Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology - Research Publications

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    Talazoparib plus enzalutamide in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer: TALAPRO-2 Phase III study design
    Agarwal, N ; Azad, A ; Shore, ND ; Carles, J ; Fay, AP ; Dunshee, C ; Karsh, LI ; Paccagnella, ML ; Di Santo, N ; Elmeliegy, M ; Lin, X ; Czibere, A ; Fizazi, K (FUTURE MEDICINE LTD, 2022-01-26)
    PARP inhibitors in combination with androgen receptor-targeted therapy have demonstrated potential in the treatment of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Here, we describe the design and rationale of the multinational, phase III, two-part TALAPRO-2 study comparing talazoparib plus enzalutamide versus placebo plus enzalutamide as a first-line treatment for patients with mCRPC with or without DNA damage response (DDR) alterations. This study has two co-primary end points: radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) by blinded independent clinical review in all-comers (cohort 1) and in patients with DDR alterations (cohort 2). TALAPRO-2 will demonstrate whether talazoparib plus enzalutamide can significantly improve the efficacy of enzalutamide in terms of rPFS in both molecularly unselected and DDR-deficient patients with mCRPC (NCT03395197). Clinical Trial Registration: NCT03395197 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
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    A Phase III, randomized, open-label study (CONTACT-02) of cabozantinib plus atezolizumab versus second novel hormone therapy in patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer
    Agarwal, N ; Azad, A ; Carles, J ; Chowdhury, S ; McGregor, B ; Merseburger, AS ; Oudard, S ; Saad, F ; Soares, A ; Benzaghou, F ; Kerloeguen, Y ; Kimura, A ; Mohamed, N ; Panneerselvam, A ; Wang, F ; Pal, S (FUTURE MEDICINE LTD, 2022-01-17)
    Cabozantinib inhibits multiple receptor tyrosine kinases, including the TAM kinase family, and may enhance response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. One cohort of the ongoing phase Ib COSMIC-021 study (NCT03170960) evaluating cabozantinib plus the PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) that has progressed in soft tissue on/after enzalutamide and/or abiraterone treatment for metastatic disease has shown promising efficacy. Here, we describe the rationale and design of a phase III trial of cabozantinib plus atezolizumab versus a second novel hormone therapy (NHT) in patients who have previously received an NHT for mCRPC, metastatic castration-sensitive PC or nonmetastatic CRPC and have measurable visceral disease and/or extrapelvic adenopathy - a population with a significant unmet need for treatment options. Trial Registration Clinical Trial Registration: NCT04446117 (ClinicalTrials.gov) Registered on 24 June 2020.
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    Aberrations in circulating ceramide levels are associated with poor clinical outcomes across localised and metastatic prostate cancer
    Lin, H-M ; Huynh, K ; Kohli, M ; Tan, W ; Azad, AA ; Yeung, N ; Mahon, KL ; Mak, B ; Sutherland, PD ; Shepherd, A ; Mellett, N ; Docanto, M ; Giles, C ; Centenera, MM ; Butler, LM ; Meikle, PJ ; Horvath, LG (SPRINGERNATURE, 2021-03-21)
    BACKGROUND: Dysregulated lipid metabolism is associated with more aggressive pathology and poorer prognosis in prostate cancer (PC). The primary aim of the study is to assess the relationship between the plasma lipidome and clinical outcomes in localised and metastatic PC. The secondary aim is to validate a prognostic circulating 3-lipid signature specific to metastatic castration-resistant PC (mCRPC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Comprehensive lipidomic analysis was performed on pre-treatment plasma samples from men with localised PC (N = 389), metastatic hormone-sensitive PC (mHSPC)(N = 44), or mCRPC (validation cohort, N = 137). Clinical outcomes from our previously published mCRPC cohort (N = 159) that was used to derive the prognostic circulating 3-lipid signature, were updated. Associations between circulating lipids and clinical outcomes were examined by Cox regression and latent class analysis. RESULTS: Circulating lipid profiles featuring elevated levels of ceramide species were associated with metastatic relapse in localised PC (HR 5.80, 95% CI 3.04-11.1, P = 1 × 10-6), earlier testosterone suppression failure in mHSPC (HR 3.70, 95% CI 1.37-10.0, P = 0.01), and shorter overall survival in mCRPC (HR 2.54, 95% CI 1.73-3.72, P = 1 × 10-6). The prognostic significance of circulating lipid profiles in localised PC was independent of standard clinicopathological and metabolic factors (P < 0.0002). The 3-lipid signature was verified in the mCRPC validation cohort (HR 2.39, 95% CI 1.63-3.51, P = 1 × 10-5). CONCLUSIONS: Elevated circulating ceramide species are associated with poorer clinical outcomes across the natural history of PC. These clinically actionable lipid profiles could be therapeutically targeted in prospective clinical trials to potentially improve PC outcomes.
