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Kenneth Hess - Top 30 Publications

Ocular toxicities associated with targeted anticancer agents: an analysis of clinical data with management suggestions.

Ocular toxicities are among the most common adverse events resulting from targeted anticancer agents and are becoming increasingly relevant in the management of patients on these agents. The purpose of this study is to provide a framework for management of these challenging toxicities based on objective data from FDA labels and from analysis of the literature. All oncologic drugs approved by the FDA up to March 14, 2015, were screened for inclusion. A total of 16 drugs (12 small-molecule drugs and 4 monoclonal antibodies) were analyzed for ocular toxicity profiles based on evidence of ocular toxicity. Trials cited by FDA labels were retrieved, and a combination search in Medline, Google Scholar, the Cochrane database, and the NIH Clinical Trials Database was conducted. The majority of ocular toxicities reported were low severity, and the most common were conjunctivitis and "visual disturbances." However, severe events including incidents of blindness, retinal vascular occlusion, and corneal ulceration occurred. The frequency and severity at which ocular toxicities occur merits a more multidisciplinary approach to managing patients with agents that are known to cause ocular issues. We suggest a standardized methodology for referral and surveillance of patients who are potentially at risk of severe ocular toxicity.

Percentage of mesenchymal stem cells in high-grade glioma tumor samples correlates with patient survival.

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have been shown to reside as stromal cells in human gliomas as glioma-associated hMSCs (GA-hMSCs), but their biological role remains unclear. Because recent evidence indicates that GA-hMSCs drive tumor cell proliferation and stemness, we hypothesized that a higher percentage of GA-hMSCs in tumors predicts poor patient prognosis.

Antiangiogenesis and gene aberration-related therapy may improve overall survival in patients with concurrent KRAS and TP53 hotspot mutant cancer.

Genetic alterations such as activating KRAS and/or inactivating TP53 are thought to be the most common drivers to tumorigenesis. Therefore, we assessed phase I cancer patients with KRAS+/TP53+ mutations.

Prognostic Scoring System to Risk Stratify Parathyroid Carcinoma.

Parathyroid carcinoma is a rare endocrine malignancy that lacks an established system for risk categorization. This study evaluated a prognostic scoring system for recurrence-free survival (RFS) of patients with parathyroid carcinoma.

Outcomes of Patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma and Sarcomatoid Dedifferentiation Treated with Nephrectomy and Systemic Therapies during 3 Decades: Comparison Between the Cytokine (1987 to 2005) and the Targeted Therapy (2006 to 2015) Eras.

We studied overall survival and prognostic factors in patients with sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma treated with nephrectomy and systemic therapy in the cytokine and targeted therapy eras.

Effect of Mammography on Marker Clip Migration After Stereotactic-Guided Core Needle Breast Biopsy.

To determine whether the type of projection used-same as or orthogonal to the projection used during a stereotactic-guided core needle biopsy procedure-to obtain the first view on a 2-view postbiopsy mammogram affects biopsy marker clip migration.

Use of Expansion Cohorts in Phase I Trials and Probability of Success in Phase II for 381 Anticancer Drugs.

Purpose: Evaluate the association between the use of phase I expansion cohorts (ECs) and drug performance in phase II as well as time to approval by the FDA.Experimental Design: We performed a systematic search of MEDLINE for single-agent dose-finding adult oncology phase I trials published in 2006 to 2011 and subsequent phase II trials. Successful phase II trials were those that met their primary endpoints. Dates of approval were obtained from the [email protected] website in April 2014. A logistic regression model was used to determine the associations between variables and success in phase II.Results: We identified 533 phase I trials evaluating 381 drugs; 112 drugs had at least one phase I trial with an expansion cohort. Phase I trials with expansion cohorts of two to 20 patients were associated with a higher rate of successful phase II trials than those with no expansion cohort [48% vs. 27%; OR, 2.1; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-4.0; P = 0.037]. Phase II success rates were the same for expansion cohort with two to 20 and more than 20 patients (48% vs. 52%). Other positive associations were disease-specific trials (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.9; P = 0.037), industry sponsorship (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.5-5.7; P = 0.0024), and response rate of 6% to 20% (OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.6-5.2; P = 0.0007). Drugs tested in phase I trials with expansion cohorts had a higher rate of 5-year approval (19% vs. 5%; HR, 4.4; 95% CI, 2.2-8.8; P < 0.001).Conclusion: The use of expansion cohorts in phase I trials was associated with success of subsequent phase II trials. However, confounders may play a role in this association. Clin Cancer Res; 1-7. ©2017 AACR.

