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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1995 Jan 15;31(2):267-72.

A phase III study of accelerated radiotherapy with and without carboplatin in nonsmall cell lung cancer: an interim toxicity analysis of the first 100 patients.

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Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



In 1989 we initiated a multicenter randomized trial to determine if accelerated radiotherapy with or without concurrent carboplatin improves local control and survival in patients with limited nonsmall cell lung cancer. This interim analysis was performed on the first 100 patients to determine whether the toxicity of the four treatment arms is acceptable.


One hundred patients with limited nonsmall cell lung cancer have been randomized to receive one of four treatments: arm I, radiotherapy 60 Gray (Gy) in 30 fractions in 6 weeks; arm II, accelerated radiotherapy 60 Gy in 30 fractions in 3 weeks; arm III, radiotherapy as in arm I plus carboplatin 350 mg/m2 during weeks 1 and 5 of radiotherapy; arm IV, radiotherapy as in arm II plus carboplatin 350 mg/m2 during week 1. Survival was measured for the group as a whole and treatment-related toxicities in the four arms were compared.


The estimated median survival for all 100 patients was 17.1 months with 33% estimated survival at 2 years. The major toxicities were hematologic and esophageal. Patients receiving carboplatin had more neutropenia (p < 0.0001) and thrombocytopenia (p = 0.002) than patients receiving radiotherapy alone, and this was most marked in patients on arm III. Both carboplatin and accelerated radiotherapy separately caused more severe esophagitis when compared to conventional radiotherapy alone (p = 0.011 and p = 0.0017, respectively). Esophagitis was more prolonged in patients having accelerated radiotherapy (p < 0.0001, median duration 3.2 months compared with 1.4 months for patients receiving conventional fractionation). Six patients (23%) treated on arm II have required dilatation of esophageal stricture, one dying with a laryngo-esophageal fistula.


In patients receiving radiotherapy for unresectable lung cancer, overall treatment time can be halved and carboplatin administered concurrently with increased but acceptable esophageal and hematologic toxicity.

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