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Lung Cancer. 2002 May;36(2):167-74.

Accelerated hyperfractionated radiation, concurrent paclitaxel/cisplatin chemotherapy and surgery for stage III non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, R35, 9500 Euclid Avenue, OH 44195, USA.


The low surgical cure rate in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer has prompted an exploration of multimodality treatment strategies. Mature results are presented from a phase II trial of accelerated hyperfractionated radiation therapy, concurrent paclitaxel/cisplatin chemotherapy and surgery for these patients. Between 1994 and 1997, 45 patients with surgically demonstrated stage III non-small cell lung cancer underwent induction treatment with a 96 h continuous cisplatin infusion (20 mg/m(2) per day) and a 24 h infusion of paclitaxel (175 mg/m(2)) given concurrently with accelerated hyperfractionated radiation therapy (1.5 Gy twice daily) to a total dose of 30 Gy. Induction was completed in ten treatment (12 total) days. Surgical resection was scheduled 4 weeks later with a second identical course of chemoradiotherapy given 4-6 weeks post-operatively, to a total radiation dose of 60-63 Gy. Thirty-five patients had stage III(A) disease and ten had stage III(B) disease (eight with N(3) tumors). Induction toxicity included nausea in 89%, dysphagia in 89%, and neutropenia <1000/mm(3) in 84% which required hospitalization for fever in 40%. There were no toxic deaths during induction. About 40 of the 45 patients (89%) were operable and 32 (71%) were resectable for cure. A pathologic response was identified in 22 patients (49%); five patients (11%) had no residual disease. Fourteen patients (31%) were downstaged to mediastinal node negativity. With a median follow-up of 60 months, the Kaplan-Meier projected 5-year overall survival was 29%; locoregional control 79%; and distant metastatic disease control 38%. The projected 5-year survival for the 14 patients downstaged to mediastinal node negativity was 50%. For the 19 patients with residual ipsilateral mediastinal node involvement at surgery it was 32%. This short-course of paclitaxel and cisplatin chemotherapy and concurrent accelerated fractionation radiation is tolerable despite significant myelosuppression. Locoregional control is excellent and survival is better than historical expectations. Patients downstaged to mediastinal node negativity have a prognosis similar to those with de novo stage I(B) and II disease. Distant metastases are the major cause of treatment failure.

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