Role of recombinant interferon alfa-2a maintenance in patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer responding to concurrent chemoradiation: A Southwest Oncology Group study

K. Kelly, J. J. Crowley, P. A. Bunn, M. B. Hazuka, K. Beasley, C. Upchurch, G. R. Weiss, W. J. Hicks, D. R. Gandara, S. Rivkin, Robert B Livingston

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Purpose: This study was designed to determine if recombinant interferon alfa-2a (rIFNα-2a) could prolong remission duration and/or survival in patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) who achieved an objective response to chemoradiotherapy. A secondary end point was to assess the toxicity of chronic IFN administration. Patients and Methods: One hundred seventy-one of 215 eligible patients achieved an objective response and were eligible to receive rIFNα-2a (3 million units [MU]/m2 subcutaneously three times per week escalated to 9 MU/m2 as tolerated) or observation for 2 years. Results: One hundred thirty-two of 140 registered patients were eligible. Sixty-four patients were randomized to receive IFN and 68 to observation alone. The median time from randomization to progression was 9 months on the IFN arm and 10 months on the observation arm (P = .72). The overall median survival time was 16 months an the observation arm versus 13 months on the IFN arm (P = .77). Significant toxicities occurred in the rIFNα-2a arm. Grade 3 or higher toxicities included malaise, fatigue, and/or lethargy (30%), leukopenia (14%), neutropenia (13%), dyspnea (13%), nausea (11%), and respiratory infection (6%). Forty-three patients discontinued treatment due to intolerable side effects. Conclusion: rIFNα-2a in the dose and schedule used in this study failed to prolong response duration or survival in patients with limited-stage SCLC who had previously responded to an induction chemoradiotherapy program. Failure may have been partly related to poor tolerance and inability to complete therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2924-2930
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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