[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives
Guidelines for the conduct of clinical trials emphasize the importance of keeping the interim results from the main endpoints confidential, in order to maintain the integrity of the trial and to safeguard patients’ interests. However, is this essential in every situation?
Materials and Methods
We review the evidence for these guidelines and consider recent randomised trials that have released interim results, to assess their impact on the success of the trial. However, because the strength of opinion to keep interim results confidential is so strong, there are limited examples of such trials.
In the QUARTZ trial (which is assessing the value of whole brain radiotherapy in patients with brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer) the decision to release interim results was taken in response to threatened closure due to poor accrual, whereas in the GRIT trial (which compared 2 obstetric strategies for the delivery of growth retarded pre-term fetuses) the regular release of interim results was pre-planned. Nevertheless there are a number of common factors between these 2 trials. In particular, the trial treatments were already in wide use, with no reliable randomised evidence on which treatment should be used for which patients, and there was diverse clinical opinion, which meant that accrual was likely to be challenging. In a situation where a quarter to a third of trials do not accrue their required number of patients, the QUARTZ trial continues to accrue patients, and the GRIT trial successfully accrued its target of nearly 600 babies.
This article therefore argues that there is a need to re-consider whether it is always essential to keep the interim results of randomized clinical trials confidential, and suggests some criteria that may help groups planning or running challenging trials decide whether releasing interim results would be a useful strategy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) resulting in testosterone suppression is central to the management of prostate cancer (PC). As PC incidence increases, ADT is more frequently prescribed, and for longer periods of time as survival improves. Initial approaches to ADT included orchiectomy or oral estrogen (diethylstilbestrol [DES]). DES reduces PC-specific mortality, but causes substantial cardiovascular (CV) toxicity. Currently, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists (LHRHa) are mainly used; they produce low levels of both testosterone and estrogen (as estrogen in men results from the aromatization of testosterone), and many toxicities including osteoporosis, fractures, hot flashes, erectile dysfunction, muscle weakness, increased risk for diabetes, changes in body composition, and CV toxicity. An alternative approach is parenteral estrogen, it suppresses testosterone, appears to mitigate the CV complications of oral estrogen by avoiding first-pass hepatic metabolism, and avoids complications caused by estrogen deprivation. Recent research on the toxicity of ADT and the rationale for revisiting parenteral estrogen is discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: REAL3 (Randomised ECF for Advanced or Locally advanced oesophagogastric cancer 3) was a phase II/III trial designed to evaluate the addition of panitumumab (P) to epirubicin, oxaliplatin and capecitabine (EOC) in untreated advanced oesophagogastric adenocarcinoma, or undifferentiated carcinoma. MAGIC (MRC Adjuvant Gastric Infusional Chemotherapy) was a phase III study which demonstrated that peri-operative epirubicin, cisplatin and infused 5-fluourouracil (ECF) improved survival in early oesophagogastric adenocarcinoma. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Analysis of response rate (RR; the primary end-point of phase II) and biomarkers in the first 200 patients randomised to EOC or modified dose (m) EOC+P in REAL3 was pre-planned to determine if molecular selection for the on-going study was indicated. KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA mutations and PTEN expression were assessed in pre-treatment biopsies and results correlated with response to mEOC+P. Association between these biomarkers and overall survival (OS) was assessed in MAGIC patients to determine any prognostic effect. RESULTS: RR was 52% to mEOC+P, 48% to EOC. Results from 175 assessable biopsies: mutations in KRAS (5.7%), BRAF (0%), PIK3CA (2.5%) and loss of PTEN expression (15.0%). None of the biomarkers evaluated predicted resistance to mEOC+P. In MAGIC, mutations in KRAS, BRAF and PIK3CA and loss of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog) were found in 6.3%, 1.0%, 5.0% and 10.9%, respectively, and were not associated with survival. CONCLUSIONS: The RR of 52% in REAL3 with mEOC+P met pre-defined criteria to continue accrual to phase III. The frequency of the mutations was too low to exclude any prognostic or predictive effect.
