Imperial College London

DrRohiniSharma

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Reader in Clinical Pharmacology & Medical Oncology
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 3313 3059r.sharma Website

 
 
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Location

 

ICTEM buildingHammersmith Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

172 results found

Aboagye E, Sharma R, Inglese M, Dubash S, Lu H, Pinato D, Patel N, Chung A, Sanghera C, Tait A, Mauri F, Crum W, Barwick Tet al., Monitoring response to transarterial chemoembolization in hepatocellular carcinoma using 18F-Fluorothymidine Positron Emission Tomography, The Journal of Nuclear Medicine

Journal article

Sharma R, Pinato DJ, 2020, Management of Hepatocellular CAncer in the time of SARS-CoV-2., Liver International, ISSN: 1478-3223

As COVID-19 the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 continues to have a profound impact on global health, there have been a number of guidelines recently published addressing the management of patients with liver disease during the COVID-19 pandemic including the recently published EASL-ESCMID Position Paper, guidelines issued by the International Liver Cancer Association and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (1-3). All publications present a sound discussion regarding the challenges face by both patients and clinicians alike in the management of chronic liver disease in the setting of this ongoing pandemic.

Journal article

Lythgoe M, Julve M, Pinato D, Sharma Ret al., "Regorafenib therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma in a HIV-1 infected patient: a case report", Liver Cancer International, ISSN: 2642-3561

Journal article

Sarker D, Plummer R, Meyer T, Sodergren MH, Basu B, Chee CE, Huang K-W, Palmer DH, Ma YT, Evans TRJ, Spalding DRC, Pai M, Sharma R, Pinato DJ, Spicer J, Hunter S, Kwatra V, Nicholls JP, Collin D, Nutbrown R, Glenny H, Fairbairn S, Reebye V, Voutila J, Dorman S, Andrikakou P, Lloyd P, Felstead S, Vasara J, Habib R, Wood C, Saetrom P, Huber HE, Blakey DC, Rossi JJ, Habib Net al., 2020, MTL-CEBPA, a Small Activating RNA Therapeutic Upregulating C/EBP-α, in Patients with Advanced Liver Cancer: A First-in-Human, Multicenter, Open-Label, Phase I Trial., Clin Cancer Res, ISSN: 1078-0432

PURPOSE: Transcription factor C/EBP-α (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha) acts as a master regulator of hepatic and myeloid functions and multiple oncogenic processes. MTL-CEBPA is a first-in-class small activating RNA oligonucleotide drug that upregulates C/EBP-α. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We conducted a phase I, open-label, dose-escalation trial of MTL-CEBPA in adults with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with cirrhosis, or resulting from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or with liver metastases. Patients received intravenous MTL-CEBPA once a week for 3 weeks followed by a rest period of 1 week per treatment cycle in the dose-escalation phase (3+3 design). RESULTS: Thirty-eight participants have been treated across six dose levels (28-160 mg/m2) and three dosing schedules. Thirty-four patients were evaluable for safety endpoints at 28 days. MTL-CEBPA treatment-related adverse events were not associated with dose, and no maximum dose was reached across the three schedules evaluated. Grade 3 treatment-related adverse events occurred in nine (24%) patients. In 24 patients with HCC evaluable for efficacy, an objective tumor response was achieved in one patient [4%; partial response (PR) for over 2 years] and stable disease (SD) in 12 (50%). After discontinuation of MTL-CEBPA, seven patients were treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs); three patients had a complete response with one further PR and two with SD. CONCLUSIONS: MTL-CEBPA is the first saRNA in clinical trials and demonstrates an acceptable safety profile and potential synergistic efficacy with TKIs in HCC. These encouraging phase I data validate targeting of C/EBP-α and have prompted MTL-CEBPA + sorafenib combination studies in HCC.

Journal article

Sharma R, Valls PO, Inglese M, Dubash S, Chen M, Gabra H, Montes A, Challapalli A, Arshad M, Tharakan G, Chambers E, Cole T, Lozano-Kuehne JP, Barwick TD, Aboagye EOet al., 2020, [18F]Fluciclatide PET as a biomarker of response to combination therapy of pazopanib and paclitaxel in platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer, European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Vol: 47, Pages: 1239-1251, ISSN: 0340-6997

