Purpose To evaluate the addition of cetuximab to neoadjuvant chemotherapy before chemoradiotherapy in high-risk rectal cancer.
Patients and Methods Patients with operable magnetic resonance imaging-defined high-risk rectal cancer received four cycles of capecitabine/oxaliplatin (CAPOX) followed by capecitabine chemoradiotherapy, surgery, and adjuvant CAPOX (four cycles) or the same regimen plus weekly cetuximab (CAPOX + C). The primary end point was complete response (CR; pathologic CR or, in patients not undergoing surgery, radiologic CR) in patients with KRAS/BRAF wild-type tumors. Secondary end points were radiologic response (RR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and safety in the wild-type and overall populations and a molecular biomarker analysis.
Results One hundred sixty-five eligible patients were randomly assigned. Ninety (60%) of 149 assessable tumors were KRAS or BRAF wild type (CAPOX, n = 44; CAPOX + C, n = 46), and in these patients, the addition of cetuximab did not improve the primary end point of CR (9% v 11%, respectively; P = 1.0; odds ratio, 1.22) or PFS (hazard ratio [ HR], 0.65; P = .363). Cetuximab significantly improved RR (CAPOX v CAPOX + C: after chemotherapy, 51% v 71%, respectively; P = .038; after chemoradiation, 75% v 93%, respectively; P = .028) and OS (HR, 0.27; P = .034). Skin toxicity and diarrhea were more frequent in the CAPOX + C arm.
Conclusion Cetuximab led to a significant increase in RR and OS in patients with KRAS/BRAF wild-type rectal cancer, but the primary end point of improved CR was not met.
2012. Vol. 30, no 14, 1620-1627 p.
8th Annul Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium of the American-Society-of-Clinical-Oncology, JAN 20-22, 2011, San Francisco, CA