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    Real-world first-line systemic therapy patterns in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.
    Anton, A ; Pillai, S ; Semira, MC ; Wong, S ; Shapiro, J ; Weickhardt, A ; Azad, A ; Kwan, EM ; Spain, L ; Gunjur, A ; Torres, J ; Parente, P ; Parnis, F ; Goh, J ; Baenziger, O ; Gibbs, P ; Tran, B (Wiley, 2022-05)
    Introduction: Several systemic therapies have demonstrated a survival advantage in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Access to these medications varies significantly worldwide. In Australia until recently, patients must have received docetaxel first, unless unsuitable for chemotherapy, despite no evidence suggesting superiority over androgen receptor signalling inhibitors (ARSIs). Our study investigated real-world systemic treatment patterns in Australian patients with mCRPC. Methods: The electronic CRPC Australian Database (ePAD) was interrogated to identify mCRPC patients. Clinicopathological features, treatment and outcome data, stratified by first-line systemic therapies, were extracted. Comparisons between groups utilised Kruskal-Wallis tests and Chi-Square analyses. Time-to-event data were calculated using Kaplan-Meier methods and groups compared using log-rank tests. Factors influencing overall survival (OS) and time to treatment failure (TTF) were analysed through Cox proportional hazards regression models. Results: We identified 578 patients who received first-line systemic therapy for mCRPC. Enzalutamide (ENZ) was most commonly prescribed (n = 240, 41%), followed by docetaxel (DOC, n = 164, 28%) and abiraterone (AA, n = 100, 17%). Patients receiving ENZ or AA were older (79, 78.5 years respectively) compared with DOC (71 years, p = 0.001) and less likely to have ECOG performance status 0 (45%, 44%, 59% in ENZ, AA and DOC groups respectively p < 0.0001). Median TTF was significantly higher in those receiving ENZ (12.4 months) and AA (11.9 months) compared to DOC (8.3 months, p < 0.001). PSA50 response rates and OS were not statistically different. Time to developing CRPC > 12 months was independently associated with longer TTF (HR 0.67, p < 0.001) and OS (HR 0.49, p = 0.002). Conclusion: In our real-world population, ENZ and AA were common first-line systemic therapy choices, particularly among older patients and those with poorer performance status. Patients receiving ENZ and AA demonstrated superior TTF compared to DOC, while OS was not statistically different. Our findings highlight the important role of ARSIs, given the variability of access worldwide.
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    PHASE 1/2 STUDY OF THOR-707 (SAR444245), A PEGYLATED RECOMBINANT NON-ALPHA IL-2, AS MONOTHERAPY AND IN COMBINATION WITH PEMBROLIZUMAB OR CETUXIMAB IN PATIENTS (PTS) WITH ADVANCED SOLID TUMORS
    Falchook, G ; Gan, H ; Fu, S ; McKean, M ; Azad, A ; Sommerhalder, D ; Wang, J ; Tan, T ; Chee, C ; Barve, M ; Lemeque, C ; Acuff, N ; Pham, H ; Mooney, J ; Wang, R ; Marina, N ; Abbadessa, G ; Meniawy, T (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-11-01)
    Background THOR-707 (SAR444245) is a recombinant human IL-2 molecule irreversibly bound to a PEG chain to block alpha-binding while retaining near-native affinity for beta/gamma IL-2 receptor subunits. We report updated results from the ongoing HAMMER phase 1/2 trial. Methods SAR444245 was given via IV infusion as monotherapy Q2W [A] or Q3W [B], with pembrolizumab 200mg IV Q3W [C], or Q3W with cetuximab 400mg/m2 IV on D1 then 250mg/m2 IV QW [D] after pre-medication and peri-infusion hydration. A 3+3 design was used to identify the MTD/RP2D in pts with advanced solid tumors. Key objectives included assessments of safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD). Results 68 pts, median age 61.5 (37–78) yrs with median 3 (1–10) prior therapies enrolled. Most common tumors: melanoma (n=10), colorectal (n=11). Doses tested by cohort: [A]: 8–16 µg/kg (n=9); [B]: 8–40 µg/kg (n=29); [C]: 8–32 µg/kg (n=20); [D]: 16–24 µg/kg (n=10). The most common (>30%) AEs included pyrexia (52.5%), nausea (50.0%), flu-like symptoms (44.1%), vomiting (36.8%), chills (32.4%), fatigue (32.4%), AST elevation (30.9%). AEs generally resolved promptly with supportive care. Grade(G) 3/4 (>5%) related AEs included ALT/AST elevation (5.9%), and decreased lymphocyte count (26.5% within