Background: The aim of this study was to report on sirolimus activity in a series of patients with hemangioendothelioma (HE) treated at the National Cancer Institute, Milan (Istituto Nazionale Tumori; INT) and within the Italian Rare Cancer Network (“Rete Tumori Rari”; RTR). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed patients with advanced and progressing epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE) treated with sirolimus at the INT and/or within the RTR. Pathologic review and molecular analysis for WWTR1 rearrangement were performed. Sirolimus was administered until unacceptable toxicity or progression, with the dose being adjusted to reach target plasma levels of 15–20 ng/dL. Responses were assessed using the Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria. Results: Since 2005, 18 patients (17 EHE, 1 retiform HE; 1 locally advanced, 17 metastatic; WWTR1 rearrangement: 16) have been identified, with 17/18 patients being evaluable for response. Mean sirolimus daily dose was 4.5 mg. According to RECIST, best responses in EHE were 1 partial response (PR), 12 stable disease (SD), and 3 progressive disease (PD); the patient with retiform HE also achieved a PR, lasting >2 years. Four patients with a reversed interval progression on interruption were observed. Median overall survival was 16 months, and median progression-free survival was 12 months (range 1–45), with four patients progression-free at 24 months. The clinical benefit (complete response [CR] + PR + SD >6 months) was 56 %. Seven patients receiving sirolimus experienced an increase in pleural/peritoneal effusion plus worsening of tumor-related symptoms; six of these patients died within 1–8 months from evidence of effusion progression, while a RECIST PD was assessed in two of seven patients. Conclusions: A clinical benefit was achieved in 56 % of patients receiving sirolimus, which lasted >24 months in four patients. Most patients with pleural effusion did not benefit from sirolimus and had a poor outcome.
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