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Trop Gastroenterol. 2005 Jul-Sep;26(3):115-8.

A phase II study of gemcitabine and cisplatin in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

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  • 1Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India.


The primary objective of this study was to determine the response rates of a combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in Indian patients. The secondary objectives were to evaluate the toxicity, time to progressive disease and overall survival for this combination. Chemonaive patients with histopathologically proven, bidimensionally measurable, stage Ill or IV unresectable HCC were enrolled into this study. All the patients were required to have a Zubrod's performance status not greater than 2, should not have undergone prior radiotherapy and were required to have adequate major organ function. Patients received gemcitabine (1250 mg/m2 intravenously over 30 to 60 min) on days 1 and 8, and cisplatin (70 mg/m2 intravenously over 2 hours) on day land every 21 days. Response assessment was done by a Computed Tomography scan after every two cycles of chemotherapy. From May to December 1999, 30 patients were enrolled in the study; they were all eligible for efficacy and toxicity analysis. Six (20%) patients achieved a partial response and 13 (43%) patients demonstrated stable disease with 11 (37%) patients showing disease progression. The median time to progression was 18 weeks (range 1 to 74 weeks) and the median duration of response was 13 weeks (range 4 to 68 weeks). The 1-year survival rate was 27% and the median overall survival was 21 weeks (95% CI: 17 to 43 weeks). WHO grade 3 and 4 anemia was seen in 11 (37%) and 2 (7%) patients, respectively. Four (13%) patients each experienced grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and grade 3 and 4 thrombocytopenia was seen in 2 (7%) patients each. Major, non-hematologic toxicities were grade 4 elevated bilirubin levels and grade 3 oral toxicity, in 1 patient (3%) each. This regimen was well tolerated and did show activity in Indian patients with advanced unresectable HCC. There is a need to further evaluate this combination in order to define its role in the treatment of HCC.

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