Bevacizumab Plus Pemetrexed Versus Pemetrexed Alone as Maintenance Therapy for Patients With Advanced Nonsquamous Non–Small-cell Lung Cancer: Update From the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) 19/09 Trial

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Abstract

Micro-Abstract

We previously reported the results of the nonrandomized phase II trial Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) 19/09, which studied maintenance therapy with bevacizumab plus pemetrexed in patients with advanced nonsquamous non–small-cell lung cancer. We expanded the trial with a second cohort of patients treated without bevacizumab. The explorative comparison of the 2 cohorts revealed that progression-free survival, but not overall survival, was better with combination maintenance therapy of pemetrexed and bevacizumab.

Background:

Pemetrexed and bevacizumab as single agents have been approved for maintenance therapy after platinum-based induction in patients with advanced nonsquamous non–small-cell lung cancer. It is currently unknown whether bevacizumab plus pemetrexed is superior to pemetrexed alone.

Patients and Methods:

We conducted a nonrandomized phase II trial with 2 sequential cohorts. In the first cohort, 77 patients were treated with 4 cycles of cisplatin, bevacizumab, and pemetrexed every 3 weeks, followed by bevacizumab plus pemetrexed maintenance until progression. In the second cohort, we treated 52 patients without bevacizumab, using maintenance with pemetrexed alone. Progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), overall response rate (ORR), adverse events, and the treatment costs of the 2 cohorts were compared.

Results:

The median PFS from the time of registration was 6.9 months in cohort 1 and 5.6 months in cohort 2. The ORR was 62.3% in cohort 1% and 44.2% in cohort 2. The PFS (hazard ratio, 0.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5-1.0; P = .041) and ORR (odds ratio, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.0-4.3; P = .049) were better in cohort 1 than in cohort 2. No OS difference was found (hazard ratio, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.7-1.6; P = .890) after a median follow-up period of 47 months for cohort 1 and 27 months for cohort 2. The rate of grade ≥ 3 adverse events was greater in cohort 1. The treatment costs per patient were on average 1.4 times greater for cohort 1.

Conclusion:

The addition of bevacizumab increased the ORR and PFS, but not OS, in our nonrandomized trial. Furthermore, the addition of bevacizumab was associated with greater toxicity and higher costs.

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