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Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2005 Jan;6(1):83-93.

Antimetabolites in the management of non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, 535 Barnhill Drive, RT 473, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Although chemotherapy has been shown to increase survival for patients with advanced-stage disease, survival benefits have been modest and come at the cost of significant toxicity. Treatment options in the second-line setting have been limited. Pemetrexed, a multitargeted antifolate, has activity as a single agent and as part of combination chemotherapy against NSCLC. As reported in a recent phase III clinical trial, survival outcomes in the second-line setting for patients treated with pemetrexed or docetaxel are similar. More importantly, major toxicity with the use of pemetrexed with vitamin B(12) and folate supplementation is far less than with docetaxel. Based on its single agent activity, ease of administration, and favorable toxicity profile, pemetrexed has the potential to be incorporated in various settings against NSCLC, including metastatic disease, as adjuvant therapy, and for locally advanced disease.

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