Carboplatin–paclitaxel combination shows promise for rare form of thymus cancer
The combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel compared favorably with standard anthracycline-based chemotherapy in the treatment of thymic carcinoma, according to results of a multicenter phase 2 study.
Patients with thymic carcinoma, a rare type of thymus gland cancer, have a very poor prognosis. Previous studies have included small numbers of patients, and the potential role of non–anthracycline-based chemotherapy — a standard treatment for non–small cell lung cancer — for treatment of thymic carcinoma is unclear, according to background information in the study.
Takashi Seto, MD, of the department of thoracic oncology at National Kyushu cancer Center in Japan, and colleagues conducted a single-arm study from May 2008 through November 2010 to assess carboplatin and paclitaxel in chemotherapy-naive patients with advanced thymic carcinoma.
The analysis included 39 patients. All patients received carboplatin (area under the curve, 6) and paclitaxel 200 mg/m² every 3 weeks for up to six cycles.
Objective response rate by independent review served as the primary endpoint. OS, PFS and safety served as secondary endpoints.
Researchers reported an overall response rate of 36% (95% CI, 21-53). One patient demonstrated a complete response and 13 demonstrated a partial response. Median PFS was 7.5 months (range, 6.2-12.3). Median OS was not reached.
Thirty-four patients (87%) developed grade 3 or grade 4 neutropenia. However, researchers reported no treatment-related deaths.
The findings suggest carboplatin plus paclitaxel may be an effective chemotherapy regimen for patients with thymic carcinoma, researchers concluded.
Disclosure: See the full study for a list of the researchers’ relevant financial disclosures.