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Randomized Phase II trial of paclitaxel and carboplatin followed by gemcitabine switch-maintenance therapy versus gemcitabine and carboplatin followed by gemcitabine continuation-maintenance therapy in previously untreated advanced non-small cell lung cancer

Seigo Minami1, Takashi Kijima2*, Takayuki Shiroyama1, Kohei Okafuji1, Tomonori Hirashima3, Junji Uchida4, Fumio Imamura4, Tadashi Osaki5, Takeshi Nakatani1, Yoshitaka Ogata1, Suguru Yamamoto1, Yoshinobu Namba6, Tomoyuki Otsuka7, Isao Tachibana2, Kiyoshi Komuta1 and Ichiro Kawase23

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Osaka Police Hospital, Osaka, Japan

2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Allergy and Rheumatic Diseases, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan

3 Department of Thoracic Malignancy, Osaka Prefectural Medical Center for Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, Osaka, Japan

4 Department of Pulmonary Oncology, Osaka Medical Center for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases, Osaka, Japan

5 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Kinki Central Hospital for Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers, Hyogo, Japan

6 Department of Respiratory Medicine, National Hospital Organization Toneyama National Hospital, Osaka, Japan

7 Department of Internal Medicine, Nishinomiya Municipal Central Hospital, Hyogo, Japan

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BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:3  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-3

Published: 3 January 2013



In recent years, maintenance chemotherapy is increasingly being recognized as a new treatment strategy to improve the outcome of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the optimal maintenance strategy is still controversial. Gemcitabine is a promising candidate for single-agent maintenance therapy because of little toxicity and good tolerability. We have conducted a randomized phase II study to evaluate the validity of single-agent maintenance chemotherapy of gemcitabine and to compare continuation- and switch-maintenance.


Chemonaïve patients with stage IIIB/IV NSCLC were randomly assigned 1:1 to either arm A or B. Patients received paclitaxel (200 mg/m2, day 1) plus carboplatin (AUC 6 mg/mL/min, day 1) every 3 weeks in arm A, or gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2, days 1 and 8) plus carboplatin (AUC 5 mg/mL/min, day1) every 3 weeks in arm B. Non-progressive patients following 3 cycles of induction chemotherapy received maintenance gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2, days 1 and 8) every 3 weeks. (Trial registration: UMIN000008252)


The study was stopped because of delayed accrual at interim analysis. Of the randomly assigned 50 patients, 49 except for one in arm B were evaluable. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.6 months for arm A vs. 3.5 months for arm B (HR = 1.03; 95% CI, 0.45–2.27; p = 0.95) and median overall survival (OS) was 15.0 months for arm A vs. 14.8 months for arm B (HR = 0.79; 95% CI, 0.40–1.51; p = 0.60), showing no difference between the two arms. The response rate, disease control rate, and the transit rate to maintenance phase were 36.0% (9/25), 64.0% (16/25), and 48% (12/25) for arm A vs. 16.7% (4/24), 50.0% (12/24), and 33% (8/24) for arm B, which were also statistically similar between the two arms (p = 0.13, p = 0.32, and p = 0.30, respectively). Both induction regimens were tolerable, except that more patients experienced peripheral neuropathy in arm A. Toxicities during the maintenance phase were also minimal.


Survival and overall response were not significantly different between the two arms. Gemcitabine may be well-tolerable and feasible for maintenance therapy.

Carboplatin; Gemcitabine; Paclitaxel; Switch-maintenance; Continuation-maintenance; Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); Randomized phase II