Toxicity of Concurrent Radiochemotherapy for Locally Advanced Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Concurrent radiochemotherapy (RCT) is the treatment of choice for patients with locally advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Two meta-analyses were inconclusive in an attempt to define the optimal concurrent RCT scheme. Besides efficacy, treatment toxicity will influence the appointed treatment of choice. A systematic review of the literature was performed to record the early and late toxicities, as well as overall survival, of concurrent RCT regimens in patients with NSCLC. The databases of PubMed, Ovid, Medline, and the Cochrane Library were searched for articles on concurrent RCT published between January 1992 and December 2009. Publications of phase II and phase III trials with ≥ 50 patients per treatment arm were selected. Patient characteristics, chemotherapy regimen (mono- or polychemotherapy, high or low dose) and radiotherapy scheme, acute and late toxicity, and overall survival data were compared. Seventeen articles were selected: 12 studies with cisplatin-containing regimens and 5 studies using carboplatin. A total of 13 series with mono- or polychemotherapy schedules—as single dose or double or triple high-dose or daily cisplatin-containing (≤ 30 mg/m2/wk) chemotherapy were found. Acute esophagitis ≥ grade 3 was observed in up to 18% of the patients. High-dose cisplatin regimens resulted in more frequent and severe hematologic toxicity, nausea, and vomiting than did other schemes. The toxicity profile was more favorable in low-dose chemotherapy schedules. From phase II and III trials published between 1992 and 2010, it can be concluded that concurrent RCT with monochemotherapy consisting of daily cisplatin results in favorable acute and late toxicity compared with concurrent RCT with single high-dose chemotherapy, doublets, or triplets.

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