Purpose: To conduct a randomized phase II trial of dose-intense gemcitabine using a standard 30-minute infusion or the fixed dose rate (FDR) infusion (10 mg/m2/min) in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
Patients and methods: In this prospective trial, patients with locally advanced and metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma were treated with 2,200 mg/m2 gemcitabine over 30 minutes (standard arm) or 1,500 mg/m2 gemcitabine over 150 minutes (FDR arm) on days 1, 8, and 15 of every 4-week cycle. The primary end point of this trial was time to treatment failure. Secondary end points included time to progression, median survival, safety, and pharmacokinetic studies of gemcitabine.
Results: Ninety-two patients were enrolled onto this study; 91% of the patients had metastatic disease. Time to treatment failure was comparable in both treatment groups; however, the median survival for all patients was 5.0 months in the standard arm and 8.0 months in the FDR arm (P =.013). For patients with metastases, the median survival was 4.9 months in the standard arm and 7.3 months in FDR arm (P =.094). The 1- and 2-year survival rates for all patients were 9% (standard arm) versus 28.8% (FDR; P =.014) and 2.2% (standard arm) versus 18.3% (FDR; P =.007), respectively. Patients in the FDR infusion arm experienced consistently more hematologic toxicity. Pharmacokinetic analyses demonstrated a two-fold increase in intracellular gemcitabine triphosphate concentration in the FDR arm (P =.046).
Conclusion: Pharmacokinetic and clinical data in this trial supports the continued evaluation of the FDR infusion strategy with gemcitabine.