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Anticancer Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;22(6B):3429-35.

Efficacy of combined radiation, paclitaxel and carboplatin for locally advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Southwestern University, VA North Texas Health Care System, 4500 S Lancaster Road, Dallas, TX 75216, USA.


Locally advanced non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) has a poor prognosis when treated with conventional chemotherapy and radiation. New chemotherapy agents like paclitaxel may increase the sensitivity of tumors cells to radiation and potentially improve the outcome. The optimal combination of taxane-based chemotherapy agents and radiation is still unclear. We investigated the feasibility of induction chemotherapy followed by concurrent near systemic dose of chemotherapy with radiation. A prospective survey of 29 previously untreated patients with unresectable stage III (15 IIIA, 14 IIIB) NSCLC treated with paclitaxel and carboplatin in combination with radiation was reviewed. The patients received 2 cycles of paclitaxel 225 mg/m2 intravenously (i.v.) over 3 hours, days 1, 22; carboplatin at area under the curve (AUC) 6 based on Calvert formula days 1, 22 following completion of the paclitaxel infusion. Following induction chemotherapy, radiation therapy started on day 43 until completion to a tumor dose of at least 5960 cGy. Cycles 3 and 4 of chemotherapy were begun on days 43 and 63, respectively, and consisted of paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 i.v. over 3 hours, and carboplatin at AUC 6 following paclitaxel infusion. The response rate, acute toxicity, long-term complications, pattern of failure and survival were evaluated and compared to previous studies in the literature. Two patients were lost to follow-up. The response rate to induction carboplatin/paclitaxel was 52%. An overall response rate (complete and partial responders) of 85% was obtained following chemotherapy and radiation. Grade 3-4 acute side-effects were recorded in 9 patients (31%) and consisted of esophagitis (8 patients) and anemia (1 patient). One patient died from cachexia 3 months following treatment (3.7%). The median survival and 3-year survival were 15 months and 30%, respectively, for the remaining 27 patients at a median follow-up of 11 months. There was no difference in survival between stages IIIA and IIIB at 2 years (IIIA: 22%, IIIB: 31%). Local or regional recurrences and distant metastases developed in 9 patients (33%) and 13 patients (46%), respectively. The combination of paclitaxel, carboplatin and radiation for locally advanced non-small cell carcinoma is feasible with acceptable toxicity. The response rate compares favorably with previously reported studies. The decrease of tumor volume following induction chemotherapy allows sparing of the lungs from the toxicity of radiation. However, grades 3-4 esophagitis remain significant. The addition of amifostine may be beneficial in this setting.

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