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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 57

of 'Chemotherapy for advanced exocrine pancreatic cancer'

Clinical results of a pharmacodynamically-based strategy for higher dosing of gemcitabine in patients with solid tumors.
Touroutoglou N, Gravel D, Raber MN, Plunkett W, Abbruzzese JL
Ann Oncol. 1998;9(9):1003.
BACKGROUND: The long intracellular half-life of gemcitabine's active metabolite, difluorodeoxycytidine triphosphate (dFdCTP), suggested that small increases in peak intracellular dFdCTP levels would have a profound effect on its intracellular area under the curve (AUC). Previous studies had shown that a dose rate of 10 mg/m2/min that achieved plasma gemcitabine concentrations of 15-20 mumol/l maximized the intracellular rate of accumulation of dFdCTP. This phase I study was therefore designed to evaluate the clinical feasibility of this pharmacologically-based strategy; assessing the toxic effects and anticancer activity of high weekly doses of gemcitabine administered at a fixed dose rate of 10 mg/m2/min.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty one patients with solid tumor malignancies received 103 courses of gemcitabine. Twenty nine patients had received prior treatment. Weekly doses were escalated from 1200 mg/m2 administered intravenously over 120 minutes to 2800 mg/m2 over 280 minutes for three weeks every four weeks.
RESULTS: The first-course MTD was 2250 mg/m2.The dose-limiting toxicity was myelosuppression with thrombocytopenia and granulocytopenia quantitatively more important than anemia. However, cumulative myelosuppression was documented suggesting that a lower MTD of 1800 mg/m2 was more appropriate with a recommended phase II starting dose of 1500 mg/m2. There was no neurologic toxicity. Nonhematologic toxicity was minimal and included fatigue, nausea, and skin rash, but was not dose dependent. Three objective responses were documented.
CONCLUSIONS: Escalated doses of gemcitabine designed to maximize intracellular dFdCTP levels can be safely administered using a fixed dose rate. The encouraging anticancer effects documented in patients with refractory malignancies suggests that short gemcitabine infusions based on well-established cellular pharmacologic principles may improve the therapeutic index of this agent. Comparison with standard 30-minute bolus dosing will be evaluated in subsequent randomized phase II trials.
Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology and Digestive Diseases, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA.