Purpose: This phase I study was conducted to determine the toxicities, pharmacokinetics, and recommended doses of pemetrexed in cancer patients with normal and impaired renal function.
Patients and methods: Patients received a 10-minute infusion of 150 to 600 mg/m2 of pemetrexed every 3 weeks. Patients were stratified for independent dose escalation by measured glomerular filtration rate (GFR) into four cohorts ranging from > or = 80 to less than 20 mL/min. Pemetrexed plasma and urine pharmacokinetics were evaluated for the first cycle. Patients enrolled after December 1999 were supplemented with oral folic acid and intramuscular vitamin B12.
Results: Forty-seven patients were treated with 167 cycles of pemetrexed. Hematologic dose-limiting toxicities occurred in vitamin-supplemented patients (two; 15%) and non-supplemented patients (six; 18%), and included febrile neutropenia (four patients) and grade 4 thrombocytopenia (two patients). Nonhematologic toxicities included fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea, and did not correlate with renal function. Accrual was discontinued in patients with GFR less than 30 mL/min after one patient with a GFR of 19 mL/min died as a result of treatment-related toxicities. Pemetrexed plasma clearance positively correlated with GFR (r2 = 0.736), resulting in increased drug exposures in patients with impaired renal function. With vitamin supplementation, pemetrexed 600 mg/m2 was tolerated by patients with a GFR > or = 80 mL/min, whereas patients with a GFR of 40 to 79 mL/min tolerated a dose of 500 mg/m2.
Conclusion: Pemetrexed was well tolerated at doses of 500 mg/m2 with vitamin supplementation in patients with GFR > or = 40 mL/min. Additional studies are needed to define appropriate dosing for renally impaired patients receiving higher dose pemetrexed with vitamin supplementation.