Late Breaking Abstract – ASCO 2022: Adagrasib in KRAS G12C Mutated Non Small Cell Lung Cancer

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. Of the three main subtypes of NSCLC, 30% are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC), 40% are Adenocarcinomas and 10% are Large Cell Carcinomas. With changes in the cigarette composition and decline in tobacco consumption over the past several decades, Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

The KRAS (kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue) proto-oncogene encodes a protein that is a member of the small GTPase super family. The KRAS gene provides instructions for making the KRAS protein, which is a part of a signaling pathway known as the RAS/MAPK pathway. By relaying signals from outside the cell to the cell nucleus, the protein instructs the cell to grow, divide and differentiate. The KRAS protein is a GTPase, and converts GTP into GDP. To transmit signals, the KRAS protein must be turned on by binding to a molecule of GTP. When GTP is converted to GDP, the KRAS protein is turned off or inactivated, and when the KRAS protein is bound to GDP, it does not relay signals to the cell nucleus. The KRAS gene is in the Ras family of oncogenes, which also includes two other genes, HRAS and NRAS. When mutated, oncogenes have the potential to change normal cells cancerous.

KRAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human cancers and are often associated with resistance to targeted therapies and poor outcomes. The KRAS G12C mutation occurs in approximately 25% of Non Small Cell Lung Cancers (NSCLC) and in 3-5% of colorectal cancers and other solid cancers. KRAS G12C is one of the most prevalent driver mutations in NSCLC and accounts for a greater number of patients than those with ALK, ROS1, RET, and TRK 1/2/3 mutations combined. KRAS G12C cancers are genomically more heterogeneous and occur more frequently in current or former smokers, and are likely to be more complex genomically than EGFR mutant or ALK rearranged cancers. G12C is a single point mutation with a Glycine-to-Cysteine substitution at codon 12. This substitution favors the activated state of KRAS, resulting in a predominantly GTP-bound KRAS oncoprotein, amplifying signaling pathways that lead to oncogenesis.

Adagrasib is a potent, orally available, small molecule covalent inhibitor of KRAS G12C. This drug irreversibly and selectively binds KRAS G12C in its inactive, GDP-bound state. Unlike LUMAKRAS® (Sotorasib), which is also a selective covalent inhibitor of KRAS G12C, Adagrasib has a longer drug half-life of 23 hours, as compared to 5 hours for LUMAKRAS®, has dose-dependent extended exposure, and can penetrate the CNS. Approximately, 27-42% of patients with NSCLC harboring KRAS G12C mutations have CNS metastases, with poor outcomes.

KRYSTAL-1 is a Phase I/II multiple expansion cohort trial involving patients with advanced solid tumors harboring a KRAS G12C mutation. Adagrasib demonstrated clinical activity in patients with KRAS G12C-mutated solid tumors, including colorectal, pancreatic, and biliary tract cancers. Further, preliminary data from two patients with untreated CNS metastases from a Phase 1b cohort showed antitumor activity against CNS metastases, with satisfactory concentrations of Adagrasib in the CSF.

The researchers in this publication reported the results from Cohort A, a Phase 2 cohort of the KRYSTAL-1 study in which Adagrasib at a dose of 600 mg orally twice daily was evaluated in patients with KRAS G12C-mutated NSCLC, previously treated with chemotherapy and anti-Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) or Programmed Death Ligand 1 (PD-L1) therapy. This registration study included a total of 116 unresectable or metastatic NSCLC patients, with histologically confirmed diagnosis, with KRAS G12C mutation (detected in tumor tissue at a local or central laboratory), who had previously received treatment with at least one platinum-containing chemotherapy regimen and checkpoint inhibitor therapy (in sequence or concurrently), and who had measurable tumor lesions. Enrolled patients received Adagrasib 600 mg capsule twice daily, and treatment was continued until disease progression or unacceptable toxicities. The median patient age was 64 years, 97% had adenocarcinoma histology, 98% had both platinum based therapy and checkpoint inhibitor therapy, and 21% of patients had CNS metastases. Key exclusion criteria included active CNS metastases (patients were eligible if CNS metastases were adequately treated and neurologically stable), carcinomatous meningitis, and previous treatment with a KRAS G12C inhibitor. Exploratory Biomarker Analyses included candidate biomarkers (PD-L1 Tumor Proportion Score and mutational status of STK11, KEAP1, TP53, and CDKN2A on tumor-tissue specimens, blood specimens, or both, for their association with tumor response. The Primary end point was Objective Response Rate as assessed by blinded Independent Central Review. Secondary end points included the Duration of Response, Progression Free Survival, Overall Survival, and safety.

The median follow up was 12.9 months and the median duration of treatment was 5.7 months. The confirmed Objective Response Rate was 42.9% and the median Duration of Response was 8.5 months. The median Progression Free Survival was 6.5 months and the median Overall Survival was 12.6 months, at a median follow up of 15.6 months. Among 33 patients with previously treated, stable CNS metastases, the intracranial confirmed Objective Response Rate was 33.3%. Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 97.4% of the patients and 53% were Grade 1 or 2 toxicities. Adagrasib was discontinued in 6.9% of patients due to adverse events.

It was concluded that among patients with previously treated KRAS G12C-mutated NSCLC, Adagrasib showed significant clinical efficacy without new safety signals, and encouraging intracranial activity. The researchers added that these are the first clinical data demonstrating CNS-specific activity of a KRAS G12C inhibitor in this patient population.

