Model-based Prediction of Progression-Free Survival for Combination Therapies in Oncology

M. Baaz, T. Cardlin, M. Jistrand. CPT Pharmacometrics Systems Pharmacology, 10 June 2023.


Progression-free survival (PFS) is an important clinical metric for comparing and evaluating similar treatments for the same disease within oncology. After the completion of a clinical trial, a descriptive analysis of the patients’ PFS is often performed post hoc using the Kaplan-Meier estimator. However, to perform predictions, more sophisticated quantitative methods are needed. Tumor growth inhibition models are commonly used to describe and predict the dynamics of preclinical and clinical tumor size data. Moreover, frameworks also exist for describing the probability of different types of events, such as tumor metastasis or patient dropout. Combining these two types of models into a so-called joint model enables model-based prediction of PFS. In this paper, we have constructed a joint model from clinical data comparing the efficacy of FOLFOX against FOLFOX + panitumumab in metastatic colorectal cancer patients. The nonlinear mixed effects framework was used to quantify inter-individual variability (IIV). The model describes tumor size and PFS data well, and showed good predictive capabilities using truncated as well as external data. A machine-learning guided analysis was performed to reduce unexplained IIV by incorporating patient covariates. The model-based approach illustrated in this paper could be useful to help design clinical trials or to determine new promising drug candidates for combination therapy trials.

Photo credits: Nic McPhee