Publications by authors named "Niall C Tebbutt"

78 Publications

Personalizing First-Line Systemic Therapy in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Is There a Role for Initial Low-Intensity Therapy in 2021 and Beyond? A Perspective From Members of the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Medical Oncology, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Herston, Queensland, Australia.

Palliative chemotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for the majority of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, with the aim of increasing length and quality of life. Although guidelines outline the available treatment options in the first line, they provide limited guidance on choice and intensity of the chemotherapy backbone. Data from the TRIBE and TRIBE2 studies confirm a survival benefit with triplet FOLFOXIRI and bevacizumab, and this is a preferred option for younger patients with good performance status able to tolerate it. However, the relative benefit of a fluoropyrimidine doublet with oxaliplatin or irinotecan over single-agent fluoropyrimidine with or without a biologic is less certain; the available data demonstrate that single-agent fluoropyrimidine plus a biologic with planned sequencing of subsequent agents can produce similar overall survival outcomes with reduced toxicity. Our analysis of local real-world registry data suggests that this is an underutilized approach, particularly in younger and fitter patients. Established prognostic factors, including patient age, performance status, tumor sidedness, and biomarkers such as RAS/BRAF, are key in treatment selection; patients with left-sided RAS/BRAF wild-type disease or patients with low tumor bulk may be ideal for a less intensive regimen. Further studies are required to confirm the value of less-intensive regimens in the modern era, where the incorporation of biologic therapies has become routine and where non-chemotherapy options are emerging as viable options for molecularly defined patient subsets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2021.05.001DOI Listing
May 2021

Prognostic and Predictive Impact of Primary Tumor Sidedness for Previously Untreated Advanced Colorectal Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 Jun 1. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Gastrointestinal Onocology, Keck School of Medicine at USC, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: Unplanned subgroup analyses from several studies have suggested primary tumor sidedness (PTS) as a potential prognostic and predictive parameter in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). We aimed to investigate the impact of PTS on outcomes of mCRC patients.

Methods: PTS data of 9,277 mCRC patients from 12 first-line randomized trials in the ARCAD database were pooled. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were assessed using Kaplan-Meier and Cox models adjusting for age, sex, performance status, prior radiation/chemo, and stratified by treatment arm. Predictive value was tested by interaction term between PTS and treatment (cetuximab plus chemotherapy vs. chemotherapy alone). All statistical tests were 2-sided.

Results: Compared to right-sided metastatic colorectal cancer patients (n = 2421, 26.1%), left-sided metastatic colorectal cancer patients (n = 6856, 73.9%) had better OS (median = 21.6 v 15.9 months; adjusted hazard ratio [HRadj] = 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.67-0.76, P<.001) and PFS (median = 8.6 v 7.5 months; HRadj = 0.80, 95% CI = 0.75-0.84, P<.001). Interaction between PTS and KRAS mutation was statistically significant (Pinteraction<.001): left-sidedness was associated with better prognosis among KRAS wild-type (WT) (OS HRadj = 0.59, 95% CI = 0.53-0.66; PFS HRadj =0.68, 95% CI = 0.61-0.75), but not among KRAS mutated tumors. Among KRAS-WT tumors, survival benefit from anti-EGFR was confirmed for left-sidedness (OS HRadj = 0.85, 95% CI = 0.75-0.97, P = .01; PFS HRadj = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.67-0.88, P<.001), but not for right-sidedness.

Conclusions: The prognostic value of PTS is restricted to the KRAS-WT population. PTS is predictive of anti-EGFR efficacy, with a statistically significant improvement of survival for left-sidedness mCRC patients. These results suggest treatment choice in mCRC should be based on both PTS and KRAS status.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djab112DOI Listing
June 2021

Circulating tumor DNA dynamics and recurrence risk in patients undergoing curative intent resection of colorectal cancer liver metastases: A prospective cohort study.

PLoS Med 2021 May 3;18(5):e1003620. Epub 2021 May 3.

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: In patients with resectable colorectal liver metastases (CRLM), the role of pre- and postoperative systemic therapy continues to be debated. Previous studies have shown that circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis, as a marker of minimal residual disease, is a powerful prognostic factor in patients with nonmetastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Serial analysis of ctDNA in patients with resectable CRLM could inform the optimal use of perioperative chemotherapy. Here, we performed a validation study to confirm the prognostic impact of postoperative ctDNA in resectable CRLM observed in a previous discovery study.

Methods And Findings: We prospectively collected plasma samples from patients with resectable CRLM, including presurgical and postsurgical samples, serial samples during any pre- or postoperative chemotherapy, and serial samples in follow-up. Via targeted sequencing of 15 genes commonly mutated in CRC, we identified at least 1 somatic mutation in each patient's tumor. We then designed a personalized assay to assess 1 mutation in plasma samples using the Safe-SeqS assay. A total of 380 plasma samples from 54 patients recruited from July 2011 to Dec 2014 were included in our analysis. Twenty-three (43%) patients received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and 42 patients (78%) received adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery. Median follow-up was 51 months (interquartile range, 31 to 60 months). At least 1 somatic mutation was identified in all patients' tumor tissue. ctDNA was detectable in 46/54 (85%) patients prior to any treatment and 12/49 (24%) patients after surgery. There was a median 40.93-fold (19.10 to 87.73, P < 0.001) decrease in ctDNA mutant allele fraction with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, but ctDNA clearance during neoadjuvant chemotherapy was not associated with a better recurrence-free survival (RFS). Patients with detectable postoperative ctDNA experienced a significantly lower RFS (HR 6.3; 95% CI 2.58 to 15.2; P < 0.001) and overall survival (HR 4.2; 95% CI 1.5 to 11.8; P < 0.001) compared to patients with undetectable ctDNA. For the 11 patients with detectable postoperative ctDNA who had serial ctDNA sampling during adjuvant chemotherapy, ctDNA clearance was observed in 3 patients, 2 of whom remained disease-free. All 8 patients with persistently detectable ctDNA after adjuvant chemotherapy have recurred. End-of-treatment (surgery +/- adjuvant chemotherapy) ctDNA detection was associated with a 5-year RFS of 0% compared to 75.6% for patients with an undetectable end-of-treatment ctDNA (HR 14.9; 95% CI 4.94 to 44.7; P < 0.001). Key limitations of the study include the small sample size and the potential for false-positive findings with multiple hypothesis testing.

Conclusions: We confirmed the prognostic impact of postsurgery and posttreatment ctDNA in patients with resected CRLM. The potential utility of serial ctDNA analysis during adjuvant chemotherapy as an early marker of treatment efficacy was also demonstrated. Further studies are required to define how to optimally integrate ctDNA analyses into decision-making regarding the use and timing of adjuvant therapy for resectable CRLM.

Trial Registration: ACTRN12612000345886.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003620DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128260PMC
May 2021

Rapid Resistance of FGFR-driven Gastric Cancers to Regorafenib and Targeted FGFR Inhibitors can be Overcome by Parallel Inhibition of MEK.

Mol Cancer Ther 2021 04 9;20(4):704-715. Epub 2021 Feb 9.

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Amplification or overexpression of the FGFR family of receptor tyrosine kinases occurs in a significant proportion of gastric cancers. Regorafenib is a multikinase inhibitor of angiogenic and oncogenic kinases, including FGFR, which showed activity in the randomized phase II INTEGRATE clinical trial in advanced gastric cancer. There are currently no biomarkers that predict response to this agent, and whether regorafenib is preferentially active in FGFR-driven cancers is unknown. Through screening 25 gastric cancer cell lines, we identified five cell lines that were exquisitely sensitive to regorafenib, four of which harbored amplification or overexpression of family members. These four cell lines were also sensitive to the FGFR-specific inhibitors, BGJ398, erdafitinib, and TAS-120. Regorafenib inhibited FGFR-driven MAPK signaling in these cell lines, and knockdown studies confirmed their dependence on specific FGFRs for proliferation. In the INTEGRATE trial cohort, amplification or overexpression of FGFRs 1-4 was detected in 8%-19% of cases, however, this was not associated with improved progression-free survival and no objective responses were observed in these cases. Further preclinical analyses revealed FGFR-driven gastric cancer cell lines rapidly reactivate MAPK/ERK signaling in response to FGFR inhibition, which may underlie the limited clinical response to regorafenib. Importantly, combination treatment with an FGFR and MEK inhibitor delayed MAPK/ERK reactivation and synergistically inhibited proliferation of FGFR-driven gastric cancer cell lines. These findings suggest that upfront combinatorial inhibition of FGFR and MEK may represent a more effective treatment strategy for FGFR-driven gastric cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-20-0836DOI Listing
April 2021

Dual Antiangiogenesis Agents Bevacizumab Plus Trebananib, without Chemotherapy, in First-line Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: Results of a Phase II Study.

