Purpose: To evaluate the activity and toxicity of the sequential administration of docetaxel followed by gefitinib in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Patients and treatment: Forty-one patients pre-treated with at least one prior chemotherapy regimen (platinum- or taxane-based) for advanced/metastatic NSCLC received three cycles of docetaxel 30 mg/m2, administered as a 1-h IV infusion, on days 1, 8 and 15 of each 4-week cycle followed by gefitinib 250 mg daily po. Gefitinib treatment was continued until disease progression, development of unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal of patients consent.
Results: Two (4.9%) patients achieved a partial response and 10 (24.4%) stable disease, for a disease control rate of 29.3% (95% CI: 15.3%-43.2%) while on weekly docetaxel treatment. Additionally, progressive disease (PD) was observed in 29 (70.7%). No objective responses were observed during the gefitinib maintenance therapy; however, 17 (41.5%) patients presented stable disease maintained for more than 2 months. Median time to progression was 3.0 months (range: 1-38.3 months; 95% CI: 2.4-3.6); median overall survival 6.9 months (range: 1.2-40.2 months; 95% CI: 5.34-8.52) while the 1-year survival was 28.8%. Therapy was generally well tolerated with diarrhea and rash being the most frequent toxicities.
Conclusions: The sequential administration of docetaxel and gefitinib was well tolerated and moderately active against advanced pre-treated NSCLC.