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Published on 21 September 2009

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Lung cancer drug shows promise


Pemetrexed maintenance therapy for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) improves overall and progression-free survival, according to a report in The Lancet.

The Eli Lilly drug was trialled as part of first-line treatment for patients who have received four cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy and not had disease progression.

Author Dr Chandra Belani concludes: “Pemetrexed maintenance therapy is well tolerated and offers significantly improved progression-free and overall survival, making it a new treatment option for patients with advanced non-squamous non-small-cell lung cancer who do not progress after initial induction therapy.”

The phase III study involved 663 patients with advanced NSCLC who had not progressed on four cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy.

They were randomly assigned pemetrexed (500 mg/m2, day 1) plus best supportive care (441 patients) or placebo plus care (222) in 21-day cycles until disease progression.

Primary endpoint was progression-free survival and secondary endpoint overall survival. Standard first-line platinum-based chemotherapy historically provides modest improvements in overall survival.

Copyright Press Association 2009


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