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Br J Cancer. 1997;76(11):1489-93.

Phase I study of gemcitabine using a once every 2 weeks schedule.

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University Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


Gemcitabine (2',2'-difluorodeoxycytidine) is a novel nucleoside analogue. As part of a series of studies to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of gemcitabine and the most appropriate schedule, a two-centre phase I study of gemcitabine was undertaken in patients with advanced refractory solid tumours using a once every 2 weeks schedule. Fifty-two patients were entered into the study at 14 different dose levels (40-5700 mg m-2). Weekly evaluations for toxicity were performed and the MTD for this once every 2 weeks schedule was 5700 mg m-2. The dose-limiting toxicity was myelosuppression, with neutropenia being most significant. Other toxicities were nausea, vomiting, fever and asthenia. One minor response was seen in a heavily pretreated breast cancer patient treated at 1200 mg m-2. Preclinical studies suggest that the efficacy of gemcitabine is more schedule than dose related, and it is concluded that this is not the most appropriate dosing schedule for gemcitabine. However, this study demonstrates the safety profile of gemcitabine, as doses over fourfold greater than that recommended for the weekly schedule of 1000 mg m-2 could be tolerated.

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