Gemcitabine Plus Capecitabine in Unselected Patients With Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

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Gemcitabine in combination with capecitabine (GEMCAP) is a treatment option for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer (APC), but data are lacking concerning outcomes in unselected patients not enrolled to a randomized trial.


Baseline demographic, clinical, toxicity, tumor response, and survival data were collected for previously untreated patients with APC receiving off-protocol GEMCAP at a single institution between 2005 and 2009.


Data from 113 patients were included in the study. The mean age was 65 years; 51% of patients had metastatic disease; and 80% were of World Health Organization performance status 0 or 1. Patients received a mean of 20 weeks of chemotherapy. The objective response rate was 9.7%; the median overall survival was 8.7 months (95% confidence interval, 6.7–10.7), and 34% of patients were alive 1 year after starting treatment. Performance status (0 or 1 vs 2) was a significant prognostic factor (P < 0.0001). Grade 3 or 4 adverse events, excluding nonfebrile neutropenia, were experienced by 37 patients (33%), the commonest being lethargy (8%), hand-foot syndrome (8%), diarrhea (7%), thrombocytopenia (4%), and febrile neutropenia (6%).


Gemcitabine in combination with capecitabine is effective and tolerable in unselected patients with APC, and outcomes are comparable with those of patients receiving GEMCAP in clinical trials.

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