Background: New agents with activity in mesothelioma are sorely needed. The Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) therefore performed a phase II study of high-dose paclitaxel in patients with malignant mesothelioma who had no prior chemotherapy.Patients and methods: Thirty-five patients accrued to this multi-institutional phase II study of paclitaxel given as a 24-hour infusion at 250 mg/m2 every three weeks plus filgrastim (G-CSF) 300 meg subcutaneously days 3-18.Results: There were three (9%) regressions of evaluable disease. The median survival was five months (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.9-9.6 months), the one-year survival rate was 14% and the two-year survival rate was 6%. Toxicity was tolerable with one death from pneumonia (without neutro-penia) on day 18 and a 23% rate of grade 4 granulocytopenia.Conclusions: The level of activity seen with paclitaxel is similar to that seen in other CALGB trials of the single agents carboplatin, trimetrexate and 5-azacytidine. Future studies of of paclitaxel (at lower doses) in combination with synergistic agents could be considered.
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