Multigene signature for predicting prognosis of patients with 1p19q co-deletion diffuse glioma.

Co-deletion of 1p and 19q marks a diffuse glioma subtype associated with relatively favorable overall survival; however, heterogeneous clinical outcomes are observed within this category.

Imaging-Concordant Benign MRI-Guided Vacuum-Assisted Breast Biopsy May Not Warrant MRI Follow-Up.

The follow-up of breast lesions with imaging-concordant benign histopathology results on MRI-guided vacuum-assisted biopsy (VAB) is not currently standardized. We determined the false omission rate of breast MRI-guided VAB with benign histopathology (negative results) to assess whether breast MRI follow-up is needed.

Use of Spinal Cord Diffusion Tensor Imaging to Quantify Neural Ablation and Evaluate Outcome after Percutaneous Cordotomy for Intractable Cancer Pain.

Up to 20% of patients experience only partial pain relief after percutaneous cordotomy for cancer pain.

Patterns of Treatment Failure in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is one of the most lethal forms of cancer with a high mortality rate. Current guidelines support surgery for resectable ATC followed by external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) with or without chemotherapy. Treatment for those who are unresectable is palliative. Our goal was to examine first-line therapies as well as the role of genomic profiling in an effort better understand how to approach ATC.

Percentage of mesenchymal stem cells in high-grade glioma tumor samples correlates with patient survival.

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have been shown to reside as stromal cells in human gliomas as glioma-associated hMSCs (GA-hMSCs), but their biological role remains unclear. Because recent evidence indicates that GA-hMSCs drive tumor cell proliferation and stemness, we hypothesized that a higher percentage of GA-hMSCs in tumors predicts poor patient prognosis.

Prognostic significance of equivocal human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 results and clinical utility of alternative chromosome 17 genes in patients with invasive breast cancer: A cohort study.

The 2013 testing guidelines for determining the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status include new cutoff points for the HER2/chromosome enumeration probe 17 (CEP17) ratio and the average HER2 copy number per cell, and they recommend using a reflex test with alternative chromosome 17 probes (Ch17Ps) to resolve equivocal HER2 results. This study sought to determine the clinical utility of alternative Ch17Ps in equivocal cases and the effects of equivocal results and/or a change in the HER2 status on patients' outcomes.

Targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR Pathway for the Treatment of Mesenchymal Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Evidence From a Phase 1 Trial of mTOR Inhibition in Combination With Liposomal Doxorubicin and Bevacizumab.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) classified by transcriptional profiling as the mesenchymal subtype frequently harbors aberrations in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, raising the possibility of targeting this pathway to enhance chemotherapy response. Up to 30% of mesenchymal TNBC can be classified histologically as metaplastic breast cancer, a chemorefractory group of tumors with a mixture of epithelial and mesenchymal components identifiable by light microscopy. While assays to identify mesenchymal TNBC are under development, metaplastic breast cancer serves as a clinically identifiable surrogate to evaluate potential regimens for mesenchymal TNBC.

Intratumoral heterogeneity and chemoresistance in nonseminomatous germ cell tumor of the testis.

Nonseminomatous germ cell tumor of the testis (NSGCT) is largely curable. However, a small group of patients develop refractory disease. We investigated the hypothesis that intratumoral heterogeneity contributes to the emergence of chemoresistance and the development of refractory tumor subtypes.

Modifying the Clinical Research Infrastructure at a Dedicated Clinical Trials Unit: Assessment of Trial Development, Activation, and Participant Accrual.

Purpose: Information on processes for trials assessing investigational therapeutics is sparse. We assessed the trial development processes within the Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (ICT) at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX) and analyzed their effects on the trial activation timeline and enrolment.Experimental Design: Data were from a prospectively maintained registry that tracks all clinical studies at MD Anderson. From this database, we identified 2,261 activated phase I-III trials; 221 were done at the ICT. ICT trials were matched to trials from other MD Anderson departments by phase, sponsorship, and submission year. Trial performance metrics were compared with paired Wilcoxon signed rank tests.Results: We identified three facets of the ICT research infrastructure: parallel processing of trial approval steps; a physician-led research team; and regular weekly meetings to foster research accountability. Separate analyses were conducted stratified by sponsorship [industry (133 ICT and 133 non-ICT trials) or institutional (68 ICT and 68 non-ICT trials)]. ICT trial development was faster from IRB approval to activation (median difference of 1.1 months for industry-sponsored trials vs. 2.3 months for institutional) and from activation to first enrolment (median difference of 0.3 months for industry vs. 1.2 months for institutional; all matched P < 0.05). ICT trials also accrued more patients (median difference of 8 participants for industry vs. 33.5 for institutional) quicker (median difference 4.8 participants/year for industry vs. 11.1 for institutional; all matched P < 0.05).Conclusions: Use of a clinical research-focused infrastructure within a large academic cancer center was associated with efficient trial development and participant accrual. Clin Cancer Res; 23(6); 1407-13. ©2016 AACR.

