Introduction: Intermediate endpoints are often used as primary endpoints instead of overall survival (OS) in lung cancer trials but they are not systematically validated as surrogate endpoints for OS.
Areas covered: The aim of the study was to review the studies which assessed potential surrogate endpoints for OS in lung cancer trials.
Expert commentary: Twenty studies were identified. In operable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (adjuvant trials) and locally advanced NSCLC (radiotherapy trials), one individual-patient data meta-analysis found a high correlation of disease-free survival (DFS) and progression-free survival (PFS) with OS at patient and trial level. In trials of adjuvant chemotherapy, correlation between disease-free survival DFS and OS were 0.83 at the individual level (95% CI 0.83–0.83) and 0.92 at trial level (95% CI 0.88–0.95). In locally advanced disease, correlation between PFS and OS was 0.77 to 0.85 at the individual level, and 0.89 to 0.97 at trial level. This study provides a ‘proof’ of the surrogacy of PFS and DFS on OS according to the IQWiG framework and the surrogacy of PFS and DFS on OS was classified level 2 according to Fleming hierarchy. In all the other setting, no endpoint was judged to be valid surrogate for OS.
KEYWORDS: Lung cancer, surrogate endpoints