Clin Cancer Res 2021 Apr 29;27(8):2159-2167. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Purpose: To assess the efficacy and safety of dual antiangiogenesis agents, bevacizumab plus trebananib, without chemotherapy, in first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).

Patients And Methods: This open-label phase II study enrolled patients with unresectable mCRC with no prior systemic treatment. All patients received bevacizumab 7.5 mg/kg 3-weekly and trebananib 15 mg/kg weekly. The primary endpoint was disease control [stable disease, partial response (PR), or complete response (CR)] at 6 months (DC6m). Secondary endpoints included toxicity, overall response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS). Exploratory biomarkers in plasma angiogenesis-related proteins, tumor gene expression, and plasma antibodies to tumor antigens were examined.

Results: Forty-five patients were enrolled from four Australian sites. DC6m was 63% [95% confidence interval (CI), 47-77]. ORR was 17% (95% CI, 7-32), comprising of seven PRs. Median duration of response was 20 months (range, 10-48 months). Median PFS was 8.4 months and median OS 31.4 months. Grade 1-2 peripheral edema and joint-related symptoms were common. Overall incidence of grade 3-4 adverse events (AE) of any type was 33% ( = 15). Expected AEs of bevacizumab treatment did not appear to be increased by the addition of trebananib.

Conclusions: In a first-line mCRC population, the dual antiangiogenic combination, bevacizumab plus trebananib, without chemotherapy, was efficacious with durable responses. The toxicity profile of the combination was manageable and did not exceed that expected with bevacizumab +/- chemotherapy. Exploratory biomarker results raise the hypothesis that the antiangiogenic combination may enable the antitumor immune response in immunotolerant colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-2714DOI Listing
April 2021

Prognostic significance of postsurgery circulating tumor DNA in nonmetastatic colorectal cancer: Individual patient pooled analysis of three cohort studies.

Int J Cancer 2021 Feb 6;148(4):1014-1026. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Division of Personalised Oncology, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Studies in multiple solid tumor types have demonstrated the prognostic significance of ctDNA analysis after curative intent surgery. A combined analysis of data across completed studies could further our understanding of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) as a prognostic marker and inform future trial design. We combined individual patient data from three independent cohort studies of nonmetastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Plasma samples were collected 4 to 10 weeks after surgery. Mutations in ctDNA were assayed using a massively parallel sequencing technique called SafeSeqS. We analyzed 485 CRC patients (230 Stage II colon, 96 Stage III colon, and 159 locally advanced rectum). ctDNA was detected after surgery in 59 (12%) patients overall (11.0%, 12.5% and 13.8% for samples taken at 4-6, 6-8 and 8-10 weeks; P = .740). ctDNA detection was associated with poorer 5-year recurrence-free (38.6% vs 85.5%; P < .001) and overall survival (64.6% vs 89.4%; P < .001). The predictive accuracy of postsurgery ctDNA for recurrence was higher than that of individual clinicopathologic risk features. Recurrence risk increased exponentially with increasing ctDNA mutant allele frequency (MAF) (hazard ratio, 1.2, 2.5 and 5.8 for MAF of 0.1%, 0.5% and 1%). Postsurgery ctDNA was detected in 3 of 20 (15%) patients with locoregional and 27 of 60 (45%) with distant recurrence (P = .018). This analysis demonstrates a consistent long-term impact of ctDNA as a prognostic marker across nonmetastatic CRC, where ctDNA outperforms other clinicopathologic risk factors and MAF further stratifies recurrence risk. ctDNA is a better predictor of distant vs locoregional recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33312DOI Listing
February 2021

Evaluation of Combination Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Immunotherapy in Patients With Advanced Biliary Tract Cancers: Subgroup Analysis of a Phase 2 Nonrandomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA Oncol 2020 09;6(9):1405-1409

Department of Medical Oncology, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Importance: Biliary tract cancers represent a rare group of malignant conditions with very limited treatment options. Patients with advanced disease have a poor outcome with current therapies.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of combination immunotherapy with nivolumab and ipilimumab in patients with advanced biliary tract cancers.

Design, Setting, And Participants: The CA209-538 prospective multicenter phase 2 nonrandomized clinical trial included patients with advanced rare cancers including patients with biliary tract cancers. This subgroup analysis evaluated 39 patients from CA209-538 with biliary tract cancers who were enrolled from December 2017 to December 2019. Most of the patients (n = 33) had experienced disease progression after 1 or more lines of therapy and had tumor tissue available for biomarker research.

Interventions: Patients received treatment with nivolumab at a dose of 3 mg/kg and ipilimumab at 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks for 4 doses, followed by nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks and continued for up to 96 weeks until disease progression or the development of unacceptable toxic events.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary end point was disease control rate (complete remission, partial remission, or stable disease) as assessed by RECIST 1.1.

Results: Among the 39 patients included in this subgroup analysis of a phase 2 clinical trial (20 men, 19 women; mean [range] age, 65 [37-81] years), the objective response rate was 23% (n = 9) with a disease control rate of 44% (n = 17); all responders had received prior chemotherapy, and none had a microsatellite unstable tumor. Responses were exclusively observed in patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder carcinoma. The median duration of response was not reached (range, 2.5 to ≥23 months). The median progression-free survival was 2.9 months (95% CI, 2.2-4.6 months), and overall survival was 5.7 months (95% CI, 2.7-11.9 months). Immune-related toxic events were reported in 49% of patients (n = 19), with 15% (n = 6) experiencing grade 3 or 4 events.

Conclusions And Relevance: This subgroup analysis of a phase 2 clinical trial found that combination immunotherapy with nivolumab and ipilimumab was associated with substantial positive outcomes patients with advanced biliary tract cancers. This treatment compares favorably to single-agent anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (anti-PD-1) therapy and warrants further investigation. Ongoing translational research is focused on identifying biomarkers that can predict treatment response.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02923934.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.2814DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7393585PMC
September 2020

Update on optimal treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer from the AGITG expert meeting: ESMO congress 2019.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2020 04 6;20(4):251-270. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

Medical Oncology, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville, Australia.

: Outcomes in metastatic colorectal cancer are improving, due to the tailoring of therapy enabled by better understanding of clinical behavior according to molecular subtype.: A review of the literature and recent conference presentations was undertaken on the topic of systemic treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. This review summarizes expert discussion of the current evidence for therapies in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) based on molecular subgrouping.: EGFR-targeted and VEGF-targeted antibodies are now routinely incorporated into treatment strategies for mCRC. EGFR-targeted antibodies are restricted to patients with extended wild-type profiles, with evidence that they should be further restricted to patients with left-sided tumors. Clinically distinct treatment pathways based on tumor and MMR status, are now clinically applicable. Evidence suggests therapy for additional subgroups will soon be defined; the most advanced being for patients with G12 C mutation and gene fusion defects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14737140.2020.1744439DOI Listing
April 2020

The prognostic role of inflammatory markers in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with bevacizumab: A translational study [ASCENT].

PLoS One 2020 6;15(3):e0229900. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Medical Oncology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Australia.

Background: In spite of demonstrating prognostic and possibly predictive benefit in retrospective cohorts and meta-analyses of cancer populations, including colorectal cancer (CRC), prospective evaluation of the relationship between neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and treatment outcomes in previously untreated mCRC patients receiving bevacizumab-based therapy has not yet been performed.

