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J Clin Oncol. 2004 Oct 1;22(19):3860-7. Epub 2004 Aug 23.

Role of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resected non-small-cell lung cancer: reappraisal with a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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  • 1Department of Medicine II, Okayama University Medical School, 2-5-1, Shikata-cho, Okayama, 700-8558, Japan.



The role of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resected non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains to be defined. This study was aimed at re-evaluating the effectiveness of adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with resected NSCLC, by performing a meta-analysis of relevant trials.


We performed a literature search to identify trials reported after the publication of a meta-analysis in 1995, comparing patients with NSCLC receiving chemotherapy after surgery with those undergoing surgery alone. The hazard ratio (HR) was estimated to assess the survival advantage of adjuvant chemotherapy.


Eleven trials conducted on a total of 5,716 patients were identified by the literature search. In these trials, hazard ratio estimates suggested that adjuvant chemotherapy yielded a survival advantage over surgery alone (HR, 0.872; 95% CI, 0.805 to 0.944; P =.001). In a subset analysis, both cisplatin-based chemotherapy (HR, 0.891; 95% CI, 0.815 to 0.975; P =.012) and single-agent therapy with tegafur and uracil (UFT; HR, 0.799; 95% CI, 0.668 to 0.957; P =.015) were found to yield a significant survival benefit. The toxicities of adjuvant chemotherapy were found to be generally mild.


This is the first updated meta-analysis demonstrating the importance of cisplatin-based chemotherapy and single-agent UFT therapy as adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of resected NSCLC. Although the results must be carefully interpreted because of one limitation (the meta-analysis was performed with abstracted data), they raise critical issues that must be resolved in future studies.

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