BACKGROUND: Angiogenesis is a driver of platinum resistance in ovarian cancer. We assessed the effect of combination pazopanib and paclitaxel followed by maintenance pazopanib in patients with platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer. Integrins αvβ3 and αvβ5 are both upregulated in tumor-associated vasculature. [18F]Fluciclatide is a novel PET tracer that has high affinity for integrins αvβ3/5, and was used to assess the anti-angiogenic effect of pazopanib. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted an open-label, phase Ib study in patients with platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer. Patients received 1 week of single-agent pazopanib (800 mg daily) followed by combination therapy with weekly paclitaxel (80 mg/m2). Following completion of 18 weeks of combination therapy, patients continued with single-agent pazopanib until disease progression. Dynamic [18F]fluciclatide-PET imaging was conducted at baseline and after 1 week of pazopanib. Response (RECIST 1.1), toxicities, and survival outcomes were recorded. Circulating markers of angiogenesis were assessed with therapy. RESULTS: Fourteen patients were included in the intention-to-treat analysis. Complete and partial responses were seen in seven patients (54%). Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 10.63 months, and overall survival (OS) was 18.5 months. Baseline [18F]fluciclatide uptake was predictive of long PFS. Elevated baseline circulating angiopoietin and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) were predictive of greater reduction in SUV60,mean following pazopanib. Kinetic modeling of PET data indicated a reduction in K1 and Ki following pazopanib indicating reduced radioligand delivery and retention. CONCLUSIONS: Combination therapy followed by maintenance pazopanib is effective and tolerable in platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer. [18F]Fluciclatide-PET uptake parameters predict clinical outcome with pazopanib therapy indicating an anti

Journal article

Pinato DJ, Guerra N, Fessas P, Murphy R, Mineo T, Mauri FA, Mukherjee SK, Thursz M, Wong CN, Sharma R, Rimassa Let al., 2020, Immune-based therapies for hepatocellular carcinoma, ONCOGENE, Vol: 39, Pages: 3620-3637, ISSN: 0950-9232

Journal article

Pinato DJ, Vallipuram A, Evans JS, Wong C, Zhang H, Brown M, Dina RE, Trivedi P, Akarca AU, Marafioti T, Mauri FA, Sharma Ret al., 2020, Programmed cell death ligands expression drives immune tolerogenesis across the diverse subtypes of neuroendocrine tumours., Neuroendocrinology

INTRODUCTION: A comprehensive characterisation of the tumour microenvironment is lacking in neuroendocrine tumours (NETs), where programmed cell death-1 receptor-ligand (PD-1/PD-L1) inhibitors are undergoing efficacy testing. OBJECTIVE: We investigated drivers of cancer-related immunosuppression across NETs of various sites and grade using multi-parameter immunohistochemistry and targeted transcriptomic profiling. METHODS: Tissue microarrays (n=102) were stained for PD-L1 & 2, Indoleamine-deoxygenase-1 (IDO-1) and evaluated in relationship to functional characteristics of tumor-infiltrating T-lymphocytes (TILs) and biomarkers of hypoxia/angiogenesis. PD-L1 expression was tested in circulating tumour cell (CTCs, n=12) to evaluate its relationship with metastatic dissemination. RESULTS: PD-L1 expression was highest in lung NETs (n=30, p=0.007), whereas PD-L2 was highest in pNETs (n=53, p<0.001) with no correlation with grade or hypoxia/angiogenesis. PD-L1+ NETs (n=26, 25%) had greater CD4+/FOXP3+ and CD8+/PD1+ TILs (p<0.001) and necrosis (p=0.02). CD4+/FOXP3+ infiltrate was highest PD-L1/IDO-1 co-expressing tumours (p=0.006). Grade 3 well-differentiated NETs had lower CD4+/FOXP3+ and CD8+/PD1+ TILs density (p<0.001) and Nanostring immune-profiling revealed enrichment of macrophage-related transcripts in cases with poorer prognosis. We identified PD-L1(+) CTC subpopulations in 75% of evaluated patients (n=12). CONCLUSIONS: PD-L1 expression correlates with T-cell exhaustion independent of tumour hypoxia and is enhanced in a subpopulation of CTCs, suggesting its relevance to the progression of NETs. These findings support a potential therapeutic role for PD-L1 inhibitors in a subset of NETs.

Journal article

Craig Z, Swain J, Batman E, Wadsley J, Reed N, Faluyi O, Cave J, Sharma R, Chau I, Wall L, Lamarca A, Hubner R, Mansoor W, Sarker D, Meyer T, Cairns DA, Howard H, Valle JW, McNamara MGet al., 2020, NET-02 trial protocol: a multicentre, randomised, parallel group, open-label, phase II, single-stage selection trial of liposomal irinotecan (nal-IRI) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/folinic acid or docetaxel as second-line therapy in patients with progressive poorly differentiated extrapulmonary neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC)., BMJ Open, Vol: 10, Pages: e034527-e034527, ISSN: 2044-6055

