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      Role of Alpelisib in the Treatment of PIK3CA-Mutated Breast Cancer: Patient Selection and Clinical Perspectives

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          Abstract

          The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway has long been known to play a major role in the growth and survival of cancer cells. Breast tumors often harbor PIK3CA gene alterations, which therefore constitute a rational drug target. However, it has taken many years to demonstrate clinically-relevant efficacy of PI3K inhibition and eventually attain regulatory approvals. As data on PI3K inhibitors continue to mature, this review updates and summarizes the current state of the science, including the prognostic role of PIK3CA alterations in breast cancer; the evolution of PI3K inhibitors; the clinical utility of the first-in-class oral selective PI3Kα inhibitor, alpelisib; PIK3CA mutation detection techniques; and adverse effect management. PIK3CA-mutated breast carcinomas predict survival benefit from PI3K inhibitor therapy. The pan-PI3K inhibitor, buparlisib and the beta-isoform-sparing PI3K inhibitor, taselisib, met efficacy endpoints in clinical trials, but pictilisib did not; moreover, poor tolerability of these three drugs abrogated further clinical trials. Alpelisib is better tolerated, with a more manageable toxicity profile; the principal adverse events, hyperglycemia, rash and diarrhea, can be mitigated by intensive monitoring and timely intervention, thereby enabling patients to remain adherent to clinically beneficial treatment. Alpelisib plus endocrine therapy shows promising efficacy for treating postmenopausal women with HR+/HER2– advanced breast cancer. Available evidence supporting using alpelisib after disease progression on first-line endocrine therapy with or without CDK4/6 inhibitors justifies PIK3CA mutation testing upon diagnosing HR+/HER2– advanced breast cancer, which can be done using either tumor tissue or circulating tumor DNA. With appropriate toxicity management and patient selection using validated testing methods, all eligible patients can potentially benefit from this new treatment. Further clinical trials to assess combinations of hormone therapy with PI3K, AKT, mTOR, or CDK 4/6 inhibitors, or studies in men and women with other breast subtypes are ongoing.

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          Most cited references 95

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          Cancer statistics, 2020

          Each year, the American Cancer Society estimates the numbers of new cancer cases and deaths that will occur in the United States and compiles the most recent data on population-based cancer occurrence. Incidence data (through 2016) were collected by the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program; the National Program of Cancer Registries; and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. Mortality data (through 2017) were collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2020, 1,806,590 new cancer cases and 606,520 cancer deaths are projected to occur in the United States. The cancer death rate rose until 1991, then fell continuously through 2017, resulting in an overall decline of 29% that translates into an estimated 2.9 million fewer cancer deaths than would have occurred if peak rates had persisted. This progress is driven by long-term declines in death rates for the 4 leading cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, prostate); however, over the past decade (2008-2017), reductions slowed for female breast and colorectal cancers, and halted for prostate cancer. In contrast, declines accelerated for lung cancer, from 3% annually during 2008 through 2013 to 5% during 2013 through 2017 in men and from 2% to almost 4% in women, spurring the largest ever single-year drop in overall cancer mortality of 2.2% from 2016 to 2017. Yet lung cancer still caused more deaths in 2017 than breast, prostate, colorectal, and brain cancers combined. Recent mortality declines were also dramatic for melanoma of the skin in the wake of US Food and Drug Administration approval of new therapies for metastatic disease, escalating to 7% annually during 2013 through 2017 from 1% during 2006 through 2010 in men and women aged 50 to 64 years and from 2% to 3% in those aged 20 to 49 years; annual declines of 5% to 6% in individuals aged 65 years and older are particularly striking because rates in this age group were increasing prior to 2013. It is also notable that long-term rapid increases in liver cancer mortality have attenuated in women and stabilized in men. In summary, slowing momentum for some cancers amenable to early detection is juxtaposed with notable gains for other common cancers.
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            Comprehensive molecular portraits of human breast tumors

            Summary We analyzed primary breast cancers by genomic DNA copy number arrays, DNA methylation, exome sequencing, mRNA arrays, microRNA sequencing and reverse phase protein arrays. Our ability to integrate information across platforms provided key insights into previously-defined gene expression subtypes and demonstrated the existence of four main breast cancer classes when combining data from five platforms, each of which shows significant molecular heterogeneity. Somatic mutations in only three genes (TP53, PIK3CA and GATA3) occurred at > 10% incidence across all breast cancers; however, there were numerous subtype-associated and novel gene mutations including the enrichment of specific mutations in GATA3, PIK3CA and MAP3K1 with the Luminal A subtype. We identified two novel protein expression-defined subgroups, possibly contributed by stromal/microenvironmental elements, and integrated analyses identified specific signaling pathways dominant in each molecular subtype including a HER2/p-HER2/HER1/p-HER1 signature within the HER2-Enriched expression subtype. Comparison of Basal-like breast tumors with high-grade Serous Ovarian tumors showed many molecular commonalities, suggesting a related etiology and similar therapeutic opportunities. The biologic finding of the four main breast cancer subtypes caused by different subsets of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities raises the hypothesis that much of the clinically observable plasticity and heterogeneity occurs within, and not across, these major biologic subtypes of breast cancer.
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              An integrative genomic and proteomic analysis of PIK3CA, PTEN, and AKT mutations in breast cancer.

              Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway aberrations are common in cancer. By applying mass spectroscopy-based sequencing and reverse-phase protein arrays to 547 human breast cancers and 41 cell lines, we determined the subtype specificity and signaling effects of PIK3CA, AKT, and PTEN mutations and the effects of PIK3CA mutations on responsiveness to PI3K inhibition in vitro and on outcome after adjuvant tamoxifen. PIK3CA mutations were more common in hormone receptor-positive (34.5%) and HER2-positive (22.7%) than in basal-like tumors (8.3%). AKT1 (1.4%) and PTEN (2.3%) mutations were restricted to hormone receptor-positive cancers. Unlike AKT1 mutations that were absent from cell lines, PIK3CA (39%) and PTEN (20%) mutations were more common in cell lines than tumors, suggesting a selection for these but not AKT1 mutations during adaptation to culture. PIK3CA mutations did not have a significant effect on outcome after adjuvant tamoxifen therapy in 157 hormone receptor-positive breast cancer patients. PIK3CA mutations, in comparison with PTEN loss and AKT1 mutations, were associated with significantly less and inconsistent activation of AKT and of downstream PI3K/AKT signaling in tumors and cell lines. PTEN loss and PIK3CA mutation were frequently concordant, suggesting different contributions to pathophysiology. PTEN loss rendered cells significantly more sensitive to growth inhibition by the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 than did PIK3CA mutations. Thus, PI3K pathway aberrations likely play a distinct role in the pathogenesis of different breast cancer subtypes. The specific aberration present may have implications for the selection of PI3K-targeted therapies in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                tcrm
                tcriskman
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                05 March 2021
                2021
                : 17
                : 193-207
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital , Taipei, Taiwan
                [2 ]Graduate Institute of Oncology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine , Taipei, Taiwan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yen-Shen Lu Department of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital , Taipei, Taiwan Email yslu@ntu.edu.tw
                Article
                251668
                10.2147/TCRM.S251668
                7943556
                © 2021 Chang et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 6, References: 96, Pages: 15
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