Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Dec 4. pii: clincanres.3181.2018. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3181. [Epub ahead of print]
MGMT Promoter Methylation Cutoff with Safety Margin for Selecting Glioblastoma Patients into Trials Omitting Temozolomide. A Pooled Analysis of Four Clinical Trials.
Hegi ME1, Genbrugge E2, Gorlia T2, Stupp R3, Gilbert MR4, Chinot OL5, Nabors LB6, Jones G7, van Criekinge W8, Straub J9, Weller M10.
The methylation status of the O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene promoter is predictive for benefit from temozolomide in glioblastoma. A clinically optimized cutoff was sought allowing patient selection for therapy without temozolomide, while avoiding to withhold it from patients who may potentially benefit.
Quantitative MGMT methylation-specific PCR data were obtained for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients screened or treated with standard radiotherapy and temozolomide in four randomized trials. The pooled dataset was randomly split into a training and test dataset. The unsupervised cutoff was obtained at a 50% probability to be (un)methylated. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) analysis identified an optimal cutoff supervised by overall survival (OS).
For 4041 patients valid MGMT results were obtained, whereof 1725 were randomized. The unsupervised cutoff in the training dataset was 1.27 (log2[1000x(MGMT+1)/ACTB]), separating unmethylated and methylated patients. The optimal supervised cutoff for unmethylated patients was -0.28 (AUC=0.61), classifying "truly unmethylated" (≤-0.28) and "grey zone" patients (>-0.28, ≤1.27), the latter comprising ~10% of cases. In contrast, for MGMT methylated patients (>1.27) more methylation was not related to better outcome. Both methylated and grey zone patients performed significantly better for OS than truly unmethylated patients (HR=0.35, 95% CI: 0.27-0.45, p<0.0001; HR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.43-0.78, p<0.001), validated in the test dataset. The MGMT assay was highly reproducible upon retesting of 218 paired samples (R2=0.94).
Low MGMT methylation (grey zone) may confer some sensitivity to temozolomide treatment, hence the lower safety margin should be considered for selecting unmethylated glioblastoma patients into trials omitting temozolomide.
Copyright ©2018, American Association for Cancer Research.