To evaluate the efficacy of cetuximab added to first-line gemcitabine/platinum in chemotherapy-naïve patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients and Methods
In this noncomparative, randomized trial, chemotherapy-naïve patients with recurrent/metastatic NSCLC (stage IV or stage IIIB with malignant pleural effusion) were eligible. Patients received cisplatin (75 mg/m2 IV, every 3 weeks) or carboplatin (area under the concentration-versus-time curve of 5 intravenously [IV], every 3 weeks), and gemcitabine (1,250 or 1,000 mg/m2 IV, days 1 and 8) plus cetuximab (400 mg/m2 IV day 1, followed by 250 mg/m2 weekly), in arm A, or chemotherapy alone, in arm B. Response rate was the primary end point; safety, progression-free survival, and overall survival were secondary end points.
Sixty-five patients were randomly assigned to arm A and 66 to arm B. Partial responses were observed in 18 patients (27.7%; 95% CI, 17.3 to 40.2) in arm A and 12 (18.2%; 95% CI, 9.8 to 29.6) in arm B. Median progression-free survival was 5.09 months for arm A (95% CI, 4.17 to 5.98) and 4.21 months (95% CI, 3.81 to 5.49) in arm B. Median overall survival was 11.99 months (95% CI, 8.80 to 15.18) and 9.26 months (95% CI, 7.43 to 11.79) in arms A and B, respectively. Overall toxicity was acceptable and consistent with the profiles of the individual agents.
First-line treatment with cetuximab plus gemcitabine/platinum is well tolerated and can be administered safely in patients with advanced NSCLC. Differences in response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival suggest that the addition of cetuximab to platinum/gemcitabine may improve clinical outcomes. Larger studies are in progress to address this hypothesis.