Randomized phase II trial of gemcitabine-cisplatin with or without trastuzumab in HER2-positive non-small-cell lung cancer

Ann Oncol. 2004 Jan;15(1):19-27. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdh031.


Background: Trastuzumab provides significant clinical benefits in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer patients when administered in combination with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has also been shown to be beneficial in some patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The present randomized phase II trial examined the effect of adding trastuzumab to a standard chemotherapeutic combination (gemcitabine-cisplatin) in patients with HER2-positive NSCLC.

Patients and methods: Patients with untreated stage IIIB/IV HER2-positive NSCLC received up to six 21-day cycles of gemcitabine 1250 mg/m(2) (days 1 and 8) and cisplatin 75 mg/m(2) (day 1). Patients in the trastuzumab arm received trastuzumab 4 mg/kg intravenously (i.v.) followed by 2 mg/kg/week i.v. until progression.

Results: Of 619 patients screened, 103 were eligible. Fifty-one patients were treated with trastuzumab plus gemcitabine-cisplatin and 50 with gemcitabine-cisplatin alone. Efficacy was similar in the trastuzumab and control arms: response rate 36% versus 41%; median time to progression 6.3 versus 7.2 months; and median progression-free survival (PFS) 6.1 versus 7 months. Response rate (83%) and median PFS (8.5 months) appeared relatively good in the six trastuzumab-treated patients with HER2 3+ or fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-positive NSCLC. Addition of trastuzumab to gemcitabine-cisplatin was well tolerated, side-effects were as expected, and trastuzumab did not exacerbate the known toxicity of gemcitabine and cisplatin. Symptomatic cardiotoxicity was observed in one trastuzumab-treated patient. Serum trastuzumab concentrations in the presence of gemcitabine-cisplatin were comparable to those of trastuzumab alone.

Conclusions: Trastuzumab plus gemcitabine-cisplatin is well tolerated. Clinical benefit was not observed. Although HER2 3+/FISH-positive patients may benefit from trastuzumab, the subgroup is too small to provide definitive information. No significant effect of gemcitabine-cisplatin on trastuzumab pharmacokinetics was observed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / administration & dosage
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Random Allocation
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / drug effects*
  • Trastuzumab


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • Trastuzumab
  • Cisplatin