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Gemcitabine Adds Benefit to Lung Cancer Chemotherapy


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By David Douglas

NEW YORK FEB 22, 2006 (Reuters Health) - Addition of gemcitabine to a standard chemotherapy regime in selected patients with non-small-cell lung cancer can improve survival, Italian researchers report in the February 1st issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

As lead investigator Dr. Adriano Paccagnella told Reuters Health, "the results of our study showed a moderate increase in survival in patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer with good performance status and no relevant comorbidities treated with paclitaxel, carboplatin plus gemcitabine in comparison to the standard treatment with paclitaxel plus carboplatin."

Moreover, he added, "this result was obtained with no increase of relevant non-hematologic toxicities."

Dr. Paccagnella of SS Giovanni and Paolo Hospital, Mestre-Venezia and colleagues studied 324 patients given paclitaxel and carboplatin with or without gemcitabine. Patients in the 2-agent group received a median of 5 treatment cycles and those in the gemcitabine group received a median of 4.

The response rate was 46% in the gemcitabine group and 20.2% in the 2-agent group. Median time to progression was greater in the gemcitabine group (7.6 months versus 5.1 months) as was median overall survival (10.8 months versus 8.3 months).

Survival at one year was also increased in patients given gemcitabine (45% versus 34%). Only hematologic toxicities such as neutropenia and anemia were increased in the gemcitabine group.

However, Dr. Paccagnella concluded that "since this is the first study showing a survival benefit in favor of a 3-drug combination over the standard 2-drug combination, a confirmatory study will be required to confirm our data."


J Clin Oncol 2006;24:681-687.

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