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J Clin Oncol. 2009 Nov 20;27(33):5506-12. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2009.22.1309. Epub 2009 Oct 26.

Randomized phase II study of gemcitabine administered at a fixed dose rate or in combination with cisplatin, docetaxel, or irinotecan in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer: CALGB 89904.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA.



The relative value of gemcitabine-based combination chemotherapy therapy and prolonged infusions of gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer remains controversial. We explored the efficacy and toxicity of gemcitabine administered at a fixed dose rate or in combination with cisplatin, docetaxel, or irinotecan in a multi-institutional, randomized, phase II study.


Patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer were randomly assigned to one of the following four regimens: gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8, and 15 with cisplatin 50 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 15 (arm A); gemcitabine 1,500 mg/m(2) at a rate of 10 mg/m(2)/min on days 1, 8, and 15 (arm B); gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m(2) with docetaxel 40 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8 (arm C); or gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m(2) with irinotecan 100 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 8 (arm D). Patients were observed for response, toxicity, and survival. Results Two hundred fifty-nine patients were enrolled onto the study, of whom 245 were eligible and received treatment. Anticipated rates of myelosuppression, fatigue, and expected regimen-specific toxicities were observed. The overall tumor response rates were 12% to 14%, and the median overall survival times were 6.4 to 7.1 months among the four regimens.


Gemcitabine/cisplatin, fixed dose rate gemcitabine, gemcitabine/docetaxel, and gemcitabine/irinotecan have similar antitumor activity in metastatic pancreatic cancer. In light of recent negative randomized studies directly comparing several of these regimens with standard gemcitabine, none of these approaches can be recommended for routine use in patients with this disease.

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