The combination of paclitaxel and etoposide was evaluated in a phase II study in patients with locally advanced or metastatic non small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Thirty-five patients, median age 61, received treatment with paclitaxel 200 mg/m2 intravenous over 3 h on day 1, and oral etoposide, 100 mg daily on days 1-5. Cycles were repeated every 21 days for a maximum of nine cycles, or until progression occurred. Twenty-eight patients had stage IV disease, and seven patients had stage IIIA or B disease. There was one complete and seven partial responses (overall response rate, 23%). Two of these responses were in patients with stage III disease (29%) and six in patients with stage IV disease (21%). Median survival was 8.7 months, and 36% of patients were alive at 1 year. There were no treatment-related deaths and little grade 3 or 4 non-haematological toxicity although grade 3 or 4 neutropenia occurred in 60% of patients (33% of cycles). There were four episodes of febrile neutropenia. The combination of paclitaxel and oral etoposide is active in advanced NSCLC and can be delivered with acceptable toxicity.
- Non-small cell lung cancer