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December 16, 1983

Therapeutic Management of Small Cell Lung Cancer: Fewer Toxic Reactions With Lower Chemotherapeutic Drug Dosages

Author Affiliations

From the Section of Oncology/Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha.

JAMA. 1983;250(23):3188-3191. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340230040024

A treatment protocol for small cell lung cancer used attenuated drug dosages in an attempt to reduce toxic reactions without compromising effectiveness. Treatment consisted of cyclophosphamide, 50 mg orally daily, methotrexate, 1.25 mg orally daily, procarbazine hydrochloride, 50 mg orally daily, and vincristine sulfate, 10 μg/kg intravenously weekly, and was continued until relapse or for two years. Patients with limited disease were given concurrent radiation (4,000 to 5,000 rad, using standard fractionation) to the primary lesion and draining nodes. Fifty patients were evaluable for toxic reactions and survival: 22 with limited and 28 with extensive disease. Fifty-four percent of the patients with extensive disease responded; one (4%) had a complete response. Median survival of the patients with extensive disease was 20 weeks. Ninety-five percent of the patients with limited disease responded; 57% had a complete response. Median survival of these patients was 55 weeks; one-year survival was 59%, and 18-month survival was 36%. Three patients have discontinued therapy without relapse for 48, 22, and seven months. One patient remains disease free after undergoing therapy for 84 weeks. There were no treatment-related deaths, and only 4% of patients experienced WBC count nadirs of less than 1,000/cu mm. Patients with limited disease had long-term survivals comparable with those of other more toxic protocols.

(JAMA 1983;250:3188-3191)