Once-weekly drug combats lung cancer

The administration of taxane docetaxel on a weekly basis may be more beneficial than the conventional three-week schedule when used as a second-line therapy for nonsmall-cell lung cancer, according to a study presented at the Ninth World Conference on Lung Cancer in Tokyo.

Of 27 evaluable patients, researchers reported the following results:

• three, or 11%, had a partial response;

• seven, or 26%, had stable disease;

• 17, or 63%, had progressive disease.

A partial response was defined as a 50% or greater decrease in measurable tumor size, while a complete response was defined as total disappearance of clinical and radiological signs of disease.

"Our findings are extremely important for patients with refractory nonsmall-cell lung cancer, who often have a poor health status and tend to poorly tolerate the side effects associated with chemotherapy," says Rogerio Lilenbaum, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University School of Medicine’s Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami Beach, FL. "The improved toxicity profile with weekly docetaxel significantly expands the number of patients with refractory disease who are eligible for second-line therapy.

Patients in the study were treated with docetaxel, 36 mg/m2, administered intravenously over 15 minutes, once weekly for six consecutive weeks. After a two-week rest period, stable or responding patients continued eight-week courses for as long as they benefited. Researchers evaluated the response to treatment every six weeks.