Paclitaxel liposome for injection (Lipusu) plus cisplatin versus gemcitabine plus cisplatin in the first-line treatment of locally advanced or metastatic lung squamous cell carcinoma: A multicenter, randomized, open-label, parallel controlled clinical study

Cancer Commun (Lond). 2021 Oct 26. doi: 10.1002/cac2.12225. Online ahead of print.


Background: Lipusu is the first commercialized liposomal formulation of paclitaxel and has demonstrated promising efficacy against locally advanced lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC) in a small-scale study. Here, we conducted a multicenter, randomized, phase 3 study to compare the efficacy and safety of cisplatin plus Lipusu (LP) versus cisplatin plus gemcitabine (GP) as first-line treatment in locally advanced or metastatic LSCC.

Methods: Patients enrolled were aged between 18 to 75 years, had locally advanced (clinical stage IIIB, ineligible for concurrent chemoradiation or surgery) or metastatic (Stage IV) LSCC, had no previous systemic chemotherapy and at least one measurable lesion as per the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (version 1.1) before administration of the trial drug. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS). The secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), overall survival (OS), and safety profiles. To explore the possible predictive value of plasma cytokines for LP treatment, plasma samples were collected from the LP group at baseline and first efficacy evaluation time and were then subjected to analysis by 45-Plex ProcartaPlex Panel 1 to detect the presence of 45 cytokines using the Luminex xMAP technology. The correlation between treatment outcomes and dynamic changes in the levels of cytokines were evaluated in preliminary analyses.

Results: The median duration of follow-up was 15.4 months. 237 patients in the LP group and 253 patients in the GP group were included in the per protocol set (PPS). In the PPS, the median PFS was 5.2 months versus 5.5 months in the LP and GP group (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.03, P = 0.742) respectively. The median OS was 14.6 months versus 12.5 months in the LP and GP group (HR: 0.83, P = 0.215). The ORR (41.8% versus 45.9%, P = 0.412) and DCR (90.3% versus 88.1%, P = 0.443) were also similar between the LP and GP group. A significantly lower proportion of patients in the LP group experienced adverse events (AEs) leading to treatment interruptions (10.9% versus 26.4%, P < 0.001) or treatment termination (14.3% versus 23.1%, P = 0.011). The analysis of cytokine levels in the LP group showed that low baseline levels of 27 cytokines were associated with an increased ORR, and 15 cytokines were associated with improved PFS, with 14 cytokines, including TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6, and IL-8, demonstrating an overlapping trend.

Conclusion: The LP regimen demonstrated similar PFS, OS, ORR and DCR as the GP regimen for patients with locally advanced or metastatic LSCC but had more favorable toxicity profiles. The study also identified a spectrum of different cytokines that could be potentially associated with the clinical benefit in patients who received the LP regimen.

Keywords: chemotherapy; cisplatin; clinical trial; gemcitabine; liposomal paclitaxel (Lipusu); locally advanced; lung squamous cell carcinoma; metastatic; multicenter; plasma cytokines.