Phase II trial of a 75-mg/m2 dose of docetaxel with prednisone premedication for patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer.
BACKGROUND: A prior Phase II study of a 100-mg/m2 dose of docetaxel conducted at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY) demonstrated a 38% response rate with grade 3 or 4 neutropenia in 76% of the patients and a grade 2 or greater rash or infusion-related reaction in 41% and 34% of the patients, respectively. The current Phase II study sought to determine the activity of a 75-mg/m2 dose of docetaxel to establish whether this lower dose, combined with prednisone, ameliorates toxicity. METHODS: Twenty untreated patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) received a 1-hour 75-mg/m2 dose of docetaxel every 21 days. Fifty milligrams of prednisone were administered twice the day before chemotherapy and once each of the next 3 days. Patients' disease-related symptoms were assessed prospectively using the Lung Cancer Symptom Scale (LCSS). RESULTS: All patients were assessable for response and toxicity. Five patients had a major objective response (25%; 95% confidence interval, 11-50%). The median duration of response was 9.1 months. The projected 1-year survival was 71%. Grade 3 or 4 neutropenia occurred in 70% of the patients. Grade 2 or greater rash and infusion-related reactions decreased to 25% each. Analysis of the LCSS measurements found that six of nine component symptoms improved on Day 22, and all improved when baseline measurements were compared with the best value for each patient during the study. CONCLUSIONS: Docetaxel administered at a dose of 75 mg/m2 every 21 days shows significant antitumor activity in untreated patients with NSCLC: Neutropenia is comparable with that observed at a 100-mg/m2 dose. The number of infusional reactions and rash decreased when docetaxel at this dose was administered with prednisone. Based on response rates observed in trials using a 100-mg/m2 dose with similar degrees of neutropenia, a 100-mg/m2 dose with steroid pretreatment is recommended future trials.