Multicenter, phase III, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of pravastatin added to first-line standard chemotherapy in small-cell lung cancer (LUNGSTAR)

Michael J. Seckl, Christian H. Ottensmeier, Michael Cullen, Peter Schmid, Yenting Ngai, Dakshinamoorthy Muthukumar, Joyce Thompson, Susan Harden, Gary Middleton, Kate M. Fife, Barbara Crosse, Paul Taylor, Stephen Nash, Allan Hackshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Treating small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) remains a therapeutic challenge. Experimental studies show that statins exert additive effects with agents, such as cisplatin, to impair tumor growth, and observational studies suggest that statins combined with anticancer therapies delay relapse and prolong life in several cancer types. To our knowledge, we report the first large, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of a statin with standard-of-care for patients with cancer, specifically SCLC. Patients and Methods: Patients with confirmed SCLC (limited or extensive disease) and performance status 0 to 3 were randomly assigned to receive daily pravastatin 40 mg or placebo, combined with up to six cycles of etoposide plus cisplatin or carboplatin every 3 weeks, until disease progression or intolerable toxicity. Primary end point was overall survival (OS), and secondary end points were progression-free survival (PFS), response rate, and toxicity. Results: Eight hundred forty-six patients from 91 United Kingdom hospitals were recruited. The median age of recruited patients was 64 years of age, 43% had limited disease, and 57% had extensive disease. There were 758 deaths and 787 PFS events. No benefit was found for pravastatin, either in all patients or in several subgroups. For pravastatin versus placebo, the 2-year OS rate was 13.2% (95% CI, 10.0 to 16.7) versus 14.1% (95% CI, 10.9 to 17.7), respectively, with a hazard ratio of 1.01 (95% CI, 0.88 to 1.16; P = .90. The median OS was 10.7 months v 10.6 months, respectively. The median PFS was 7.7 months v 7.3 months, respectively. The median OS (pravastatin v placebo) was 14.6 months in both groups for limited disease and 9.1 months versus 8.8 months, respectively, for extensive disease. Adverse events were similar between groups. Conclusion: Pravastatin 40 mg combined with standard SCLC therapy, although safe, does not benefit patients. Our conclusions are the same as those found in all four much smaller, randomized, placebo-controlled trials specifically designed to evaluate statin therapy in patients with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1506-1514
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2017
Externally publishedYes

Cite this