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According to an article recently published in Lung Cancer, the chemotherapy combination consisting of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) plus Platinol® (cisplatin) improves outcomes compared to VePesid® (etoposide) plus Platinol in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-associated deaths in the U.S. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, comprising approximately 80% of all lung cancers. NSCLC is named for the type of cell within the lung where the cancer originated.

In locally advanced lung cancer, cancer has spread from the lung to regional sites in the body. Chemotherapy remains the cornerstone of treatment for locally advanced NSCLC. Long-term survival, however, is unfavorable for patients with this disease. Researchers continue to evaluate novel therapeutic options, including different chemotherapy combinations.

Paclitaxel plus carboplatin is one of the most commonly used chemotherapy regimens in the treatment of NSCLC in the U.S. and Europe. Gemzar is currently approved for use with cisplatin as initial therapy in advanced NSCLC, as well as treatment of pancreatic cancer and in combination with paclitaxel for the treatment of recurrent, advanced breast cancer.

Researchers from South Korea recently conducted a clinical trial to compare treatment with Gemzar plus cisplatin (GP) to etoposide plus cisplatin (EP) in patients with locally advanced NSCLC. This trial included 83 patients from nine medical centers in Korea who were treated between 2000 and 2001.

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GP provided superior results to EP in this group of patients:

  • Anticancer responses were achieved in 52.6% of patients treated with GP compared with only 19.4% of patients treated with EP.
  • Overall survival was 18.3 months for those treated with GP compared with 10.9 months for those treated with EP.
  • Low levels of platelets were more common in patients treated with GP, and low levels of immune cells were more common in patients treated with EP.

The researchers concluded that GP provides superior outcomes to EP in patients with locally advanced NSCLC. Although EP is not commonly used in the treatment of NSCLC, researchers continue to compare treatment regimens in this disease to truly determine optimal therapeutic approaches.

Reference: Kim JH, Kim SY, Jung KH, et al. Randomized Phase II Study of Gemcitabine Plus Cisplatin Versus Etoposide Plus Cisplatin for the Treatment of Locally Advanced or Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Korean Cancer Study Group Experience. Lung Cancer. 2006; 2006;52:75-81.

Related News:Addition of Gemzar® to Paclitaxel/Carboplatin Improves Survival in Advanced NSCLC(1/31/06)

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