Supportive care in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer

M. Di Maio, F. Perrone, C. Gallo, R. V. Iaffaioli, L. Manzione, F. V. Piantedosi, S. Cigolari, A. Illiano, S. Barbera, S. F. Robbiati, E. Piazza, G. P. Ianniello, L. Frontini, E. Veltri, F. Castiglione, F. Rosetti, E. De Maio, P. Maione, C. Gridelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study describes supportive care (SC) in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), evaluating whether it is affected by concomitant chemotherapy, patient's performance status (PS) and age. Data of patients enrolled in three randomised trials of first-line chemotherapy, conducted between 1996 and 2001, were pooled. The analysis was limited to the first three cycles of treatment. Supportive care data were available for 1185 out of 1312 (90%) enrolled patients. Gastrointestinal drugs (45.7%), corticosteroids (33.4%) and analgesics (23.8%) were the most frequently observed categories. The mean number of drugs per patient was 2.43; 538 patients (45.4%) assumed three or more supportive drugs. Vinorelbine does not produce substantial variations in the SC pattern, while cisplatin-based treatment requires an overall higher number of supportive drugs, with higher use of antiemetics (41 vs 27%) and antianaemics (10 vs 4%). Patients with worse PS are more exposed to corticosteroids (42 vs 30%). Elderly patients require drugs against concomitant diseases significantly more than adults (20 vs 7%) and are less frequently exposed to antiemetics (12 vs 27%). In conclusion, polypharmacotherapy is a relevant issue in patients with advanced NSCLC. Chemotherapy does not remarkably affect the pattern of SC, except for some drugs against side effects. Elderly patients assume more drugs for concomitant diseases and receive less antiemetics than adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1021
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2003


  • Concomitant drugs
  • Lung cancer
  • Polypharmacotherapy
  • Supportive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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