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Immune Reactivity and Pseudoprogression or Tumor Flare in a Serially Biopsied Neuroendocrine Patient Treated with the Epigenetic Agent RRx-001.

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Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are grouped together as a single class on the basis of histologic appearance, immunoreactivity for the neuroendocrine markers chromogranin A and synaptophysin, and potential secretion of hormones, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators and neuropeptides. Nevertheless, despite these common characteristics, NETs differ widely in terms of their natural histories: high-grade NETs are clinically aggressive and, like small cell lung cancer, which they most closely resemble, tend to respond to cisplatin and etoposide. In contrast, low-grade NETs, which as a rule progress and behave indolently, do not. In either case, the treatment strategy, apart from potentially curative surgical resection, is very poorly defined. This report describes the case of a 28-year-old white male with a diagnosis of high-grade NET of undetermined primary site metastatic to the lymph nodes, skin and paraspinal soft tissues, treated with the experimental anticancer agent RRx-001, in the context of a phase II clinical trial called TRIPLE THREAT (NCT02489903); serial sampling of tumor material through repeat biopsies demonstrated an intratumoral inflammatory response, including the amplification of infiltrating T cells, which correlated with clinical and symptomatic benefit. This case suggests that pseudoprogression or RRx-001-induced enlargement of tumor lesions, which has been previously described for several RRx-001-treated patients, is the result of tumoral lymphocyte infiltration.

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