Author(s): Neubauer M, Hanna N, McGarry R, Yiannoutsos C, Arseneau J
PURPOSE: Concurrent chemoradiotherapy is standard treatment for patients with inoperable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A phase II study by the Southwest Oncology Group using consolidation docetaxel after cisplatin (P), etoposide (E), and radiation (XRT) resulted in a median survival time (MST) of 26 months. This randomized phase III trial evaluated whether consolidation docetaxel was responsible for this improved survival. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eligible patients had stage IIIA or IIIB NSCLC, baseline performance status of 0 to 1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second >or= 1 L, and less than 5% weight loss. Patients received P 50 mg/m(2) intravenously (IV) on days 1, 8, 29, and 36 and E 50 mg/m(2) IV on days 1-5 and 29-33 concurrently with chest XRT to 59.40 Gy. Patients who did not experience progression were randomly assigned to docetaxel 75 mg/m(2) IV every 21 days for three cycles versus observation. The primary end point was to compare overall survival (Kaplan-Meier analysis). RESULTS: On the basis of evidence of futility, a data and safety monitoring board recommended early termination after an analysis of the initial 203 patients. Patient characteristics (n = 203) were as follows: 34% female; median age, 63 years; 39.4% stage IIIA; and 60.6% stage IIIB. One hundred forty-seven (72.4%) of 203 patients were randomly assigned to docetaxel (n = 73) or observation (n = 74). Grade 3 to 5 toxicities during docetaxel included febrile neutropenia (10.9%) and pneumonitis (9.6%); 28.8% of patients were hospitalized during docetaxel (v 8.1% in observation arm), and 5.5% died as a result of docetaxel. The MST for all patients (n = 203) was 21.7 months; MST was 21.2 months for docetaxel arm compared with 23.2 months for observation arm (P = .883). CONCLUSION: Consolidation docetaxel after PE/XRT results in increased toxicities but does not further improve survival compared with PE/XRT alone in patients with stage III inoperable NSCLC.