INTRODUCTION: Poorly differentiated (PD), extrapulmonary (EP), neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are rare but aggressive neuroendocrine neoplasms. First-line treatment for advanced disease is an etoposide and platinum-based chemotherapy combination. There is no established second-line treatment for patients with PD-EP-NEC, and this is an area of unmet need. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: NET-02 is a UK, multicentre, randomised (1:1), parallel group, open-label, phase II, single-stage selection trial of liposomal irinotecan (nal-IRI)/5-fluorouracil (5-FU)/folinic acid or docetaxel as second-line therapy in patients with progressive PD-EP-NEC. One hundred and two eligible participants will be randomised to receive either nal-IRI/5-FU/folinic acid or docetaxel. The primary objective is to determine the 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate. The secondary objectives of this study are to determine PFS, overall survival, objective response rate, toxicity, quality of life and whether neuron-specific enolase is predictive of treatment response. If either treatment is found to have a 6-month PFS rate of at least 25%, that treatment will be considered for a phase III trial. If both treatments meet this target, prespecified selection criteria will be applied to establish which treatment to take forward. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has ethical approval from the Greater Manchester Central Research Ethics Committee (reference no. 18/NW/0031) and clinical trial authorisation from the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and uploaded to the European Union Clinical Trials Register. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBERS: ISRCTN10996604, NCT03837977, EudraCT Number: 2017-002453-11.

Journal article

Ross PJ, Ma YT, Palmer DH, Lythgoe MP, Merrick S, Samson A, Rao AR, Basu B, Prasad D, Dhillon T, Lau D, Darby S, Orr J, Margetts J, Hubner R, Baijal S, Sharma R, Faluyi OO, Lee L, Thillai Ket al., 2020, Real-world experience of regorafenib in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma: A multicenter United Kingdom study, Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium of the American-Society-of-Clinical-Oncology, Publisher: AMER SOC CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, ISSN: 0732-183X

Conference paper

Sharma R, Wang WM, Yusuf S, Evans J, Ramaswami R, Wernig F, Frilling A, Mauri F, Al-Nahhas A, Aboagye EO, Barwick TDet al., 2019, 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT parameters predict response to peptide receptor radionuclide therapy in neuroendocrine tumours, Radiotherapy and Oncology, Vol: 141, Pages: 108-115, ISSN: 0167-8140

PURPOSE: [177Lu]DOTATATE prolongs progression free survival (PFS) in metastatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). However, objective response rate is low. This, coupled with long duration of therapy and expense suggest need for better selection. We aim to assess whether baseline [68Ga]DOTATATE-PET/CT parameters, and whether response assessment by PET accurately predicts clinical outcome to [177Lu]DOTATATE. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Retrospective study of patients receiving [177Lu]DOTATATE was conducted. Patients were followed 3-monthly until disease progression. Four [68Ga]DOTATATE-PET parameters (single lesion SUVmax, tumour to spleen and liver SUV ratios, and SUVmax-av using up to five target lesions in multiple organ sites) were determined at baseline and follow-up. The association between these PET parameters either at baseline, or any changes following treatment, and PET response criteria (PERCIST and modified PERCIST) to predict PFS were determined. Patients were followed 3-monthly until disease progression. Response was determined using RECIST 1.1. Baseline SSTR2 expression was assessed and compared with PET parameters. RESULTS: 55 patients with metastatic NETs were identified predominantly small bowel (N = 18) and pancreatic (N = 8) in origin. 16 were low grade, 15 intermediate and 3 high grade. Response to PRRT (N = 47): partial response (PR) 28%, stable disease (SD) 60% progressive disease (PD) 13%. Response to PRRT predicted PFS: PR 71.8 months (95%CI: not achieved), SD 29.1 months (95%CI: 15.2-43.1), and PD 9.7 months (95%CI: 0-21.02). Baseline, single lesion SUVmax predicted both response and PFS with SUV cut-off of 13.0 giving high sensitivity and specificity. Tumoural SUVmax correlated with SSTR2 expression, Spearman's rho - 0.69, p < 0.01. CONCLUSIONS: Baseline single lesion SUVmax and SUVmax-av predicts response to [177Lu]DOTATATE. Objective response following PRRT defines a subset of patients with markedly improved PFSBaseline SUVmax 13.0 defines a thre

Journal article

Han G, Berhane S, Toyoda H, Bettinger D, Elshaarawy O, Chan AWH, Kirstein M, Mosconi C, Hucke F, Palmer D, Pinato DJ, Sharma R, Ottaviani D, Jang JW, Labeur TA, van Delden OM, Pirisi M, Stern N, Sangro B, Meyer T, Fateen W, García-Fiñana M, Gomaa A, Waked I, Rewisha E, Aithal GP, Travis S, Kudo M, Cucchetti A, Peck-Radosavljevic M, Takkenberg RB, Chan SL, Vogel A, Johnson PJet al., 2019, Prediction of survival among patients receiving transarterial chemoembolization for hepatocellular carcinoma: a response-based approach., Hepatology, ISSN: 0270-9139

