- BACKGROUND: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was designed to assess whether the addition of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor BMS-275291 to combined paclitaxel and carboplatin chemotherapy had an adverse impact on expected tumor response or had significant toxicity, especially arthrotoxicity, in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventy-five chemotherapy-naive patients with stage IIIB-IV NSCLC were randomly assigned to BMS-275291 or placebo. All patients received paclitaxel 200mg/m(2) as a continuous 3-hour infusion followed by carboplatin calculated using the Calvert formula for a target AUC of 6 mg / (ml min), every 21 days for a maximum of eight cycles. BMS-275291 or placebo was administered on an outpatient basis at a daily oral dosage of 1200 mg. RESULTS: All 75 patients were evaluable for toxicity and 65 (86.7%) for response. Drug-related arthrotoxicity > or =grade 2 occurred in 12 patients (31.6%) in the BMS-275291 group (lower limit of one-sided 95% CI: 19.3) and in 11 patients (29.7%) in the placebo treatment arm. The incidence of rash was higher in patients receiving BMS-275291 (28.9% versus 18.9%). An objective response rate of 21.9% was observed in the BMS-275291 treatment arm and 36.4% in the placebo arm. CONCLUSION: BMS-275291 plus paclitaxel/carboplatin was well tolerated and active in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Treatment with BMS-275291 was not limited by drug-related arthrotoxicity and tumor response was as expected. As planned, patient accrual continued to further investigate the effect of BMS-275291 on overall and progression-free survival in a phase III setting.