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Lung Cancer. 2005 Apr;48(1):93-102.

Patterns of care survey (PCS) in lung cancer: how well does current U.S. practice with chemotherapy in the non-metastatic setting follow the literature?

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  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cotman AVE, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.



In LD-SCLC, combined modality therapy has emerged as the standard of practice in good performance status (PS) patients (pts). Pignon's meta-analysis [N Engl J Med 1992;327:1618-24] showed that combination chemotherapy (CT) and thoracic radiation (XRT) in LD-SCLC yielded an absolute 5.4% increase in 3-year survival versus chemotherapy alone. Concurrent chemoradiation upfront has generated the highest survival rates [Murray. J Clin Oncol 1993;11:336-44; Jeremic. J Clin Oncol 1996;15:893-900; Takada. J Clin Oncol 2002;20:3054-60]. In stage III NSCLC, multiple studies have shown therapeutic superiority for combination chemotherapy and XRT versus RT alone; and recent literature suggests a therapeutic advantage for concurrent chemoradiation versus chemotherapy followed by XRT [Curran. ASCO 2000;19:484a; Furuse. JCO 1999;17:2692-9; Zatloukal. ASCO 2002;A-1159]. Data are less secure regarding the role of chemotherapy in stage I and II NSCLC.


A stratified two-step cluster sampling technique was used for data collection. Five hundred and forty-one individuals diagnosed between 1998 and 1999 with lung cancer, either LD-SCLC or stages I-III NSCLC were sampled from 58 institutions featuring radiotherapy facilities, giving a weighted sample size (wss) of 42,335 patients. All pts had Karnofski performance status (KPS) >or=60. We determined the percentage who received chemotherapy; the nature of chemotherapy and its timing with respect to XRT. SUDAAN statistical software was used to allow the incorporation of the design elements and weights to reflect the relative contribution of each institution and each patient in the analysis


Of 72 (wss=6138) pts with LD-SCLC, 100% received XRT and 95% received chemotherapy (CT); 66% received concurrent (con) CT and XRT, of whom 29% also received CT pre XRT; 22% received CT post XRT as well, and 23% received both: 63% received sequential CT-->XRT+/-con CT; and 38% received some CT after XRT. Fifty-two percent received cisplatin (DDP), and 38% received carboplatin (CBDCA); 73% received etoposide (VP-16), while 10% received paclitaxel. Of 469 pts (wss=36,197) with NSCLC, 52% received CT, including 30% with stage I disease, 48% with stage II NSCLC, 60% with stage III NSCLC, and 50% with unknown stage. Thirty-nine percent received sequential CT-->XRT+/-CT, of whom 49% received CT pre XRT only. Seventy-four percent received con CT and XRT; and 27% received posterior CT, of whom 84% also received con CT/XRT. Forty-five received some CT in the pre-op setting and 15% in the post-op setting. Twelve percent received DDP-based therapy, while only 13% and 7% received VP-16 or vincas, respectively; 67% received CBDCA. Seventy-two percent received taxanes, of whom 96% received paclitaxel. Gemcitabine was administered to 3% of NSCLC pts.


Combined modality therapy is typically employed in the therapy of LD-SCLC and LA-NSCLC. The majority of those treated for SCLC receive concurrent CT/XRT, while nearly 3/4 of those treated with CT and XRT for LA-NSCLC received concurrent CT/XRT. Current practice in the US generally matches evidence-based literature, although a significant percentage of practitioners substitute CBDCA for DDP in both venues and use paclitaxel in lieu of vincas or etoposide in NSCLC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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