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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jul 20;26(21):3543-51. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.15.0375. Epub 2008 May 27.

Phase III study comparing cisplatin plus gemcitabine with cisplatin plus pemetrexed in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.

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  • 1University of Torino, Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, S. Luigi Hospital, Regione Gonzole, 10, Orbassano (Torino), Italy.



Cisplatin plus gemcitabine is a standard regimen for first-line treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Phase II studies of pemetrexed plus platinum compounds have also shown activity in this setting.


This noninferiority, phase III, randomized study compared the overall survival between treatment arms using a fixed margin method (hazard ratio [HR] < 1.176) in 1,725 chemotherapy-naive patients with stage IIIB or IV NSCLC and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 to 1. Patients received cisplatin 75 mg/m(2) on day 1 and gemcitabine 1,250 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8 (n = 863) or cisplatin 75 mg/m(2) and pemetrexed 500 mg/m(2) on day 1 (n = 862) every 3 weeks for up to six cycles.


Overall survival for cisplatin/pemetrexed was noninferior to cisplatin/gemcitabine (median survival, 10.3 v 10.3 months, respectively; HR = 0.94; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.05). Overall survival was statistically superior for cisplatin/pemetrexed versus cisplatin/gemcitabine in patients with adenocarcinoma (n = 847; 12.6 v 10.9 months, respectively) and large-cell carcinoma histology (n = 153; 10.4 v 6.7 months, respectively). In contrast, in patients with squamous cell histology, there was a significant improvement in survival with cisplatin/gemcitabine versus cisplatin/pemetrexed (n = 473; 10.8 v 9.4 months, respectively). For cisplatin/pemetrexed, rates of grade 3 or 4 neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia (P <or= .001); febrile neutropenia (P = .002); and alopecia (P < .001) were significantly lower, whereas grade 3 or 4 nausea (P = .004) was more common.


In advanced NSCLC, cisplatin/pemetrexed provides similar efficacy with better tolerability and more convenient administration than cisplatin/gemcitabine. This is the first prospective phase III study in NSCLC to show survival differences based on histologic type.

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