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High-dose methotrexate with or without whole brain radiotherapy for primary CNS lymphoma (G-PCNSL-SG-1): a phase 3, randomised, non-inferiority trial.

Author(s): Thiel E, Korfel A, Martus P, Kanz L, Griesinger F, Rauch M, Roth A, Hertenstein B, von Toll T, Hundsberger T, Mergenthaler HG, Leithauser M, Birnbaum T, Fischer L, Jahnke K, Herrlinger U, Plasswilm L, Nagele T, Pietsch T, Bamberg M, Weller M

Affiliation(s): Department of Hematology and Oncology, Charite Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Publication date & source: 2010-11, Lancet Oncol., 11(11):1036-47. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Publication type: Clinical Trial, Phase III; Multicenter Study; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

BACKGROUND: High-dose methotrexate is the standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed primary CNS lymphoma. The role of whole brain radiotherapy is controversial because delayed neurotoxicity limits its acceptance as a standard of care. We aimed to investigate whether first-line chemotherapy based on high-dose methotrexate was non-inferior to the same chemotherapy regimen followed by whole brain radiotherapy for overall survival. METHODS: Immunocompetent patients with newly diagnosed primary CNS lymphoma were enrolled from 75 centres and treated between May, 2000, and May, 2009. Patients were allocated by computer-generated block randomisation to receive first-line chemotherapy based on high-dose methotrexate with or without subsequent whole brain radiotherapy, with stratification by age (<60 vs >/=60 years) and institution (Berlin vs Tubingen vs all other sites). The biostatistics centre assigned patients to treatment groups and informed local centres by fax; physicians and patients were not masked to treatment group after assignment. Patients enrolled between May, 2000, and August, 2006, received high-dose methotrexate (4 g/m(2)) on day 1 of six 14-day cycles; thereafter, patients received high-dose methotrexate plus ifosfamide (1.5 g/m(2)) on days 3-5 of six 14-day cycles. In those assigned to receive first-line chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy, whole brain radiotherapy was given to a total dose of 45 Gy, in 30 fractions of 1.5 Gy given daily on weekdays. Patients allocated to first-line chemotherapy without whole brain radiotherapy who had not achieved complete response were given high-dose cytarabine. The primary endpoint was overall survival, and analysis was per protocol. Our hypothesis was that the omission of whole brain radiotherapy does not compromise overall survival, with a non-inferiority margin of 0.9. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00153530. FINDINGS: 551 patients (median age 63 years, IQR 55-69) were enrolled and randomised, of whom 318 were treated per protocol. In the per-protocol population, median overall survival was 32.4 months (95% CI 25.8-39.0) in patients receiving whole brain radiotherapy (n=154), and 37.1 months (27.5-46.7) in those not receiving whole brain radiotherapy (n=164), hazard ratio 1.06 (95% CI 0.80-1.40; p=0.71). Thus our primary hypothesis was not proven. Median progression-free survival was 18.3 months (95% CI 11.6-25.0) in patients receiving whole brain radiotherapy, and 11.9 months (7.3-16.5; p=0.14) in those not receiving whole brain radiotherapy. Treatment-related neurotoxicity in patients with sustained complete response was more common in patients receiving whole brain radiotherapy (22/45, 49% by clinical assessment; 35/49, 71% by neuroradiology) than in those who did not (9/34, 26%; 16/35, 46%). INTERPRETATION: No significant difference in overall survival was recorded when whole brain radiotherapy was omitted from first-line chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed primary CNS lymphoma, but our primary hypothesis was not proven. The progression-free survival benefit afforded by whole brain radiotherapy has to be weighed against the increased risk of neurotoxicity in long-term survivors. Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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