Etoposide combined with cyclophosphamide plus vincristine compared with doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide plus vincristine and with high-dose cyclophosphamide plus vincristine in the treatment of small-cell carcinoma of the lung: a randomized trial of the Bristol Lung Cancer Study Group

J Clin Oncol. 1989 Apr;7(4):450-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1989.7.4.450.


A total of 353 patients with previously untreated small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) were accrued in this multicenter trial. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of the following three regimens: cyclophosphamide 1,000 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) day 1, vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 IV day 1, and etoposide 50 mg/m2 IV day 1, followed by etoposide 100 mg/m2/day orally days 2 through 5 (CEV); cyclophosphamide 1,000 mg/m2 IV day 1, vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 IV day 1, and doxorubicin 50 mg/m2 IV day 1 (CAV); cyclophosphamide 2,000 mg/m2 day 1 and vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 IV day 1 (CV). Cycles were repeated every 3 weeks. Treatment groups were comparable with respect to extent of disease, age, sex, performance status, and metastatic sites. No significant differences in response rates, response duration, or survival could be detected in limited disease, although there appeared to be a trend favoring CEV. Among extensive-disease patients, response duration on the CEV regimen was longer than on the CV regimen or the CAV program (P less than .001). The superiority of the CEV regimen was also demonstrated in the survival analysis in which differences attained statistical significance (P = .01). In this group the median survival was increased from 29 weeks on CV to 31 weeks on CAV and 39 weeks on CEV. Myelosuppression was the most frequent toxicity. It was more severe with CV than CEV or CAV. Most nonhematologic side effects were comparable among the three treatment groups. However, the high doses of cyclophosphamide in the CV regimen produced a higher incidence of hemorrhagic cystitis than in the CEV or CAV programs (P less than .001). Cardiotoxicity only occurred in the CAV group (P = .05). The addition of etoposide to the CV regimen resulted in significantly longer response duration and survival without increased toxicity. Similarly, the substitution of etoposide for the doxorubicin in the CAV regimen was associated with prolonged survival and reduced cardiotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / secondary
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • England
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage*
  • Etoposide / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Random Allocation
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage


  • Vincristine
  • Etoposide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide