2011 ASCO: Additional Phase III Study Data Support the Potential Role of Avastin in Newly-Diagnosed & Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

Positive results from two bevacizumab (Avastin®) phase III clinical studies were presented at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting on June 4. The data reported add to the growing body of evidence in support of bevacizumab use to treat recurrent and newly-diagnosed ovarian cancer.

Positive results from two bevacizumab (Avastin®) phase III clinical studies were presented at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting on June 4. The data reported add to the growing body of evidence in support of bevacizumab use to treat recurrent and newly-diagnosed ovarian cancer.

About Bevacizumab (Avastin®)

A diagram illustrating the role of the VEGF protein in the formation of new blood vessels that support tumor growth. Click on the picture above to view a video regarding the mechanism of action with respect to bevacizumab (Avastin®). (Photo: Genentech)

Angiogenesis” refers to the process of new blood vessel formation. When tissues need more oxygen, they release molecules that encourage blood vessel growth. Angiogenesis is a normal and vital process in human growth and development, as well as in wound healing. Unfortunately, cancer tumors also utilize this same process to enhance their own blood supply in order to nourish their aberrant growth.

Ovarian cancer is associated with high concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein associated with tumor growth and spread. Studies have shown a correlation between a high concentration of VEGF and ascites  (excess fluid in the body cavity) development, disease worsening, and a poorer prognosis in women with ovarian cancer.[1-2]

Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody designed to specifically bind to the VEGF protein, which plays an important role throughout the lifecycle of the tumor to develop and maintain blood vessels through angiogenesis. The drug interferes with the tumor blood supply by directly binding to the VEGF protein to prevent interactions with receptors on blood vessel cells. The tumor blood supply is thought to be critical to a tumor’s ability to grow and spread in the body (metastasize).

Bevacizumab is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved therapy designed to inhibit angiogenesis. Although FDA-approved for several forms of cancer, bevacizumab is not yet approved for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Patients treated with bevacizumab may experience side effects. In past clinical trials, some people treated with bevacizumab experienced serious and sometimes fatal side effects, related to gastrointestinal (GI) perforation, surgery and wound healing, and severe bleeding. For more information, review the Avastin BOXED WARNINGS and Additional Important Safety Information.

OCEANS Phase III Clinical Study: Women with Recurrent Platinum Sensitive Ovarian Cancer Experience 78% Response Rate & 52% Reduction In Disease Progression Risk

  • About the OCEANS Study

“OCEANS” is a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase III study in 484 women with platinum drug-sensitive recurrent ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer.[3] Women in the OCEANS study received no more than one treatment regimen prior to study enrollment.  The OCEANS study randomized enrolled women to one of two clinical study arms:

Arm A: Intravenous carboplatin (area under the curve (AUC) 4; Day 1) + gemcitabine  (1,000 mg/m2; Day 1 & 8; brand name: Gemzar®) + placebo (Day 1) every 21 days x 6 cycles, followed by placebo maintenance every 21 days, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurred.

Arm B: Carboplatin + gemcitabine + bevacizumab (15 mg/kg; Day 1) every 21 days x 6 cycles, followed by single agent bevacizumab maintenance every 21 days, until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurred.

The primary endpoint of the OCEANS study was progression free survival. The secondary endpoints of the study included overall survival, objective response, duration of response and safety profile.

  • OCEANS Study Data

Carol Aghajanian, M.D. speaks during the Oral Abstract Session: Gynecologic Cancer at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting on Saturday June 4, 2011. (Photo: ASCO/GMG/Silas Crews 2011)

Carol Aghajanian, M.D., chief of the gynecologic medical oncology service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, presented the data from the OCEANS study comparing efficacy and safety of chemotherapy and antiangiogenic therapy in platinum drug-sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer.

Two hundred forty-two women were allocated to each study arm and the median follow-up period was 24 months. Patient characteristics were well-matched in the two treatment groups with regard to age (median age ~60), race (~91% white), performance status (~75%, PS = 0), histologic subtype (~80% serous), cytoreductive surgery (~11%), and platinum-free interval (defined as the time between finishing front-line platinum-based therapy and starting second-line chemotherapy) of more than 12 months (~60%). The study stratification variables were platinum-free interval (6 to 12 months vs. more than 12) and cytoreductive surgery for recurrent disease (yes vs. no).

