Pemetrexed in Recurrent or Progressive Central Nervous System Lymphoma: A Phase I Multicenter Clinical Trial


Dietrich J, et al. Oncologist 2020.


LESSONS LEARNED: The findings from this study using monotherapy with pemetrexed in a pretreated patient population are, overall, encouraging. Unlike high-dose methotrexate, which requires several days of inpatient hospitalization, pemetrexed is relatively easy to administer in the outpatient setting and remains a viable treatment option in this patient population. The maximum tolerated dose of pemetrexed administered (900 mg/m2 every 2 weeks) was generally well tolerated and showed activity in patients with relapsed or refractory CNSL.

BACKGROUND: There is currently no standard salvage treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma (CNSL). We report the results of a phase I study of pemetrexed, an antifolate drug with broader activity than methotrexate (MTX). We provide the safety, tolerability, and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of pemetrexed in patients with recurrent CNSL.

METHODS: Through October 2015, 17 patients with relapsed/refractory CNSL received pemetrexed every 2 weeks with the first cohort receiving 600 mg/m2 and dose escalation in increments of 300 mg/m2 to a maximum of 1,200 mg/m2 . Three patients were to enroll at each dose level with expansion to six patients in the event of dose-limiting toxicity. Patients with both primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) and secondary CNS lymphoma (SCNSL) could be enrolled.

RESULTS: Seventeen patients were evaluable with a median age of 63.7 years. Main adverse events included fatigue (82.4%), anemia (82.4%), and neutropenia (70.6%). The MTD was established at 900 mg/m2 . Dose-limiting toxicities were recorded in one patient in the 600 mg/m2 cohort and in two patients in the 1,200 mg/m2 cohort. Fourteen patients were evaluable for response assessment; 21.4% achieved a complete response, 35.7% had a partial response, 14.3% had stable disease, and 28.6% had progressive disease. The median progression-free survival was 4.2 months. The median overall survival was 44.5 months. In the original study protocol, the plan was to add an expansion cohort of six patients at MTD level. However, the first phase of the study was characterized by slow recruitment. Therefore, after achieving the primary objective of the study and establishing the MTD, the investigators decided to amend the protocol and to close the study.

CONCLUSION: Pemetrexed administered at 900 mg/m2 every 2 weeks exhibits single-agent activity in patients with recurrent CNSL; it is well tolerated, and side effects are manageable.