Pemetrexed, Bevacizumab, or the Combination As Maintenance Therapy for Advanced Nonsquamous Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: ECOG-ACRIN 5508

Author Department

Hematology/Oncology; Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Purpose: Pemetrexed or bevacizumab is used for maintenance therapy of advanced nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The combination of bevacizumab and pemetrexed has also demonstrated efficacy. We conducted a randomized study to determine the optimal maintenance therapy.

Patients and methods: Patients with advanced nonsquamous NSCLC and no prior systemic therapy received carboplatin (area under the curve, 6), paclitaxel (200 mg/m2), and bevacizumab (15 mg/kg) for up to four cycles. Patients without progression after four cycles were randomly assigned to maintenance therapy with bevacizumab (15 mg/kg), pemetrexed (500 mg/m2), or a combination of the two agents. The primary end point was overall survival, with bevacizumab serving as the control group.

Results: Of the 1,516 patients enrolled, 874 (57%) were randomly assigned after induction therapy to one of the three maintenance therapy groups. With a median follow-up of 50.6 months, median survival with pemetrexed was 15.9 months, compared with 14.4 months with bevacizumab (hazard ratio [HR], 0.86; P = .12); median survival with pemetrexed and bevacizumab was 16.4 months (HR, 0.9; P = .28); median progression-free survival was 4.2, 5.1 (HR, 0.85; P = .06), and 7.5 months (HR, 0.67; P < .001) for the three groups, respectively. Incidence of worst grade 3 to 4 toxicity was 29%, 37%, and 51%, respectively, for bevacizumab, pemetrexed, and the combination regimen.

Conclusion: Single-agent bevacizumab or pemetrexed is efficacious as maintenance therapy for advanced nonsquamous NSCLC. Because of a lack of survival benefit and higher toxicity, the combination of bevacizumab and pemetrexed cannot be recommended.