• Phase II study of weekly plitidepsin as second-line therapy for small cell lung cancer.

      Eisen, Tim; Thatcher, Nick; Leyvraz, Serge; Miller, Wilson H; Couture, Felix; Lorigan, Paul C; Lüthi, François; Small, David; Tanovic, Adnan; O'Brien, M; et al. (2009-04)
      OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the antitumor activity and safety profile of plitidepsin administered as a 1h weekly intravenous (i.v.) infusion of 3.2mg/m(2) to patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) who relapsed or progressed after one line of chemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a multicenter, open-label, single-arm, exploratory, phase II clinical trial. Treatment lasted until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, patient refusal or treatment delay for >2 weeks. Objective response rate (primary efficacy endpoint) was evaluated according to response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST). The rate of stable disease (SD) lasting for at least 6 months and time-to-event variables were secondary endpoints of efficacy. Toxicity was assessed using National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria (NCI-CTC) version 2.0. RESULTS: Twenty pretreated SCLC patients (median age, 60 years) with extensive (n = 13) or limited-stage disease (n = 7) received a total of 24 treatment cycles (median, one cycle per patient; range, 1-2). Objective tumor responses were not observed and only one of the 17 evaluable patients had SD. With a median follow-up of 11.8 months, the progression-free survival and the median overall survival were 1.3 months and 4.8 months, respectively. The most troubling or common toxicities were fatigue, muscle weakness, lymphopenia, anemia (no patients showed neutropenia), and asymptomatic, non-cumulative increase of transaminases levels and alkaline phosphatase. CONCLUSION: This clinical trial shows that a cycle of 1h weekly i.v. infusion of plitidepsin (3.2mg/m(2)) was generally well tolerated other than fatigue and muscle weakness in patients with pretreated SCLC. One patient died due to multi-organ failure. The absence of antitumor activity found here precludes further studies of this plitidepsin schedule as second-line single-agent treatment of SCLC.
    • Second-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

      Gridelli, Cesare; Ardizzoni, Andrea; Ciardiello, Fortunato; Hanna, Nasser; Heymach, John V; Perrone, Francesco; Rosell, Rafael; Shepherd, Frances A; Thatcher, Nick; Vansteenkiste, Johan; et al. (2008-04)
      After failure of first-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer, many patients remain candidates to receive further antitumor treatment. To guide clinical management of these patients and to suggest priorities for clinical research, an International Panel of Experts met in Naples (Italy) in April 2007. Results and evidence-based conclusions are presented in this article. Single-agent chemotherapy with docetaxel or pemetrexed is the recommended option for unselected patients with performance status 0 to 2 who are candidates for second-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Docetaxel has demonstrated superiority compared with best supportive care. Pemetrexed has been shown to be noninferior to docetaxel, with a more favorable toxicity profile. Erlotinib is effective in pretreated patients, and can be given second-line in patients not suitable or intolerant to chemotherapy, and in all patients as third-line treatment after failure of second-line chemotherapy. Gefitinib failed to show superiority to placebo as second- or third-line treatment, but it has been shown to be noninferior to docetaxel. In selected patients such as lifetime nonsmokers or those of East-Asian ethnicity, erlotinib, or gefitinib (where licensed) may be considered as second-line treatment even if they are fit for chemotherapy. Best supportive care in addition to active treatment remains important for all patients, but may be the exclusive option for patients unsuitable for more aggressive therapy. Further research is mandatory, to find better treatments, and to identify clinical and molecular predictive markers of efficacy, both for chemotherapy and for novel biologic agents.