Gemzar® Plus Taxotere® Active in Recurrent Sarcoma

Gemzar® Plus Taxotere® Active in Recurrent Sarcoma

According to a recent article published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the chemotherapy regimen consisting of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) plus Taxotere® (docetaxel) provides anti-cancer activity in the treatment of soft tissue sarcomas that have stopped responding to previous therapies.

Soft-tissue sarcomas are characterized by the growth of cancer cells in the soft tissue of the body. Soft tissues include muscles, tendons, fibrous tissue, fat, blood or lymph vessels, nerves or the tissues around joints. Treatment for these soft-tissue sarcomas varies, depending on the specific type of cancer, the place in the body where the cancer started, and the extent of the disease. Treatment may include surgery to remove the cancer if possible, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.

The chemotherapy agents doxorubicin and ifosfamide are the two most frequently used drugs for initial treatment of sarcomas. However, once a cancer recurs following treatment with these agents, there is little consensus on the next most active agents. The combination of Gemzar® and Taxotere® has demonstrated effectiveness for treatment of NSCLC, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, and bladder cancers. Researchers believe there might be an additive anti-cancer effect when Gemzar® and Taxotere® are used together.

Researchers from the University of Michigan recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate Gemzar®/Taxotere® in the treatment of soft-tissue sarcomas that have recurred following previous therapy. This trial included 35 patients who have been treated with prior chemotherapy including doxorubicin and ifosfamide. Following treatment with Gemzar®/Taxotere®, the overall anti-cancer response rate was 43%. Ten of the 15 patients who achieved an anti-cancer response had metastatic cancer (cancer that had spread to distant sites in the body).

The authors concluded that the chemotherapy regimen consisting of Gemzar® and Taxotere® provides anti-cancer activity in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma that has stopped responding to prior standard therapy. A clinical trial directly comparing Gemzar® alone to Gemzar®/Taxotere® for sarcomas is currently underway, as well as a clinical trial evaluating Gemzar®/Taxotere® in sarcomas affecting the bone. Patients with sarcoma may wish to speak with their physician about the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating Gemzar®/Taxotere® or other promising therapeutic options. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute ( cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com. Personalized clinical trial searches on behalf of patients are also performed by cancerconsultants.com.

Reference: Leu KM, Ostruszka LJ, Shewach D, et al. Laboratoary and Clinical Evidence of Synergistic Cytotoxicity of Sequential Treatment with Gemcitabine Followed by Docetaxel in the Treatment of Sarcoma. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2004;11:1706-1712.

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