• Effect of epoetin alfa on survival and cancer treatment-related anemia and fatigue in patients receiving radical radiotherapy with curative intent for head and neck cancer.

      Hoskin, Peter J; Robinson, Martin; Slevin, Nicholas J; Morgan, David; Harrington, Kevin; Gaffney, Christopher; Marie Curie Research Wing for Oncology, Mount Vernon Centre for Cancer Treatment, Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood, Middlesex, UK. peterhoskin@nhs.net (2009-12-01)
      PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of epoetin alfa on local disease-free survival (DFS), overall survival (OS), and cancer treatment-related anemia and fatigue in patients with head and neck cancer receiving radical radiotherapy with curative intent. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients (N = 301) with hemoglobin (Hb) less than 15 g/dL were randomly assigned in a ratio of 1:1 to receive radiotherapy plus epoetin alfa (10,000 U subcutaneously [SC] three times weekly if baseline Hb was < 12.5 g/dL; 4,000 U SC three times weekly if baseline Hb > or = 12.5 g/dL) or radiotherapy alone. Hb levels were monitored weekly. The primary end point was local DFS, defined as the time from random assignment to local disease recurrence or death. Secondary efficacy end points included OS, local tumor response, and local tumor control. Patients were followed at 1, 4, 8, and 12 weeks postradiotherapy and annually for 5 years. Cancer treatment-related anemia and fatigue were evaluated with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Anemia and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck. Adverse events were recorded up to 12 weeks postradiotherapy. RESULTS: Hb levels increased from baseline with epoetin alfa. The median duration of local DFS was not statistically different between groups (observation, 35.42 months; epoetin alfa, 31.47 months; hazard ratio, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.77 to 1.41). Groups did not significantly differ in DFS, OS, tumor outcomes, or cancer treatment-related anemia or fatigue. No new or unexpected adverse events were observed. CONCLUSION: Addition of epoetin alfa to radical radiotherapy did not affect survival, tumor outcomes, anemia, or fatigue positively or negatively in patients with head and neck cancer.
    • Use of G-CSF during concurrent chemotherapy and thoracic radiotherapy in patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer safety data from a phase II trial.

      Sheikh, Hamid Y; Colaco, Rovel J; Lorigan, Paul C; Blackhall, Fiona H; Califano, Raffaele; Ashcroft, Linda; Taylor, Paul; Thatcher, Nick; Faivre-Finn, Corinne; Dept of Clinical Oncology, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK. (2011-10)
      There is paucity of data in the literature regarding the safety of combining granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) during chemo-radiotherapy (CTRT) in lung cancer patients. The ASCO 2006 recommendations advise against use of CSFs during concomitant mediastinal CTRT. The only randomised study evaluating CSFs in this context showed significant increase in grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia and an excess of pulmonary toxic deaths. In the context of a phase II trial, 38 patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer were randomised to receive once-daily (66 Gy in 33 fractions) or twice-daily (45 Gy in 30 fractions) radiotherapy. Radiotherapy (RT) was given concurrently with cisplatin and etoposide. G-CSF was given as primary or secondary prophylaxis or as a therapeutic measure during an episode of febrile neutropenia according to local protocols. Common terminology criteria for adverse events (CTCAE) v3.0 was used to record toxicity. Thirteen (34%) of 38 patients received G-CSF concurrently with RT. With a median follow-up of 16.9 months, there were no treatment related deaths reported. Seven (54%) patients experienced grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia and 5 (38%) experienced grade 3/4 anaemia. Thirty-one percent required platelet transfusions. No episodes of bleeding were observed. There were no cases of grade 3/4 acute pneumonitis. These data suggests that with modern three-dimensional (3D) conformal RT, G-CSF administration concurrently with CTRT does not result in the increase risk of pulmonary toxicity, but does increase the risk of thrombocytopenia. Whether the risks of thrombocytopenia are outweighed by the outcome of timely early concurrent CTRT is being evaluated prospectively in the ongoing phase III CONVERT trial (NCT00433563) in which G-CSF is permitted during thoracic irradiation.