Tumor response and progression-free survival as potential surrogate endpoints for overall survival in extensive stage small-cell lung cancer: findings on the basis of North Central Cancer Treatment Group trials

Nathan R Foster, Yingwei Qi, Qian Shi, James E Krook, John W Kugler, James R Jett, Julian R Molina, Steven E Schild, Alex A Adjei, Sumithra J Mandrekar
Cancer 2011 March 15, 117 (6): 1262-71

BACKGROUND: The authors investigated the putative surrogate endpoints of best response, complete response (CR), confirmed response, and progression-free survival (PFS) for associations with overall survival (OS), and as possible surrogate endpoints for OS.

METHODS: Individual patient data from 870 untreated extensive stage small-cell lung cancer patients participating in 6 single-arm (274 patients) and 3 randomized trials (596 patients) were pooled. Patient-level associations between putative surrogate endpoints and OS were assessed by Cox models using landmark analyses. Trial-level surrogacy of putative surrogate endpoints were assessed by the association of treatment effects on OS and individual putative surrogate endpoints. Trial-level surrogacy measures included: R(2) from weighted least squares regression model, Spearman correlation coefficient, and R(2) from bivariate survival model (Copula R(2) ).

RESULTS: Median OS and PFS were 9.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.1-10.0) and 5.5 (95% CI, 5.2-5.9) months, respectively; best response, CR, and confirmed response rates were 44%, 22%, and 34%, respectively. Patient-level associations showed that PFS status at 4 months was a strong predictor of subsequent survival (hazard ratio [HR], 0.42; 95% CI, 0.35-0.51; concordance index 0.63; P < .01), with 6-month PFS being the strongest (HR, 0.41; 95% CI, 0.35-0.49; concordance index, 0.66, P < .01). At the trial level, PFS showed the highest level of surrogacy for OS (weighted least squares R(2) = 0.79; Copula R(2) = 0.80), explaining 79% of the variance in OS. Tumor response endpoints showed lower surrogacy levels (weighted least squares R(2) ≤0.48).

CONCLUSIONS: PFS was strongly associated with OS at both the patient and trial levels. PFS also shows promise as a potential surrogate for OS, but further validation is needed using data from a larger number of randomized phase 3 trials.

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