CN Mobile Logo

Search form


Use of Docetaxel and Carboplatin for Patients With Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Use of Docetaxel and Carboplatin for Patients With Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

ABSTRACT: Docetaxel (Taxotere) and carboplatin (Paraplatin) have each demonstrated significant activity in non-small-cell lung cancer. The taxanes have favorable interactions with platinum compounds, both in vivo and in vitro. Thus, we combined docetaxel and carboplatin in a phase I trial to establish the maximum tolerated doses (MTD) and toxicity profile. Results from the phase I trial in patients with nonhematologic solid tumors indicate that this combination is well tolerated. The MTD of docetaxel in combination with carboplatin (target area under the curve, 6 mg/mL · min) is 90 mg/m² without granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF, filgrastim [Neupogen]) support and 100 mg/m² with G-CSF support. Based on the preliminary results of the phase I study, the combination of docetaxel and carboplatin is presently being evaluated in a phase II study in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. [ONCOLOGY 11(Suppl 7):31-33, 1997]


A recent meta-analysis of eight randomized clinical trials indicates that combination chemotherapy provides a modest response and survival advantage in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, as compared with supportive care alone.[1] The majority of the chemotherapy studies included in the meta-analysis were those that used cisplatin (Platinol)-containing combination regimens. The toxicities reported with such combination regimens were substantial and underscore the need to further investigate combination chemotherapeutic regimens that may consistently improve survival and lessen the toxicity burden.[1-7]

Both docetaxel (Taxotere) and carboplatin (Paraplatin) have shown substantial in vitro and in vivo activity in non-small-cell lung cancer.[8,9] Docetaxel is a semisynthetic taxoid that promotes tubulin assembly into microtubules, stabilizing microtubules and inhibiting depolymerization to free tubulin, thereby blocking cells in the M-phase of the cell cycle.[10,11]

Several nonrandomized studies have demonstrated that in stage III and IV non-small-cell lung cancer, docetaxel produces response rates of 33% to 38% in previously untreated patients and of 21% to 27% in those who were previously treated.[8] The primary toxicity of docetaxel is neutropenia, which generally is self-limiting and resolves within 1 week.[12] The incidence of thrombocytopenia and anemia associated with docetaxel is low, occurring in less than 8% of patients.[12]

Carboplatin, like other cisplatin analogs, produces predominately interstrand DNA cross-links, an effect that is thought to be cell-cycle-nonspecific. Unlike many cisplatin analogs, carboplatin is free of nephrotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and ototoxicity.[13-15] In addition, carboplatin therapy is associated with a lower frequency and severity of emesis than cisplatin.[13-15]

Dosages and Toxicity

Bonomi and colleagues[9] reported the results of an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group study that compared single-agent carboplatin, single-agent iproplatin, mitomycin/vinblastine/cisplatin (MVP), vinblastine/cisplatin, and MVP alternating with cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar)/doxorubicin/methotrexate/procarbazine (Matulane) in 699 patients with stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer.

This randomized trial demonstrated that single-agent carboplatin produced a significantly longer time to progression (29 weeks) and a lower degree of severe and life-threatening toxicities, as compared with the other treatment arms.[9] The carboplatin arm was also associated with the best median survival time (approximately 8 months).[9]

The dose-limiting toxicity of carboplatin is thrombocytopenia. Pharmacokinetic studies have defined a predictable relationship between the incidence of myelosuppression induced by carboplatin and the renal function of individual patients.[16,17] Using the dosage formula developed by Calvert and colleagues,[16] the maximum tolerated dosage of carboplatin in adults may be estimated according to the following formula:

Dose (mg) = AUC(GFR + 25),

in which AUC represents the area under the plasma concentration time curve. GFR stands for the glomerular filtration rate, but in North America we use calculated or measured creatinine clearance instead.

Prospective studies have determined that toxicity associated with carboplatin, administered as a single agent or in combination chemotherapeutic regimens, is manageable when administered at doses to target AUCs between 4 to 6 mg/mL · min in previously treated patients and 6 to 8 mg/mL · min in previously untreated patients.[16-18]

Determining the Maximum Tolerated Dose of Docetaxel/Carboplatin

Our group performed a phase I study of docetaxel and carboplatin in 22 patients with advanced solid tumors for the purpose of determining the maximum tolerated dose and to characterize the toxicity of this combination regimen.[19] Doses were administered with and without granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF, filgrastim [Neupogen]) support.

The dose of docetaxel was escalated in this study in cohorts from 65 mg/m² (group 1) to 80 mg/m²(group 2), 90 mg/m² (group 3), and 100 mg/m² (group 4) and was administered intravenously over 1 hour on day 1 of the 21-day cycle, followed by carboplatin (Table 1). The dose of carboplatin was targeted to achieve an AUC of 6 mg/mL · min using Calvert's formula[14]:

Dose (mg) = target AUC(GFR + 25).

Measured creatinine clearance over 24 hours was substituted for GFR.[19] The cycles were repeated every 3 weeks.

