A phase 3 randomized study of radiotherapy plus procarbazine, CCNU, and vincristine (PCV) with or without BUdR for the treatment of anaplastic astrocytoma: a preliminary report of RTOG 9404

M D Prados, C Scott, H Sandler, J C Buckner, T Phillips, C Schultz, R Urtasun, R Davis, P Gutin, T L Cascino, H S Greenberg, W J Curran
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 1999 December 1, 45 (5): 1109-15

PURPOSE: This study was an open label, randomized Phase 3 trial in newly diagnosed patients with anaplastic glioma comparing radiotherapy plus adjuvant procarbazine, CCNU, and vincristine (PCV) chemotherapy with or without bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR) given as a 96-hour infusion each week of radiotherapy.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: Only patients 18 years or older with newly diagnosed anaplastic glioma were eligible; central pathology review was accomplished, but was not mandated prior to registration. The study had initially opened as a Northern California Oncology Group (NCOG) trial in 1991, becoming an Intergroup RTOG, SWOG, and NCCTG study in July 1994. Total accrual of 293 patients was planned as the sample size, using survival and time to tumor progression as the primary endpoints. The experiment arm (RT/BUdR plus PCV) was to be compared to the control arm (RT plus PCV) using an alpha = 0.05, one-tailed, with a power of 85% for detecting an increase in median survival from 160 to 240 weeks, assuming a 3-year follow-up after completion of enrollment.

RESULTS: As of July 1996, 281 patients had been randomized; 53 (20%) were ineligible, primarily based upon central pathology review, and another 39 cases were canceled. In total, 30% of cases were excluded from analysis. The treatment arms were well balanced despite this rate of exclusion. The RTOG Data Monitoring Committee recommended suspension of enrollment in July 1996 based upon a stochastic curtailment analysis which strongly suggested that the addition of BUdR would not be associated with increased survival. In February 1997, the study was closed prior to full enrollment. At that time, the 1-year survival estimates were 82% versus 68% for RT plus PCV and RT/BUdR plus PCV respectively (one-sided, p = 0.96). The conditional power analysis indicated that even with an additional 12 months of additional accrual and follow-up the probability of detecting the prespecified difference was less than 0.01%. The differences in the two arms seem to be due to early deaths in the BUdR arm, not related to toxicity of the treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite encouraging Phase 2 results with BUdR, it is unlikely that a survival benefit will be seen. A final study analysis will not be done for at least 3 more years.

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