Purpose: The purpose of the present phase 11 trial was to determine the efficacy and toxicity of vinorelbine-gemcitabine in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients and methods: From December 1997 to February 1999, 78 chemotherapy-naive patients (median age 60 years, Karnofsky performance status of 100, 90, 80 and 70 present in 5%, 41%, 36% and 18% of the patients, respectively) with stage IIIB (17%) or IV (83%) NSCLC (65% adenocarcinomas, 22% squamous-cell carcinomas, 10% large-cell carcinomas, 3% mixed-cell carcinomas) received 25 mg/m2 vinorelbine and 1200 mg/m2 gemcitabine on days 1, 8 and 15 of a four-week cycle.
Results: In an intent-to-treat analysis, partial responses were seen in 19% of the patients. The median duration of response was 4.4 months. The median survival time was seven months and the one-year survival rate was 32%. Myelosuppression was the main side effect with WHO grade 3/4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia in 35% and 11% of the patients, respectively. Other side effects were usually mild to moderate.
Conclusions: Vinorelbine-gemcitabine is active, well tolerated and easy to administer on an outpatient basis in advanced NSCLC. Thus a randomized comparison of this combination with platinum-based protocols is warranted in patients with advanced NSCLC.