The heterogeneity of intermediate-stage hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the widespread use of transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) outside recommended guidelines have encouraged the development of scoring systems that predict patient survival. The aim of this study was to build and validate statistical models that offer individualized patient survival prediction using response to TACE as a variable. Clinically relevant baseline parameters were collected for 4,621 patients with HCC treated with TACE at 19 centers in 11 countries. In some of the centers, radiological response (as assessed by modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors [mRECIST]) was also accrued. The data set was divided into a training set, an internal validation set, and two external validation sets. A new pre-TACE model ("Pre-TACE-Predict") and a post-TACE model ("Post-TACE-Predict") that included response were built. The performance of the models in predicting overall survival (OS) was compared with existing ones. Median OS was 19.9 months. The factors influencing survival were tumor number and size, alpha-fetoprotein, albumin, bilirubin, vascular invasion, etiology, and response as assessed by mRECIST. The proposed models showed superior predictive accuracy compared to existing models (the HAP score and its various modifications) and allowed for patient stratification into four distinct risk categories whose median OS ranged from 7 months to more than 4 years. Conclusion: A TACE-specific and extensively validated model based on routinely available clinical features and response after first TACE permitted patient-level prognostication.

Journal article

Stickel F, Lutz P, Buch S, Nischalke HD, Silva I, Rausch V, Fischer J, Weiss KH, Gotthardt D, Rosendahl J, Marot A, Elamly M, Krawczyk M, Casper M, Lammert F, Buckley TW, McQuillin A, Spengler U, Eyer F, Vogel A, Marhenke S, von Felden J, Wege H, Sharma R, Atkinson S, Franke A, Nehring S, Moser V, Schafmayer C, Spahr L, Lackner C, Stauber RE, Canbay A, Link A, Valenti L, Grove JI, Aithal GP, Marquardt JU, Fateen W, Zopf S, Dufour J-F, Trebicka J, Datz C, Deltenre P, Mueller S, Berg T, Hampe J, Morgan MYet al., 2019, Genetic variation in HSD17B13 reduces the risk of developing cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in alcohol misusers., Hepatology, ISSN: 0270-9139

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Carriage of rs738409:G in patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing 3 (PNPLA3) is associated with an increased risk for developing alcohol-related cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Recently, rs72613567:TA in hydroxysteroid 17-beta dehydrogenase 13 (HSD17B13) was shown to be associated with a reduced risk for developing alcohol-related liver disease and to attenuate the risk associated with PNPLA3 rs738409:G. This study explores the risk-associations between these two genetic variants and the development of alcohol-related cirrhosis and HCC. APPROACH AND RESULTS: Variants in HSD17B13 and PNPLA3 were genotyped in 6,171 participants, including: 1,031 with alcohol-related cirrhosis and HCC; 1,653 with alcohol-related cirrhosis without HCC; 2,588 alcohol misusers with no liver disease; and 899 healthy controls. Genetic associations with the risks for alcohol-related cirrhosis and HCC were determined using logistic regression analysis. Carriage of HSD17B13 rs72613567:TA was associated with a lower risk for both cirrhosis (OR 0.79 [95% CI 0.72-0.88], p=8.13×10-6) and HCC (OR 0.77 [95% CI 0.68-0.89], p=2.27×10-4), while carriage of PNPLA3 rs738409:G was associated with an increased risk for developing cirrhosis (OR 1.70 [95% CI 1.54-1.88], p=1.52x10-26) and HCC (OR 1.77 [95% CI 1.58-1.98], p=2.31×10-23). These associations remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, type II diabetes mellitus and country. Carriage of HSD17B13 rs72613567:TA attenuated the risk for developing cirrhosis associated with PNPLA3 rs738409:G in both men and women but the protective effect against the subsequent development of HCC was only observed in men (p=1.72×10-4; ORallelic, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.64-0.87). CONCLUSIONS: Carriage of variants in PNPLA3 and HSD17B13 differentially affect the risk for developing advanced alcohol-related liver disease. A genotypic/phenotypic risk score might facilitate earlier diagnosis of

Journal article

Sharma R, Valls PO, Inglese M, Dubash S, Chen M, Gabra H, Montes A, Challapalli A, Arshad M, Thakaran G, Chambers E, Cole T, Lozano-Kuehne J, Barwick TD, Aboagye EOet al., 2019, [F-18]fluciclatide Pet As A Biomarker Of Response To Combination Therapy Of Pazopanib And Paclitaxel In Platinum-resistant/refractory Ovarian Cancer, 32nd Annual Congress of the European-Association-of-Nuclear-Medicine (EANM), Publisher: SPRINGER, Pages: S223-S223, ISSN: 1619-7070

Conference paper

Sharma R, Wang W, Yusuf S, Evans J, Ramaswami R, Wernig F, Frilling A, Mauri F, Al-Nahaas A, Aboagye EO, Barwick TDet al., 2019, [Ga-68]-DOTATATE PET/CT parameters predict response to peptide receptor radionuclide therapy in neuroendocrine tumours, 32nd Annual Congress of the European-Association-of-Nuclear-Medicine (EANM), Publisher: SPRINGER, Pages: S640-S640, ISSN: 1619-7070

