Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 1345–1352 | Cite as

A multicenter phase II trial of docetaxel plus gemcitabine as salvage treatment in anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated patients with metastatic breast cancer

  • N. Karachaliou
  • Ch. Kouroussis
  • P. Papakotoulas
  • K. Kalbakis
  • K. Tryfonidis
  • N. Vardakis
  • E. Poppis
  • V. Georgoulias
  • D. Mavroudis
Original Article



To evaluate the docetaxel–gemcitabine (DG) combination administered every 2 weeks as salvage therapy in anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

Patients and treatment

Thirty women with MBC who had disease progression after chemotherapy with anthracyclines, or anthracyclines and taxanes were treated with docetaxel 50 mg/m² and gemcitabine 1,500 mg/m² on days 1 and 14 in cycles of 28 days. All patients had received prior anthracyclines, and fourteen (46.6%) had also received prior taxanes. All patients were evaluable for toxicity and 24 for response to treatment.


Complete response occurred in four (13.3%) patients and partial response in 10 (33.3%) for an overall response rate of 46.7% (95% CI 28.8–64.5). Seven patients (23.3%) had stable disease and nine (30%) progressive disease. Of the 14 patients previously treated with both anthracyclines and taxanes, seven (50%) responded. The median duration of response was 4.8 months (range 1.9–15.3), the median time to disease progression 6.6 months (range 0.5–16.9) and the median overall survival 16.8 months (range 1.3–53.2). There was no treatment-related toxic death. Neutropenia was the only grade 4 toxicity occurring in three (10%) patients. None of them developed neutropenic fever. Grade 3 thrombocytopenia occurred in two (6.7%) patients. Non-hematological toxicities were manageable.


The DG combination administered biweekly is very well tolerated and effective in anthracycline- and taxane-pretreated patients with MBC. A previous treatment with taxanes does not preclude a good clinical response to this regimen.


Docetaxel Gemcitabine Metastatic breast cancer Anthracycline 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Karachaliou
    • 1
  • Ch. Kouroussis
    • 1
  • P. Papakotoulas
    • 1
  • K. Kalbakis
    • 1
  • K. Tryfonidis
    • 1
  • N. Vardakis
    • 1
  • E. Poppis
    • 1
  • V. Georgoulias
    • 1
  • D. Mavroudis
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Hellenic Oncology Research Group (HORG)AthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Medical OncologyUniversity General Hospital of HeraklionHeraklion, CreteGreece

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