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This randomized phase III trial of advanced or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was designed to compare a standard treatment such as carboplatin (CRP)–paclitaxel (PCT) with a new combination, vinorelbine (VRL)–PCT—two agents acting in microtubules.Three hundred and sixty patients (stage IIIa, IIIb and IV) were included and evaluated for response rate, survival and toxicity. Arm A patients were treated with the control combination of CRP 6 AUC and PCT 175 mg/m2 repeated every 3 weeks for six cycles, and arm B with the investigational combination of VRL 25 mg/m2 and PCT 135 mg/m2 repeated every 2 weeks for nine cycles. The patients were well balanced with respect to gender, disease stage and performance status. Arm A received 849 cycles (mean 4.59 per patient) and arm B 951 cycles (mean 5.39 per patient).Complete and partial response rates were 45.95% and 42.86% for arms A and B, respectively. Median survival was 11 and 10 months, 1-year survival 42.7% and 37.85% and 2-year survival 10.12% and 19% for arms A and B, respectively. Toxicity was similar in all patients, except for neutropenia, which was significantly greater in arm B.PCT combined with VRL produces similar (non-significant) response rates, survival and toxicity (except for neutropenia, as noted above) to standard CRP–PCT treatment in untreated advanced-stage NSCLC.