The qualification of docetaxel or erlotinib for second-line therapy should be based on clinical and molecular predictive factors

Paweł Krawczyk, Dariusz M Kowalski, Kamila Wojas-Krawczyk, Radosław Mlak, Piotr Jaśkiewicz, Tomasz Kucharczyk, Kinga Winiarczyk, Maciej Krzakowski, Janusz Milanowski
Chemotherapy 2012, 58 (1): 60-9

BACKGROUND: We evaluated the effectiveness of docetaxel or erlotinib in second-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and focused on the impact of predictive factors on the outcome of therapy.

METHODS: 204 patients with progressive disease after platinum-based therapy were enrolled: 102 received an infusion of 75 mg/m(2) of docetaxel and 102 received 150 mg of erlotinib orally.

RESULTS: Response rate (RR) was 6.9 and 8.8% for docetaxel and erlotinib, respectively. Progression-free survival (PFS) was 1.2 months for docetaxel and 1.6 months for erlotinib (hazard ratio, HR = 1.2, p = 0.17). Overall survival was 5.5 versus 7 months for docetaxel and erlotinib, respectively (HR = 1.35, p = 0.06). Using Cox regression, we found clinical factors (performance status and weight loss) with predictive values for RR and PFS in second-line-treated patients. Prior radiotherapy, smoking status and EGFR mutation might help to predict outcome of erlotinib treatment and βIII-tubulin mRNA expression that of docetaxel, but histopathological diagnosis did not have any predictive value.

CONCLUSIONS: Erlotinib and docetaxel show similar efficacy in the treatment of NSCLC. The application of predictive factors may facilitate qualification for second-line treatment with both drugs.

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