Conference paper

Trousil S, Lee P, Edwards RJ, Maslen L, Lozan-Kuehne JP, Ramaswami R, Aboagye EO, Clarke S, Liddle C, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Altered cytochrome 2E1 and 3A P450-dependent drug metabolism in advanced ovarian cancer correlates to tumour-associated inflammation, British Journal of Pharmacology, Vol: 176, Pages: 3712-3722, ISSN: 0007-1188

Background and PurposePrevious work has focussed on changes in drug metabolism caused by altered activity of CYP3A in the presence of inflammation and, in particular, inflammation associated with malignancy. However, drug metabolism involves a number of other P450s, and therefore, we assessed the effect of cancer‐related inflammation on multiple CYP enzymes using a validated drug cocktail.Experimental ApproachPatients with advanced stage ovarian cancer and healthy volunteers were recruited. Participants received caffeine, chlorzoxazone, dextromethorphan, and omeprazole as in vivo probes for CYP1A2, CYP2E1, CYP2D6, CYP3A, and CYP2C19. Blood was collected for serum C‐reactive protein and cytokine analysis.Key ResultsCYP2E1 activity was markedly up‐regulated in cancer (6‐hydroxychlorzoxazone/chlorzoxazone ratio of 1.30 vs. 2.75), while CYP3A phenotypic activity was repressed in cancer (omeprazole sulfone/omeprazole ratio of 0.23 vs. 0.49). Increased activity of CYP2E1 was associated with raised serum levels of IL‐6, IL‐8, and TNF‐α. Repression of CYP3A correlated with raised levels of serum C‐reactive protein, IL‐6, IL‐8, and TNF‐α.Conclusions and ImplicationsCYP enzyme activity is differentially affected by the presence of tumour‐associated inflammation, affecting particularly CYP2E1‐ and CYP3A‐mediated drug metabolism, and may have profound implications for drug development and prescribing in oncological settings.

Journal article

Chambers E, Byrne C, Rugyendo A, Morrison D, Preston T, Tedford C, Bell J, Thomas L, Akbar A, Riddell N, Sharma R, Thursz M, Manousou P, Frost Get al., 2019, The effects of dietary supplementation with inulin and inulin-propionate ester on hepatic steatosis in adults with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, Vol: 21, Pages: 372-376, ISSN: 1462-8902

The short chain fatty acid (SCFA) propionate, produced through fermentation of dietary fibre by the gut microbiota, has been shown to alter hepatic metabolic processes that reduce lipid storage. We aimed to investigate the impact of raising colonic propionate production on hepatic steatosis in adults with non‐alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Eighteen adults were randomised to receive 20g/day of an inulin‐propionate ester (IPE), designed to deliver propionate to the colon, or an inulin‐control for 42‐days in a parallel design. The change in intrahepatocellular lipid (IHCL) following the supplementation period was not different between groups (P=0.082), however IHCL significantly increased within the inulin‐control group (20.9±2.9 to 26.8±3.9%; P=0.012; n=9), which was not observed within the IPE group (22.6±6.9 to 23.5±6.8%; P=0.635; n=9). The predominant SCFA from colonic fermentation of inulin is acetate, which in a background of NAFLD and a hepatic metabolic profile that promotes fat accretion, may provide surplus lipogenic substrate to the liver. The increased colonic delivery of propionate from IPE appears to attenuate this acetate‐mediated increase in IHCL.

Journal article

Howell J, Atkinson SR, Pinato DJ, Knapp S, Ward C, Minisini R, Burlone ME, Leutner M, Pirisi M, Büttner R, Khan SA, Thursz M, Odenthal M, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Identification of mutations in circulating cell-free tumour DNA as a biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma, European Journal of Cancer, Vol: 116, Pages: 56-66, ISSN: 0959-8049

BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is increasing globally. Prognostic biomarkers are urgently needed to guide treatment and reduce mortality. Tumour-derived circulating cell-free DNA (ctDNA) is a novel, minimally invasive means of determining genetic alterations in cancer. We evaluate the accuracy of ctDNA as a biomarker in HCC. METHODS: Plasma cell-free DNA, matched germline DNA and HCC tissue DNA were isolated from patients with HCC (n = 51) and liver cirrhosis (n = 10). Targeted, multiplex polymerase chain reaction ultra-deep sequencing was performed using a liver cancer-specific primer panel for genes ARID1A, ARID2, AXIN1, ATM, CTNNB1, HNF1A and TP53. Concordance of mutations in plasma ctDNA and HCC tissue DNA was determined, and associations with clinical outcomes were analysed. RESULTS: Plasma cell-free DNA was detected in all samples. Lower plasma cell-free DNA levels were seen in Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC A compared with BCLC stage B/C/D (median concentration 122.89 ng/mL versus 168.21 ng/mL, p = 0.041). 29 mutations in the eight genes (21 unique mutations) were detected in 18/51 patients (35%), median 1.5 mutations per patient (interquartile range 1-2). Mutations were most frequently detected in ARID1A (11.7%), followed by CTNNB1 (7.8%) and TP53 (7.8%). In patients with matched tissue DNA, all mutations detected in plasma ctDNA detected were confirmed in HCC DNA; however, 71% of patients had mutations identified in HCC tissue DNA that were not detected in matched ctDNA. CONCLUSION: ctDNA is quantifiable across all HCC stages and allows detection of mutations in key driver genes of hepatic carcinogenesis. This study demonstrates high specificity but low sensitivity of plasma ctDNA for detecting mutations in matched HCC tissue.

