Purpose: To compare survival of patients who undergo treatment in protocols versus survival of patients not in protocols.
Materials and methods: Records of 81 adult patients with small-cell lung cancer who underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy in 1987-1992 were reviewed retrospectively. Forty-one patients were in a protocol; 40 patients were not. Patient demographics and prognostic factors were not statistically significantly different.
Results: Median overall survival was 16.7 months in the nonprotocol group versus 29.0 months in the protocol group (P = .0023). Median disease-specific survival was 18.3 months in the nonprotocol group versus 27.1 months in the protocol group (P = .0176). Survival was not statistically significantly influenced by Karnofsky performance status, weight loss, or thoracic radiation dose.
Conclusion: There was a highly statistically significant difference in survival outcome in the nonprotocol group versus the protocol group (P = .0023). Differences in chemotherapy-radiation therapy timing and other treatment-related factors may have contributed substantially to the improved survival in the protocol group.