Background: Weight loss predicts a poor prognosis for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. Tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) is a mediator of this weight loss, yet no studies have tested infliximab, an IgG monoclonal antibody that blocks the binding of TNFα to its p55 and p75 receptors, for this indication. The safety and pharmacokinetics of infliximab in combination with docetaxel, a commonly used chemotherapy agent for non-small-cell lung cancer, were explored in this pilot study. Methods/Results: Four patients with metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer were treated initially with infliximab 5 mg/kg per day intravenously once a week on weeks 1, 3 and 5, and docetaxel 36 mg/m2 per day intravenously once a week on weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of an 8-week treatment cycle. Therapy was well tolerated with no grade 4 or 5 adverse events. Maximal serum concentrations of infliximab at 1, 3 and 5 weeks were (mean±SD) 108±11, 135±19, and 139±6 μg/ml, respectively, and appeared similar to historical concentrations from non-cancer patients not receiving concomitant chemotherapy (144±68 μg/ml). One patient manifested weight stability. One patient manifested a partial tumor response, one stable disease, and two disease progression. Median survival within the cohort was 203 days (range 111 to 324 days). Conclusions: The above combination appears safe, and docetaxel does not appear to increase serum concentrations of infliximab. A larger study testing the role of this combination for weight loss in non-small-cell lung cancer patients is ongoing and utilizes the doses described above.
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