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BMC Cancer. 2006 May 24;6:137.

A phase II trial of a biweekly combination of paclitaxel and gemcitabine in metastatic breast cancer.

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Department of Clinical Oncology, Regina Elena Cancer Institute of Rome, Via Chianesi, 53, 00100 Rome, Italy.



Many emerging new drugs have recently been trialled for treatment of early and advanced breast cancer. Among these new agents paclitaxel and gemcitabine play a crucial role, mostly in patients with relapsed and metastatic disease after failure of chemotherapy with antracyclines.


A phase II study was started in order to evaluate the activity and toxicity of a combination of paclitaxel and gemcitabine in a biweekly schedule on metastatic breast cancer patients previously treated with antracyclines.


Twenty-five patients received paclitaxel (150 mg/mq) by 3-hours infusion, followed by gemcitabine (2000 mg/mq) given as a 60 min i.v. infusion (day 1-14) for a maximum of eight cycles. In all patients treatment was evaluated for toxicity and efficacy; four patients (16%) achieved a complete response, 12 (48%) a partial response giving an overall objective response rate of 64%. Stable disease was documented in 5 patients (20%) and progressive disease occurred in 4 patients (16%).


The schedule of treatment was safe and tolerable from a haematological and non-haematological point of view. These data confirm that the combination of gemcitabine and paclitaxel on a biweekly basis is an effective and well-tolerated regimen in breast cancer patients with prior therapeutic exposure to antracyclines.

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