Phase II trial of gemcitabine in patients with previously untreated metastatic cancer of the esophagus or gastroesophageal junction

A. B. Sandler, H. L. Kindler, L. H. Einhorn, E. Mitchell, G. Masters, M. Kraut, S. Nicol, D. Raghavan

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28 Scopus citations


Background: There were approximately 12,500 cases of esophageal carcinoma diagnosed in the US in 1992 and 12,200 deaths. The impact of chemotherapy on patients with metastatic disease is marginal with a median survival of only five months. Gemcitabine (LY188011,2,2,-difluorodeoxycytidine: dFdC), an analog of cytosine arabinoside (ara-C), is a pyrimidine antimetabolite. Gemcitabine has shown interesting clinical activity in initial phase II clinical trials in a variety of malignancies, including the aerodigestive malignancies, squamous-cell carcinoma of the head/neck and both non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancer. Patients and methods: A total of 21 patients with chemotherapy-naive metastatic esophageal carcinoma were entered. Nineteen patients were evaluable for toxicity and seventeen patients were evaluable for response. Gemcitabine was administered intravenously at 1250 mg/m2 over 30-60 minutes on days 1, 8, and 15 followed by 1 week of rest. This four-week schedule defined a cycle of treatment. Patients may have received a maximum of six cycles. Results: Gemcitabine was well tolerated with minimal non-hematologic toxicity and grade 3-4 anemia, granulocytopenia, and thrombocytopenia occurring in 10.5%, 21%, and 0% of patients, respectively. No responses were seen in the seventeen evaluable patients. Conclusions: At the dose and schedule studied it would appear that gemcitabine has no activity in patients with chemotherapy-naive esophageal carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1164
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 30 2000



  • Chemotherapy
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gemcitabine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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