European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) 03/2013; · 4.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Luteinising-hormone-releasing-hormone agonists (LHRHa) to treat prostate cancer are associated with long-term toxic effects, including osteoporosis. Use of parenteral oestrogen could avoid the long-term complications associated with LHRHa and the thromboembolic complications associated with oral oestrogen. METHODS: In this multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 2 trial, we enrolled men with locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer scheduled to start indefinite hormone therapy. Randomisation was by minimisation, in a 2:1 ratio, to four self-administered oestrogen patches (100 μg per 24 h) changed twice weekly or LHRHa given according to local practice. After castrate testosterone concentrations were reached (1·7 nmol/L or lower) men received three oestrogen patches changed twice weekly. The primary outcome, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, was analysed by modified intention to treat and by therapy at the time of the event to account for treatment crossover in cases of disease progression. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00303784. FINDINGS: 85 patients were randomly assigned to receive LHRHa and 169 to receive oestrogen patches. All 85 patients started LHRHa, and 168 started oestrogen patches. At 3 months, 70 (93%) of 75 receiving LHRHa and 111 (92%) of 121 receiving oestrogen had achieved castrate testosterone concentrations. After a median follow-up of 19 months (IQR 12-31), 24 cardiovascular events were reported, six events in six (7·1%) men in the LHRHa group (95% CI 2·7-14·9) and 18 events in 17 (10·1%) men in the oestrogen-patch group (6·0-15·6). Nine (50%) of 18 events in the oestrogen group occurred after crossover to LHRHa. Mean 12-month changes in fasting glucose concentrations were 0·33 mmol/L (5·5%) in the LHRHa group and -0·16 mmol/L (-2·4%) in the oestrogen-patch group (p=0·004), and for fasting cholesterol were 0·20 mmol/L (4·1%) and -0·23 mmol/L (-3·3%), respectively (p<0·0001). Other adverse events reported by 6 months included gynaecomastia (15 [19%] of 78 patients in the LHRHa group vs 104 [75%] of 138 in the oestrogen-patch group), hot flushes (44 [56%] vs 35 [25%]), and dermatological problems (10 [13%] vs 58 [42%]). INTERPRETATION: Parenteral oestrogen could be a potential alternative to LHRHa in management of prostate cancer if efficacy is confirmed. On the basis of our findings, enrolment in the PATCH trial has been extended, with a primary outcome of progression-free survival. FUNDING: Cancer Research UK, MRC Clinical Trials Unit.
The Lancet Oncology 03/2013; · 25.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Perioperative epirubicin, cisplatin and fluorouracil (ECF) chemotherapy improves survival in operable oesophago-gastric cancer [Adjuvant Gastric Cancer Infusional Chemotherapy (MAGIC) trial HR 0.75 (0.6-0.93)]. HER2 amplification is reported to predict enhanced benefit from anthracyclines in breast cancer. We sought to define whether HER2 predicts benefit from ECF in oesophago-gastric cancer.Patients and methodsDiagnostic biopsies and/or resection specimens were collected from 415 of 503 MAGIC trial patients (82.5%). HER2 was evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and brightfield dual in situ hybridisation (BDISH) in tissue microarrays. The prognostic and predictive impact of HER2 status was investigated.ResultsConcordance between HER2 over-expression (IHC3+) and amplification was 96%. Results of HER2 assessment in biopsy and resection specimens were concordant in 92.9% (145/156). HER2 positive rate (IHC3+, or IHC2+/BDISH positive) was 10.9% in the whole cohort and 10.4% in resection specimens. A further 4.0% of resections were IHC negative/BDISH positive. HER2 status was neither prognostic, nor (in pre-treatment biopsies) predicted enhanced benefit from chemotherapy [HER2 positive HR 0.74 (0.14-3.77); HER2 negative HR 0.58 (0.41-0.82), interaction P = 0.7]. However, the power of the predictive analysis was limited by the small number of HER2 positive pre-treatment biopsies.ConclusionsHER2 status is not an independent prognostic biomarker in early oesophago-gastric adenocarcinoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AIMS: Over 30% of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) develop brain metastases. If inoperable, optimal supportive care (OSC), including steroids, and whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) are generally considered to be standard care, although there is no randomised evidence demonstrating that the addition of WBRT to OSC improves survival or quality of life. MATERIALS AND METHODS: QUARTZ is a randomised, non-inferiority, phase III trial comparing OSC + WBRT versus OSC in patients with inoperable brain metastases from NSCLC. The primary outcome measure is quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). QUARTZ was threatened with both loss of funding and early closure due to poor accrual. A lack of preliminary randomised data supporting the trial's hypotheses was thought to underlie the poor accrual, so, with no knowledge of the data, the independent trial steering committee agreed to the unusual step of releasing interim data. RESULTS: Between March 2007 and April 2010, 151 (of the planned 534) patients were randomised (75 OSC + WBRT, 76 OSC). Participants' baseline demographics included median age 67 years (interquartile range 62-73), 60% male, 50% with a Karnofsky performance status <70; steroid usage was similar in the two groups; 64/75 (85%) received WBRT (20 Gy in five fractions). Median survival was: OSC + WBRT 49 days (95% confidence interval 39-61), OSC 51 days (95% confidence interval 27-57) - hazard ratio 1.11 (95% confidence interval 0.80-1.53) in favour of WBRT. Quality of life assessed using EQ-5D showed no evidence of a difference. The estimated mean QALYs was: OSC + WBRT 31 days and OSC 30 days, difference -1 day (95% confidence interval -12.0 to +13.2 days). CONCLUSION: These interim data indicate no early evidence of detriment to quality of life, overall survival or QALYs for patients allocated to OSC alone. They provide key information for discussing the trial with patients and strengthen the argument for continuing QUARTZ to definitively answer this important clinical question.