The median number of chemotherapy cycles was six for each group, and a median of 11 cycles of bevacizumab or placebo was given. At least one-third of the patients received more than six cycles of carboplatin and gemcitabine, although slightly more of the placebo-treated group continued chemotherapy beyond six cycles.

Progression-free survival was significantly longer for women given bevacizumab (12.4 months vs. 8.4 months in the placebo-treated group (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.484; 95% confidence interval (CI) [0.388, 0.605]; p < 0.0001). These results were corroborated by the analyses of an independent review committee. Analyses according to platinum-free interval, cytoreductive surgery, age, and baseline performance status indicate a consistent benefit in all subgroups.

Objective response rate increased by 21.1% (p < 0.0001), from 57.4% in the placebo group to 78.5% in the bevacizumab treated group; duration of response increased from a median of 7.4 months to 10.4 months, respectively (HR: 0.534; 95% CI [0.408, 0.698]; p < 0.0001). Overall survival data are still premature, with median survival of 29.9 months in the placebo group and 35.5 months in the bevacizumab treatment group.

Sixty-five percent of the patients in the placebo group were withdrawn from the protocol due to disease progression, compared with only 41% of the treatment group, but 23% of the discontinuations in the bevacizumab group were due to adverse events, compared with only 5% in the placebo group. Much of this increase was due to grade 3 (or worse) adverse events; specifically hypertension and proteinuria associated with bevacizumab therapy. Overall, the safety profile of bevacizumab was consistent with past trials.

  • OCEANS Study Commentary

Dr. Aghajanian concluded that the OCEANS study results demonstrate a statistically significant and clinically relevant benefit when bevacizumab is added to carboplatin and gemcitabine. Aghajanian stated that this regimen should be considered a new option for the treatment of recurrent, platinum drug-sensitive ovarian cancer. As expected, the rate of adverse events was higher among patients who received bevacizumab, explained Dr. Aghajanian. “Hypertension and proteinuria were increased, but febrile neutropenia was the same in both arms.” “The safety data are reassuring and consistent with the known bevacizumab side-effect profile, and there were no new safety signals,” said Dr. Aghajanian.

“In advanced ovarian cancer, just as in advanced breast cancer, there is often an opportunity to intervene with different lines of chemotherapy,” said Andrew Seidman, M.D., attending physician for the breast cancer medicine service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. “There are many chapters in the story, so to speak,” said Dr. Seidman, who moderated a press briefing held in advance of the presentation. “We want to prolong each and every chapter in the disease, and make the story longer and ultimately improve survival. These trials results are certainly an important step in that direction.”

“Women with recurrent ovarian cancer need new treatment options, and it is therefore an important advance to halve the risk of disease progression in this incurable cancer,” said Hal Barron, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Roche Holdings Global Product Development. “These data add to the growing body of evidence supporting Avastin’s potential role in this disease, which includes two previously presented Phase III clinical trials [Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG)-218 [4] & ICON7] in women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer.”

In his discussion of the study, Anil K. Sood, M.D., professor and director of the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program in the Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and Cancer Biology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, suggested that further understanding of the timing and dosing of bevacizumab should be pursued in light of (i) its great financial cost, and (ii) reports that inhibition of angiogenesis in animal models reduces primary cancer tumor growth, but accelerates invasion and metastasis — unintended consequences that might be linked to the failure of bevacizumab to extend overall survival in most clinical trials.

ICON7 Phase III Clinical Study:  Newly-Diagnosed Women with High-Risk Ovarian Cancer Experience 36% Reduction in Risk of Death

Gunnar Kristensen M.D., Ph.D. speaks during the Women's Cancers Press Briefing at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting on June 4, 2011. (Photo: ASCO/GMG/Scott Morgan 2011)

ICON7 was designed to investigate safety and efficacy of adding bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy in women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer. [5] Gunnar Kristensen, M.D, Ph.D., senior consultant in the Department for Gynecologic Oncology of the Norwegian Radium Hospital located in Oslo, reported the Phase III clinical study results.

