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Performance status (PS) 2 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) experience more toxicity, lower response rates, and shorter survival times than healthier patients treated with standard chemotherapy. Paclitaxel poliglumex (PPX), a macromolecule drug conjugate of paclitaxel and polyglutamic acid, reduces systemic exposure to peak concentrations of free paclitaxel and may lead to increased concentrations in tumors due to enhanced vascular permeability.Chemotherapy-naive PS 2 patients with advanced NSCLC were randomized to receive carboplatin (area under the curve = 6) and either PPX (210 mg/m2/10 min without routine steroid premedication) or paclitaxel (225 mg/m2/3 h with standard premedication) every 3 weeks. The primary end point was overall survival.A total of 400 patients were enrolled. Alopecia, arthralgias/myalgias, and cardiac events were significantly less frequent with PPX/carboplatin, whereas grade ≥3 neutropenia and grade 3 neuropathy showed a trend of worsening. There was no significant difference in the incidence of hypersensitivity reactions despite the absence of routine premedication in the PPX arm. Overall survival was similar between treatment arms (hazard ratio, 0.97; log rank p = 0.769). Median and 1-year survival rates were 7.9 months and 31%, for PPX versus 8 months and 31% for paclitaxel. Disease control rates were 64% and 69% for PPX and paclitaxel, respectively. Time to progression was similar: 3.9 months for PPX/carboplatin versus 4.6 months for paclitaxel/carboplatin (p = 0.210).PPX/carboplatin failed to provide superior survival compared with paclitaxel/carboplatin in the first-line treatment of PS 2 patients with NSCLC, but the results with respect to progression-free survival and overall survival were comparable and the PPX regimen was more convenient.