, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 181-191
Date: 23 Aug 2012

Taxanes in the Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Abstract

Paclitaxel and docetaxel, drugs that bind tightly to β-tubulin and disrupt microtubule dynamics, are widely used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most common cause of cancer death in men and women living in the US. These well tolerated drugs, alone or in combination with another cytotoxic agent, have been shown to increase the survival of patients with metastatic disease or malignant effusions. Both paclitaxel and docetaxel can be combined with concurrent chest irradiation for patients with locally advanced NSCLC. The combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel, when given postoperatively to patients with stage IB NSCLC, improved survival compared with surgery alone, with little toxicity. Taxane combinations are undergoing study as adjuvant therapy for patients with other stages of operable disease. Except for a recent trial with bevacizumab, efforts to improve the efficacy of taxane/platinum combinations in patients with advanced disease by adding a third ‘targeted’ drug have thus far been unsuccessful.