first 24 hrs, recovering by 48–72 hrs, this lymphocyte migration is mechanistically consistent with immune cell margination). G3/4 CRS was observed in 2 pts. Two DLTs occurred: G3 infusion reaction (32 µg/kg [B]) and G3 AST/ALT/G2 bilirubin elevation with G2 CRS (24 µg/kg [C]). No vascular leak syndrome, QTc prolongation, cardiac, or end organ toxicity was observed. Half-life was ~10 h. Sustained increases in CD8 T and NK cells were observed (fold relative to baseline): monotherapy (1–9.4x and 2–43.3x); with pembrolizumab (0.5–5.78x and 1.5–26.9x); with cetuximab (1.3–7.57x and 3.6–45.4x). Max CD4 and eosinophils increased to 136 cell/µL and 1078 cell/µL. No IL-5 elevation or ADAs were observed. Transient IL-6 increases in 4 pts (500, 627, 1000, 1100 pg/mL) were not associated with AEs. Four pts had confirmed PRs (1 PD1-treated SCC, unknown primary [B]; 2 PD1-naïve BCC and 1 PD1-treated HNSCC [C]); 3 pts had minor responses -- prostate (-24%) and PD1-treated melanoma (-17%) [B]; PD1-treated NSCLC (¬-29%) [C] -- after ≥2 scans. 23 pts completed ≥5 cycles. Conclusions SAR444245 was well tolerated and demonstrated antitumor activity in heavily pretreated patients, including prior checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Clinical safety, efficacy and PD suggest a wide therapeutic window. Combination with pembrolizumab and cetuximab leveraged SAR44245’s effects on CD8 T and NK cells. Trial Registration NCT04009681 Ethics Approval The clinical trial was approved by each institutions ethics’ and review board prior to beginning study enrollment.
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    Combined impact of lipidomic and genetic aberrations on clinical outcomes in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer
    Mak, B ; Lin, H-M ; Kwan, EM ; Fettke, H ; Ben, T ; Davis, ID ; Mahon, K ; Stockler, MR ; Briscoe, K ; Marx, G ; Zhang, A ; Crumbaker, M ; Tan, W ; Huynh, K ; Meikle, TG ; Mellett, NA ; Hoy, AJ ; Du, P ; Yu, J ; Jia, S ; Joshua, AM ; Waugh, DJ ; Butler, LM ; Kohli, M ; Meikle, PJ ; Azad, AA ; Horvath, LG (BMC, 2022-03-25)
    BACKGROUND: Both changes in circulating lipids represented by a validated poor prognostic 3-lipid signature (3LS) and somatic tumour genetic aberrations are individually associated with worse clinical outcomes in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). A key question is how the lipid environment and the cancer genome are interrelated in order to exploit this therapeutically. We assessed the association between the poor prognostic 3-lipid signature (3LS), somatic genetic aberrations and clinical outcomes in mCRPC. METHODS: We performed plasma lipidomic analysis and cell-free DNA (cfDNA) sequencing on 106 men with mCRPC commencing docetaxel, cabazitaxel, abiraterone or enzalutamide (discovery cohort) and 94 men with mCRPC commencing docetaxel (validation cohort). Differences in lipid levels between men ± somatic genetic aberrations were assessed with t-tests. Associations between the 3LS and genetic aberrations with overall survival (OS) were examined using Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS: The 3LS was associated with shorter OS in the discovery (hazard ratio [HR] 2.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.4-3.3, p < 0.001) and validation cohorts (HR 2.32, 95% CI 1.59-3.38, p < 0.001). Elevated plasma sphingolipids were associated with AR, TP53, RB1 and PI3K aberrations (p < 0.05). Men with both the 3LS and aberrations in AR, TP53, RB1 or PI3K had shorter OS than men with neither in both cohorts (p ≤ 0.001). The presence of 3LS and/or genetic aberration was independently associated with shorter OS for men with AR, TP53, RB1 and PI3K aberrations (p < 0.02). Furthermore, aggressive-variant prostate cancer (AVPC), defined as 2 or more aberrations in TP53, RB1 and/or PTEN, was associated with elevated sphingolipids. The combination of AVPC and 3LS predicted for a median survival of ~12 months. The relatively small sample size of the cohorts limits clinical applicability and warrants future studies. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated circulating sphingolipids were associated with AR, TP53, RB1, PI3K and AVPC aberrations in mCRPC, and the combination of lipid and genetic abnormalities conferred a worse prognosis. These findings suggest that certain genotypes in mCRPC may benefit from metabolic therapies.
