A platinum-based two-drug regimen is currently the standard of care for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, chemotherapy-induced side effects still remain a significant clinical problem. Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) is a polysaccharide isolated from the radix of astragalus membranaceus, a commonly used herbal compound in traditional Chinese medicine. APS was reported to increase tumor response, stabilize and improve performance status, and reduce chemotherapy toxicity. We designed this trial to determine whether APS injection integrated with vinorelbine and cisplatin (VC) offered an improved QOL over VC for patients with advanced NSCLC. Secondary objectives were tumor response, toxicity, and survival results. One hundred thirty-six patients with histologically or cytologically confirmed NSCLC were enrolled in this study from May 2008 to March 2010. Patients were randomized to receive either VC (VC arm) or VC combined with APS (VC-APS arm). The objective response rate of was 42.64% in the VC-APS arm and 36.76% in the VC arm. The difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.483). Median survival time was 10.7 and 10.2 months (P = 0.76) in VC-APS arm and VC arm, with 1-year survival rates of 35.3 and 32.4% (P = 0.717), respectively. After 3 cycles of treatment, there were significant differences in the overall patient QOL (P = 0.003), physical function (P = 0.01), fatigue (P < 0.001), nausea and vomiting (P < 0.001), pain (P = 0.007), and loss of appetite (P = 0.023) between the two study groups. In summary, we have proved that the treatment of APS integrated with VC had significantly improved QOL in patients with advanced NSCLC compared with VC alone.
Non-small cell lung cancerQuality of lifeChemotherapySide effectsAstragalus polysaccharide