Is there still room for large registrative trials in unselected cancer patients? the case of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

Massimo Di Maio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Necitumumab, a monoclonal antibody directed against EGFR, is currently under development as a treatment for advanced NSCLC. Two Phase III randomized trials are ongoing, testing the addition of necitumumab to first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. In the same setting, cetuximab produced a statistically significant but clinically modest benefit in the whole study population, and no solid data have been produced about predictive factors of efficacy. Will the difference in structure between the two antibodies be enough to obtain a clinically relevant advantage, making real progress in the treatment of advanced NSCLC? Large Phase III trials in unselected patients risk demonstrating statistically significant results with debatable clinical relevance in the whole population, and the study of predictive factors is often left to subgroup analysis performed after the conduction of the trial. We do not need further 'me-too' drugs, or drugs that produce a small benefit in the unselected population. On the contrary, the oncologic community needs drugs to be used with a proper selection of patients, to obtain larger, relevant benefits in molecularly characterized subgroups. Final results of randomized trials with necitumumab in advanced NSCLC are expected in a couple of years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1133
Number of pages3
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

Keywords

  • Advanced non-small cell lung cancer
  • Clinical trial methodology
  • Necitumumab
  • Predictive factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Drug Discovery

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