Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of the irinotecan plus docetaxel combination in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients and methods: Thirty-nine chemotherapy-naïve patients with advanced NSCLC were treated with irinotecan 200mg/m2 followed by docetaxel 80 mg/m2 intravenously on day 1 with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (150 microg/m2) support from day 2 to 9. Treatment was repeated every 3 weeks.
Results: A partial response was achieved in 9 (23%; 95% confidence interval 9.85-36.3%) patients; stable and progressive disease were observed in 10 (25.6%) and 20 (51.4%) patients, respectively. The median duration of response was 7.1 months and the median time to tumor progression 3 months. The median survival time was 10.8 months and the 1-year survival 42.2%. Four (10.3%) patients developed grade 4 neutropenia and all but one were complicated with fever; there was no treatment-related death. Nine (23.1%) patients developed grade 3 or 4 diarrhea while grade 2 or 3 fatigue occurred in nine (23.1%), and grade 3 mucositis in two (2.6%).
Conclusion: The combination of irinotecan/docetaxel is a relatively active non-platinum-based chemotherapy regimen with manageable toxicity, which could be given in an outpatient basis; this regimen merits to be further studied in order to improve its tolerance and evaluate its clinical relevance in patients who can not tolerate platinum-based doublets.