Lung Cancer. 2009 Jun;64(3):308-13. Epub 2008 Nov 11. [Link]

Lee CW, Murray N, Anderson H, Rao SC, Bishop W.

BC Cancer Agency – Fraser Valley Centre, 13750 96th Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada V3V 1Z2.


Cisplatin plus pemetrexed has been standard systemic therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) since the landmark randomized trial reported in 2003. However, the combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine was incorporated into clinical practice following publication of promising phase II trial results in 1999. The impact of these platinum-based regimens is assessed in this review of practice in the province of British Columbia. All cases of MPM diagnosed from 1999 to 2005 were identified in a provincial registry using ICD-O codes. The clinical records of individuals referred to the BC Cancer Agency were reviewed, and those treated with a platinum analog plus gemcitabine or pemetrexed as first-line therapy were included in survival analyses. During the selected period, 81 patients were treated first-line with a platinum analog plus gemcitabine (n=40) or pemetrexed (n=41). Characteristics of the entire cohort include: age at diagnosis, mean 65 years (median 66, range 43-84); gender, male 70 (86%); laterality of disease, right-sided 51 (63%); histology, epithelioid or not otherwise specified 69 (85%). Median survival was 10 months (95% confidence interval, 7.7-12.3), with 1- and 2-year survival rates 0.42 and 0.21, respectively. Survival did not appear to be influenced by the chemotherapy agent used. Survival outcomes with chemotherapy for MPM in the province are comparable to what is reported in the literature. No difference is seen combining platinum analogs with gemcitabine or pemetrexed. Platinum-based doublets might represent a therapeutic ceiling for cytotoxic chemotherapy in MPM.