Comparison of the accuracy of US-guided biopsy of breast masses performed with 14-gauge, 16-gauge and 18-gauge automated cutting needle biopsy devices, and review of the literature.

To compare the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound (US)-guided core needle biopsy (CNB) of breast masses performed with 14-gauge, 16-gauge and 18-gauge needles.

Post-Discharge Survival Outcomes of Patients with Advanced Cancer from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (Phase I Trials) Inpatient Unit.

Patients with advanced cancer who progress on standard therapy are potential candidates for phase I clinical trials. Due to their aggressive disease and complex comorbid conditions, these patients often need inpatient admission. This study assessed the outcomes of such patients after they were discharged to hospice care.

Ipilimumab with Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy: Phase I Results and Immunologic Correlates from Peripheral T Cells.

Purpose: Little prospective data are available on clinical outcomes and immune correlates from combination radiation and immunotherapy. We conducted a phase I trial (NCT02239900) testing stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) with ipilimumab.Experimental Design: SABR was given either concurrently (1 day after the first dose) or sequentially (1 week after the second dose) with ipilimumab (3 mg/kg every 3 weeks for 4 doses) to five treatment groups: concurrent 50 Gy (in 4 fractions) to liver; sequential 50 Gy (in 4 fractions) to liver; concurrent 50 Gy (in 4 fractions) to lung; sequential 50 Gy (in 4 fractions) to lung; and sequential 60 Gy (in 10 fractions) to lung or liver. MTD was determined with a 3 + 3 dose de-escalation design. Immune marker expression was assessed by flow cytometry.Results: Among 35 patients who initiated ipilimumab, 2 experienced dose-limiting toxicity and 12 (34%) grade 3 toxicity. Response outside the radiation field was assessable in 31 patients. Three patients (10%) exhibited partial response and 7 (23%) experienced clinical benefit (defined as partial response or stable disease lasting ≥6 months). Clinical benefit was associated with increases in peripheral CD8(+) T cells, CD8(+)/CD4(+) T-cell ratio, and proportion of CD8(+) T cells expressing 4-1BB and PD1. Liver (vs. lung) irradiation produced greater T-cell activation, reflected as increases in the proportions of peripheral T cells expressing ICOS, GITR, and 4-1BB.Conclusions: Combining SABR and ipilimumab was safe with signs of efficacy, peripheral T-cell markers may predict clinical benefit, and systemic immune activation was greater after liver irradiation. Clin Cancer Res; 23(6); 1388-96. ©2016 AACR.

Novel algorithmic approach predicts tumor mutation load and correlates with immunotherapy clinical outcomes using a defined gene mutation set.

While clinical outcomes following immunotherapy have shown an association with tumor mutation load using whole exome sequencing (WES), its clinical applicability is currently limited by cost and bioinformatics requirements.

Evaluation of Novel Targeted Therapies in Aggressive Biology Sarcoma Patients after progression from US FDA approved Therapies.

Prognosis of patients with advanced sarcoma after progression from FDA approved therapies remains grim. In this study, clinical outcomes of 100 patients with advanced sarcoma who received treatment on novel targeted therapy trials were evaluated. Outcomes of interest included best response, clinical benefit rate, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Median patient age was 48 years (range 14-80). Patients had received a median of 2 prior lines of systemic treatment. Phase I treatments were anti-VEGF-based (n = 45), mTOR inhibitor-based (n = 15), and anti-VEGF + mTOR inhibitor-based (n = 17) or involved other targets (n = 23). Best responses included partial response (n = 4) and stable disease (n = 57). Clinical benefit rate was 36% (95% confidence interval 27-46%). Median OS was 9.6 months (95% Confidence Interval 8.1-14.2); median PFS was 3.5 months (95% Confidence Interval 2.4-4.7). RMH prognostic score of 2 or 3 was associated with lower median OS (log-rank p-value < 0.0001) and PFS (log-rank p-value 0.0081). Receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy as part of phase I trial was also associated with shorter median OS (log-rank p-value 0.039). Patients with advanced sarcoma treated on phase I clinical trials had a clinical benefit rate of 36% and RMH score predicted survival.

