Background: Phase III randomized trial data have confirmed the activity for olaparib in homologous recombination repair (HRR) mutated metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post next-generation hormonal agent (NHA) progression. Preclinical data have suggested the potential for a combined effect between olaparib and NHAs irrespective of whether an HRR gene alteration was present. NCT01972217 was a randomised double-blind Phase II study which evaluated olaparib and abiraterone versus placebo and abiraterone in mCRPC patients who had received prior chemotherapy containing docetaxel. The study showed that radiologic progression was significantly delayed by the combination of olaparib and abiraterone regardless of homologous recombination repair mutation (HRRm) status. The study utilized tumour, blood (germline), and circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) analysis to profile patient HRRm status, but tumour tissue provision was not mandated, leading to relatively low tissue acquisition and DNA sequencing success rates not representative of real-world testing.
Patients and methods: Further analysis of germline and ctDNA samples has been performed for the trial to characterize HRRm status more fully and robustly analyse patient response to treatment.
Results: Germline and plasma testing increased the HRRm characterized population from 27% to 68% of 142 randomized patients. Tumour-derived variants were detectable with high confidence in 78% of patients with a baseline plasma sample (71% of randomized patients). There was high concordance across methodologies (plasma vs. tumour; plasma vs. germline). The HR for the exploratory analysis of radiographic progression-free survival was 0.54 (95% CI: 0.32-0.93) in favour of olaparib and abiraterone in the updated HRR wild type (HRRwt) group (n = 73) and 0.62 (95% CI: 0.23-1.65) in the HRRm group (n = 23).
Conclusion: Our results confirm the value of plasma testing for HRRm status when there is insufficient high-quality tissue for multi-gene molecular testing. We show that patients with mCRPC benefit from the combination of olaparib and abiraterone treatment regardless of HRRm status. The combination is currently being further investigated in the Phase III PROpel trial.
Keywords: PARP inhibition; circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA); homologous recombination repair (HRR); metastasis; next-generation sequencing (NGS); prostate cancer.