Sakkaraiappan Ramalingam, MD | Authors

Carboplatin/Gemcitabine Combination in Advanced NSCLC

July 01, 2004

The treatment of advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)has evolved rapidly over the past few years. Systemic chemotherapy isassociated with both quality of life and modest survival benefit for patientswith advanced NSCLC. Platinum-based doublet combinationsare the “standard of care.” The US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has approved gemcitabine (Gemzar), a pyrimidine analog, to beused in combination with cisplatin for the treatment of advanced NSCLCin the first-line setting. Randomized clinical trials have established comparableefficacy with improved therapeutic index for the carboplatin/gemcitabine regimen when compared with cisplatin/gemcitabine andother platinum doublets. Nonhematologic toxicities occur at a lowerfrequency with carboplatin/gemcitabine combinations compared withother “standard” platinum-based doublets, whereas dose-limitingthrombocytopenia, the most common toxicity, rarely requires therapeuticintervention. Both the 3- and 4-week schedules of carboplatin/gemcitabine result in similar efficacy and toxicity profiles, but the3-week regimen is preferred. The combination of carboplatin andgemcitabine is an effective regimen with an acceptable toxicity profilefor the treatment of advanced NSCLC. This regimen can also be usedas a foundation for the development of innovative combinations withmolecularly targeted agents.