Outcomes of patients ≥65 years old with advanced cancer treated on phase I trials at MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER.

Patients ≥65 years with cancer remain underrepresented in clinical trials, particularly in phase I clinical trials. We analyzed the clinical course of patients ≥65 years treated on phase I clinical trials with particular emphasis on toxicities. We identified 347 consecutive patients ≥65 years with advanced cancer in our phase I clinic from 01/2004-12/2009 and analyzed disease characteristics, toxicities, survival and response. Overall, 251 patients received a targeted agent, of whom 241 (96%) received an investigational, non-FDA-approved drug. Clinical benefit (complete response + partial response + stable disease ≥ 6 months) was noted in 61 patients (18%). Eighty-nine patients (26%) had grade 3/4 toxicity, commonly hematologic, including 6 dose-limiting toxicities and 1 treatment-related death (<0.01%). Median overall survival from first Phase I Clinic visit was 8.8 months (95% CI: 7.8-10.6); median time to treatment failure was 1.9 months (95% CI: 1.8-2.1). Multivariable analyses revealed 4 indicators of lack of clinical benefit (liver metastases, performance status [PS] >1, prior radiation, ≥5 prior treatments; p <0.0001). Patients age 70-79 years had a greater risk of grade 3/4 toxicities when treated with combinations (≥2 drugs) compared to monotherapy (p = 0.006). Predictors of shorter time to treatment failure and overall survival included PS >1, thrombocytosis, >2 metastatic sites, and elevated lactate dehydrogenase (p <0.05). Our results suggest that phase I clinical trials are well tolerated in patients ≥65 years. Additionally, we identified risk factors that may facilitate patient selection for clinical trial participation.

Incidence of infusion reactions to anti-neoplastic agents in early phase clinical trials: The MD Anderson Cancer Center experience.

Infusion reactions (IRs) to anti-neoplastic agents require prompt recognition and immediate treatment to avert significant complications. We conducted a retrospective review of the medical records of consecutive patients who received anti-neoplastic therapy in the outpatient treatment center of the Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics from January 1, 2013 to November 30, 2013. Of the 597 patients who received treatment, 9 (1.5 %) had IRs (all ≤ grade 2). The most common IRs observed on first occurrence were chills (n = 5), itching, rash, and facial flushing (n = 3 each). There were no IR-related deaths. All the IRs were reversible with appropriate symptomatic treatment and the therapy was completed after temporary cessation of infusion in 7 of the 9 patients. The infusion was stopped in 2 patients due to symptoms suggestive of IgE-mediated allergic reaction and cytokine storm. Five of the 8 patients who were re-challenged with the same therapy developed a similar reaction. However, the infusion was completed in 4 of the 5 patients after administration of intravenous diphenhydramine and/or hydrocortisone, or slowing the rate of infusion. And, subsequent cycles with the same agents were uneventful. IRs to anti-neoplastic agents are rare. Though the clinical presentations are overlapping, most IRs are not IgE-mediated allergic reactions. Appropriate premedication and slow rate of infusion facilitates uneventful administration of the anti-neoplastic agents in subsequent cycles. Further study in a larger cohort of patients to identify biomarkers of hypersensitivity is warranted.

Validation of prognostic scoring and assessment of clinical benefit for patients with bone sarcomas enrolled in phase I clinical trials.

We sought to validate the Royal Marsden Hospital (RMH) and MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) prognostic scoring systems for the selection of bone sarcoma patients for phase I clinical trials and to identify additional risk factors related to survival.

Impact of Oncologists' Attitudes Toward End-of-Life Care on Patients' Access to Palliative Care.

It is unclear how oncologists' attitudes toward end-of-life (EOL) care affect the delivery of care. The present study examined the association between oncologists' EOL care attitudes and (a) timely specialist palliative care referral, (b) provision of supportive care, and (c) EOL cancer treatment decisions.

Bayesian Optimal Interval Design: A Simple and Well-Performing Design for Phase I Oncology Trials.

