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1.  Surrogate endpoints for overall survival in chemotherapy and radiotherapy trials in operable and locally advanced lung cancer: a re-analysis of meta-analyses of individual patients' data 
The Lancet Oncology  2013;14(7):619-626.
The gold standard endpoint in clinical trials of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for lung cancer is overall survival. Although reliable and simple to measure, this endpoint takes years to observe. Surrogate endpoints that would enable earlier assessments of treatment effects would be useful. We assessed the correlations between potential surrogate endpoints and overall survival at individual and trial levels.
We analysed individual patients' data from 15 071 patients involved in 60 randomised clinical trials that were assessed in six meta-analyses. Two meta-analyses were of adjuvant chemotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer, three were of sequential or concurrent chemotherapy, and one was of modified radiotherapy in locally advanced lung cancer. We investigated disease-free survival (DFS) or progression-free survival (PFS), defined as the time from randomisation to local or distant relapse or death, and locoregional control, defined as the time to the first local event, as potential surrogate endpoints. At the individual level we calculated the squared correlations between distributions of these three endpoints and overall survival, and at the trial level we calculated the squared correlation between treatment effects for endpoints.
In trials of adjuvant chemotherapy, correlations between DFS and overall survival were very good at the individual level (ρ2=0·83, 95% CI 0·83–0·83 in trials without radiotherapy, and 0·87, 0·87–0·87 in trials with radiotherapy) and excellent at trial level (R2=0·92, 95% CI 0·88–0·95 in trials without radiotherapy and 0·99, 0·98–1·00 in trials with radiotherapy). In studies of locally advanced disease, correlations between PFS and overall survival were very good at the individual level (ρ2 range 0·77–0·85, dependent on the regimen being assessed) and trial level (R2 range 0·89–0·97). In studies with data on locoregional control, individual-level correlations were good (ρ2=0·71, 95% CI 0·71–0·71 for concurrent chemotherapy and ρ2=0·61, 0·61–0·61 for modified vs standard radiotherapy) and trial-level correlations very good (R2=0·85, 95% CI 0·77–0·92 for concurrent chemotherapy and R2=0·95, 0·91–0·98 for modified vs standard radiotherapy).
We found a high level of evidence that DFS is a valid surrogate endpoint for overall survival in studies of adjuvant chemotherapy involving patients with non-small-cell lung cancers, and PFS in those of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for patients with locally advanced lung cancers. Extrapolation to targeted agents, however, is not automatically warranted.
Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique, Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, British Medical Research Council, Sanofi-Aventis.
PMCID: PMC3732017  PMID: 23680111
2.  Disease-Free Survival as a Surrogate for Overall Survival in Adjuvant Trials of Gastric Cancer: A Meta-Analysis 
In investigations of the effectiveness of surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy for gastric cancers, overall survival (OS) is considered the gold standard endpoint. However, the disadvantage of using OS as the endpoint is that it requires an extended follow-up period. We sought to investigate whether disease-free survival (DFS) is a valid surrogate for OS in trials of adjuvant chemotherapy for gastric cancer.
The GASTRIC group initiated a meta-analysis of individual patient data collected in randomized clinical trials comparing adjuvant chemotherapy vs surgery alone for patients with curatively resected gastric cancer. Surrogacy of DFS was assessed through the correlation between the endpoints as well as through the correlation between the treatment effects on the endpoints. External validation of the prediction based on DFS was also evaluated.
Individual patient data from 14 randomized clinical trials that included a total of 3288 patients were analyzed. The rank correlation coefficient between DFS and OS was 0.974 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.971 to 0.976). The coefficient of determination between the treatment effects on DFS and on OS was as high as 0.964 (95% CI = 0.926 to 1.000), and the surrogate threshold effect based on adjusted regression analysis was 0.92. In external validation, the six hazard ratios for OS predicted according to DFS were in very good agreement with those actually observed for OS.
DFS is an acceptable surrogate for OS in trials of cytotoxic agents for gastric cancer in the adjuvant setting.
PMCID: PMC4202244  PMID: 24108812
3.  Cross-validation analysis of the prognostic significance of mucin expression in patients with resected non-small cell lung cancer treated with adjuvant chemotherapy: results from IALT, JBR.10 and ANITA 
CALGB 9633 was a randomized trial of observation versus adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with stage IB non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In CALGB 9633, the presence of mucin in the primary tumor was associated with shorter disease-free survival (DFS; hazard ratio (HR)=1.9, p=0.002) and overall survival (OS; HR=1.9, p=0.004).
