Author(s): Anne Auprin
PURPOSE: The previous individual patient data meta-analyses of chemotherapy in locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed that adding sequential or concomitant chemotherapy to radiotherapy improved survival. The NSCLC Collaborative Group performed a meta-analysis of randomized trials directly comparing concomitant versus sequential radiochemotherapy.
METHODS: Systematic searches for trials were undertaken, followed by central collection, checking, and reanalysis of updated individual patient data. Results from trials were combined using the stratified log-rank test to calculate pooled hazard ratios (HRs). The primary outcome was overall survival; secondary outcomes were progression-free survival, cumulative incidences of locoregional and distant progression, and acute toxicity.
RESULTS: Of seven eligible trials, data from six trials were received (1,205 patients, 92% of all randomly assigned patients). Median follow-up was 6 years. There was a significant benefit of concomitant radiochemotherapy on overall survival (HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.74 to 0.95; P = .004), with an absolute benefit of 5.7% (from 18.1% to 23.8%) at 3 years and 4.5% at 5 years. For progression-free survival, the HR was 0.90 (95% CI, 0.79 to 1.01; P = .07). Concomitant treatment decreased locoregional progression (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.95; P = .01); its effect was not different from that of sequential treatment on distant progression (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.86 to 1.25; P = .69). Concomitant radiochemotherapy increased acute esophageal toxicity (grade 3-4) from 4% to 18% with a relative risk of 4.9 (95% CI, 3.1 to 7.8; P < .001). There was no significant difference regarding acute pulmonary toxicity.
CONCLUSION: Concomitant radiochemotherapy, as compared with sequential radiochemotherapy, improved survival of patients with locally advanced NSCLC, primarily because of a better locoregional control, but at the cost of manageable increased acute esophageal toxicity.