Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of a cisplatin plus etoposide regimen followed by thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) and paclitaxel plus cisplatin consolidation chemotherapy in patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC).
Patients and methods: Thirty-nine patients with limited SCLC were enrolled onto this study. Patients received three courses of cisplatin 75 mg/m2 i.v., day 1 and etoposide 100 mg/m2 i.v., days 1-3 (EP regimen), followed by TRT (45-56 Gy administered in 15 fractions), and three courses of paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 i.v., day 1 and cisplatin, as previously, on day 2 (PP regimen); cycles were repeated every 21 days.
Results: All patients were evaluable for toxicity and 34 for response. The overall response rate was 67% (CR: 26%; PR: 41%; intention-to-treat analysis) (95% CI: 53.0-84.2%). After a median follow-up period of 15 months, the median survival time was 15 months, the median time to tumor progression 8.3 months and the 1-year survival rate 53.8%. Grade 3/4 neutropenia occurred in 39% and 36% of patients receiving EP and PP regimens, respectively. The incidence of febrile neutropenia was 5% and 3% for EP and PP regimens, respectively. Other hematologic and non-hematologic toxicities were mild, with the exception of esophagitis occurring in 36% of patients during and/or immediately after radiotherapy.
Conclusion: Consolidation therapy with PP after sequential EP and thoracic radiotherapy is feasible and well-tolerated; however, the efficacy results are comparable with those previously obtained in the same patients' population using a combination of EP and TRT.