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Metronomic Chemotherapy vs Best Supportive Care in Progressive Pediatric Solid Malignant Tumors: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Pramanik R, Agarwala S, Gupta YK, Thulkar S, Vishnubhatla S, Batra A, Dhawan D, Bakhshi S from the Department of Medical Oncology, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Pharmacology, Department of Radiodiagnosis, Department of Biostatistics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India have just published in JAMA Oncology a randomized trial entitled : Metronomic Chemotherapy vs Best Supportive Care in Progressive Pediatric Solid Malignant Tumors: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The trial is negative, at first sight. There is globally not benefit for patient in palliative care to receive this regimen of metronomic chemotherapy vs placebo. Nevertheless, 1)there is a benefit for non osteosarcoma patient, 2) it is a shame that the authors decide to use a regimen that was successfully tested for brain tumors in extra-cranial disease.


Although oral metronomic chemotherapy is often used in progressive pediatric solid malignant tumors, a literature review reveals that only small single-arm retrospective or phase 1 and 2 studies have been performed. Skepticism abounds because of the lack of level 1 evidence.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the effect of metronomic chemotherapy on progression-free survival (PFS) with that of placebo in pediatric patients with primary extracranial, nonhematopoietic solid malignant tumors that progress after at least 2 lines of chemotherapy.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A double-blinded, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial was conducted from October 1, 2013, through December 31, 2015, at the cancer center at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in children aged 5 to 18 years with primary extracranial, nonhematopoietic solid malignant tumors that progressed after at least 2 lines of chemotherapy and had no further curative options.

INTERVENTIONS: One arm received a 4-drug oral metronomic regimen of daily celecoxib and thalidomide with alternating periods of etoposide and cyclophosphamide, whereas the other arm received placebo. Disease status was assessed at baseline, 9 weeks, 18 weeks, and 27 weeks or at clinical progression.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: The primary end point was PFS as defined by the proportion of patients without disease progression at 6 months, and PFS duration and overall survival (OS) were secondary end points.

RESULTS: A total of 108 of the 123 patients screened were enrolled, with 52 randomized to the placebo group (median age, 15 years; 40 male [76.9%]) and 56 to the metronomic chemotherapy group (median age, 13 years; 42 male [75.0%]). At a median follow-up of 2.9 months, 100% of the patients had disease progression by 6 months in the placebo group vs 96.4% in the metronomic chemotherapy group (P = .24). Median PFS and OS in the 2 groups was similar (hazard ratio [HR], 0.69; 95% CI, 0.47-1.03 [P = .07] for PFS; and HR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.50-1.09 [P = .13] for OS). In post hoc subgroup analysis, cohorts receiving more than 3 cycles (HR for PFS, 0.46; 95% CI, 0.23-0.93; P = .03) and those without a bone sarcoma (ie, neither primitive neuroectodermal tumor nor osteosarcoma) (HR for PFS, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.18-0.81; P = .01) appeared to benefit from metronomic chemotherapy.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Metronomic chemotherapy does not improve 6-month PFS, compared with placebo, among pediatric patients with extracranial progressive solid malignant tumors . However, patients without bone sarcoma and those able to tolerate therapy for more than 3 cycles (9 weeks) benefit.

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  1. Metronomic Chemotherapy vs Best Supportive Care in Progressive Pediatric Solid Malignant Tumors: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

    The design of this study really is a shame. We are still at phase 1 studies, or phase 2 at best for the protocol. That being the case they should test the protocol on cancers for which chemotherapy is known to be effective, as metronomic therapy is intended to make that available to a population of persons who otherwise can not tolerate the negative effects of chemo ... the purpose should not be to cure that which is not curable via standard chemo. It was a study designed to fail by not using the recommended test group. They never make this mistake when testing pharmaceutical company championed drugs. The stated conclusions for the study are also misleading and do not represent the fact that there was a positive response for those cancers that did not originate in the bone.

    by david saul austin | 8 July 2017, 00:42

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