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Integrating Gemcitabine Into Breast Cancer Therapy

Integrating Gemcitabine Into Breast Cancer Therapy

The rapid emergence of gemcitabine (Gemzar) as a viable component in chemotherapy for breast cancer is indeed an encouraging development. Specifically, until relatively recently, the focus of research and treatment with gemcitabine was primarily on lung cancer. Growing opinion among many experts in breast cancer held that studies of gemcitabine in breast cancer were noticeably lacking and that such research was warranted. Fortunately, these voices were heard, and the manufacturers of gemcitabine responded with an accelerated initiative to explore further the role of gemcitabine in breast cancer. Rapid progress was made. A few years ago, little was known about what, if any, role gemcitabine might play in treating breast cancer. Today, however, we know that gemcitabine is active in breast cancer as both a single agent and in combination with other agents in a variety of therapeutic settings. Ongoing studies are comparing this agent with current standards of care in treating breast cancer. The articles presented in this supplement to ONCOLOGY comprise the proceedings of an Interchange Meeting entitled "Integrating Gemcitabine Into Breast Cancer Therapy," which was held in conjunction with the Third European Breast Cancer Conference: Perspectives in Breast Cancer, November 2003, in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Invited speakers at this satellite symposium discussed the evolving role of gemcitabine in the overall management of breast cancer vis--vis current clinical research, future directions, and contemporary clinical practice. These proceedings review current studies of gemcitabine combined with paclitaxel, docetaxel (Taxotere), and platinums in metastatic disease as well as articles on gemcitabine in the adjuvant setting for early-stage disease and in the neoadjuvant setting. Also included is a timely article on how gemcitabine is being used in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin) in HER2-directed therapy. We conclude with an overview of how these clinical data are currently being applied to clinical practice. It is hoped that this supplement to ONCOLOGY will provide readers with a rich understanding of the current status of gemcitabine research for the treatment of breast cancer and an overview of future areas of study.


The author(s) have no significant financial interest or other relationship with the manufacturers of any products or providers of any service mentioned in this article.

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