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Cancer. 2008 Jul 15;113(2):419-25. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23586.

Combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel in the treatment of children and young adults with refractory bone sarcoma.

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Department of Oncology, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.



The combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel has demonstrated promise in sarcomas diagnosed in adults. In the current study, the toxicity and efficacy of this combination were evaluated in pediatric sarcomas.


A retrospective case review of 22 patients with recurrent or refractory bone or soft-tissue sarcomas who received gemcitabine (at a dose of 675 mg/m(2) intravenously on Days 1 and 8) and docetaxel (at a dose of 75-100 mg/m(2) intravenously on Day 8) was undertaken.


The patients (ages 8-23 years) received a total of 109 courses of chemotherapy (median, 4 courses; range, 1-13 courses). Seventeen patients had osteosarcoma, 2 patients had Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT), 1 patient had a malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH), 1 patient had a chondrosarcoma, and 1 patient had an undifferentiated sarcoma. Of the 14 patients evaluable for response, the patient with an MFH achieved a complete response (CR), 3 patients with osteosarcoma achieved a partial response (PR), and 2 patients (1 with ESFT and 1 with osteosarcoma) had stable disease (SD). The overall objective response (CR + PR) rate was 29%. Median duration of response (CR + PR + SD) was 4.8 months (range, 1.6-13 months). The toxicity was manageable and consisted primarily of thrombocytopenia and neutropenia.


In the current study, gemcitabine in combination with docetaxel was found to be well tolerated and demonstrated antitumor activity in children and adolescents with recurrent or refractory osteosarcoma and MFH. Further evaluation of this drug combination is warranted in these patients.

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