, Volume 10, Issue 9, pp 560-571
Date: 28 Sep 2008

Adjuvant chemotherapy for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer. Single-centre experience and literature review

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In recent years platinum-based chemotherapy has become the standard of care for patients with good performance status after complete resection in stages IB-IIIA non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although the benefit is mainly in stages II and IIIA.

Patients and methods

In a retrospective trial we evaluate the clinical efficacy and toxicity profile of a platinum-and taxanes-based adjuvant chemotherapy in completely resected IB-IIIA NSCLC. The primary end point was relapse-free survival (RFS); principal secondary end points were overall survival (OS) and safety of the regimen. Potential predictive factors of efficacy and clinical patterns of relapse were also analysed.


From January 2003 to December 2006, 41 patients met the inclusion criteria and were evaluable. Median age at diagnosis was 68.1 years (CI 95% 54–72; range 45–78). Most patients were males (87.7%) and had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status score (PS) of 0–1 (87.8%), and 53.6% had adenocarcinomas. Pathological stages were as follow: 48.7% stage IB, 24.3% stage II and 26.8% stage IIIA. 75.6% of patients underwent a lobectomy and mediastinal lymphadenectomy and were treated with a combination of carboplatin AUC6 and paclitaxel 200 mg/m2 (85.36%) for 3 or 4 cycles. With a median follow-up of 18.2 months (range 5.1–46.5), 26 patients (63%) were free of disease and 32 of them were alive (78%). Median RFS was 12.1 months (CI 95% 9.8–14.9) and median OS had not been reached at the time of analysis. Patients with PS ≤1 at diagnosis had a higher RFS [p=0.051 (CI 95% 0.90–0.96)]. Toxicity was generally mild and haematologic events were the most frequent. Non-haematologic toxic effects of chemotherapy were asthenia/anorexia (12.2%), nausea/vomiting (12.2%) and peripheral neuropathy (17%), but severe toxic effects (grade 3 or greater) were uncommon (<10%). We did not observe treatment-related deaths.


Platinum-taxane-based adjuvant chemotherapy in IB-IIIA NSCLC following complete resection is feasible, well tolerated and can be delivered in most patients in the adjuvant setting. Ongoing molecular studies may have value in determining which patients will benefit from adjuvant chemotherapy.