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      First-line ceritinib versus platinum-based chemotherapy in advanced ALK -rearranged non-small-cell lung cancer (ASCEND-4): a randomised, open-label, phase 3 study

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          Clinical features and outcome of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer who harbor EML4-ALK.

          The EML4-ALK fusion oncogene represents a novel molecular target in a small subset of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLC). To aid in identification and treatment of these patients, we examined the clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes of patients who had NSCLC with and without EML4-ALK. Patients with NSCLC were selected for genetic screening on the basis of two or more of the following characteristics: female sex, Asian ethnicity, never/light smoking history, and adenocarcinoma histology. EML4-ALK was identified by using fluorescent in situ hybridization for ALK rearrangements and was confirmed by immunohistochemistry for ALK expression. EGFR and KRAS mutations were determined by DNA sequencing. Of 141 tumors screened, 19 (13%) were EML4-ALK mutant, 31 (22%) were EGFR mutant, and 91 (65%) were wild type (WT/WT) for both ALK and EGFR. Compared with the EGFR mutant and WT/WT cohorts, patients with EML4-ALK mutant tumors were significantly younger (P < .001 and P = .005) and were more likely to be men (P = .036 and P = .039). Patients with EML4-ALK-positive tumors, like patients who harbored EGFR mutations, also were more likely to be never/light smokers compared with patients in the WT/WT cohort (P < .001). Eighteen of the 19 EML4-ALK tumors were adenocarcinomas, predominantly the signet ring cell subtype. Among patients with metastatic disease, EML4-ALK positivity was associated with resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Patients in the EML4-ALK cohort and the WT/WT cohort showed similar response rates to platinum-based combination chemotherapy and no difference in overall survival. EML4-ALK defines a molecular subset of NSCLC with distinct clinical characteristics. Patients who harbor this mutation do not benefit from EGFR TKIs and should be directed to trials of ALK-targeted agents.
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            Maintenance pemetrexed plus best supportive care versus placebo plus best supportive care for non-small-cell lung cancer: a randomised, double-blind, phase 3 study.

            Several studies have shown the efficacy, tolerability, and ease of administration of pemetrexed-an antifolate antineoplastic agent-in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. We assessed pemetrexed as maintenance therapy in patients with this disease. This randomised double-blind study was undertaken in 83 centres in 20 countries. 663 patients with stage IIIB or IV disease who had not progressed on four cycles of platinum-based chemotherapy were randomly assigned (2:1 ratio) to receive pemetrexed (500 mg/m(2), day 1) plus best supportive care (n=441) or placebo plus best supportive care (n=222) in 21-day cycles until disease progression. Treatment was randomised with the Simon and Pocock minimisation method. Patients and investigators were masked to treatment. All patients received vitamin B(12), folic acid, and dexamethasone. The primary endpoint of progression-free survival and the secondary endpoint of overall survival were analysed by intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00102804. All randomly assigned participants were analysed. Pemetrexed significantly improved progression-free survival (4.3 months [95% CI 4.1-4.7] vs 2.6 months [1.7-2.8]; hazard ratio [HR] 0.50, 95% CI 0.42-0.61, p<0.0001) and overall survival (13.4 months [11.9-15.9] vs 10.6 months [8.7-12.0]; HR 0.79, 0.65-0.95, p=0.012) compared with placebo. Treatment discontinuations due to drug-related toxic effects were higher in the pemetrexed group than in the placebo group (21 [5%] vs three [1%]). Drug-related grade three or higher toxic effects were higher with pemetrexed than with placebo (70 [16%] vs nine [4%]; p<0.0001), specifically fatigue (22 [5%] vs one [1%], p=0.001) and neutropenia (13 [3%] vs 0, p=0.006). No pemetrexed-related deaths occurred. Relatively fewer patients in the pemetrexed group than in the placebo group received systemic post-discontinuation therapy (227 [51%] vs 149 [67%]; p=0.0001). Maintenance therapy with pemetrexed is well tolerated and offers improved progression-free and overall survival compared with placebo in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Eli Lilly.
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              Alectinib versus crizotinib in patients with ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer (J-ALEX): an open-label, randomised phase 3 trial.

              Alectinib, a potent, highly selective, CNS-active inhibitor of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), showed promising efficacy and tolerability in the single-arm phase 1/2 AF-001JP trial in Japanese patients with ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer. Given those promising results, we did a phase 3 trial to directly compare the efficacy and safety of alectinib and crizotinib.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Lancet
                The Lancet
                Elsevier BV
                01406736
                March 2017
                March 2017
                : 389
                : 10072
                : 917-929
                Article
                10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30123-X
                © 2017

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