Combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy for non-small-cell lung cancer.
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In a previous study of patients with recurrent or disseminated non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the combination of bleomycin, etoposide, and cisplatin (BEP) produced objective responses in ten of 17 (59%) patients with large-cell anaplastic carcinoma and in 14 of 35 (40%) with squamous-cell carcinoma. These results prompted a pilot study of combined modality therapy in which two cycles of BEP were administered prior to split-course radiation therapy. Thirty patients with surgically unresectable stage II or III squamous- or large-cell cancer, were entered into the study, of whom 25 were evaluable for response to chemotherapy. One patient (4%) had a complete response (CR), ten (40%) with measureable disease had a partial response (PR), and four (16%) with evaluable disease had significant disease regression prior to radiotherapy (overall response rate, 60%). After radiotherapy, six of 22 (27%) evaluable patients achieved a CR, and six (27%) a PR, for an overall response rate of 55%. Symptom control was achieved with chemotherapy in the majority of patients. The median survival time after the initiation of BEP had not been reached at 52 weeks. The results of this pilot study suggest that a phase III study comparing BEP plus radiation therapy with radiation therapy alone should be undertaken in this subgroup of patients with NSCLC.
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