- Current cytotoxic therapy has been of limited benefit to patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Single agent chemotherapy has been extensively evaluated in small series of phase II clinical trials, with disappointing responses. Docetaxel, an effective taxane in the treatment of advanced breast cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer, was administered intravenously at a dose of 100 mg/m2 every 3 weeks to 30 chemotherapy naive patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma in a prospective multi-institutional phase II clinical trial. An objective response rate (partial responses) of 10% was documented. Additionally, 21% of the patients had minor responses (intention-to-treat analysis). Three patients died within 2 weeks post-first cycle of therapy, although only one patient's death was directly attributed to the investigational drug, whilst in the majority of the patients, manageable and treatable toxicities were encountered. In this phase II clinical trial, docetaxel proved to be mildly effective in the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.