High activity of salvage treatment with biweekly paclitaxel-gemcitabine combination in heavily pretreated breast cancer patients

P. Vici, E. Capomolla, P. Foggi, S. Carpano, F. Conti, G. Paoletti, C. Cauchi, L. Giacinti, C. Leonetti, D. Giannarelli, Massimo Lopez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The treatment of refractory metastatic breast cancer is primarily palliative, without a significant impact on over-all survival. Among the innovative combinations in this unfavourable setting, paclitaxel and gemcitabine showed a possible synergistic action and an encouraging activity in some clinical trials. This phase II study was carried out to evaluate paclitaxel-gemcitabine combination in very heavily pretreated advanced breast cancer on a biweekly schedule. Thirty-nine women with advanced breast cancer were treated with paclitaxel 150 mg/m2 as 3 hrs infusion, and gemcitabine 1,500 mg/m2 as 30 mins infusion, both drugs administered on days 1, 15, with cycles repeated every 28 days. All but two patients received granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) on days 7 to 9 and 20 to 22 of every cycle. More than two third (71%) of the patients had previously received two or more chemotherapy regimens for advanced disease, including almost all active agents in this disease. Objective responses were observed in 18 out of 34 evaluable patients (53%; 95% CI, 36% to 70%). Disease remained stable in 7 patients (21%). Responses by sites were 67% in soft tissue and in bone, and 48% in visceral disease. Median time to progression and overall survival were 9 and 20 months, respectively. Treatment was well tolerated, with G3-4 neutropenia in 8%, and G 1-2 thrombocytopenia in 13% of the patients; non-hematological toxicities were mild, with G3 hepatotoxicity in 5% of the patients, and G3 peripheral neurotoxicity in 10% of the patients. Biweekly paclitaxel/gemcitabine combination with G-CSF support appears to be very active as salvage therapy in heavily pretreated breast cancer patients, with a very favourable safety profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental and Clinical Cancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Advanced breast cancer
  • Gemcitabine
  • Paclitaxel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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