Limited data exist concerning the long-term (>= 5 year) survival rates of patients with stage IIIB and IV non-mall cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) receiving chemotherapy. We aimed to determine the long-term results of cisplatin plus third-generation (vinorelbine or gemcitabine) cytotoxic chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced and advanced NSCLC. The study included 141 patients, and all patients were followed up from the time of diagnosis until death. The median age of the patients was 59.1 +/- 9.9 years. The male-to-female ratio was l24/17;62.4% of the patients had stage IIIB and 37.6% had stage IV NSCLC. Squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and undifferentiated NSCLC subtypes accounted for 69.5, 17.7 and 12.7% of the cases, respectively. The overall response rate was 32.6% and the median survival time was 12.3 months (95% CI, 10.2-14.5). The median survival times for stages IIIB and IV were 12.6 +/- 1.4 and 11.9 +/- 1.7 months, respectively. The 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-year survival rates were 33, 7.5, 4.3 and 2.8%, respectively. In conclusion, cisplatin-based new-generation cytotoxic agents for combined modality therapy offer an increased hope of long-term survival for patients with locally advanced and advanced NSCLC.