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Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2014 Jun;73(6):1217-25. doi: 10.1007/s00280-014-2458-0. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Safety and efficacy of gemcitabine or pemetrexed in combination with a platinum in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer and prior interstitial lung disease.

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  • 1Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 135-710, Korea.



The incidence of lung cancer in patients with interstitial lung disease (ILD) is higher than in the general population; however, the clinical benefit of chemotherapy and the appropriate regimen for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with ILD remain unclear. This study was conducted to elucidate the safety and efficacy of palliative chemotherapy with gemcitabine or pemetrexed, both in combination with a platinum agent in NSCLC patients with ILD.


Patients with advanced or recurrent NSCLC and ILD who received gemcitabine or pemetrexed in combination with a platinum agent as first-line chemotherapy were retrospectively analyzed. Clinical outcomes, including response rate, overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS), in addition to the acute exacerbation of ILD after chemotherapy were investigated.


Between January 2007 and December 2011, 52 patients were analyzed. The median age at chemotherapy was 67. Thirty-two patients (61.5 %) had adenocarcinoma histology. With respect to the types of ILD, idiopathic interstitial pneumonia (IIP) and non-IIP were observed in 42 (80.8 %) and 10 (19.2 %) patients, respectively. The FEV1 level was less than 80 % of the predicted value in 15 of the 41 patients in whom it was measured. The overall response rate was 42.3 % (95 % CI 28.8-55.9), and the median PFS was 5.4 months (95 % CI 4.6-6.2). The median OS was 7.9 months (95 % CI 5.5-10.3), and the 1-year survival rate was 31.7 % (95 % CI 19.0-44.4). Eight patients (15.4 %) died within 3 months of first-line chemotherapy. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that a heavy smoking history (40 or more pack-year smoking history) was an independent adverse prognostic factor for OS. An acute exacerbation of ILD (AE-ILD) caused by first-line chemotherapy was noted in 5.8 % of patients.


Our results suggest that gemcitabine or pemetrexed in combination with platinum agents could be a feasible option for advanced NSCLC with ILD with some risk of AE-ILD or early death. To establish the efficacy of palliative chemotherapy for patients with NSCLC and ILD, further well-controlled prospective studies are needed.

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