The emergence of novel chemotherapeutic agents with promising anticancer activity in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) during the 1990s has led to an expanded role for chemotherapy in the management of this disease. The taxanes (paclitaxel and docetaxel) are novel microtubule stabilising agents, and have become an integral part of several commonly-used chemotherapy regimens in NSCLC. Taxanes inhibit the growth of lung cancer cell lines, exhibit synergistic interaction with other chemotherapy agents and enhance the efficacy of radiation in vitro. When used in low doses (metronomic dosing), they have important antiangiogenic properties. Several Phase II and III clinical trials have established the efficacy of the taxanes, as single agents and when used in combination with a platinum compound, in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. The use of a taxane in combination with a platinum compound has become an acceptable standard for patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC. In addition to its efficacy in the first-line therapy of NSCLC, docetaxel is also the FDA-approved second-line agent for recurrent or relapsed NSCLC in the US. Several ongoing trials are comparing the efficacy of combining molecularly targeted agents with taxane-based regimens for the treatment of advanced NSCLC.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology (medical)