Radiation therapy oncology group (RTOG) 88-08 and eastern cooperative oncology group (ECOG) 4588: Preliminary results of a phase III trial in regionally advanced, unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer

William T. Sause, Charles Scott, Samuel Taylor, David Johnson, Robert Livingston, Ritsuko Komaki, Bahman Emami, Walter J. Curran, Roger W. Byhardt, Andrew T. Turrisi, A. Rashid Dar, James D. Cox

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Background: Regionally advanced, surgically unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer represents a disease with an extremely poor prognosis. External-beam irradiation to the primary tumor and regional lymphatics is generally accepted as standard therapy. The use of more aggressive radiation regimens and the addition of cytotoxic chemotherapy to radiotherapy have yielded conflicting results. Recently, however, results from clinical trials using innovative irradiation delivery techniques or chemotherapy before irradiation have indicated that patients treated with protocols that incorporate these modifications may have higher survival rates than patients receiving standard radiation therapy. Purpose: On the basis of these results, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG)-Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) elected to conduct a phase III trial comparing the following regimens: 1) standard radiation therapy, 2) induction chemotherapy followed by standard radiation therapy, and 3) twice-daily radiation therapy. Methods: Patients with surgically unresectable stage II, IIIA, or IIIB non-small-cell lung cancer were potential candidates. Staging was nonsurgical. Patients were required to have a Karnofsky performance status of 70 or more and weight loss less than 5% for 3 months prior to entry into the trial, to be older than 18 years of age, and to have no metas-tatic disease. Of the 490 patients registered in the trial, 452 were eligible. The disease in 95% of the patients was stage IIIA or IIIB. More than two thirds of the patients had a Karnofsky performance status of more than 80. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 60 Gy of radiation therapy delivered at 2 Gy per fraction, 5 days a week, over a 6-week period (standard radiation therapy); induction chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin (100 mg/m2) on days 1 and 29 and 5 mg/m2 vinblastine per week for 5 consecutive weeks beginning on day 1 with cisplatin, followed by standard radiation therapy starting on day 50; or 69.6 Gy delivered at 1.2 Gy per fraction twice daily (hyperfrac-tionated radiation therapy). Results: Toxicity was acceptable, with four treatment-related deaths. Three patients subsequently died of chronic pulmonary complications. Compliance with protocol treatment was acceptable. One-year survival (%) and median survival (months) were as follows: standard radiation therapy-46%, 11.4 months; chemotherapy plus radiotherapy-60%, 13.8 months; and hyperfractionated radiation therapy-51%, 12.3 months. The chemotherapy plus radiotherapy arm was statistically superior to the other two treatment arms (logrank P =.03). Conclusions: In "good-risk" patients with surgically unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer, induction chemotherapy followed by irradiation was superior to hyperfractionated radiation therapy or standard radiation therapy alone, yielding a statistically significant short-term survival advantage. [J Natl Cancer Inst 87: 198-205, 1995]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-205
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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