New chemotherapeutic agents for non-small cell lung cancer.
The identification of new chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer should proceed in a structured, logical fashion. Agents should be evaluated on the basis of multiple objective and subjective end points. A 15% or greater major objective response rate, demonstrated in multiple single-agent phase II trials, is considered the lower limit for an agent to be deemed clinically active in this disease. A number of drugs previously have been identified in this category, including cisplatin, ifosfamide, mitomycin, paclitaxel, and the vinca alkaloids vinblastine and vindesine. Most of these conventional agents have been explored alone, in a variety of doses and schedules, and in combination. In the last several years clinical development has produced new agents, including chloroquinoxaline sulfonamide, docetaxel, edatrexate, gemcitabine, irinotecan, topotecan, and vinorelbine, which hold promise for more successful treatment of this lethal disease.