EPAC-Lung: Pooled analysis of circulating tumor cells in advanced non-small cell lung cancer

C.R. Lindsay, F.H. Blackhall, A. Carmel, P. Gazzaniga, H.J.M. Groen, M.G. Krebs, L. Muinelo-Romay, K. Pantel, E. Rossi, L. Terstappen, H. Wikman, J.-C. Soria, F.F. Farace, A. Renehan, C. Dive, B. Besse, S. Michiels

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Background: We assessed the clinical validity of circulating tumor cell (CTC) quantification for prognostication of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by undertaking a European pooled analysis of individual patient data. This is the largest study of its kind and the first to examine between-centre heterogeneity of CTC identification in NSCLC.
Methods: Nine European NSCLC CTC centers were asked to provide reported/unreported anonymised data for patients with advanced NSCLC who participated in CellSearch CTC studies from January 2003 - March 2017. We used Cox regression models, stratified by centre, to establish the association between CTC count and survival. We assessed the added value of CTCs to prognostic clinico-pathological models using likelihood ratio (LR) statistics and c-indices.
Results: Seven out of nine eligible centers provided data for 550 eligible patients, including 209 patients whose prognostic information was previously unpublished. CTC counts of ≥ 2 and ≥5 per 7·5 mL were associated with reduced progression-free survival (≥2 CTCs: HR 1.72, p < 0·001; ≥5 CTCs: HR 2.21, p < 0·001) and overall survival (≥2 CTCs: HR 2·18, p < 0·001; ≥5 CTCs: HR 2·75, p < 0·001), respectively. Survival prediction was significantly improved by addition of baseline CTC count to LR clinico-pathological models (log-transformed CTCs p < 0·0001; ≥2 CTCs p < 0·0001; ≥5 CTCs p < 0·0001), while more moderate improvements were observed with the use of c-index models. There was minor evidence of between-center heterogeneity in the effect on PFS, but not OS.No difference in CTC profile was observed between key NSCLC molecular subsets such as EGFR, ALK, and KRAS.
Conclusions: These data confirm CTCs as an independent prognostic indicator of progression-free survival and overall survival in advanced NSCLC. CTC count improves prognostication when added to full clinico-pathological predictive models. ≥2 CTCs is an appropriate cutoff to move towards establishing clinical utility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)ii7-ii7
JournalAnnals of oncology : official journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology
Issue numberSupplement 2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
EventEuropean Lung Cancer Congress, ELCC 2019 - Geneva, Switzerland
Duration: 10 Apr 201913 Apr 2019


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