Gemcitabine and irinotecan in locally advanced or metastatic biliary cancer: preliminary report.

Pankaj Bhargava, Chirag R. Jani, Diane M. Savarese, Judith L. O'Donnell, Keith E. Stuart, Caio M. Rocha Lima

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46 Scopus citations


Chemotherapy has had limited success in biliary tract cancer. Of the newer agents, gemcitabine (Gemzar) and irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) both have single-agent activity in patients with advanced disease. We conducted a phase II trial to study the efficacy and toxicity of the combination of gemcitabine plus irinotecan in patients with locally advanced or metastatic biliary tract cancer. The study has enrolled 14 patients with histologically or cytologically documented cancer of the biliary tract or gallbladder with bidimensionally measurable disease, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0 or 1, decompressed biliary tree, and no prior exposure to chemotherapy. Gemcitabine at 1,000 mg/m2 and irinotecan at 100 mg/m2 were both administered on days 1 and 8, every 21 days. In patients who had less than grade 3 hematologic and less than grade 2 nonhematologic toxicity following cycle 1, the dose of irinotecan was increased to 115 mg/m2 for subsequent cycles. A total of 65 cycles of chemotherapy have been administered, with an average of 4.5 cycles per patient (range: 1 to 11 cycles). The median treatment duration was 3 months (range: 0.75 to 8 months). An objective partial response was determined radiographically in two patients (14%) while stable disease for periods ranging from 4 to 11.5 months was noted in six patients (43%). Toxicity consisted of grade 3/4 neutropenia in seven patients (50%) with no episodes of febrile neutropenia, grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia in four (28%), grade 3 diarrhea in two (14%), and grade 3 nausea in one patient. The combination of gemcitabine plus irinotecan appears to possess modest clinical activity, and it is well tolerated in patients with advanced biliary cancer. Patient accrual is ongoing to this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-26
Number of pages4
JournalOncology (Williston Park, N.Y.)
Issue number9 Suppl 8
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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