Methods: An open-label, single arm, multi-centre study. Patients received first-line bevacizumab plus XELOX or mFOLFOX6 (Phase-A) and continued bevacizumab plus FOLFIRI beyond first progression (Phase-B). Analyses included the association of NLR with phase A progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). A sub-study investigated the safety in patients with the primary in situ tumor. An exploratory sub-study examined relationships of circulating proteomic markers with PFS.

Results: Phase-A enrolled 128 patients; median age was 64 years (range: 26-84), 70 (55%) were female, 71 (56%) were PS-0 and 51 (40%) had primary in situ tumor. Fifty-three (41%) patients entered Phase-B. The median baseline (b) NLR was 3.2 (range: 1.5-20.4) with 32 (25%) patients having bNLR > 5. The PFS hazard ratio (HR) by bNLR > 5 versus ≤ 5 was 1.4 (95% CI: 0.9-2.2; p = 0.101). The median PFS was 9.2 months (95% CI: 7.9-10.8) for Phase-A and 6.7 months (95% CI: 3.0-8.2) for Phase-B. The HR for OS based on bNLR > 5 versus ≤ 5 was 1.6 (95% CI: 1.0-2.7; p = 0.052). The median OS was 25 months (95% CI: 19.2-29.7) for the full analysis set and 14.9 months for Phase-B. Baseline levels of nine proteomic markers showed a relationship with PFS. Treatment related toxicities were consistent with what has previously been published. There were 4 (3%) instances of GI perforation, of which, 3 (6%) occurred in the primary in situ tumor group.

Conclusions: Results from this study are aligned with the previously reported trend towards worse PFS and OS in patients with higher bNLR.

Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01588990; posted May 1, 2012.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0229900PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7059922PMC
June 2020

Genomic Profiling of Biliary Tract Cancer Cell Lines Reveals Molecular Subtypes and Actionable Drug Targets.

iScience 2019 Nov 31;21:624-637. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute, Austin Health, Level 5 ONJ Centre, 145 Studley Road, Heidelberg, Melbourne, VIC 3084, Australia; School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3084, Australia; Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia. Electronic address:

Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) currently have no approved targeted therapies. Although genomic profiling of primary BTCs has identified multiple potential drug targets, accurate models are needed for their evaluation. Genomic profiling of 22 BTC cell lines revealed they harbor similar mutational signatures, recurrently mutated genes, and genomic alterations to primary tumors. Transcriptomic profiling identified two major subtypes, enriched for epithelial and mesenchymal genes, which were also evident in patient-derived organoids and primary tumors. Interrogating these models revealed multiple mechanisms of MAPK signaling activation in BTC, including co-occurrence of low-activity BRAF and MEK mutations with receptor tyrosine kinase overexpression. Finally, BTC cell lines with altered ERBB2 or FGFRs were exquisitely sensitive to specific targeted agents, whereas surprisingly, IDH1-mutant lines did not respond to IDH1 inhibitors in vitro. These findings establish BTC cell lines as robust models of primary disease, reveal specific molecular disease subsets, and highlight specific molecular vulnerabilities in these cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.isci.2019.10.044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889747PMC
November 2019

Evaluation of Continuous Tumor-Size-Based End Points as Surrogates for Overall Survival in Randomized Clinical Trials in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.

JAMA Netw Open 2019 09 4;2(9):e1911750. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium.

Importance: Tumor measurements can be used to estimate time to nadir and depth of nadir as potential surrogates for overall survival (OS).

Objective: To assess time to nadir and depth of nadir as surrogates for OS in metastatic colorectal cancer.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Pooled analysis of 20 randomized clinical trials within the Aide et Recherche en Cancerologie Digestive database, which contains academic and industry-sponsored trials, was conducted. Three sets of comparisons were performed: chemotherapy alone, antiangiogenic agents, and anti-epidermal growth factor receptor agents in first-line treatment for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Surrogacy of time to nadir and depth of nadir was assessed at the trial level based on joint modeling of relative tumor-size change vs baseline and OS. Treatment effects on time to nadir and on depth of nadir were defined in terms of between-arm differences in time to nadir and in depth of nadir, and both were assessed in linear regressions for their correlation with treatment effects (hazard ratios) on OS within each set. The strengths of association were quantified using sample-size-weighted coefficients of determination (R2), with values closer to 1.00 indicating stronger association. At the patient level, the correlation was assessed between modeled relative tumor-size change and OS.

Results: For 14 chemotherapy comparisons in 4289 patients, the R2 value was 0.63 (95% CI, 0.30-0.96) for the association between treatment effects on time to nadir and OS and 0.08 (95% CI, 0-0.37) for depth of nadir and OS. For 11 antiangiogenic agent comparisons (4854 patients), corresponding values of R2 were 0.25 (95% CI, 0-0.72) and 0.06 (95% CI, 0-0.35). For 8 anti-epidermal growth factor receptor comparisons (2684 patients), corresponding values of R2 were 0.24 (95% CI, 0-0.83) and 0.21 (95% CI, 0-0.78).

Conclusions And Relevance: In contrast with early reports favoring depth of response as a surrogate, these results suggest that neither time to nadir nor depth of nadir is an acceptable surrogate for OS in the first-line treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.11750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6755539PMC
September 2019

Overexpression of TP53 protein is associated with the lack of adjuvant chemotherapy benefit in patients with stage III colorectal cancer.

Mod Pathol 2020 03 30;33(3):483-495. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Department of Medical Biology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

TP53 mutations drive colorectal cancer development, with missense mutations frequently leading to accumulation of abnormal TP53 protein. TP53 alterations have been associated with poor prognosis and chemotherapy resistance, but data remain controversial. Here, we examined the predictive utility of TP53 overexpression in the context of current adjuvant treatment practice for patients with stage III colorectal cancer. A prospective cohort of 264 stage III patients was tested for association of TP53 expression with 5-year disease-free survival, grouped by adjuvant treatment. Findings were validated in an independent retrospective cohort of 274 stage III patients. Overexpression of TP53 protein (TP53+) was found in 53% and 52% of cases from the prospective and retrospective cohorts, respectively. Among patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy, TP53+ status was associated with shorter disease-free survival (p ≤ 0.026 for both cohorts), while no difference in outcomes between TP53+ and TP53- cases was observed for patients treated with surgery alone. Considering patients with TP53- tumors, those receiving adjuvant treatment had better outcomes compared with those treated with surgery alone (p ≤ 0.018 for both cohorts), while no treatment benefit was apparent for patients with TP53+ tumors. Combined cohort-stratified analysis adjusted for clinicopathological variables and DNA mismatch repair status confirmed a significant interaction between TP53 expression and adjuvant treatment for disease-free survival (p = 0.030). For the combined cohort, the multivariate hazard ratio for TP53 overexpression among patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy was 2.03 (95% confidence interval 1.41-2.95, p < 0.001), while the hazard ratio for adjuvant treatment among patients with TP53- tumors was 0.42 (95% confidence interval 0.24-0.71, p = 0.001). Findings were maintained irrespective of tumor location or when restricted to mismatch repair-proficient tumors. Our data suggest that adjuvant chemotherapy benefit in stage III colorectal cancer is restricted to cases with low-level TP53 protein expression. Identifying TP53+ tumors could highlight patients that may benefit from more aggressive treatment or follow-up.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41379-019-0353-2DOI Listing
March 2020

Atezolizumab with or without cobimetinib versus regorafenib in previously treated metastatic colorectal cancer (IMblaze370): a multicentre, open-label, phase 3, randomised, controlled trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 06 16;20(6):849-861. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

Department of Precision Medicine, Università degli Studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, Italy. Electronic address:

Background: Microsatellite-stable metastatic colorectal cancer is typically unresponsive to immunotherapy. This phase 3 study was designed to assess atezolizumab plus cobimetinib in metastatic colorectal cancer. Here, we report the comparison of atezolizumab plus cobimetinib or atezolizumab monotherapy versus regorafenib in the third-line setting.

