929. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0571

    In colorectal cancer, ERBB2 amplification occurs in 5% of RAS wild-type metastatic tumors.1 In the pivotal HERACLES-A trial, chemorefractory patients with ERBB2 (formerly HER2)-positive metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) were treated with the combination of trastuzumab and lapatinib,2 demonstrating the proof of concept that the dual ERBB2 blockade previously found actionable in preclinical models3 could be successfully translated to the clinic with remarkable clinical benefit. We also reported that ERBB2 copy number in plasma was associated with that detected in tumor tissue, identified a cutoff value associated with clinical response,4 and studied acquired resistance on therapeutic ERBB2 blockade by longitudinal monitoring of circulating tumor DNA. Along this line, we documented that the onset of resistance was associated with emerging KRAS variant clones, BRAF amplification, and other molecular alterations already known in breast cancer, such as those of ERBB2, EGFR, PIK3CA, and PTEN.5

    Herein we present long-term clinical results of the HERACLES-A trial in the extended population of 32 patients.

    Methods

    Inclusion/exclusion criteria, screening phase, treatment/dose schedules, and tumor assessments were previously described.2 Chemorefractory mCRC was treated with a dual vertical ERBB2 blockade through the combination of trastuzumab and lapatinib. Tumor assessments were done at baseline and every 8 weeks thereafter until progression.

    A total of 35 patients were treated between August 27, 2012, and March 15, 2016 (27 in the trial phase, 8 in an extension cohort). Of these, 3 were not evaluable for response (concomitant RAS mutation in 2 participants, absence of target lesions assessable by RECIST in 1 participant). Among the 32 evaluable patients, 28 were men and median (range) age was 62 (40-86) years. All patients provided written informed consent and the institutional review boards of the participating centers approved the study procedures. At the time of the end of study (May 15, 2019), the follow-up was 82 months (6.7 years). The Table shows RECIST objective response rates. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 4.7 months (95% CI, 3.7-6.1) and 10.0 months (95% CI, 7.9-15.8), respectively. One patient remained in complete response at 6 years continuing follow-up at the time of this report.

    Results

    Disease progression in the central nervous system (CNS) occurred in 6 of 32 (19%) evaluable patients (isolated CNS in 3, with other visceral organs in 3; bone and liver in 1; lymph nodes and lung in 1; and lung, liver, and lymph nodes in 1). Median time to progression in the CNS was 7.9 months, whereas median OS was 11.4 months. Treatments consisted of stereotactic brain radiation therapy (n = 2) and neurosurgery excision (n = 1), overall favorably associated with OS data in these patients as a whole. Owing to poor performance status, 2 remaining patients received best supportive care and 1 was lost at follow-up. The patient who underwent neurosurgery for a cerebellum metastasis manifested an 11.5-month PFS after treatment initiation and maintained ERBB2 positivity (IHC 3 positive) in the resected tumor specimen.

    Discussion

    Treatment-prolonged survival was associated with an unexpectedly high occurrence of CNS metastases. Several reasons might explain this finding (1) a biological tropism toward CNS of ERBB2-amplified cells; (2) a limitation of these drugs targeting ERBB2 to cross the blood-brain barrier; or (3) the increased risk, in patients with long survival outcomes, of developing involvement of rarer anatomic sites.

    Updated analysis of HERACLES-A trial at 6.7 years of follow-up supports the use of trastuzumab and lapatinib as a treatment reference for KRAS wild-type, chemorefractory ERBB2-positive mCRC. Present data also indicate that the CNS may represent a sanctuary of CRC relapse in this setting, mirroring what occurs with ERBB2-targeted therapies in breast and gastric cancers. Further studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying this observed tropism and to investigate the potential of next-generation TKIs with improved CNS activity, such as neratinib and tucatinib.6

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    Article Information

    Corresponding Author: Salvatore Siena, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center, Grande Ospedale, Metropolitano Niguarda, Piazza Ospedale Maggiore, 3, 20162 Milan, Italy (salvatore.siena@unimi.it).

    Accepted for Publication: February 19, 2020.

    Published Online: April 23, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.0571

    Author Contributions: Drs Siena and Marsoni had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Drs Marsoni and Siena equally contributed as senior authors.

    Concept and design: Sartore-Bianchi, Marsoni, Siena.

    Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

    Drafting of the manuscript: Sartore-Bianchi, Marsoni, Siena.

    Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

    Statistical analysis: Marsoni.

    Obtained funding: Marsoni, Siena.

    Administrative, technical, or material support: Martino, Marsoni, Siena.

    Supervision: Sartore-Bianchi, Lonardi, Aglietta, Marsoni, Siena.

    Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Sartore-Bianchi is consultant/advisory member for Amgen, Bayer, Sanofi, and Servier; Dr Lonardi reports consulting or advisory roles in Amgen, Bayer, Merck, Lilly, and Servier; speakers' bureau roles at Lilly, Roche, and BMS, and research funding from Amgen, and Merck; Dr Ciardiello reported recepit of honoraria or consultation fees for speaker, consultancy, or advisory roles at Amgen, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Merck Serono, Pfizer, Roche, Servier; direct research funding as the principal investigator for institutional research projects from Amgen, Bayer, Merck Serono, Roche, Ipsen; institutional financial interests, financial support for clinical trials, or contracted research from Merck Serono, Roche, Symphogen, Array; leadership Positions in Professional Societies (non-financial interests) including ESMO past president, and president of the Associazione Italiana Oncologia Toracica; Dr Siena is advisory board member for Amgen, Bayer, BMS, Celgene, Incyte, Merck, Novartis, Roche, Seattle Genetics.

