Purpose of review: After publication in 1995 of a meta-analysis of adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of NSCLC, a number of randomized trials investigated adjuvant chemotherapy using more active chemotherapeutic regimens and larger numbers of accrued patients per trial. This review will focus on recent clinical trials for adjuvant chemotherapy, and will help to interpret the applicability of these results to daily clinical practice.
Recent findings: Four large-scale randomized trials that used platinum-based chemotherapy have reported positive results during the last 3 years. These trials included cisplatin-based chemotherapy [the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer (IALT) trial], cisplatin plus vinorelbine [the National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) BR10 trial], and carboplatin plus paclitaxel [the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 9633 trial]. More recently, another adjuvant trial [Adjuvant Navelbine International Trialist Association (ANITA)] was reported, which has added greatly to our understanding of the potential role of adjuvant treatment. Regarding adjuvant UFT (tegafur and uracil) chemotherapy, an individual patient data-based meta-analysis demonstrated its significant effect on survival in selected patients with completely resected non-small-cell lung cancer.
Summary: Recent trials indicate a survival benefit of postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy. These findings are anticipated to change the clinical management of patients with completely resectable non-small-cell lung cancer.