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New combinations of chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are always being considered, as patients with this disease have few effective treatment options. A new chemotherapy combination consisting of vinorelbine and oxaliplatin appears to be safe and effective for treatment of advanced NSCLC, according to a recent article published in the

Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Approximately 75% of patients who have lung cancer have a type of cancer referred to as NSCLC. There are actually many different types of lung cancer that are classified as NSCLC and are named according to the type of cell within the lung in which the cancer originated. These include epidermoid or squamous carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma and undifferentiated carcinoma. Treatment options for NSCLC vary, depending on the stage or extent of cancer, but may include surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy. Advanced NSCLC refers to cancer that has spread from the lungs to distant parts of the body, often including vital organs. The long-term prognosis for these patients is poor, leading to ongoing research efforts in an attempt to prolong survival for these patients.

Oxaliplatin and vinorelbine are two agents that have demonstrated anti-cancer activity against NSCLC when used individually. This has prompted researchers to investigate the effects of the combination of the drugs used together as treatment for NSCLC. Recently, an early phase clinical trial was conducted to determine the safety of this treatment combination in previously untreated patients with advanced NSCLC.

The results from this trial indicate that vinorelbine plus oxaliplatin appears to be safe when used in combination, as all patients were able to finish the treatment. Moreover, the researchers conducting the trial conclude that this combination can be administered safely on an outpatient basis. The most prevalent side effect was low white blood cell (immune cell) levels. Nearly 40% of patients showed a partial disappearance of their cancer and one patient had a complete disappearance following treatment. Future clinical trials utilizing this chemotherapy combination will be conducted in order to evaluate dosage schedules and to further define the role this treatment may have for patients with advanced NSCLC.

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Patients with advanced NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician about the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating the combination of vinorelbine and oxaliplatin. Two sources of information about ongoing clinical trials include comprehensive, easy-to-use listing services provided by the National Cancer Institute ( and also provides personalized clinical trial searches on behalf of patients. (

Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 19, No 2, pp 458-463, 2001)

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