Journal article

Bettinger D, Pinato DJ, Schultheiss M, Sharma R, Rimassa L, Pressiani T, Burlone ME, Pirisi M, Kudo M, Park JW, Buettner N, Neumann-Haefelin C, Boettler T, Abbasi-Senger N, Alheit H, Baus W, Blanck O, Gerum S, Guckenberger M, Habermehl D, Ostheimer C, Riesterer O, Tamihardja J, Grosu AL, Thimme R, Brunner TB, Gkika Eet al., 2019, Stereotactic body radiation therapy as an alternative treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma compared to sorafenib: a propensity score analysis, Liver Cancer, Vol: 8, Pages: 281-294, ISSN: 2235-1795

Background and Aims: Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) has emerged as a safe and effective treatment for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but its role in patients with advanced HCC is not yet defined. In this study, we aim to assess the efficacy and safety of SBRT in comparison to sorafenib treatment in patients with advanced HCC. Methods: We included 901 patients treated with sorafenib at six tertiary centers in Europe and Asia and 122 patients treated with SBRT from 13 centers in Germany and Switzerland. Medical records were reviewed including laboratory parameters, treatment characteristics and development of adverse events. Propensity score matching was performed to adjust for differences in baseline characteristics. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival. Results: Median OS of SBRT patients was 18.1 (10.3–25.9) months compared to 8.8 (8.2–9.5) in sorafenib patients. After adjusting for different baseline characteristics, the survival benefit for patients treated with SBRT was still preserved with a median OS of 17.0 (10.8–23.2) months compared to 9.6 (8.6–10.7) months in sorafenib patients. SBRT treatment of intrahepatic lesions in patients with extrahepatic metastases was also associated with improved OS compared to patients treated with sorafenib in the same setting (17.0 vs. 10.0 months, p = 0.012), whereas in patients with portal vein thrombosis there was no survival benefit in patients with SBRT. Conclusions: In this retrospective comparative study, SBRT showed superior efficacy in HCC patients compared to patients treated with sorafenib.

Journal article

Pinato D, Mauri F, Spina P, Cain O, Siddique A, Goldin R, Victor S, Pizio C, Akarca A, Boldorini RL, Mazzucchelli L, Black J, Shetty S, Marafioti T, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Clinical implications of heterogeniety in PD-L1 immuno-histochemical detection in hepatocellular carcinoma: the Blueprint-HCC study, British Journal of Cancer, Vol: 120, Pages: 1033-1036, ISSN: 0007-0920

Programmed cell death ligand-1 immunohistochemical detection (PD-L1 IHC) is a putative predictor of response to PD-1/PD-L1-targeted checkpoint inhibitors. However, there is no gold standard assay in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We evaluated 5 PD-L1 IHC assay platforms (E1LN3, 28-8, 22c3, SP263 and SP142) in 100 HCCs reporting PD-L1 expression in malignant (M) and tumour-infiltrating immune cells (TICs) and non-tumorous cirrhotic tissues (NTICs). We found substantial inter-assay heterogeneity in detecting PD-L1 expression in M (R2 = 0.080–0.921), TICs (Cohen’s  κ = 0.175–0.396) and NTICs (κ = 0.004–0.505). Such diversity may impact on the reliability and reproducibility of PD-L1 IHC assays as a predictor of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Journal article

Flynn MJ, Sayed AA, Sharma R, Siddique A, Pinato DJet al., 2019, Challenges and opportunities in the clinical development of immune checkpoint inhibitors for hepatocellular carcinoma, Hepatology, Vol: 69, Pages: 2258-2270, ISSN: 0270-9139

After a decade of stagnation in drug development, therapeutic reversal of immune-exhaustion with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICPI) has been shown to be effective in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The clinical development of novel ICPIs continues at a rapid pace, with more than 50 clinical trials of immunotherapeutic agents registered as of May 2018 for this indication. The development of ICPI is particularly challenging in patients with HCC, a population with unique features which impact on safety and efficacy of immune-modulating therapies. In this review, we discuss the biologic foundations supporting the development of ICPI across the advancing stages of HCC, focusing in particular on the proposal of a rational positioning of ICPI across the various Barcelona-Clinic Liver Cancer stages of the disease. Translational studies should guide adequate prioritisation of those therapeutic agents and combination strategies which are most likely to achieve patient benefit based on solid mechanistic and clinical justifications.

