Paclitaxel combination improves survival from small-cell lung cancer

atistically significant increase in median and long-term survival, progression-free survival, and a decrease in drug-related toxicities for patients with SCLC on a paclitaxel-containing regimen compared with standard chemotherapy," the authors write. "The three-drug combination of paclitaxel, etoposide, and carboplatin was effective, safe, and well-tolerated, and therefore we conclude that its use is a reasonable treatment choice for at least some patients with SCLC."

In an accompanying editorial, Janessa Laskin, M.D., of the British Columbia Cancer Research Centre in Vancouver, Canada, and Alan Sandler, M.D., and David H. Johnson, M.D., of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn., point out that despite these encouraging results, the addition of a third drug to etoposide and carboplatin has not been shown in a randomized trial to be better than etoposide and carboplatin alone in the treatment of patients with lung cancer.

They say that the future of SCLC treatment lies in targeted therapies, such as drugs that target protein kinases or angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels). "Strategies that take advantage of our admittedly limited knowledge of tumor biology are in progress," they say. "It is hoped that one or several of these approaches will prove successful and further enhance our ability to treat this still-too-common and deadly disease."


Contact: Linda Wang
Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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