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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 84

of 'Chemotherapy for advanced exocrine pancreatic cancer'

Biweekly high-dose gemcitabine alone or in combination with capecitabine in patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma: a randomized phase II trial.
Scheithauer W, Schüll B, Ulrich-Pur H, Schmid K, Raderer M, Haider K, Kwasny W, Depisch D, Schneeweiss B, Lang F, Kornek GV
Ann Oncol. 2003;14(1):97.
BACKGROUND: Gemcitabine is an active antitumor agent in the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer, and has shown potential synergistic activity with the oral fluoropyrimidine capecitabine in previous phase I/II trials. Based on this background and in order to define the therapeutic potential and tolerance of this combination more precisely, the present randomized multicenter phase II trial was initiated.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We prospectively randomized 83 patients to treatment with biweekly gemcitabine 2,200 mg/m(2) given as a 30 min intravenous infusion on day 1, or the same treatment plus oral capecitabine 2,500 mg/m(2) given from days 1 to 7. In both arms, chemotherapy was administered for a duration of 6 months unless there was prior evidence of progressive disease. The efficacy of the two treatment arms was evaluated according to standard criteria, i.e. objective response, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS), as well as by analysis of clinical benefit response.
RESULTS: The overall objective response rate among the 42 patients treated with gemcitabine alone was 14% compared with 7/41 (17%) among those treated with the combination arm. Similar to response rates, there was no apparent difference between the two groups in terms of median PFS (4.0 versus 5.1 months) and median OS (8.2 versus 9.5 months) in the gemcitabine and combination arm, respectively. Of 61 patients with tumor-related symptoms, who were considered evaluable for clinical benefit response, 10/30 (33%) and 15/31 (48.4%) experienced significant palliation in the gemcitabine and combination arm, respectively. Chemotherapy was well tolerated in both arms with only four versus six patients experiencing WHO grade 3 symptoms. Apart from the occurrence of hand-foot syndrome in 10 patients, no major increase in incidence and/or degree of adverse reactions was noted in the combination arm.
CONCLUSIONS: Results of this trial suggest a fairly good therapeutic index for the combination of biweekly high-dose gemcitabine and capecitabine for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. Despite a somewhat superior clinical benefit response rate, no advantage over single-agent gemcitabine, however, was noted in terms of objective efficacy parameters.
Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine I, Vienna University Medical School, Vienna, Austria. werner.scheithauer@akh-wein.ac.at