A randomised trial of neo-adjuvant chemotherapy followed by resection versus radiotherapy in patients with T3, N1, M0 or T1-3, N2, M0 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Can we use chemotherapy to reduce the size of lung cancer tumours and then operate to remove them?

What was this study about?

Doctors usually treat people who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with radiotherapy if they aren’t able to operate to remove the cancer. But some doctors and researchers wondered whether it might be possible to treat this group of patients with chemotherapy. This could reduce the size of the cancer, making it possible for doctors to operate to remove it.

The LU20 trial aimed to compare radiotherapy with chemotherapy followed, if possible, by surgery. Would chemotherapy and surgery help people to live longer?

What difference did this study make?

It was very difficult to recruit patients to this trial. For this reason the Data Monitoring and Ethics Committee recommended that the trial was closed early.

Type of study

Randomised trial

Contact details

Who funded the study?

This trial was funded by the Medical Research Council. Some funding was also provided by the pharmaceutical company ASTA Medica.

When did it take place?

This trial recruited patients between 1995 and 1999. An article about this trial was published in 2005.

Who was included?

48 patients were recruited in just over three years. They were randomised into two groups. People in the first group were given the usual treatment – radiotherapy. People in the second group were given chemotherapy, followed if possible by an operation to remove the cancer.