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Background: Chordoma is a rare, slow growing and locally aggressive mesenchymal neoplasm with uncommon distant metastases. It is a chemo-resistant disease with surgery and radiotherapy being the mainstay in treatment of localized disease. In advanced disease imatinib has a role. We report a case of metastatic sacral chordoma with symp- tomatic and radiological response to erlotinib post-progression on imatinib. Case presentation: A 48-year-old male with a sacral chordoma underwent partial sacrectomy followed by post- operative radiotherapy. Upon recurrence he received palliative radiotherapy to hemipelvis and was offered therapy with imatinib. However, the disease was refractory to imatinib and he was started on treatment with erlotinib—show- ing a partial response on imaging at two months. He is currently doing well at 13 months since start of erlotinib. Conclusions: As seen in previously reported cases, erlotinib is a therapeutic option in advanced chordoma, even in imatinib refractory cases and thus warrants exploration of its therapeutic role in prospective clinical trials. Keywords: Chordoma, EGFR, Erlotinib Background adjuvant setting after a full or subtotal resection, and as Chordoma is a rare mesenchymal neoplasm which arises the primary treatment in unresectable disease. from the remnants of primitive notochord . It accounts Chordoma responds poorly to cytotoxic chemotherapy. for 2–4% of all malignant bone tumors and the median Azzarelli et al. in a case series of 33 patients, concluded that none of the chemotherapeutic regimen induced a age of presentation is 59 years (range 19–70 years) with significant tumor response . This intrinsic chemo- a male predominance [2, 3]. They occur exclusively in resistance of chordoma paved the way to different antitu spine, predominantly at sacrococcygeal and spheno- - occipital areas, at a median or paramedian location . mor approaches. It is a slow growing locally aggressive tumor with uncom- In patients with advanced disease, novel therapeutic mon distant metastases, athough it can cause compres- strategies are needed to prolong survival and improve the sive symptoms. quality of life. Imatinib, which has off-target effects acting Surgery significantly improves overall survival and is through the inhibition of platelet-derived growth factor the primary modality of therapy for the localized disease receptor beta (PDGFRβ), is the most thoroughly evalu- . Radiotherapy also plays a key role in the management ated therapeutic agent in chordoma, based on the expres- of patients with localized chordoma, particularly in the sion of platelet-derived growth factor beta (PDGFβ) or its receptor (PDGFRβ) [7, 8]. There is preclinical evidence of the role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in chordoma patho- *Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org Sarcoma Medical Oncology Clinic, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, genesis and also a few case reports elucidating the role New Delhi, India of blocking this receptor leading to meaningful clinical Full list of author information is available at the end of the article © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creat iveco mmons .org/licen ses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creat iveco mmons .org/publi cdoma in/ zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data. Verma et al. Clin Sarcoma Res (2020) 10:28 Page 2 of 6 Fig. 1 a, b Histological picture showing a tumor with chondromyxoid background. The tumor cells are arranged in cord like pattern with small nucleus and abundant cytoplasm. Few cells are large with abundant vacuolated cytoplasm called as physaliferous cells. c Immunostaining for S100 protein showing nuclear positivity in the tumor cells. d Immunostaining for Epithelial Membrane Antigen (EMA) showing membranous positivity in the tumor cells. e Immunostaining for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) showing membranous positivity in the tumor cells. f MET gene amplification was positive by FISH responses [9–12]. Herein we present a case of metastatic (CT) guided biopsy of soft tissue mass showed lobu- sacral chordoma that has shown response to erlotinib lated architecture composed of tumor cells having clear after having progressed on imatinib. to bubbly cytoplasm arranged as cords and embed- ded in abundant extracellular myxoid matrix with mild Case presentation atypia. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) of tumor showed A 48-year-old male, with no co-morbidities presented membranous positivity for Epithelial Membrane Anti- in July, 2016 with pain in pelvic region radiating to bilat- gen (EMA) and nuclear positivity for S100; suggestive eral lower limbs for one year. Imaging with magnetic of chordoma. He underwent partial sacrectomy along resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a large lobulated with gluteus maximus rotational flap reconstructions soft tissue mass in the pelvis. A computed tomography in September, 2016. On gross inspection, the specimen V erma et al. Clin Sarcoma Res (2020) 10:28 Page 3 of 6 Fig. 2 A pre-imatinib 18F-Flurodeoxy glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT ) maximum intensity projection (MIP) image of the patient showing increased FDG uptake in the left axillary, lower abdominal and pelvic regions. Transaxial computed tomographic images at the level of axilla, L3 vertebra, L5 vertebra and ischial tuberosity (1b, 1d, 1f and 1h) and corresponding fused PET/CT images (1c, 1e, 1g and 1i) showing enlarged and FDG avid left axillary lymph node (1c, arrow), FDG avid lobulated mass in the anterior abdominal wall (1d and 1e), deposit in the right external oblique muscle (1f and Ig), multiple mesenteric (arrow heads) and omental* deposits (1e and 1g). There was soft tissue thickening adjacent to the right ischium involving the right pyriformis and gluteal muscles with increased FDG uptake and soft tissue deposit the subcutaneous plane adjacent to it (1h, 1i -arrow) Fig. 3. 