Two commonly used neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy regimens for locally advanced stage III non-small cell lung carcinoma: Long-term results and associations with pathologic response

Mitchell Machtay, Jason H. Lee, James P. Stevenson, Joseph B. Shrager, Kenneth M. Algazy, Joseph Treat, Larry R. Kaiser

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50 Scopus citations


Background: We performed this study to determine the outcomes (pathologic response, survival, local-regional control, and toxicity) in patients treated with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and planned operation for stage IIIA non-small cell lung carcinoma. Methods: Patients treated from 1993 to 2000 with neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and a predetermined plan for subsequent surgical resection for stage III non-small cell lung carcinoma were analyzed. All patients underwent pretreatment evaluation at the university's Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Center. Most patients (87%) had complete mediastinoscopy staging, and all were believed to be poor candidates for up-front operation because of bulky extent of disease. The radiotherapy program used conventional, 2-dimensionally planned treatment to 45 to 54 Gy in 1.8- to 2-Gy fraction size. Concurrent chemotherapy consisted of etoposide/cisplatin or carboplatin/paclitaxel. Study end points included resectability, pathologic response, local-regional control, survival, and toxicity. An exploratory comparison between pathologic response and long-term survival was performed. An exploratory comparison between older chemotherapy (etoposide/cisplatin) and third-generation chemotherapy (carboplatin/paclitaxel) was also performed. Results: Of 53 patients, 45 (85%) were deemed surgical candidates after induction therapy. Twenty-two (42% of the initial cohort) patients had a major pathologic response to stage 0, I, or II disease. The 5-year actuarial survival was 31%. Major pathologic response was associated with improved survival (48% vs 24%; P = .027). The overall rate of early death potentially related to therapy in this series was 9%; this mostly occurred in patients who underwent right pneumonectomy. There was no difference in efficacy or mortality between etoposide/cisplatin and radiotherapy versus carboplatin/paclitaxel and radiotherapy, although the latter regimen was associated with less grade 3 or higher acute toxicity necessitating interruption or hospitalization during neoadjuvant treatment (P = .02). In-field local control was achieved in 83% of all patients (90% of the patients who underwent resection). Brain metastases as the first site of treatment failure occurred in 23% of all patients. Conclusions: Neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiation delivers high resectability, major pathologic response rate, and excellent local-regional control, with encouraging long-term survival considering the patient population studied. Major pathologic response correlates with long-term survival. Neoadjuvant carboplatin/paclitaxel and radiotherapy is an appropriate framework on which to add new therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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