Objectives: This retrospective study examined pancreatic cancer patients who received combination gemcitabine and erlotinib to determine if the association between rash and outcomes observed in clinical trials would be observed in 'real-world' community oncology settings.
Methods: Medical records from 10 community oncology practices were used to identify eligible patients. Rash severity was classified as High (moderate/severe) versus Low (absent/mild) based on medical record review. Kaplan-Meier analysis assessed progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) by rash status from a landmark of 42 days after treatment initiation. Cox regression with time-varying covariates tested whether high-severity rash predicted longer OS and PFS.
Results: The High Severity group (n = 34) had longer median OS from the landmark than the Low Severity group (n = 134; 7.58 months vs 5.03 months, P = 0.0339). Cox regression analysis (n = 174) confirmed a reduced risk of death with High Rash Severity (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.67, P = 0.0389). Progression-free survival results showed a similar pattern (median PFS 2.37 months from landmark vs 2.04 months for High vs Low Severity groups, P = 0.0485).
Conclusions: Results from this community sample were consistent with findings from randomized clinical trials, showing that longer OS is predicted by high-severity rash in erlotinib-treated pancreatic cancer patients.