Purpose: To compare the therapeutic efficacy of paclitaxel plus cisplatin (arm A) versus gemcitabine plus cisplatin (arm B) and arm A versus paclitaxel plus gemcitabine (arm C) in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Materials and methods: Patients were randomly assigned to receive either paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 (3-hour infusion, day 1) or gemcitabine 1,250 mg/m2 (days 1 and 8) both combined with cisplatin 80 mg/m2 (day 1) or paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 (3-hour infusion, day 1) combined with gemcitabine 1,250 mg/m2 (days 1 and 8). Primary end point was comparison of overall survival for B versus A and C versus A. Secondary end points included response rate and duration, progression-free survival, toxicities, quality of life [QoL], and cost of treatment.
Results: Four hundred eighty patients (arm A, 159; arm B, 160; arm C, 161 patients) were enrolled; all baseline characteristics were balanced. Median survival times were as follows: arm A, 8.1 months; arm B, 8.9 months; arm C, 6.7 months. Response rates were 31.8% for arm A, 36.6% for arm B, and 27.7% for arm C. Other than myelosuppression (B v A, P <.005), no statistically or clinically significant differences were observed for secondary end points. The average treatment costs were 25% higher in arm C as compared with arms A and B.
Conclusion: Gemcitabine plus cisplatin and paclitaxel plus gemcitabine do not increase overall survival in patients with advanced NSCLC as compared with paclitaxel plus cisplatin. Treatment was well tolerated, and most QoL parameters were similar, but costs associated with the nonplatinum arm were highest.