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Lung Cancer. 2003 Sep;41(3):345-51.

Lung function changes and pulmonary complications in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer treated with gemcitabine/cisplatin as part of combined modality treatment.

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  • 1Department of Pulmonary Diseases, St. Antonius Hospital, P.O. Box 2500, 3430 EM Nieuwegein, The Netherlands.



Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality. Chemotherapy, ideally a platinum-based regimen as part of combined modality treatment, is appropriate for selected patients with locally advanced stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a good performance status. However, chemotherapy can induce side effects including lung function changes.


Retrospective analysis of lung function changes in 44 patients with stage III NSCLC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) followed by surgery and/or radiotherapy.


NCT consisted of three cycles of gemcitabine/cisplatin. The following data were analysed: age, sex, the presence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), smoking behaviour, response, complications after surgery and/or radiotherapy, and VC, FEV(1), DL(co) and K(co) before and after chemotherapy. DL(co) values were corrected for haemoglobin concentrations.


We found a significant decline of K(co) (-13.5% of pred; 95% CI: -16.6 to -10.4; P<0.0001), independent of tumor response or presence and severity of COPD. FEV(1) and FEV(1)/VC showed significant increases irrespective of tumor response. Significantly more pulmonary complications were recorded in the radiotherapy group after NCT (P=0.009) compared to patients who underwent surgical therapy after NCT.


Patients diagnosed with NSCLC stadium III who were treated with NCT consisting of cisplatin and gemcitabine showed a significant decline of DL(co) and K(co), irrespective of tumor response, presence and severity of COPD, sex and number of cycles of chemotherapy. Significantly more pulmonary complications were seen in patients treated with NCT and radiotherapy compared with patients treated with NCT and surgery. Questions concering the pathophysiological mechanisms of lung function changes and long term follow-up of pulmonary toxicity due to NCT remain still unanswered and have to be subject of future studies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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