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Cancer. 1998 Jan 1;82(1):116-26.

Single agent versus combination chemotherapy in patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung carcinoma: a meta-analysis of response, toxicity, and survival.

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1
University of Maryland Cancer Center, Baltimore, USA. Rlilenbaum@msmc.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This meta-analysis was conducted to compare the effects of single agent versus combination chemotherapy on response rate, toxicity, and survival of patients with advanced nonsmall cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC).

METHODS:

The authors reviewed randomized clinical trials published in the medical literature and the reference lists of relevant articles. Objective response rate, survival at 6 and 12 months, and the incidence of treatment-related death were compared among all patients receiving single agent chemotherapy and those receiving combination chemotherapy. A subgroup analysis for all outcomes was conducted for 10 trials published between 1989 and 1996 that used a platinum analogue or vinorelbine as the single agent arm.

RESULTS:

The authors identified 38 potentially eligible trials, 25 of which (with a total of 5156 patients) were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, combination chemotherapy produced a nearly 2-fold increase in response rate compared with single agent chemotherapy (response rate [RR], 1.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.54-2.42). However, combination chemotherapy also increased toxicity significantly, including a 3.6-fold increase in the risk of treatment-related death (RR, 3.5; 95% CI, 1.8-6.7). Survival at 6 months (RR, 1.10; 95% CI, 1.02-1.19) and 12 months (RR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.03-1.45) was modestly superior with combination chemotherapy when all trials are included. However, when a platinum analogue or vinorelbine are used as single agents, this difference was no longer statistically significant at 6 months (RR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.92-1.15) or at 12 months (RR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.94-1.43).

CONCLUSIONS:

Combination chemotherapy increased objective response and toxicity rates compared with single-agent chemotherapy. Survival was prolonged only modestly with combination chemotherapy but not significantly so when more active single agents were used.

PMID:
9428487
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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