Lutetium-177 prostate-specific membrane antigen (Lu-PSMA) radioligand therapy is emerging as a promising treatment for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer refractory to established therapies. While there is an increasing body of survival and other data from retrospective analyses and prospective trials, there is no clear understanding of how best to predict therapy response and survival outcomes.
In this retrospective cohort analysis, we aimed to identify features that are associated with response to radioligand therapy and greater survival based on analysis of real-world data.
191 patients aged 70 ± 8 years with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer treated with radioligand therapy from November 2015 to February 2019 were included for analysis. Eligible patients had PSMA-expressing metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (confirmed by a Ga-PSMA-ligand positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) scan), an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score ≤ 2 and no significant kidney, liver or bone marrow dysfunction (as characterised by kidney and liver function tests and a full blood count). Patients received one to five cycles of intravenous Lu-PSMA-ligand therapy. Endpoints included biochemical [prostate-specific antigen (PSA)] and radiologic (PSMA PET/CT) response, progression-free survival and overall survival, defined according to the Prostate Cancer Working Group 3 guidelines. Survival analysis was conducted by Kaplan-Meier estimation.
Most individuals (89.5%) previously underwent first- and second-line systematic therapy. Of the 191 men treated with 452 cycles with mean injected activity of 6.1 ± 1.0 GBq per cycle, 159 patients were assessed for a biochemical response defined as a PSA decline ≥ 50% from baseline. A ≥ 50% PSA decline was observed in 89 (56%) patients, while any PSA decline occurred in 120 (75%) men. For the entire cohort, median values (interquartile range) of overall survival [n = 191], PSA progression-free survival [n = 132] and PET/CT progression-free survival were 12 (5-18), 4 (3-8) and 6 (3-10) months, respectively. Survival analysis confirmed better outcomes in individuals who had demonstrated therapy response. Predominantly lymph node metastatic disease and chemotherapy-naïve status were significant pre-therapy factors associated with longer survival. Baseline PSA was significantly linked to survival outcomes: lower levels predicted a lower risk of death and disease progression. Treatment-related adverse events included grade 3 or 4 haematological (12%), grade 1 or 2 renal (4.5%), and grade 3 or 4 clinical events (5.7%).
Our findings suggest that Lu-PSMA radioligand therapy provides a significant response rate with a low toxicity profile. The evidence promotes greater efficacy of radioligand therapy in predominantly lymph node metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, and in individuals with chemotherapy-naïve status and lower levels of baseline PSA.