Rationale and Design of PEMVITASTART—An Open-label Randomized Trial Comparing Simultaneous Versus Standard Initiation of Vitamin B12 and Folate Supplementation in Nonsquamous, Non–Small-cell Lung Cancer Patients Undergoing First-line Pemetrexed-based Chemotherapy

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Abstract

Pemetrexed is the preferred chemotherapeutic drug for nonsquamous, non–small-cell lung cancer patients whenever the predictive molecular biomarkers for targeted therapy have either not been assessed or are absent. As per manufacturers’ instructions, supplementation with folic acid (FA; folate) at a dose of 350 to 1000 μg daily should be started seven days before the first dose of pemetrexed-based chemotherapy and continued during therapy and for 21 days after therapy cessation. Vitamin B12 injections (1000 μg intramuscularly) should also be started one week before the first dose of chemotherapy. However, the evidence for delaying chemotherapy by one week for the purpose of providing vitamin B12 and FA supplementation is not robust. Observational and prospective single-arm studies have not shown any increased toxicity if pemetrexed was started earlier than the recommended duration of supplementation. In a resource-constrained setting, the standard (conventional) approach would lead to one additional visit and a 1-week chemotherapy delay, both of which could be inconvenient for patients. Hence, an open-label, randomized trial (PEMVITASTART [Vitamin Supplementation in NSCLC Patients on Pemetrexed Based Chemotherapy]; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier, NCT02679443) is being undertaken to evaluate whether any differences exist in pemetrexed-related hematologic toxicity among patients who receive delayed initiation of chemotherapy (after 5-7 days of vitamin B12 and FA supplementation [delayed arm]) compared with those for whom vitamin B12 and FA supplementation is started simultaneously (within 24 hours) of chemotherapy initiation (immediate arm). The present report describes the rationale and detailed design of the PEMVITASART trial.

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