Gemcitabine monotherapy in patients with heavily treated nasopharyngeal cancer: a case series

Tomohiro Enokida, Shinya Uozumi, Takao Fujisawa, Yuri Ueda, Susumu Okano, Makoto Tahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although gemcitabine is thought to play a critical role in the treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer, no research to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of gemcitabine monotherapy has been conducted in Japan. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed eight nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients treated with gemcitabine monotherapy at National Cancer Center Hospital East between May 2015 and August 2016. The main eligibility criteria were (1) histopathologically proven NPC; (2) tumor recurrence or an initial M1 TNM stage diagnosis; (3) at least two other types of systemic chemotherapy prior to gemcitabine; (4) no other active malignant tumor during treatment. Results: All patients were administered gemcitabine 800–1000 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15, repeated every 4 weeks. Gemcitabine was given as third-line systemic chemotherapy in six (74%) patients, as fourth-line in one (13%) and as fifth-line in one (13%). One patient had a complete response and one had a partial response, giving an overall response rate of 25%; four patients (50%) had stable disease and two (25%) experienced disease progression. The main toxicity was myelosuppression, with grade 3 leukopenia in three (38%) patients and neutropenia in four (50%). There were no treatment-related deaths. Median dose intensity and relative dose intensity of gemcitabine were 620 mg/m2/week and 97.5%, respectively. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that GEM monotherapy is well tolerated and has potential as an active agent in Japanese patients with recurrent/metastatic NPC who have been heavily pretreated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1014
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Gemcitabine
  • Locoregional
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer/DT
  • Neoplasm metastasis
  • Neoplasm recurrence


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