A recent meta-analysis and randomized studies have demonstrated that combined chemoradiotherapy is associated with a survival advantage for selected patients with locally advanced unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We conducted a phase II study of combined chemoradiotherapy to find a more effective combination of drugs and radiation than those previously reported for such patients. Between January 1994 and November 1996, 50 previously untreated patients with locally advanced unresectable NSCLC (stage IIIA with N2 or IIIB disease) were entered in this study. Patients were required to have Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≤ 2, age ≤ 75 years and adequate organ function. Treatment consisted of three cycles of cisplatin (20 mg m-2, days 1-5) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) (500 mg m-2, days 1-5) every 4 weeks, and concurrent hyperfractionated thoracic radiation (1.25 Gy twice daily with a 6-h interfraction interval; total radiation dose, 62.5-70 Gy). Of the 50 patients entered, 37 (74%) responded to this chemoradiotherapy, including two (4%) with complete response. By a median follow-up time of 41.0 months, 35 patients had died and 15 were still alive. The median time to progression for responding patients was 14.1 months (range, 2.6-51.3+ months). The median survival time was 18.7 months, with a survival rate of 66.0% at 1 year, 46.0% at 2 years and 27.6% at 3 years. Survival outcome was strongly affected by the extent of nodal involvement (median survival time, 27.4 months for NO-2 disease (n = 37) vs 10.7 months for N3 disease (n = 13); P = 0.007). The major toxicities of treatment were leukopenia and neutropenia (≥ Grade 3, 58% and 60% respectively). Other toxicities of ≥ Grade 3 included thrombocytopenia (26%), anaemia (26%), nausea/vomiting (16%) and radiation oesophagitis (6%). Treatment-related death occurred for one patient. Our findings suggest that cisplatin and 5-FU in combination with concurrent hyperfractionated thoracic radiation is effective and feasible for the treatment of locally advanced unresectable NSCLC. The short-term survival in this study appeared to be more encouraging than those of similar chemoradiation trials. A randomized trial will be needed to compare the combination of cisplatin and 5-FU with other platinum-based regimens together with concurrent hyperfractionated thoracic radiation. In addition, in future studies, inclusion criteria for N3 disease with or without supraclavicular involvement should be reconsidered to correctly evaluate the effect of combined chemoradiotherapy for locally advanced unresectable NSCLC.
- Combined chemoradiotherapy
- Hyperfractionated thoracic radiation
- Non-small-cell lung cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research