Erbitux Outcomes In Patients With Head And Neck Cancer Seem To Be Independent Of HPV Tumor Status
"This analysis is very interesting as it suggests that patients with recurrent and/or metastatic head and neck cancer may benefit from the addition of Erbitux to a platinum-based chemotherapy backbone, independent of HPV status," said Dr. Amanda Psyrri, Faculty of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece, and lead author of the analysis abstract. "HPV infection is linked to an increasing global incidence in head and neck cancer, so these encouraging results are of particular significance and warrant further investigation and validation," she added.
The EXTREME trial demonstrated the first survival advantage in recurrent and/or metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (R/M SCCHN) treatment in over 30 years2 and showed that adding Erbitux to chemotherapy extended overall survival in patients without compromising the quality of this survival.3 These new HPV data reinforce the role of Erbitux as a targeted treatment that can improve outcomes for patients with head and neck cancer.1
HPV-positive status is thought to be responsible for the escalating incidence of oropharyngeal SCCHN in recent years.4 If detected early, the outlook for patients with all types of head and neck cancer is generally good. However, the vast majority of patients are diagnosed when the disease is in late stage.2
"Unfortunately, head and neck cancer is generally treated at a late stage due to delayed presentation, diagnosis and referral," said Professor Lefebvre, President of the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS). "We are working together with other societies to address this issue and improve patient outcomes by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer, particularly among patients and referring physicians, such as family doctors and dentists."
About EXTREME: ErbituX in 1st-line Treatment of REcurrent or MEtastatic head and neck cancer
The Phase III randomized EXTREME study involved 442 patients with previously untreated R/M SCCHN who were treated with either Erbitux plus platinum-based chemotherapy (chemotherapy; cisplatin or carboplatin plus infusional 5-fluorouracil) or platinum-based chemotherapy alone. The study met the primary endpoint of significantly increasing overall survival - an improvement of 2.7 months (p=0.04) was seen for patients treated with Erbitux plus platinum-based chemotherapy compared with chemotherapy alone. The median overall survival for patients in the Erbitux plus platinum-based chemotherapy arm was 10.1 months; and 7.4 months for patients treated with platinum-based chemotherapy alone. This is among the longest ever reported survival time in a Phase III trial for this patient population.
In the retrospective analysis, 196/222 (88%) patients in the Erbitux plus chemotherapy and 184/220 (84%) in the chemotherapy arm had tissue evaluable for HPV (p16). Of these, 178/196 (91%) and 162/184 (88%) respectively had HPV-negative tumors.
The toxicity profile of Erbitux in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy was manageable and consistent with the current safety information.