A phase I/II trial of pemetrexed plus radiotherapy in elderly patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer
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Background Radiotherapy (RT) is an effective treatment for elderly patients with locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC); however, no clinical trials have investigated combination RT with pemetrexed (PEM) in chemotherapy-naive patients ≥71 years old. We conducted a phase I/II study to evaluate the appropriate PEM dose, efficacy, and safety of PEM plus RT in elderly patients. Methods Patients ≥71 years with performance status (PS) scores of 0–2 who had pathologically confirmed stage IIIA/IIIB NSCLC received PEM (500 mg/m2 on day 1 of a 28-day cycle, 4 courses) and RT (a single 2 Gy daily fraction on 5 consecutive days weekly from day 1; 60 Gy total). The primary endpoint was the objective response rate (ORR); the secondary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and adverse events (AEs). Results Forty-one patients with a median age of 79 years were enrolled; 31 were men. Eighteen patients had squamous cell carcinoma, 27 had stage IIIA disease, and 38 had PS scores 0–1. The ORR was 80.5%, while the median OS and PFS rates were 24.9 and 6.9 months, respectively. Two treatment-related deaths occurred owing to RT-related pneumonitis and severe infection, respectively. Common hematological AEs were leucopenia and neutropenia; common non-hematological AEs were anorexia and constipation. Three patients developed PEM-induced interstitial lung disease; however, most AEs were RT-related. Conclusions Combination PEM and RT shows promising efficacy but relatively severe RT-related toxicities. Therefore, this treatment should be prescribed to elderly patients with caution. Trial registration UMIN 000005036.
KeywordsPemetrexed Radiotherapy Geriatric patients Pneumonitis
dose limiting toxicity
epidermal growth factor receptor
maximum tolerated dose
non-small cell lung cancer
objective response rate
Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors
We wish to thank all the participants (patients, patients’ family and caregivers) of this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
About this study, all authors received the grant from national cancer hospital organization as a research fee (the national hospital organization network program). And all authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The institutional research committee is Clinical trial review board of Kinki-chuo Chest Medical Center, and the approved number is 305.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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