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    Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy in Metastatic Castrate-Resistant Prostate Cancer
    Perera, MPJ ; Thomas, PB ; Risbridger, GP ; Taylor, R ; Azad, A ; Hofman, MS ; Williams, ED ; Vela, I (MDPI, 2022-02-01)
    Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed solid-organ cancer amongst males worldwide. Metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is a rapidly fatal end-sequelae of prostate cancer. Therapeutic options for men with mCRPC are limited and are not curative in nature. The recent development of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy has revolutionised the treatment of treatment-resistant haematological malignancies, and several studies are underway investigating the utility of this technology in the treatment of solid tumours. In this review, we evaluate the current treatment options for men with mCRPC as well as the current landscape of preclinical and clinical trials of CAR-T cell therapy against prostate cancer. We also appraise the various prostate cancer-specific tumour-associated antigens that may be targeted by CAR-T cell technology. Finally, we examine the potential translational barriers of CAR-T cell therapy in solid tumours. Despite preclinical success, preliminary clinical trials in men with prostate cancer have had limited efficacy. Therefore, further clinically translatable preclinical models are required to enhance the understanding of the role of this investigational therapeutic in men with mCRPC. In the era of precision medicine, tailored immunotherapy administered to men in a tumour-agnostic approach provides hope to a group of men who otherwise have few treatment options available.
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    Lu-177-PSMA-617 and Idronoxil in Men with End-Stage Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (LuPIN) Patient Outcomes and Predictors of Treatment Response in a Phase I/II Trial
    Pathmanandavel, S ; Crumbaker, M ; Yam, AO ; Nguyen, A ; Rofe, C ; Hovey, E ; Gedye, C ; Kwan, EM ; Hauser, C ; Azad, AA ; Eu, P ; Martin, AJ ; Joshua, AM ; Emmett, L (SOC NUCLEAR MEDICINE INC, 2022-04-01)
    177Lu-PSMA-617 is an effective therapy for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). However, treatment resistance occurs frequently, and combination therapies may improve outcomes. We report the final safety and efficacy results of a phase I/II study combining 177Lu-PSMA-617 with idronoxil (NOX66), a radiosensitizer, and examine potential clinical, blood-based, and imaging biomarkers. Methods: Fifty-six men with progressive mCRPC previously treated with taxane chemotherapy and novel androgen signaling inhibitor (ASI) were enrolled. Patients received up to 6 doses of 177Lu-PSMA-617 (7.5 GBq) on day 1 in combination with a NOX66 suppository on days 1-10 of each 6-wk cycle. Cohort 1 (n = 8) received 400 mg of NOX66, cohort 2 (n = 24) received 800 mg, and cohort 3 (n = 24) received 1,200 mg. 68Ga-PSMA and 18F-FDG PET/CT were performed at study entry, and semiquantitative imaging analysis was undertaken. Blood samples were collected for analysis of blood-based biomarkers, including androgen receptor splice variant 7 expression. The primary outcomes were safety and tolerability; secondary outcomes included efficacy, pain scores, and xerostomia. Regression analyses were performed to explore the prognostic value of baseline clinical, blood-based, and imaging parameters. Results: Fifty-six of the 100 men screened were enrolled (56%), with a screening failure rate of 26% (26/100) for PET imaging criteria. All men had received prior treatment with ASI and docetaxel, and 95% (53/56) had received cabazitaxel. Ninety-six percent (54/56) of patients received at least 2 cycles of combination NOX66 and 177Lu-PSMA-617, and 46% (26/56) completed 6 cycles. Common adverse events were anemia, fatigue, and xerostomia. Anal irritation attributable to NOX66 occurred in 38%. Forty-eight of 56 had a reduction in prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level (86%; 95% CI, 74%-94%); 34 of 56 (61%; 95% CI, 47%-74%) had a PSA reduction of at least 50%. Median PSA progression-free survival was 7.5 mo (95% CI, 5.9-9 mo), and median overall survival was 19.7 mo (95% CI, 9.5-30 mo). A higher PSMA SUVmean correlated with treatment response, whereas a higher PSMA tumor volume and prior treatment with ASI for less than 12 mo were associated with worse overall survival. Conclusion: NOX66 with 177Lu-PSMA-617 is a safe and feasible strategy in men being treated with third-line therapy and beyond for mCRPC. PSMA SUVmean, PSMA-avid tumor volume, and duration of treatment with ASI were independently associated with outcome.
