Phase II trial to evaluate gemcitabine and etoposide for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer

Mol Cancer Ther. 2010 Aug;9(8):2423-9. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-09-0854. Epub 2010 Aug 3.


Prior studies suggest that tumor cell lines harboring RAS mutations display remarkable sensitivity to gemcitabine and etoposide. In a phase II clinical trial of patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer, we evaluated the response rate to a combination of these drugs. Forty chemo-naïve patients with nonresectable and histologically confirmed pancreatic cancer were accrued. Patients received gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m(2) (days 1 and 8) and etoposide 80 mg/m(2) (days 8, 9, and 10; 21-day cycle). The primary end point was radiological response rate. Secondary objectives were determination of overall survival, response duration (time to progression), quality of life, toxicity, and CA 19-9 biomarker response. In 35 evaluable patients, 10 exhibited a radiological partial response and 12 had stable disease in response to treatment. Twenty patients exhibited a >20% decrease in CA 19-9 biomarker levels. Median overall survival was 6.7 months for all patients (40) and 7.2 months for evaluable patients (35). Notably, four patients survived for longer than 1 year, with two patients surviving for more than 2 years. Median time to progression for evaluable patients was 3.1 months. The median overall survival for locally advanced patients was 8.8 months and 6.75 months for metastatic patients. One-year survival was 10% for all patients and 11.4% for evaluable patients. Quality of life improved in 12 patients and remained stable in 3 of the evaluable patients. The primary dose-limiting toxicities were hematologic toxicity and fatigue. These results show that the gemcitabine and etoposide combination is generally well-tolerated and exhibits a response rate similar to other published studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Etoposide / adverse effects
  • Etoposide / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Survival Analysis


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Etoposide
  • gemcitabine