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PURPOSE - We conducted a prospective phase II study to determine the response rate, toxicity, and survival rate of concurrent weekly paclitaxel, carboplatin, and hyperfractionated radiation therapy (paclitaxel/carboplatin/HFX RT) followed by 2 cycles of paclitaxel and carboplatin for locally advanced unresectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The weekly paclitaxel and carboplatin regimen was designed to optimize the radiosensitizing properties of paclitaxel during the concurrent phase of treatment.
METHODS AND MATERIALS - Forty-three patients with unresectable stage IIIA and IIIB NSCLC from the Vanderbilt Cancer Center and Affiliate Network (VCCAN) institutions were entered onto the study from June 1996 until May 1997. Weekly intravenous (IV) paclitaxel (50 mg/m(2)/l-hour) and weekly carboplatin (AUC 2) plus concurrent hyperfractionated chest RT (1.2 Gy/BID/69.6 Gy) were delivered for 6 weeks followed by 2 cycles of paclitaxel (200 mg/m(2)) and carboplatin (AUC 6).
RESULTS - Forty-two patients were evaluable for response and toxicities. Three patients achieved a complete response (7.2%) and 30 patients achieved a partial response (71.4%), for an overall response rate of 78.6% [95% C.I. (66.2%-91.0%)]. The 1- and 2-year overall and progression-free survival rates of all 43 patients were 61.6% and 35% respectively, with a median survival time of 14.3 months. The median follow-up time was 14 months. Esophagitis was the principal toxicity. Grade 3 or 4 esophagitis occurred in 11 patients (26%). There was an incidence of 7% grade 3 and 9.5% grade 4 pulmonary toxicities.
CONCLUSIONS - Weekly paclitaxel, carboplatin, plus concurrent hyperfractionated RT is a well-tolerated outpatient regimen. The response rate from this regimen is encouraging and appears to be at least equivalent to the more toxic chemoradiation trials. These findings warrant further clinical evaluation of weekly paclitaxel/carboplatin/HFX RT in a phase III study.