Denise A. Yardley, MD | Authors

Integrating Gemcitabine Into Breast Cancer Therapy

December 02, 2004

Gemcitabine (Gemzar) possesses meaningful antitumor activity inthe treatment of breast cancer, repeatedly demonstrating superior outcomeswithout the price of excessive toxicity in most patients. In combinationwith other agents, it has a potential for nonoverlapping toxicities,a novel mechanism of action, as well as a potential lack of completecross-resistance. Randomized phase III trials with gemcitabinehave yielded response rates that have translated into time to diseaseprogression and survival benefits. Thus, enthusiasm continues forgemcitabine, especially in combination with other cytotoxic agents. Theaugmentation of efficacy (ie, response rates, time to disease progression,overall survival) by the addition of gemcitabine to paclitaxel hasestablished this regimen as a first-line treatment option for patientswho might benefit from combination therapy. Gemcitabine now remainsunder active investigation for the treatment of early-stage breastcancer, with ongoing trials characterizing its role in the neoadjuvantsetting.