Docetaxel, a semisynthetic taxane, was the first agent to show efficacy in the second-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and has since become a mainstay of NSCLC therapy. We review its mode of action, pharmacology, toxicity and efficacy and describe both its established role in the treatment of NSCLC and future directions in research. Docetaxel works primarily by promoting microtubule assembly and polymerization, and through this hyperstabilization, causes cell cycle arrest and death. The primary toxicity of docetaxel is neutropenia, which can be mitigated by weekly administration in selected patients. Less common toxicities are peripheral edema, which can be reduced by appropriate premedication and interstitial pneumonitis. Hypersensitivity reactions are less frequent than with paclitaxel. Docetaxel has shown a survival and quality of life advantage as a single agent first- and second-line versus placebo, as well as first-line in a platinum-based doublet therapy compared to a single agent. Increasingly docetaxel has also been used effectively in adjuvant regimens in earlier stages of the disease. Future areas of research include combinations with novel targeted therapies, and a greater understanding of biomarkers that might help predict efficacy and personalize therapy.
View details for PubMedID 28210107