Non-platinum combinations including gemcitabine and irinotecan (Gemzar; Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN) for the management of a variety of malignancies have started to emerge. Gemcitabine and irinotecan are well-tolerated single agents, each with a broad spectrum of antitumor activity. Preclinical data suggests synergy for the two drugs when used in combination. A phase I trial has defined a well-tolerated combination regimen using both drugs on a day-1, -8 schedule every 3 weeks. Phase II data suggest activity for the combination in pancreatic cancer, and a phase III trial of the two-drug combination versus gemcitabine alone is underway in previously untreated pancreatic cancer patients. Other phase II trials evaluating the impact of this combination on a variety of other tumors, such as non-small cell lung, small cell lung, breast, colorectal, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, are either forthcoming or in progress.
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