Background: Combination radiation and chemotherapy has an intuitive appeal for improving cancer treatment. Experimental results suggest that paclitaxel plus radiation might produce additive or synergistic effects. Methods: A series of phase I and II trials to test tolerance and begin to evaluate effectiveness were performed on patients with non-small cell lung cancer, high-grade astrocytic brain tumors, and pancreatic and gastric cancers. Results: Tolerance of the combined drug and radiation programs was generally good. Esophagitis was dose-limiting for the intrathoracic tumors. Hematologic toxicity was mild, but peripheral neuritis and cutaneous reactions were common. Conclusions: These trials show that paclitaxel plus concurrent radiation is feasible at the dose levels and schedules tested. Antitumor responses have been observed.
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