Docetaxel vs. vinorelbine in elderly patients with advanced non--small-cell lung cancer: a hellenic oncology research group randomized phase III study

Clin Lung Cancer. 2011 May;12(3):155-60. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2011.03.015. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Background/purpose: This study compared front-line treatment with docetaxel or vinorelbine in elderly patients with advanced/metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Patients and methods: Chemotherapy-naive patients with inoperable stage IIIB and stage IV NSCLC who were > 65 years of age with performance status (PS) of 0-2 were enrolled. Patients were assigned to receive either docetaxel 38 mg/m(2) or vinorelbine 25 mg/m(2) by intravenous (I.V.) infusion on days 1 and 8 every 3 weeks.

Results: One hundred thirty elderly patients were enrolled in the study (docetaxel n = 66 and vinorelbine n = 64 patients). The objective response rate was 12.1% and 14.1% in patients treated with docetaxel and vinorelbine, respectively (2P = .799). The median time to tumor progression (TTP) was 2.33 and 1.9 months (2P = .298) and the median overall survival (OS) was 6.07 and 3.87 months (2P = .090) in the docetaxel and vinorelbine arms, respectively. Grade 3/4 neutropenia occurred in 4.5% and 29.7% of patients in the docetaxel arm and vinorelbine arm, respectively (2P < .001). Febrile neutropenia occurred in 1.5% and 1.6% of patients in the docetaxel arm and the vinorelbine arm, respectively (2P = .950) and the use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) was more frequent in patients treated with vinorelbine (37.1% vs. 22.5%; 2P < .001). There were no deaths from toxicity. Nonhematologic toxicity was mild.

Conclusions: Docetaxel has an efficacy comparable to that of vinorelbine as first-line treatment in elderly patients with NSCLC and has an acceptable toxicity profile. The trial was closed prematurely because of low accrual, thus limiting the strength of the conclusions derived.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Docetaxel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Taxoids / adverse effects
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use*
  • Vinblastine / adverse effects
  • Vinblastine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vinblastine / therapeutic use
  • Vinorelbine


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Vinblastine
  • Vinorelbine