Phase II study of pemetrexed plus intermittent erlotinib combination therapy for pretreated advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer with documentation of epidermal growth factor receptor mutation status

Seigo Minami, Takashi Kijima, Masanari Hamaguchi, Takeshi Nakatani, Taro Koba, Ryo Takahashi, Yoshiko Takeuchi, Hiroshi Kida, Izumi Nagatomo, Suguru Yamamoto, Isao Tachibana, Kiyoshi Komuta, Ichiro Kawase
Lung Cancer: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2013, 82 (2): 271-5

INTRODUCTION: Erlotinib and pemetrexed have been approved for the second-line and maintenance treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). With the recommended doses determined by our previous phase I study, we conducted a phase II study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of combination of the two agents in pretreated non-squamous NSCLC patients.

METHODS: This study was performed in patients with stage IIIB/IV or post-surgically recurrent non-squamous NSCLC whose disease had progressed on or after receiving first-line chemotherapy. Patients received 500 mg/m(2) of intravenous pemetrexed every 21 days and 150 mg of oral erlotinib on days 2-16 until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal of consent. The expected response rate and threshold were defined as 33.5% and 10%, respectively. Assuming a one-sided alpha of 5%, a power of 80%, the possible deviation from assessment, 26 patients were necessary.

RESULTS: A total of 27 patients, 16 males and 11 females were recruited. Patients had the median age of 70 years (range, 48-80 years) and included 21 stage IV diseases, 22 adenocarcinomas. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations were examined in all patients. One patient had positive EGFR mutation, but the other 26 patients had wild-type EGFR. The median number of treatment courses was 3 (range, 1 to over 19). The best overall response rate and disease control rate were 11.1% and 63.0%, respectively. The median progression-free survival and overall survival were 2.8 months (95% confidence interval (CI); 1.9-7.5 months) and 15.8 months (95% CI; 9.3 months to not available), respectively. Dermal, hepatic, gastrointestinal and hematological disorders were the frequently observed adverse events. One patient experienced grade 3 drug-induced interstitial lung disease.

CONCLUSIONS: We could not demonstrate the add-on effect of intermittent erlotinib on pemetrexed in a second-line setting for patients with non-squamous NSCLC without EGFR mutations.


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