Assessment of bone response to systemic therapy in an EORTC trial: preliminary experience with the use of collagen cross-link excretion. European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer

J Vinholes, R Coleman, D Lacombe, C Rose, M Tubiana-Hulin, P Bastit, J Wildiers, J Michel, R Leonard, J Nortier, F Mignolet, J Ford
British Journal of Cancer 1999, 80 (1): 221-8
This study was designed to evaluate new bone resorption and tumour markers as possible alternatives to serial plain radiographs for the assessment of response to treatment. Thirty-seven patients with newly diagnosed bone metastases from breast cancer, randomized to receive oral pamidronate or placebo tablets in addition to anticancer treatment within the context of a multicentre EORTC trial, who were both assessable for radiographic response in bone and had serum and urine samples collected for more than 1 month were studied. The markers of bone metabolism measured included urinary calcium (uCa), hydroxyproline (hyp), the N-telopeptide cross-links of type I collagen (NTx) and total alkaline phosphatase. The tumour markers measured were CA15-3 and cancer-associated serum antigen (CASA). Before treatment, levels of Ntx, uCa and Hyp were elevated in 41%, 24% and 28% respectively, and CA15-3 and CASA increased in 69% and 50%. For assessment of response and identification of progression, Ntx was the most useful bone marker. All markers behaved similarly in no change (NC) and partial response (PR) patients. There was a significant difference (P < or = 0.05) in Ntx levels (compared to baseline) at 1 and 4 months and in CA15-3/CASA at 4 months between patients with PR or NC and those with progressive disease (PD), and at 4 months between those with time to progression (TP) > 7 and those with TP < or = 7 months. The diagnostic efficiency (DE) for prediction of PD following a > 50% increase in Ntx or CA15-3 was 78% and 62% respectively. An algorithm to predict response to therapy has been developed for future prospective evaluation.

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