A Randomized Non-Comparative Phase II Trial of Early Switch from Docetaxel to Cabazitaxel or Vice Versa, with Integrated Biomarker Analysis, in Men with Chemotherapy-Naïve Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer


Purpose: The TAXYNERGY trial (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01718353) evaluated clinical benefit from early taxane switch and circulating tumor cell (CTC) biomarkers to interrogate mechanisms of sensitivity or resistance to taxanes in men with chemotherapy-naïve, metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer. Patients and Methods: Patients were randomly assigned 2:1 to docetaxel or cabazitaxel. Men who did not achieve ≥ 30% prostate-specific antigen (PSA) decline by cycle 4 (C4) switched taxane. The primary clinical endpoint was confirmed ≥ 50% PSA decline versus historical control (TAX327). The primary biomarker endpoint was analysis of post-treatment CTCs to confirm the hypothesis that clinical response was associated with taxane drug-target engagement, evidenced by decreased percent androgen receptor nuclear localization (%ARNL) and increased microtubule bundling.Results: Sixty-three patients were randomly assigned to docetaxel (n = 41) or cabazitaxel (n = 22); 44.4% received prior potent androgen receptor–targeted therapy. Overall, 35 patients (55.6%) had confirmed ≥ 50% PSA responses, exceeding the historical control rate of 45.4% (TAX327). Of 61 treated patients, 33 (54.1%) had ≥ 30% PSA declines by C4 and did not switch taxane, 15 patients (24.6%) who did not achieve ≥ 30% PSA declines by C4 switched taxane, and 13 patients (21.3%) discontinued therapy before or at C4. Of patients switching taxane, 46.7% subsequently achieved ≥ 50% PSA decrease. In 26 CTC-evaluable patients, taxane-induced decrease in %ARNL (cycle 1 day 1 v cycle 1 day 8) was associated with a higher rate of ≥ 50% PSA decrease at C4 (P = .009). Median composite progression-free survival was 9.1 months (95% CI, 4.9 to 11.7 months); median overall survival was not reached at 14 months. Common grade 3 or 4 adverse events included fatigue (13.1%) and febrile neutropenia (11.5%). Conclusion: The early taxane switch strategy was associated with improved PSA response rates versus TAX327. Taxane-induced shifts in %ARNL may serve as an early biomarker of clinical benefit in patients treated with taxanes.

Journal of Clinical Oncology