Adagrasib in Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Harboring a KRASG12C Mutation. Jänne PA, Riely GJ, Gadgeel SM, et al. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2204619

Consider Guideline-Recommended Biomarker Testing as an Integral Component of NSCLC Care

The NSCLC Landscape Has Evolved Significantly Due Largely to the Growing Number of Actionable Mutations1

Despite advancements in standard-of-care, advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) continues to burden patients, with poor survival outcomes.2,3 NSCLC has been identified as the leading cause of cancer death worldwide with an estimated 1.8 million deaths in 2020.2 As the number of targeted therapies and approved companion diagnostics continues to grow, mortality and survival rates have begun to improve.3 With the addition of KRAS G12C, there are 9 actionable molecular biomarkers (as of February 2022) and more than 20 targeted therapies approved for use in advanced NSCLC.1,4 Guidelines recommend biomarker testing for all eligible patients at diagnosis of advanced NSCLC regardless of characteristics such as smoking history, race, or histology.5,6 Unfortunately, real-world evidence shows that far too many patients fail to receive the comprehensive biomarker testing.7

Adherence to Guidelines Can Improve Patient Outcomes8

As targeted therapies are approved, guidelines continue to update their recommendations on biomarker testing.5 As of March 2022, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for NSCLC recommend broad molecular testing of actionable and emerging biomarkers for eligible patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC (Figure 1).5 Similarly, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) endorsed the 2018 College of American Pathologists (CAP)/International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC)/Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) guidelines, recommending comprehensive cancer panel testing for genetic biomarkers.9,10

Figure 1: NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for NSCLC5,*,†Advanced-Non-Squamous-NSCLC*The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for NSCLC provide recommendations for certain individual biomarkers that should be tested and recommend testing techniques but do not endorse any specific commercially available biomarker assays or commercial laboratories.5The NCCN Guidelines® for NSCLC recommend broad molecular testing to identify rare driver variants for which targeted therapies may be available to ensure patients receive the most appropriate treatment.5KRAS G12C and EGFR exon 20 mutations are used to determine subsequent (ie, second-line and beyond) therapy using targeted agents or other novel agents.5 §The definition of high-level MET amplification is evolving and may differ according to the assay used for testing. For NGS-based results, a copy number greater than 10 is consistent with high-level MET amplification.5 **For oncogenic or likely oncogenic HER2 mutations, refer to definitions at oncokb.org.5

Although adherence to guideline-recommended biomarker testing is associated with improved patient outcomes, real-world EMR data reveals suboptimal biomarker testing rates.8,11 In a retrospective study,†† 81% of patients with metastatic NSCLC did not receive testing for ALK, EGFR, ROS1, and BRAF before initiation of first-line treatment, despite availability of targeted therapies.11 Moreover, only 28% of patients received testing for all four genetic biomarkers and PD-L1 during the study period.11 In another retrospective study, less than 50% of patients with metastatic NSCLC received testing for all five biomarkers (EGFR, ALK, ROS1, BRAF, PD-L1) (Figure 2).7

Beyond the underutilization of biomarker testing, there remains an even greater need to increase broad molecular testing among racial and ethnic minority groups in the US.12,13 In one retrospective study, Black/African American patients with advanced NSCLC had significantly lower rates of testing with NGS assays (39.8%) compared with White patients (50.1%) (Figure 3).12

††A retrospective study assessing real-world biomarker testing patterns in patients with de novo mNSCLC (N=2,257) in the community oncology setting using the US Oncology Network electronic health records between January 1st, 2017 and September 31st, 2019 with follow-up through December 31st, 2019.11

Figure 2: MYLUNG Consortium™ EMR Analysis of Patients With Metastatic NSCLC7,‡‡MYLUNG-Consortium‡‡A retrospective, observational study assessing real-world biomarker testing patterns in patients with metastatic NSCLC(N=3,474) from community oncology practices within the US Oncology Network community practices between 2018 and 2020.7
Figure 3: EMR Analysis of Biomarker Testing in Patients With Advanced/Metastatic NSCLC12,§§
EMR-Analysis-of-Biomarker-Testing
§§From a retrospective cohort study of patients with advanced/metastatic: NSCLC (N=14,768) from ~800 sites of care identified via the Flatiron Electronic Health Record Database between 2017 and 2020. Of this study cohort, patients included White (n=9,793), Black/African American (n=1,288), and non-squamous NSCLC (n=10,333).

Collectively, these findings highlight the disparity in proactive disease management across different patient populations.7,11,12

Considerations Across the Biomarker Testing Journey

There are several different methods in which eligible patients can be tested for actionable genetic alterations, each with unique considerations as indicated below (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Comparing Biomarker Testing Methods and Sample Types
Comparing-Biomarker-Testing-Methods***Data from a review of common molecular assays for biomarker testing that analyzed common detected variants, sensitivities, and turnaround time.6 †††cfDNA refers to all circulating DNA (largely non-malignant), while ctDNA refers to the tumor-related component of cfDNA.15 ‡‡‡Data from a prospective study that enrolled patients with previously untreated metastatic NSCLC undergoing SOC tissue genotyping and comprehensive cfDNA analysis, with turnaround time defined as the number of days between test order date and the retrieval of test results.16