  • About the ICON7 Study

From December 2006 to February 2009, 1,528 women were randomized from 263 centers in 7 Gynecologic Cancer InterGroups. Eligible women with high-risk early FIGO (Federation of International Gynecology and Obstetrics) stage I or IIa (grade 3 or clear cell histology), capped ≤10%) or advanced (stage IIb-IV) epithelial ovarian, primary peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer were randomizsed (1:1) to one of two study arms:

Arm A: 6 cycles of 3 weekly chemotherapy (carboplatin AUC 5 or 6 and paclitaxel 175mg/m2) alone;  or

Arm B: Same chemotherapy as in Arm A, given concurrently with bevacizumab (7.5mg/kg) for 5 or 6 cycles, followed by continued 3-weekly single-agent bevacizumab maintenance therapy for 12 additional cycles (up to 12 months) or until disease progression (whichever event occurs first).

The baseline patient characteristics were balanced between both study arms: median age (57 years); ECOG Performance Status 0-1 (47%); high-risk early-stage disease (9%); poor prognosis patients (30%); histology (69% serous, 8% endometrioid, 8% clear cell).

  • Updated ICON7 Progression Free Survival Data

Data from the ICON7 study were presented for the first time at the 2010 European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress. As reported at ESMO, chemotherapy-naïve ovarian cancer patients who received bevacizumab in combination with standard chemotherapy, and then continued with single agent bevacizumab maintenance therapy, experienced approximately 27% improvement (18.3 months versus 16 months) in the likelihood of living longer without the disease worsening (i.e., progression-free survival) compared to those women who received only chemotherapy (hazard ratio = 0.79, p=<0.0010), which corresponds to a 21% reduction in risk of cancer progression or death. The ICON7 data presented at ESMO was based upon mature progression-free survival results.

The updated ICON7 progression-free survival data presented at the ASCO annual meeting were consistent with the data reported last year at ESMO. In the updated analysis, women assigned to the bevacizumab arm experienced longer progression-free survival than those in the control group (19.8 months vs 17.4 months; HR, 0.87; p =.039). “There is a substantial prolongation of time to progression,” said Dr. Kristensen, adding that the gain was 2.4 months.

  • ICON7 Overall Survival Data Immature; But Clear Benefit To Women With “Poor Prognosis.” 

At a median follow-up of 28 months, there were fewer deaths among women who received bevacizumab than among those who received standard chemotherapy (178 vs 200). Although this represents a 15% overall reduction in mortality risk, the difference did not reach statistical significance (hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; P = .11). The final analyses for overall survival will be performed when 715 patient deaths have occurred. The current analysis was conducted because an interim analysis with at least 365 deaths was requested by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency for licensing consideration.

Although the overall survival data is not mature, a subgroup analysis of women with a “poor prognosis” (defined as FIGO stage III patients debulked to >1.0cm of visible diease or FIGO stage IV with debulking) was performed. Within this subgroup, there were 79 deaths within the bevacizumab arm and 109 deaths in the control arm. Based on this data, there was a 36% reduction in the risk of death (HR=0.64, 95% CI=0.48 to 0.85, p=0.0022 with p=0.015 for test for interaction (treatment/risk group)) among the poor prognosis subgroup.  This result was statistically significant. “We have previously shown that [the high-risk] group has a greater benefit from bevacizumab than the other patients,” said Dr. Kristensen. “For this group, there is a very clear gain for overall survival.”

  • ICON7 Study Commentary

“We conclude that the addition of concurrent and continued bevacizumab for 12 months does improve progression-free survival,” said Dr. Kristensen.  Kristensen also noted that, on the basis of an interim analysis involving approximately 53% of the number of deaths needed for the final analysis, there is an overall trend for improvement in overall survival.

“In this study, we see the ability of antiangiogenic therapy to delay the progression of ovarian cancer, this time in the first-line setting,” said Andrew Seidman, M.D. He added that previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of bevacizumab in ovarian cancer. “These lend support to a potential role for bevacizumab as the first biologic agent to be used in this disease,” said Seidman, who moderated a press briefing during which study highlights were presented.

