BACKGROUND: To assess the efficacy and safety of a metronomic schedule of oral vinorelbine (mVNR) in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients unfit for platinum-based combination chemotherapy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a multicenter, prospective, randomized, open-label phase II study in treatment-naive patients with TNM stage IIIB/IV NSCLC. Patients received mVNR at a fixed dose of 50 mg × 3 or standard schedule 60-80 mg/m2 weekly until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) without grade 4 toxicity (G4PFS; NCI-CTC v4). Main secondary objectives were safety, disease control rate (DCR) without grade 4 toxicity (G4DCR), DCR, PFS, overall survival (OS) and quality of life (QoL).
RESULTS: A total of 167 patients were included, 83 and 84 patients in the mVNR and standard arms, respectively. The median G4PFS was 4.0 months [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.6-4.3] and 2.2 months (95% CI: 1.5-2.9), hazard ration (HR) = 0.63 (95% CI: 0.45-0.88), P = 0.0068 in favor of metronomic arm; G4DCR was 45.8% and 26.8% in the mVNR and standard arms, respectively. Grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events were less frequent in the mVNR arm (25.3% versus 54.4%) mainly owing to a reduction in all grades (15.7% versus 51.9%) and grade 3-4 neutropenia (10.8% versus 42%). PFS was 4.3 (95% CI: 3.3-5.1) and 3.9 months (95% CI: 2.8-5.2) in mVNR and standard arms, respectively. No difference in median OS was observed. QoL was comparable between arms.
CONCLUSIONS: Metronomic oral vinorelbine significantly prolonged median G4PFS in advanced NSCLC patients unfit for platinum combinations as first-line treatment. It was associated with a clear reduction in toxicity and may be considered as an important option in this challenging population.