Methods: IMblaze 370 is a multicentre, open-label, phase 3, randomised, controlled trial, done at 73 academic medical centres and community oncology practices in 11 countries. Patients aged at least 18 years with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer, baseline Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1, and disease progression on or intolerance to at least two previous systemic chemotherapy regimens were enrolled. We used permuted-block randomisation (block size four) to assign patients (2:1:1) via an interactive voice and web response system to atezolizumab (840 mg intravenously every 2 weeks) plus cobimetinib (60 mg orally once daily for days 1-21 of a 28-day cycle), atezolizumab monotherapy (1200 mg intravenously every 3 weeks), or regorafenib (160 mg orally once daily for days 1-21 of a 28-day cycle). Stratification factors were extended RAS status (wild-type vs mutant) and time since diagnosis of first metastasis (<18 months vs ≥18 months). Recruitment of patients with high microsatellite instability was capped at 5%. The primary endpoint was overall survival in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was assessed in the population of patients who received at least one dose of their assigned treatment. IMblaze370 is ongoing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02788279.

Findings: Between July 27, 2016, and Jan 19, 2017, 363 patients were enrolled (183 patients in the atezolizumab plus cobimetinib group, 90 in the atezolizumab group, and 90 in the regorafenib group). At data cutoff (March 9, 2018), median follow-up was 7·3 months (IQR 3·7-13·6). Median overall survival was 8·87 months (95% CI 7·00-10·61) with atezolizumab plus cobimetinib, 7·10 months (6·05-10·05) with atezolizumab, and 8·51 months (6·41-10·71) with regorafenib; the hazard ratio was 1·00 (95% CI 0·73-1·38; p=0·99) for the combination versus regorafenib and 1·19 (0·83-1·71; p=0·34) for atezolizumab versus regorafenib. Grade 3-4 adverse events were reported in 109 (61%) of 179 patients in the atezolizumab plus cobimetinib group, 28 (31%) of 90 in the atezolizumab group, and 46 (58%) of 80 in the regorafenib group. The most common all-cause grade 3-4 adverse events in the combination group were diarrhoea (20 [11%] of 179), anaemia (ten [6%]), increased blood creatine phosphokinase (12 [7%]), and fatigue (eight [4%]). Serious adverse events were reported in 71 (40%) of 179 patients in the combination group, 15 (17%) of 90 in the atezolizumab group, and 18 (23%) of 80 in the regorafenib group. Two treatment-related deaths occurred in the combination group (sepsis) and one in the regorafenib group (intestinal perforation).

Interpretation: IMblaze370 did not meet its primary endpoint of improved overall survival with atezolizumab plus cobimetinib or atezolizumab versus regorafenib. The safety of atezolizumab plus cobimetinib was consistent with those of the individual drugs. These results underscore the challenge of expanding the benefit of immunotherapy to patients whose tumours have lower baseline levels of immune inflammation, such as those with microsatellite-stable metastatic colorectal cancer.

Funding: F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd/Genentech Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30027-0DOI Listing
June 2019

Outcomes of Older Patients (≥ 70 Years) Treated With Targeted Therapy in Metastatic Chemorefractory Colorectal Cancer: Retrospective Analysis of NCIC CTG CO.17 and CO.20.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2019 03 28;18(1):e140-e149. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Canadian Cancer Trials Group, Kingston, Canada.

Background: The safety and efficacy of targeted therapy in older patients (≥ 70 years) with metastatic colorectal cancer is not well evaluated.

Patients And Methods: Outcomes of older patients (including overall survival [OS], progression-free survival [PFS], toxicity, and quality of life [QoL]) were compared to young patients using data from 2 large previously reported clinical trials, CO.17 (cetuximab vs. best supportive care) and CO.20 (cetuximab plus placebo vs. cetuximab plus brivanib). Only patients with wild-type KRAS tumors were included.

Results: A total of 251 (26.3%) of 955 patients were ≥ 70 years old. No significant differences in OS, PFS, or grade 3/4 adverse events were observed between older and younger patients treated with cetuximab (or cetuximab with placebo) in either trial. Younger patients trended toward superior OS in both CO.17 (hazard ratio = 1.80; P = .16) and CO.20 (hazard ratio = 1.34; P = .07). QoL maintenance favored younger patients in CO.17 (3.6 vs. 5.7 months; P = .046) but no difference of QoL maintenance was observed in the larger CO.20 trial (1.7 vs. 1.8 months; P = .64). Combination therapy of cetuximab and brivanib was significantly more toxic in older adults (87% vs. 77%; P = .03).

Conclusion: OS, PFS, and toxicities were similar between older and younger patients with wild-type KRAS metastatic colorectal cancer when treated with cetuximab. Both age groups likely experience similar QoL maintenance with cetuximab. Dual targeted therapy was significantly more toxic in older patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2018.11.006DOI Listing
March 2019

Cetuximab Alone or With Irinotecan for Resistant KRAS-, NRAS-, BRAF- and PIK3CA-wild-type Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: The AGITG Randomized Phase II ICECREAM Study.

Clin Colorectal Cancer 2018 12 8;17(4):313-319. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

Department of Oncology, Monash Health and Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.

Background: The Irinotecan Cetuximab Evaluation and Cetuximab Response Evaluation (ICECREAM) study assessed the efficacy of cetuximab monotherapy compared with cetuximab combined with chemotherapy for quadruple wild-type (KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, or P13KCA exon 20) metastatic colorectal cancer.

Patients And Methods: Patients were enrolled in an open-label, multicenter, phase II trial and randomly assigned to cetuximab 400 mg/m, then 250 mg/m cetuximab weekly, with or without irinotecan 180 mg/m every 2 weeks. The primary endpoint was 6-month progression-free survival; secondary endpoints were response rate, overall survival, toxicity, and quality of life.

Results: From 2012 to 2016, 48 patients were recruited. Two were ineligible, and 2 were not evaluable for response. Characteristics were balanced, except gender (male, 62% vs. 72%) and primary sidedness (left, 95% vs. 68%). For cetuximab compared with cetuximab-irinotecan, progression-free survival was 14% versus 41% (hazard ratio, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.20-0.78; P = .008); response rate was 10% (2 partial responses) versus 38% (1 complete, 8 partial); P = .04. Grade 3 to 4 toxicities were less with cetuximab monotherapy (23% vs. 50%); global and specific quality of life scores did not differ.

Conclusion: In comparison with cetuximab alone, cetuximab plus irinotecan increases the response rate and delays progression in irinotecan-resistant RAS wild-type colorectal cancer. This echoes data from molecularly unselected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clcc.2018.06.002DOI Listing
December 2018

Clinicopathological differences and survival outcomes with first-line therapy in patients with left-sided colon cancer and rectal cancer: Pooled analysis of 2879 patients from AGITG (MAX), COIN, FOCUS2, OPUS, CRYSTAL and COIN-B trials in the ARCAD database.

Eur J Cancer 2018 11 27;103:205-213. Epub 2018 Sep 27.

Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.

Purpose: Patients with left-sided colon tumours have better survival and respond differently to biologics compared with patients with right-sided tumours. Left-sided colon tumours and rectal cancers are often grouped together. Herein, we examined the clinicopathological differences and outcomes between left-sided colon and rectal cancers.

Patients And Methods: Data from 2879 metastatic colorectal cancer patients enrolled on six first-line clinical trials during 2004-2010 were pooled. Patients were included if the primary tumour origin was clearly defined. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were compared in the two groups after adjusting for patient and tumour characteristics, metastatic sites and the first-line regimen.

Results: In total, 1374 patients with metastatic left-sided colon cancer and 1505 patients with metastatic rectal cancers were evaluated. Left-sided colon cancer patients were more likely to be female (40.1% versus 32.6%; P < 0.0001) and older (31.0% ≥ 70 years versus 25.8%; P = 0.0033) compared with rectal cancers patients. Patients with left-sided colon cancer had higher rates of liver metastases (80.9% versus 72.3%, P < 0.0001) but lower rates of lung metastases (34.2% versus 53.8%, P < 0.0001). KRAS mutations were slightly less frequent among left-sided tumours (34.8% versus 40.5%; P = 0.0103). Patients with left-sided tumours had approximately similar PFS (median 7.4 versus 6.9 months; hazard ratio [HR] 0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.87-1.03; P = 0.1998) and OS (median 17.4 versus 16.6 months; HR 0.99, 95% CI 0.91-1.07; P = 0.7597) compared with rectal cancer patients.

