Cisplatin in combination with either gemcitabine or irinotecan in carcinomas of unknown primary site: results of a randomized phase II study--trial for the French Study Group on Carcinomas of Unknown Primary (GEFCAPI 01)

J Clin Oncol. 2003 Sep 15;21(18):3479-82. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2003.12.104.


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of novel chemotherapy combinations including cisplatin with gemcitabine (GC) or irinotecan (IC) for patients with carcinomas of an unknown primary site.

Patients and methods: Eighty patients were randomly assigned to receive GC or IC. In the GC arm, chemotherapy consisted of cycles combining gemcitabine 1,250 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) on days 1 and 8, and cisplatin 100 mg/m2 IV on day 1 at 3-week intervals. Patients in the IC arm originally received 3-week cycles of irinotecan 200 mg/m2 IV on day 1 and cisplatin 80 mg/m2 IV on day 1. After the inclusion of 15 patients in that arm, the toxicity profile required the irinotecan doses to be reduced to 150 mg/m2 per cycle. Independent histologic and radiologic reviews were done.

Results: A total of 78 patients were assessable for efficacy and toxicity. The median number of cycles was four in each arm. Objective responses were observed in 21 patients (55%) in the GC arm (95% CI, 34% to 66%) and in 15 patients (38%) in the IC arm (95% CI, 23% to 54%). Treatment had to be stopped because of toxicity in seven patients in the GC arm and in eight patients in the IC arm. With a median follow-up of 22 months, the median survivals were 8 and 6 months in the GC and IC arms, respectively.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the activity of both the GC and IC regimens. There was toxicity associated with both regimens. Additional studies of combination chemotherapy regimens are required.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Camptothecin / administration & dosage
  • Camptothecin / adverse effects
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Unknown Primary / drug therapy*


  • Deoxycytidine
  • Irinotecan
  • gemcitabine
  • Cisplatin
  • Camptothecin