Estimating Survival in Patients With Lung Cancer and Brain Metastases: An Update of the Graded Prognostic Assessment for Lung Cancer Using Molecular Markers (Lung-molGPA)

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Abstract

Importance

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States and worldwide. As systemic therapies improve, patients with lung cancer live longer and thus are at increased risk for brain metastases. Understanding how prognosis varies across this heterogeneous patient population is essential to individualize care and design future clinical trials.

Objective

To update the current Diagnosis-Specific Graded Prognostic Assessment (DS-GPA) for patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and brain metastases. The DS-GPA is based on data from patients diagnosed between 1985 and 2005, and we set out to update it by incorporating more recently reported gene and molecular alteration data for patients with NSCLC and brain metastases. This new index is called the Lung-molGPA.

Design, Setting, and Participants

This is a multi-institutional retrospective database analysis of 2186 patients diagnosed between 2006 and 2014 with NSCLC and newly diagnosed brain metastases. The multivariable analyses took place between December 2015 and May 2016, and all prognostic factors were weighted for significance by hazard ratios. Significant factors were included in the updated Lung-molGPA prognostic index.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The main outcome was survival. Multiple Cox regression was used to select and weight prognostic factors in proportion to their hazard ratios. Log rank tests were used to compare adjacent classes and to compare overall survival for adenocarcinoma vs nonadenocarcinoma groups.

Results

The original DS-GPA was based on 4 factors found in 1833 patients with NSCLC and brain metastases diagnosed between 1985 and 2005: patient age, Karnofsky Performance Status, extracranial metastases, and number of brain metastases. The patients studied for the creation of the DS-GPA had a median survival of 7 months from the time of initial treatment of brain metastases. To design the updated Lung-molGPA, we analyzed data from 2186 patients from 2006 through 2014 with NSCLC and newly diagnosed brain metastases (1521 adenocarcinoma and 665 nonadenocarcinoma). Significant prognostic factors included the original 4 factors used in the DS-GPA index plus 2 new factors: EGFR and ALK alterations in patients with adenocarcinoma (mutation status was not routinely tested for nonadenocarcinoma). The overall median survival for the cohort in the present study was 12 months, and those with NSCLC-adenocarcinoma and Lung-molGPA scores of 3.5 to 4.0 had a median survival of nearly 4 years.

Conclusions and Relevance

In recent years, patient survival and physicians’ ability to predict survival in NSCLC with brain metastases has improved significantly. The updated Lung-molGPA incorporating gene alteration data into the DS-GPA is a user-friendly tool that may facilitate clinical decision making and appropriate stratification of future clinical trials.

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