18F-FDG PET/CT images of the patient three months after initiation of therapy with imatinib. MIP image (2a) shows focal increased FDG uptake in the left axillary region, lower abdominal and pelvic regions, which increased since the previous PET/CT image (1a). Transaxial CT and fused PET/CT images show increase in size and metabolic activity of the of the left axillary lymph node (2b and 2c), anterior abdominal wall lesion (2d and 2e), with interval appearance of new omental/mesenteric deposits (2e, 2g, arrows). No significant interval change was noted in the lesion near the right ischium measured 6.5 × 5.5 × 3.5 cm. There was a solid gelati - post-operative radiotherapy was given by three-dimen- nous tumor on cut surface of size 5.5 × 4.5 × 3 cm. On sional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) technique histological examination, the tumor was homogenous at a dose of 60 Gray (Gy) in 30 fractions over 6 weeks. in appearance and predominately composed of chon- He was kept under regular follow up. In November 2018, dromyxoid stroma with embedded tumor cells arranged a follow up MRI scan revealed poorly circumscribed in cords and focally in nesting pattern. The individual 9.9 × 5.3 × 5.2 cm lesion with lobulated outline adjacent tumor cells showed moderate cytological pleomorphism to ischium, infiltrating gluteus muscle and extending with small nuclei and moderate to abundant eosino- along the pelvic wall and infiltrating obturator internus philic cytoplasm. There were a few tumor cells with muscle. There was another lobulated soft tissue lesion abundant vacuolated cytoplasm which are also called as in anterior abdominal wall infiltrating internal oblique physaliferous cells. On IHC, tumor cells were diffusely and transversus abdominis muscle. He presented to our positive for S100 protein and EMA. There was nuclear center in May, 2019. An fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)- positivity for brachyury (Fig. 1). Following surgery, positron emission tomography (PET) scan in May, 2019 Verma et al. Clin Sarcoma Res (2020) 10:28 Page 4 of 6 Fig. 4. 18F-FDG PET/CT images of the patient two months after initiation of therapy with Erlotinib. MIP image (3a) shows mild focal FDG uptake in the left axillary region, lower abdominal and pelvic regions, which decreased since the previous PET/CT image (2a). Transaxial CT images (3b, 3d, 3f, 3h) show significant reduction in size of the left axillary lymph node, anterior abdominal wall lesion and omental/mesenteric deposits metastatic lesions (partial response, RECIST criteria) and fused PET/CT images (3c, 3e, 3f, 3i- arrows) show decrease in metabolic activity of the of the corresponding lesions suggestive of partial metabolic response Fig. 5. 18F-FDG PET/CT images of the patient six months after initiation of therapy with erlotinib. MIP image (4a) transaxial CT images (4b–4e) and fused PET/C images (4f–4i) show no significant interval change in size and metabolic activity of the left axillary lymph node, anterior abdominal wall lesion and omental/mesenteric deposits and lesion near left ischial tuberosity (arrows), suggestive of stable disease Fig. 6. 18F-FDG PET/CT images of the patient ten months after initiation of therapy with erlotinib. MIP image (5a) transaxial CT images (5b–5e) and fused PET/C images (4f–4i) show no significant interval change in size of the left axillary lymph node, anterior abdominal wall lesion and omental/mesenteric deposits and lesion near left ischial tuberosity (arrows) with mild reduction in metabolic activity, overall findings suggestive of stable disease revealed an FDG avid enlarged left axillary node meas- 5.3 × 5.0 cm, FDG avid 6.6 × 6.0 cm soft tissue depos- uring 4.7 × 3.3 cm, multiple mesenteric and peritoneal its noted in anterior abdominal wall and 2.7 × 4.7 cm deposits with largest mesenteric deposit measuring deposit in right external/internal oblique muscle (Fig. 2). V erma et al. Clin Sarcoma Res (2020) 10:28 Page 5 of 6 The patient received palliative radiotherapy to hemi - pathogenesis of chordoma, Shalaby et al. demonstrated pelvis at a dose of 20 Gy in five fractions over five days. that gain of EGFR copy number is a common event in He was started on imatinib at a dose of 400 mg per day chordomas and that immunoreactivity for EGFR and from May, 2019. After a brief period of clinical response, p-EGFR is also a frequent finding . They could dem - he started to have increased local pain in August, 2019. onstrate growth inhibitory effect on chordoma cell lines A repeat FDG PET scan done at this time was consist- harbouring a EGFR copy number gain by using a revers- ent with disease progression (Fig. 3). In August 2019, ible tyrosine kinase inhibitor, thus highlighting that patient was started on erlotinib at a dose of 150 mg per aberrant EGFR signalling may be involved in chordoma day. He showed good response with improvement in gen- progression. Using this rationale and the published case eral condition and reduction in pain. He developed grade reports showing efficacy of erlotinib in chordoma we 1 trichomegaly and grade 1 diarrhea on erlotinib. An treated our patient with erlotinib. FDG PET Scan done on October, 2019 showed signifi - Erlotinib has been used as an anti-EGFR agent in cant reduction in disease burden consistent with a partial chordoma. EGFR inhibitors like lapatinib and erlo- response as per RECIST 1.1 (Fig. 4). Subsequent response tinib have also been used; both as monotherapy and assessments at six and twelve (Figs. 5 and 6) months from in a combination with cetuximab or bevacizumab in start of erlotinib therapy revealed stable disease. Immu- advanced/recurrent chordomas, with few patients nochemistry on tumor specimen was positive for EGFR showing partial responses [10–12, 16–18]. Houessinon expression (Fig. 1). EGFR (exon 18–21) sequencing by et al. reported a patient with clival chordoma who real time polymerase chain reaction showed no mutation. showed a partial response and a sustained benefit for MET gene amplification was positive by Fluorescence in more than 28 months with erlotinib . Our patient Situ Hybridization. Currently the patient is on regular showed a partial response within two months of insti- follow-up, and is tolerating therapy well. tuting therapy with tolerable side effects—grade 1 tri - chomegaly and diarrhoea. Discussion and conclusions In conclusion, erlotinib is a good option in advanced Surgery remains the backbone of management in sacral sacral chordoma cases who have progressed on chordomas. Although the achievement of wide local imatinib. As there are fewer than ten cases so far resection with negative margins is the goal, the same is reported in literature showing the efficacy of erlotinib usually not always possible because of anatomical com- in setting of advanced sacral chordoma that had pro- plexities of areas where they often arise. In such a set- gressed on imatinib, this case adds to the sparse data ting, adjuvant radiotherapy can be effective in delaying on antitumor activity of EGFR inhibition in advanced recurrences. A study demonstrated a very good disease chordoma, in agreement with other previously control with adjuvant high-dose radiotherapy in primary reported clinical cases. The targeting of EGFR repre - tumors after resection, but comparatively the outcomes sents an attractive option in the limited therapeutic remained poor in the setting of recurrent disease. Park armamentarium against advanced chordomas. et al. showed excellent disease control with localized Acknowledgements radiation post en-bloc resection reporting a 5-year and TM We thank CORE Diagnostics for helping the patient with EGFR and HER-2 10-year survival of 93% and 91% respectively . immunohistochemistry, MET gene amplification by FISH and EGFR exon 18-21 sequencing. Although chordoma is a slow-growing disease with low metastatic potential, as many as 30% of patients develop Authors’ contributions recurrent/advanced disease . In case of recurrent or SV and SPV contributed in patient care, literature review and drafting of the manuscript. SAS and STA contributed to radiologic analysis and editing the advanced disease, imatinib is used as a first line agent. manuscript. AB contributed to pathological analysis and editing of the manu- The biological rationale of using imatinib comes from its script. SR contributed direct patient care, literature review and editing of the inhibition of PDGFRβ which is expressed on chordomas. manuscript. The final manuscript was reviewed and approved by all authors for submission. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. This was tested by Stacchiotti et al. using imatinib at a dose of 800 mg per day in patients with advanced PDGFB Funding and/or PDGFRB chordoma, showing a clinical benefit The authors have received no funding for this work and have no sources to declare. rate of 64% and a median progression free survival (PFS) of 9 months . Availability of data and materials EGFR, a prototype receptor tyrosine kinase, plays a Not applicable. role in cell proliferation and survival. Weinberger et al. Ethics approval and consent to participate demonstrated strong EGFR and c-MET expression in Not applicable. chordomas and concluded that these may play a role in its growth . In order to elucidate the role of EGFR in Verma et al. Clin Sarcoma Res (2020) 10:28 Page 6 of 6 Consent for publication 8. Stacchiotti S, Longhi A, Ferraresi V, Grignani G, Comandone A, Stupp The patient provided consent to the writing of his case report. Written R, et al. Phase II study of imatinib in advanced chordoma. J Clin Oncol. informed consent for publication of the clinical details was obtained from the 2012;30(9):914–20. patient. A copy of the consent form is available for review by the Editors of this 9. Shalaby A, Presneau N, Ye H, Halai D, Berisha F, Idowu B, et al. The role of journal. The authors listed for the report have agreed to submit the work to epidermal growth factor receptor in chordoma pathogenesis: a potential Clinical Sarcoma Research for review. therapeutic target. J Pathol. 2011;223(3):336–46. 10. Singhal N, Kotasek D, Parnis F. Response to erlotinib in a patient with Competing interests treatment refractory chordoma. Anticancer Drugs. 2009;20(10):953–5. 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Clinical Sarcoma Research – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 12, 2020
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