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Keywords:

  • nonsmall cell lung cancer;
  • cetuximab;
  • epidermal growth factor receptor;
  • carboplatin;
  • docetaxel

Abstract

BACKGROUND.

Cetuximab, an immunoglobulin (Ig) G1 chimeric monoclonal antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor, has demonstrated evidence of activity in nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). When administered in combination with carboplatin and docetaxel, a commonly used regimen for advanced NSCLC, cetuximab has exhibited synergistic interaction in preclinical studies. Therefore, a phase 2 study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of the combination of cetuximab, carboplatin, and docetaxel for the treatment of advanced NSCLC.

METHODS.

Chemotherapy-naïve patients aged ≥18 years with stage IIIB (with effusion) or stage IV NSCLC received cetuximab (at a dose of 400 mg/m2 on Day 1 and 250 mg/m2 on Days 8 and 15) plus docetaxel (at a dose of 75 mg/m2 on Day 1) and carboplatin (area under the concentration vs time curve [AUC] = 6 on Day 1) every 21 days for up to 6 cycles (graded according to the American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging System). Thereafter, patients without evidence of disease progression were continued on single-agent cetuximab for a maximum of 1 year or until disease progression. The primary endpoint was response rate.

RESULTS.

Eighty patients were enrolled. The median number of cycles administered was 4 (range, 1-6 cycles). The objective response rate was 15.2%, with a median progression-free survival of 4.6 months and a median overall survival of 10.3 months. The salient grades 3 of 4 adverse events were neutropenia (30%), hypotension (3%), hypokalemia (4%), and hypomagnesemia (3%). Twenty-five patients received single-agent cetuximab (median duration, 12 weeks) and this was well tolerated.

CONCLUSIONS.

The results of this large, multicenter, phase 3 study indicate that the novel combination of cetuximab with docetaxel and carboplatin demonstrate modest anticancer activity for patients with advanced and metastatic NSCLC and has an acceptable toxicity profile. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.