Double-blind, randomized phase 3 trial of low-dose 13-cis retinoic acid in the prevention of second primaries in head and neck cancer: Long-term follow-up of a trial of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (C0590).

Author(s): Bhatia AK,  Lee JW,  Pinto HA,  Jacobs CD,  Limburg PJ,  Rubin P,  Arusell RM,  Dunphy EP,  Khandekar JD,  Reiner SA,  Baez-Diaz L,  Celano P,  Li S,  Li Y,  Burtness BA,  Adams GL,  Pandya KJ

Journal: Cancer

Date: 2017 Dec 1

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): NCORP

PubMed ID: 28786105

PMC ID: PMC5693641

Abstract: BACKGROUND: 13-Cis retinoic acid (13-CRA) is a synthetic vitamin A derivative. High-dose 13-CRA in patients with squamous cell cancers of the head and neck (SCCHNs) reduces the incidence of second primary tumors (SPTs). The authors report long-term results from a phase 3 randomized trial that compared treatment with low-dose 13-CRA versus placebo for patients who had early stage SCCHN, with a focus on the development of SPTs and overall survival (OS). METHODS: In total, 176 patients who received treatment for stage I/II SCCHN were randomized to receive either low-dose 13-CRA (weight-based dose of 7.5 mg or 10 mg) or placebo for 2 years. A competing-risk approach and the log-rank test were used to compare the time to SPT and OS, respectively, between groups. RESULTS: 13-CRA neither significantly reduced the cumulative incidence of SPT (P = .61) nor improved the time to SPT (hazard ratio [HR] for 13-CRA/placebo; 0.86; P = .61). Despite limited power, there was a trend toward improved OS for the 13-CRA arm (HR, 0.75; P = .14), particularly among patients whose index tumor was surgically excised (N = 26; HR, 0.50; P = .057) and among women (N = 39; HR, 0.44; P = .065) and never/former smokers (N = 129; HR, 0.61; P = .055), with a median follow-up of 16 years. The main 13-CRA related toxicities were dry skin and cheilitis. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with low-dose 13-CRA for 2 years did not decrease the incidence of SPT; subset analysis indicates a potential survival advantage among patients who are women and never/former smokers. More targeted interventions based on clinical risk factors and molecular characterization of tumors may yield greater success in future prevention trials. Cancer 2017;123:4653-4662. © 2017 American Cancer Society.