To validate these results, mucin staining was performed on primary tumor specimens from 780 patients treated on IALT, 351 on JBR.10 and 150 on ANITA. The histochemical technique using mucicarmine was performed. The prognostic value of mucin for DFS and OS was tested in a Cox model stratified by trial and adjusted for clinical and pathological factors. A pooled analysis of all 4 trials was performed for the predictive value of mucin for benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
The cross-validation group had 48% squamous, 37% adenocarcinoma and 15% other NSCLC compared with 29%, 56%, and 15% respectively in CALGB. Among 1262 patients with assessable results, mucin was positive in IALT 24%, JBR.10 30%, ANITA 22% compared with 45% in CALGB. Histology was the only significant covariate (p<0.0001) in multivariate analysis with mucin seen more commonly in adenocarcinoma (56%) compared with squamous (5%) and other NSCLC (15%). Mucin was a borderline negative prognostic factor for DFS (HR=1.2 [1.0–1.5], p=0.06) but not significantly so for OS (HR=1.1 [0.9–1.4], p=0.25). Prognostic value did not vary according to histology: HR=1.3 [1.0–1.6] in adenocarcinoma vs. 1.6 [1.2–2.2] for DFS in other histology (interaction p=0.69). Mucin status was not predictive for benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy (test of interaction: DFS p=0.27; OS p=0.49).
Mucin was less frequent in the cross-validation group due to its higher percentage of squamous cell carcinomas. The negative impact of mucin was confirmed for DFS but not for OS. Mucin expression was not predictive of overall survival benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3804220  PMID: 23920379
Non-small cell lung cancer; prognostic factors; mucin; predictive factors; adenocarcinoma
4.  ERCC1 Isoform Expression and DNA Repair in Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;368(12):1101-1110.
The excision repair cross-complementation group 1 (ERCC1) protein is a potential prognostic biomarker of the efficacy of cisplatin-based chemotherapy in non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Although several ongoing trials are evaluating the level of expression of ERCC1, no consensus has been reached regarding a method for evaluation.
We used the 8F1 antibody to measure the level of expression of ERCC1 protein by means of immunohistochemical analysis in a validation set of samples obtained from 494 patients in two independent phase 3 trials (the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group JBR.10 and the Cancer and Leukemia Group B 9633 trial from the Lung Adjuvant Cisplatin Evaluation Biology project). We compared the results of repeated staining of the entire original set of samples obtained from 589 patients in the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial Biology study, which had led to the initial correlation between the absence of ERCC1 expression and platinum response, with our previous results in the same tumors. We mapped the epitope recognized by 16 commercially available ERCC1 antibodies and investigated the capacity of the different ERCC1 isoforms to repair platinum-induced DNA damage.
We were unable to validate the predictive effect of immunostaining for ERCC1 protein. The discordance in the results of staining for ERCC1 suggested a change in the performance of the 8F1 antibody since 2006. We found that none of the 16 antibodies could distinguish among the four ERCC1 protein isoforms, whereas only one isoform produced a protein that had full capacities for nucleotide excision repair and cisplatin resistance.
Immunohistochemical analysis with the use of currently available ERCC1 antibodies did not specifically detect the unique functional ERCC1 isoform. As a result, its usefulness in guiding therapeutic decision making is limited. (Funded by Eli Lilly and others.)
PMCID: PMC4054818  PMID: 23514287
6.  Efficacy, Safety, and Biomarkers of Single-Agent Bevacizumab Therapy in Patients with Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma 
The Oncologist  2012;17(8):1063-1072.
The safety, efficacy, and potential biomarkers of activity of bevacizumab in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma were assessed. Bevacizumab was active and well tolerated. The clinical value of circulating endothelial cells and interleukin-6 and -8 warrants further investigation.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a highly vascularized tumor in which neoangiogenesis contributes to growth and metastasis. We assessed the safety, efficacy, and potential biomarkers of activity of bevacizumab in patients with advanced HCC.
