Los Angeles/Pittsburgh, May 19, 1998 — Results from a large, randomized, phase III study confirmed the efficacy of paclitaxel plus carboplatin in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These data were presented here at the 34th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
This study was designed to compare paclitaxel/carboplatin to cisplatin/etoposide. The trial enrolled 369 patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC between May 1995 and July 1996. One hundred seventy-nine patients received cisplatin/etoposide and 190 received paclitaxel/carboplatin. After initial therapy, patients could receive additional chemotherapy.
"Survival in the control arm (cisplatin/etoposide) was unexpectedly higher, and this could be attributable to multiple factors, including second-line chemotherapy with a taxane-based regimen," said Chandra Belani, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and co-director of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI).
"Patients in the paclitaxel arm of the study experienced a greater response rate compared to cisplatin/etoposide, 23 percent versus 14 percent respectively," explained Dr. Belani. "Patients who received paclitaxel/carboplatin experienced improvement in quality of life from baseline to third course of chemotherapy."
"In 1998 we are not only talking about first-line therapy NSCLC, but we now need to pursue second-line chemotherapy," concluded Dr. Belani.
The ongoing phase III studies with the paclitaxel/carboplatin regimen being performed by the SWOG, ECOG, CALGB will further substantiate the results of this regimen with NSCLC.
Lung cancer is one the most common cancers in the United States, representing about 15 percent of all cancer cases, or 178,000 new cases in 1997. Lung cancer accounts for over one-fourth (28 percent) of cancer deaths in the United States; it is the number one killer by cancer and in fact, kills more people than colon, prostate and breast cancer combined. At this time, over half of the lung cancer cases in the United States are in men, but the number of women diagnosed each year is increasing and will surpass that in men.
As one of 31 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, the UPCI is recognized for its interdisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, education and community outreach and for its commitment to translational research that rapidly brings new cancer therapies from the laboratory bench to the patient’s bedside.
For additional information about this study, please contact the UPCI’s Cancer Information and Referral Service toll-free at 800-237-4PCI(724) or visit the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute website.