Docetaxel in non-small cell lung cancer

Author(s): Pierre-Jean Souquet and Laurence Geriniere

Docetaxel is a semisynthetic taxane, targeting the β subunit of tubulin, with a broad spectrum anticancer activity, not only in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but also in breast and prostate cancer. Docetaxel in combination with cisplatin is now a standard strategy in the first-line treatment of advanced NSCLC (with >30% objective response rate and a median survival of 10–12 months) and has been approved for use in this setting. As a single agent, docetaxel has also been approved in the second-line setting. Ongoing trials are investigating a method for the association of docetaxel with thoracic radiotherapy, and how to integrate docetaxel in multimodality treatment of earlier stage NSCLC (before surgery or after concurrent thoracic radiotherapy and platinum-based doublets). The toxicity profile of docetaxel and the facility of its administration in an out-patient setting are supporting arguments for its use.