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TAXOTERE(R) (DOCETAXEL) SHOWS PROMISING ACTIVITY BOTH IN PRETREATED AND UNTREATED NON-SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER

 JERUSALEM, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Promising results with the potent new antitumor drug, Taxotere(R) (docetaxel) in the treatment of advanced lung cancer were presented yesterday at the 7th European Conference on Clinical Oncology and Cancer Nursing (ECCO 7), in Jerusalem. Taxotere(R) inhibits cancer cell division by acting on the cell's internal skeleton.
 "Taxotere(R) undoubtedly has significant activity in non-small cell lung cancer as our study demonstrates an overall response rate of 38 percent", said Dr. James Rigas of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
 Lung cancer is one of the most common malignancies, he continued, with the majority of tumors being types other than the small cell type. Advanced disease is difficult to treat by chemotherapy, with few cytotoxic drugs shown to be effective.
 Dr. Rigas described a Phase II clinical trial with Taxotere(R) in 29 patients with locally advanced inoperable (Stage IIIB) or metastatic (Stage IV) non-small cell lung cancer. The drug was given at a dose of 100 mg/m2, as an intravenous infusion over one hour, repeated every three weeks. A major objective response was observed in 38 percent of the 29 patients, with the median duration of response being 5.3 months. None of the patients had received previous chemotherapy.
 Other similar studies have been completed by the EORTC(A) Early Clinical Trials Group in Europe, the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. These have shown response rates of 31 percent, 30 percent and 32 percent, respectively, in previously untreated patients.
 Investigators at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have also seen partial responses in 11 of 41 (27 percent) patients previously treated with cisplatin, and the San Antonio group has seen a 23 percent response rate in a similar group of patients. The main toxicity was severe neutropenia, but this was reversible, of short duration and well tolerated. Other adverse events included alopecia, skin rash and fluid retention. Premedication with corticosteroids is being evaluated at present to improve the side-effect profile.
 Taxotere(R) was selected for evaluation in Phase II studies in non-small cell lung cancer because of promising activity found in preclinical and Phase I studies. Taxotere(R) has been found to inhibit cancer cell division by acting on the cell's internal skeleton, which is made up of elements called microtubules. Microtubules assemble and disassemble during the cell cycle, but Taxotere(R) blocks the disassembly, thus preventing cancer cells from dividing.
 There are four main histological types of lung cancer. Small cell carcinoma is always considered separately as it has a different and more aggressive natural history, while adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and large cell carcinomas are often described collectively as non-small cell lung cancer.
 (A) The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer.
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Date:Nov 15, 1993
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