Purpose: RAS mutations predict lack of response to epidermal growth factor receptor monoclonal antibody therapy in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), but preclinical studies and retrospective clinical data suggest that patients with tumors harboring the exon 2 KRAS G13D mutation may benefit from cetuximab. We aimed to assess cetuximab monotherapy and cetuximab plus irinotecan in patients with molecularly selected (G13D mutation) chemotherapy-refractory mCRC in a randomized phase II trial of this rare molecular subtype.
Patients and Methods: Patients with chemotherapy-refractory KRAS G13D mutation-positive mCRC who had progressed within 6 months of irinotecan therapy were randomly assigned to cetuximab 400 mg/m2 loading dose and then 250 mg/m2 once per week with or without irinotecan 180 mg/m2 once every 2 weeks. The primary end point was 6-month progression-free survival; secondary end points were response rate, overall survival, quality of life, and toxicity.
Results: Fifty-one of 53 patients recruited over 2 years were eligible. The 6-month progression-free survival rate was 10% (95% CI, 2% to 26%) for cetuximab versus 23% (95% CI, 9% to 40%) for cetuximab plus irinotecan with a hazard ratio of 0.74 (95% CI, 0.42 to 1.32). Response and stable disease rates were 0% and 58% for monotherapy versus 9% and 70% for combination treatment, respectively. Overall survival and quality of life were similar; toxicities were higher with combination therapy.
Conclusion: In patients with G13D-mutated chemotherapy-refractory mCRC, there was no statistically significant improvement in disease control at 6 months with either cetuximab monotherapy or cetuximab plus irinotecan. No responses were seen with single-agent cetuximab. The responses observed with the combination of cetuximab and irinotecan may reflect true drug synergy or persistent irinotecan sensitivity. The ICECREAM (Irinotecan Cetuximab Evaluation and Cetuximab Response Evaluation Among Patients with a G13D Mutation) study demonstrates the need to prospectively evaluate hypotheses that were previously supported by retrospective analyses and exemplifies the value of international collaboration in trials of rare molecular subtypes.