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Gemcitabine in the treatment of ovarian cancer
  1. S. W. Hansen
  1. National Board of Health, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: S.W. Hansen, MD, DMSci, National Board of Health, Amaliegade 13, DK-1012 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Gemcitabine is a nucleoside antimetabolite with established activity against several solid tumors. The activity of the drug in patients with ovarian cancer has been reviewed both in patients who have received single drug treatment and in patients who have received combination chemotherapy. The response rates, with single agent gemcitabine, range from 13 to 24% both in previously treated and untreated patients. Doublets consisting of gemcitabine-cisplatin or gemcitabine-paclitaxel, in previously treated patients, induced response in 53% and 40% of the patients, respectively. In three studies, first-line treatment with the combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine induced remission in 53% to 71% of the patients. The triplet, including gemcitabine, paclitaxel, and cisplatin or carboplatin, has been examined in previously treated patients and a response rate of 100% was observed. In previously untreated patients the combination of gemcitabine, paclitaxel, and carboplatin has been preferred due to a more favorable toxicity profile. The activity of this combination, observed in 25 evaluable patients, was very high as all patients responded. Complete remission was observed in 60% of the patients and partial remission in 40%. Based on these promising data the triplet consisting of gemcitabine, paclitaxel, and carboplatin has been included in randomized trials both in the US and in Europe.

  • combination chemotherapy
  • gemcitabine
  • ovarian cancer

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