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Br J Cancer. 1990 Apr;61(4):608-11.

A randomised trial of cisplatin and vindesine versus supportive care only in advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

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Department of Clinical Oncology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The value of chemotherapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains contentious. Because of this two separate but very similar trials were set up in Australia and Southampton (UK). Two hundred and one patients with stage IIIb or IV NSCLC were randomly assigned to cisplatin 120 mg m-2 on days 1 and 29 and vindesine 3 mg m-2 weekly x 6 or to no chemotherapy. Both groups were eligible to receive radiotherapy or other palliative treatment as required. Of 188 evaluable patients, 97 received chemotherapy and 91 were in the control arm. Response was assessed between days 42 and 49. Responders continued chemotherapy at the same doses though cisplatin being given 6 weekly x 4 and the vindesine 2 weekly x 12. The overall response rate to chemotherapy was 28%; there were no significant differences according to major prognostic criteria. Although the overall survival of the chemotherapy group (median 27 weeks) was longer than that of the no chemotherapy group (median 17 weeks) this was not statistically significant (log rank P = 0.33). For patients without dissemination (IIIb), median survival was 45 weeks in the chemotherapy arm and 26 weeks in the non-chemotherapy (log rank P = 0.075). Toxicity was universal and frequently severe: of 17 patients discontinuing chemotherapy after one cycle, 13 did so because of unacceptable toxicity. This chemotherapy cannot be recommended as routine treatment. Further phase III studies of chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC should continue to use a no chemotherapy control and should also attempt to measure quality of life, an issue not addressed effectively in this or other recent trials.

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