Also Known As: Gemcitabine, Gemzar
Gemcitabine is used in various carcinomas: non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer. It is being investigated for use in esophageal cancer, and is used experimentally in lymphomas and various other tumor types. Gemcitabine represents an advance in pancreatic cancer care. It is also not as debilitating as some other forms of chemotherapy.
A study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2007 suggested that gemcitabine showed benefit in patients with pancreatic cancer who were felt to have successful tumor resections.
Gemcitabine became first line treatment for bladder cancer Stage 4 with metastases in combination with cisplatin after a study in 2000 with 405 patients showed similar efficacy but less toxicity compared to the former MVAC regimen. This new CG-regimen involves taking cisplatin on day 2 and taking gemcitabine on days 1, 8, and 15. In July 2006 the FDA approved gemcitabine for use with carboplatin in the treatment of advanced ovarian cancer that has relapsed at least 6 months after completion of platinum-based (e.g., carboplatin or cisplatin) therapy. Neutropenia was the most commonly reported adverse effect (90% of patients). Other serious adverse effects were mostly hematologic. Gemcitabine was recently also investigated for advanced cancer of the biliary tract and gallbladder and was found to have a modest effect on the tumor when combined with cisplatin (NEJM 2010).