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Br J Cancer. 2003 Nov 17;89(10):1865-9.

Prospective randomised phase II study of gemcitabine at standard or fixed dose rate schedule in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Tumor Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, Medical Sciences, East Dongfeng Road, Guangzhou 510060, PR China.


The present randomised phase II study was an effort to evaluate single-agent gemcitabine as a first-line systemic treatment of Asian patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Gemcitabine was given via intravenous infusion at 1250 mg m(-2) on days 1 and 8 of 3-week cycles. Patients were randomised to receive gemcitabine as a 30-min intravenous infusion (standard schedule) or at a fixed dose rate (FDR) of 10 mg m(-2) min(-1). A total of 50 patients were enrolled in the study, of whom 48 received study therapy. One patient on standard schedule had a partial response, for an overall response rate of 2.1% (95% CI: 0.05-11.1%). The median time to progression and survival time were 46 and 97 days, respectively. The overall rates of Grade 3 or 4 haematological and nonhaematological toxicities were 39.6 and 64.6%, respectively, with no significant difference between the two treatment arms. There were no drug-related deaths and severe clinical toxicities were rare. Both schedules of gemcitabine were safe and toxicity was well manageable in this patient population. However, gemcitabine seems no more active than other cytotoxic agents when used alone for systemic treatment of advanced HCC.

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