The BIG 2.04 MRC/EORTC SUPREMO Trial: pathology quality assurance of a large phase 3 randomised international clinical trial of postmastectomy radiotherapy in intermediate-risk breast cancer

On behalf of the SUPREMO Trial Management Group

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Introduction: SUPREMO is a phase 3 randomised trial evaluating radiotherapy post-mastectomy for intermediate-risk breast cancer. 1688 patients were enrolled from 16 countries between 2006 and 2013. We report the results of central pathology review carried out for quality assurance. Patients and methods: A single recut haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) tumour section was assessed by one of two reviewing pathologists, blinded to the originally reported pathology and patient data. Tumour type, grade and lymphovascular invasion were reviewed to assess if they met the inclusion criteria. Slides from potentially ineligible patients on central review were scanned and reviewed online together by the two pathologists and a consensus reached. A subset of 25 of these cases was double-reported independently by the pathologists prior to the online assessment. Results: The major contributors to the trial were the UK (75%) and the Netherlands (10%). There is a striking difference in lymphovascular invasion (LVi) rates (41.6 vs. 15.1% (UK); p = <0.0001) and proportions of grade 3 carcinomas (54.0 vs. 42.0% (UK); p = <0.0001) on comparing local reporting with central review. There was no difference in the locally reported frequency of LVi rates in node-positive (N+) and node-negative (N−) subgroups (40.3 vs. 38.0%; p = 0.40) but a significant difference in the reviewed frequency (16.9 vs. 9.9%; p = 0.004). Of the N− cases, 104 (25.1%) would have been ineligible by initial central review by virtue of grade and/or lymphovascular invasion status. Following online consensus review, this fell to 70 cases (16.3% of N− cases, 4.1% of all cases). Conclusions: These data have important implications for the design, powering and interpretation of outcomes from this and future clinical trials. If critical pathology criteria are determinants for trial entry, serious consideration should be given to up-front central pathology review.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
JournalBreast cancer research and treatment
Issue number1
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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