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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Nov 20;23(33):8380-8.

Phase III trial of gemcitabine plus carboplatin versus single-agent gemcitabine in the treatment of locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer: the Swedish Lung Cancer Study Group.

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  • 1Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Oncologic Center, University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden.



This phase III study compared overall survival in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) when treated with single-agent gemcitabine versus gemcitabine/carboplatin. Secondary objectives were to compare response, time to progression, toxicity, and quality of life.


Chemotherapy-naive patients received either gemcitabine alone (1,250 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8; gemcitabine arm) or with carboplatin (area under the curve 5 on day 1; GC arm) every 21 days.


Demographics and disease characteristics of 334 randomly assigned patients were comparable on both arms. An intent-to-treat analysis showed significantly better overall survival (log-rank P = .0205) and 2-year survival (15% v 5%; P = .009) favoring the GC arm. Per Cox multivariate analysis, only two covariates, treatment arm (GC v G) and baseline performance status (0 or 1 v 2), independently influenced survival. Per-protocol analyses showed significantly longer median time to progression (5.7 v 3.9 months; P = .0001) and significantly higher objective response rate (29.6 v 11.3%; P < .0001) in the GC arm. Grade 3 to 4 leucopenia and thrombocytopenia were significantly more pronounced in the GC arm (P for both variables < .001) but importantly without associated increases in fever, infection, bleeding, or hospitalizations. There was no discernible difference in global quality-of-life patterns between treatment arms.


In advanced NSCLC, gemcitabine/carboplatin therapy resulted in significant survival benefit compared with single-agent gemcitabine without undue increase in toxicity.

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