Conclusion: The site of tumour origin within the left side was not prognostic of outcomes. Moreover, neither bevacizumab nor cetuximab impacted, differently, the findings of the comparisons in outcomes between patients with left-sided colon tumours or rectal cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejca.2018.08.020DOI Listing
November 2018

Phase II study of everolimus (RAD001) monotherapy as first-line treatment in advanced biliary tract cancer with biomarker exploration: the RADiChol Study.

Br J Cancer 2018 04 12;118(7):966-971. Epub 2018 Mar 12.

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: Advanced biliary tract cancers (BTCs) have a poor prognosis and limited treatment options. This exploratory phase II study aimed to evaluate the activity of the mTOR inhibitor everolimus in advanced BTC and explore prognostic biomarkers.

Methods: Patients with advanced BTCs, who had not received chemotherapy for advanced disease, were enroled to receive everolimus (10 mg daily). The primary endpoint was disease control rate (DCR) at 12 weeks. Secondary endpoints included overall response rate, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and adverse events. Activation status of the RAS and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT/mTOR pathways was assessed by DNA sequencing and immunohistochemistry on archival tumour tissue.

Results: The study enroled 27 patients and the DCR at 12 weeks was 48%. Median PFS was 5.5 months (95% confidence interval (CI): 2.1-10.0 months) and median OS was 9.5 months (95% CI: 5.5-16.6 months). DCR at 12 weeks was significantly worse for gall bladder carcinoma compared to other anatomical sites, and there was a trend towards a worsened PFS and OS. Treatment was well tolerated. KRAS (12%) and PIK3CA mutations (12%) were uncommon. Immunohistochemical staining for PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathways did not significantly correlate with outcome.

Conclusion: In unselected patients, everolimus demonstrated clinical activity as first-line monotherapy in advanced BTC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-018-0021-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5931084PMC
April 2018

Napabucasin versus placebo in refractory advanced colorectal cancer: a randomised phase 3 trial.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2018 04 1;3(4):263-270. Epub 2018 Feb 1.

Department of Public Health Sciences, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada.

Background: Napabucasin is a first-in-class cancer stemness inhibitor that targets STAT3, which is a poor prognostic factor in colorectal cancer. This study aimed to test napabucasin in advanced colorectal cancer.

Methods: This study was a double-blind randomised phase 3 trial done at 68 centres in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Patients with advanced colorectal cancer with a good Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (0-1) for whom all available standard therapies had failed were eligible for the study. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive placebo or napabucasin through a web-based system with a permuted block method, after stratification by ECOG performance status, KRAS status, previous VEGF inhibitor treatment, and time from diagnosis of metastatic disease. Napabucasin 480 mg or matching placebo was taken orally every 12 h. All patients received best supportive care. The primary endpoint was overall survival assessed in an intention-to-treat analysis. This is the final analysis of this trial, which is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01830621.

Findings: Accrual began on April 15, 2013, and was stopped for futility on May 23, 2014, at which point 282 patients had undergone randomisation (138 assigned to the napabucasin group and 144 to the placebo group). Overall survival did not differ significantly between groups: median overall survival was 4·4 months (95% CI 3·7-4·9) in the napabucasin group and 4·8 months (4·0-5·3) in the placebo group (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 1·13, 95% CI 0·88-1·46, p=0·34). The safety population included 136 patients in the napabucasin group and 144 patients in the placebo group. More patients who received napabucasin had any grade of treatment-related diarrhoea (108 [79%] of 136 patients), nausea (69 [51%]), and anorexia (52 [38%]) than did patients who received placebo (28 [19%] of 144 patients, 35 [24%], and 23 [16%], respectively). The most common severe (grade 3 or worse) treatment-related adverse events were abdominal pain (five [4%] patients receiving napabucasin vs five [3%] receiving placebo), diarrhoea (21 [15%] vs one [1%]), fatigue (14 [10%] vs eight [6%]), and dehydration (six [4%] vs one [1%]). 251 (89%) patients had data on pSTAT3 expression, of whom 55 (22%) had pSTAT3-positive tumours (29 in the napabucasin group, 26 in the placebo group). In a prespecified biomarker analysis of pSTAT3-positive patients, overall survival was longer in the napabucasin group than in the placebo group (median 5·1 months [95% CI 4·0-7·5] vs 3·0 months [1·7-4·1]; HR 0·41, 0·23-0·73, p=0·0025).

Interpretation: Although there was no difference in overall survival between groups in the overall unselected population, STAT3 might be an important target for the treatment of colorectal cancer with elevated pSTAT3 expression. Nevertheless, these results require validation.

Funding: Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and Boston Biomedical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(18)30009-8DOI Listing
April 2018

DUSP5 is methylated in CIMP-high colorectal cancer but is not a major regulator of intestinal cell proliferation and tumorigenesis.

Sci Rep 2018 01 29;8(1):1767. Epub 2018 Jan 29.

Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia, La Trobe University School of Cancer Medicine, Melbourne, Australia.

The ERK signalling pathway regulates key cell fate decisions in the intestinal epithelium and is frequently dysregulated in colorectal cancers (CRCs). Variations in the dynamics of ERK activation can induce different biological outcomes and are regulated by multiple mechanisms, including activation of negative feedback loops involving transcriptional induction of dual-specificity phosphatases (DUSPs). We have found that the nuclear ERK-selective phosphatase DUSP5 is downregulated in colorectal tumours and cell lines, as previously observed in gastric and prostate cancer. The DUSP5 promoter is methylated in a subset of CRC cell lines and primary tumours, particularly those with a CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP). However, this epigenetic change alone could not account for reduced DUSP5 expression in CRC cells. Functionally, DUSP5 depletion failed to alter ERK signalling or proliferation in CRC cell lines, and its transgenic overexpression in the mouse intestine had minimal impact on normal intestinal homeostasis or tumour development. Our results suggest that DUSP5 plays a limited role in regulating ERK signalling associated with the growth of colorectal tumours, but that methylation the DUSP5 gene promoter can serve as an additional means of identifying CIMP-high colorectal cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-20176-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788859PMC
January 2018

Personalizing Survival Predictions in Advanced Colorectal Cancer: The ARCAD Nomogram Project.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2018 06;110(6):638-648

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Background: Estimating prognosis on the basis of clinicopathologic factors can inform clinical practice and improve risk stratification for clinical trials. We constructed prognostic nomograms for one-year overall survival and six-month progression-free survival in metastatic colorectal carcinoma by using the ARCAD database.

Methods: Data from 22 674 patients in 26 randomized phase III clinical trials since 1997 were used to construct and validate Cox models, stratified by treatment arm within each study. Candidate variables included baseline age, sex, body mass index, performance status, colon vs rectal cancer, prior chemotherapy, number and location of metastatic sites, tumor mutation status (BRAF, KRAS), bilirubin, albumin, white blood cell count, hemoglobin, platelets, absolute neutrophil count, and derived neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio. Missing data (<11%) were imputed, continuous variables modeled with splines, and clinically relevant pairwise interactions tested if P values were less than .001. Final models were internally validated via bootstrapping to obtain optimism-corrected calibration and discrimination C-indices, and externally validated on a 10% holdout sample from each trial (n = 2257).

Results: In final models, all included variables were associated with overall survival except for lung metastases, and all but total white cell count associated with progression-free survival. No clinically relevant pairwise interactions were identified. Final nomogram calibration was good (C = 0.68 for overall and C = 0.62 for progression-free survival), as was external validity (concordance between predicted >50% vs < 50% probability) and actual (yes/no) survival (72.8% and 68.2% concordance, respectively, for one-year overall and six-month progression-free survival, between predicted [>50% vs < 50% probability] and actual [yes/no] overall and progression-free survival). Median survival predictions fell within the actual 95% Kaplan-Meier confidence intervals.