While tissue biopsy remains the “gold standard” in NSCLC, it may not be feasible (insufficient tissue) or pragmatic (urgent need to begin treatment) in all patients.17 Plasma ctDNA demonstrates complementary results to tissue-based assays and can be considered a valid tool for genotyping of newly diagnosed patients with advanced NSCLC.15 In a prospective study of patients with previously untreated, non-squamous metastatic NSCLC from 2016 to 2018, guideline-recommended biomarkers with FDA-approved therapies (EGFR Exon 19 deletion and L858R, ALK fusion, ROS1 fusion, BRAF V600E) showed ≥ 98.2% concordance between tissue and liquid-based testing.16 While concordance is high for any single test, high concordance for full panels will be required for liquid biopsies to become standard; additionally, negative results on liquid biopsy still require validation with tissue testing.16,17

Liquid biopsy may offer improvements in sample acquisition and small tissue samples and provides less invasive procedures and shortened turnaround times.17 Other considerations for maximizing the tissue journey include the use of comprehensive testing, rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE), and implementing reflex testing protocols with the help of a multidisciplinary team (MDT).17

Delays in Biomarker Testing Results May Impact Treatment Plan Decisions18

Longer turnaround times for molecular testing compared with turnaround times for PD-L1 testing by IHC may result in the initiation of immunotherapy before molecular testing results are received.18 Waiting for complete biomarker test results prior to initiating therapy can allow doctors to make the most informed decisions surrounding a patient’s treatment journey.18

Consider Comprehensive Biomarker Testing as an Important Part of Your Treatment Plan8

As the NSCLC landscape continues to progress with the increasing number of actionable biomarkers, there is a growing need for proactive and comprehensive molecular testing.7,17 Although real-world data has shown significant underuse of biomarker testing, rates can be improved with diligent observation of expanding guidelines and recommendations by expert panels and associations.7,8 In the coming years, clinicians may consider evolving institutional protocols, including enabling reflex testing, and work as an MDT to ensure biomarker testing is performed on all eligible patients with advanced NSCLC.17

[Abbreviations]
AA, African American; ALK, anaplastic lymphoma kinase; BRAF, proto-oncogene B-Raf; cfDNA, cell-free DNA; ctDNA, circulating tumor DNA; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; EMR, electronic medical record; ERBB2, erb-b2 receptor tyrosine kinase 2; HER2, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2; IHC, immunohistochemistry; KRAS, Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog; MET, mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition; mNSCLC, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer; NSCLC, non-small cell lung cancer; NCCN, National Comprehensive Cancer Network; NGS, next-generation sequencing; NTRK, neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase; PD-L1, programmed cell death ligand 1; RET, rearranged during transfection; ROS1, c-ros oncogene 1; SOC, standard-of-care.

[References]
1. Majeed U, et al. J Hematol Oncol. 2021;14:108.
2. Sung H, et al. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021;71:209-249.
3. Siegel RL, et al. CA Cancer J Clin. 2021;71:7-33.
4. Food and Drug Administration. www.fda.gov. Accessed October 6, 2021.
5. Referenced with permission from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. V.3.2022. ©National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. 2022. All rights reserved. Accessed March 16, 2022. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to NCCN.org. NCCN makes no warranties of any kind whatsoever regarding their content, use or application and disclaims any responsibility for their application or use in any way.
6. Pennell NA, et al. Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book. 2019;39:531-542.
7. Robert NJ, et al. Presented at: The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 4–8, 2021; Virtual Meeting. Abstract 102.
8. John A, et al. Adv Ther. 2021;38:1552-1566.
9. Hanna N, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35:3484-3515.
10. Lindeman NI, et al. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2018;142:321-346.
11. Nadler ES, et al. Presented at: The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 4–8, 2021; Virtual Meeting. Abstract 9079.
12. Bruno DS, et al. Presented at: The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting; June 4–8, 2021; Virtual Meeting. Abstract 9005.
13. Hann KEJ, et al. BMC Public Health. 2017;17:503.
14. Pennell NA, et al. JCO Precis Oncol. 2019;3:1-9.
15. Rolfo C, et al. J Thorac Oncol. 2021;16:1647-1662.
16. Leighl NB, et al. Clin Cancer Res. 2019;25:4691-4700.
17. Gregg JP, et al. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2019;8:286-301.
18. Smeltzer MP, et al. J Thorac Oncol. 2020;15:1434-1448.

USA-510-80864 02/22

Mutations of STK11/KRAS Genes and Efficacy of Immunotherapy in NSCLC

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers and Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

Immune checkpoints are cell surface inhibitory proteins/receptors that are expressed on activated T cells. They harness the immune system and prevent uncontrolled immune reactions by switching off the T cells of the immune system. Immune checkpoint proteins/receptors include CTLA-4 (Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Antigen 4, also known as CD152) and PD-1(Programmed cell Death 1). Checkpoint inhibitors unleash the T cells resulting in T cell proliferation, activation, and a therapeutic response.

TECENTRIQ® (Atezolizumab) is an anti-PDL1 monoclonal antibody, designed to directly bind to PD-L1 expressed on tumor cells and tumor-infiltrating immune cells, thereby blocking its interactions with PD-1 and B7.1 receptors and thus enabling the activation of T cells. AVASTIN® (Bevacizumab) is a biologic antiangiogenic antibody, directed against Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), and prevents the interaction of VEGF to its receptors (Flt-1 and KDR) on the surface of endothelial cells. The interaction of VEGF with its receptors has been shown to result in endothelial cell proliferation and new blood vessel formation. Combining TECENTRIQ® and AVASTIN® is supported by the following scientific rationale. AVASTIN® in addition to its established anti-angiogenic effects, may further enhance the ability of TECENTRIQ® to restore anti-cancer immunity, by inhibiting VEGF-related immunosuppression, promoting T-cell tumor infiltration and enabling priming and activation of T-cell responses against tumor antigens.

IMpower150 is a multicenter, open-label, randomized, Phase III study, conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of TECENTRIQ® in combination with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel with or without AVASTIN®, in patients with Stage IV, treatment naïve, non-squamous NSCLC. This study enrolled 1,202 patients, who were randomized (1:1:1) to receive either TECENTRIQ® along with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel (ACP-Group A), TECENTRIQ® and AVASTIN® along with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel (ABCP-Group B), or AVASTIN® plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel (BCP-Group C – control arm). During the treatment-induction phase, patients in Group A received TECENTRIQ® 1200 mg IV along with Carboplatin AUC 6 and Paclitaxel 200mg/m2 IV on Day 1 of a 3-week treatment cycle for 4 or 6 cycles. Following the induction phase, patients received maintenance treatment with TECENTRIQ® on the same dose schedule until disease progression. Patients in Group B received AVASTIN® 15 mg/kg IV, along with TECENTRIQ®, Carboplatin and Paclitaxel IV, Day 1 of a 3-week treatment cycle for 4 or 6 cycles followed by maintenance treatment with the TECENTRIQ® and AVASTIN® until disease progression. Patients in the control Group C received AVASTIN® plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel every 3 weeks for 4 or 6 cycles followed by AVASTIN® maintenance treatment until disease progression. Among randomized patients with tumors demonstrating no ALK and EGFR mutations, ABCP was associated with significant improvements in Progression Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS), compared with BCP, in an updated OS analysis. ABCP also prolonged OS and PFS compared with BCP in an exploratory subgroup analysis of patients with EGFR-sensitizing mutations.

The Serine‐Threonine Kinase 11 (STK11) gene is located on the short arm of chromosome 19 and germline STK11 mutations are often detected in Peutz‐Jeghers syndrome, an Autosomal Dominant disorder resulting in mucocutaneous hyperpigmentation, hamartomas throughout the gastrointestinal tract, and a predisposition for breast, lung, pancreas, and gastrointestinal malignancies including cancers of the colon and small bowel. Both STK11 (also called LKB1) and KEAP1 mutation occur in about 17% of NSCLC (adenocarcinomas), respectively, and correlates with poor outcome with immune checkpoint inhibitors or immune checkpoint inhibitors plus chemotherapy. Although immune checkpoint inhibitors with or without chemotherapy have demonstrated survival benefit in patients with KRAS mutated tumors, it remains unclear how co-occurring STK11, KEAP1, and TP53 mutations affect outcomes following immune checkpoint blockade.

The authors in this publication conducted a retrospective exploratory analysis of the efficacy of ABCP (TECENTRIQ® and AVASTIN® along with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel), in patients with KRAS mutations and co-occuring STK11, KEAP1, or TP53 mutations, from the IMpower150 nonsquamous NSCLC patient population. Mutation status was determined by circulating tumor DNA Next-Generation Sequencing.

Among the KRAS mutated population, there was numerical improvement in median OS with ABCP compared to BCP (19.8 vs 9.9 months; HR=0.50), as well as PFS (8.1 vs 5.8 months; HR=0.42) respectively. The median OS with ACP (TECENTRIQ® along with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel) was 11.7 vs 9.9 months (HR=0.63), and PFS was 4.8 vs 5.8 months (HR=0.80), when compared with BCP (AVASTIN® plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel). When compared to BCP, the ABCP group showed numerically greater survival than the ACP group among KRAS mutated patients. These results were consistent with reported survival improvements with immune checkpoint inhibitors in KRAS-mutant NSCLC.

In KRAS mutant patients across PD-L1 subgroups, OS and PFS were longer with ABCP when compared with BCP, but in PD-L1-low and PD-L1-negative subgroups, OS with ACP was similar to BCP. Conversely, in KRAS wild type patients, OS was longer with ACP than with ABCP or BCP across PD-L1 subgroups.

KRAS was frequently comutated with STK11, KEAP1, and TP53 and these subgroups conferred different prognostic outcomes. Within the KRAS mutated population, STK11 and/or KEAP1 mutations were associated with inferior OS and PFS across treatments compared with STK11-wild type and/or KEAP1wild type. In KRAS mutated patients with co-occurring STK11 and/or KEAP1 mutations (44.9%) or TP53 mutations (49.3%), survival was longer with ABCP than with ACP or BCP.

It was concluded that this analysis supported previous findings of mutation of STK11 and/or KEAP1 as poor prognostic indicators. Even though the clinical efficacy of ABCP (TECENTRIQ® and AVASTIN® along with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel) and ACP (TECENTRIQ® along with Carboplatin and Paclitaxel) was favorable compared with BCP (AVASTIN® plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel) in these mutational subgroups, survival benefits were greater in the KRAS mutated and KEAP1 and STK11 wild type population versus KRAS mutated and KEAP1 and STK11 mutated population, suggesting both prognostic and predictive value of mutational analysis. The researchers added that these results suggest that TECENTRIQ® in combination with AVASTIN® and chemotherapy is an efficacious first-line treatment in metastatic NSCLC subgroups with KRAS mutations co-occurring with STK11 and/or KEAP1 or TP53 mutations and/or high PD-L1 expression.

