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A VELOUR post hoc subset analysis: prognostic groups and treatment outcomes in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with aflibercept and FOLFIRI

Ian Chau1*, Florence Joulain2, Sheikh Usman Iqbal3 and John Bridgewater4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, Royal Marsden Hospital, London and Surrey, UK

2 Sanofi, Research and Development, Chilly Mazarin, France

3 Sanofi, Cambridge, MA, USA

4 Department of Oncology, University College London Hospitals, London, UK

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:605  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-605

Published: 20 August 2014



The VELOUR study demonstrated a survival benefit for FOLFIRI + aflibercept versus FOLFIRI + placebo in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients who progressed on oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy. Continued divergence of overall survival (OS) curves in the intension to treat (ITT) population, with the survival advantage persisting beyond median survival time, suggested subpopulations might have different magnitudes of survival gain. Additionally, 10% of patients within VELOUR had recurrence during or within 6 months of completing oxaliplatin-based adjuvant therapy (adjuvant fast relapsers) - previously identified as having poorer survival outcomes.


To determine which patients received the greatest benefit from FOLFIRI-aflibercept, a post hoc multivariate analysis of the VELOUR ITT population was conducted. Prognostic factors identified were applied to the ITT population, excluding adjuvant fast relapsers, to derive OS prognostic profiles.


The better efficacy subgroup was identified as patients within VELOUR exclusive of adjuvant fast relapsers and had performance status (PS) 0 with any number of metastatic site or PS 1 with <2 metastatic site. A significant improvement in efficacy outcome was observed with aflibercept in the better efficacy subgroup. Median OS for FOLFIRI-aflibercept and FOLFIRI-placebo:16.2 and 13.1 months (adjusted Hazard Ratio [HR] = 0.73; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.61–0.86); median progression free survival (PFS): 7.2 and 4.8 months (adjusted HR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.57-0.80); and objective response rate (ORR): 24% versus 11% respectively. Poorer efficacy subgroup comprised of adjuvant fast relapsers or patients with PS2 or PS1 with ≥2 metastatic sites. In poorer efficacy subgroup, no benefit was seen with aflibercept. Median OS for FOLFIRI-aflibercept and FOLFIRI-placebo: 10.4 and 9.6 months (adjusted HR = 0.97; 95% CI: 0.78-1.21) respectively with no improvement in PFS or ORR.


This analysis suggests that within VELOUR, patients in the better efficacy subgroup may derive enhanced benefit from treatment with FOLFIRI-aflibercept. These prognostic criteria may guide practitioners toward optimal use of targeted biologicals in appropriate second-line mCRC patients.

Aflibercept; Metastatic colorectal cancer; Chemotherapy; Anti-VEGF agents; Targeted therapy