Conclusions: The nomograms are well calibrated and internally and externally valid. They have the potential to aid prognostication and patient-physician communication and balance risk in colorectal cancer trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djx253DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005015PMC
June 2018

The Impact of Positive Resection Margins on Survival and Recurrence Following Resection and Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Ann Surg 2019 03;269(3):520-529

The Department of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Objective And Background: Local and distant disease recurrence are frequently observed following pancreatic cancer resection, but an improved understanding of resection margin assessment is required to aid tailored therapies.

Methods: Analyses were carried out to assess the association between clinical characteristics and margin involvement as well as the effects of individual margin involvement on site of recurrence and overall and recurrence-free survival using individual patient data from the European Study Group for Pancreatic Cancer (ESPAC)-3 randomized controlled trial.

Results: There were 1151 patients, of whom 505 (43.9%) had an R1 resection. The median and 95% confidence interval (CI) overall survival was 24.9 (22.9-27.2) months for 646 (56.1%) patients with resection margin negative (R0 >1 mm) tumors, 25.4 (21.6-30.4) months for 146 (12.7%) patients with R1<1 mm positive resection margins, and 18.7 (17.2-21.1) months for 359 (31.2%) patients with R1-direct positive margins (P < 0.001). In multivariable analysis, overall R1-direct tumor margins, poor tumor differentiation, positive lymph node status, WHO performance status ≥1, maximum tumor size, and R1-direct posterior resection margin were all independently significantly associated with reduced overall and recurrence-free survival. Competing risks analysis showed that overall R1-direct positive resection margin status, positive lymph node status, WHO performance status 1, and R1-direct positive superior mesenteric/medial margin resection status were all significantly associated with local recurrence.

Conclusions: R1-direct resections were associated with significantly reduced overall and recurrence-free survival following pancreatic cancer resection. Resection margin involvement was also associated with an increased risk for local recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SLA.0000000000002557DOI Listing
March 2019

Rilotumumab plus epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine as first-line therapy in advanced MET-positive gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction cancer (RILOMET-1): a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2017 11 25;18(11):1467-1482. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

Royal Marsden Hospital, London and Surrey, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Rilotumumab is a fully human monoclonal antibody that selectively targets the ligand of the MET receptor, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We aimed to assess the efficacy, safety, and pharmacokinetics of rilotumumab combined with epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine, and to assess potential biomarkers, in patients with advanced MET-positive gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.

Methods: This multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 study was done at 152 centres in 27 countries. We recruited adults (aged ≥18 years) with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic gastric or gastro-oesophageal junction adenocarcinoma, an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1, MET-positive tumours (≥25% of tumour cells with membrane staining of ≥1+ staining intensity), and evaluable disease, who had not received previous systemic therapy. Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1) via a computerised voice response system to receive rilotumumab 15 mg/kg intravenously or placebo in combination with open-label chemotherapy (epirubicin 50 mg/m intravenously; cisplatin 60 mg/m intravenously; capecitabine 625 mg/m orally twice daily) in 21-day cycles for up to ten cycles. After completion of chemotherapy, patients continued to receive rilotumumab or placebo monotherapy until disease progression, intolerability, withdrawal of consent, or study termination. Randomisation was stratified by disease extent and ECOG performance status. Both patients and physicians were masked to study treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was overall survival, analysed by intention to treat. We report the final analysis. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01697072.

Findings: Between Nov 7, 2012, and Nov 21, 2014, 609 patients were randomly assigned to rilotumumab plus epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine (rilotumumab group; n=304) or placebo plus epirubicin, cisplatin, and capecitabine (placebo group; n=305). Study treatment was stopped early after an independent data monitoring committee found a higher number of deaths in the rilotumumab group than in the placebo group; all patients in the rilotumumab group subsequently discontinued all study treatment. Median follow-up was 7·7 months (IQR 3·6-12·0) for patients in the rilotumumab group and 9·4 months (5·3-13·1) for patients in the placebo group. Median overall survival was 8·8 months (95% CI 7·7-10·2) in the rilotumumab group compared with 10·7 months (9·6-12·4) in the placebo group (stratified hazard ratio 1·34, 95% CI 1·10-1·63; p=0·003). The most common grade 3 or worse adverse events in the rilotumumab and placebo groups were neutropenia (86 [29%] of 298 patients vs 97 [32%] of 299 patients), anaemia (37 [12%] vs 43 [14%]), and fatigue (30 [10%] vs 35 [12%]). The frequency of serious adverse events was similar in the rilotumumab and placebo groups (142 [48%] vs 149 [50%]). More deaths due to adverse events occurred in the rilotumumab group than the placebo group (42 [14%] vs 31 [10%]). In the rilotumumab group, 33 (11%) of 298 patients had fatal adverse events due to disease progression, and nine (3%) had fatal events not due to disease progression. In the placebo group, 23 (8%) of 299 patients had fatal adverse events due to disease progression, and eight (3%) had fatal events not due to disease progression.

Interpretation: Ligand-blocking inhibition of the MET pathway with rilotumumab is not effective in improving clinical outcomes in patients with MET-positive gastric or gastro-oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

Funding: Amgen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30566-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5898242PMC
November 2017

K-Ras mutation and amplification status is predictive of resistance and high basal pAKT is predictive of sensitivity to everolimus in biliary tract cancer cell lines.

Mol Oncol 2017 09 14;11(9):1130-1142. Epub 2017 Jun 14.

Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC) has a poor prognosis and limited treatment options. The PI3K/Akt/mTOR signalling pathway is hyperactivated in a subset of BTCs, and clinical activity of the mTOR inhibitor everolimus has been observed in some patients with BTC. The goal of this study was to identify biomarkers predictive of everolimus response. Twenty BTC cell lines were assessed for everolimus sensitivity with a spectrum of growth inhibitory responses observed. Molecular biomarkers of sensitivity and resistance were identified by interrogation of the activation status of the Ras/MAPK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways. K-Ras mutations and/or amplifications were identified in 45% of cell lines and were associated with resistance to everolimus. Activating mutations in PIK3CA or loss of PTEN was not predictive of everolimus response; however, high basal levels of pAKT were associated with sensitivity, independent of Ras/MAPK pathway activation status. Notably, everolimus inhibited mTOR signalling to a similar extent in sensitive and resistant cell lines, suggesting that relative dependence on the mTOR pathway rather than the magnitude of pathway inhibition determines everolimus response. Consistent with the known limitations of rapalogs, everolimus induced feedback-mediated activation of AKT in BTC cell lines, which could be overcome by cotreatment with an AKT inhibitor or ATP-competitive mTORC1/mTORC2 inhibitors. However, both approaches failed to induce greater apoptosis compared to everolimus, and mTORC1/mTORC2 kinase inhibitors induced compensatory activation of pERK, identifying an inherent limitation of these agents in BTC cell lines. These findings suggest that future trials of everolimus in BTC would benefit from preselecting patients based on their K-Ras and PI3K/mTOR pathway activation status. The study also identifies strategies for enhancing inhibition of the PI3K/mTOR pathway in BTC cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/1878-0261.12078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579335PMC
September 2017

Clinical Calculator for Early Mortality in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer: An Analysis of Patients From 28 Clinical Trials in the Aide et Recherche en Cancérologie Digestive Database.

