Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in industrialised countries, with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounting for the majority of cases. A large proportion of patients present with advanced disease and are >65 years of age at the time of diagnosis. Systemic chemotherapy may be offered in an effort to improve survival and quality of life (QOL). Chemotherapy with platinum-based compounds has been shown to modestly improve survival and QOL, and is considered the standard of care as first-line treatment in patients with a good performance status. The last decade has seen the emergence of newer generation chemotherapy agents for the treatment of all cancer types. We review the evidence for the use of docetaxel, an antimicrotubular agent, in patients with advanced NSCLC. In this review, we evaluate not only the effects of docetaxel on survival, but also its impact on QOL and economic issues. Docetaxel is a potent anticancer agent with activity both as a single agent or in combination, and is used both as a first- and second-line treatment in advanced NSCLC. The improvements observed in patients' QOL and the cost effectiveness of docetaxel make it a very reasonable choice in older patients with good performance status and advanced disease who are candidates for chemotherapy.