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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999 Jan 6;91(1):66-72.

Effects of vinorelbine on quality of life and survival of elderly patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The Elderly Lung Cancer Vinorelbine Italian Study Group.

[No authors listed]



Vinorelbine, a semisynthetic vinca alkaloid, represents a well-tolerated treatment for elderly patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We explored the quality of life (QoL) of such patients in a multicenter randomized trial that compared vinorelbine treatment with supportive care alone.


Eligible patients were 70 years of age or older, had stage IV or IIIB NSCLC that was ineligible for radiotherapy, and had a performance status of 0-2 (a status of fully active to a status of capable of all self-care but unable to work). Vinorelbine was given intravenously on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day treatment cycle, for a total of six cycles. QoL was evaluated with European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer questionnaires QLQ-C30 and QLQ-LC13, and the QoL data were analyzed by fitting a linear mixed model for each QoL scale. Survival curves were plotted and were compared with the Mantel-Haenszel test. Relative hazards of death and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated by the Cox model.


Investigators, blinded to the results, stopped the trial early because of a low enrollment rate. (From April 1996 to November 1997, 191 of the 350 targeted patients were randomly assigned.) Data from 161 patients have been analyzed. Vinorelbine-treated patients scored better than control patients on QoL functioning scales, and they reported fewer lung cancer-related symptoms but reported worse toxicity-related symptoms. There was a statistically significant (two-sided P = .03) survival advantage for patients receiving vinorelbine; median survival increased from 21 to 28 weeks in the vinorelbine-treated group. The relative hazard of death for vinorelbine-treated patients was 0.65 (95% CI = 0.45-0.93).


Vinorelbine improves survival of elderly patients with advanced NSCLC and possibly improves overall QoL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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