Background: Outcomes for children and adults with advanced soft tissue sarcoma are poor with traditional therapy. We investigated whether the addition of pazopanib to preoperative chemoradiotherapy would improve pathological near complete response rate compared with chemoradiotherapy alone.
Methods: In this joint Children's Oncology Group and NRG Oncology multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 2 trial, we enrolled eligible adults (aged ≥18 years) and children (aged between 2 and <18 years) from 57 hospitals in the USA and Canada with unresected, newly diagnosed trunk or extremity chemotherapy-sensitive soft tissue sarcoma, which were larger than 5 cm in diameter and of intermediate or high grade. Eligible patients had Lansky (if aged ≤16 years) or Karnofsky (if aged >16 years) performance status score of at least 70. Patients received ifosfamide (2·5 g/m2 per dose intravenously on days 1-3 with mesna) and doxorubicin (37·5 mg/m2 per dose intravenously on days 1-2) with 45 Gy preoperative radiotherapy, followed by surgical resection at week 13. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) using a web-based system, in an unmasked manner, to receive oral pazopanib (if patients <18 years 350 mg/m2 once daily; if patients ≥18 years 600 mg once daily) or not (control group), with pazopanib not given immediately before or after surgery at week 13. The study projected 100 randomly assigned patients were needed to show an improvement in the number of participants with a 90% or higher pathological response at week 13 from 40% to 60%. Analysis was done per protocol. This study has completed accrual and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02180867.
Findings: Between July 7, 2014, and Oct 1, 2018, 81 eligible patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to the pazopanib group (n=42) or the control group (n=39). At the planned second interim analysis with 42 evaluable patients and a median follow-up of 0·8 years (IQR 0·3-1·6) in the pazopanib group and 1 year (0·3-1·6) in the control group, the number of patients with a 90% pathological response or higher was 14 (58%) of 24 patients in the pazopanib group and four (22%) of 18 patients in the control group, with a between-group difference in the number of 90% or higher pathological response of 36·1% (83·8% CI 16·5-55·8). On the basis of an interim analysis significance level of 0·081 (overall one-sided significance level of 0·20, power of 0·80, and O'Brien-Fleming-type cumulative error spending function), the 83·8% CI for response difference was between 16·5% and 55·8% and thus excluded 0. The improvement in pathological response rate with the addition of pazopanib crossed the predetermined boundary and enrolment was stopped. The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were leukopenia (16 [43%] of 37 patients), neutropenia (15 [41%]), and febrile neutropenia (15 [41%]) in the pazopanib group, and neutropenia (three [9%] of 35 patients) and febrile neutropenia (three [9%]) in the control group. 22 (59%) of 37 patients in the pazopanib group had a pazopanib-related serious adverse event. Paediatric and adult patients had a similar number of grade 3 and 4 toxicity. There were seven deaths (three in the pazopanib group and four in the control group), none of which were treatment related.
Interpretation: In this presumed first prospective trial of soft tissue sarcoma spanning nearly the entire age spectrum, adding pazopanib to neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy improved the rate of pathological near complete response, suggesting that this is a highly active and feasible combination in children and adults with advanced soft tissue sarcoma. The comparison of survival outcomes requires longer follow-up.
Funding: National Institutes of Health, St Baldrick's Foundation, Seattle Children's Foundation.
Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.