A randomized phase III study of the docetaxel/carboplatin combination versus docetaxel single-agent as second line treatment for patients with advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer

BMC Cancer. 2010 Nov 19;10:633. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-10-633.


Background: To compare the activity and toxicity of docetaxel/carboplatin (DC) doublet vs single agent docetaxel (D) as second-line treatment in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: Patients pre-treated with front-line platinum-free regimens, were randomized to receive either docetaxel/carboplatin (DC), (docetaxel 50 mg/m2; carboplatin AUC4; both drugs administered on days 1 and 15) or docetaxel single-agent (D), (docetaxel 50 mg/m2 on days 1 and 15).

Results: Response rate was similar between the two arms (DC vs D: 10.4% vs 7.7%; p = 0.764). After a median follow-up time of 28.0 months for DC arm and 34.5 months for D arm, progression free survival (PFS) was significantly higher in the DC arm (DC vs D:3.33 months vs 2.60 months; p-value = 0.012), while no significant difference was observed in terms of overall survival (OS) (DC vs D: 10.3 months vs 7.70 months; p-value = 0.550). Chemotherapy was well-tolerated and grade III/IV toxicities were relatively infrequent. No toxic deaths were observed.

Conclusions: This study has not achieved its primary objective of significant OS prolongation with docetaxel/carboplatin combination over single-agent docetaxel in patients who had not received front-line docetaxel; however, the docetaxel/carboplatin combination was associated with a significant clinical benefit in terms of PFS.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Docetaxel
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Carboplatin