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Efficacy of pemetrexed-based chemotherapy in comparison to non-pemetrexed-based chemotherapy in advanced, ALK plus non-small cell lung cancer

Cited 5 time in Web of Science Cited 5 time in Scopus

Jo, Jaemin; Kim, Se Hyun; Kim, Yu Jung; Lee, Juhyun; Kim, Miso; Keam, Bhumsuk; Kim, Tae Min; Kim, Dong-Wan; Heo, Dae Seog; Chung, Jin-Haeng; Jeon, Yoon Kyung; Lee, Jong Seok

Issue Date
Yonsei Medical Journal, Vol.59 No.2, pp.202-210
Purpose: Previous retrospective studies suggest that anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) mutation-positive (ALK+) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients are sensitive to pemetrexed. To determine its efficacy, we retrospectively evaluated clinical outcomes of pemetrexed-based chemotherapy in patients with ALK+ NSCLC. Materials and Methods: We identified 126 patients with advanced, ALK+ NSCLC who received first-line cytotoxic chemotherapy. We compared response, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) rates according to chemotherapy regimens. Furthermore, we evaluated intracranial time to tumor progression (TTP) and proportion of ALK+ cells as prognostic factors. Results: Forty-eight patients received pemetrexed-based chemotherapy, while 78 received other regimens as first-line treatment. The pemetrexed-based chemotherapy group showed superior overall response (44.7% vs. 14.3%, p<0.001) and disease control (85.1% vs. 62.3%, p=0.008) rates. The pemetrexed-based chemotherapy group also exhibited longer PFS (6.6 months vs. 3.8 months, p<0.001); OS rates were not significantly different. The lack of exposure to second-generation ALK inhibitors and intracranial metastasis on initial diagnosis were independent negative prognostic factors of OS. Intracranial TTP was similar between the treatment groups (32.7 months vs. 35.7 months, p=0.733). Patients who harbored a greater number of ALK+ tumor cells (>= 70%) showed prolonged OS on univariate analysis (not reached vs. 44.8 months, p=0.041), but not on multivariate analysis (hazard ratio: 0.19, 95% confidence interval: 0.03-1.42; p=0.106). Conclusion: Pemetrexed-based regimens may prolong PFS in patients with ALK+ NSCLC as a first-line treatment, but are not associated with prolonged OS. Exposure to second-generation ALK inhibitors may improve OS rates in patients with ALK+ NSCLC.
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