Clinical results of a pharmacodynamically-based strategy for higher dosing of gemcitabine in patients with solid tumors.


Journal Article

BACKGROUND: The long intracellular half-life of gemcitabine's active metabolite, difluorodeoxycytidine triphosphate (dFdCTP), suggested that small increases in peak intracellular dFdCTP levels would have a profound effect on its intracellular area under the curve (AUC). Previous studies had shown that a dose rate of 10 mg/m2/min that achieved plasma gemcitabine concentrations of 15-20 mumol/l maximized the intracellular rate of accumulation of dFdCTP. This phase I study was therefore designed to evaluate the clinical feasibility of this pharmacologically-based strategy; assessing the toxic effects and anticancer activity of high weekly doses of gemcitabine administered at a fixed dose rate of 10 mg/m2/min. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty one patients with solid tumor malignancies received 103 courses of gemcitabine. Twenty nine patients had received prior treatment. Weekly doses were escalated from 1200 mg/m2 administered intravenously over 120 minutes to 2800 mg/m2 over 280 minutes for three weeks every four weeks. RESULTS: The first-course MTD was 2250 mg/m2. The dose-limiting toxicity was myelosuppression with thrombocytopenia and granulocytopenia quantitatively more important than anemia. However, cumulative myelosuppression was documented suggesting that a lower MTD of 1800 mg/m2 was more appropriate with a recommended phase II starting dose of 1500 mg/m2. There was no neurologic toxicity. Nonhematologic toxicity was minimal and included fatigue, nausea, and skin rash, but was not dose dependent. Three objective responses were documented. CONCLUSIONS: Escalated doses of gemcitabine designed to maximize intracellular dFdCTP levels can be safely administered using a fixed dose rate. The encouraging anticancer effects documented in patients with refractory malignancies suggests that short gemcitabine infusions based on well-established cellular pharmacologic principles may improve the therapeutic index of this agent. Comparison with standard 30-minute bolus dosing will be evaluated in subsequent randomized phase II trials.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Touroutoglou, N; Gravel, D; Raber, MN; Plunkett, W; Abbruzzese, JL

Published Date

  • September 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1003 - 1008

PubMed ID

  • 9818075

Pubmed Central ID

  • 9818075

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0923-7534

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1023/A:1008487932384


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England