Randomized clinical trials have shown that combinations of chemotherapy plus thoracic radiation improve survival compared with radiotherapy alone in stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Furthermore, two recent studies have concluded that concurrent chemoradiotherapy produces superior results to sequential administration. Dependent on the dose and schedule used, chemotherapy may contribute by eradicating distant micrometastases by improving local control as a radiosensitizer, or through both mechanisms. In general, sequential approaches in which full-dose platinum-based chemotherapy precedes thoracic radiation or surgery have improved outcome by impacting distant metastases. In contrast, concurrent chemoradiotherapy using low-dose cisplatin is reported to improve survival by reducing local recurrence without an impact on distant failure rates. In view of these observations, chemoradiotherapy strategies integrating both radiosensitizing agents and dose levels of chemotherapy effective against micrometastases may prove to be most efficacious. Because distant metastases remain the major site of failure, it also is likely that more effective chemotherapy will be required to further improve the current level of response and survival. Fortunately, several newly available chemotherapeutic agents are both highly active against NSCLC and are potent radiosensitizers. In this report we review recent data regarding integration of new chemotherapeutic agents into chemoradiotherapy programs in stage III NSCLC, focusing on trials investigating docetaxel. Encouraging results, including those of the Southwest Oncology Group trial 9504, suggest that docetaxel will play a major role in the future of combined-modality therapy for locally advanced NSCLC.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Seminars in Oncology|
|Issue number||3 SUPPL. 9|
|State||Published - 2001|
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