Journal article

Sirunyan AM, Tumasyan A, Adam W, Ambrogi F, Asilar E, Bergauer T, Brandstetter J, Dragicevic M, Eroe J, Del Valle AE, Flechl M, Fruehwirth R, Ghete VM, Hrubec J, Jeitler M, Krammer N, Kraetschmer I, Liko D, Madlener T, Mikulec I, Rad N, Rohringer H, Schieck J, Schoefbeck R, Spanring M, Spitzbart D, Taurok A, Waltenberger W, Wittmann J, Wulz C-E, Zarucki M, Chekhovsky V, Mossolov V, Gonzalez JS, De Wolf EA, Di Croce D, Janssen X, Lauwers J, Pieters M, Van Haevermaet H, Van Mechelen P, Van Remortel N, Abu Zeid S, Blekman F, D'Hondt J, De Clercq J, Deroover K, Flouris G, Lontkovskyi D, Lowette S, Marchesini I, Moortgat S, Moreels L, Python Q, Skovpen K, Tavernier S, Van Doninck W, Van Mulders P, Van Parijs I, Beghin D, Bilin B, Brun H, Clerbaux B, De Lentdecker G, Delannoy H, Dorney B, Fasanella G, Favart L, Goldouzian R, Grebenyuk A, Kalsi AK, Lenzi T, Luetic J, Postiau N, Starling E, Thomas L, Vander Velde C, Vanlaer P, Vannerom D, Wang Q, Cornelis T, Dobur D, Fagot A, Gul M, Khvastunov I, Poyraz D, Roskas C, Trocino D, Tytgat M, Verbeke W, Vermassen B, Vit M, Zaganidis N, Bakhshiansohi H, Bondu O, Brochet S, Bruno G, David P, Delaere C, Delcourt M, Francois B, Giammanco A, Krintiras G, Lemaitre V, Magitteri A, Piotrzkowski K, Saggio A, Marono MV, Wertz S, Zobec J, Alves FL, Alves GA, Correa Martins M, Correia Silva G, Hensel C, Moraes A, Pol ME, Rebello Teles P, Belchior Batista Das Chagas E, Carvalho W, Chinellato J, Coelho E, Da Costa EM, Da Silveira GG, De Jesus Damiao D, De Oliveira Martins C, Fonseca De Souza S, Malbouisson H, Matos Figueiredo D, Melo De Almeida M, Mora Herrera C, Mundim L, Nogima H, Prado Da Silva WL, Sanchez Rosas LJ, Santoro A, Sznajder A, Thiel M, Tonelli Manganote EJ, Torres Da Silva De Araujo F, Vilela Pereira A, Ahuja S, Bernardes CA, Calligaris L, Fernandez Perez Tomei TR, Gregores EM, Mercadante PG, Novaes SF, Padula S, Aleksandrov A, Hadjiiska R, Iaydjiev P, Marinov A, Misheva M, Rodozov M, Shopova M, Sultanov G, Dimitrov A, Litov Let al., 2019, Search for W Boson Decays to Three Charged Pions, Publisher: AMER PHYSICAL SOC

Working paper

Evans J, Pinato D, Ward C, Thursz M, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Longitudinal monitoring of cell-free DNA predicts for transarterial chemo-embolization failure in hepatocellular carcinoma, International Liver Congress / 54th Annual Meeting of the European-Association-for-the-Study-of-the-Liver (EASL), Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: E362-E362, ISSN: 0168-8278

Conference paper

Gkika E, Brunner T, Abbasi-Senger N, Alheit H, Baus W, Blanck O, Gerum S, Guckenberger M, Habermehl D, Ostheimer C, Riesterer O, Tamihardja J, Pinato DJ, Rimassa L, Pressiani T, Schultheiss M, Sharma R, Burlone ME, Pirisi M, Kudo M, Park JW, Neumann-Haefelin C, Grosu A, Thimme R, Bettinger Det al., 2019, SBRT compared to sorafenib in locally advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: a propensity score analysis, 38th Annual Meeting of the European-Society-for-Radiotherapy-and-Oncology (ESTRO), Publisher: ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Pages: S423-S423, ISSN: 0167-8140

Conference paper

Hajiev S, Pinato DJ, Ramaswami R, Black JM, Arizumi T, Pirisi M, Kudo M, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Sorafenib starting dose impacts on survival in the elderly population with hepatocellular cancer, International Liver Congress / 54th Annual Meeting of the European-Association-for-the-Study-of-the-Liver (EASL), Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: E621-E621, ISSN: 0168-8278

Conference paper

Samani A, Pinato DJ, Bettinger D, Kaplan DE, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Sorafenib use in patients with HCC on a background of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, International Liver Congress / 54th Annual Meeting of the European-Association-for-the-Study-of-the-Liver (EASL), Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: E621-E621, ISSN: 0168-8278

