We assessed the activity of gemcitabine (G) and cisplatin/gemcitabine (C/G) in patients with locally advanced (LA) or metastatic (M) (advanced) biliary cancers (ABC) for whom there is no standard chemotherapy.
Patients, aged ⩾18 years, with pathologically confirmed ABC, Karnofsky performance (KP) ⩾60, and adequate haematological, hepatic and renal function were randomised to G 1000 mg m−2 on D1, 8, 15 q28d (Arm A) or C 25 mg m−2 followed by G 1000 mg m−2 D1, 8 q21d (Arm B) for up to 6 months or disease progression.
In total, 86 patients (A/B, n=44/42) were randomised between February 2002 and May 2004. Median age (64/62.5 years), KP, primary tumour site, earlier surgery, indwelling biliary stent and disease stage (LA: 25/38%) are comparable between treatment arms. Grade 3–4 toxicity included (A/B, % patients) anaemia (4.5/2.4), leukopenia (6.8/4.8), neutropenia (13.6/14.3), thrombocytopenia (9.1/11.9), lethargy (9.1/28.6), nausea/vomiting (0/7.1) and anorexia (2.3/4.8). Responses (WHO criteria, % of evaluable patients: A n=31 vs B n=36): no CRs; PR 22.6 vs 27.8%; SD 35.5 vs 47.1% for a tumour control rate (CR+PR+SD) of 58.0 vs 75.0%. The median TTP and 6-month progression-free survival (PFS) (the primary end point) were greater in the C/G arm (4.0 vs 8.0 months and 45.5 vs 57.1% in arms A and B, respectively).
Both regimens seem active in ABC. C/G is associated with an improved tumour control rate, TTP and 6-month PFS. The study has been extended (ABC-02 study) and powered to determine the effect on overall survival and the quality of life.