Background: We report the first randomized, Phase II trial of ramucirumab, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 monoclonal antibody, as front-line therapy in patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the esophagus or gastric/gastroesophageal junction (GEJ). Patients and methods: Patients from the USA with advanced esophageal, gastric, or GEJ adenocarcinoma randomly received (1:1) mFOLFOX6 plus ramucirumab (8 mg/kg) or mFOLFOX6 plus placebo every 2 weeks. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS) with 80% power to detect a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.71 (one-sided α = 0.15). Secondary end points included evaluation of response and overall survival (OS); an exploratory ramucirumab exposure- response analysis was undertaken. Results: Of 168 randomized patients, 52% of tumors were located in the stomach/GEJ and 48% in the esophagus. The trial did not meet the primary end point of PFS [6.4 versus 6.7 months, HR 0.98 (95% confidence interval 0.69-1.37)] or the secondary end point of OS (11.7 versus 11.5 months) in the intent-to-treat (ITT) population. Objective response rates (45.2% versus 46.4%) were similar between arms. Most Grade ≥3 toxicities did not differ significantly between arms, yet premature discontinuation of FOLFOX and ramucirumab (for reasons other than progressive disease) was more common among ramucirumab- versus placebo-treated patients. In an exploratory analysis that censored for premature discontinuation, the HR for PFS favored the ramucirumab arm (HR 0.76), particularly in patients with gastric/GEJ cancer. An exploratory exposure-response analysis indicated that patients with higher ramucirumab exposure had longer OS. Conclusion: The addition of ramucirumab to front-line mFOLFOX6 did not improve PFS in the ITT population.
- Esophageal cancer
- Gastric cancer
- Gastroesophageal junction
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas