Randomized phase III trial of gemcitabine compared with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer

J Clin Oncol. 2007 Jul 1;25(19):2811-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2006.09.6735.


Purpose: Ovarian cancer (OC) patients experiencing progressive disease (PD) within 6 months of platinum-based therapy in the primary setting are considered platinum resistant (Pt-R). Currently, pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) is a standard of care for treatment of recurrent Pt-R disease. On the basis of promising phase II results, gemcitabine was compared with PLD for efficacy and safety in taxane-pretreated Pt-R OC patients.

Patients and methods: Patients (n = 195) with Pt-R OC were randomly assigned to either gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2 (days 1 and 8; every 21 days) or PLD 50 mg/m2 (day 1; every 28 days) until PD or undue toxicity. Optional cross-over therapy was allowed at PD or at withdrawal because of toxicity. Primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Additional end points included tumor response, time to treatment failure, survival, and quality of life.

Results: In the gemcitabine and PLD groups, median PFS was 3.6 v 3.1 months; median overall survival was 12.7 v 13.5 months; overall response rate (ORR) was 6.1% v 8.3%; and in the subset of patients with measurable disease, ORR was 9.2% v 11.7%, respectively. None of the efficacy end points showed a statistically significant difference between treatment groups. The PLD group experienced significantly more hand-foot syndrome and mucositis; the gemcitabine group experienced significantly more constipation, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, and neutropenia but not febrile neutropenia.

Conclusion: Although this was not designed as an equivalency study, gemcitabine and PLD seem to have a comparable therapeutic index in this population of Pt-R taxane-pretreated OC patients. Single-agent gemcitabine may be an acceptable alternative to PLD for patients with Pt-R OC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use*
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Doxorubicin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • liposomal doxorubicin
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Doxorubicin
  • gemcitabine
  • Cisplatin