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Lung Cancer. 2013 May;80(2):185-90. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

Pemetrexed and carboplatin, an active option in first-line treatment of elderly patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): a phase II trial.

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  • 1Oncology Department, Centre François Baclesse, Caen, France.


The synergistic activity of pemetrexed with platinum agents in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the renal safety of carboplatin suggest a balanced benefit/risk profile for this combination in elderly patients. This multicenter, single-arm, phase II study included 62 patients (≥70 years) with chemonaïve advanced NSCLC, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) 0-1, and assigned to receive 6 cycles of 3-weekly pemetrexed 500 mg/m(2) and carboplatin AUC 5. The primary endpoint was objective tumor response rate (ORR). Sixty-two patients received at least one dose of chemotherapy. Median age was 76.4 years [70.2-86] and all patients had PS 0 (16.1%) or PS 1 (83.9%). Stage IIIb disease in 21% patients and stage IV in 79% patients. Non-squamous cell carcinoma in 66.1% patients (adenocarcinoma 51.6%, large cell carcinoma 8.1%, other 6.5%) and squamous cell carcinoma in 33.9% patients. ORR was 28.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.58-43.26), all were partial responses. Stable disease rate was 42.9%. Grade 3/4 toxicities related to study drugs were: asthenia 16.1%, anorexia 4.8%, diarrhea 3.2%, neutropenia 51.6%, leucopenia 30.7%, thrombocytopenia 29%, anemia 19.4%. One related fatal septic shock occurred. In advanced NSCLC, pemetrexed use is restricted to non-squamous histology. The combination pemetrexed-carboplatin could be a valuable treatment option in elderly patients. Neutropenia was the most common toxicity. The ORR is within the range of data reported for pemetrexed-carboplatin in the general NSCLC population (24-31%).

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