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Langer CJ
Treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer in North America: the emerging role of irinotecan
Oncology (Huntingt). 2001 Jan;15(1 Suppl 1) :19-24
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Topoisomerase I inhibitors have demonstrated significant activity in non-small-cell lung cancer. In phase II studies, particularly in Japan, single-agent irinotecan (Camptosar, CPT-11) has produced response rates as high as 35%. In combinations with cisplatin (Platinol), it has also resulted in overall response rates of 41% to 52%, with median survival of 10.2 to 13 months, and 1-year survival rates of 33% and 58%. A Japanese phase III randomized trial of irinotecan, either alone or in combination with cisplatin vs vindesine/cisplatin in previously untreated stage IIIB/IV non-small-cell lung cancer, demonstrated that survival among stage IV patients was significantly better in the irinotecan arms compared to the vindesine/cisplatin group. However, another Japanese phase III study comparing irinotecan/cisplatin to vindesine/cisplatin failed to show a survival difference. Initial North American efforts recapitulated this work, while a follow-up study incorporated weekly irinotecan with weekly cisplatin, yielding a response rate of 36%, median survival of 11.6 months, and a 1-year survival rate of 46%. Irinotecan/taxane combinations have also shown promise. Phase I/II studies in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer with paclitaxel (Taxol), irinotecan, and carboplatin (Paraplatin) produced a response rate of 38%, median survival of 11 months, and a 1-year survival rate of 47%; other trials with irinotecan and paclitaxel are ongoing. Phase I data for irinotecan/docetaxel (Taxotere) have indicated an overall response rate of 32%, median survival of 39 weeks, and a 1-year survival rate of 38%; subsequent phase II trials used either cisplatin or irinotecan in combination with docetaxel and yielded a promising median survival of 45.6 weeks, comparable to the standard cisplatin/docetaxel combination. Phase I trials with irinotecan and gemcitabine (Gemzar) have also yielded promising results. Follow-up efforts include phase II studies in both chemonaive advanced non-small-cell lung cancer and progressive small-cell lung cancer (salvage therapy). Clearly, clinical trial data have demonstrated the utility of irinotecan in the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Planned combinations with new chemotherapeutic agents and biological response modifiers may provide additional treatment options.
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