Ramon Colomer, MD | Authors




Gemcitabine and Paclitaxel in Metastatic Breast Cancer: A Review

December 02, 2004

Gemcitabine (Gemzar) and paclitaxel are active drugs in the treatmentof metastatic breast cancer. Phase I clinical trials data have suggestedthat the gemcitabine plus paclitaxel combination is safe in breastcancer patients. Two doses/administration schedules have been preferredin subsequent phase II and III trials: gemcitabine on days 1 and8 plus a taxane on day 1, every 3 weeks; or gemcitabine plus a taxaneon days 1 and 14, every 4 weeks. In phase II trials, 114 of 221 patients(52%) responded to gemcitabine/paclitaxel therapy. Response rates werelower among patients who received previous chemotherapy for metastaticdisease (response rates: 45%, second line and 70%, first line).Toxicity of gemcitabine/paclitaxel regimens has generally been low, withfew cases of neutropenia or nonhematologic toxicity. Results of therandomized phase III registration trial show a clear advantage forgemcitabine plus paclitaxel over paclitaxel alone in time to disease progression,objective response, and overall survival. Triplet combinations,in which an anthracycline is added to gemcitabine/paclitaxel, are beingexplored in the metastatic and neoadjuvant settings.