Clinical Lung Cancer. 2014 August 15 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Powrozek T, Kowalski DM, Krawczyk P, Ramlau R, Kucharczyk T, Kalinka-Warzocha E, Knetki-Wroblewska M, Winiarczyk W, Krzahowski M, Milanowski J.



The combination of pemetrexed and platinum compound represents the standard regimen for first-line chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients. Pemetrexed is a multitarget antifolate agent that inhibits folate-dependent enzymes (eg, thymidylate synthase [TS]) and thus synthesis of nucleotides and DNA. Expression of TS and folate availability, regulated by gene polymorphisms, have implications for effectiveness of chemotherapy and the outcome of mesothelioma patients. The aim of this retrospective multicenter study was to assess the correlation between TS, 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and excision repair cross-complementing group 1 (ERCC1) gene polymorphisms and the efficacy of pemetrexed-based first-line chemotherapy of mesothelioma patients.

Patients and Methods

Fifty-nine mesothelioma patients (31 men with a median age of 62 years) treated in first-line chemotherapy with platinum in combination with pemetrexed or pemetrexed monotherapy were enrolled. Genomic DNA was isolated from peripheral blood. Using polymerase chain reaction and high resolution melt methods, the variable number of tandem repeat, the G>C single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in these repeats, and 6-base pair (bp) insertion/deletion polymorphism of the TS gene, the SNP of 677C>T in MTHFR, and 19007C>T in the ERCC1 gene were analyzed and correlated with disease control rate, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) of mesothelioma patients.


Greater risk of early disease progression (PD), and shortening of PFS and OS were associated with several clinical factors (eg, anemia for early PD and OS), weight loss (for PFS and OS), and previous surgical treatment (for early PD, PFS, and OS). Insertion of 6-bp in both alleles of the TS gene (1494del6) was the only genetic factor that increased the incidence of early progression (P = .028) and shortening of median PFS (P = .06) in patients treated with pemetrexed-based chemotherapy. In multivariate analysis, the 1494del6 in the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the TS gene also had a predictive role for PFS (P = .0185; hazard ratio, 2.3258 for +6/+6 homozygotes) in analyzed mesothelioma patients.


Most analyzed polymorphisms in TS, MTHFR, and ERCC1 genes failed to predict outcome in mesothelioma patients treated with pemetrexed-based chemotherapy. However, different variants of 1494del6 in the 3′ UTR of the TS gene were associated with differences in disease control rate and PFS of our patients.