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Clinical Trial
. 2012 Mar 1;30(7):718-21.
doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.34.4010. Epub 2011 Oct 31.

Longer-term Outcomes of Letrozole Versus Placebo After 5 Years of Tamoxifen in the NCIC CTG MA.17 Trial: Analyses Adjusting for Treatment Crossover

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Free PMC article
Clinical Trial

Longer-term Outcomes of Letrozole Versus Placebo After 5 Years of Tamoxifen in the NCIC CTG MA.17 Trial: Analyses Adjusting for Treatment Crossover

Huan Jin et al. J Clin Oncol. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Purpose: The interim analysis of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group MA.17 trial showed that letrozole was significantly better than placebo in disease-free survival (DFS) for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer following about 5 years of tamoxifen therapy. When patients were unblinded, those on placebo were offered letrozole. Longer-term efficacy of letrozole, especially survival, was of particular interest because the median follow-up of the first interim analysis was only 2.5 years. Efficacy was difficult to assess because more than 60% of placebo patients crossed over to letrozole after being unblinded.

Patients and methods: Two statistical approaches were used to adjust for the potential effects of treatment crossover: one was based on the inverse probability of censoring weighted (IPCW) Cox model and the other on a Cox model with time-dependent covariates.

Results: With a median follow-up of 64 months, the hazard ratios (HRs) of letrozole and placebo from the IPCW analyses were HR of 0.52 (95% CI, 0.45 to 0.61; P < .001) for DFS, HR of 0.51 (95% CI, 0.42 to 0.61; P < .001) for distant disease-free survival (DDFS), and HR of 0.61 (95% CI, 0.52 to 0.71; P < .001) for overall survival (OS). The results from the analyses based on the Cox model with time-dependent covariates were similar for letrozole and placebo: HR of 0.58 (95% CI, 0.47 to 0.72; P < .001) for DFS, HR of 0.68 (95% CI, 0.52 to 0.88; P = .004) for DDFS, and HR of 0.76 (95% CI, 0.60 to 0.96; P = .02) for OS.

Conclusion: Exploratory analyses based on longer follow-up and adjusting for treatment crossover suggest that extended adjuvant letrozole was superior to placebo in DFS, DDFS, and OS.

Conflict of interest statement

Authors' disclosures of potential conflicts of interest and author contributions are found at the end of this article.

Figures

Fig 1.
Fig 1.
Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for letrozole versus placebo for all women randomly assigned in the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group MA.17 study. Inverse probability of censoring weighted (IPCW) analyses excluded 34 disease-free survival (DFS), 19 distant disease-free survival (DDFS), and 21 overall survival (OS) events observed after the crossover. COX, Cox proportional hazard model; E, number of events; ITT, intent to treat; SCC, approach proposed by Shao, Chang, and Chow..

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