Phase II study of a combination regimen of gefitinib and pemetrexed as first-line treatment in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer harboring a sensitive EGFR mutation

Naruo Yoshimura, Shinzoh Kudoh, Shigeki Mitsuoka, Naoki Yoshimoto, Takako Oka, Toshiyuki Nakai, Tomohiro Suzumira, Kuniomi Matusura, Yoshihiro Tochino, Kazuhisa Asai, Tatsuo Kimura, Tomoya Kawaguchi, Kazuto Hirata
Lung Cancer: Journal of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer 2015, 90 (1): 65-70

PURPOSE: Patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring a sensitive epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation have been shown to exhibit a marked response to EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment. Pemetrexed and gefitinib were reported to have a schedule-dependent cytotoxic synergism. We evaluated the efficacy and safety of a combination regimen of gefitinib and pemetrexed as first-line chemotherapy in EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Systemic therapy-naïve patients with advanced non-squamous NSCLC harboring a sensitive EGFR mutation were included in this study. Pemetrexed was administered on day 1 at a dose of 500 mg/m(2), and gefitinib was sequentially administered on days 2-16. This treatment regimen was repeated every 3 weeks until disease progression.

RESULTS: Twenty-six patients were enrolled in this study. The median number of treatment cycles was 16 (range, 1-35). The overall response rate (ORR) was 84.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 70.7-98.5%), and the disease control rate (DCR) was 96.2% (95% CI, 88.9-100%). Grade 3/4 hematological toxicities included neutropenia (15.4%), leukopenia (7.7%), and anemia (3.8%). No grade 4 non-hematological toxicities were observed. The main grade 3 non-hematological toxicities were infection (11.5%), increased alanine aminotransferase (11.5%) and aspartate aminotransferase (7.7%) levels, fatigue (3.8%), diarrhea (3.8%), and pneumonitis (3.8%). We observed a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 18.0 months (95% CI, 15.0-21.0 months) and a median survival time (MST) of 32.0 months (95% CI, 28.5-35.5 months). There were no treatment-related deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: The combination regimen used in this study showed a high ORR, long median PFS, and acceptable toxicity. A future randomized trial on pemetrexed plus gefitinib compared with gefitinib alone is warranted.

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