Increased survival with high‐dose multifield radiotherapy and intensive chemotherapy in limited small cell carcinoma of the lung
From June 1979 through April 1982, we treated 35 patients with limited small cell carcinoma on an intensive chemo-radio-immunotherapy regimen, consisting of induction with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and vincristine, alternately cycled with VP-16 and cisplatin. Patients were stratified by performance status and randomized to thymosin, fraction V, or no thymosin. Induction was followed by consolidation, consisting of prophylactic whole-brain radiotherapy and multifield radiotherapy to the primary and mediastinum with cyclophosphamide and vincristine. Patients who were complete responders (CRs) postconsolidation resumed maintenance immediately. Patients were followed from 1 to 3.8 years (median, 2.2 years) at the time of analysis. After induction, 35% (12/34) had become CRs; after consolidation radiotherapy, an additional 10/34 became CRs for a total CR rate of 65% (22/34). There were only 9/34 local failures (26%), of which all but one were impatients who had not become CRs. A prolonged median survival (21 months) has been obtained in patients with limited small cell carcinoma of lung treated with an intensive combined modality regimen. At 1 year, survival is 83%; at 2 years, 46%. There is a 33% long-term survival (greater than 3 years). There is no difference in survival or recurrence rate between patients treated with or without thymosin.