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Clin Lung Cancer. 2002 May;3(4):254-8.

Temozolomide in non-small-cell lung cancer: preliminary results of a phase II trial in previously treated patients.

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Department of Medical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


Virtually all patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) relapse. Docetaxel has an established, Food and Drug Administration-approved role as salvage therapy in previously treated, platinum-exposed patients. However, the response rate in phase III studies is < 15%, and median survival is only 6-8 months. Temozolomide, a novel triazene derivative with activity in melanoma and anaplastic astrocytoma, has demonstrated activity in C26 adenocarcinoma, Lewis lung cancer, and in phase I studies. A phase II trial was mounted using a unique schedule of oral temozolomide 75 mg/m2 daily for 6 weeks every 8-10 weeks, in patients with previously treated, advanced, incurable NSCLC. Eligibility stipulated an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (PS) of 0-2, adequate end organ function, up to 1 prior chemotherapy for advanced (relapsed or metastatic) disease, and up to 1 prior regimen in the context of radiosensitization, adjuvant therapy, or induction. From March 2000 through January 2002, 47 patients (24 male, 23 female) were enrolled. The median age was 67 years. Sixteen patients had a PS of 2, 22 had a PS of 1, and 9 had a PS of 0. It was too early to evaluate 9 patients. Toxicity, with the exception of mild nausea and thrombocytopenia, was negligible. Three patients had a delayed recovery of platelets prompting discontinuation of treatment. Of the 38 evaluable patients, 1 patient had a complete response, 2 patients had a partial response, 12 had stable disease, and 19 had disease progression. Four patients were not evaluable. Six patients died within 30 days of taking temozolomide; 5 of these deaths were not related to treatment upon review by an independent data safety monitoring committee. Temozolomide, using a unique 6-week continuous schedule, has demonstrated activity in the salvage therapy of advanced NSCLC. Toxicity is modest, and accrual to this study continues.


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