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A Phase II Trial Of Low-dose Gemcitabine In A Prolonged Infusion And Cisplatin For Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

V. Kovač, M. Zwitter, M. Rajer, A. Marin, A. Debeljak, U. Smrdel, M. Vrankar
Published 2012 · Medicine

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After a favorable experience with gemcitabine at a low dose in a prolonged infusion in combination with cisplatin for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, here, we present the results from a phase II trial for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Eligible patients had biopsy-proven malignant pleural mesothelioma, were chemo-naive, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status 0–2, had normal hematopoietic liver and renal function, and gave informed consent. Treatment consisted of gemcitabine 250 mg/m2 in a 6-h infusion on days 1 and 8 and cisplatin at 75 mg/m2 on day 2 of a 3-week cycle for four cycles, followed by two additional cycles without cisplatin. Seventy-eight patients (58 men, 20 women; age 33–82 years, median 58) were recruited into the trial. The histologic types were as follows: epitheloid 56 (71.8%); four sarcomatoid (5.1%); mixed 15 (19.2%); and mesothelioma, three not otherwise specified (3.8%). Grades 3–4 toxicity included two (2.6%) patients with anemia, 18 (23.1%) with neutropenia, and one with nausea/vomiting. Reversible thrombocytosis with platelets over 1000–109/l was recorded in 10 (12.8%) patients and grade 2 alopecia in 60 (76.9%). Four (5.1%) patients showed a complete response and 35 (44.9%) showed a partial response with a response rate of 39/78 (50%). Minimal response or stable disease was seen in 35 (44.9%), whereas only four (5.1%) patients progressed during treatment. Most patients reported symptomatic improvement with a higher or a stable quality of life score in 70 (89.7%) cases. The median progression-free survival was 8.0 months (confidence interval 6.9–9.0). The median overall survival was 17.0 months (confidence interval 14.7–19.2). One-year, two-year, and three-year survival rates were 67.3, 32.7, and 19.8%, respectively. Epitheloid histological type was the only statistically significant favorable prognostic factor for progression-free survival and overall survival. Because of the acceptable toxicity, remarkable activity, and reasonable cost, this treatment should be further explored.
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