From the Journals

QoL good for MGMT­-methylated glioblastoma patients with lomustine-temozolide



In addition to offering an overall survival benefit for patients with MGMT-methylated glioblastoma, the combination of lomustine and temozolomide did not impair health-related quality of life (HRQOL) compared with temozolomide alone, investigators report.

Among 129 patients with newly-diagnosed glioblastoma with methylation of the MGMT promoter, there were no significant differences in any items on the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality of life questionnaire core-30 and the EORTC brain cancer module (BN20) between patients who received oral combined lomustine and temozolomide or temozolomide alone, reported Johannes Weller, MD, of University Hospital Bonn, Germany, and colleagues.

Although the combination was associated with slightly lower scores on the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), the differences were not clinically significant, the investigators asserted.

“The absence of systematic and clinically relevant changes in HRQOL and neurocognitive function combined with the survival benefit of lomustine-temozolomide versus temozolomide alone suggests that a long-term net clinical benefit exists for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma with methylation of the MGMT promoter and supports the use of lomustine-temozolomide as a treatment option for these patients,” they wrote. The report is in The Lancet Oncology.

The investigators previously reported that median overall survival was improved from 31.4 months with temozolomide to 48.1 months with lomustine-temozolomide, translating into a hazard ratio (HR) for death with the combination of 0.60 (P = .0492).

In the current report, Dr. Weller and associates looked at the secondary endpoints of HRQOL as measured by the EORTC scales, and at neurocognitive function as assessed by the MMSE and a neurocognitive test battery (NOA-07) that include Trail Making Test A and B (TMT-A and B), working memory tests, and tests for word and semantic verbal fluency.

The modified intention-to-treat analysis included all patients who received at least one dose of study chemotherapy. The analysis included data on 63 patients randomly assigned to receive standard oral temozolomide, consisting of 75 mg/m² daily during radiotherapy plus six 4-week courses of temozolomide at doses ranging from 150 to 200 mg/m² on days 1-5, every 4 weeks; and 66 patients assigned to receive oral combined lomustine consisting of a 100 mg/m² dose on day 1, plus temozolomide 100 to 200 mg/m² on days 2-6 for six cycles of 6 weeks each.

After a median follow-up of 19.4 months for the HRQOL endpoint, there were no significant differences between the groups in decline from baselines in Karnofsky Performance Score, global health, physical functioning, cognitive functioning, social functioning, or communication deficit.

As noted before, however, there were small but significant differences between the groups favoring temozolomide on the MMSE, after a median follow-up for this measure of 15.3 months. The authors noted that the differences “were not significant when adjusted for multiple testing and were also not clinically relevant, because even over the time course of 4 years the differences between the groups would only add up to 1.76/30 points and clinically significant results would require a difference of more than 3/30 points.”

There were also no significant differences between the groups in any item of the neurocognitive test, they added.

The investigators acknowledged that the trial was limited by its relatively small size, and that after 3.5 years of follow-up about half of all the expected HRQOL forms were missing, which might lead to reporting bias.

“Overall, we conclude that the addition of lomustine to temozolomide in patients with newly diagnosed MGMT-methylated glioblastoma is associated with a clear long-term net clinical benefit and our data provide a good rationale for the trial regimen as a treatment option for these patients. Nevertheless, changes in HRQOL during the first year after beginning treatment needs further exploration in future studies,” Dr. Weller and colleagues wrote.

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded the study. Dr. Weller reported having no conflict of interest. Several coauthors reported relationships with industry outside the submitted work.

SOURCE: Weller J et al. Lancet Oncol. Sept 2. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30502-9.

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