Phase 2 study of treatment selection based on tumor thymidylate synthase expression in previously untreated patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: A trial of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (E4203) uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The authors hypothesized that patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) who had tumors with low thymidylate synthase (TS-L) expression would have a higher response rate to combined 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) plus bevacizumab (FOLFOX/Bev) than those with high TS (TS-H) expression and that combined irinotecan and oxaliplatin (IROX) plus bevacizumab (IROX/Bev) would be more effective than FOLFOX/Bev in those with TS-H tumors. METHODS: TS protein expression was determined in mCRC tissue. Patients who had TS-L tumors received FOLFOX/Bev, and those who had TS-H tumors were randomly assigned to receive either FOLFOX/Bev or IROX/Bev. The primary endpoint was the response rate (complete plus partial responses). RESULTS: In total, 211 of 247 patients (70% TS-H) were registered to the treatment phase. Efficacy analyses included eligible patients who had started treatment (N = 186). The response rates for patients who received IROX/Bev (TS-H), FOLFOX/Bev (TS-H), and FOLFOX/Bev (TS-L) were 33%, 38%, and 49%, respectively (P = nonsignificant). The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 10 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 9-12 months; 10 months in the IROX/Bev TS-H group, 9 months in the FOLFOX/Bev TS-H group, and 13 months in the FOLFOX/Bev TS-L group). The TS-L group had improved PFS compared with the TS-H group that received FOLFOX/Bev (hazard ratio, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0%-2.4%; P = .04; Cox regression). The median overall survival (OS) was 22 months (95% CI, 20 29 months; 18 months in the IROX/Bev TS-H group, 21 months in the FOLFOX/Bev TS-H group, and 32 months in the TS-L group). OS comparisons for the 2 TS-H arms and for the FOLFOX/Bev TS-H versus TS-L arms were not significantly different. CONCLUSIONS: TS expression was prognostic: Patients with TS-L tumors who received FOLFOX/Bev had a longer PFS than those with TS-H tumors, along with a trend toward longer OS. Patients with TS-H tumors did not benefit more from IROX/Bev than from FOLFOX/Bev. Cancer 2018;124:688-97. (c) 2017 American Cancer Society.

publication date

  • 2018

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