A national study of an investigational chemoradiation regimen has demonstrated the best long-term survival rates yet reported in patients with locally advanced, non-small cell lung cancer.
The study was conducted through the Southwest Oncology Group, one of the largest cancer clinical trials cooperative groups in the United States, and led by David Gandara, associate director for clinical research at UC Davis Cancer Center. Results were presented at the 41st annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando in May 2005.
In the study, investigators evaluated adding the chemotherapy agent docetaxel (Taxotere) to the end of a regimen of radiation and two other chemotherapy drugs, cisplatin and etoposide. With docetaxel, the five-year survival rate was 29 percent, compared with 17 percent in an earlier Southwest Oncology Group study that examined the same regimen without docetaxel. Median survival also increased from 15 months in the first study to 26 months in the new study. "The long-term survival data are particularly promising because they exceed the results of all other treatment approaches in this group of patients," said Gandara, who heads the Southwest Oncology Group Lung Committee. "This regimen can now be considered a standard of care for patients with unresectable, Stage III, non-small cell lung cancer."