Recently, we have shown that metastasis-free survival is a strong surrogate for overall survival (OS) in men with intermediate- and high-risk localized prostate cancer and can accelerate the evaluation of new (neo)adjuvant therapies. Event-free survival (EFS), an earlier prostate-specific antigen (PSA)–based composite end point, may further expedite trial completion.
EFS was defined as the time from random assignment to the date of first evidence of disease recurrence, including biochemical failure, local or regional recurrence, distant metastasis, or death from any cause, or was censored at the date of last PSA assessment. Individual patient data from trials within the Intermediate Clinical Endpoints in Cancer of the Prostate–ICECaP–database with evaluable PSA and disease follow-up data were analyzed. We evaluated the surrogacy of EFS for OS using a 2-stage meta-analytic validation model by determining the correlation of EFS with OS (patient level) and the correlation of treatment effects (hazard ratios [HRs]) on both EFS and OS (trial level). A clinically relevant surrogacy was defined a priori as an R2 ≥ 0.7.
Data for 10,350 patients were analyzed from 15 radiation therapy–based trials enrolled from 1987 to 2011 with a median follow-up of 10 years. At the patient level, the correlation of EFS with OS was 0.43 (95% CI, 0.42 to 0.44) as measured by Kendall’s tau from a copula model. At the trial level, the R2 was 0.35 (95% CI, 0.01 to 0.60) from the weighted linear regression of log(HR)-OS on log(HR)-EFS.
EFS is a weak surrogate for OS and is not suitable for use as an intermediate clinical end point to substitute for OS to accelerate phase III (neo)adjuvant trials of prostate cancer therapies for primary radiation therapy–based trials.