Pemetrexed-cisplatin chemotherapy is the standard of care in the first-line treatment of unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Second-line cytotoxic therapy is considered for a growing group of patients, but the optimal treatment has not been defined to date. Gemcitabine and vinorelbine have shown activity in the first-line setting. The objective of this study was to evaluate the activity and toxicity of the gemcitabine-vinorelbine combination in pemetrexed-pretreated patients with MPM.
From January 2004 to September 2006, 30 consecutive patients who were pretreated with pemetrexed with or without a platinum-derivative were enrolled. Gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 and vinorelbine 25 mg/m2 were administered intravenously on Days 1 and 8 every 3 weeks. Treatment was repeated for a maximum of 6 cycles or until progression or unacceptable toxicity.
A partial response was observed in 3 patients (10%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.1–26.5%), and 10 patients (33.3%; 95% CI, 17.3–52.8%) had stable disease after treatment. Overall, 13 patients (43.3%; 95% CI, 25.5–62.6%) achieved disease control. The median time to progression was 2.8 months (range, 0.6–12.1 months), and the median survival was 10.9 months (range, 0.8–25.3 months). Hematologic toxicity was acceptable, with grade 3 or 4 neutropenia occurring in 11% of patients and thrombocytopenia occurring in 4% of patients; no case of febrile neutropenia was observed. Nonhematologic toxicity generally was mild.
The gemcitabine and vinorelbine combination was moderately active and had an acceptable toxicity profile in pemetrexed-pretreated patients with MPM. The role of second-line treatment in MPM needs to be evaluated in prospective trials in large series of patients who are stratified according to previous treatment and prognostic factors. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.