NRG Oncology NCORP Trial of Hippocampal Avoidance for Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients Receiving Prophylactic Cranial Irradiation Reaches Accrual Goal

July 26 2022

The NRG Oncology National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) NRG-CC003 clinical trial reached its study accrual goal and closed to patient enrollment on June 21, 2022.

The NRG-CC003 trial initially opened in December 2015 to patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) who are at risk of their cancer metastasizing to the brain.

“Development of new brain metastases is a frequent problem for SCLC cancer patients and can negatively impact quality of life and length of a patient’s survival,” stated Vinai Gondi, MD, Co-Principal Investigator of the NRG-CC003 study, the Director of Research and Education at the Northwestern Medicine Chicago Proton Center, and the Co-Director of the Brain and Spine Tumor Center at the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center, Warrenville.

“Currently, patients who have this type of cancer are treated with prophylactic whole brain radiation therapy which can lead to cognitive toxicity,” Dr. Gondi added.

NRG-CC003 was designed to utilize intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) to avoid the hippocampal region of the brain during treatment of patients with SCLC receiving prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI). Evidence suggests that avoiding the hippocampus could reduce the risk of cognitive impairment related to memory and thinking and improve outcomes for patients. Patients enrolled in the trial were randomized to receive either PCI alone or PCI with hippocampal avoidance using IMRT.

“Building from data initially established by the RTOG 0933 trial on hippocampal avoidance during whole brain radiation therapy, this trial could prove significant in changing how we approach prophylactic brain radiation treatment for these patients,” noted Minesh Mehta, MD, Co-Principal Investigator of the NRG-CC003 study, Chair of the NRG Oncology Brain Tumor Committee, and the Deputy Director and Chief of Radiation Oncology at Miami Cancer Institute, a part of Baptist Health South Florida.

“This is just one in a series of clinical practice changing trials our NCORP has conducted to improve cognitive function and quality of life in patients treated with radiotherapy for prophylactic or primary radiotherapy to the brain, and our NCORP program of research will continue to address cancer control and symptoms important to the patient experience,” stated Deborah Bruner, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator of the NRG NCORP.

Results from the trial data will be reported as they become available.

NRG Oncology and the NRG National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) are extremely grateful for the research staff at our sites, our patients, and the various stakeholders who helped NRG-CC003 successfully accrue.

NRG-CC003 is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and led by NRG Oncology with participation of the NCI NCORP. Supported by grant UG1CA189867 (NCORP) from the National Cancer Institute.

About NRG Oncology
NRG Oncology conducts practice-changing, multi-institutional clinical and translational research to improve the lives of patients with cancer. The NRG NCORP conducts cancer clinical trials in the areas of cancer prevention, cancer symptom control, cancer care delivery and health disparities. The NRG research network seeks to carry out clinical trials with emphases on gender-specific malignancies, including gynecologic, breast, and prostate cancers, and on localized or locally advanced cancers of all types. NRG Oncology’s extensive research organization comprises multidisciplinary investigators, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, physicists, pathologists, and statisticians, and encompasses more than 1,300 research sites located world-wide with predominance in the United States and Canada. NRG Oncology is supported primarily through grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is one of five research groups in the NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network.

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