Relationship Between Progression-Free Survival and Overall Survival in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: A Literature-Based Analysis

Curr Oncol. 2015 Jun;22(3):e148-56. doi: 10.3747/co.22.2119.


Background: The endpoints of progression-free survival (pfs) and time-to-progression (ttp) are frequently used to evaluate the clinical benefit of anticancer drugs. However, the surrogacy of those endpoints for overall survival (os) is not validated in all cancer settings. In the present study, we used a trial-based approach to assess the relationship between median pfs or ttp and median os in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (cll).

Methods: The pico (population, interventions, comparators, outcomes) method was used to conduct a systematic review of the literature. The population consisted of patients with cll; the interventions and comparators were standard therapies for cll; and the outcomes were median pfs, ttp, and os. Two independent reviewers screened titles, abstracts, and full papers for eligibility and then extracted data from selected studies. Correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the relationship between median pfs or ttp and median os. Subgroup correlation analyses were also conducted according to the characteristics of the selected studies (such as line of treatment and type of treatment under investigation).

Results: Of the 1263 potentially relevant articles identified during the literature search, twenty-three were included. On average, median pfs or ttp was 16.0 months (standard deviation: 12.4 months) and median os was 43.5 months (standard deviation: 31.2 months). Results of the correlation analysis indicated that median pfs or ttp is highly correlated with median os (Spearman correlation coefficient: 0.813; p ≤ 0.001). A significant correlation between median pfs or ttp and median os was observed in second- and subsequent-line therapies, but not in the first-line setting.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrates a strong correlation between median pfs or ttp and median os in previously treated cll, which reinforce the hypothesis that pfs and ttp could be adequate surrogate endpoints for os in this cancer setting.

Keywords: Progression-free survival; chronic lymphocytic leukemia; overall survival; surrogate endpoints.