Background: For patients with Stage III nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC), radiation is the standard treatment, but survival remains poor. The authors performed a meta-analysis study using clinical trials that evaluated combined radiotherapy plus chemotherapy versus radiotherapy alone in patients with Stages IIIa and IIIb NSCLC:
Methods: For the meta-analysis study and the point estimates, essential data were extracted directly from published reports.
Results: Survival probabilities at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years, as estimated from published survival curves, were considered as the endpoints of interest. For survival at 3 and 5 years, the point estimates and the confidence intervals were used. Quality scoring of the studies also was performed. Fourteen trials were selected, comprising 1887 patients in the meta-analysis. For the cisplatin-based group, the estimated pooled odds ratio of death at 1 and 2 years was 0.76 (0.6-0.9 CI) and 0.70 (0.5-0.9 CI), with a reduction in mortality of 24% and 30%, respectively. For the noncisplatin-based group, the estimated pooled odds ratio at 1 and 2 years was 1.05 (0.7-1.5 CI) and 0.82 (0.5-1.3 CI), with a reduction in mortality of 5% and 18%, respectively. However, no significant differences were found between the percentage of survival and the CI at 3 and 5 years using the point estimates.
Conclusions: These results favor combined cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiotherapy, although it was not so at 3 and 5 years of survival. These data must, however, be considered in the light of their clinical relevance and of the balance between quality of life, toxicity, and costs of chemotherapy.