Although platinum based chemotherapy is known to improve the survival duration for the patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the role of platinum for elderly patient is not yet clear. We administered gemcitabine and carboplatin combination therapy to elderly patients with NSCLC. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicities of this regimen for elderly patients.
Materials and Methods
The eligibility criteria were as follows: pathologically confirmed NSCLC, an age ≥65 years, advanced disease with stage IIIB or IV and the patients were chemotherapy-naive. The treatment regimen was as follows; gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2 was administered on days 1 and 8 and carboplatin AUC=5 was administered on day 1. This regimen was repeated every 3 weeks. The efficacy was evaluated in terms of the response rate, the time to progression and the overall survival duration.
From Dec 2001 to Feb 2005, a total of 20 patients were entered into this study. The median patient age was 68 years (range: 65~75). 19 patients were evaluable for their treatment response. A partial response was obtained in 8 patients (response rate: 42.1%, 95% CI: 19.4~64.8%). The median time to progression and the survival duration were 136 days and 453 days, respectively. Among a total of 65 cycles of treatment, grade 3 or 4 leukopenia and thrombocytopenia were observed in 7.7% and 13.9% of the cycles, respectively. Grade 3 or 4 vomiting was observed in 7.7% of the cycles. Grade 3 skin rash developed in 1.5% of the cycles. 1 patient died of septic shock after chemotherapy.
Gemcitabine and carboplatin combination chemotherapy was relatively safe and effective for treating elderly patients with NSCLC.