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J Clin Oncol. 2001 Nov 15;19(22):4202-8.

Phase I trial of radiation dose escalation with concurrent weekly full-dose gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, 1500 E Medical Center Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0010, USA.



The primary objective of this phase I trial was to determine the maximum-tolerated dose of radiation that could be delivered to the primary tumor concurrent with full-dose gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.


Thirty seven patients with unresectable (n = 34) or incompletely resected pancreatic cancer (n = 3) were treated. Gemcitabine was administered as a 30-minute intravenous infusion at a dose of 1,000 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. Radiation therapy was initiated on day 1 and directed at the primary tumor alone, without prophylactic nodal coverage. The starting radiation dose was 24 Gy in 1.6-Gy fractions. Escalation was achieved by increasing the fraction size in increments of 0.2 Gy, keeping the duration of radiation constant at 3 weeks. A second cycle of gemcitabine alone was intended after a 1-week rest.


Two of six assessable patients experienced dose-limiting toxicity at the final planned dose level of the trial (42 Gy in 2.8-Gy fractions), one with grade 4 vomiting and one with gastric/duodenal ulceration. Two additional patients at this dose level experienced late gastrointestinal toxicity that required surgical management.


The final dose investigated (42 Gy) is not recommended for further study considering the occurrence of both acute and late toxicity. However, a phase II trial of this novel gemcitabine-based chemoradiotherapy approach, at a radiation dose of 36 Gy in 2.4-Gy fractions, is recommended on the basis of tolerance, patterns of failure, and survival data.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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