A randomised controlled intensification clinical trial of chemotherapy with or without recombinant human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) in small-cell lung cancer

Can a drug called G-CSF help people with small cell lung cancer to live longer?

What was this study about?

People who have small cell lung cancer are usually treated with chemotherapy. Although this works to keep the cancer at bay for a while, for most people the cancer will come back eventually and they will die. Doctors try to increase the amount of chemotherapy given, to try to ensure that the cancer is controlled. But this is very difficult, because the blood cells take time to recover after each chemotherapy treatment.

A drug called human granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) can help the blood cells recover more quickly. If this worked for people with small cell lung cancer, it would mean that chemotherapy could be given more often, thus giving people a chance of living longer.

The LU19 trial aimed to test whether giving G-CSF alongside chemotherapy would help people with this type of cancer to live longer.

What difference did this study make?

This trial suggested that giving people chemotherapy more often, and giving it with G-CSF could help people to live a little longer.

Although this trial suggested that increasing the dose of chemotherapy and adding G-CSF was helpful, the results were not widely acted upon. The researchers concluded that we need to find simpler and cheaper ways to increase chemotherapy levels.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details

Who funded the study?

This trial was funded by the Medical Research Council. The G-CSF was donated by the pharmaceutical company Chugai-Rhone-Poulence.

When did it take place?

This trial recruited patients between 1993 and 1996. A report of this trial was published in 2000.

Who was included?

403 patients from centres across the UK were randomised into two groups. People in the first group were given the usual treatment – chemotherapy every 3 weeks. People in the second group were given chemotherapy every 2 weeks. They were also given G-CSF.