Pemetrexed shows promise in non small cell lung cancer
A recently published randomized trial has shown advantage to pemetrexed over docetaxel in the treatment for non-small cell lung cancer patients who had received previous chemotherapies. The results of a phase III randomized trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed pemetrexed is equally effective as Docetaxel, in controlling the disease, but with much less side effects.
This was an international study conducted by researchers from Indiana University, M.D. Anderson, University of Colorado, Virginia Cancer Institute, and University of Toronto, Toronto in collaboration with many research centers outside the North America. .
The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy and toxicity of pemetrexed to docetaxel in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who were previously treated with chemotherapy. Patients received pemetrexed at a dose of 500 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) day 1 with vitamin B12, folic acid, and dexamethasone. The other group received docetaxel 75 mg/m2 IV day 1 with dexamethasone every 21 days. The end point of the study was to look at the survival with each of these treatment plans. This was a large study comprising of five hundred seventy-one patients who were randomly assigned to pemetrexed or docetaxel. Overall response rates were shown to be 9.1% and 8.8% The median time without progression of disease was 2.9 months for each group, and median survival time was 8.3 versus 7.9 months (no statistical difference between the two groups). The 1-year survival rate for each group was equal at 29.7%. .
Patients receiving docetaxel were more likely to have significant side effects. Patients receiving docetaxel had severe decrease in white cell count (40.2% v 5.3%; P < .001), fever with low white cell count (12.7% v 1.9%), low white cell count with infections (3.3% v 0.0%), hospitalizations for low white cell count associated fever (13.4% v 1.5%), hospitalizations due to other drug related problems (10.5% v 6.4%), use white cell growth factor support was (19.2% v 2.6%) and all grade hair loss was (37.7% v 6.4%;) compared with patients receiving pemetrexed. .
The conclusion from the study is: pemetrexed was as effective as docetaxel for patients with advanced NSCLC who have received prior chemotherapies. and should be considered a standard treatment option for these groups of NSCLC patients when this drug is available.
Anemia: Red cells of the blood contain a substance called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. When the hemoglobin is low the condition is called anemia. Anemia may cause symptoms like fatigue, tiredness and weakness. See cancer terms
for more cancer related terms.