The salient grade 3 toxicities included hypotension, gastrointestinal bleeding, lower back pain, nausea, and fatigue. However, grade 3 toxicities were observed only occasionally. Thrombocytopenia was not observed.[19]

The preliminary results from this study[18] indicate that the docetaxel/carboplatin regimen appears to be well tolerated and have manageable toxicities. The maximum tolerated dose of docetaxel in combination with carboplatin (target AUC of 6 mg/mL · min) is 90 mg/m² without G-CSF support.

Phase II Study of Docetaxel/Carboplatin Combination

Based on data from the phase I study[19], we have initiated a phase II multicenter study to assess the safety and efficacy of the maximum acceptable dose schedule of docetaxel and carboplatin in patients with stage IIIB and IV non-small-cell lung cancer. Patients in this ongoing trial receive 80 mg/m² of docetaxel administered intravenously over 60 minutes on day 1 of the 21-day cycle. Following the administration of docetaxel, patients receive carboplatin, administered intravenously over 30 minutes, also on day 1 of the 21-day cycle. The dose of carboplatin is targeted to achieve an AUC of 6 mg/mL · min.

In addition to the combination therapy, patients also receive 8 mg of oral dexamethasone, administered twice daily for 3 days, to minimize the onset of fluid retention or hypersensitivity reactions. Dexamethasone is started 1 day prior to chemotherapy. It is hoped that results from this trial will provide greater insight into the effectiveness and toxicities associated with docetaxel/carboplatin treatment in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.


1. Marino P, Pampalloona S, Preatoni, P, et al: Chemotherapy vs supportive care in non-small-cell lung cancer: Results of a meta-analysis of the literature. Chest 106:861-865, 1994.

2. Rapp E, Pater JL, Willan A, et al: Chemotherapy can prolong survival in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Report of a Canadian multicenter randomized trial. J Clin Oncol 6:633-641, 1988.

3. Ganz PA, Figlin RA, Haskell CM, et al: Supportive care versus supportive care and combination chemotherapy in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. CA Cancer J Clin 63:1271-1278, 1989.

4. Woods RL, Williams CJ, Levi J, et al: A randomized trial of cisplatin and vindesine versus supportive care only in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Br J Cancer 61:608-611, 1990.

5. Cellerino R, Tummarello D, Guidi F, et al: A randomized trial of alternating chemotherapy versus best supportive care in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. J Clin Oncol 9:387-395, 1985.

6. Quoix E, Dietemann A, Charbonneau J, et al: La chimiothérapie comportant du cisplatine est-elle utile dans le cancer bronchique non microcellulaire au stade IV? Résultats d' une étude randomisée. Bull Cancer 78:341-346, 1991.

7. Kaasa S, Lund E, Thorud E, et al: Symptomatic treatment versus combination chemotherapy for patients with extensive non-small cell lung cancer. CA Cancer J Clin 67:2443-2447, 1991.

8. Rigas JR: Docetaxel in stage III and IV non-small cell lung cancer. Eur J Cancer 31A(suppl 4):S-18-S20, 1995.

9. Bonomi PD, Finkelstein DM, Ruckdeschel JC, et al: Combination chemotherapy versus single agents followed by combination chemotherapy in stage IV non-small-cell lung cancer: A study of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 7:1602-1613, 1989.

10. Gueritte-Voegelein F, Guenard D, Lavelle F, et al: Relationships between the structure of taxol analogues and their antimitotic activity. J Med Chem 34:992-998, 1991.

11. Ringel I, Horwitz SB: Studies with RP 56976 (Taxotere): A semisynthetic analogue of taxol. J Natl Cancer Inst 83:288-291, 1991.

12. Cortes JE, Pazdur R: Docetaxel. J Clin Oncol 13:2643-2655, 1995.

13. Calvert AH, Harland SJ, Newell DR, et al: Early clinical studies with cis-diammine-1, 1 cyclobutane-decarboxylate platinum II. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 9:140-147, 1982.

14. Curt GA, Grygeil JJ, Corden BJ, et al: A phase I and pharmacokinetic study of diammine-cyclobutane-decarboxylate-platinum (NSC 241240). Cancer Res 43:4470-4473, 1983.

15. Egorin MJ, Van Echo DA, Tipping SJ, et al: Pharmacokinetics and dosage reduction of cis-diammine (1,1-cyclobutane di-carboxylate) platinum in patients with impaired renal function. Cancer Res 44:5432-5438, 1984.

16. Calvert AH, Newell DR, Gumbrell LA, et al: Carboplatin dosage: Prospective evaluation of a simple formula based on renal function. J Clin Oncol 7:1748-1756, 1989.

17. Egorin MJ, Van Echo DA, Olman EA, et al: Prospective validation of a pharmacologically based dosing schema for the cis- diamminedichloroplatinum (II) analogue diammine cyclobutanedicarboxylatoplatinum. Cancer Res 45:6502-6506, 1985.

18. Belani CP, Egorin MJ, Abrams JS, et al: A novel pharmacodynamically based approach to dose optimization of carboplatin when used in combination with etoposide. J Clin Oncol 7:1896-1902, 1989.

19. Belani CP, Hadeed V, Ramanathan R, et al: Docetaxel and carboplatin: A phase I and pharmacokinetic trial for advanced non- hematologic malignancies (abstract 771). Proc Am Soc Clin Oncol 16:220a, 1997.

By clicking Accept, you agree to become a member of the UBM Medica Community.