BACKGROUND The use of cisplatin (Cis) versus carboplatin (Carb) in the treatment of advanced nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is controversial. The aim of the study was to compare the safety and efficacy of Cis versus Carb in squamous NSCLC. PATIENTS AND METHODS A prospective, randomized, controlled, open-label study was conducted on advanced squamous NSCLC patients who were randomly assigned to receive Cis (40 mg/m 2 [day 1 and day 8]) or Carb (area under the curve = 5 [day 1]) combined with gemcitabine [Gem] (1000 mg/m 2 [day 1 and day 8]) of a 3-week schedule for six cycles. Study objectives were a radiological response after three cycles and six cycles, 1-year progression-free survival (PFS), 1-year overall survival (OS), and quality of life (QOL) assessment using functional assessment of cancer therapy-lung at baseline, after three cycles, and after six cycles. STATISTICAL ANALYSIS Statistical analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Science version 15. A P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS Seventy-one patients were enrolled (Gem/Cis group [n = 36], Gem/Carb group [n = 35]). Response rates were comparable in both arms. Nonsignificant differences were found regarding 1-year PFS (P = 0.308) and 1-year OS (P = 0.929) between the two groups. Neutropenia was significantly higher in Gem/Carb group, while vomiting and ototoxicity were significantly higher in Gem/Cis group. The effect on QOL was similar in both groups. CONCLUSION Cis and Carb have similar efficacy, tolerability, and effect on QOL and both can be used as a first-line treatment of squamous NSCLC.