Despite more than two decades of publications that offer more innovative model-based designs, the classical 3 + 3 design remains the most dominant phase I trial design in practice. In this article, we introduce a new trial design, the Bayesian optimal interval (BOIN) design. The BOIN design is easy to implement in a way similar to the 3 + 3 design, but is more flexible for choosing the target toxicity rate and cohort size and yields a substantially better performance that is comparable with that of more complex model-based designs. The BOIN design contains the 3 + 3 design and the accelerated titration design as special cases, thus linking it to established phase I approaches. A numerical study shows that the BOIN design generally outperforms the 3 + 3 design and the modified toxicity probability interval (mTPI) design. The BOIN design is more likely than the 3 + 3 design to correctly select the MTD and allocate more patients to the MTD. Compared with the mTPI design, the BOIN design has a substantially lower risk of overdosing patients and generally a higher probability of correctly selecting the MTD. User-friendly software is freely available to facilitate the application of the BOIN design. Clin Cancer Res; 22(17); 4291-301. ©2016 AACR.

215 Postoperative Stereotactic Radiosurgery vs Observation for Completely Resected Brain Metastases: Results of a Prospective Randomized Study.

Stereotactic radiosurgery to a surgical cavity (SRS-cav) to improve local control (LC) after resection of brain metastases (BM) is an alternative to adjuvant whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). There is limited prospective data regarding efficacy of SRS-cav for LC.

A Crowdsourcing Approach to Developing and Assessing Prediction Algorithms for AML Prognosis.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) is a fatal hematological cancer. The genetic abnormalities underlying AML are extremely heterogeneous among patients, making prognosis and treatment selection very difficult. While clinical proteomics data has the potential to improve prognosis accuracy, thus far, the quantitative means to do so have yet to be developed. Here we report the results and insights gained from the DREAM 9 Acute Myeloid Prediction Outcome Prediction Challenge (AML-OPC), a crowdsourcing effort designed to promote the development of quantitative methods for AML prognosis prediction. We identify the most accurate and robust models in predicting patient response to therapy, remission duration, and overall survival. We further investigate patient response to therapy, a clinically actionable prediction, and find that patients that are classified as resistant to therapy are harder to predict than responsive patients across the 31 models submitted to the challenge. The top two performing models, which held a high sensitivity to these patients, substantially utilized the proteomics data to make predictions. Using these models, we also identify which signaling proteins were useful in predicting patient therapeutic response.

Incidental Suspicious Regional Lymph Nodes on Breast Sonography: Is Sampling Necessary?

Suspicious regional lymph nodes may be incidentally identified on breast ultrasound examinations in patients who present for sonographic evaluation without a known or a suspected breast malignancy, and there is a paucity of data on whether biopsy should be performed. This study aims to characterize incidental sonographically detected suspicious regional lymph nodes and determine whether tissue sampling or follow-up imaging is required. A total of 40,773 consecutive breast ultrasounds were reviewed. Overall, 7 women with nonpalpable, incidental, suspicious axillary or supraclavicular lymph nodes in an otherwise unremarkable breast and without history of malignancy or systemic disease were identified. In all, 5 women with 6 nodes underwent ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration and 2 women with 3 nodes were recommended follow-up ultrasound. Follow-up imaging, cytology, and all-cause clinical data were reviewed to evaluate outcomes. All 6 biopsied lymph nodes (mean = 1.5cm) were benign on cytology. Follow-up imaging was available for 3 nodes (mean = 2.6 years), with all-cause follow-up for all nodes of 2.2 years. In the follow-up group, 3 lymph nodes (mean = 1.6cm) were monitored (mean = 4.3 years) with all-cause follow-up of 4.7 years. No new cancers, growth, or suspicious features were found in these nodes during follow-up for either group of women. In conclusion, women without history of prior malignancy or systemic disease with incidentally detected, nonpalpable, suspicious regional lymph nodes with an otherwise normal breast ultrasound examination underwent fine needle aspiration or were recommended short-term follow-up ultrasound. No indeterminate features or malignancies were observed at the time of tissue sampling or developed over several years of follow-up. Avoiding sampling of these nodes would reduce patient morbidity and health care costs.

Association between new-onset hypothyroidism and clinical response in patients treated with tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy in phase I clinical trials.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-induced thyroid dysfunction has been identified as an important but manageable adverse effect of targeted therapy. Several studies have suggested that patients who develop hypothyroidism respond better to TKIs, but this relationship is not well elucidated. We evaluated the relationship between new-onset hypothyroidism and clinical response in patients with advanced cancers treated with TKIs at our institution.