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Sequence effect of docetaxel and carboplatin on toxicity, tumor response and pharmacokinetics in non-small-cell lung cancer patients: a phase I study of two sequences

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To investigate sequence effects on toxicity, tumor response and pharmacokinetics of docetaxel and carboplatin, together with a determination of the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and recommended dose for each schedule.

Patients and methods

A total of 46 chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer were randomized to receive docetaxel before (schedule A) or after (schedule B) carboplatin. The dose levels studied were [docetaxel (mg/m2)/carboplatin (mg×min/ml)] 50/5, 60/5, 60/6, 60/7, and 70/6. Treatment cycles were repeated every 3 or 4 weeks unless disease progression or undue toxicity occurred.


Of the 46 patients, 44 were assessable for toxicity and received a total of 84 cycles. The major dose-limiting toxicity was neutropenia. When the docetaxel dose was 60 mg/m2, the carboplatin MTD was deemed to be AUC 7 in both schedules. When the docetaxel dose was escalated to 70 mg/m2, the carboplatin MTD was reached in schedule A, and the dose-limiting toxicity was not observed in schedule B. Tumor response was observed in 4 of 22 patients (18%) with schedule A and 8 of 19 (42%) with schedule B. Clearances of both drugs were not affected by sequence: 111.2±26.8 ml/min and 107.8±29.0 ml/min for carboplatin (P=0.69), and 26.7±8.3 l/h and 22.8±7.0 l/h for docetaxel (P=0.19) in schedules A and B, respectively.


Carboplatin AUC 6 followed by docetaxel 70 mg/m2 was a favorable regimen for phase II study because of likely lower toxicity and a potentially higher response rate than the reverse sequence schedule. The mechanism of the sequence effects on toxicity and tumor response could not be explained by the pharmacokinetic interactions.

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Correspondence to Yoshinori Hasegawa.

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Supported by grants from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.

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Ando, M., Saka, H., Ando, Y. et al. Sequence effect of docetaxel and carboplatin on toxicity, tumor response and pharmacokinetics in non-small-cell lung cancer patients: a phase I study of two sequences. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 55, 552–558 (2005).

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