Twenty-two previously untreated patients who had unresectable and metastatic pancreatic cancer were treated in a prospective phase II trial with high-dose continuous infusion epirubicin (45 mg/m2 once every 24 hours continuous infusion days 4 through 6) plus quinidine (495 mg once every 24 hours on days 1-6). There were no objective responses (0 of 18 evaluable patients). Subjective responses were achieved in 2 of 21 evaluable patients (9%), all of whom had good performance status (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group: 0-1). Median survival was 5.7 months for the overall population. Two patients who exhibited symptomatic improvement achieved responses lasting 7 and 13 months, respectively. Toxicity was generally mild and tolerable. Little benefit regarding survival and quality of life was observed with the use of this regimen. The role in chemoresistance of mdr1, p53, and the mismatch repair system was examined.