The CALGB 30610/RTOG 0538 randomized trial was designed to test whether high-dose thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) would improve survival compared with 45 Gy twice-daily (BID) TRT in limited stage small cell lung cancer (LSCLC). Two piloted experimental TRT regimens were of interest to study, 70 Gy daily (QD) and 61.2 Gy concomitant boost (CB). Driven by concerns about adequate patient accrual, a study design was employed that eliminated one experimental TRT arm based on early interim toxicity and tolerability, with the study then continuing as a traditional 2-arm phase III study.
Patients with LSCLC were assigned to receive four cycles of cisplatin and etoposide chemotherapy with one of 3 TRT regimens starting with either the first or second cycle of chemotherapy. The interim endpoint was the cumulative highest toxicity calculated from a scoring system based on treatment-related grade 3 and higher toxicity and the ability to complete therapy in the experimental arms.
The final interim analysis was performed after 70 patients accrued to each experimental cohort, and a difference in treatment related toxicity scoring was not found (p = 0.739). Severe esophageal toxicity was comparable in both cohorts. Pulmonary toxicity was low overall, though 4 patients (5.7 %) on the 61.2 Gy arm developed grade 4 dyspnea, which was not observed in the 70 Gy arm. A protocol mandated decision was made to discontinue the 61.2 Gy arm following review of toxicity with the Data and Safety Monitoring Board.
A randomized trial design using a planned early interim toxicity analysis to discriminate between experimental treatment arms is feasible in a phase III setting. Refinement of the design could increase the likelihood of detecting clinically meaningful differences in toxicity in future studies.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier B.V.