Assessing response to treatment in non—small-cell lung cancer: role of tumor volume evaluated by computed tomography

Friedrich D Knollmann, Rohan Kumthekar, David Fetzer, Mark A Socinski
Clinical Lung Cancer 2014, 15 (2): 103-9

INTRODUCTION: We set out to investigate whether volumetric tumor measurements allow for a prediction of treatment response, as measured by patient survival, in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with nonresectable NSCLC (stage III or IV, n = 100) who were repeatedly evaluated for treatment response by computed tomography (CT) were included in a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant retrospective study. Tumor response was measured by comparing tumor volumes over time. Patient survival was compared with Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) using Kaplan-Meier survival statistics and Cox regression analysis.

RESULTS: The median overall patient survival was 553 days (standard error, 146 days); for patients with stage III NSCLC, it was 822 days, and for patients with stage IV disease, 479 days. The survival differences were not statistically significant (P = .09). According to RECIST, 5 patients demonstrated complete response, 39 partial response, 44 stable disease, and 12 progressive disease. Patient survival was not significantly associated with RECIST class, the change of the sum of tumor diameters (P = .98), nor the change of the sum of volumetric tumor dimensions (P = .17).

CONCLUSION: In a group of 100 patients with advanced-stage NSCLC, neither volumetric CT measurements of changes in tumor size nor RECIST class significantly predicted patient survival. This observation suggests that size response may not be a sufficiently precise surrogate marker of success to steer treatment decisions in individual patients.

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