Phase II study of gemcitabine, oxaliplatin and capecitabine in patients with KRAS exon 2 mutated biliary tract cancers

Acta Oncol. 2020 Mar;59(3):298-301. doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2019.1701201. Epub 2019 Dec 14.


Background: Molecular markers may identify subgroups of patients with clinically distinct behavior and response to treatment. In some gastrointestinal tumors, KRAS has prognostic value and negative predictive value. This is the first prospective study to report the outcome of combination chemotherapy in biliary tract cancer patients with KRAS mutation.Methods: From 2009 to 2015, 25 patients were included from two Scandinavian centers. Main inclusion criteria were non-resectable biliary tract cancer, ECOG performance status 0-2 and tumor KRAS mutation. A bi-weekly cycle of chemotherapy was administered as gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 and oxaliplatin 85 mg/m2 day 1, followed by 7 days of oral capecitabine 1000 mg/m2. Response evaluation was done every six treatment and the primary endpoint was the fraction with progression free survival (PFS) at 6 months. The study also included a non-preplanned analysis of circulating tumor specific DNA.Results: Chemotherapy was given for a median of 5 months (range 0-14) and among 17 patients evaluable for response, best responses were complete response (1), partial response (2), and stable disease (14). Eighteen patients had CT-verified progression, six died between evaluations and one patient is still progression-free. Median PFS was 6.8 months (95% CI 3.1-11.0) and median overall survival (OS) was 11.2 months (95% CI 6.6-14.3). The fraction with PFS at 6 months was 52% (95% CI 31-69%). Exploratory analyses found an improved survival in patients with a low level of plasma DNA.Conclusion: Pretreatment molecular characterization was feasible in BTC, but the rate of KRAS mutations was low. The study met its primary endpoint with a fraction of PFS at six months of 52%. The effect of combination chemotherapy with gemcitabine, oxaliplatin and capecitabine in this selected population was comparable to results from unselected groups with PFS and OS of 6.8 and 11.2 months, respectively. NCT00779454.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / genetics
  • Biliary Tract Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Capecitabine / pharmacology*
  • Capecitabine / therapeutic use
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / pharmacology
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Mutation
  • Oxaliplatin / pharmacology*
  • Oxaliplatin / therapeutic use
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics*


  • KRAS protein, human
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • gemcitabine
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)

Associated data