BACKGROUND: In a Spanish Lung Cancer Group (SLCG) phase II trial, the combination of BRCA1 and receptor-associated protein 80 (RAP80) expression was significantly associated with outcome in Caucasian patients with nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The SLCG therefore undertook an industry-independent collaborative randomized phase III trial comparing nonselected cisplatin-based chemotherapy with therapy customized according to BRCA1/RAP80 expression. An analogous randomized phase II trial was carried out in China under the auspices of the SLCG to evaluate the effect of BRCA1/RAP80 expression in Asian patients.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eligibility criteria included stage IIIB-IV NSCLC and sufficient tumor specimen for molecular analysis. Randomization to the control or experimental arm was 1 : 1 in the SLCG trial and 1 : 3 in the Chinese trial. In both trials, patients in the control arm received docetaxel/cisplatin; in the experimental arm, patients with low RAP80 expression received gemcitabine/cisplatin, those with intermediate/high RAP80 expression and low/intermediate BRCA1 expression received docetaxel/cisplatin, and those with intermediate/high RAP80 expression and high BRCA1 expression received docetaxel alone. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS).
RESULTS: Two hundred and seventy-nine patients in the SLCG trial and 124 in the Chinese trial were assessable for PFS. PFS in the control and experimental arms in the SLCG trial was 5.49 and 4.38 months, respectively [log rank P = 0.07; hazard ratio (HR) 1.28; P = 0.03]. In the Chinese trial, PFS was 4.74 and 3.78 months, respectively (log rank P = 0.82; HR 0.95; P = 0.82).
CONCLUSION: Accrual was prematurely closed on the SLCG trial due to the absence of clinical benefit in the experimental over the control arm. However, the BREC studies provide proof of concept that an international, nonindustry, biomarker-directed trial is feasible. Thanks to the groundwork laid by these studies, we expect that ongoing further research on alternative biomarkers to elucidate DNA repair mechanisms will help define novel therapeutic approaches.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00617656/GECP-BREC and ChiCTR-TRC-12001860/BREC-CHINA.