Younger age and higher body mass index (BMI) may be positive predictors of progression-free survival (PFS) among patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the lung treated with gemcitabine plus cisplatin (GP), according to a study published in Thoracic Cancer.1 Younger age and response to therapy may, furthermore, predict for overall survival (OS),

For this study, researchers retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of 78 patients with stage IV lung SCC who were treated with GP as first-line therapy. Seventy-four (95%) patients had progressive disease, of which 68 (87.2%) died by final follow up. The median PFS was 6.0 months (95% CI, 4.8-8.0), and median OS was 13.6 months (95% CI, 11.2-16.5). Median BMI was 23.21.

The median follow-up was 16.8 months. Patients were divided into 3 terminal subgroups for the PFS analysis: older than 54.5 years (Group 1), 54.5 years and younger with a BMI greater than 23.94 kg/m2 (Group 2), and 54.5 years and younger with a BMI of 23.94 kg/m2 or lower (Group 3).

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Patients in Group 2 had a PFS of 9.0 months compared with 4.05 months for patients in Group 3.

For the OS assessment, patients were grouped according to treatment response and BMI. The 3 groups included patients who had a complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) to GP (Group 1), patients with stable disease (SD) or progressive disease (PD) with a BMI of 26.92 kg/m2 or less (Group 2), and patients with SD or PD and a BMI greater than 26.92 kg/m2 (Group 3).

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Patients in Group 1 had an OS of 20.0 months compared with 11.8 months among those who had SD or PD regardless of BMI.

The authors concluded that “high BMI and younger age are positive predictive factors for PFS. Sensitivity to initial treatment and high BMI predicts longer OS.”


  1. Zhong J, Zheng Q, Gao E, et al. Influence of body mass index on the therapeutic efficacy of gemcitabine plus cisplatin and overall survival in lung squamous cell carcinoma. Thorac Cancer. 2018 Jan 10. doi: 10.111/1759-7714.12581 [Epub ahead of print]