Docetaxel (Taxotere) shows survival and quality-of-life benefits in the second-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer: a review of two phase III trials.
The potential benefits of docetaxel (Taxotere; Aventis, Antony, France) to patients with previously-treated non-small cell lung cancer have been evaluated in two prospective randomized phase III trials. In one study, patients with stage IIIB/IV non-small cell lung cancer who had failed previous cisplatin-based chemotherapy were randomized to receive either docetaxel (100 or 75 mg/m2, once every 3 weeks) or best supportive care. Median survival was significantly longer for patients treated with docetaxel 75 mg/m2 (7.5 months v 4.6 months) as was 1-year survival (37% v 11%). A second trial, also in platinum-pretreated patients, randomized patients to docetaxel 100 mg/m2, docetaxel 75 mg/m2, or vinorelbine/ifosfamide. Median survival was similar across the three study groups. Thirty-two percent of patients assigned to docetaxel 75 mg/m2 and 21% to docetaxel 100 mg/m2, were alive at 1 year, versus 19% on the vinorelbine/ifosfamide arm. Docetaxel offers clinically meaningful benefits in the second-line setting. The recommended dose is 75 mg/m2 once every 3 weeks. The adverse events observed were predictable, tolerable, and manageable. These phase III trials showed that docetaxel provided clinical benefits to patients with non-small cell lung cancer.