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      The role of maintenance therapy in the treatment of elderly non-small-cell lung cancer patients: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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          Maintenance therapy is an effective treatment strategy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We aim to investigate whether age would affect the efficacy of maintenance therapy in the treatment of advanced NSCLC.

          Materials and methods

          Relevant trials were identified by searching electronic databases and conference meetings. Prospective randomized controlled trials assessing maintenance therapy in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC were included. Outcomes of interest included overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC.


          A total of 2,724 patients from 5 randomized controlled trials were included for analysis, with 897 patients aged ≥65 years and 1,577 patients aged <65 years. Single-agent maintenance therapy in elderly patients significantly improved PFS (hazard ratio [HR] 0.65, 95% CI: 0.43–0.98, p=0.04) and OS (HR 0.81, 95% CI: 0.68–0.97, p=0.024) when compared with placebo. In addition, doublet maintenance therapy significantly improved PFS (HR 0.81, 95% CI: 0.68–0.97, p=0.024) in comparison with single-agent maintenance therapy. However, doublet maintenance did not improve OS in comparison with single-agent maintenance therapy (HR 1.05, 95% CI: 0.60–1.83, p=0.86).


          The findings of this study suggest that single-agent maintenance therapy in elderly patients with advanced NSCLC offers an improved PFS and OS when compared with placebo. Further trials are recommended to clearly investigate the efficacy of combination maintenance therapy for advanced NSCLC in this setting.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Erlotinib as maintenance treatment in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 3 study.

          First-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is usually limited to four to six cycles. Maintenance therapy can delay progression and prolong survival. The oral epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine-kinase inhibitor erlotinib has proven efficacy and tolerability in second-line NSCLC. We designed the phase 3, placebo-controlled Sequential Tarceva in Unresectable NSCLC (SATURN; BO18192) study to assess use of erlotinib as maintenance therapy in patients with non-progressive disease following first-line platinum-doublet chemotherapy. Between December, 2005, and May, 2008, 1949 patients were included in the run-in phase (four cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy). At the end of the run-in phase, 889 patients who did not have progressive disease were entered into the main study, and were randomly allocated using a 1:1 adaptive randomisation method through a third-party interactive voice response system to receive erlotinib (150 mg/day; n=438) or placebo (n=451) until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients were stratified by EGFR immunohistochemistry status, stage, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, chemotherapy regimen, smoking history, and region. Co-primary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) in all analysable patients irrespective of EGFR status, and PFS in patients whose tumours had EGFR protein overexpression, as determined by immunohistochemistry. This study is registered with www.ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00556712. 884 patients were analysable for PFS; 437 in the erlotinib group and 447 in the placebo group. After a median follow-up of 11.4 months for the erlotinib group and 11.5 months for the placebo group, median PFS was significantly longer with erlotinib than with placebo: 12.3 weeks for patients in the erlotinib group versus 11.1 weeks for those in the placebo group (HR 0.71, 95% CI 0.62-0.82; p<0.0001). PFS was also significantly longer in patients with EGFR-positive immunohistochemistry who were treated with erlotinib (n=307) compared with EGFR-positive patients given placebo (n=311; median PFS 12.3 weeks in the erlotinib group vs 11.1 weeks in the placebo group; HR 0.69, 0.58-0.82; p<0.0001). The most common grade 3 or higher adverse events were rash (37 [9%] of 443 patients in the erlotinib group vs none of 445 in the placebo group) and diarrhoea (seven [2%] of 443 patients vs none of 445). Serious adverse events were reported in 47 patients (11%) on erlotinib compared with 34 patients (8%) on placebo. The most common serious adverse event was pneumonia (seven cases [2%] with erlotinib and four [<1%] with placebo). Maintenance therapy with erlotinib for patients with NSCLC is well tolerated and significantly prolongs PFS compared with placebo. First-line maintenance with erlotinib could be considered in patients who do not progress after four cycles of chemotherapy. F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Heterogeneity testing in meta-analysis of genome searches.