In this phase II trial, eligible patients received bevacizumab, 5 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg every 2 weeks. The disease-control rate at 16 weeks (16W-DCR) was the primary endpoint. Circulating endothelial cells (CECs) and plasma cytokines and angiogenic factors (CAFs) were measured at baseline and throughout treatment.
The 16W-DCR was 42% (95% confidence interval, 27%–57%). Six of the 43 patients who received bevacizumab achieved a partial response (objective response rate [ORR], 14%). Grade 3–4 asthenia, hemorrhage, and aminotransferase elevation occurred in five (12%), three (7%), and three (7%) patients, respectively. During treatment, placental growth factor markedly increased, whereas vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A dramatically decreased (p < .0001); soluble VEGF receptor-2 (p < .0001) and CECs (p = .03) transiently increased on day 3. High and increased CEC counts at day 15 were associated with the ORR (p = .04) and the 16W-DCR (p = .02), respectively. Lower interleukin (IL)-8 levels at baseline (p = .01) and throughout treatment (p ≤ .04) were associated with the 16W-DCR. High baseline IL-8 and IL-6 levels predicted shorter progression-free and overall survival times (p ≤ .04).
Bevacizumab is active and well tolerated in patients with advanced HCC. The clinical value of CECs, IL-6, and IL-8 warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3425524  PMID: 22707516
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Bevacizumab; Circulating endothelial cells; Prognosis; Biomarker
7.  A Pooled Exploratory Analysis of the Effect of Tumor Size and KRAS Mutations on Survival Benefit from Adjuvant Platinum-Based Chemotherapy in Node Negative Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer 
Staging of node negative (N0) non-small cell lung cancer is modified in the 7th edition TNM classification. Here, we pool data from JBR.10 and CALGB-9633 to explore the prognostic and predictive effects of the new T-size descriptors and KRAS mutation status.
Node negative patients were reclassified as T2a (>3-≤5cm), T2b (>5-≤7cm), T3 (>7cm) or T≤3 cm (≤3cm but other T2 characteristics).
Of 538 eligible patients, 288 (53.5%) were T2a, 111 (21%) T2b, 62 (11.5%) T3, while 77 (14%) T≤3cm were excluded to avoid confounding. KRAS mutations were detected in 104/390 (27%) patients. T-size was prognostic for disease-free survival (DFS; p=0.03), but borderline for overall survival (OS; p=0.10), on multivariable analysis. Significant interaction between the prognostic value of KRAS and tumor size was observed for OS (p=0.01), but not DFS (p=0.10). There was a non-significant trend (p=0.24) for increased chemotherapy effect on OS with advancing T-size (HR T2a 0.90, [0.63-1.30]; T2b 0.69, [0.38-1.24]; and T3 0.57, [0.28-1.17]). The HR for chemotherapy effect on OS in T2a patients with KRAS wild-type tumors was 0.81 (p=0.36), while a trend for detrimental effect was observed in those with mutant tumors (HR 2.11; p=0.09; interaction p=0.05). Similar trends were observed in T2b-T3 patients with wild-type (HR 0.86; p=0.62), and KRAS mutant tumors (HR 1.16; p=0.74; interaction p=0.58).
Chemotherapy effect appears to increase with tumor size. However, this small study could not identify subgroups of patients who did or did not derive significant benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy based on T-size or KRAS status.
PMCID: PMC3638870  PMID: 22588152
8.  Prediction of survival benefits from progression-free survival benefits in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: evidence from a meta-analysis of 2334 patients from 5 randomised trials 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e001802.
To investigate whether progression-free survival (PFS) can be considered a surrogate endpoint for overall survival (OS) in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Meta-analysis of individual patient data from randomised trials.
Five randomised controlled trials comparing docetaxel-based chemotherapy with vinorelbine-based chemotherapy for the first-line treatment of NSCLC.
2331 patients with advanced NSCLC.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Surrogacy of PFS for OS was assessed through the association between these endpoints and between the treatment effects on these endpoints. The surrogate threshold effect was the minimum treatment effect on PFS required to predict a non-zero treatment effect on OS.
The median follow-up of patients still alive was 23.4 months. Median OS was 10 months and median PFS was 5.5 months. The treatment effects on PFS and OS were correlated, whether using centres (R²=0.62, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.72) or prognostic strata (R²=0.72, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.84) as units of analysis. The surrogate threshold effect was a PFS hazard ratio (HR) of 0.49 using centres or 0.53 using prognostic strata.
These analyses provide only modest support for considering PFS as an acceptable surrogate for OS in patients with advanced NSCLC. Only treatments that have a major impact on PFS (risk reduction of at least 50%) would be expected to also have a significant effect on OS. Whether these results also apply to targeted therapies is an open question that requires independent evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3612819  PMID: 23485717
Clinical Pharmacology
9.  MicroRNA expression and clinical outcomes in patients treated with adjuvant chemotherapy after complete resection of non-small cell lung carcinoma 
Cancer research  2010;70(21):8288-8298.
This study determined whether expression levels of a panel of biologically relevant microRNAs can be used as prognostic or predictive biomarkers in patients who participated in the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial (IALT), the largest randomized study conducted to date of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with radically resected non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Expression of miR-21, miR-29b, miR-34a/b/c, miR-155 and let-7a was determined by quantitative real-time PCR in paraffin embedded formalin fixed tumor specimens from 639 IALT patients. Prognostic and predictive value of microRNA expression for survival were studied using a Cox model, which included every factor used in the stratified randomization, clinicopathological prognostic factors and other factors statistically related to microRNA expression. Investigation of the expression pattern of microRNAs in situ was performed. We also analyzed association of TP53 mutation status and miR-34a/b/c expression, EGFR and KRAS mutation status and miR-21 and Let-7a expression, respectively. Finally, association of p16 and miR-29b expression was assessed. Overall, no significant association was found between any of the tested microRNAs and survival, with the exception of miR-21 where a deleterious prognostic effect of lowered expression was suggested. Otherwise, no single or combinatorial microRNA expression profile predicted response to adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Together, our results indicate that the miRNA expression patterns examined were neither predictive nor prognostic in a large patient cohort of radically resected NSCLC randomized to receive adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy versus follow-up only.
PMCID: PMC2970724  PMID: 20978195
non–small cell lung cancer; adjuvant chemotherapy; randomized trial; biomarker; drug resistance; microRNA
10.  Docetaxel- and 5-FU-concurrent radiotherapy in patients presenting unresectable locally advanced pancreatic cancer: a FNCLCC-ACCORD/0201 randomized phase II trial's pre-planned analysis and case report of a 5.5-year disease-free survival 
To explore possible improvement in the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma (LAPC) we performed a randomized, non-comparative phase II study evaluating docetaxel - plus either daily continuous 5 FU or weekly cisplatin concurrent to radiotherapy. We report here the results of the docetaxel plus 5 FU regimen stopped according to the interim analysis. The docetaxel plus cisplatin arm was continued.
Forty (40) chemotherapy-naive patients with unresectable LAPC were randomly assigned (1:1) to either continuous fluorouracil (5-FU) 200 mg/m2/day (protracted IV) and docetaxel (DCT) 20 mg/m2/week or DCT 20 mg/m2 and cisplatin (CDDP) 20 mg/m2, plus concurrent radiotherapy for a period of 6 weeks. The radiation dose to the primary tumor was 54 Gy in 30 fractions. The trial's primary endpoint was the 6-month crude non-progression rate (NPR). Secondary endpoints were tolerance, objective response rate, and overall survival. Accrual was to be stopped if at 6 months more than 13 disease progressions were observed in 20 patients.
Eighteen (18) progressions occurred at 6 months in the 5-FU-DCT arm. Six-month NPR was 10% (95%CI: 0-23). Six and 12-month survivals were 85% (95%CI: 64-95) and 40% (95%CI: 22-61); median overall survival was 10.1 months. Median progression-free survival was 4.3 months. We report the case of one patient who was amenable to surgery and has been in complete response (CR) for 5.5 years. Toxicities grade ≥ 3 were reported in 75% of patients; no treatment-related death occurred. Severe toxicities were mainly vomiting (35%), abdominal pain (10%) and fatigue (10%).
Combination of 5-FU, docetaxel and radiotherapy has inadequate efficacy in the treatment of LAPC despite good tolerance for the 5-FU-DCT regimen.
Trial Registration NCT00112697
PMCID: PMC3191360  PMID: 21943032

Results 1-10 (10)