Real-World Validation of the PurIST Classifier Demonstrates Enhanced Therapy Selection for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) Patients

Authors Stephane Wenric, James M. Davison, John Guittar, Gregory M. Mayhew, Kirk Beebe, Alia Zander, Seung Won Hyun, Kyle Beauchamp, Michael V. Milburn, Vincent Chung, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Charles M. Perou

Background: PDAC is a particularly fatal condition lacking established biomarkers for the choice of first-line treatment (1L). The PurIST algorithm is a gene signature (PMID:31754050) that categorizes PDAC tumors into basal or classical molecular subtypes and has been previously validated in a patient cohort of advanced PDAC (N=258). In this post-hoc analysis study, we examine whether the PurIST subtypes can distinguish patients likely to respond to FOLFIRINOX (FFX) versus Gemcitabine + nab-paclitaxel (GnP).

Methods: A cohort of de-identified PDAC patients was selected from the Tempus Oncology Database following an IRB-approved protocol. Inclusion criteria required no prior systemic treatment, a surgically unresectable/metastatic status, available RNA-sequencing data from primary or metastatic tissue, and the use of FFX or GnP as 1L systemic therapy with documented outcomes. RNA-sequencing was generated by the CAP/CLIA validated Tempus xR assay. The PurIST gene signature was applied to normalized gene expression values to classify samples into basal or classical subtypes. Univariate and multivariate Cox PH analyzes comparing overall survival (OS) with adjustment for delayed entry, between two common 1L treatment regimens, FFX and GnP, were performed for classical patients with an ECOG performance status of 0 or 1.

Results: Application of the PurIST model to the PDAC cohort (N=258) resulted in 67% (N=173) labeled as classical, 23% (N=59) as basal, and the remainder as no-call. Amongst classical patients, 35% (N=61) had a known ECOG score of 0 or 1 and were retained for subsequent analysis. Within this subset, 37 were treated with FFX and 24 with GnP as 1L, with an overall median OS of 11.4 months (95% CI: 9.5-16.5) and a 12-month survival rate of 47.2%. A univariate Cox PH analysis showed that classical patients treated with FFX had a significantly longer OS time (HR (95% CI) = 2.32 (1.29-4.17)). This result remained significant in a multivariate Cox PH, adjusting for age and ECOG, (HR=2.5 (1.15-5.44)).

Conclusion: In this real-world cohort of advanced PDAC patients, we showed that classical patients with low ECOG scores had superior OS with 1L FFX treatment compared to 1L GnP. These findings demonstrate the potential for PurIST to aid in optimal treatment selection for patients with advanced PDAC.