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Cancer Invest. 2003 Apr;21(2):193-9.

Combination chemotherapy with gemcitabine and vinorelbine in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory small cell lung cancer: a phase II trial of the Minnie Pearl Cancer Research Network.

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Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, 250 25th Avenue North, Suite 110, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the combination of gemcitabine and vinorelbine in the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory small cell lung cancer. Between March 1998 and February 1999, 30 patients with relapsed or refractory small cell lung cancer who had received treatment with one previous combination chemotherapy regimen entered this multicenter, community-based clinical trial. All patients had received previous platinum/etoposide combination chemotherapy; in addition, 12 patients had received paclitaxel as part of their first-line therapy. All patients received gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 and vinorelbine 20 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15 of each 28-day cycle. Patients were reevaluated for response after two cycles of therapy; those with objective response or stable disease continued treatment for six courses or until disease progression. Three of 28 evaluable patients (10%) had partial responses to treatment. None of the 17 patients with refractory disease responded, while 3 of 12 patients (25%) with relapsed disease had partial responses. Median survival was 5 months. Treatment was generally well tolerated; myelosuppression was the major toxicity, but only two patients developed febrile neutropenia, and there were no treatment-related deaths. Non-hematologic toxicity was uncommon; alopecia did not occur with this regimen. The activity of gemcitabine and vinorelbine in patients with previously treated small cell lung cancer is modest and is limited to patients with relapsed (versus refractory) disease. In patients with relapsed small cell lung cancer, this regimen provides an additional treatment option, with decreased toxicity when compared to other second-line options. However, novel treatment approaches are necessary before substantial improvements in treating this patient population will be realized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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