BACKGROUND: In patients with KRAS wild-type (wt) metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), outcomes with first-line chemotherapies are improved by adding weekly cetuximab. The APEC study investigated first-line once-every-2-weeks cetuximab plus chemotherapy for patients with KRAS wt mCRC; additional biomarker subgroups were also analyzed.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: APEC was a nonrandomized phase 2 trial conducted in the Asia-Pacific region. Patients (n = 289) received once-every-2-weeks cetuximab with investigator's choice of chemotherapy (FOLFOX or FOLFIRI). The primary end point was best confirmed overall response rate (BORR); progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were secondary end points. Early tumor shrinkage (ETS) and depth of response (DpR) were also evaluated.
RESULTS: In the KRAS wt population, BORR was 58.8%, median PFS 11.1 months, and median OS 26.8 months. Expanded RAS mutational analysis revealed that patients with RAS wt mCRC had better outcomes (BORR = 64.7%; median PFS = 13.0 months; median OS = 28.4 months). The data suggest that ETS and DpR may be associated with survival outcomes in the RAS wt population. Although this study was not designed to formally assess differences in outcome between treatment subgroups, efficacy results appeared similar for patients treated with FOLFOX and FOLFIRI. There were no new safety findings; in particular, grade 3/4 skin reactions were within clinical expectations.
CONCLUSION: The observed activity and safety profile is similar to that reported in prior first-line pivotal studies involving weekly cetuximab, suggesting once-every-2-weeks cetuximab is effective and tolerable as first-line therapy and may represent an alternative to weekly administration.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.