Background: The docetaxel/gemcitabine (DG) combination is an active and well-tolerated regimen against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A phase II study was conducted in order to evaluate its efficacy in elderly patients with lung adenocarcinomas.
Methods: Chemotherapy-naive patients, aged > or =70 years, with locally advanced or metastatic lung adenocarcinomas and performance status (PS) < or =2 (ECOG) received gemcitabine 1100 mg/m(2) (days 1+8) and docetaxel 100 mg/m(2) (day 8) with rhG-CSF support.
Results: Seventy-seven patients were enrolled. One (1.3%) complete and 23 (29.9%) partial responses were achieved (intention to treat analysis: ORR 31.2%; 95% CI 20.82-41.51%) whereas tumor growth control was achieved in 53.3% of patients. The median TTP was 4.1 months, the median overall survival 9.4 months and the 1- and 2-year survival rate 37.9% and 10.7%, respectively. Grade 3-4 neutropenia occurred in 18.2% and febrile neutropenia in 3 (3.9%) patients. Non-haematological toxicity was mild with grade 2-3 asthenia occurring in 22.1% patients.
Conclusions: The DG regimen is an active and well-tolerated front-line chemotherapy for elderly patients with lung adenocarcinomas and merits further evaluation in prospective randomized trials.