Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerance of the docetaxel/gefitinib combination as second-line treatment in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
Patients and methods: Twenty-six patients pretreated with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy were enrolled in the study. Docetaxel (75 mg/m(2), i.v.) was administered every 3 weeks for a maximum of 6 cycles and gefitinib (250 mg/day, p.o.) was given continuously.
Results: Five (19.2%) patients achieved stable disease. The median duration of disease control was 4.8 months (range 1-13.2), the median time to disease progression 2.1 months (range 1-7.3) and the median survival time 2.9 months (range 1-13.9). Grade 3/4 neutropenia was recorded in 9 (34.6%) patients, although only 1 (3.8%) developed grade 2 febrile neutropenia. One (3.8%) patient experienced grade 3 fatigue and 2 (7.7%) grade 3 diarrhea. Grade 1/2 rash was observed in 13 (50%) patients. There were no treatment-related deaths.
Conclusion: The docetaxel/gefitinib combination, although safe, has no activity as salvage treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer after failure of gemcitabine-based chemotherapy.