DNA damage repair deficiency as a predictive biomarker for FOLFIRINOX efficacy in metastatic pancreatic cancer
Patients with pathogenic germline and somatic variants in DNA damage repair (DDR) genes may derive greater benefit with platinum-based chemotherapy in metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This study investigates the role of DDR genes as a predictive biomarker for response to first-line platinum chemotherapy with FOLFIRINOX in metastatic PDAC patients. Demographic, clinical, and pathologic variables were collected for patients with metastatic PDAC who received FOLFIRINOX as frontline treatment and who had germline and somatic genetic testing. Kaplan-Meier analysis of overall survival (OS) and progression free survival (PFS) were correlated to the presence of DDR pathogenic variants. Forty patients with metastatic PDAC met inclusion criteria. Germline genetic testing revealed germline pathogenic variants in DDR genes in 5 patients (12%), and somatic pathogenic variants in DDR genes in 4 patients (10%). Median PFS was significantly longer in patients with any (germline or somatic) pathogenic variant in DDR genes than in those without alterations 18.5 vs. 6.9 months (log-rank P=0.003). When restricted to the presence or absence of germline pathogenic variants in DDR genes, the median PFS was 18.5 vs. 7.4 months (log-rank P=0.005). The median OS for the entire cohort was 11.5 months was not statistically different between the two groups, however there were no deaths in the subgroup with germline pathogenic variants in DDR genes treated with frontline FOLFIRINOX. A subset of patients with metastatic PDAC and germline or somatic pathogenic variants in DDR genes have a statistically superior PFS when treated with the platinum containing regimen FOLFIRINOX. The role of DDR gene alterations as a predictive biomarker for FOLFIRINOX benefit should be further evaluated in prospective trials.