Expert review of anticancer therapy vol:6 issue:4 pages:531-44
Differences in survival outcomes with various treatments for advanced non-small cell lung cancer are very modest. Despite this, end points looking at the patients' subjective benefit, such as symptom control, quality of life or clinical benefit, have only been sparsely implemented into clinical trials as primary points of interest. This review focuses on available evidence regarding these patients' subjective end points in recent clinical trials. Compared with best supportive care, chemotherapy offers symptom control, not only in patients with objective response to chemotherapy, but also in a proportion of patients with disease stabilization. However, interpretation of quality-of-life objectives is more difficult, owing to several methodological problems, but improvement in various domains of quality of life is also reported. Different treatment options, such as older platinum-based schedules, modern platinum-based doublets, single-agent treatment with a new drug or nonplatinum-based doublets, are comprehensively reviewed. Future randomized studies should take up the challenge of looking at the patients' benefit as a primary end point.