Background: There is no standard first-line chemotherapy for advanced urothelial carcinoma (aUC) in cisplatin-ineligible (cisplatin-unfit) patients. The study assessed the efficacy and tolerability profile of two vinflunine-based cytotoxic regimens in this setting. Patients and methods: Patients with aUC a creatinine clearance (CrCl) of <60 but ≥30 ml/min, performance status 0 or 1 and no prior chemotherapy for advanced disease were randomized (1: 1). They received vinflunine 250 or 280 mg/m2 (based on baseline CrCl) on day 1, plus either gemcitabine [750 mg/m2 escalated to 1000 mg/m2 in cycle 2 if no toxicity grade (G) ≥ 2 on days 1 and 8 (VG) or plus carboplatin area under the curve 4.5 day 1 (VC) every 21 days]. To detect a 22% improvement in each arm compared with H0 (41%) in the primary end point, disease control rate (DCR = complete response + partial response + stable disease), 31 assessable patients per arm were required (α = 5%, β = 20%). Results: Sixty-nine patients were enrolled (34 VG, 35 VC). Less G3/4 haematological adverse events (AEs) were reported with VG: Neutropaenia was seen in 38% (versus 68% with VC) and febrile neutropaenia in 3% (versus 14% with VC) of patients. No major differences were observed for non-haematological AEs. DCR was 77% in both groups; overall response rate (ORR) was 44.1% versus 28.6%, with a median progression-free survival of 5.9 versus 6.1 months and median OS of 14.0 versus 12.8 months with VG and VC, respectively. Conclusion: Both vinflunine-based doublets offer a similar DCR, ORR and OS. The better haematological tolerance favours the VG combination, which warrants further study. ClinicalTrials.gov protocol identifier: NCT 01599013.
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