Randomized Phase III Study of Irinotecan Plus Cisplatin Versus Etoposide Plus Cisplatin for Completely Resected High-Grade Neuroendocrine Carcinoma of the Lung: JCOG1205/1206

J Clin Oncol. 2020 Dec 20;38(36):4292-4301. doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.01806. Epub 2020 Nov 2.


Purpose: To verify the superiority of irinotecan plus cisplatin over etoposide plus cisplatin as postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with pathologic stage I-IIIA, completely resected, high-grade neuroendocrine carcinoma (HGNEC) of the lung.

Methods: This was a randomized, open-label, phase III study on patients with completely resected stage I-IIIA HGNEC of the lung. They were randomly assigned to receive either etoposide (100 mg/m2, days 1-3) plus cisplatin (80 mg/m2, day 1) or irinotecan (60 mg/m2, days 1, 8, 15) plus cisplatin (60 mg/m2, day 1) up to four cycles. The primary end point was relapse-free survival (RFS) in the intention-to-treat population. This trial was registered with the Japan Registry of Clinical Trials (jRCTs031180216).

Results: Between April 2013 and October 2018, 221 patients were enrolled (etoposide plus cisplatin arm, 111 patients; irinotecan plus cisplatin arm, 110 patients). In the second interim analysis, early termination of the trial was recommended because of futility. At a median follow-up of 24.1 months, the 3-year RFS was 65.4% for etoposide plus cisplatin and 69.0% for irinotecan plus cisplatin, with a hazard ratio of 1.076 (95% CI, 0.666 to 1.738; one-sided log-rank P = .619). Grade 3-4 adverse events were more frequent in the etoposide plus cisplatin arm, with febrile neutropenia (20% of 109 patients v 4% of 107 patients) and neutropenia (97% v 36%) being the most common. Meanwhile, grade 3-4 anorexia (6% v 11%) and diarrhea (1% v 8%) were more frequently observed in the irinotecan plus cisplatin arm.

Conclusion: Irinotecan plus cisplatin is not superior to etoposide plus cisplatin for improving RFS in patients with completely resected HGNEC; thus, etoposide plus cisplatin remains the standard treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / drug therapy*
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use*
  • Etoposide / pharmacology
  • Etoposide / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan / pharmacology
  • Irinotecan / therapeutic use*
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading


  • Etoposide
  • Irinotecan
  • Cisplatin