Worldwide, lung cancer accounts for the largest number of new cancer cases and deaths from cancer annually.
Investigators in an international study found the survival rate of non-small-cell lung cancer patients after its removal improved with cisplatin-based adjuvant chemotherapy. Cisplatin is an anti-neoplastic medication that interferes with the growth of cancer cells and slows their growth and spread in the body.
As part of the International Adjuvant Lung Cancer Trial, researchers randomly assigned 1,867 patients to receive either three or four cycles of cisplatin-based chemotherapy or observation. In addition to cisplatin, the drug etoposide was given to about 56 percent of patients; the drug vinorelbine was given to about 26 percent of patients; vinblastine was given to 11 percent of patients, and vindesine was given to nearly 6 percent of patients. Of the 932 patients assigned to chemotherapy, nearly 73 percent received at least 240 milligrams of cisplatin per square meter of body-surface area.
Results of the study show, after five years, patients assigned to chemotherapy had a significantly higher survival rate at 44.5 percent than those assigned to observation who had a 40.4 survival rate at five years. Patients assigned to chemotherapy also had a significantly higher disease-free survival rate at 39.4 percent than those assigned to observation with 34.3 percent.
According to the study, about 900,000 people worldwide under age 75 receive a lung cancer diagnosis each year and about 75 percent of those patients are candidates for adjuvant chemotherapy. Researchers say their results indicate that roughly 7,000 deaths from non-small-cell carcinoma would be averted annually with the use of adjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy.