Robert S. Pritchard, MD, MS; Stephen P. Anthony, DO
Survival of patients with locally advanced, unresectable (stage III), non-small-cell lung cancer treated with radiotherapy is poor. Trials of the addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy have produced conflicting results.
To compare chemotherapy plus radiotherapy with radiotherapy alone in patients with stage III, non-small-cell lung cancer.
English-language journal articles published between 1987 and 1995 identified in a MEDLINE search.
Randomized trials that reported survival after previously untreated patients received chemotherapy plus radiotherapy or radiotherapy alone were reviewed.
For all eligible articles, reported survival curves were used to determine the relative risk for death in each of 3 years. These data were combined to determine a pooled estimate of the relative risk for death at 1, 2, and 3 years.
Fourteen articles reporting on a total of 2589 patients were reviewed. Compared with radiotherapy, the combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy reduced the risk for death at 1 year (relative risk, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.80 to 0.96]), 2 years (relative risk, 0.87 [CI, 0.81 to 0.94]), and 3 years (relative risk, 0.83 [CI, 0.77 to 0.90]). This corresponded to a mean gain in life expectancy of about 2 months. The magnitude of the treatment effect was similar when trials of concurrently and sequentially administered chemotherapy were considered separately.
The addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy improves survival in patients with locally advanced, unresectable, non-small-cell lung cancer. The absolute benefit is relatively small, however, and should be balanced against the increased toxicity associated with the addition of chemotherapy.
Pritchard RS, Anthony SP. Chemotherapy plus Radiotherapy Compared with Radiotherapy Alone in the Treatment of Locally Advanced, Unresectable, Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Ann Intern Med. ;125:723–729. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-125-9-199611010-00003
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1996;125(9):723-729.
Hematology/Oncology, Lung Cancer, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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