J Clin Oncol 2017 Jun 17;35(17):1929-1937. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Lindsay A. Renfro, Axel Grothey, and Daniel J. Sargent, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN; Richard M. Goldberg, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Alberto Sobrero, Ospedale San Martino, Genoa; Alfredo Falcone, University Hospital of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; Richard Adams, Cardiff University, Cardiff; Matthew T. Seymour, St James's Hospital and University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom; Volker Heinemann, University of Munich, Munich; Hans-Joachim Schmoll, University Clinic Halle (Saale), Halle; Rainer Porschen, Klinikum Bremen-Ost Klinik für Innere Medizin, Bremen; Carsten Bokemeyer, University Hospital, Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; Jean-Yves Douillard, Centre René Gauducheau, Nantes; Christophe Tournigand, University of Paris Est Creteil; Christophe Tournigand, Assistance Hopitaux Publique de Paris Henri-Mondor Hospital, Créteil; Benoist Chibaudel and Aimery de Gramont, Franco-British Institute, Levallois-Perret, France; Herbert Hurwitz, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC; Charles S. Fuchs; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; Eduardo Diaz-Rubio, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Universidad Complutense, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria del Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid, Spain; Paulo M. Hoff, Hospital Sírio-Libanês and University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Fairooz F. Kabbinavar and J. Randolph Hecht, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; Niall C. Tebbutt, Austin Health, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia; Cornelis J.A. Punt, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; John Souglakos, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece; Eric Van Cutsem, University Hospital Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; and Leonard Saltz, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.

Purpose Factors contributing to early mortality after initiation of treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer are poorly understood. Materials and Methods Data from 22,654 patients enrolled in 28 randomized phase III trials contained in the ARCAD (Aide et Recherche en Cancérologie Digestive) database were pooled. Multivariable logistic regression models for 30-, 60-, and 90-day mortality were constructed, including clinically and statistically significant patient and disease factors and interaction terms. A calculator (nomogram) for 90-day mortality was developed and validated internally using bootstrapping methods and externally using a 10% random holdout sample from each trial. The impact of early progression on the likelihood of survival to 90 days was examined with time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models. Results Mortality rates were 1.4% at 30 days, 3.4% at 60 days, and 5.5% at 90 days. Among baseline factors, advanced age, lower body mass index, poorer performance status, increased number of metastatic sites, BRAF mutant status, and several laboratory parameters were associated with increased likelihood of early mortality. A multivariable model for 90-day mortality showed strong internal discrimination (C-index, 0.77) and good calibration across risk groups as well as accurate predictions in the external validation set, both overall and within patient subgroups. Conclusion A validated clinical nomogram has been developed to quantify the risk of early death for individual patients during initial treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. This tool may be used for patient eligibility assessment or risk stratification in future clinical trials and to identify patients requiring more or less aggressive therapy and additional supportive measures during and after treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2016.71.5771DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466009PMC
June 2017

Prognosis of patients with peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer given systemic therapy: an analysis of individual patient data from prospective randomised trials from the Analysis and Research in Cancers of the Digestive System (ARCAD) database.

Lancet Oncol 2016 Dec 12;17(12):1709-1719. Epub 2016 Oct 12.

Department of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.

Background: Patients with peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer have reduced overall survival compared with patients with metastatic colorectal cancer without peritoneal involvement. Here we further investigated the effect of the number and location of metastases in patients receiving first-line systemic chemotherapy.

Methods: We analysed individual patient data for previously untreated patients enrolled in 14 phase 3 randomised trials done between 1997 and 2008. Trials were included if protocols explicitly pre-specified and solicited for patients with peritoneal involvement in the trial data collection process or had done a formal peritoneum-focused review of individual pre-treatment scans. We used stratified multivariable Cox models to assess the prognostic associations of peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer with overall survival and progression-free survival, adjusting for other key clinical-pathological factors (age, sex, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance score, primary tumour location [colon vs rectum], previous treatment, and baseline BMI). The primary endpoint was difference in overall survival between populations with and without peritoneal metastases.

Findings: Individual patient data were available for 10 553 patients. 9178 (87%) of 10 553 patients had non-peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer (4385 with one site of metastasis, 4793 with two or more sites of metastasis), 194 (2%) patients had isolated peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer, and 1181 (11%) had peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer and other organ involvement. These groups were similar in age, ethnic origin, and use of targeted treatment. Patients with peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer were more likely than those with non-peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer to be women (565 [41%] of 1371 vs 3312 [36%] of 9169 patients; p=0·0003), have colon primary tumours (1116 [84%] of 1334 patients vs 5603 [66%]; p<0·0001), and have performance status of 2 (136 [10%] vs 521 [6%]; p<0·0001). We recorded a higher proportion of patients with mutated BRAF in patients with peritoneal-only (eight [18%] of 44 patients with available data) and peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer with other sites of metastasis (34 [12%] of 289), compared with patients with non-peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer (194 [9%] of 2230; p=0·028 comparing the three groups). Overall survival (adjusted HR 0·75, 95% CI 0·63-0·91; p=0·003) was better in patients with isolated non-peritoneal sites than in those with isolated peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer. Overall survival of patients with two of more non-peritoneal sites of metastasis (adjusted HR 1·04, 95% CI 0·86-1·25, p=0.69) and those with peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer plus one other site of metastasis (adjusted HR 1·10, 95% CI 0·89-1·37, p=0·37) was similar to those with isolated peritoneal metastases. Compared with patients with isolated peritoneal metastases, those with peritoneal metastases and two or more additional sites of metastasis had the shortest survival (adjusted HR 1·40; CI 1·14-1·71; p=0·0011).

Interpretation: Patients with peritoneal metastatic colorectal cancer have significantly shorter overall survival than those with other isolated sites of metastases. In patients with several sites of metastasis, poor survival is a function of both increased number of metastatic sites and peritoneal involvement. The pattern of metastasis and in particular, peritoneal involvement, results in prognostic heterogeneity of metastatic colorectal cancer.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(16)30500-9DOI Listing
December 2016

A Randomized Phase II Study of FOLFOX With or Without the MET Inhibitor Onartuzumab in Advanced Adenocarcinoma of the Stomach and Gastroesophageal Junction.

Oncologist 2016 09 8;21(9):1085-90. Epub 2016 Jul 8.

Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Background: The phase II YO28252 study (NCT01590719) examined first-line onartuzumab plus mFOLFOX6 in patients with metastatic, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative adenocarcinoma of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction. MET immunohistochemistry expression as a biomarker of onartuzumab activity was also examined.

Patients And Methods: Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive standard mFOLFOX6 plus onartuzumab (10 mg/kg) or placebo in 2-week cycles for 12 cycles, followed by onartuzumab or placebo until disease progression. Coprimary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) in intent-to-treat (ITT) and MET-positive populations. The target hazard ratio (HR) was 0.70 for patients in the ITT group and 0.60 in the MET-positive population. Secondary endpoints were overall survival (OS), overall response rate (ORR), and safety.

Results: Overall, 123 patients were enrolled (n = 62 onartuzumab, n = 61 placebo). Median PFS was 6.77 versus 6.97 months for onartuzumab versus placebo, respectively (HR, 1.08; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.71-1.63; p = .71). In the MET-positive population, median PFS was 5.95 versus 6.80 months, onartuzumab versus placebo (HR, 1.38; 95% CI, 0.60-3.20; p = .45). Median OS was 10.61 months for onartuzumab versus 11.27 months for placebo) (HR, 1.06, 0.64-1.75; p = .83). In the MET-positive population, median OS was 8.51 versus 8.48 months for onartuzumab versus placebo, respectively (HR, 1.12, 95% CI, 0.45-2.78; p = .80). ORR was 60.5% for the onartuzumab group and 57.1% for placebo. Grade 3-5 adverse events (AEs) were seen in 88.3% of patients receiving onartuzumab and in 78.3% of patients receiving placebo, with serious AEs in 55% and 40%, respectively.

Conclusion: The addition of onartuzumab to mFOLFOX6 in gastric cancer did not improve efficacy in an unselected population or in a MET immunohistochemistry-positive population.

Implications For Practice: The YO28252 study demonstrated that the addition of the anti-MET agent onartuzumab to mFOLFOX6 for treatment of gastric cancer did not improve efficacy in an overall study population or those selected for positive MET status by immunohistochemistry. This highlights the importance of correctly selecting biomarkers for targeted therapies. A multivariate analysis suggested that MET positivity may still be prognostic for worse median overall survival in gastric cancer; therefore, it is important to continue investigation into the optimal approach to inhibit MET signaling in gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2016-0038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5016069PMC
September 2016

Regorafenib for the Treatment of Advanced Gastric Cancer (INTEGRATE): A Multinational Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial.

