Cetuximab retreatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who exhibited a clinical benefit in response to prior cetuximab: A retrospective study

Oncol Lett. 2018 Sep;16(3):3674-3680. doi: 10.3892/ol.2018.9127. Epub 2018 Jul 11.


Clinical benefits of cetuximab retreatment in patients with metastatic colorectal (mCRC) have been reported. In the present study, the effect of cetuximab retreatment on predictive markers was investigated by evaluating the clinical benefit of initial cetuximab treatment prior to cetuximab retreatment. Between November 2012 and March 2017, 14 patients with KRAS proto-oncogene GTPase exon 2 wild-type mCRC who exhibited a clinical benefit (confirmed stable disease for at least 6 months or a clinical response) to an initial cetuximab-based regimen, who received multiple lines of chemotherapy following disease progression and ultimately received a second cetuximab and irinotecan regimen, were retrospectively analyzed. For retreatment, patients received bi-weekly irinotecan (120-150 mg/m2) combined with cetuximab (400 mg/m2 as an initial dose, followed by 250 mg/m2, weekly). The median age of the 14 patients (11 males, 3 females) was 68 years (32-77). The median progression-free survival (PFS) following prior cetuximab-based therapy was 6.6 months (range, 4.1-18.4). Initial cetuximab treatment was administered as a first-line treatment in 11 patients, a second-line treatment in 1 patient and a third-line treatment in 2 patients. The median interval time between the last cycle of initial cetuximab-based therapy and the first cycle of cetuximab retreatment was 13.1 months (range, 6.0-37.1). The objective response rate of cetuximab retreatment was 21.4% and the median PFS was 4.4 months (95% confidence interval, 1.4-5.6). The Spearman's correlation coefficient for the PFS following retreatment and duration of initial cetuximab-based regimens demonstrated a more marked correlation compared with that between the PFS following retreatment and the interval time between the two regimens (r=0.45, P=0.11 vs. r=0.08, P=0.79). Cetuximab retreatment may provide clinical benefit to patients with mCRC who were good responders with longer periods of initial cetuximab-based therapy.

Keywords: cetuximab; colorectal cancer; irinotecan; re-challenge; retreatment.