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    Relationship between Circulating Lipids and Cytokines in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
    Lin, H-M ; Yeung, N ; Hastings, JF ; Croucher, DR ; Huynh, K ; Meikle, TG ; Mellett, NA ; Kwan, EM ; Davis, ID ; Tran, B ; Mahon, KL ; Zhang, A ; Stockler, MR ; Briscoe, K ; Marx, G ; Bastick, P ; Crumbaker, ML ; Joshua, AM ; Azad, AA ; Meikle, PJ ; Horvath, LG (MDPI, 2021-10-01)
    Circulating lipids or cytokines are associated with prognosis in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). This study aimed to understand the interactions between lipid metabolism and immune response in mCRPC by investigating the relationship between the plasma lipidome and cytokines. Plasma samples from two independent cohorts of men with mCRPC (n = 146, 139) having life-prolonging treatments were subjected to lipidomic and cytokine profiling (290, 763 lipids; 40 cytokines). Higher baseline levels of sphingolipids, including ceramides, were consistently associated with shorter overall survival in both cohorts, whereas the associations of cytokines with overall survival were inconsistent. Increasing levels of IL6, IL8, CXCL16, MPIF1, and YKL40 correlated with increasing levels of ceramide in both cohorts. Men with a poor prognostic 3-lipid signature at baseline had a shorter time to radiographic progression (poorer treatment response) if their lipid profile at progression was similar to that at baseline, or their cytokine profile at progression differed to that at baseline. In conclusion, baseline levels of circulating lipids were more consistent as prognostic biomarkers than cytokines. The correlation between circulating ceramides and cytokines suggests the regulation of immune responses by ceramides. The association of treatment response with the change in lipid profiles warrants further research into metabolic interventions.
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    Overcoming enzalutamide resistance in metastatic prostate cancer by targeting sphingosine kinase
    Lin, H-M ; Mak, B ; Yeung, N ; Huynh, K ; Meikle, TG ; Mellett, NA ; Kwan, EM ; Fettke, H ; Tran, B ; Davis, ID ; Mahon, KL ; Zhang, A ; Stockler, MR ; Briscoe, K ; Marx, G ; Crumbaker, M ; Stricker, PD ; Du, P ; Yu, J ; Jia, S ; Scheinberg, T ; Fitzpatrick, M ; Bonnitcha, P ; Sullivan, DR ; Joshua, AM ; Azad, AA ; Butler, LM ; Meikle, PJ ; Horvath, LG (ELSEVIER, 2021-10-14)
    BACKGROUND: Intrinsic resistance to androgen receptor signalling inhibitors (ARSI) occurs in 20-30% of men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). Ceramide metabolism may have a role in ARSI resistance. Our study's aim is to investigate the association of the ceramide-sphingosine-1-phosphate (ceramide-S1P) signalling axis with ARSI resistance in mCRPC. METHODS: Lipidomic analysis (∼700 lipids) was performed on plasma collected from 132 men with mCRPC, before commencing enzalutamide or abiraterone. AR gene aberrations in 77 of these men were identified by deep sequencing of circulating tumour DNA. Associations between circulating lipids, radiological progression-free survival (rPFS) and overall survival (OS) were examined by Cox regression. Inhibition of ceramide-S1P signalling with sphingosine kinase (SPHK) inhibitors (PF-543 and ABC294640) on enzalutamide efficacy was investigated with in vitro assays, and transcriptomic and lipidomic analyses of prostate cancer (PC) cell lines (LNCaP, C42B, 22Rv1). FINDINGS: Men with elevated circulating ceramide levels had shorter rPFS (HR=2·3, 95% CI=1·5-3·6, p = 0·0004) and shorter OS (HR=2·3, 95% CI=1·4-36, p = 0·0005). The combined presence of an AR aberration with elevated ceramide levels conferred a worse prognosis than the presence of only one or none of these characteristics (median rPFS time = 3·9 vs 8·3 vs 17·7 months; median OS time = 8·9 vs 19·8 vs 34·4 months). SPHK inhibitors enhanced enzalutamide efficacy in PC cell lines. Transcriptomic and lipidomic analyses indicated that enzalutamide combined with SPHK inhibition enhanced PC cell death by SREBP-induced lipotoxicity. INTERPRETATION: Ceramide-S1P signalling promotes ARSI resistance, which can be reversed with SPHK inhibitors. FUNDING: None.