Oral Capecitabine for the Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Cholangiocarcinoma, and Gallbladder Carcinoma

Cancer. 2004 Aug 1;101(3):578-86. doi: 10.1002/cncr.20368.


Background: The goal of the current study was to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of capecitabine in patients with nonresectable hepatobiliary carcinoma.

Methods: The authors performed a retrospective analysis of all patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), or gallbladder carcinoma (GBC) who were ever treated with oral capecitabine. The medical records of 116 patients with hepatobiliary carcinoma who were treated at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX) between July 1998 and March 1999 were reviewed.

Results: A total of 63 patients were treated with capecitabine (37 with HCC, 18 with CCA, 8 with GBC). Capecitabine 1000 mg/m(2) was administered twice daily for 14 days. Treatment was repeated every 21 days. Each patient received 1-15 treatment cycles. Nine patients (14%)-11% of patients with HCC, 6% of patients with CCA, and 50% of patients with GBC-had either a complete response (CR) or a partial response. A CR was radiologically confirmed in one patient with HCC and in two patients with GBC. The median survival times were 10.1 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.5-15.7 months) for patients with HCC, 8.1 months (95% CI, 7.4-8.9 months) for patients with CCA, and 9.9 months (95% CI, 4.4-15.4 months) for patients with GBC. The most common toxicity was hand-foot syndrome (37%). Grade 3 thrombocytopenia occurred in 8% of patients with HCC. No other significant toxicities were observed. For all patients, response to treatment was positively correlated with survival and decline in tumor markers.

Conclusions: Capecitabine was found to be safe for patients with hepatobiliary carcinoma, including those with cirrhosis. The antitumor activity of single-agent capecitabine was most pronounced in patients with GBC, was modest in patients with HCC, and was poor in patients with CCA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / mortality
  • Bile Duct Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bile Ducts, Intrahepatic
  • Capecitabine
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / mortality
  • Cholangiocarcinoma / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage*
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / analogs & derivatives
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / mortality
  • Gallbladder Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / mortality
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Probability
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • Fluorouracil