PURPOSE: To report the evidence of a phase I trial planned to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and related toxicity of weekly gemcitabine (GEM) and concurrent radiotherapy in patients with non--small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition, the response to treatment was evaluated and reported.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirty-six patients with histologically confirmed NSCLC deemed unresectable because of advanced stage were observed and treated according to a combined chemoradiation protocol with GEM as chemotherapeutic agent. GEM was given weekly for 5 consecutive weeks as a 30-minute intravenous infusion concurrent with radiotherapy (1.8 Gy/d; total dose, 50.4 Gy). The initial dose was 100 mg/m(2). Pulmonary, esophageal, cardiac, hematologic, and skin toxicities were assessed. The dose of GEM was increased by 50 mg/m(2) up to a dose of 250 mg/m(2); an additional increase by 25 mg/m(2) up to the MTD was planned and realized. Three patients were enrolled for each dose level.
RESULTS: Dose-limiting toxicity was identified for the 375-mg/m(2) level with two episodes of grade 2 esophagitis and two of grade 3 pulmonary actinic interstitial disease. The weekly dose of GEM 350 mg/m(2) was well tolerated.
CONCLUSION: A weekly GEM dose of 350 mg/m(2) concurrent with radiotherapy was well tolerated. Promising results regarding response to treatment were observed and reported.