Recently the results of a phase II trial that evaluated the efficacy and safety of Taxotere® (docetaxel) and cisplatin (Platinol®) chemotherapy was published in the journal Investigational New Drugs. The trial was designed to evaluate Taxotere® and cisplatin chemotherapy given as initial treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Overall, the regimen showed promise in its response rates and tolerability.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States and Europe. The most common type of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, is a malignancy which arises from the tissues of the lung. Under most circumstances, NSCLC is not curable. Current treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in an attempt to destroy cancer cells or prevent further tumor growth.

The trial consisted of 42 patients diagnosed with advanced NSCLC. Patients were treated with an average of 6 cycles of chemotherapy, consisting of Taxotere® and cisplatin on days 1 and 2 every 3 weeks. The overall anti-cancer response rate was 48%. One patient had a complete disappearance of detectable cancer (complete response), 19 patients had a partial disappearance of detectable cancer (partial response), and stable disease was found in 6 patients. Survival rates were 36% at 1 year and 18% at 2 years. In addition, side effects such as decreased blood cell counts and fevers were uncommon.

Researchers concluded that Taxotere® combined with cisplatin as initial treatment for NSCLC shows promise in its efficacy and appears well tolerated; however, further clinical trials are needed to confirm these results. Patients diagnosed with NSCLC may wish to speak to their physicians regarding treatment options and the possibility of participating in clinical trials. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com. Personalized clinical trial searches are also performed on behalf of patients by cancerconsultants.com.

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Reference: Firvido, J., Amendo, M., Rodriguez, R., et al. Docetaxel plus fractionated cisplatin is a safe and active schedule as first line treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer: Results of a phase II study. Investigational New Drugs 22 (4): 481-487. November 2004.

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