Purpose: This randomized, multicenter, phase III trial was conducted to compare the tolerability of gemcitabine plus cisplatin (GP) vs. gemcitabine plus carboplatin (GC) in chemonaive patients with stage IIIb and IV non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Secondary objectives were to evaluate response, duration of response, time to progressive disease (TTPD), and survival.
Patients and methods: Eligible patients were required to have stage IIIb or IV NSCLC, no previous chemotherapy, Karnofsky performance status of at least 70, bidimensionally measurable disease, and age 18-75 years. Randomized patients in both arms were given gemcitabine 1200 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8, followed on day 1 by cisplatin 80 mg/m(2) (GP) or carboplatin AUC=5 (GC). Treatment cycles were repeated every 21 days for a maximum of six cycles, or until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity occurred.
Results: Enrolled patients in both arms, 87 in GP and 89 in GC, were well balanced for demographics and disease characteristics. Dose intensity was 93.8 and 92.7% for gemcitabine in GP/GC arms, respectively; 97.7% for cisplatin and 99.9% for carboplatin. Patients with at least one grade 3/4 toxicity excluding nausea, vomiting or alopecia, were 44% in GP arm and 54% in GC arm. The only significantly different toxicities were, nausea and vomiting in GP and thrombocytopenia in GC group. The overall response rates, median TTPD, response duration and survival were, 41/29%, 5.87/4.75 months, 7.48/5.15 months, and 8.75/7.97 months for GP and GC arms, respectively.
Conclusion: GP and GC are effective and feasible regimens for advanced NSCLC, and are comparable in efficacy and toxicity. GC may offer acceptable option to patients with advanced NSCLC, especially those who are unable to receive cisplatin.