LISBON, PortugalNew phase III trials testing novel combinations of platinums and taxanes in patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) are yielding encouraging results, according to two studies presented at the 11th European Cancer Conference (ECCO).
The Norwegian Lung Cancer Group (abstract 556) has reported that, for patients with limited disease, treatment with cisplatin(Drug information on cisplatin) (Platinol) and etoposide (VePesid) (EP) results in significantly better survival at 2 and 5 years than does a regimen of cyclophosphamide(Drug information on cyclophosphamide), epi-rubicin (Ellence), and vincristine (CEV).
In addition, the findings of a multi-center German trial (abstract 557) indicate that, in patients with extensive disease, the combination of paclitaxel(Drug information on paclitaxel) (Taxol) plus etoposide(Drug information on etoposide) plus carboplatin(Drug information on carboplatin) (Paraplatin) (TEP) prolongs 2- and 3-year survival, compared with standard chemotherapy consisting of carboplatin, etoposide, and vincristine (PEV).
The Norwegian national study enrolled 436 SCLC patients under the age of 75, all of whom had an ECOG performance status of 0 to 2 and adequate renal and bone marrow function, noted Dr. Stein Sundstrøm, from the University Hospital of Trondheim.
"We feel we can claim that the study population reflected real life," Dr. Sundstrøm said. He pointed out that the pool of participants represented 40% of all eligible candidates in Norway and that the treatment was carried out at 25 different hospitals, including small county hospitals.
Patients randomized to the EP arm received five courses of etoposide 100 mg/m² IV and cisplatin 75 mg/m² on day 1, followed by oral etoposide 200 mg/m² on days 2 to 4. Those assigned to CEV chemotherapy were given five cycles of cyclophosphamide 1,000 mg/m², vincristine 2 mg/m², and epirubicin(Drug information on epirubicin) 50 mg/m², all on day 1.