A Randomized, Open-Label Phase II Trial of Volasertib as Monotherapy and in Combination With Standard-Dose Pemetrexed Compared With Pemetrexed Monotherapy in Second-Line Treatment for Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer Journal Articles uri icon

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  • UNLABELLED: Second-line therapy options that improve survival for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are needed. This randomized, phase II trial (n [ 143) investigated volasertib monotherapy or in combination with pemetrexed compared with pemetrexed monotherapy in patients with NSCLC whose disease had progressed after previous platinum-based chemotherapy. The combination of volasertib with pemetrexed did not improve efficacy compared with pemetrexed monotherapy. INTRODUCTION: Volasertib is a potent, selective, cell cycle kinase inhibitor that induces mitotic arrest and apoptosis by targeting Polo-like kinase. In this study we compared volasertib, volasertib with pemetrexed, and pemetrexed alone in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose disease progressed after first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A run-in phase (n = 12) was used to determine whether volasertib could be combined in full dose with pemetrexed 500 mg/m(2). Subsequent patients were randomized to volasertib (n = 37), volasertib with pemetrexed (n = 47), or pemetrexed (n = 47) administered on day 1 every 21 days. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS); secondary end points included objective response rate and pharmacokinetics. RESULTS: Volasertib 300 mg was chosen for the randomized phase. Recruitment to single-agent volasertib was stopped early because of lack of efficacy. Median PFS was 5.3 months with pemetrexed compared with 3.3 months with volasertib with pemetrexed (hazard ratio [HR], 1.141; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73-1.771) and 1.4 months with volasertib (HR, 2.045; 95% CI, 1.27-3.292). ORRs were 10.6% with pemetrexed, 21.3% for volasertib with pemetrexed, and 8.1% with volasertib. The most common all-grade related adverse events (pemetrexed/volasertib with pemetrexed/volasertib) were: fatigue (28 [61%]/27 [59%]/11 [31%]), nausea (21 [46%]/19 [41%]/0 [0%]), decreased apetite (14 [31%]/13 [28%]/2 [6%]), neutropenia (4 [9%]/8 [17%]/9 [25%]), rash (9 [20%]/8 [17%]/2 [6%]), vomiting (6 [13%]/13 [28%]/0 [0%]), and diarrhea (8 [17%]/11 [24%]/0 [0%]). Pharmacokinetics analyses showed no drug-drug interactions between volasertib and pemetrexed. CONCLUSION: For treatment in the second-line for advanced or metastatic NSCLC, the combination of volasertib with standard pemetrexed did not increase toxicity significantly but also did not improve efficacy compared with single-agent pemetrexed.


  • Ellis, Peter
  • Leighl, Natasha B
  • Hirsh, Vera
  • Reaume, M Neil
  • Blais, Normand
  • Wierzbicki, Rafal
  • Sadrolhefazi, Behbood
  • Gu, Yu
  • Liu, Dan
  • Pilz, Korinna
  • Chu, Quincy

publication date

  • November 2015

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