INTRODUCTION - Sulindac represents a promising candidate agent for lung cancer chemoprevention, but clinical trial data have not been previously reported. We conducted a randomized, phase II chemoprevention trial involving current or former cigarette smokers (≥30 pack-years) utilizing the multi-center, inter-disciplinary infrastructure of the Cancer Prevention Network (CPN).
METHODS - At least 1 bronchial dysplastic lesion identified by fluorescence bronchoscopy was required for randomization. Intervention assignments were sulindac 150mg bid or an identical placebo bid for 6 months. Trial endpoints included changes in histologic grade of dysplasia (per-participant as primary endpoint and per lesion as secondary endpoint), number of dysplastic lesions (per-participant), and Ki67 labeling index.
RESULTS - Slower than anticipated recruitment led to trial closure after randomizing participants (n=31 and n=30 in the sulindac and placebo arms, respectively). Pre- and post-intervention fluorescence bronchoscopy data were available for 53/61 (87%) randomized, eligible participants. The median (range) of dysplastic lesions at baseline was 2 (1-12) in the sulindac arm and 2 (1-7) in the placebo arm. Change in dysplasia was categorized as regression:stable:progression for 15:3:8 (58%:12%:31%) subjects in the sulindac arm and 15:2:10 (56%:7%:37%) subjects in the placebo arm; these distributions were not statistically different (p=0.85). Median Ki67 expression (% cells stained positive) was significantly reduced in both the placebo (30 versus 5; p=0.0005) and sulindac (30 versus 10; p=0.0003) arms, but the difference between arms was not statistically significant (p=0.92).
CONCLUSIONS - Data from this multi-center, phase II squamous cell lung cancer chemoprevention trial do not demonstrate sufficient benefits from sulindac 150mg bid for 6 months to warrant additional phase III testing. Investigation of pathway-focused agents is necessary for lung cancer chemoprevention.
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