Docetaxel in non-small cell lung cancer: a review

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003 Apr;4(4):553-65. doi: 10.1517/14656566.4.4.553.


Docetaxel (Taxotere, Aventis Pharma), a semisynthetic taxane targeting the beta-subunit of tubulin, has broad spectrum anticancer activity including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is synergistic with platinum and radiation in preclinical models and has been tested clinically in every stage of NSCLC. Docetaxel-platinum combinations have an efficacy comparable to other newer-agent platinum doublets as first-line therapy in advanced NSCLC, and has been approved for use in this setting. Docetaxel was initially approved for NSCLC in the second-line setting following two Phase III trials demonstrating improved survival and quality of life. Ongoing clinical trials are investigating how best to combine docetaxel with thoracic radiotherapy in locally advanced disease. Preliminary studies evaluating docetaxel in the pre-operative setting have also been completed. Ongoing studies are focused on confirming the results observed with consolidation docetaxel in locally advanced NSCLC (SWOG 9504) and docetaxel in combination with molecularly targeted agents. This paper will review the pharmacology, preclinical, clinical and pharmacoeconomic data supporting the use of docetaxel in the treatment NSCLC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / radiotherapy
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Economics, Pharmaceutical
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Paclitaxel* / adverse effects
  • Paclitaxel* / analogs & derivatives*
  • Paclitaxel* / pharmacokinetics
  • Paclitaxel* / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Survival Rate
  • Taxoids*


  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel