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One of the standard treatments for metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer patients is the combination of cisplatin plus vinorelbine. This regimen is associated with a high rate of severe neutropenia, and a hemogram is therefore routinely performed on day 8 before the administration of vinorelbine. However, no study has ever examined the rate of neutropenia detected in this hemogram or the rate of discontinuation of chemotherapy as a result. Since one of the objectives in the treatment of advanced lung cancer is to maintain quality of life, we have retrospectively analyzed a Spanish Lung Cancer Group study of cisplatin plus vinorelbine to address the question of whether this hemogram on day 8 could be avoided, thus eliminating unnecessary venipunctures without endangering patient safety. Between April 2004 and January 2006, 180 chemotherapy-naïve, advanced NSCLC patients were included from 35 centers. They received intravenous doses of cisplatin 75mg/m(2) on day 1 plus vinorelbine 25mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8, every 3 weeks, for a maximum of six cycles. Median age was 62.5 years; 87.2% were males; 80.6% were smokers; 48.2% were adenocarcinomas and 36% were squamous cell carcinomas; 17.2% were stage IIIB and 82.8% stage IV. Of 750 cycles analyzed, vinorelbine was administered on day 8 in 661 (88.1%), and the dose was reduced or canceled in 15 (2%) due to hematological toxicity. Among patients aged<70 with no dose modification in previous cycles, the likelihood of observing hematological toxicity at day 8 was only 0.8% (95% CI, 0.1-3%). We speculate that the hemogram on day 8 could potentially be avoided in this subgroup of patients while still maintaining an acceptable safety margin. Prospective clinical studies to further examine this hypothesis are warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Publication Date





415 - 419


Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro, Madrid, Spain.


Humans, Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung, Lung Neoplasms, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neutropenia, Cisplatin, Vinblastine, Neoplasm Staging, Hematologic Tests, Drug Therapy, Combination, Withholding Treatment, Retrospective Studies, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Vinorelbine