Schulz C, et al. Anticancer Drugs 2020.
Magnesium wasting is a frequent side effect of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-antibody treatment as magnesium-absorption mechanisms are dependent on EGFR signaling. EGFR-inhibition results in decreased renal reabsorption. There is evidence that hypomagnesemia during cetuximab treatment correlates with response. The prognostic role of hypomagnesemia during bevacizumab treatment has not been studied yet. Here, we evaluate the prognostic value of hypomagnesemia in patients with metastatic
colorectal cancer treated with FOLFIRI plus cetuximab or bevacizumab as first-line therapy. A total of 391 of 752 patients of the firstline irinotecan study population had magnesium levels measured at baseline and for the first three cycles (6 weeks) of treatment. Of those, 240 had Rat Sarkoma wildtype tumors. Overall hypomagnesemia was more common in the cetuximab compared to the bevacizumab arm (80 vs. 43%, P < 0.005). During therapy, magnesium showed a time-dependent decrease to 80% of baseline in the cetuximab and to 89% in the bevacizumab arm. Whereas magnesium continued to decrease over time in the cetuximab-treated patients, it remained stable in the bevacizumab-treated. Overall response rate (ORR) was associated with higher magnesium at week 6 (20.9 vs. 79.1%, P = 0.041). Bevacizumab-treated patients with magnesium levels below the median value at week 6 had a significantly longer progression-free survival (PFS; 11.7 vs. 9.9 months, P = 0.034; hazard ratio 0.73) and a trend towards longer overall survival (OS) (29.6 vs. 23.2 months, P = 0.089; hazard ratio 0.77). Hypomagnesemia at predefined time points and magnesium nadir had no significant effect on ORR, OS and PFS in the cetuximab arm. Our data show different magnesium kinetics in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer treated with cetuximab or bevacizumab. For patients treated with cetuximab, hypomagnesemia did not have an impact on response and survival. Hypomagnesemia might have a prognostic value in bevacizumab treatment.