Purpose: The trial was undertaken to determine (1) the relative efficacy/toxicity of two commonly used combination chemotherapy regimens in patients with extensive small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and (2) whether the rapid alternation of these two regimens could provide superior therapeutic results compared with either regimen alone. Patients and Methods: In this phase III trial, 437 eligible patients were stratified by performance status (PS) and sex and were randomly assigned to receive either 12 weeks of cisplatin and etoposide (EP); 18 weeks of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and vincristine (CAV); or 18 weeks of alternation of these two regimens (CAV/EP). Results: There were no significant differences in treatment outcome for EP, CAV, or CAV/EP in terms of response rate (61%, 51%, 59%, respectively), complete response rate (10%, 7%, 7%, respectively), or median survival (8.6 months, 8.3 months, 8.1 months, respectively), with a non-statistically significant trend toward a longer median time to progression with alternating therapy (4.3 months, 4.0 months, 5.2 months, respectively). Crossover second-line chemotherapy given at progression produced low response rates and short survival, regardless of the regimen used. Myelosuppression was the dose-limiting toxicity for all patients, although the pattern and severity differed among the treatment arms. Conclusions: The combination regimens EP and CAV can be considered equivalently effective induction therapies in extensive SCLC, and these two regimens are, to some degree, crossresistant. Alternating therapy provides no therapeutic advantage compared with the use of either of these regimens alone and should not be considered as standard treatment in this clinical setting.