Chemoradiation in NSCLC: Focus on the Role of Gemcitabine
July 01, 2004
Research to identify the optimal drugs for use in chemoradiotherapyhas led to the development of the potent radiosensitizing agentgemcitabine (Gemzar), which has exhibited excellent activity in non-small-cell cancer. When used in sequential chemoradiotherapy regimens,gemcitabine has been associated with response rates of 57% to68%. A full dose of gemcitabine (1,000 mg/m2) can be safely used asinduction therapy, and there is no definitive indication of enhancementof radiotoxicity. In addition, results from phase I/II trials supportthe efficacy of concurrent gemcitabine/radiation therapy in improvingoverall response rates and overall survival. Rates of 68%, 37%, and28%, respectively, for 1-, 2-, and 3-year survival have been reported forgemcitabine/cisplatin chemotherapy administered concurrently withradiotherapy. Although the optimal dose has yet to be determined, aweekly dose of 300 mg/m2 appears to be effective with an acceptabletoxicity level. Additional clinical trials are warranted to assess the longtermefficacy and safety of gemcitabine in combination with other chemotherapeuticagents and radiation therapy for treatment of non-smallcelllung cancer.