Pemetrexed can replace platinum compounds such as carboplatin in first-line standard therapy for stage 3b and 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a recent study published in The Oncologist.

In a phase 2 study, Gunnar Hillerdal, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Hospital in Sweden and colleagues randomized patients with NSCLC, with 50 who underwent standard carboplatin plus gemcitabine therapy and 44 who underwent pemetrexed and gemcitabine.

Continue Reading

RELATED: Aprepitant Not Superior to Metoclopramide in Preventing Cisplatin-Induced Emesis

They found that there were 16 partial responses in the pemetrexed group, and 10 in the carboplatin group.

Additionally, patients treated with pemetrexed had a mean survival of 15 months compared to 9 months with carboplatin, with similar side effects in both.

“A trend toward better survival was observed in the patients receiving pemetrexed instead of a platinum compound, and this should be studied further,” the authors concluded.

Editor’s Note: The original headline of this article stating that pemetrexed can replace carboplatin in non-small cell lung cancer was misleading. Although the study produced promising results, it was a small phase II trial that needs larger scale confirmation before changes to practice should be considered.


  1. Branden, Eva, et al. “Pemetrexed and Gemcitabine Versus Carboplatin and Gemcitabine in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: A Randomized Noninferiority Phase II Study in One Center.” The Oncologist. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2014-0181. [epub ahead of print]. March 2, 2015.