Purpose: We designed a phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of high dose induction chemotherapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel with G-CSF and stem cell support followed by surgical resection and/or chest radiotherapy in patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients and methods: Patients had pathologically confirmed stage IIIA-IIIB NSCLC, adequate end-organ function, no prior chemotherapy or radiation, and performance status 0-1. Peripheral stem cells were mobilized with G-CSF stimulation on days 1-5 and collected prior to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy consisted of 2 cycles of paclitaxel 250 mg/m(2) over 3h and carboplatin at an AUC 18 on days 11 and 32, each followed by stem cell reinfusion. Stable and responding patients went on to surgical resection (in patients deemed resectable) followed by post-operative radiation, or to conventional chest radiotherapy to 66 Gy in unresectable patients.
Results: Twelve patients (11 eligible) were accrued from 1996 to 1999. The 11 patients were predominately male (64%), white (82%), of performance status 0 (64%), and with weight loss less than 5% (55%). The median age was 51 (range 31-63). Ten (10) patients (91%) experienced grade 4 toxicity. There were no lethal toxicities. Grade 3-4 toxicities most commonly reported included: platelets (100%), lymphocytopenia (91%), leukopenia (91%), neutropenia (73%), anemia (55%), pain (45%), and nausea (27%). Three patients (27%) had a partial response to induction chemotherapy. Of the 11 patients, 7 underwent surgical exploration, and 10 received radiation. Two patients were completely resected, 3 patients had incomplete resections, and 2 patients had no resection. There were 4 complete responses and 3 partial responses following surgery and/or radiation. The median overall survival time was 17.8 months. The median failure-free survival time was 8.3 months. One-year and 2-year overall survival are estimated at 64% and 27%, respectively.
Conclusions: High dose induction chemotherapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel and stem cell support in patients with stage IIIA-IIIB NSCLC produced response rates and survival similar to standard therapy. Excessive toxicity (and cost) suggests that this approach does not merit further investigation.
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