Since the 1980s, cisplatin therapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has shown improvement in patient outcome with respect to overall survival. In the past decade, several new agents, such as the taxanes (paclitaxel and docetaxel), gemcitabine, vinorelbine, and irinotecan, have also shown promising single-agent efficacy in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. Superior efficacy was observed when these 5 agents were used in combination with cisplatin as compared to cisplatin alone for treatment of patients with NSCLC. The toxicity profiles of these 5 agents were found to be largely nonoverlapping with cisplatin. The results of recent randomized trials with different cisplatin-based chemotherapy regimens have shown that platinum-based therapy is still the mainstay for treatment of NSCLC; however, it appears that a chemotherapy efficacy plateau has been reached. Moreover, it has also been shown that for patients unable to tolerate cisplatin, nonplatinum doublets consisting of gemcitabine with either taxanes or vinorelbine are equivalent in efficacy and can be alternatives for first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC. Thus, the development of new and novel strategies is essential for treatment of NSCLC patients. Ongoing trials with vaccines, signal transduction modulators, antiangiogenic agents, and gene therapy in combination with chemotherapy will determine whether there is improvement in efficacy when compared to chemotherapy alone.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cancer Research