The oral NK(1) antagonist, aprepitant, given with standard antiemetics provides protection against nausea and vomiting over multiple cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy: a combined analysis of two randomised, placebo-controlled phase III clinical trials

R de Wit, J Herrstedt, B Rapoport, A D Carides, J Guoguang-Ma, M Elmer, C Schmidt, J K Evans, K J Horgan
European Journal of Cancer 2004, 40 (3): 403-10
In early clinical trials, the NK(1) receptor antagonist, aprepitant (EMEND(R)) was shown to improve the protection provided by the best available therapy (hereafter referred to as 'standard therapy': a 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist and dexamethasone) against chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting over multiple cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy. To further study the sustainment of antiemetic efficacy of aprepitant plus standard therapy over more than one cycle of chemotherapy, we examined combined data from the multiple cycles extensions of two phase III clinical trials of oral aprepitant plus standard therapy for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Data were pooled from two multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies with identical design and treatment regimens. Cancer patients receiving a first cycle of cisplatin-based (>or=70 mg/m(2)) chemotherapy were randomised to one of two treatment groups as follows: the standard therapy group received ondansetron 32 mg intravenously (i.v.) and dexamethasone 20 mg on day 1 and dexamethasone 8 mg twice daily (b.i.d.) on days 2-4. The aprepitant group received aprepitant 125 mg, ondansetron 32 mg i.v., and dexamethasone 12 mg on day 1, aprepitant 80 mg and dexamethasone 8 mg on days 2-3, and dexamethasone 8 mg on day 4. Patients had the option to receive the same blinded treatment for up to five additional cycles. The analysis used a combined exploratory endpoint of no emesis and no significant nausea (i.e. nausea which interfered with a patient's normal activities) over the 5 days following cisplatin, for up to six cycles of chemotherapy. A cumulative probabilities approach incorporating a model for transitional probabilities was used to analyse the data. Tolerability was assessed by reported adverse events and physical and laboratory assessments. Baseline characteristics, reasons for discontinuation, and drop-out rates were similar between groups. In every cycle, the estimated probabilities (rates) of no emesis and no significant nausea were significantly higher (P<0.006) in the aprepitant group: in the first cycle, rates were 61% in the aprepitant group (N=516) and 46% in the standard therapy group (N=522), and thereafter, rates for the aprepitant regimen remained higher throughout (59% (N=89) versus 40% (N=78) for the standard therapy, by cycle 6). Repeated dosing with aprepitant over multiple cycles was generally well tolerated. Compared with patients who received standard therapy alone (a 5-HT(3) antagonist plus dexamethasone), those who received aprepitant in addition to standard therapy had consistently better antiemetic protection that was well maintained over multiple cycles of highly emetogenic chemotherapy

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