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Introduction: Platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) is expressed in lung cancer and is involved in angiogenesis. Preclinical models demonstrated that imatinib (Im) regulates angiogenesis through PDGFR inhibition and enhances efficacy of chemotherapy. Hypothesis: We hypothesized that Im plus docetaxel (D) would have a synergistic effect detectable by an increase in response rate in patients with recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Methods: A phase II trial to evaluate Im in combination with D in patients with recurrent NSCLC was conducted. The primary end point was response rate, using a Simon two-stage design. Eligible patients had measurable disease and no more than two chemotherapy regimens. D was given at 30 mg/m2/wk intravenously x3 every 4 weeks and oral Im at 600 mg daily for four cycles. Patients required two cycles to be evaluable for response. Nonprogressors after four cycles continued with Im maintenance until progression or for a total of 12 months.

Results: Twenty-three patients were enrolled in the first stage. Toxicity was mainly nonhematologic. We observed one partial response (5.5%), four stable disease (22.2%), and 13 progressed (72.2%). Median time to progression was 1.9 months, and median overall survival was 6.1 months. Two patients who went on Im maintenance had time to progression of 7.78 months and 15.8 months.

Conclusion: Im in combination with D did not achieve its primary objective of improving response rate in patients with recurrent NSCLC. An increased understanding of the complex PDGFR pathway in lung cancer and alternative strategies to inhibit it are needed.

(C) 2011International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer