on-small cell lung cancer is a frequent type of cancer, with approximately 1.2 million cases per year expected worldwide. A total of 20-30% of patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer are amenable to radical surgery, although only 40-50% of these patients are cured. An improvement in survival has never been demonstrated for postoperative radiotherapy. However, a major step forward is several recent large randomized studies that have demonstrated improved survival with postoperative chemotherapy. It is quite clear that adjuvant chemotehrapy benefits patients with stage II and III lung cancers. Post-operative adjuvant chemotherapy carries a small survival benefit in those patients with complete resection of their lung cancer. This survival benefit is in the region of a 4% absolute survival advantage at 5 years. Thus, 25 patients require chemotherapy to save one life at 5 years. The data is mixed for stage 1. Several guidelines adressed the issue of stage. I review the data briefly.
The NCCN Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) guidelines panel recommended use of adjuvant chemotherapy in those who have undergone surgery for stages I, II, and IIIA NSCLC. The panel’s decision to include this recommendation was based on the presentation of survival data from the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial (IALT) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in 2003, and the subsequent publication of the IALT study findings in the Jan. 22, 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The IALT study findings indicated a 4%-5% survival advantage for those who received cisplatin- (Platinol, Bristol-Myers Squibb) based adjuvant chemotherapy for all stages of the disease.
It should be evident that no single regimen can be recommended exclusive of others, since each positive study used a different combination. For this reason NCCN NSCLE-D, 2017 mentions all these regimens, as well as premetrexate and cisplatin.
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