Background: To evaluate the activity and tolerability of gemcitabine plus irinotecan or docetaxel as first-line chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients and methods: Eligible patients with chemotherapy-naïve stage IIIIB or IV NSCLC were randomized to receive gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8, plus either irinotecan 100 mg/m 2 or docetaxel 40 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8. Treatment was administered every 3 weeks. Results: Of the 80 enrolled patients with stage IIIB or IV NSCLC, 78 were evaluable for activity and safety. Overall response rates, consisting of partial responses, were 12.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 4% to 35%] for gemcitabine-irinotecan and 23.1% (95% CI 10% to 42%) for gemcitabine-docetaxel. Median overall survival was 7.95 months (95% CI 5.2-10.2) and 12.8 months (95% CI 7.9-17.1) for gemcitabine-irinotecan and gemcitabine-docetaxel, respectively. The corresponding estimated 1-year survivals were 23% and 51%, respectively. The 2-year survival rate in arm A (gemcitabine-irinotecan) is not currently estimable. The 2-year survival rate for arm B (gemcitabine-docetaxel) is 22% (95% CI 6% to 37%). Both combinations were well tolerated; the most common hematological toxicity was neutropenia, which occurred in 26% of patients in each treatment arm. Conclusions: These results suggest that gemcitabine plus docetaxel or irinotecan is well tolerated in patients with chemotherapy-naäve advanced NSCLC. The survival data with the combination gemcitabine-docetaxel are promising. Gemcitabine-docetaxeltheraphy may be particularly useful for patients who have experienced toxicities with a platinum regimen or in patients who may be more susceptible to platinum-related toxicity.
- CALGB 39809
- Non-small cell lung cancer