Background: Given the growing number of drugs available for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), an effect of first-line chemotherapy on overall survival (OS) might be confounded by subsequent therapies. We examined the relation between postprogression survival (PPS) and OS in phase III trials of first-line chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC. Patients and methods: A literature search identified 69 trials that were published during the past decade. We partitioned OS into progression-free survival (PFS) and PPS and evaluated the relation between OS and either PFS or PPS. We also examined whether any association might be affected by the year of completion of trial enrollment. Results: The average PPS was longer in recent trials than in older trials (6.5 versus 4.4 months, P < 0.0001). For all trials, PPS was strongly associated with OS (r = 0.82), whereas PFS was moderately associated with OS (r = 0.43). The correlation between OS and PPS in recent trials was stronger than that in older trials (r = 0.89 and 0.66). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that, especially for recent trials, PPS is highly associated with OS in first-line chemotherapy for advanced NSCLC, whereas PFS is only moderately associated with OS.
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