Purpose: The EGF receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in the majority of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancers (mCRPC) and might represent a valid therapeutic target. The combination of docetaxel and cetuximab, the monoclonal antibody against EGFR, has not been tested in patients with prostate cancer.
Experimental design: Patients with mCRPC progressing during or within 90 days after at least 12 weeks of docetaxel were included in this phase II trial. Treatment consisted of docetaxel (75 mg/m(2) every 3 weeks or 35 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8, 15 every 4 weeks) in combination with cetuximab (400 mg/m(2) on day 1 and then 250 mg/m(2) weekly). The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) at 12 weeks defined as the absence of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), radiographic, or clinical progression. Evaluation of known biomarkers of response and resistance to cetuximab (EGFR, PTEN, amphiregulin, epiregulin) was conducted.
Results: Thirty-eight patients were enrolled at 15 Swiss centers. Median age was 68 years and median PSA was 212 ng/mL. PFS at 12 weeks was 34% [95% confidence interval (CI), 19%-52%], PFS at 24 weeks was 20%, and median overall survival (OS) was 13.3 months (95% CI, 7.3-15.4). Seven patients (20%) had a confirmed ≥ 50% and 11 patients (31%) a confirmed ≥ 30% PSA decline. About 47% of enrolled patients experienced grade 3 and 8% grade 4 toxicities. A significantly improved PFS was found in patients with overexpression of EGFR and persistent activity of PTEN.
Conclusions: EGFR inhibition with cetuximab might improve the outcome of patients with mCRPC. A potential correlation between EGFR overexpression, persistent expression of PTEN, and EGFR inhibition should be investigated further.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00728663.