Purpose: Appropriate therapy for Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) -2 patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains challenging. PS-2 patients on ECOG 1594 had a median survival (MS) of only 4.1 months and 1-year overall survival (OS) of 19%. Three percent had grade 5 toxicity.
Patients and methods: ECOG 1599, the first PS 2-specific, US cooperative group trial for treatment-naïve advanced NSCLC, randomly assigned patients to dose-attenuated carboplatin/paclitaxel (the least toxic regimen in ECOG 1594) or gemcitabine/cisplatin (which yielded an MS of 7.9 months in PS-2 patients). Patients received either carboplatin (area under the concentration-time curve, 6) and paclitaxel 200 mg/m2 every 3 weeks (CbP) or gemcitabine 1 g/m2 days 1 and 8 and cisplatin 60 mg/m2 day 1 every 3 weeks (CG).
Results: One hundred three patients were enrolled; 100 proved eligible. Median age was 66 years; 46% had at least 5% weight loss; 88% had stage IV or recurrent disease. Median number of cycles administered was three per arm. CbP featured more grade 3 neutropathy (10% v 0%) and more grade > or = 3 neutropenia (59% v 33%), whereas CG yielded more grade 3 thrombocytopenia (33% v 14%), more grade 3 fatigue (22% v 14%), and more grade > or = 1 creatinine elevations (43% v 6%). One grade 5 toxicity, confined to the CbP arm, occurred. Response rate, time to progression, MS, and 1-year OS rates for CG and CbP, were 23%, 4.8 months, 6.9 months, and 25%, and 14%, 4.2 months, 6.2 months, and 19%, respectively.
Conclusion: Platinum-based combination chemotherapy for PS-2 patients with NSCLC is feasible with acceptable toxicity, but survival in these patients remains inferior to that of PS-0 to -1 patients.