Gemcitabine (2′,2′-difluorodeoxycytidine) is a novel purine analog with clinical activity against ovarian cancer. Accumulation of gemcitabine triphosphate (dFdCTP) increases in a linear fashion with prolonged infusions of gemcitabine, and there is a strong relationship between intracellular accumulation of dFdCTP and DNA damage. Women with ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal carcinoma and documented recurrent disease were eligible for the study. Patients could not have received more than four prior lines of chemotherapy and had to have measurable or evaluable disease. Gemcitabine 800 mg/m2 administered by intravenous infusion at 10 mg/m2/min (fixed dose rate [FDR]) on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day schedule. Twenty-eight patients with a median age 60 (range, 40–77) years were treated. Although 43% were Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group 0, 50% had liver metastases. Eighty-eight cycles of therapy were delivered (median 2 [range, 1–6]). Five of the first ten patients treated at 800 mg/m2 could not receive day 8 FDR-gemcitabine because of neutropenia, and the starting dose was reduced to 700 mg/m2. Even at this dose there was cumulative hematologic toxicity resulting in dose reductions. Vomiting, mucositis, diarrhea, allergy, rash, fever, and alopecia were mild. In 28 patients, there was only one partial response (4%, 95% CI 0–18%) and median time to progression was 1.7 (interquartile range, 1.2–3.9) months. FDR-gemcitabine 700 mg/m2 administered by intravenous infusion at an FDR of 10 mg/m2/min had minimal activity against heavily pretreated recurrent tumors of müllerian origin. The optimal dose and schedule of gemcitabine is yet to be defined in this population.
- clinical trials
- ovarian cancer
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Supported in part by a grant from Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, IN).