Randomized trials in advanced biliary tract cancer (BTC) did not show benefit of cetuximab addition over chemotherapy. This is probably due to the lack of predictive biomarkers. The aim of this study was to explore possible predictive factors. Between 2009 and 2014, 57 patients were treated in 3-week cycles with cetuximab (250 mg/m2/week, loading dose: 400 mg/m2), gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2 on day 1 and 8), and capecitabine (1300 mg/m2/day on days 1–14). The objective response rate (ORR), progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) and the adverse events (AEs) were evaluated. An exploratory analysis was performed to find possible predictive factors on clinicopathological characteristics, routine laboratory parameters and early AEs, which occurred within 2 months from the beginning of treatment. The ORR was 21%. The median PFS and OS were 34 (95% CI: 24–40) and 54 (43–67) weeks, respectively. The most frequent AEs were skin toxicities. In univariate analysis performance status, previous stent implantation, thrombocyte count at the start of therapy, early neutropenia and skin rash statistically significantly influenced the ORR, PFS and/or OS. In multivariate Cox regression analysis only normal thrombocyte count at treatment start and early acneiform rash were independent markers of longer survival. In patients showing early skin rash compared to the others the median PFS was 39 vs. 13 weeks and the median OS was 67 vs. 26 weeks, respectively. It is suggested that early skin rash can be used as a biomarker to select patients who would benefit from the treatment with cetuximab plus chemotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cancer Research