There are many strengths in a study like this, in that it addresses questions about the role of anti-VEGF therapies in this setting, said Anil Sood, M.D., who served as a discussant for this paper. “The randomized design is obviously a major strength.”

However, there are potential issues to examine, explained Dr. Sood. “One is the role of bevacizumab in the combination setting, compared with the maintenance setting.”

“How useful is bevacizumab in the combination setting up front? Is the real role for bevacizumab in the maintenance setting following initial chemotherapy,” he asked.

The issue of bevacizumab dosing was also raised by Dr. Sood. “One of the questions is whether higher doses are needed,” he said. “There are data emerging from other studies showing that lower doses are as efficacious, if not more so.”

References:

1/Rudlowski C, Pickart AK, Fuhljahn C, et. al. Prognostic significance of vascular endothelial growth factor expression in ovarian cancer patients: a long-term follow-up. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2006 Jan-Feb;16 Suppl 1:183-9. PubMed PMID: 16515588.

2/Cooper BC, Ritchie JM, Broghammer CL, et. al. Preoperative serum vascular endothelial growth factor levels: significance in ovarian cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2002 Oct;8(10):3193-7.  PMID: 12374688

3/Aghajanian C, Finkler NJ, Rutherford T, et. alOCEANS: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled phase III trial of chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab (BEV) in patients with platinum-sensitive recurrent epithelial ovarian (EOC), primary peritoneal (PPC), or fallopian tube cancer (FTC)J Clin Oncol 29: 2011 (suppl; abstr LBA5007)[2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting].

4/ Burger RA, Brady MF, Bookman MA, et. alPhase III trial of bevacizumab in the primary treatment of advanced epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC), primary peritoneal cancer (PPC), or fallopian tube cancer (FTC): a Gynecologic Oncology Group study [GOG 218 Abstract]J Clin Oncol 28:18s, 2010 (suppl; abstr LBA1).

5/Kristensen G, Perren T, Qian W., et. alResult of interim analysis of overall survival in the GCIG ICON7 phase III randomized trial of bevacizumab in women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancerJ Clin Oncol 29: 2011 (suppl; abstr LBA5006) [2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting].

Additional Sources & Helpful Information:

Bevacizumab (Avastin®) Clinical Trial Information

Related WORD of HOPE Ovarian Cancer Podcast™

Related Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ Postings

Related Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ Videos

  • To view videos regarding bevacizumab (Avastin®), click here.


Æterna Zentaris’ LHRH-Receptor Targeted Therapy AEZS-108 Produces Positive Preliminary Results in Advanced Stage Ovarian Cancer

Preliminary Phase II clinical study evaluation shows that primary efficacy endpoint has been met for patients with advanced-stage, platinum-resistant, taxane-pretreated ovarian cancer who were treated with the targeted therapy AEZS-108.

Æterna Zentaris Inc. , a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology, today announced positive efficacy data from a Phase II study with its targeted therapy AEZS-108 (formerly AN-152 or ZEN-008), in patients with platinumresistant, taxane-pretreated ovarian cancer. In a personalized healthcare approach, the study selected patients with tumors expressing luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) receptors, the key element in the targeting mechanism of AEZS-108. Under coordination by Prof. Günter Emons, MD, Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Göttingen, Germany, this open-label, multi-center and multi-national Phase II study (AGO-GYN 5) is being conducted by the German AGO Study Group (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Gynäkologische Onkologie / Gynaecological Oncology Working Group; www.ago-ovar.de), in cooperation with clinical sites in Europe.

Preliminary Phase II Clinical Study Results

Juergen Engel, Ph.D., President & CEO, AEterna Zentaris

Juergen Engel, Ph.D., President & Chief Executive Officer, Æterna Zentaris Inc. (Photo: AEterna Zentaris Inc.)

All 43 patients with LHRH-receptor positive ovarian cancer who entered study AGO-GYN 5 have completed their study treatment. A preliminary evaluation shows that the study met its primary efficacy endpoint of 5 or more responders in 41 evaluable patients.

Responders, as well as patients with stable disease after completion of treatment with AEZS 108, will now be followed to assess the duration of progression-free survival and, ultimately, overall survival. More detailed analyses, which will also include efficacy data from post-treatment follow-up of the ovarian cancer patients, are currently in preparation and will be presented at forthcoming scientific conferences.