Clinical efficacy of atezolizumab plus bevacizumab and chemotherapy in KRAS- mutated non-small cell lung cancer with STK11, KEAP1, or TP53 comutations: subgroup results from the phase III IMpower150 trial. West JH, McCleland M, Cappuzzo, F, et al. J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Feb;10(2):e003027. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-003027.

Segmentectomy versus Lobectomy in Small-Sized Peripheral Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers and Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

Lobectomy is the standard of care for early-stage resectable Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Pneumonectomy is rarely performed due to unacceptably high mortality rate. Sublobar resection (Wedge resection or Segmentectomy) is considered a “compromise operation” in selected high risk patients with early stage lung cancer. With the approval of lung cancer screening in high risk individuals and subsequent detection of small tumors, Sublobar resections have been on the rise, even in good-risk patients in many institutions. Sublobar resection includes wedge resection and segmentectomy. In wedge resection, the lung tumor is removed with a surrounding margin of normal lung tissue, and is not an anatomical resection. Segmentectomy, unlike wedge resection, is an anatomical resection that usually includes one or more pulmonary parenchymal segments with the dissection of intraparenchymal and hilar lymph nodes. Wedge resection is inferior to anatomic segmentectomy and is associated with an increased risk of local recurrence and decreased survival in patients with Stage I NSCLC.

The clinical benefits and survival outcomes of segmentectomy have not been investigated in a randomized trial setting. The aim of this study was to investigate if segmentectomy was non-inferior to lobectomy in patients with small-sized peripheral NSCLC. In this randomized, controlled, multicenter, non-inferiority trial, 1106 patients (intention-to-treat population) were enrolled in Japan between Aug, 2009 and Oct 2014, and were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive either lobectomy (N=554) or segmentectomy (N=552). Enrolled patients had clinical Stage IA NSCLC based on contrast-enhanced CT scan and had a single tumor 2 cm or less in diameter, not located in the middle lobe, the center of which was in the outer third of the lung field, with no evidence of lymph node metastasis. Patient baseline clinicopathological factors were well balanced between the two treatment groups. The Primary endpoint was Overall Survival and Secondary endpoints included postoperative respiratory function at 6 months and 12 months, Relapse-Free Survival, proportion of local relapse and adverse events.

At a median follow up of 7.3 years, the 5-year Overall Survival was 94.3% for segmentectomy and 91.1% for lobectomy. Both superiority and non-inferiority in Overall Survival were confirmed using a stratified Cox regression model (HR=0.663; one-sided P<0.0001 for non-inferiority and P=0.0082 for superiority). This improved Overall Survival benefit was observed consistently across all predefined subgroups in the segmentectomy group. At 1 year follow-up, the significant difference in the reduction of median FEV1 between the two treatment groups was 3.5% (P<0.0001), but this however did not reach the predefined threshold for clinical significance of 10%. The 5-year Relapse-Free Survival was 88% for segmentectomy and 87.9% for lobectomy and was not statistically significant. The probability of local recurrence was approximately doubled and was 10.5% for segmentectomy and 5.4% for lobectomy (P=0.0018). Postoperative complications of grade 2 or worse occurred at similar frequencies in both treatment groups.

The authors concluded that this study is the first Phase III trial to show Overall Survival benefit with segmentectomy, compared to lobectomy, in patients with small-peripheral NSCLC. They added that segmentectomy should be the standard surgical procedure for this population of patients.

Segmentectomy versus lobectomy in small-sized peripheral non-small-cell lung cancer (JCOG0802/WJOG4607L): a multicentre, open-label, phase 3, randomised, controlled, non-inferiority trial. Saji H, Okada M, Tsuboi M, et al. The Lancet 2022;399:1607-1617.

Lung Cancer Screening with Low Dose CT Associated with Favorable Stage Shift and Improved Survival

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers and Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

In the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) with Low Dose CT (LDCT) screening for lung cancer, there was a 20% reduction in mortality. Following the publication of the results of NLST, and NCCN issued guideline in 2011, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended Lung Cancer screening with Low Dose CT scan in high risk patients. The CMS in 2015 determined that there was sufficient evidence to reimburse for this preventive service. The USPSTF expanded the criteria for Lung Cancer screening in 2021 and recommended annual screening with Low-Dose CT for adults aged 50 to 80 years who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years. The new USPSTF 2021 criteria were given a B recommendation, as there was additional research needed, to improve uptake of LDCT screening and to develop biomarkers to more accurately identify individuals, who would benefit from screening.

Approximately 15% of patients present with early stage (T1-2 N0) disease, and these numbers are likely to increase with the implementation of Lung Cancer screening programs. Surgical resection is the primary treatment for approximately 30% of patients with NSCLC who present with early Stage (I–IIIA) disease. In spite of the favorable stage shift as a result of lung cancer screening, low Health Care Provider knowledge of the lung cancer screening guidelines represents a potential barrier to implementation, and no clinical trials have shown these favorable benefits in a real world setting.

The authors in this study evaluated whether the introduction of Low Dose CT screening in 2013 resulted in an increase in the percentage of Stage I NSCLC diagnosed among patients potentially eligible for screening, along with an increase in median all cause survival among these patients, and whether any effects on stage extend to the entire study population or only select population groups. The researchers analyzed data from two large comprehensive US cancer registries-the National Cancer Database and the Surveillance Epidemiology End Results (SEER) program database using a quasi-experimental observational design. A total of 763 474 patients were identified for analysis in this study. They included those who were diagnosed as having NSCLC between 2010 and 2018 and who would have been eligible for screening by age criteria (age 55-79 years) and a comparator NSCLC patient cohort who would have been ineligible for screening (age 45-55). The authors then compared the rate of change in the percentage of patients with Stage I cancer at diagnosis between 2010 and 2018.

