Pemetrexed versus gefitinib as a second-line treatment in advanced nonsquamous nonsmall-cell lung cancer patients harboring wild-type EGFR (CTONG0806): a multicenter randomized trial

Q Zhou, Y Cheng, J-J Yang, M-F Zhao, L Zhang, X-C Zhang, Z-H Chen, H-H Yan, Y Song, J-H Chen, W-N Feng, C-R Xu, Z Wang, H-J Chen, W-Z Zhong, Y-P Liu, Y-L Wu
Annals of Oncology: Official Journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 2014, 25 (12): 2385-91

BACKGROUND: CTONG0806 assessed the efficacy of pemetrexed versus gefitinib as second-line treatment in advanced nonsquamous nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring wild-type epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients with locally advanced or metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC harboring wild-type EGFR, detected by direct sequencing, and previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy were randomized to receive gefitinib (250 mg/day) orally or pemetrexed (500 mg/m(2)) i.v. on day 1 of a 21-day cycle until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). The Independent Review Committee (IRC) evaluated all pictorial data.

RESULTS: From February 2009 to August 2012, 161 patients were enrolled, and 157 were assessable (81 in the gefitinib arm, 76 in the pemetrexed arm). Baseline characteristics were balanced between the two arms. The median PFSs were 4.8 versus 1.6 months in the pemetrexed and gefitinib arms, respectively [hazard ratio (HR) 0.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.40-0.75, P < 0.001] as confirmed by IRC evaluation (5.6versus 1.7 months, HR 0.53, 95% CI 0.38-0.75, P < 0.001). The median overall survival (OS) showed a trend of superiority in the pemetrexed arm (12.4 versus 9.6 months, HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.49-1.04, P = 0.077). Quality-of-life assessment showed no marked difference between the arms. No unexpected adverse events were found. Of 108 patients with sufficient DNA samples, EGFR mutation status was re-tested by Scorpion amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS); 32 (29.6%) tested positive (19 in the pemetrexed arm, 13 in the gefitinib arm; median PFS: 8.1 versus 7.0 months, HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.43-2.08, P = 0.877).

CONCLUSIONS: CTONG0806 is the first trial to show significant improvement in PFS and an improved OS trend with pemetrexed compared with gefitinib as second-line setting treatment of EGFR wild-type advanced nonsquamous NSCLC. ARMS is superior to direct sequencing in excluding false-negative patients.


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