A healthcare provider may prescribe Navelbine to treat non-small cell lung cancer in adults. There are also some off-label (unapproved) Navelbine uses, such as treating breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and various other types of cancer. This prescription drug is derived from the Madagascar periwinkle plant, and works by interfering with how the cancer cells multiply and divide.
Navelbine® (vinorelbine) is a prescription anticancer (chemotherapy) medication approved to treat non-small cell lung cancer. It belongs to the vinca alkaloid class of chemotherapy medicines. Vinca alkaloids are a type of anticancer medicine derived from the Madagascar periwinkle plant (Catharanthus roseus).
There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell and small cell. Non-small cell lung cancer is a general term that encompasses several types of lung cancer that are not of the small cell type. Non-small cell lung cancer is much more common than small cell lung cancer, and generally grows and spreads more slowly.
There are several different treatment options for people with non-small cell lung cancer. The choice of treatment will mainly depend on the stage of the cancer. Healthcare providers assign a stage to lung cancer to describe how advanced the cancer is, such as whether the cancer cells are still confined to the lungs or if they have spread to other areas of the body (see Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Stages for more information about the various stages of this type of cancer).
Surgery is often used in the treatment of early stages of non-small cell lung cancer, before the cancer has spread far beyond the lungs (see Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment By Stage). However, once the cancer has spread beyond nearby lymph nodes, it can be difficult for a healthcare provider to remove the cancer surgically, and surgery may therefore not be an option. Lung cancer that cannot be removed completely with surgery is called unresectable lung cancer.
Navelbine is approved for the first-line treatment of unresectable advanced non-small cell lung cancer. First-line treatment is treatment that is used initially, before other treatments have been tried. When used in the treatment of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer, Navelbine is approved for use alone or in combination with another chemotherapy medicine known as cisplatin (Platinol®). It is only approved for use in combination with cisplatin for the treatment of stage III non-small cell lung cancer.