Conference paper

Pinato DJ, Goldin RD, Mineo T, Siddique A, Akarca A, Marafioti T, Avellini C, Toniutto P, Mauri F, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Trans-arterial chemoembolization as a loco-regional inducer of immunogenic cell death in hepatocellular carcinoma, International Liver Congress / 54th Annual Meeting of the European-Association-for-the-Study-of-the-Liver (EASL), Publisher: ELSEVIER, Pages: E374-E375, ISSN: 0168-8278

Conference paper

Pinato D, Brown MW, Trousil S, Aboagye E, Beaumont J, Zhang H, Coley HM, Mauri F, Sharma Ret al., 2019, Integrated analysis of multiple receptor tyrosine kinases identifies Axl as a therapeutic target and mediator of resistance to sorafenib in hepatocellular carcinoma., British Journal of Cancer, Vol: 120, Pages: 512-521, ISSN: 0007-0920

Background: Aberrant activation of Axl is implicated in the progression of HCC. We explored biologic significance and preclinical efficacy of Axl inhibition as a therapeutic strategy in sorafenib-naïve and resistant HCC.Methods: We evaluated Axl expression in sorafenib-naïve and resistant (SR) clones of epithelial (HuH7) and mesenchymal origin (SKHep-1) using antibody arrays and confirmed tissue expression. We tested the effect of Axl inhibition with RNA-interference and pharmacologically with R428 on a number of phenotypic assays. Results: Axl mRNA overexpression in cell lines (n=28) and RNA-seq tissue datasets (n=373) correlated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Axl was overexpressed in HCC compared to cirrhosis and normal liver. We confirmed sorafenib-resistance to be associated with EMT and enhanced motility in both HuH7-SR and SKHep-1-SR cells documenting a 4-fold increase in Axl phosphorylation as an adaptive feature of chronic sorafenib treatment in SKHep-1-SR cells. Axl inhibition reduced motility and enhanced sensitivity to sorafenib in SKHep-1SR cells. In patients treated with sorafenib (n=40) circulating Axl levels correlated with shorter survival.Conclusions: Suppression of Axl-dependent signaling influences the transformed phenotype in HCC cells and contributes to adaptive resistance to sorafenib, providing a pre-clinical rationale for the development of Axl inhibitors as a measure to overcome sorafenib resistance.

Journal article

Black J, Atkinson S, Singh A, Evans J, Sharma Ret al., 2019, The inflammation-based index can predict response and improve patient selection in NETs treated with PRRT: a pilot study, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol: 104, Pages: 285-292, ISSN: 0021-972X

BackgroundPeptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) is an effective treatment for certain patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumours (NETs). Tumour response is highly variable; no biomarker in clinical practice has been demonstrated to reliably predict outcome. The Inflammation-Based Index (IBI), derived from serum C-reactive protein and albumin levels, predicts survival and response to treatment in patients in a number of cancer types and was therefore explored in this setting.Materials and MethodsClinico-pathological data from patients undergoing PRRT for metastatic NETs were collected at baseline and during treatment. The primary endpoint was progression free survival (PFS) with a secondary endpoint of overall survival (OS). Cox regression analysis tested associations between baseline variables and their dynamic changes, and PFS and OS. Decision curve analysis (DCA) was used to determine the net benefit associated with a treatment strategy determined by the baseline IBI and non-response to PRRT.ResultsFifty-five patients were recruited. Baseline IBI >0 was associated with inferior PFS (HR 14.2 (95% CI 5.25-38.5), p<0.001) and OS (p<0.001). Multivariate analysis confirmed an independent association between IBI and PFS (p=0.001). DCA indicated a net clinical benefit at risk thresholds between 0.03 and 0.58.ConclusionBaseline IBI score and its dynamic change through treatment are associated with both PFS and OS. At a risk threshold equivalent to the currently accepted rate of non-response to therapy, implementation of this easily derived score could avoid a significant number of futile treatments. These findings should be validated in additional independent cohorts.

Journal article

Tan T, Shen L, Hajiev S, Mak L-Y, Sharma R, Goh BBG, Chang J, Yuen M-F, Pinato DJ, Tan C-Ket al., 2018, Development and external international validation of a therapy-independent HCC survival prediction score from a cohort of 1270 patients, Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) / Liver Meeting, Publisher: Wiley, Pages: 551A-551A, ISSN: 0270-9139

Conference paper

Black JRM, Atkinson SR, Singh A, Evans J, Sharma Ret al., 2018, Markers of the systemic inflammatory response can predict response and improve patient selection in Neuroendocrine Tumours treated with Peptide Radionuclide Receptor Therapy, 31st Annual Congress of the European-Association-of-Nuclear-Medicine (EANM), Publisher: SPRINGER, Pages: S60-S60, ISSN: 1619-7070

Conference paper

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