Randomized Phase III Study of Cisplatin With or Without Raltitrexed in Patients With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

An Intergroup Study of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Lung Cancer Group and the National Cancer Institute of Canada

Journal of Clinical Oncology. Vol 23, No 28 (October 1), 2005: pp. 6881-6889 [Link]

Jan P. van Meerbeeck, Rabab Gaafar, Christian Manegold, Rob J. Van Klaveren, Eric A. Van Marck, Mark Vincent, Catherine Legrand, Andrew Bottomley, Channa Debruyne, Giuseppe Giaccone

From the University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium; National Cancer Center, Cairo, Egypt; UMC Mannheim, Germany; Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; University Hospital, Antwerp, Edegem, Belgium; NCIC DC, Ontario, Canada; EORTC DC, Brussels, Belgium; and Free University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherland


Purpose: We conducted a phase III trial to determine whether first-line treatment with raltitrexed, a thymidine synthase inhibitor, and cisplatin results in superior outcome compared with cisplatin alone in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

Patients and Methods: Eligible patients with histologically proven advanced MPM, not pretreated with chemotherapy, WHO performance status (PS) 0 to 2, and adequate hematological, renal, and hepatic function were randomly assigned to receive cisplatin 80 mg/m2 IV on day 1, alone (arm A) or combined with raltitrexed 3 mg/m2 (arm B). In patients with measurable disease, response was monitored using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria. Health related quality of life (HRQOL) was measured using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer QLQ-C30 and Lung Module (QLQ-LC13).

Results: Two hundred fifty patients were randomized: 80% male; median age, 58 years; and WHO PS, 0, 1, 2 in 25, 62, and 13% of cases, respectively. There were no toxic deaths. The main grade 3 or 4 toxicities observed were neutropenia and emesis, reported twice as often in the combination arm. Among 213 patients with measurable disease, response rate was 13.6% (arm A) versus 23.6% (arm B; P = .056). No difference in HRQOL was observed on any of the scales. Median overall and 1-year survival in arms A and B were 8.8 (95% CI, 7.8 to 10.8) v 11.4 months (95% CI, 10.1 to 15), respectively, and 40% v 46%, respectively (P = .048).

Conclusion: A combination of raltitrexed and cisplatin improves overall survival compared with cisplatin alone. This study confirms that a combination of cisplatin and an antifolate is superior to cisplatin alone in patients with MPM, without harmful effect on HRQOL.