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      First-Line Crizotinib versus Chemotherapy in ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

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          Abstract

          The efficacy of the ALK inhibitor crizotinib as compared with standard chemotherapy as first-line treatment for advanced ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is unknown. We conducted an open-label, phase 3 trial comparing crizotinib with chemotherapy in 343 patients with advanced ALK-positive nonsquamous NSCLC who had received no previous systemic treatment for advanced disease. Patients were randomly assigned to receive oral crizotinib at a dose of 250 mg twice daily or to receive intravenous chemotherapy (pemetrexed, 500 mg per square meter of body-surface area, plus either cisplatin, 75 mg per square meter, or carboplatin, target area under the curve of 5 to 6 mg per milliliter per minute) every 3 weeks for up to six cycles. Crossover to crizotinib treatment after disease progression was permitted for patients receiving chemotherapy. The primary end point was progression-free survival as assessed by independent radiologic review. Progression-free survival was significantly longer with crizotinib than with chemotherapy (median, 10.9 months vs. 7.0 months; hazard ratio for progression or death with crizotinib, 0.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35 to 0.60; P<0.001). Objective response rates were 74% and 45%, respectively (P<0.001). Median overall survival was not reached in either group (hazard ratio for death with crizotinib, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.54 to 1.26; P=0.36); the probability of 1-year survival was 84% with crizotinib and 79% with chemotherapy. The most common adverse events with crizotinib were vision disorders, diarrhea, nausea, and edema, and the most common events with chemotherapy were nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and decreased appetite. As compared with chemotherapy, crizotinib was associated with greater reduction in lung cancer symptoms and greater improvement in quality of life. Crizotinib was superior to standard first-line pemetrexed-plus-platinum chemotherapy in patients with previously untreated advanced ALK-positive NSCLC. (Funded by Pfizer; PROFILE 1014 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01154140.).

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          Most cited references 31

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          New response evaluation criteria in solid tumours: revised RECIST guideline (version 1.1).

          Assessment of the change in tumour burden is an important feature of the clinical evaluation of cancer therapeutics: both tumour shrinkage (objective response) and disease progression are useful endpoints in clinical trials. Since RECIST was published in 2000, many investigators, cooperative groups, industry and government authorities have adopted these criteria in the assessment of treatment outcomes. However, a number of questions and issues have arisen which have led to the development of a revised RECIST guideline (version 1.1). Evidence for changes, summarised in separate papers in this special issue, has come from assessment of a large data warehouse (>6500 patients), simulation studies and literature reviews. HIGHLIGHTS OF REVISED RECIST 1.1: Major changes include: Number of lesions to be assessed: based on evidence from numerous trial databases merged into a data warehouse for analysis purposes, the number of lesions required to assess tumour burden for response determination has been reduced from a maximum of 10 to a maximum of five total (and from five to two per organ, maximum). Assessment of pathological lymph nodes is now incorporated: nodes with a short axis of 15 mm are considered measurable and assessable as target lesions. The short axis measurement should be included in the sum of lesions in calculation of tumour response. Nodes that shrink to <10mm short axis are considered normal. Confirmation of response is required for trials with response primary endpoint but is no longer required in randomised studies since the control arm serves as appropriate means of interpretation of data. Disease progression is clarified in several aspects: in addition to the previous definition of progression in target disease of 20% increase in sum, a 5mm absolute increase is now required as well to guard against over calling PD when the total sum is very small. Furthermore, there is guidance offered on what constitutes 'unequivocal progression' of non-measurable/non-target disease, a source of confusion in the original RECIST guideline. Finally, a section on detection of new lesions, including the interpretation of FDG-PET scan assessment is included. Imaging guidance: the revised RECIST includes a new imaging appendix with updated recommendations on the optimal anatomical assessment of lesions. A key question considered by the RECIST Working Group in developing RECIST 1.1 was whether it was appropriate to move from anatomic unidimensional assessment of tumour burden to either volumetric anatomical assessment or to functional assessment with PET or MRI. It was concluded that, at present, there is not sufficient standardisation or evidence to abandon anatomical assessment of tumour burden. The only exception to this is in the use of FDG-PET imaging as an adjunct to determination of progression. As is detailed in the final paper in this special issue, the use of these promising newer approaches requires appropriate clinical validation studies.
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            Gefitinib or carboplatin-paclitaxel in pulmonary adenocarcinoma.

            Previous, uncontrolled studies have suggested that first-line treatment with gefitinib would be efficacious in selected patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. In this phase 3, open-label study, we randomly assigned previously untreated patients in East Asia who had advanced pulmonary adenocarcinoma and who were nonsmokers or former light smokers to receive gefitinib (250 mg per day) (609 patients) or carboplatin (at a dose calculated to produce an area under the curve of 5 or 6 mg per milliliter per minute) plus paclitaxel (200 mg per square meter of body-surface area) (608 patients). The primary end point was progression-free survival. The 12-month rates of progression-free survival were 24.9% with gefitinib and 6.7% with carboplatin-paclitaxel. The study met its primary objective of showing the noninferiority of gefitinib and also showed its superiority, as compared with carboplatin-paclitaxel, with respect to progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.65 to 0.85; P<0.001). In the subgroup of 261 patients who were positive for the epidermal growth factor receptor gene (EGFR) mutation, progression-free survival was significantly longer among those who received gefitinib than among those who received carboplatin-paclitaxel (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.36 to 0.64; P<0.001), whereas in the subgroup of 176 patients who were negative for the mutation, progression-free survival was significantly longer among those who received carboplatin-paclitaxel (hazard ratio for progression or death with gefitinib, 2.85; 95% CI, 2.05 to 3.98; P<0.001). The most common adverse events were rash or acne (in 66.2% of patients) and diarrhea (46.6%) in the gefitinib group and neurotoxic effects (69.9%), neutropenia (67.1%), and alopecia (58.4%) in the carboplatin-paclitaxel group. Gefitinib is superior to carboplatin-paclitaxel as an initial treatment for pulmonary adenocarcinoma among nonsmokers or former light smokers in East Asia. The presence in the tumor of a mutation of the EGFR gene is a strong predictor of a better outcome with gefitinib. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00322452.) 2009 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              Toxicity and response criteria of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                December 04 2014
                December 04 2014
                : 371
                : 23
                : 2167-2177
                10.1056/NEJMoa1408440
                25470694
                © 2014
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