Background: The combination of nedaplatin, a cisplatin derivative, and docetaxel showed promising activity for advanced squamous cell lung carcinoma in a previous phase 1-2 study. We compared nedaplatin plus docetaxel with cisplatin plus docetaxel in patients with previously untreated advanced or relapsed squamous cell lung carcinoma to determine effects on overall survival. Methods: We did a randomised, open-label, phase 3 study at 53 institutions in Japan. Eligibility criteria included pathologically proven squamous cell lung cancer with stage IIIB/IV or postoperative recurrence, age 20-74 years, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0-1, no previous chemotherapy or recurrence more than a year after previous adjuvant chemotherapy, and adequate organ function. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to 100 mg/m2 nedaplatin and 60 mg/m2 docetaxel intravenously, or 80 mg/m2 cisplatin and 60 mg/m2 docetaxel, every 3 weeks for four to six cycles (at the treating oncologist's discretion). Randomisation was done centrally at the West Japan Oncology Group data centre via a computer-generated allocation sequence with dynamic minimisation that balanced stage (IIIB/IV or postoperative recurrent), sex, and institution. The primary endpoint was overall survival in the modified intention-to-treat population (ie, all patients who were randomly assigned and met the inclusion criteria). Safety analyses were done in all randomly assigned patients who received at least one dose of the study regimen. This trial is registered with the UMIN Clinical Trials Registry, number UMIN000002015, and is closed to new participants. Findings: Between July 6, 2009, and July 26, 2012, 355 patients were randomly assigned. 349 patients were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis (177 in the nedaplatin group and 172 in the cisplatin group). Overall survival was significantly longer in the nedaplatin group (median 13·6 months, 95% CI 11·6-15·6) than in the cisplatin group (11·4 months,10·2-12·2; hazard ratio 0·81, 95% CI 0·65-1·02; p=0·037, one-sided stratified log-rank test). Grade 3 or worse nausea (seven of 177 patients in the nedaplatin group and 25 of 175 in the cisplatin group), fatigue (six vs 20), hyponatraemia (24 vs 53), and hypokalaemia (four vs 15) were more frequent in the cisplatin group than in the nedaplatin group, whereas grade 3 or worse leucopenia (98 vs 77), neutropenia (146 vs 123), and thrombocytopenia (16 vs none) were more frequent in the nedaplatin group than in the cisplatin group. Treatment-related deaths occurred in four and three patients in nedaplatin and cisplatin groups, respectively. Interpretation: Overall survival was significantly longer with nedaplatin plus docetaxel than with cisplatin plus docetaxel, and the regimens had different safety profiles. Nedaplatin plus docetaxel could be a new treatment option for advanced or relapsed squamous cell lung cancer. Funding: West Japan Oncology Group and Sanofi.
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