A randomized phase 2 trial of erlotinib versus pemetrexed as second-line therapy in the treatment of patients with advanced EGFR wild-type and EGFR FISH-positive lung adenocarcinoma

Ning Li, Wei Ou, Hua Yang, Qian-Wen Liu, Song-Liang Zhang, Bao-Xiao Wang, Si-Yu Wang
Cancer 2014 May 1, 120 (9): 1379-86

BACKGROUND: The current study was undertaken to investigate the efficacy and safety of erlotinib versus pemetrexed as second-line therapy for patients with advanced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) wild-type and EGFR fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-positive lung adenocarcinoma.

METHODS: In this open-label, randomized, phase 2 study, patients with EGFR wild-type and EGFR FISH-positive adenocarcinoma who had developed disease progression after 1 prior platinum-based chemotherapy were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive erlotinib or pemetrexed until the time of disease progression or death, unacceptable toxicity, or a request for discontinuation by the patient. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS).

RESULTS: A total of 123 patients were enrolled (61 in the erlotinib arm and 62 in the pemetrexed arm). The median PFS was 4.1 months (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 1.6 months-6.6 months) in the erlotinib group versus 3.9 months (95% CI, 2.7 months-5.1 months) in the pemetrexed group. The difference in PFS between the 2 treatment groups was not significant (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% CI, 0.62-1.37 [P= .683]). The objective response rate appeared to be higher among patients receiving erlotinib compared with those receiving pemetrexed (19.7% vs 8.1%; P= .062). The 3 most commonly recorded adverse events were rash (54.1%), fatigue (19.7%), and diarrhea (16.4%) in the erlotinib group and fatigue (25.8%), nausea (24.2%), and anorexia (14.5%) in the pemetrexed group.

CONCLUSIONS: There were no significant differences noted with regard to efficacy between erlotinib and pemetrexed in the second-line setting for patients with advanced EGFR wild-type and EGFR FISH-positive lung adenocarcinoma. Both regimens appear to be effective treatment options for these patients.

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