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Peri-operative chemotherapy and surgery is a standard treatment of localised oesophagogastric adenocarcinoma; however, the outcomes remain poor.Patients and methodsST03 is a multicentre, randomised, phase II/III study comparing peri-operative ECX with or without bevacizumab (ECX-B). The primary outcome measure of phase II (n = 200) was safety, specifically gastrointestinal (GI) perforation rates and cardiotoxicity.ResultsTwo hundred patients were randomised between October 2007 and April 2010. Ninety-one/101 (90%) ECX and 86/99 (87%) ECX-B patients completed pre-operative chemotherapy; 7 ECX and 9 ECX-B patients stopped due to toxicity. Gastrointestinal perforations (3 ECX, 1 ECX-B), cardiac events (1 ECX, 4 ECX-B) and venous thromboembolic events (VTEs, 8 ECX, 7 ECX-B) were uncommon. Arterial thromboembolic events (ATEs, myocardial infarction (MI) or cerebrovascular accident) were more frequent with ECX-B (5 versus 1 with ECX). Delayed wound healing, anastomotic leaks and GI bleeding rates were similar.More asymptomatic left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) falls (≥15% and/or to <50%) occurred with ECX-B (21.2% versus 11.1% with ECX). Clinically significant falls (≥10% to below lower limit of normal, LLN) occurred in (15.3%) and (8.9%) respectively, with no associated cardiac failure (median 22 months follow-up).Conclusions
Addition of bevacizumab to peri-operative ECX chemotherapy is feasible with acceptable toxicity and no negative impact on surgical outcomes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Barrett's esophagus is an increasingly common disease that is strongly associated with reflux of stomach acid and usually a hiatus hernia, and it strongly predisposes to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), a tumor with a very poor prognosis. We report the first genome-wide association study on Barrett's esophagus, comprising ,852 UK cases and 5,72 UK controls in the discovery stage and 5,986 cases and 2,825 controls in the replication stage. Variants at two loci were associated with disease risk: chromosome 6p2, rs9257809 (P combined = 4.09 × 0 −9 ; odds ratio (OR) = .2, 95% confidence interval (CI) =.3–.28), within the major histocompatibility complex locus, and chromosome 6q24, rs9936833 (P combined = 2.74 × 0 −0 ; OR = .4, 95% CI = .0–.9), for which the closest protein-coding gene is FOXF1, which is implicated in esophageal development and structure. We found evidence that many common variants of small effect contribute to genetic susceptibility to Barrett's esophagus and that SNP alleles predisposing to obesity also increase risk for Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is one of the most common premalignant lesions in the western world. It affects over 2% of the adult population and, unlike bowel polyps, lacks any proven effective therapy 1 . In the major-ity of cases, Barrett's esophagus is associated with chronic gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), including esophagitis 2,3 . Over 80% of affected individuals have a hiatus hernia in the lower esophagus that facilitates the reflux of acid and bile into the esophagus 4 . The measured annual risk of EAC in individuals with Barrett's esophagus varies widely but is approximately 0.4–1% (refs. 5–7). Notably, the incidence of EAC has been rising by 3% each year for the last 30 years; it is now the fifth most common cancer in the UK 8 . Despite modern multimodality therapy, the prog-nosis for EAC remains poor, with a 9–15% 5-year survival rate 9,10 . The etiology of Barrett's esophagus is not well characterized. Environmental factors, such as diet, are weakly associated with GERD, Barrett's esophagus and EAC, and obesity is a known risk factor for all three conditions 11 . There is also evidence implicating genetic factors: relative risks are increased by 2-to 4-fold for GERD, Barrett's esophagus and EAC when one first-degree relative is affected 12–17 . A segregation analysis of 881 pedigrees of familial Barrett's esophagus supports an incompletely dominant inheritance model with a polygenic component 18 . Extensive candidate gene and linkage searches have to date been unsuccessful in identifying genetic variants that are associated with risk of Barrett's esophagus 19 . As part of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 (WTCCC2) study of 15 common disorders and traits, we present the results of the first genome-wide association study of Barrett's esophagus susceptibility. Using a discovery cohort from the UK (with case samples from the Aspirin and Esomeprazole Chemoprevention Trial of Cancer in Barrett's esophagus (AspECT)) 20 and five repli-cation cohorts (including case samples from CHemoprevention Of Premalignant Intestinal Neoplasia (ChOPIN) and Esophageal Adenocarcinoma GenEtics Consortium (EAGLE) studies 9,20), we identified two variants associated with Barrett's esophagus, each with combined evidence at P < 5 × 10 −8 . The analysis workflow is outlined in Supplementary Figure 1, and characteristics of the case and con-trol samples that were included can be found in the Online Methods and Supplementary Table 1. For the discovery analysis, cases with histologically confirmed Barrett's esophagus (Online Methods) were recruited from sites across the UK (Supplementary Table 2). Population controls were taken from the WTCCC2 common set of 1958 Birth Cohort (58C) and National Blood Service (UKBS) samples as previously described 21 .
