Efficacy of cetuximab in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer might depend on EGFR and PTEN expression: results from a phase II trial (SAKK 08/07)

Richard Cathomas, Christian Rothermundt, Dirk Klingbiel, Lukas Bubendorf, Rolf Jaggi, Daniel C Betticher, Peter Brauchli, Denise Cotting, Cornelia Droege, Ralph Winterhalder, Daniele Siciliano, Dominik R Berthold, Miklos Pless, Ralph Schiess, Roger von Moos, Silke Gillessen
Clinical Cancer Research 2012 November 1, 18 (21): 6049-57

PURPOSE: The EGF receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in the majority of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancers (mCRPC) and might represent a valid therapeutic target. The combination of docetaxel and cetuximab, the monoclonal antibody against EGFR, has not been tested in patients with prostate cancer.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Patients with mCRPC progressing during or within 90 days after at least 12 weeks of docetaxel were included in this phase II trial. Treatment consisted of docetaxel (75 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks or 35 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8, 15 every 4 weeks) in combination with cetuximab (400 mg/m(2) on day 1 and then 250 mg/m(2) weekly). The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) at 12 weeks defined as the absence of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), radiographic, or clinical progression. Evaluation of known biomarkers of response and resistance to cetuximab (EGFR, PTEN, amphiregulin, epiregulin) was conducted.

RESULTS: Thirty-eight patients were enrolled at 15 Swiss centers. Median age was 68 years and median PSA was 212 ng/mL. PFS at 12 weeks was 34% [95% confidence interval (CI), 19%-52%], PFS at 24 weeks was 20%, and median overall survival (OS) was 13.3 months (95% CI, 7.3-15.4). Seven patients (20%) had a confirmed ≥ 50% and 11 patients (31%) a confirmed ≥ 30% PSA decline. About 47% of enrolled patients experienced grade 3 and 8% grade 4 toxicities. A significantly improved PFS was found in patients with overexpression of EGFR and persistent activity of PTEN.

CONCLUSIONS: EGFR inhibition with cetuximab might improve the outcome of patients with mCRPC. A potential correlation between EGFR overexpression, persistent expression of PTEN, and EGFR inhibition should be investigated further.

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