ARTICLE ABSTRACTESR1 mutations are acquired frequently in hormone receptor–positive metastatic breast cancer after prior aromatase inhibitors. We assessed the clinical utility of baseline ESR1 circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) analysis in the two phase III randomized trials of fulvestrant versus exemestane.
The phase III EFECT and SoFEA trials randomized patients with hormone receptor–positive metastatic breast cancer who had progressed on prior nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor therapy, between fulvestrant 250 mg and exemestane. Baseline serum samples from 227 patients in EFECT, and baseline plasma from 161 patients in SoFEA, were analyzed for ESR1 mutations by digital PCR. The primary objectives were to assess the impact of ESR1 mutation status on progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in a combined analysis of both studies.
ESR1 mutations were detected in 30% (151/383) baseline samples. In patients with ESR1 mutation detected, PFS was 2.4 months [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.0–2.6] on exemestane and 3.9 months (95% CI, 3.0–6.0) on fulvestrant [hazard ratio (HR), 0.59; 95% CI, 0.39–0.89; P = 0.01). In patients without ESR1 mutations detected, PFS was 4.8 months (95% CI, 3.7–6.2) on exemestane and 4.1 months (95% CI, 3.6–5.5) on fulvestrant (HR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.81–1.37; P = 0.69). There was an interaction between ESR1 mutation and treatment (P = 0.02). Patients with ESR1 mutation detected had 1-year OS of 62% (95% CI, 45%–75%) on exemestane and 80% (95% CI, 68%–87%) on fulvestrant (P = 0.04; restricted mean survival analysis). Patients without ESR1 mutations detected had 1-year OS of 79% (95% CI, 71%–85%) on exemestane and 81% (95% CI, 74%–87%) on fulvestrant (P = 0.69).
Detection of ESR1 mutations in baseline ctDNA is associated with inferior PFS and OS in patients treated with exemestane versus fulvestrant.