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Addition of cetuximab to oxaliplatin-based first-line combination chemotherapy for treatment of advanced colorectal cancer: results of the randomised phase 3 MRC COIN trial

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      BackgroundIn the Medical Research Council (MRC) COIN trial, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeted antibody cetuximab was added to standard chemotherapy in first-line treatment of advanced colorectal cancer with the aim of assessing effect on overall survival.MethodsIn this randomised controlled trial, patients who were fit for but had not received previous chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancer were randomly assigned to oxaliplatin and fluoropyrimidine chemotherapy (arm A), the same combination plus cetuximab (arm B), or intermittent chemotherapy (arm C). The choice of fluoropyrimidine therapy (capecitabine or infused fluouroracil plus leucovorin) was decided before randomisation. Randomisation was done centrally (via telephone) by the MRC Clinical Trials Unit using minimisation. Treatment allocation was not masked. The comparison of arms A and C is described in a companion paper. Here, we present the comparison of arm A and B, for which the primary outcome was overall survival in patients with KRAS wild-type tumours. Analysis was by intention to treat. Further analyses with respect to NRAS, BRAF, and EGFR status were done. The trial is registered, ISRCTN27286448.Findings1630 patients were randomly assigned to treatment groups (815 to standard therapy and 815 to addition of cetuximab). Tumour samples from 1316 (81%) patients were used for somatic molecular analyses; 565 (43%) had KRAS mutations. In patients with KRAS wild-type tumours (arm A, n=367; arm B, n=362), overall survival did not differ between treatment groups (median survival 17·9 months [IQR 10·3–29·2] in the control group vs 17·0 months [9·4–30·1] in the cetuximab group; HR 1·04, 95% CI 0·87–1·23, p=0·67). Similarly, there was no effect on progression-free survival (8·6 months [IQR 5·0–12·5] in the control group vs 8·6 months [5·1–13·8] in the cetuximab group; HR 0·96, 0·82–1·12, p=0·60). Overall response rate increased from 57% (n=209) with chemotherapy alone to 64% (n=232) with addition of cetuximab (p=0·049). Grade 3 and higher skin and gastrointestinal toxic effects were increased with cetuximab (14 vs 114 and 67 vs 97 patients in the control group vs the cetuximab group with KRAS wild-type tumours, respectively). Overall survival differs by somatic mutation status irrespective of treatment received: BRAF mutant, 8·8 months (IQR 4·5–27·4); KRAS mutant, 14·4 months (8·5–24·0); all wild-type, 20·1 months (11·5–31·7).InterpretationThis trial has not confirmed a benefit of addition of cetuximab to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy in first-line treatment of patients with advanced colorectal cancer. Cetuximab increases response rate, with no evidence of benefit in progression-free or overall survival in KRAS wild-type patients or even in patients selected by additional mutational analysis of their tumours. The use of cetuximab in combination with oxaliplatin and capecitabine in first-line chemotherapy in patients with widespread metastases cannot be recommended.FundingCancer Research UK, Cancer Research Wales, UK Medical Research Council, Merck KGgA.

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      New guidelines to evaluate the response to treatment in solid tumors. European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, National Cancer Institute of the United States, National Cancer Institute of Canada.

      Anticancer cytotoxic agents go through a process by which their antitumor activity-on the basis of the amount of tumor shrinkage they could generate-has been investigated. In the late 1970s, the International Union Against Cancer and the World Health Organization introduced specific criteria for the codification of tumor response evaluation. In 1994, several organizations involved in clinical research combined forces to tackle the review of these criteria on the basis of the experience and knowledge acquired since then. After several years of intensive discussions, a new set of guidelines is ready that will supersede the former criteria. In parallel to this initiative, one of the participating groups developed a model by which response rates could be derived from unidimensional measurement of tumor lesions instead of the usual bidimensional approach. This new concept has been largely validated by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors Group and integrated into the present guidelines. This special article also provides some philosophic background to clarify the various purposes of response evaluation. It proposes a model by which a combined assessment of all existing lesions, characterized by target lesions (to be measured) and nontarget lesions, is used to extrapolate an overall response to treatment. Methods of assessing tumor lesions are better codified, briefly within the guidelines and in more detail in Appendix I. All other aspects of response evaluation have been discussed, reviewed, and amended whenever appropriate.
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        Activating mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor underlying responsiveness of non-small-cell lung cancer to gefitinib.

        Most patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have no response to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib, which targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). However, about 10 percent of patients have a rapid and often dramatic clinical response. The molecular mechanisms underlying sensitivity to gefitinib are unknown. We searched for mutations in the EGFR gene in primary tumors from patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who had a response to gefitinib, those who did not have a response, and those who had not been exposed to gefitinib. The functional consequences of identified mutations were evaluated after the mutant proteins were expressed in cultured cells. Somatic mutations were identified in the tyrosine kinase domain of the EGFR gene in eight of nine patients with gefitinib-responsive lung cancer, as compared with none of the seven patients with no response (P<0.001). Mutations were either small, in-frame deletions or amino acid substitutions clustered around the ATP-binding pocket of the tyrosine kinase domain. Similar mutations were detected in tumors from 2 of 25 patients with primary non-small-cell lung cancer who had not been exposed to gefitinib (8 percent). All mutations were heterozygous, and identical mutations were observed in multiple patients, suggesting an additive specific gain of function. In vitro, EGFR mutants demonstrated enhanced tyrosine kinase activity in response to epidermal growth factor and increased sensitivity to inhibition by gefitinib. A subgroup of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer have specific mutations in the EGFR gene, which correlate with clinical responsiveness to the tyrosine kinase inhibitor gefitinib. These mutations lead to increased growth factor signaling and confer susceptibility to the inhibitor. Screening for such mutations in lung cancers may identify patients who will have a response to gefitinib. Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society
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          EGFR mutations in lung cancer: correlation with clinical response to gefitinib therapy.

          Receptor tyrosine kinase genes were sequenced in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and matched normal tissue. Somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene EGFR were found in 15of 58 unselected tumors from Japan and 1 of 61 from the United States. Treatment with the EGFR kinase inhibitor gefitinib (Iressa) causes tumor regression in some patients with NSCLC, more frequently in Japan. EGFR mutations were found in additional lung cancer samples from U.S. patients who responded to gefitinib therapy and in a lung adenocarcinoma cell line that was hypersensitive to growth inhibition by gefitinib, but not in gefitinib-insensitive tumors or cell lines. These results suggest that EGFR mutations may predict sensitivity to gefitinib.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [a ]School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
            [b ]Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, London, UK
            [c ]St James's University Hospital and University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
            [d ]Queens University Belfast, Belfast, UK
            [e ]University College London Cancer Institute, London, UK
            [f ]ICORG, All Ireland Co-operative Oncology Research Group, Dublin, Ireland
            [g ]VIB Vesalius Research Center, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
            Author notes
            [* ]Correspondence to: Prof Richard Kaplan, MRC Clinical Trials Unit, London NW1 2DA, UK rk@ 123456ctu.mrc.ac.uk
            Contributors
            Journal
            Lancet
            Lancet
            Lancet
            Lancet Publishing Group
            0140-6736
            1474-547X
            18 June 2011
            18 June 2011
            : 377
            : 9783
            : 2103-2114
            3159415
            21641636
            LANCET60613
            10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60613-2
            © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

            This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

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