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The concept, methods, materials, and present findings of the Veteran's Administration Surgical Adjuvant Lung-Cancer Chemotherapy Study Group are summarized. There is no indication that mechlorethamine (Mustargen) hydrochloride as used by the group has a beneficial effect on survival. The effect of cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) therapy has been observed only briefly. Curative pulmonary resection offers hope of cure to 30% of patients surviving operation.
Surgical resection of cancer apparently limited to the lung has long offered the main chance of cure, but this has been true for only about 30% of carefully selected cases. Experimental evidence that small tumor implants could be prevented by chemotherapy created hope of a beneficial effect in patients.17
The Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center of the National Cancer Institute18 in 1957 started a program of research to develop and screen tumoricidal compounds for use on patients. Mechlorethamine was being used clinically and was selected by
Hughes FA, Higgins G, Beebe GW. Present Status of Surgical Adjuvant Lung-Cancer Chemotherapy. JAMA. 1966;196(4):343–344. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100170085027