The disappointing results obtained with currently available chemotherapy for lung cancer has led to the development of several new agents over the past 5 years. These include paclitaxel, docetaxel, vinorelbine, gemcitabine, and the camptothecins, irinotecan and topotecan. To date, phase I and II clinical trials with paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, and combinations containing these drugs have been performed in patients with non-small cell lung cancer in Australia. These trials have produced overall response rates of 10 to 40%, which are similar to the rates obtained in other studies with these agents. In general, the agents have been well tolerated. However, these studies cannot be compared with previous studies employing conventional chemotherapeutic agents, primarily because the results of the former studies may have been skewed due to enrollment of younger, healthier patients and a variable proportion of patients with locally advanced rather than metastatic disease. Randomized controlled trials will be needed to determine whether use of these newer agents is associated with improvements in survival, palliation, and/or toxic reactions when compared with currently used regimens.