Tests involving the use of Taxotere to treat advanced non-small celllung cancer showed a 38 percent response rate among patients whoparticipated in the study at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering CancerCenter.The results were released Tuesday at the 7th World Conference onLung Cancer in Colorado Springs, Colo. The study was part of Rhone-Poulenc Rorer's Phase II clinical trials for Taxotere at three U.S. sitesand several other locations outside the country. The other two U.S.sites were M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the SanAntonio Cancer Therapy and Research Center.Bob Pearson, Rhone-Poulenc's director of product communications,said the Phase II tests have been concluded. Overall the response ratefor Taxotere in treatment of lung cancer was between 31 and 38percent, he said. The typical response rate for patients treated withchemotherapy is 10 percent to 20 percent.Pearson said the Collegeville, Pa., company plans to file a new drugapplication (NDA) with the FDA and with regulatory bodies worldwidein the next few months seeking approval to market Taxotere. Rhone-Poulenc already has an NDA under review in Japan for Taxotere in thetreatment of non-small cell lung cancer and breast cancer. Pearson saidthe company likely will target the same two cancers in its other NDAs.Non-small lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer and isthe leading cause of cancer death in men and women in industrializedcountries.Taxotere is a semisynthetic compound related to the cancer treatmenttaxol, whose source is the bark of the yew tree. Taxotere is derivedfrom the needles of the same tree.In the Sloan-Kettering study, 11 of the 29 lung cancer patients treatedwith Taxotere exhibited a partial response to the drug _ a 50 percentor greater reduction in measurable tumor size. The participatingpatients had stage IIIB or stage IV non-small cell lung cancer and hadnot been treated with prior chemotherapy.The most effective dosage, the study showed, was 100 milligramsadministered intravenously for one hour every three weeks. Sideeffects, such as infusion-related reactions, fluid retention and rashes,were less common when patients were premedicated with Prednisone.Pearson said tests have revealed that advanced lung cancer patientstreated with Taxotere experience a median survival of about 47 weeks,compared to less than 30 weeks with chemotherapy.Taxotere also is in clinical trials for treatment of breast, ovarian andpancreatic cancer. n

-- Charles Craig

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