Objective: To our knowledge, there has been no clinical report of artesunate in the treatment of lung cancer. This study was designed to compare the efficacy and toxicity of artesunate combined with NP (a chemotherapy regimen of vinorelbine and cisplatin) and NP alone in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods: One hundred and twenty cases of advanced NSCLC were randomly divided into simple chemotherapy group (control group, n=60) and combined artesunare with chemotherapy group (trial group, n=60). Patients in the control group were treated with NP regimen, including vinorelbine (25 mg/m(2), once-a-day intravenous injection, at the 1st and 8th day) and cisplatin (25 mg/m(2), once-a day intravenous drip, at the 2nd to 4th day). Patients in the trial group were treated with the basal therapy NP (in the same method and doses as control group) and artesunate (120 mg, once-a-day intravenous injection, from the 1st day to 8th day, for 8 days). At least two 21-day-cycles of treatment were performed. The short-term survival rate, disease controlled rate (DCR), time to progression (TTP), mean survival time (MST) and 1-year survival rate were analyzed as the primary end points, and the toxicity and safety were estimated.
Results: There were no significant differences in the short-term survival rate, MST and 1-year survival rate between the trial group and the control group, which were 45.1% and 34.5%, 44 weeks and 45 weeks, 45.1% and 32.7%, respectively (P>0.05). The DCR of the trial group (88.2%) was significantly higher than that of the control group (72.7%) (P<0.05), and the trial group's TTP (24 weeks) was significantly longer than that of the control group (20 weeks) (P<0.05). No significant difference was found in toxicity between the two groups, such as myelosuppression and digestion reaction (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Artesunate can be used in the treatment of NSCLC. Artesunate combined with NP can elevate the short-term survival rate and prolong the TTP of patients with advanced NSCLC without extra side effects.