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Br J Cancer. 2009 Sep 15;101(6):908-15. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605256. Epub 2009 Aug 18.

A randomised phase III trial comparing gemcitabine with surgery-only in patients with resected pancreatic cancer: Japanese Study Group of Adjuvant Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer.

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  • 1Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Oncology Division, National Cancer Center Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.



This multicentre randomised phase III trial was designed to determine whether adjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine improves the outcomes of patients with resected pancreatic cancer.


Eligibility criteria included macroscopically curative resection of invasive ductal carcinoma of the pancreas and no earlier radiation or chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned at a 1 : 1 ratio to either the gemcitabine group or the surgery-only group. Patients assigned to the gemcitabine group received gemcitabine at a dose of 1000 mg m(-2) over 30 min on days 1, 8 and 15, every 4 weeks for 3 cycles.


Between April 2002 and March 2005, 119 patients were enrolled in this study. Among them, 118 were eligible and analysable (58 in the gemcitabine group and 60 in the surgery-only group). Both groups were well balanced in terms of baseline characteristics. Although heamatological toxicity was frequently observed in the gemcitabine group, most toxicities were transient, and grade 3 or 4 non-heamatological toxicity was rare. Patients in the gemcitabine group showed significantly longer disease-free survival (DFS) than those in the surgery-only group (median DFS, 11.4 versus 5.0 months; hazard ratio=0.60 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.40-0.89); P=0.01), although overall survival did not differ significantly between the gemcitabine and surgery-only groups (median overall survival, 22.3 versus 18.4 months; hazard ratio=0.77 (95% CI: 0.51-1.14); P=0.19).


The current results suggest that adjuvant gemcitabine contributes to prolonged DFS in patients undergoing macroscopically curative resection of pancreatic cancer.

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