Pemetrexed single agent in previously treated non-small cell lung cancer: a multi-institutional observational study

Alessandra Bearz, Isabella Garassino, Raffaele Cavina, Adolfo Favaretto, Massimo Boccalon, Renato Talamini, Massimiliano Berretta, Simon Spazzapan, Cecilia Simonelli, Armando Santoro, Umberto Tirelli
Lung Cancer: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2008, 60 (2): 240-5

UNLABELLED: Several drugs have been approved for the treatment of patients affected by advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in progression after first line chemotherapy: Docetaxel, Pemetrexed and Erlotinib. Poor gain of survival has been demonstrated in randomised trials and patient characteristics predicting activity are poorly known yet. We evaluated the activity and toxicity of Pemetrexed, in a post-registration phase, to assess whether clinical benefits justify its employment in a second-line setting in routine clinical practice.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We collected data on patients with advanced NSCLC treated with Pemetrexed 500mg/m(2) every 21 days, after progression to prior chemotherapy.

RESULTS: One hundred and sixty patients from 4 different Italian Institutions, treated with Pemetrexed, mostly as second-line therapy, were analysed. There was a predominance of males versus females, adenocarcinoma versus other histologies; the median age was 63.6 years. The toxicity profile was extremely mild and the response rate (11.2% patients in complete or partial response) was similar to previous reports from the literature. The median overall survival, 12 months, was better than previously reported.

CONCLUSION: Improved efficacy and mild toxicity observed in this clinically relevant patient population confirms Pemetrexed as an interesting choice in second-line treatment of NSCLC. Patient characteristics alone are not able to predict response to Pemetrexed.

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