• Biopsy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: results of a multicentre UK audit

      Childs, A.; Zakeri, N.; Ma, Y. T.; O'Rourke, J.; Ross, P.; Hashem, E.; Hubner, Richard A; Hockenhull, Kimberley; Iwuji, C.; Khan, S.; et al. (2021)
      Background: Advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is commonly diagnosed using non-invasive radiological criteria (NIRC) defined by the European Association for the Study of the Liver or the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. In 2017, The National Institute for Clinical Excellence mandated histological confirmation of disease to authorise the use of sorafenib in the UK. Methods: This was a prospective multicentre audit in which patients suitable for sorafenib were identified at multidisciplinary meetings. The primary analysis cohort (PAC) was defined by the presence of Child-Pugh class A liver disease and performance status 0-2. Clinical, radiological and histological data were reported locally and collected on a standardised case report form. Results: Eleven centres reported 418 cases, of which 361 comprised the PAC. Overall, 76% had chronic liver disease and 66% were cirrhotic. The diagnostic imaging was computed tomography in 71%, magnetic resonance imaging in 27% and 2% had both. Pre-existing histology was available in 45 patients and 270 underwent a new biopsy, which confirmed HCC in 93.4%. Alternative histological diagnoses included cholangiocarcinoma (CC) and combined HCC-CC. In cirrhotic patients, NIRC criteria had a sensitivity of 65.4% and a positive predictive value of 91.4% to detect HCC. Two patients (0.7%) experienced mild post-biopsy bleeding. Conclusion: The diagnostic biopsy is safe and feasible for most patients eligible for systemic therapy.
    • Scheduling nab-paclitaxel combined with gemcitabine as first-line treatment for metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma

      Corrie, P. G.; Qian, W.; Basu, B.; Valle, Juan W; Falk, S.; Lwuji, C.; Wasan, H.; Palmer, D.; Scott-Brown, M.; Wadsley, J.; et al. (2020)
      BACKGROUND: Nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine (nabP+gemcitabine) offers modest survival gains for patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Sequential scheduling of nabP+gemcitabine in a PDAC mouse model improved efficacy; this hypothesis was tested in a clinical trial. METHODS: Patients with previously untreated metastatic PDAC were randomised to receive nabP+gemcitabine administered either concomitantly on the same day, or sequentially, with gemcitabine administered 24 h after nabP. The primary outcome measure was progression-free survival (PFS). Secondary outcome measures were objective response rate (ORR), overall survival (OS), safety, quality of life (QoL) and predictive biomarkers. RESULTS: In total, 71 patients received sequential (SEQ) and 75 concomitant (CON) treatment. Six-month PFS was 46% with SEQ and 32% with CON scheduling. Median PFS (5.6 versus 4.0 months, hazard ratio [HR] 0.67, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.47-0.95, p = 0.022) and ORR (52% versus 31%, p = 0.023) favoured the SEQ arm; median OS was 10.2 versus 8.2 months (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.65-1.33, p = 0.70). CTCAE Grade /=3 neutropaenia incidence doubled with SEQ therapy but was not detrimental to QoL. Strongly positive tumour epithelial cytidine deaminase (CDA) expression favoured benefit from SEQ therapy (PFS HR 0.31
    • Second-line FOLFOX chemotherapy for advanced biliary tract cancer - Authors' reply

      Lamarca, Angela; Palmer, D. H.; Wasan, H. S.; Ross, P. J.; Ma, Y. T.; Arora, A.; Falk, S.; Gillmore, R.; Wadsley, J.; Patel, K.; et al. (2021)
    • Second-line FOLFOX chemotherapy versus active symptom control for advanced biliary tract cancer (ABC-06): a phase 3, open-label, randomised, controlled trial

      Lamarca, Angela; Palmer, D. H.; Wasan, H. S.; Ross, P. J.; Ma, Y. T.; Arora, A.; Falk, S.; Gillmore, R.; Wadsley, J.; Patel, K.; et al. (2021)
      Background: Advanced biliary tract cancer has a poor prognosis. Cisplatin and gemcitabine is the standard first-line chemotherapy regimen, but no robust evidence is available for second-line chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the benefit derived from second-line FOLFOX (folinic acid, fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin) chemotherapy in advanced biliary tract cancer. Methods: The ABC-06 clinical trial was a phase 3, open-label, randomised trial done in 20 sites with expertise in managing biliary tract cancer across the UK. Adult patients (aged ≥18 years) who had histologically or cytologically verified locally advanced or metastatic biliary tract cancer (including cholangiocarcinoma and gallbladder or ampullary carcinoma) with documented radiological disease progression to first-line cisplatin and gemcitabine chemotherapy and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1 were randomly assigned (1:1) centrally to active symptom control (ASC) and FOLFOX or ASC alone. FOLFOX chemotherapy was administered intravenously every 2 weeks for a maximum of 12 cycles (oxaliplatin 85 mg/m2, L-folinic acid 175 mg [or folinic acid 350 mg], fluorouracil 400 mg/m2 [bolus], and fluorouracil 2400 mg/m2 as a 46-h continuous intravenous infusion). Randomisation was done following a minimisation algorithm using platinum sensitivity, serum albumin concentration, and stage as stratification factors. The primary endpoint was overall survival, assessed in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was also assessed in the intention-to-treat population. The study is complete and the final results are reported. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01926236, and EudraCT, 2013-001812-30. Findings: Between March 27, 2014, and Jan 4, 2018, 162 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to ASC plus FOLFOX (n=81) or ASC alone (n=81). Median follow-up was 21·7 months (IQR 17·2-30·8). Overall survival was significantly longer in the ASC plus FOLFOX group than in the ASC alone group, with a median overall survival of 6·2 months (95% CI 5·4-7·6) in the ASC plus FOLFOX group versus 5·3 months (4·1-5·8) in the ASC alone group (adjusted hazard ratio 0·69 [95% CI 0·50-0·97]; p=0·031). The overall survival rate in the ASC alone group was 35·5% (95% CI 25·2-46·0) at 6 months and 11·4% (5·6-19·5) at 12 months, compared with 50·6% (39·3-60·9) at 6 months and 25·9% (17·0-35·8) at 12 months in the ASC plus FOLFOX group. Grade 3-5 adverse events were reported in 42 (52%) of 81 patients in the ASC alone group and 56 (69%) of 81 patients in the ASC plus FOLFOX group, including three chemotherapy-related deaths (one each due to infection, acute kidney injury, and febrile neutropenia). The most frequently reported grade 3-5 FOLFOX-related adverse events were neutropenia (ten [12%] patients), fatigue or lethargy (nine [11%] patients), and infection (eight [10%] patients). Interpretation: The addition of FOLFOX to ASC improved median overall survival in patients with advanced biliary tract cancer after progression on cisplatin and gemcitabine, with a clinically meaningful increase in 6-month and 12-month overall survival rates. To our knowledge, this trial is the first prospective, randomised study providing reliable, high-quality evidence to allow an informed discussion with patients of the potential benefits and risks from second-line FOLFOX chemotherapy in advanced biliary tract cancer. Based on these findings, FOLFOX should become standard-of-care chemotherapy in second-line treatment for advanced biliary tract cancer and the reference regimen for further clinical trials.