Vinorelbine is well tolerated and active in the treatment of elderly patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer. A two-stage phase II study

European Journal of Cancer(1997)

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More than 30% of lung cancers arise in patients aged 70 years or more; however, because elderly patients are not considered to tolerate chemotherapy, they are generally excluded from clinical trials and are not considered eligible for aggressive cisplatin-based chemotherapy in clinical practice. The aims of the present study were to test tolerability and activity of weekly vinorelbine in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients aged 70 years or more, and to define whether minimum conditions existed for a randomised comparison with best supportive care. The study was designed as a multicentre two-stage phase II trial according to Simon's optimal design: 8 or more responses out of 43 treated patients were expected at the end of the trial. Patients aged 70 years or more were eligible if they had a cytological or histological diagnosis of NSCLC at stage IIIb–IV and a performance status less than or equal to two according to the ECOG scale. Vinorelbine was given intravenously (i.v.) at a dose of 30 mg/m2 every week for 12 doses. As planned, 43 patients entered the study; median age was 73 years (range 70–80); 11 patients were older than 75 years. Median dose-intensity (mg/m2/week) of vinorelbine was 21.2 (range 7.5–30) and was not affected by age of patients. Toxicity was generally mild, mainly haematological and never life-threatening. ECOG performance status improved in 26% of patients; cough and pain improved in more than 40% of patients symptomatic at entry, while dyspnoea improved in 28%; approximately half the patients had a stabilisation of their symptoms. 10 patients (23–95% exact confidence interval (CI): 12–39%) obtained a partial response. Median time to progression was 11 weeks (95% CI 8–30) and median survival 36 weeks (95% CI 28–53). One-year estimated progression-free and overall survival rates are 16% and 36%, respectively. In conclusion, vinorelbine was well tolerated and active in the treatment of elderly NSCLC patients. A phase III trial (ELVIS—Elderly Lung Cancer Vinorelbine Italian Study) comparing best supportive care versus best supportive care plus vinorelbine is now ongoing.
vinorelbine,elderly,non-small cell lung cancer
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