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Docetaxel Combination Shows Significant Survival Advantage as First-Line Treatment for Advanced Lung Cancer

Docetaxel Combination Shows Significant Survival Advantage as First-Line Treatment for Advanced Lung Cancer

According to phase III trial data presented at the recent meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a regimen of docetaxel (Taxotere) with cisplatin (Platinol) yields a significantly better overall survival rate (P = .0469) than the combination of vinorelbine (Navelbine) and cisplatin in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who have not received prior chemotherapy.

Significantly Higher Response Rates

The three-arm study, presented by Chandra P. Belani, MD, professor of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and codirector of the Lung Cancer Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, showed that patients who were treated with docetaxel and cisplatin survived significantly longer than those who received the combination of vinorelbine and cisplatin—a standard regimen for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The median survival for the docetaxel/cisplatin cohort was 10.9 months vs 10 months for the vinorelbine/cisplatin cohort. The 1- and 2-year survival rates were 46% and 20% vs 42% and 14%, respectively.

"While platinum-based chemotherapy is often viewed as a first-line therapy for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, there is no established treatment standard for this population," said Dr. Belani. "The improved survival associated with the docetaxel/cisplatin combination means that a superior treatment may be available for this vast group of patients who are not candidates for surgical resection."

The overall survival for patients treated with docetaxel and carboplatin was similar to that of patients treated with vinorelbine and cisplatin. Median survival was 9.1 months for the docetaxel/carboplatin regimen. The 1- and 2-year survival rates were also similar in these two arms (37% and 16%, respectively, for the docetaxel/carboplatin group).

Study Population and Protocol

The trial, which was conducted at 135 sites in 28 countries, included more than 1,200 men and women 18 years of age or older with pathologically confirmed, unresectable locally advanced and/or recurrent or metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer and a Karnofsky performance status of at least 70%. Recurrent disease was defined as evidence of tumor progression after surgical or radiation treatment. Patients who received prior treatment with a biological response modifier or chemotherapy agent were ineligible.

The median age of the study population was 60 years, and most patients were men. Approximately 67% had stage IV disease, and disease had spread to at least three other organs in about one-third of patients.

Patients were randomized to one of three treatment groups. The first group received docetaxel at 75 mg/m2 plus cisplatin at 75 mg/m2, with the cycle repeated every 21 days. The second group received the combination of docetaxel at 75 mg/m2, and carboplatin at an area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) of 6, with treatment repeated every 21 days. The third group received a combination of vinorelbine at 25 mg/m2/wk and cisplatin at 100 mg/m2, with treatment repeated every 28 days. Patients were treated until there was evidence of progressive disease or unacceptable adverse events, or until six cycles had been completed. Treatment response was assessed after every two cycles.

All treatment arms were generally well tolerated. Less than 5% of patients experienced severe sensory neuropathy in both docetaxel treatment arms. Treatment-related infection, febrile neutropenia, and number of deaths were also similar between the groups. More patients in the vinorelbine/cisplatin group experienced severe nausea/vomiting and anemia; however, diarrhea was more common in patients treated with docetaxel/cisplatin.

 
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