Phase II Study of Biweekly Pemetrexed Plus Irinotecan as Second-Line Therapy for Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

J Oncol. 2010;2010:785934. doi: 10.1155/2010/785934. Epub 2010 Apr 8.


Background. This open-label, single-arm, two-stage, Phase II study investigated the efficacy and safety of bi-weekly pemetrexed combined with irinotecan, in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), after first-line chemotherapy using FOLFOX regimen. Patients and methods. Patients received pemetrexed 400 mg/m(2) as a 10-minute intravenous infusion (with vitamin supplementation) followed by irinotecan 180 mg/m(2) as a 90-minute infusion on day 1 of a 14-day cycle, for a maximum of 12 cycles. The primary endpoint was response rate (RR; H(0) </= 5%, H(a) >/= 20%, alpha = 0.05, power = 90%). Secondary endpoints were duration of response, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and toxicities. Results. Partial response was observed in six out of 44 patients enrolled in the study (RR = 13.6%). The median PFS and OS were 4.0 and 13.9 months, respectively. The most common grade 3-4 toxicities were fatigue: 20.5% of patients, neutropenia: 18.6%, diarrhea: 13.6%, elevated transaminases: 9.5%, anemia: 9.3%, and vomiting: 6.8%. Conclusion. Pemetrexed plus irinotecan administered every two weeks is an active and well-tolerated regimen in mCRC patients pretreated with FOLFOX regimen. However, this regimen does not seem to provide clinically relevant advantage over historical data of a classical FOLFIRI regimen.