J Clin Oncol 2016 08 20;34(23):2728-35. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Nick Pavlakis, Niall C. Tebbutt, Lara R. Lipton, John R. Zalcberg, John Simes, and David Goldstein, Australasian Gastro-Intestinal Trials Group; Nick Pavlakis, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney; Katrin M. Sjoquist, Andrew J. Martin, Eric Tsobanis, Sonia Yip, and John Simes, National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney; Katrin M. Sjoquist, Cancer Care Centre, St George Hospital; Sonia Yip, Sydney Catalyst Translational Cancer Research Centre; Mark Wong, Westmead Hospital; David Goldstein, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales; Niall C. Tebbutt, Austin Health; Lara R. Lipton, Western Health; Andrew Strickland, Monash Medical Centre; John R. Zalcberg, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Yoon-Koo Kang, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine; Yung-Jue Bang, Seoul National University Hospital; Sun Young Rha, Yonsei University College of Medicine; Jeeyun Lee, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine; Jae-Yong Cho, Gangnam Severance Cancer Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul; Jin Won Kim, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, South Korea; Thierry Alcindor, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec; Christopher J. O'Callaghan, National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group, Kingston, Ontario; and Margot J. Burnell, Saint John Regional Hospital, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Purpose: We evaluated the activity of regorafenib, an oral multikinase inhibitor, in advanced gastric adenocarcinoma.

Patients And Methods: We conducted an international (Australia and New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada) randomized phase II trial in which patients were randomly assigned at a two-to-one ratio and stratified by lines of prior chemotherapy for advanced disease (one v two) and region. Eligible patients received best supportive care plus regorafenib 160 mg or matching placebo orally on days 1 to 21 of each 28-day cycle until disease progression or prohibitive adverse events occurred. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Final analysis included data to December 31, 2014.

Results: A total of 152 patients were randomly assigned from November 7, 2012, to February 25, 2014, yielding 147 evaluable patients (regorafenib, n = 97; placebo, n = 50). Baseline characteristics were balanced. Median PFS significantly differed between groups (regorafenib, 2.6 months; 95% CI, 1.8 to 3.1 and placebo, 0.9 months; 95% CI, 0.9 to 0.9; hazard ratio [HR], 0.40; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.59; P < .001). The effect was greater in South Korea than in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada combined (HR, 0.12 v 0.61; interaction P < .001) but consistent across age, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, primary site, lines of chemotherapy, peritoneal metastasis presence, number of metastatic sites, and plasma vascular endothelial growth factor A. A survival trend in favor of regorafenib was seen (median, 5.8 months; 95% CI, 4.4 to 6.8 v 4.5 months; 95% CI, 3.4 to 5.2; HR, 0.74; P = .147). Twenty-nine patients assigned to placebo received open-label regorafenib after disease progression. Regorafenib toxicity was similar to that previously reported.

Conclusion: In this phase II trial, regorafenib was effective in prolonging PFS in refractory advanced gastric adenocarcinoma. Regional differences were found, but regorafenib was effective in both regional groups. A phase III trial is planned.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.2015.65.1901DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5019744PMC
August 2016

Fc-γ Receptor Polymorphisms, Cetuximab Therapy, and Survival in the NCIC CTG CO.17 Trial of Colorectal Cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2016 05;22(10):2435-44

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Translational Genomics and Epigenomics Laboratory, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia. School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.

Purpose: Two germline Fc-γ receptor (FCGR) polymorphisms, rs1801274 [FCGR2A;His(H)131Arg(R)] and rs396991 [FCGR3A;Phe(F)158Val(V)] produce altered proteins through amino acid substitutions; both are reported to be associated with cetuximab-related outcomes. We performed a validation of these polymorphisms in NCIC CTG CO.17, a randomized trial of cetuximab monotherapy in refractory, metastatic colorectal cancer expressing EGFR.

Experimental Design: DNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue was genotyped. In addition to log-rank tests, Cox proportional hazard models assessed their relationships with overall (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS), adjusting for clinically important prognostic factors, along with a polymorphism-treatment arm interaction term.

Results: Somatic KRAS status was wild-type for exon 2 in 153 (52%) of 293 patients, from whom tumor DNA was available. For FCGR2A H/H, a genotype-treatment interaction for KRAS wild-type patients was observed for OS (P = 0.03). In KRAS wild-type patients carrying FCGR2A H/H, cetuximab (vs. no cetuximab) improved survival substantially, with adjusted HRs (aHR) of 0.36 (OS) and 0.19 (PFS) and absolute benefits of 5.5 months (OS; P = 0.003) and 3.7 months (PFS; P = 0.02). In contrast, patients carrying FCGR2A R alleles (H/R or R/R) had aHRs of only 0.78 (OS; 2.8-month benefit) and 0.53 (PFS; 1.6-month benefit). No relationships were found for rs396991 (FCGR3A).

Conclusions: In the CO.17 trial, cetuximab worked best for patients with KRAS wild-type colorectal cancers carrying FCGR2A H/H genotypes. Significantly lower benefits were observed in patients carrying germline FCGR2A R alleles. Clin Cancer Res; 22(10); 2435-44. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-15-0414DOI Listing
May 2016

Update on optimal treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer from the ACTG/AGITG expert meeting: ECCO 2015.

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther 2016 May;16(5):557-71

l Cabrini Medical Centre , Monash University , Melbourne , Australia.

The treatment of metastatic CRC (mCRC) has evolved over the last 20 years, from fluoropyrimidines alone to combination chemotherapy and new biologic agents. Median overall survival is now over 24 months for RAS mutated (MT) patients and over 30 months for RAS wild-type (WT) patients. However, there are subgroups of patients with BRAF V600E MT CRC who have a significantly poorer outlook. Newer treatment options are also being explored in select subgroups of patients (anti-HER 2 in HER2 positive mCRC and immunotherapy in patients with defective mismatch repair (dMMR)). The best use of these systemic treatment options, as well as surgery in well-selected patients requires careful consideration of predictive biomarkers and importantly, the optimal sequence in which therapies should be given to derive maximal benefit. A group of colorectal subspecialty medical oncologists from Australia, USA, The Netherlands and Germany met during ECCO 2015 in Vienna to review current practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/14737140.2016.1170594DOI Listing
May 2016

Panitumumab added to docetaxel, cisplatin and fluoropyrimidine in oesophagogastric cancer: ATTAX3 phase II trial.

Br J Cancer 2016 Mar 11;114(5):505-9. Epub 2016 Feb 11.

National Health and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Locked Bag 77, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW 1450, Australia.

Background: This randomised phase II study evaluated the efficacy and safety of panitumumab added to docetaxel-based chemotherapy in advanced oesophagogastric cancer.

Methods: Patients with metastatic or locally recurrent cancer of the oesophagus, oesophagogastric junction or stomach received docetaxel and a fluoropyrimidine with or without panitumumab for 8 cycles or until progression. The primary end point was response rate (RECIST1.1). We planned to enrol 100 patients, with 50% expected response rate for combination therapy.

Results: A total of 77 patients were enrolled. A safety alert from the REAL3 trial prompted a review of data that found no evidence of adverse outcomes associated with panitumumab but questionable efficacy, and new enrolment was ceased. Enrolled patients were treated according to protocol. Response rates were 49% (95% CI 34-64%) in the chemotherapy arm and 58% (95% CI 42-72%) in the combination arm. Common grade 3 and 4 toxicities included infection, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhoea and fatigue. At 23.7 months of median follow-up, median progression-free survival was 6.9 months vs 6.0 months and median overall survival was 11.7 months vs 10.0 months in the chemotherapy arm and the combination arm, respectively.

Conclusions: Adding panitumumab to docetaxel-based chemotherapy for advanced oesophagogastric cancer did not improve efficacy and increased toxicities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/bjc.2015.440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4782199PMC
March 2016