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Keywords:

  • chemotherapy;
  • docetaxel;
  • gemcitabine;
  • small cell lung carcinoma

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The goal of the current study was to evaluate the feasibility, toxicity, and efficacy of a novel combination of weekly docetaxel and gemcitabine for elderly patients and patients with poor performance status who had advanced-stage small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC).

METHODS

Previously untreated patients with advanced-stage SCLC were eligible for the current clinical trial. In addition, patients were required to be age > 65 years or to have poor performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 2). All patients received 800 mg/m2 gemcitabine and 30 mg/m2 docetaxel intravenously on Days 1, 8, and 15. Courses were repeated at 28-day intervals.

RESULTS

Forty patients were enrolled in the current multicenter, community-based trial. Nine patients (23%) had partial responses to treatment. The median survival for the entire group was 4 months. Fourteen percent of patients were alive at 1 year. Myelosuppression was mild to moderate, with no episodes of neutropenia and fever. Grade 3/4 fatigue (25%) was the only common nonhematologic toxicity.

CONCLUSIONS

Although relatively well tolerated, the weekly regimen of gemcitabine and docetaxel possessed only modest activity in this group of patients with unfavorable prognosis. The regimen offered no potential advantages over standard treatment approaches and is not recommended for further development. Cancer 2004. © 2004 American Cancer Society.