According to an early online article in Lung Cancer, the addition of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) to Taxotere® (docetaxel) improves survival compared with Taxotere only when used as initial therapy in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) refers to the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 75–80% of all lung cancers in the U.S. Advanced NSCLC refers to cancer that has spread from the lung to distant sites in the body.

Researchers from Greece recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate the value of adding the chemotherapy agent Gemzar to Taxotere as initial therapy in advanced NSCLC. This trial included 312 patients who were treated with either Gemzar plus Taxotere or Taxotere only.

  • Median overall survival was significantly improved among patients treated with Gemzar plus Taxotere (9.4 months) compared with Taxotere only (8.3 months).
  • Quality of life was reported to be better among patients treated with Gemzar plus Taxotere compared with those treated with Taxotere only.
  • Anticancer responses occurred in 26.8% of patients treated with Gemzar plus Taxotere compared with 11.6% of patients treated with Taxotere only.

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The researchers concluded that “the docetaxel [Taxotere] plus gemcitabine [Gemzar] combination is superior to single-agent docetaxel in chemonaive patients with advanced NSCLC.” The trial was terminated early due to the superior effectiveness of Gemzar/Taxotere over Taxotere only.

Patients diagnosed with advanced NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of all treatment options.

Reference: Georgoulias V, Androulakis N, Kotsakis A, et al. Docetaxel versus docetaxel plus Gemcitabine as front-line treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer: a randomized, multicenter Phase III trial. Lung Cancer [early online publication]. August 30, 2007.

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