Juergen Engel, Ph.D., Æterna Zentaris President and Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are pleased with the progress of this project. The successful completion of the recruitment and treatment phase and the apparent activity in this difficult group of cancer patients is encouraging. This is the basis we were looking for, in order to take the next steps in the further development of AEZS 108 in gynecological cancers and possibly also in prostate cancer.”

About the AEZS-108 Phase II Clinical Study

AEZS-108 represents a new targeting concept in oncology using a cytotoxic peptide conjugate which is a hybrid molecule composed of a synthetic peptide carrier and a well-known cytotoxic agent, doxorubicin. The design of this product allows for the specific binding and selective uptake of the cytotoxic conjugate by LHRH-receptor-positive tumors. The binding of AEZS-108 to cancerous cells that express these receptors results in its accumulation and preferential uptake in the malignant tissue.

In a Phase II study program entitled, “The antitumoral activity and safety of AEZS 108 (AN 152), a LHRH agonist linked doxorubicin in women with LHRH-receptor positive gynecological tumors“, patients with tumors expressing LHRH receptors are administered an intravenous infusion of 267 mg/m2 of AEZS 108 over a period of 2 hours, every Day 1 of a 21-day (3-week) cycle. The proposed duration of the study treatment is 6, 3-week cycles. Study AGO GYN 5 is performed with 14 centers of the German Gynecological Oncology Working Group (AGO; www.ago-ovar.de), in cooperation with 3 clinical sites in Europe.

The program was designed to include up to 82 patients; approximately 41 with a diagnosis of platinum-resistant, taxane-pretreated ovarian cancer, and 41 with disseminated endometrial cancer. For both indications, patient recruitment was planned in 2 stages with 21 and 20 patients, respectively, and the primary efficacy endpoint at the end of stage 2 was defined as 5 or more patients with partial or complete tumor responses according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) and/or Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup (GCIG) guidelines. Secondary endpoints include time to progression, survival, toxicity, as well as adverse effects.

Prior Phase I Clinical Trial Results

On June 3, 2007 positive results of an open, multi-center, sequential group, dose-escalation Phase I study in various gynecological cancers were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Seventeen (17) patients with LHRH-receptor positive gynecological cancers were recruited. AEZS-108 was administered by intravenous infusion over two hours at dosages of 10, 20, 40, 80,160 and 267 mg/m2. At 160 mg/m2, six patients had a total of 32 cycles and at 267 mg/m2, seven patients had a total of 27 cycles. Most of the patients had been pretreated with various chemotherapies.

The study showed that AEZS-108 was well tolerated by patients with gynecological tumors. Furthermore, AEZS-108 is the first drug in a clinical study that targets the cytotoxic activity of doxorubicin specifically to LHRH-receptor expressing tumors. Finally, signs of anti-tumor activity were observed in seven out of 13 patients treated with 160 or 267 mg/m2 of AEZS 108, including three patients with complete or partial response

About AEZS-108

AEZS-108 Mechanism of Action

AEZS-108 Mechanism of Action (Photo: AEterna Zentaris Inc.)

AEZS-108 is a targeted cytotoxic peptide conjugate which is a hybrid molecule composed of a synthetic peptide carrier and a well-known cytotoxic agent, doxorubicin. The design of this product allows for the specific binding and selective uptake of the cytotoxic conjugate by LHRH-receptor-positive tumors. The binding of AEZS-108 to cancerous cells that express these receptors results in its accumulation in the malignant tissue. This binding is followed by internalization and retention of the cytotoxic drug, doxorubicin, in the cells. Therefore, since they target specific cells, cytotoxic conjugates are postulated to be less toxic, have less side-effects and are more effective in vivo than the respective non-conjugated/non-linked cytotoxic agents in inhibiting tumor growth.

About Ovarian and Endometrial Cancer

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common gynecologic malignancies and the fifth most frequent cause of cancer death in women, with most of the cases occurring in women between 50 and 75 years of age. Overall, ovarian cancer accounts for 4% of all cancer diagnoses in women and 5% of all cancer deaths. Approximately 26,000 new cases and 17,000 deaths from this disease are estimated in the European community every year (Source: Gynecologic Oncology, Volume 92, Issue 3, March 2004, Pages 819-826).

