Treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer with prolonged oral etoposide

Am J Clin Oncol. 1998 Oct;21(5):505-8. doi: 10.1097/00000421-199810000-00018.


The efficacy and toxicity of chronic administration of oral etoposide was evaluated in 61 patients with inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Ten patients received previous chemotherapy, 15 received radiotherapy, and one received both treatments. Twenty-four patients had concurrent cardiac and/or pulmonary impairment, which precluded more intensive treatment. Etoposide was given orally, 100 mg daily for 7 consecutive days and consequently 100 mg every other day for 14 more days in a 28-day schedule. Partial response was observed in 17 patients (28%; 95% confidence interval, 17-39%) and stable disease in 21 (34%). The median duration of response was 6 months (range, 2-34 months). The median survival for responders was 22 months and that of nonresponders was 7 months (p < 0.001). The median survival for all patients was 9 months (range, 1-35 months; 95% confidence interval, 5.69-12.31%). Toxicity was acceptable. Other than alopecia, which was observed in all patients, myelotoxicity was the most common toxicity--particularly leukopenia, which was severe in nine patients. Other less common toxicities included nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, anorexia, and neurotoxicity and were mild. No treatment-related deaths were observed. In conclusion, the regimen was effective and well tolerated with significant survival benefit for the responders. It represents an interesting therapeutic approach, especially in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Etoposide