            Genome searches for identifying susceptibility loci for the same complex disease often give inconclusive or inconsistent results. Genome Search Meta-analysis (GSMA) is an established non-parametric method to identify genetic regions that rank high on average in terms of linkage statistics (e.g., lod scores) across studies. Meta-analysis typically aims not only to obtain average estimates, but also to quantify heterogeneity. However, heterogeneity testing between studies included in GSMA has not been developed yet. Heterogeneity may be produced by differences in study designs, study populations, and chance, and the extent of heterogeneity might influence the conclusions of a meta-analysis. Here, we propose and explore metrics that indicate the extent of heterogeneity for specific loci in GSMA based on Monte Carlo permutation tests. We have also developed software that performs both the GSMA and the heterogeneity testing. To illustrate the concept, the proposed methodology was applied to published data from meta-analyses of rheumatoid arthritis (4 scans) and schizophrenia (20 scans). In the first meta-analysis, we identified 11 bins with statistically low heterogeneity and 8 with statistically high heterogeneity. The respective numbers were 9 and 6 for the schizophrenia meta-analysis. For rheumatoid arthritis, bins 6.2 (the HLA region that is a well-documented susceptibility locus for the disease) and 16.3 (16q12.2-q23.1) had both high average ranks and low between-study heterogeneity. For schizophrenia, this was seen for bin 3.2 (3p25.3-p22.1) and heterogeneity was still significantly low after adjusting for its high average rank. Concordance was high between the proposed metrics and between weighted and unweighted analyses. Data from genome searches should be synthesized and interpreted considering both average ranks and heterogeneity between studies. 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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              PARAMOUNT: Final overall survival results of the phase III study of maintenance pemetrexed versus placebo immediately after induction treatment with pemetrexed plus cisplatin for advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer.

              In the phase III PARAMOUNT trial, pemetrexed continuation maintenance therapy reduced the risk of disease progression versus placebo (hazard ratio [HR], 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49 to 0.79; P < .001). Here we report final overall survival (OS) and updated safety data. In all, 939 patients with advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) received four cycles of pemetrexed-cisplatin induction therapy; then, 539 patients with no disease progression and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0 or 1 were randomly assigned (2:1) to maintenance pemetrexed (500 mg/m(2) on day 1 of 21-day cycles; n = 359) or placebo (n = 180). Log-rank test compared OS between arms as measured from random assignment (α = .0498). The mean number of maintenance cycles was 7.9 (range, one to 44) for pemetrexed and 5.0 (range, one to 38) for placebo. After 397 deaths (pemetrexed, 71%; placebo, 78%) and a median follow-up of 24.3 months for alive patients (95% CI, 23.2 to 25.1 months), pemetrexed therapy resulted in a statistically significant 22% reduction in the risk of death (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.64 to 0.96; P = .0195; median OS: pemetrexed, 13.9 months; placebo, 11.0 months). Survival on pemetrexed was consistently improved for all patient subgroups, including induction response: complete/partial responders (n = 234) OS HR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.11 and stable disease (n = 285) OS HR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.57 to 1.01). Postdiscontinuation therapy use was similar: pemetrexed, 64%; placebo, 72%. No new safety findings emerged. Drug-related grade 3 to 4 anemia, fatigue, and neutropenia were significantly higher in pemetrexed-treated patients. Pemetrexed continuation maintenance therapy is well-tolerated and offers superior OS compared with placebo, further demonstrating that it is an efficacious treatment strategy for patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC and good performance status who did not progress during pemetrexed-cisplatin induction therapy.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                01 December 2017
                : 11
                : 3435-3440
                Department of Thoracic Surgery, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Shugeng Gao, Department of Thoracic Surgery, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Science and Peking Union Medical College, No 17 Panjiayuan Nanli Chaoyang District, Beijing 100021, China, Tel +86 010 6779 3015, Fax +86 010 6778 1331, Email shugenggao2017@ 123456126.com
                © 2017 Zhang et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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