    Funding/Support: Authors report grants from Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro grant AIRC 5 × mille [project ID 51000] Special Program Molecular Clinical Oncology; Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro grant AIRC 5 × mille 2018 [project ID 21091] program P.I. Bardelli Alberto, Group Leaders Drs Siena and Marsoni; AIRC Investigator Grant [project ID 20685] to Dr Siena; CORDIS Community Research and Development Information Service, Horizon 2020 [project ID 635342] grant Molecularly Guided Trials with Specific Treatment Strategies in Patients with Advanced Newly Molecular Defined Subtypes of Colorectal Cancer (MoTriColor) to Dr Siena; Fondazione Oncologia Niguarda Onlus, grant Terapia Molecolare dei Tumori to Dr Sartore-Bianchi and grant Studies to Develop Therapies Against Colorectal Cancer in Young Adults 12018 to Drs Sartore-Bianchi and Siena; Progetto NET-2011-02352137 Ministero della Salute; Fondazione Regionale Ricerca Biomedica (FRRB) Grant IANG-CRC CP_12/2018 to Dr Siena.

    Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funder/sponsor Associazione Italiana Ricerca Cancro (AIRC) had no role in design and conduct of the study, collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data, preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript, and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

    Additional Contributions: The authors thank the patients and their families. We also thank the HERACLES investigators, pathologists, study coordinators, statisticians, radiologists, and preclinical scientists whose collaboration made the study possible: Federica Tosi, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center and University of Milano; Alessio Amatu, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Silvia Ghezzi, PhD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Katia Bencardino, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Erika Bonazzina, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Francesca Bergamo, MD, Istituto Oncologico Veneto - IRCCS; Elisabetta Fenocchio, MD, Istituto di Candiolo, Fondazione del Piemonte per l’Oncologia-IRCCS; Erika Martinelli, MD, Università della Campania “L. Vanvitelli”; Teresa Troiani, MD, Università della Campania “L. Vanvitelli”; Giulia Siravegna, PhD, Istituto di Candiolo, Fondazione del Piemonte per l’Oncologia-IRCCS; Valter Torri, MD, IRCCS- Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri; Giovanna Marrapese, PhD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Emanuele Valtorta, PhD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Andrea Cassingena, PhD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Giovanni Cappello, MD, Istituto di Candiolo, Fondazione del Piemonte per l’Oncologia-IRCCS; Emanuela Bonoldi, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center; Angelo Vanzulli, MD, Niguarda Cancer Center and University of Milano; Vittorina Zagonel, MD, Istituto Oncologico Veneto - IRCCS; Alberto Bardelli, MD, Istituto di Candiolo, Fondazione del Piemonte per l’Oncologia-IRCCS, and Dipartimento di Oncologia, Università degli Studi di Torino; Livio Trusolino, MD, Istituto di Candiolo, Fondazione del Piemonte per l’Oncologia-IRCCS, and Dipartimento di Oncologia, Università degli Studi di Torino.

    References
    1.
    Siena  S, Sartore-Bianchi  A, Marsoni  S,  et al.  Targeting the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) oncogene in colorectal cancer.   Ann Oncol. 2018;29(5):1108-1119. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdy100PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
    2.
    Sartore-Bianchi  A, Trusolino  L, Martino  C,  et al.  Dual-targeted therapy with trastuzumab and lapatinib in treatment-refractory, KRAS codon 12/13 wild-type, HER2-positive metastatic colorectal cancer (HERACLES): a proof-of-concept, multicentre, open-label, phase 2 trial.   Lancet Oncol. 2016;17(6):738-746. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(16)00150-9PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
    3.
    Bertotti  A, Migliardi  G, Galimi  F,  et al.  A molecularly annotated platform of patient-derived xenografts (“xenopatients”) identifies HER2 as an effective therapeutic target in cetuximab-resistant colorectal cancer.   Cancer Discov. 2011;1(6):508-523. doi:10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0109PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
    4.
    Siravegna  G, Sartore-Bianchi  A, Nagy  RJ,  et al.  Plasma HER2 (ERBB2) copy number predicts response to HER2-targeted therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer.   Clin Cancer Res. 2019. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3389Google Scholar
    5.
    Siravegna  G, Lazzari  L, Crisafulli  G,  et al.  Radiologic and genomic evolution of individual metastases during HER2 blockade in colorectal cancer.   Cancer Cell. 2018;34(1):148-162.e7. doi:10.1016/j.ccell.2018.06.004PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
    6.
    Strickler  JH, Zemla  T, Ou  F-S,  et al  527PDTrastuzumab and tucatinib for the treatment of HER2 amplified metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC): initial results from the MOUNTAINEER trial.   Ann Oncol. 2019;30(Supple 5). doi:10.1093/annonc/mdz246.005Google Scholar
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