It was noted that among the screen eligible cohort of NSCLC patients, the percentage of patients with Stage I disease at diagnosis increased by 3.9% each year from 2014, following a minor change from 2010 to 2013. The rate of increase in Stage I diagnoses was more rapid in high lung cancer screening states. These findings however were not seen in the younger, screening ineligible patients. These results consistently noted across multiple analyses.

The median all cause survival of screening eligible patients aged 55-80 years increased at 11.9% per year from 2014 to 2018 (from 19.7 to 28.2 months). In multivariable adjusted analysis, the hazard of death decreased significantly faster after 2014 compared with before 2014 (P<0.001).

Disparities were however noted, and the benefits from this significant shift in the stage of the disease was not realized in racial or ethnic minority groups and those living in lower income or less educated regions. By 2018, Stage I NSCLC was the predominant diagnosis among non-Hispanic white people, whereas the economically deprived group of patients, were more likely to have Stage IV disease at diagnosis. Increases in the detection of early stage lung cancer in the US from 2014 to 2018 led to an estimated 10,100 averted deaths.

It was concluded from this study that although the adoption of lung cancer screening has been slow nationwide, this study indicated the beneficial effect of lung cancer screening and a recent stage shift toward Stage I NSCLC, with improved survival, following the introduction of lung cancer screening. This study also highlighted the disparities in the stage of lung cancer diagnosed between patient populations, reinforcing the need for equitable access to screening in the US.

Association of computed tomography screening with lung cancer stage shift and survival in the United States: quasi-experimental study. Potter AL, Rosenstein AL, Kiang MV, et al. BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2021-069008 (Published 30 March 2022)

Overall Survival at 2 Years with LUMAKRAS® for KRAS G12C Positive Non Small Cell Lung Cancer

SUMMARY: The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. Of the three main subtypes of NSCLC, 30% are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC), 40% are Adenocarcinomas and 10% are Large Cell Carcinomas. With changes in the cigarette composition and decline in tobacco consumption over the past several decades, Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

The KRAS (kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homologue) proto-oncogene encodes a protein that is a member of the small GTPase super family. The KRAS gene provides instructions for making the KRAS protein, which is a part of a signaling pathway known as the RAS/MAPK pathway. By relaying signals from outside the cell to the cell nucleus, the protein instructs the cell to grow, divide and differentiate. The KRAS protein is a GTPase, and converts GTP into GDP. To transmit signals, the KRAS protein must be turned on, by binding to a molecule of GTP. When GTP is converted to GDP, the KRAS protein is turned off or inactivated, and when the KRAS protein is bound to GDP, it does not relay signals to the cell nucleus. The KRAS gene is in the Ras family of oncogenes, which also includes two other genes, HRAS and NRAS. When mutated, oncogenes have the potential to change normal cells cancerous.

KRAS is the most frequently mutated oncogene in human cancers and are often associated with resistance to targeted therapies and poor outcomes. The KRAS-G12C mutation occurs in approximately 12-15% of Non Small Cell Lung Cancers (NSCLC) and in 3-5% of colorectal cancers and other solid cancers. KRAS G12C is one of the most prevalent driver mutations in NSCLC and accounts for a greater number of patients than those with ALK, ROS1, RET, and TRK 1/2/3 mutations combined. KRAS G12C cancers are genomically more heterogeneous and occur more frequently in current or former smokers, and are likely to be more complex genomically than EGFR mutant or ALK rearranged cancers. G12C is a single point mutation with a Glycine-to-Cysteine substitution at codon 12. This substitution favors the activated state of KRAS, resulting in a predominantly GTP-bound KRAS oncoprotein, amplifying signaling pathways that lead to oncogenesis.Inhibiting-KRAS-G12C

LUMAKRAS® (Sotorasib) is a first-in-class small molecule that specifically and irreversibly inhibits KRAS-G12C and traps KRAS-G12C in the inactive GDP-bound state. Preclinical studies in animal models showed that LUMAKRAS® inhibited nearly all detectable phosphorylation of Extracellular signal-Regulated Kinase (ERK), a key downstream effector of KRAS, leading to durable complete regression of KRAS-G12C tumors. The CodeBreaK clinical development program for LUMAKRAS® was designed to treat patients with an advanced solid tumor with the KRAS G12C mutation and address the longstanding unmet medical need for these cancers. This program has enrolled more than 800 patients across 13 tumor types since its inception.

CodeBreaK 100 is a Phase I and II, first-in-human, open-label, single arm, multicenter study, which enrolled patients with KRAS G12C-mutant solid tumors. Eligible patients must have received a prior line of systemic anticancer therapy, for their tumor type and stage of disease. The Phase II trial enrolled 126 patients with NSCLC, who had locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC with a KRAS G12C mutation, and had progressed on an immune checkpoint inhibitor and/or platinum-based chemotherapy. Patients with active brain metastases were excluded. Patient received LUMAKRAS® 960 mg orally once daily, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The median age was 64 years, 52% were male, over 90% of patients had a smoking history, median number of prior lines of therapy was two, 92% had prior platinum-based chemotherapy and 90% had prior anti–PD-L1 therapy, 83% had both prior platinum-based chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The Primary end point of the trial was Overall Response Rate (ORR) as assessed by blinded Independent Central Review. Secondary end points included Duration of Response (DOR), Disease Control Rate (DCR), time to recovery, Progression Free Survival (PFS), Overall Survival (OS), and Safety. The examination of biomarkers served as an exploratory end point.

