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J Clin Oncol. 1998 May;16(5):1940-7.

New combination of the old drugs for elderly patients with small-cell lung cancer: a phase II study of the PAVE regimen.

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Lung Tumor Group, Vancouver Centre, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Canada.



A regimen of cisplatin, doxorubicin, vincristine, and etoposide (PAVE) was designed for patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) who were older than 65 years, with the following objectives compared with standard chemotherapy regimens: maintain efficacy, diminish toxicity, enhance compliance, and improve chemotherapy administration convenience at an acceptable cost.


The PAVE regimen consisted of cisplatin 30 mg/m2 intravenously (i.v.) day 1; doxorubicin 40 mg/m2 i.v. day 1; vincristine 1.0 mg/m2 i.v. day 1; and etoposide 100 mg/m2 i.v. day 1 and orally days 3 and 5. Cycles were repeated every 3 weeks for four cycles. Patients with limited-stage disease and selected patients with extensive-stage disease received thoracic irradiation delivered concurrently with etoposide-cisplatin (EP) at the time of the second chemotherapy cycle.


Sixty-six eligible patients were treated, which included 25 patients with limited-stage disease and 41 patients with extensive-stage disease. Median survival was 70 weeks and 5-year survival was 25% for limited-stage disease. Median survival was 46 weeks for extensive-stage disease. Only one treatment-related death occurred and severe toxicity was infrequent. The median delivered dose-intensity was according to protocol and the mean delivered total dose was 80% of intended.


The treatment outcome achieved with PAVE in a phase II study of elderly patients compared favorably with published results of standard regimens in patient populations with better prognostic factors. Because the PAVE regimen can be delivered with good compliance, has acceptable toxicity, and is associated with logistic advantages compared with standard regimens, this protocol is suitable for further investigative trials in elderly patients with SCLC.

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