Trastuzumab plus docetaxel in HER2/neu-positive non-small-cell lung cancer: A California cancer consortium screening and phase II trial

Primo N Lara, Luko Laptalo, Jeff Longmate, Derick H Lau, Regina F Gandour-Edwards, Paul H. Gumerlock, James H. Doroshow, David R Gandara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


HER2 is reported to be overexpressed in 20% of cases of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), principally adenocarcinoma. Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody against HER2 that, when combined with a taxane, improves survival compared with chemotherapy alone in advanced breast cancer. In view of these observations, we conducted a phase II HER2 screening and efficacy trial of trastuzumab plus weekly docetaxel in cases of advanced NSCLC in which primary platinum-based therapy had failed. Patients with advanced or metastatic NSCLC were screened for HER2 overexpression by immunohistochemistry. Patients with HER2-positive tumors (2+ or 3+) were initially randomized to either single-agent trastuzumab or docetaxel. After completing 2 treatment cycles, all patients went on to receive the trastuzumab/docetaxel combination regardless of response to the single agents. Treatment consisted of docetaxel 30 mg/m2 weekly for 6 weeks followed by a 2-week break and trastuzumab 4 mg/kg intravenously on week 1 followed by 2 mg/kg per week thereafter. Cycle length was 8 weeks. Sixty-nine patients with NSCLC (33 men, 36 women) were screened between August 1999 and March 2001. Only 13 patients (19%) had HER2-positive disease; all 13 enrolled in the efficacy trial. Of 9 patients receiving docetaxel alone, 1 partial response (PR) was seen. None responded to trastuzumab alone. The overall outcomes to the sequence of single-agent therapy followed by combination therapy included a PR rate in 8% of cases, stable disease in 23%, progression in 46%, and nonassessable disease in 23%. Estimated event-free and overall survival times were 4.3 and 5.7 months, respectively. Treatment was well tolerated. The screening component of this trial demonstrated that the target population for trastuzumab therapy in NSCLC is relatively small. Because of the limited clinical activity of trastuzumab-based therapy in this cohort and the similar disappointing reports from other studies of trastuzumab in NSCLC, this trial was closed to further accrual. In view of the limited target population for HER2 inhibition, future efforts and resources should be directed toward molecular targets other than HER2 in NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-236
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Lung Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Combination therapy
  • HER2 overexpression
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Taxanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Trastuzumab plus docetaxel in HER2/neu-positive non-small-cell lung cancer: A California cancer consortium screening and phase II trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this