At the time of Primary analysis, at a median follow up of 12.2 months, the ORR was 37.1% and the median Duration of Response was 10 months. Based on the data from the primary analysis, the FDA in 2021 granted accelerated approval to LUMAKRAS®, for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic NSCLC, whose tumors harbor the KRAS G12C mutation, and who have received prior therapies.

For this updated analysis, the median follow up time for OS was 24.9 months, and the researchers included 174 patients enrolled in Phase I (N=48) and Phase II (N=126) portions of the CodeBreaK 100 trial, who were treated with LUMAKRAS®. The Overall Response Rate was 40.7% and the Disease Control Rate (DCR) was 83.7%. The median time to response was 6 weeks, the median Duration of Response was 12.3 month and 50.6% of responders remained in response for 12 months or more. The median PFS was 6.3 months and the median OS showed no change in the updated analysis, and was 12.5 months. At 1-year, the OS rate was 50.8% and the 2-year Overall Survival was 32.5%. The researchers performed additional analyses on both tumor and blood samples to identify biomarker profiles associated with durable clinical benefit and these showed that prolonged clinical benefit was observed regardless of Tumor Mutation Burden, PDL1 expression, and STK11 co-mutation status. Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related Adverse Events occurred in 21% of patients. Most adverse events were Grade 1 or 2, and treatment-related adverse events occurring in more than 10% of patients included diarrhea, elevated liver enzymes, nausea and fatigue.

It was concluded from this updated analysis that this is the longest follow up of patients on any KRAS G12C inhibitor, and LUMAKRAS® demonstrated meaningful and durable efficacy in patients with KRAS mutated NSCLC for whom treatment options are limited, following progression on first line treatment, and historically have had poor outcomes. Patients on LUMAKRAS® benefitted regardless of Tumor Mutation Burden, PDL1 expression, and STK11 co-mutation status. A global Phase III study (CodeBreaK 200) is underway, comparing LUMAKRAS® to Docetaxel in patients with KRAS G12C-mutated NSCLC.

Long-term outcomes with sotorasib in pretreated KRASp.G12C-mutated NSCLC: 2-year analysis of CodeBreaK100. Dy GK, Govindan R, Velcheti V, et al. Presented at: 2022 AACR Annual Meeting; April 8-13, 2022, New Orleans, LA. Abstract CT008.

FDA Approves Neoadjuvant OPDIVO® and Chemotherapy Combination for Early Stage Non Small Cell Lung Cancer

SUMMARY: The FDA on March 4, 2022, approved OPDIVO® (Nivolumab) with platinum-doublet chemotherapy for adult patients with resectable Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) in the neoadjuvant setting. This represents the first FDA approval for neoadjuvant therapy for early stage NSCLC. The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. Of the three main subtypes of NSCLC, 30% are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC), 40% are Adenocarcinomas and 10% are Large Cell Carcinomas. With changes in the cigarette composition and decline in tobacco consumption over the past several decades, Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

Surgical resection with a curative intent is the primary treatment for approximately 30% of patients with NSCLC who present with early Stage (I–IIIA) disease, unless medically unfit. These numbers are likely to increase with the implementation of Lung Cancer screening programs. These patients are often treated with platinum-based adjuvant chemotherapy/immunotherapy following surgical resection, to decrease the risk of recurrence. Nonetheless, 45-75% of these patients develop recurrent disease. There is therefore an unmet need for this patient population.

CHECKMATE-816 is an open-label, multicenter, randomized Phase III study which evaluated OPDIVO® plus chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone as neoadjuvant treatment in patients with resectable Stage IB to IIIA NSCLC. In this trial, 358 patients with clinical Stage IB to Stage IIIA resectable NSCLC, with an ECOG Performance Status of 0 to 1 and no known sensitizing EGFR mutations or ALK alterations, were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive OPDIVO® at a dose of 360 mg IV along with platinum-doublet chemotherapy every 3 weeks for 3 doses (N=179) or chemotherapy alone on the same schedule (N=179). Patients then underwent radiologic staging and surgical resection within 6 weeks of neoadjuvant therapy. They then had the option of adjuvant therapy with or without radiation therapy, and were followed up. Both treatment groups were well balanced with regards to age, sex, histology and smoking status. About two-thirds of the patients had Stage IIIA disease. The median patient age was 65 years and patients were stratified by cancer stage, gender and PD-L1 status (1% or higher versus less than 1%). Tumor Mutational Burden results were available for 50% of patients. The Primary end points of this study were pathologic Complete Response (pCR), defined as the absence of viable tumor cells in lung and lymph nodes, and Event Free Survival (EFS). Secondary endpoints include major pathological response and Overall Survival. Key exploratory endpoints included feasibility of surgery and surgery-related adverse events.

The pCR rate was 24% in the OPDIVO® plus chemotherapy group and 2.2% in the chemotherapy alone group. The pCR improvement was noted with the OPDIVO® plus chemotherapy combination regardless of disease stage and irrespective of radiologic downstaging. Overall, 83% of patients assigned to OPDIVO® plus chemotherapy and 78% of patient’s assigned to chemotherapy alone achieved R0 resection, with 10% versus 74% median residual viable tumor cells noted in the primary tumor bed respectively. Lung-sparing surgery (lobectomy) was performed in 77% of patients assigned to OPDIVO® plus chemotherapy versus 61% among those assigned to chemotherapy alone. The median EFS was 31.6 months in the OPDIVO® plus chemotherapy group and 20.8 months for those receiving chemotherapy alone (HR=0.63; P=0.0052).

The authors concluded that CheckMate 816 is the first Phase III trial to show a benefit for neoadjuvant immunotherapy plus platinum-doublet chemotherapy in earlier stage resectable NSCLC, with marked improvement in pathologic Complete Response rate, without any meaningful increase in toxicity or decrease in the feasibility of surgery. It is likely that the higher pathologic Complete Response rate may translate into higher cure rates, with longer follow up.

Surgical outcomes from the phase 3 CheckMate 816 trial: nivolumab (NIVO) + platinum-doublet chemotherapy (chemo) vs chemo alone as neoadjuvant treatment for patients with resectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Spicer J, Wang C, Tanaka F, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2021;39(suppl 15):8503. doi:10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.8503

TECENTRIQ® (Atezolizumab)

The FDA on October 15, 2021, approved TECENTRIQ® (Atezolizumab) for adjuvant treatment following resection and platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with Stage II to IIIA Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have PD-L1 expression on ≥ 1% of tumor cells, as determined by an FDA-approved test. TECENTRIQ® is a product of Genentech, Inc.

Today, the FDA also approved the VENTANA PD-L1 (SP263) Assay (Ventana Medical Systems, Inc.) as a companion diagnostic device to select patients with NSCLC for adjuvant treatment with TECENTRIQ®.

Smoking Cessation after Lung Cancer Diagnosis Improves Overall Survival

SUMMARY: According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use is responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths in the United States and is the leading preventable cause of death in the US. Smoking (cigarettes, cigars, and pipes) is responsible for about 20% of all cancers and about 30% of all cancer deaths in the US. Approximately 80% of lung cancers, as well as about 80% of all lung cancer deaths, are due to smoking, and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. Smoking also increases the risk for cancers of the Oral cavity, Oropharynx, Larynx, Esophagus, Stomach, Liver, Pancreas, Colon/Rectum, Kidney, Bladder, Cervix, as well as Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2022, about 236,740 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed and 135,360 patients will die of the disease. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers. Of the three main subtypes of NSCLC, 30% are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC), 40% are Adenocarcinomas and 10% are Large Cell Carcinomas. With changes in the cigarette composition and decline in tobacco consumption over the past several decades, Adenocarcinoma now is the most frequent histologic subtype of lung cancer.

Previous published studies have shown that individuals who start smoking at a younger age have greater mortality risk than those who start smoking later in life, and smoking cessation especially at younger ages substantially reduces that mortality risk. Several biologic mechanisms have been hypothesized, to explain the beneficial effect of smoking cessation on survival, in patients with Lung Cancer. Tobacco smoke has been shown to promote tumor growth, progression, and dissemination, while decreasing the efficacy and tolerance to radiation and systemic therapy. Further, it is well established that smoking increases the risk of postoperative complications and second primary cancers. Epigenetic changes induced by tobacco smoke may play an important role, and cigarette smoke induced diseases may be the result of alterations in DNA methylation, and is a reversible gene regulatory modification. Following smoking cessation, the majority of the differentially methylated CpG dinucleotide sites of the current smokers return to the level of the never smokers within 5 years of smoking cessation. However, some of the methylated genes may not return to the level of the never smokers even after 30 years of smoking cessation, suggesting that tobacco smoke can lead to lasting damage to human health. In this publication, the researchers aimed to summarize the current scientific evidence on whether quitting smoking at or around diagnosis has a beneficial effect on the survival of Lung Cancer patients.

The authors conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of the studies that evaluated the prognostic effect of quitting smoking at or around diagnosis among patients with Lung Cancer. The meta-analysis included 21 articles published between 1980 and October 2021 on the effect of smoking cessation at or around the time of diagnosis among a total of 10,938 patients with lung cancer, which included patients with Non Small Cell Lung Cancer, Small Cell Lung Cancer, as well as patients with Lung Cancer of both or unspecified subtypes or whose subtype was not specified. In most studies analyzed, the median age at Lung Cancer diagnosis was between 60 and 70 years. The authors used random effect meta-analysis models to pool study-specific data into Summary Relative Risk (SRR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI). There was substantial variability across studies with regards to study design, patient characteristics, treatments received, criteria used to define smoking status (quitters or continued), and duration of follow up.

Even though there was moderate heterogeneity of Hazard Ratio across studies, it was noted that quitting smoking at or around diagnosis was associated with a significant 29% improvement in Overall Survival, compared with patients who continued to smoke after their diagnosis (SRR=0.71; 95% CI 0.64–0.80). This benefit of quitting smoking was noted regardless of lung cancer histologic subtype, with a 20-30% reduction in the risk of death among those who quit smoking post-diagnosis, compared to those who continued to smoke.

It was concluded from this analysis that quitting smoking at or around diagnosis is associated with a beneficial effect on the survival of Lung Cancer patients, and smoking cessation can be nearly as effective in improving the chance of survival as treatment with chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy. The authors added that based on these finding, Health Care Providers should educate Lung Cancer patients about the benefits of quitting smoking even after diagnosis and provide them with the necessary support for smoking cessation.

Quitting Smoking At or Around Diagnosis Improves the Overall Survival of Lung Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Caini S, Riccio MD, Vettori V, et al. Published:January 04, 2022. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2021.12.005