A trial comparing standard chemotherapy with a newer combination of chemotherapy for people with small cell lung cancer (LU21)

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer




Phase 3

This trial compared a new combination of chemotherapy called ICE-V (or VICE) with standard chemotherapy for people with small cell lung cancer.

Doctors often treat small cell lung cancer with chemotherapy. When this trial was done, other trials had shown that ICE-V could be a useful treatment for small cell lung cancer. ICE-V is vincristine, ifosfamide, carboplatin and etoposide. In this trial doctors compared ICE-V with standard treatment Open a glossary item to see which worked best.

The aims of the trial were to find out

  • How well ICE-V worked for small cell lung cancer
  • More about side effects and quality of life

Summary of results

The researchers found that ICE-V was a useful treatment for people with small cell lung cancer.

The trial recruited 402 people

  • Half had standard chemotherapy
  • Half had ICE-V

The researchers analysed the results in 2005. They found that more people lived for longer than 2 years after treatment with ICE-V (20%) than with standard treatment (11%).

The side effects were quite similar in both treatment groups. More people who had standard chemotherapy had a sore mouth. People who had ICE-V were more likely to have numbness (peripheral neuropathy Open a glossary item) or a blood infection.

The researchers also looked at quality of life. People in each treatment group reported a similar quality of life.

When this trial started, about three quarters of the people having standard chemotherapy had a combination of doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide and etoposide. Chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer now usually includes a platinum drug Open a glossary item such as carboplatin or cisplatin.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Nick Thatcher

Supported by

Medical Research Council (MRC)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

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Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 949

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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