Cancer of the endometrium is the most common gynecologic malignancy and accounts for 6% of all cancers in women. The majority of the cases occur in postmenopausal women, with the largest number of women developing their cancers during their sixth decade. Approximately 38,000 new cases and 9,000 deaths from this disease are estimated annually in Europe (Source: Annals of Oncology 15:1149-1150, 2004).

About Æterna Zentaris Inc.

Æterna Zentaris Inc. is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on endocrine therapy and oncology, with proven expertise in drug discovery, development and commercialization. News releases and additional information are available at www.aezsinc.com.

Sources:

Sometimes More Is Less: Evaluation of Experimental Platinum-Based Treatment Regimens in Advanced-Stage Ovarian Cancer; A Phase III Trial of the Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup

“… Compared with standard paclitaxel and carboplatin, addition of a third cytotoxic agent [gemcitibine, liposomal doxorubicin or topotecan] provided no benefit in PFS [progression-free survival] or OS [overall survival] after optimal or suboptimal cytoreduction. Dual-stage, multiarm, phase III trials can efficiently evaluate multiple experimental regimens against a single reference arm. The development of new interventions beyond surgery and conventional platinum-based chemotherapy is required to additionally improve outcomes for women with advanced EOC.”

“Michael A. Bookman,* Mark F. Brady, William P. McGuire, Peter G. Harper, David S. Alberts, Michael Friedlander, Nicoletta Colombo, Jeffrey M. Fowler, Peter A. Argenta, Koen De Geest, David G. Mutch, Robert A. Burger, Ann Marie Swart, Edward L. Trimble, Chrisann Accario-Winslow, and Lawrence M. Roth

From the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Gynecologic Oncology Group Statistical and Data Center, Buffalo, NY; Franklin Square Hospital; Baltimore, MD; Guy’s Hospital, London, United Kingdom; Arizona Cancer Center, Tucson, AZ; Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group, Camperdown, Australia; European Institute of Cancer Research, Milano, Italy; Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Minneapolis, MN; University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA; Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; University of California, Irvine Medical Center, Orange, CA; University College London and Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit, London, United Kingdom; National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD; and Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: michael.bookman@fccc.edu

Purpose: To determine if incorporation of an additional cytotoxic agent improves overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) for women with advanced-stage epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) and primary peritoneal carcinoma who receive carboplatin and paclitaxel.

Patients and Methods: Women with stages III to IV disease were stratified by coordinating center, maximal diameter of residual tumor, and intent for interval cytoreduction and were then randomly assigned among five arms that incorporated gemcitabine, methoxypolyethylene glycosylated liposomal doxorubicin, or topotecan compared with carboplatin and paclitaxel. The primary end point was OS and was determined by pairwise comparison to the reference arm, with a 90% chance of detecting a true hazard ratio of 1.33 that limited type I error to 5% (two-tail) for the four comparisons.

Results: Accrual exceeded 1,200 patients per year. An event-triggered interim analysis occurred after 272 events on the reference arm, and the study closed with 4,312 women enrolled. Arms were well balanced for demographic and prognostic factors, and 79% of patients completed eight cycles of therapy. There were no improvements in either PFS or OS associated with any experimental regimen. Survival analyses of groups defined by size of residual disease also failed to show experimental benefit in any subgroup.

Conclusion: Compared with standard paclitaxel and carboplatin, addition of a third cytotoxic agent provided no benefit in PFS or OS after optimal or suboptimal cytoreduction. Dual-stage, multiarm, phase III trials can efficiently evaluate multiple experimental regimens against a single reference arm. The development of new interventions beyond surgery and conventional platinum-based chemotherapy is required to additionally improve outcomes for women with advanced EOC.”

Quoted Source Evaluation of New Platinum-Based Treatment Regimens in Advanced-Stage Ovarian Cancer: A Phase III Trial of the Gynecologic Cancer InterGroup; Bookman MA et. al., J Clin Oncol. 2009 Feb 17. [Epub ahead of print].