Skip to main content
Log in

Safety and pharmacokinetic trial of docetaxel plus an Astragalus-based herbal formula for non-small cell lung cancer patients

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology Aims and scope Submit manuscript



To study a commonly used Astragalus-based herbal formula previously found effective in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) on the pharmacokinetics of docetaxel in patients with NSCLC.


Patients with advanced NSCLC who progressed after prior platinum-containing chemotherapy were accrued and received docetaxel at 35 mg/m2 for 3 weeks followed by 1 week of rest. At 4 days prior to the second dosing, Jinfukang was given orally. Pharmacokinetic studies of initial-dose docetaxel (in the absence of Jinfukang) and the third dose (in the presence of Jinfukang) were compared.


Of the 24 patients enrolled, 21 started Jinfukang and docetaxel. Jinfukang had no significant impact on the pharmacokinetics of docetaxel. Median time to progression or withdrawal from treatment was 7 weeks. Twelve patients were removed from study for progression of disease; nine patients withdrew.


Jinfukang did not alter the pharmacokinetics of docetaxel nor appear to affect survival in this study.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Socinski MA, Morris DE, Masters GA, Lilenbaum R (2003) Chemotherapeutic management of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. Chest 123:226S–243S

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Liu J, Shi Z, Li H, Xu Z, Zhu Y, Zhao L et al (2001) Clinical observation on 271 cases of non-small lung cancer treated with Yifei Kangliu Yin (Jin Fu Kang). Chin J Integr Tradit West Med 7:247–250

    Google Scholar 

  3. McCulloch M, See C, Shu XJ, Broffman M, Kramer A, Fan WY, Gao J, Lieb W, Shieh K, Colford JM Jr (2006) Astragalus-based Chinese herbs and platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer: meta-analysis of randomized trials. J Clin Oncol 24:419–430

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Liu J PM, Li Y, Ye D, Guo Y, Li Y (2001) Clinical study of oral liquid Jin Fu Kang for the treatment of primary non-small cell lung cancer. Tumor (Shanghai) 21:463–465

    Google Scholar 

  5. Madabushi R, Frank B, Drewelow B, Derendorf H, Butterweck V (2006) Hyperforin in St. John’s wort drug interactions. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 62:225–233

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Meijerman I, Beijnen JH, Schellens JH (2006) Herb–drug interactions in oncology: focus on mechanisms of induction. Oncologist 11:742–752

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Bhargava P, Marshall JL, Fried K, Williams M, Lefebvre P, Dahut W, Hanfelt J, Gehan E, Figuera M, Hawkins MJ, Rizvi NA (2001) Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of two sequences of gemcitabine and docetaxel administered weekly to patients with advanced cancer. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 48:95–103

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Vergniol JC, Bruno R, Montay G, Frydman A (1992) Determination of Taxotere in human plasma by a semi-automated high-performance liquid chromatographic method. J Chromatogr 582:273–278

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center under the Integrative Medicine/Translational Research Grant, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) under grant 1-P50-AT002779-01. We thank Drs. Azoli, Fiori, Krug and other oncologists of the MSKCC Thoracic Oncology Service who accrued patients to this study, James Lozada, and other research assistants for their important efforts, and our patients for their willingness to participate in this clinical trial.

Conflict of interest statement

Dr. Mark G. Kris received lecture fees from Sanofi Aventis, the maker of Docetaxel. The remaining authors have no conflict of interest regarding this study.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Barrie R. Cassileth.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cassileth, B.R., Rizvi, N., Deng, G. et al. Safety and pharmacokinetic trial of docetaxel plus an Astragalus-based herbal formula for non-small cell lung cancer patients. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 65, 67–71 (2009).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: