Combining gemcitabine with radiation in pancreatic cancer: Understanding important variables influencing the therapeutic index

Journal Article

We compared and evaluated available laboratory and clinical data on the use of concurrent gemcitabine (Gemzar; Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN) and radiation in pancreatic cancer to provide guidance for subsequent prospective research initiatives. Preclinical data suggest that the timing of administration of gemcitabine with respect to radiotherapy is important, but this issue has not yet been confirmed by clinical data. Phase I clinical data indicate that the amount of acute toxicity from the combination of gemcitabine and radiotherapy is strongly related to the dose and schedule of administration of gemcitabine, as well as to the radiation field size. There also appears to be an inverse linear relationship between the maximum tolerated gemcitabine dose and radiation dose. Also important, but less clear, is the infusion rate of gemcitabine as it relates to the systemic efficacy of the drug. The combination of additional agents with gemcitabine and radiation appears to be feasible. Finally, the addition of radioprotectors may enable chemotherapy dose escalation, but safe escalation of the radiotherapy dose with newer techniques has not been established. Copyright © 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Crane, CH; Wolff, RA; Abbruzzese, JL; Evans, DB; Milas, L; Mason, K; Charnsangavej, C; Pisters, PWT; Lee, JE; Lenzi, R; Lahoti, S; Vauthey, J-N; Janjan, NA

Published Date

  • 2001

Published In

  • Seminars in Oncology

Volume / Issue

  • 28 / 3 SUPPL. 10

Start / End Page

  • 25 - 33