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Br J Cancer. 2000 February; 82(4): 806–811.
PMCID: PMC2374380

Activity of high-dose epirubicin combined with gemcitabine in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer: a multicenter phase I and II study


The aim of the study was to evaluate efficacy and tolerance of epirubicin and gemcitabine as first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. A phase I study was performed with the combination of escalating doses of epirubicin intravenously on day 1 and a fixed dose of gemcitabine on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. Eighteen patients were included in the phase I part of the study before the maximum tolerated dose was found. Dose-limiting toxicity was febrile neutropenia. The phase II part of the study was continued with epirubicin 100 mg m−2on day 1 and gemcitabine 1125 mg m−2on days 1 and 8 of a 21-day cycle. Forty-three chemotherapy-naive patients were included. The median age of the patients was 60 years (range 26–75). Most patients (74%) were in stage IV. Granulocytopenia CTC grade 4 occurred in 32.5% and thrombocytopenia grade 4 in 11.6% of cycles. Febrile neutropenia occurred in six patients. Non-haematological toxicity was mainly mucositis CTC grade 2 and 3 in 35% of patients. The tumour response rate was 49% (95% confidence interval (CI) 35–63%). The median survival time for the patients was 42 weeks (95% CI 13–69). © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign

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