Objective: To evaluate the docetaxel-gemcitabine (DG) combination administered every 2 weeks as salvage therapy in anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Patients and treatment: Thirty women with MBC who had disease progression after chemotherapy with anthracyclines, or anthracyclines and taxanes were treated with docetaxel 50 mg/m² and gemcitabine 1,500 mg/m² on days 1 and 14 in cycles of 28 days. All patients had received prior anthracyclines, and fourteen (46.6%) had also received prior taxanes. All patients were evaluable for toxicity and 24 for response to treatment.
Results: Complete response occurred in four (13.3%) patients and partial response in 10 (33.3%) for an overall response rate of 46.7% (95% CI 28.8-64.5). Seven patients (23.3%) had stable disease and nine (30%) progressive disease. Of the 14 patients previously treated with both anthracyclines and taxanes, seven (50%) responded. The median duration of response was 4.8 months (range 1.9-15.3), the median time to disease progression 6.6 months (range 0.5-16.9) and the median overall survival 16.8 months (range 1.3-53.2). There was no treatment-related toxic death. Neutropenia was the only grade 4 toxicity occurring in three (10%) patients. None of them developed neutropenic fever. Grade 3 thrombocytopenia occurred in two (6.7%) patients. Non-hematological toxicities were manageable.
Conclusion: The DG combination administered biweekly is very well tolerated and effective in anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated patients with MBC. A previous treatment with taxanes does not preclude a good clinical response to this regimen.