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aspirin inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase (Cox), and there is a significant body of epidemiological evidence demonstrating that regular aspirin use is associated with a decreased incidence of developing cancer. Interest focussed on selective Cox-2 inhibitors both as cancer prevention agents and as therapeutic agents in patients with proven malignancy until concerns were raised about their toxicity profile. Aspirin has several additional mechanisms of action that may contribute to its anti-cancer effect. It also influences cellular processes such as apoptosis and angiogenesis that are crucial for the development and growth of malignancies. Evidence suggests that these effects can occur through Cox-independent pathways questioning the rationale of focussing on Cox-2 inhibition alone as an anti-cancer strategy. Randomised studies with aspirin primarily designed to prevent cardiovascular disease have demonstrated a reduction in cancer deaths with long-term follow-up. Concerns about toxicity, particularly serious haemorrhage, have limited the use of aspirin as a cancer prevention agent, but recent epidemiological evidence demonstrating regular aspirin use after a diagnosis of cancer improves outcomes suggests that it may have a role in the adjuvant setting where the risk:benefit ratio will be different.
British Journal of Cancer 08/2011; 105(8):1107-13. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elderly and frail patients with cancer, although often treated with chemotherapy, are under-represented in clinical trials. We designed FOCUS2 to investigate reduced-dose chemotherapy options and to seek objective predictors of outcome in frail patients with advanced colorectal cancer.
We undertook an open, 2 × 2 factorial trial in 61 UK centres for patients with previously untreated advanced colorectal cancer who were considered unfit for full-dose chemotherapy. After comprehensive health assessment (CHA), patients were randomly assigned by minimisation to: 48-h intravenous fluorouracil with levofolinate (group A); oxaliplatin and fluorouracil (group B); capecitabine (group C); or oxaliplatin and capecitabine (group D). Treatment allocation was not masked. Starting doses were 80% of standard doses, with discretionary escalation to full dose after 6 weeks. The two primary outcome measures were: addition of oxaliplatin ([A vs B] + [C vs D]), assessed with progression-free survival (PFS); and substitution of fluorouracil with capecitabine ([A vs C] + [B vs D]), assessed by change from baseline to 12 weeks in global quality of life (QoL). Analysis was by intention to treat. Baseline clinical and CHA data were modelled against outcomes with a novel composite measure, overall treatment utility (OTU). This study is registered, number ISRCTN21221452.
459 patients were randomly assigned (115 to each of groups A-C, 114 to group D). Factorial comparison of addition of oxaliplatin versus no addition suggested some improvement in PFS, but the finding was not significant (median 5·8 months [IQR 3·3-7·5] vs 4·5 months [2·8-6·4]; hazard ratio 0·84, 95% CI 0·69-1·01, p=0·07). Replacement of fluorouracil with capecitabine did not improve global QoL: 69 of 124 (56%) patients receiving fluorouracil reported improvement in global QoL compared with 69 of 123 (56%) receiving capecitabine. The risk of having any grade 3 or worse toxic effect was not significantly increased with oxaliplatin (83/219 [38%] vs 70/221 [32%]; p=0·17), but was higher with capecitabine than with fluorouracil (88/222 [40%] vs 65/218 [30%]; p=0·03). In multivariable analysis, fewer baseline symptoms (odds ratio 1·32, 95% CI 1·14-1·52), less widespread disease (1·51, 1·05-2·19), and use of oxaliplatin (0·57, 0·39-0·82) were predictive of better OTU.
FOCUS2 shows that with an appropriate design, including reduced starting doses of chemotherapy, frail and elderly patients can participate in a randomised controlled trial. On balance, a combination including oxaliplatin was preferable to single-agent fluoropyrimidines, although the primary endpoint of PFS was not met. Capecitabine did not improve QoL compared with fluorouracil. Comprehensive baseline assessment holds promise as an objective predictor of treatment benefit.
Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council.
The Lancet 05/2011; 377(9779):1749-59. · 39.21 Impact Factor