Does Pemetrexed Work in Targetable, Nonsquamous Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer? A Narrative Review

Lung Cancer

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Sep 17;12(9):E2658. doi: 10.3390/cancers12092658.


Pemetrexed is currently mainly considered for the treatment of advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) negative for gene mutations/rearrangements (wild-type disease (WTD)). This narrative review aimed to highlight the role of pemetrexed in the treatment of onco-driven nonsquamous advanced NSCLC by reviewing published clinical studies. For epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, patient survival following first-line pemetrexed-platinum was longer than for WTD.

Later-line pemetrexed-based treatment after tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) failure provided greater benefits than non-pemetrexed regimens. First- and later-line pemetrexed-based therapy also provided survival benefits in patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) or ROS proto-oncogene 1 (ROS1) rearrangements. In patients with rearranged during transfection (RET) proto-oncogene rearrangements, survival with pemetrexed was similar to that in ALK- and ROS1-positive patients and longer than that in patients with Kirsten rat sarcoma (KRAS) virus proto-oncogene mutations or WTD, although the available studies were limited. For Erb-b2 receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (ERRB2) mutations, first-line pemetrexed showed outcomes similar to those for EGFR and KRAS alterations. Data on pemetrexed in patients with KRAS mutations or MNNG HOS-transforming (MET) expression were limited. Pemetrexed could be an option for first- and second-line treatment for TKI failure in nonsquamous advanced NSCLC with select targetable driver mutations.