Comparison of Single Agent Gemcitabine and Docetaxel in Second-Line Therapy for Advanced Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in a University Hospital in Turkey


Purpose: To compare the efficacy and toxicity of gemcitabine versus docetaxel in a second-line setting of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients previously treated with platin-based combination chemotherapy. Materials and
Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the medical records of 57 patients treated with single agent gemcitabine or docetaxel in second-line setting of advanced NSCLC who received one prior platinumbased therapy.
Results: The mean age was 56.7±8.39 years with 55 ( 96.5%) males and two (3.5%) females. Forty of them received docetaxel and 17 gemcitabine. The mean number of chemotherapy cycles was 6.8±4.0 in the gemcitabine group, while it was 4.6±3.0 in the docetaxel group. Overall response rates were 8% and 12% (P=0.02) for gemcitabine and docetaxel, respectively. The median survival time was 22 versus 21 months for gemcitabine and docetaxel, respectively. The median times to progression were 8 and 5 months. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of incidence of adverse affects (40% vs 47.1%). All of the hematological side effects were grade 1/2. No major toxicity was encountered necessitating stopping the drug for either group.
Conclusions: Treatment with gemcitabine demonstrated clinically equivalent efficacy with a significantly improved safety profile compared with those receiving docetaxel in the second-line setting for advanced NSCLC in this study. Based on these results, treatment with gemcitabine should be considered a standard treatment option for second-line NSCLC.