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Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2008 Apr;8(4):511-23. doi: 10.1586/14737140.8.4.511.

Gemcitabine in the treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1Department of Medical Hematology & Oncology, Charité School of Medicine, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


Gemcitabine (2 ,2 -difluorodeoxycytidine) is a deoxycytidine-analog antimetabolite with broad activity against a variety of solid tumors and lymphoid malignancies. It was approved as standard of care in patients with pancreatic cancer one decade ago, based primarily on improvement in clinical benefit response such as pain reduction, improvement in Karnofsky performance status and increase in body weight. This article gives an overview of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine, highlights the clinical activity of gemcitabine and summarizes the treatment options in metastatic pancreatic cancer with focus on gemcitabine-based chemotherapy. The emerging role of combinations of gemcitabine with novel targeted agents, including small-molecule inhibitors and other investigational drugs, is also discussed.

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