BackgroundSecond-line chemotherapy offers advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients a small, but significant increase in survival. Docetaxel is usually administered as a 3-week schedule, yet there is significant toxicity with this therapy. Therefore, a weekly schedule has been explored in several previous trials. In this retrospective study, we compared the efficacy and safety of a weekly schedule and a 3-week schedule of docetaxel monotherapy in a second-line setting.MethodsDocetaxel was administered as 75 mg/m2 on day 1 every 3 weeks or as 37.5 mg/m2 on day 1 and 8 every 3 weeks until disease progression or severe toxicity developed.ResultsFrom October 2003 to March 2006, a total of 37 patients received docetaxel monotherapy and 36 patients could be evaluated. A total of 135 cycles were administered and then evaluated. The median overall survival was 13.3 months (95% confidence interval: 6.3~20.3) for the weekly schedule and 10.7 months (95% confidence interval: 8.3~13.0) for the 3-week schedule (p=0.41). The median time to progression was 3.0 months (95% confidence interval: 1.9~4.0) and 2.8 months (95% confidence interval: 1.0~4.6), respectively (p=0.41). The response rate was 16.7% for the weekly schedule and 21.1% for the 3-week schedule. The major form of hematologic toxicity was grade 3-4 neutropenia (3-week: 38.9%, weekly: 9.5%). The non-hematologic toxicities were similar between the two schedules. There were no treatment-related deaths.ConclusionsA docetaxel weekly schedule was very tolerable and it had comparable activity to that of the 3-week docetaxel schedule. Considering the efficacy and tolerability, a docetaxel weekly schedule can be an alternative schedule for the standard treatment of NSCLC in a second-line setting.
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