SAN FRANCISCO - Researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report that in a small study of women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer, gemcitabine and cisplatin, when used in combination, produced a response rate in fifty percent of patients.
Jubilee Brown, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Gynecologic Oncology, presented the findings at today's plenary session of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists' 41st Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer.
While early-stage endometrial cancer typically responds well to standard therapies, low survival rates for advanced or recurrent disease result from limited and ineffective chemotherapy and hormonal treatment options. The American Cancer Society estimates that 15 percent, or three out of every 20 of women with stage IV endometrial cancer, will survive more than five years.
The Phase II study of 20 patients found that the combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin, two drugs currently used to treat other types of cancer, limited the disease's progression, increasing progression-free survival while maintaining tolerable toxicity levels. It is believed that when administered together, gemcitabine helps overcome cell resistance to cisplatin, throwing tumor cells a potent one-two punch.
"These results are encouraging, offering a new direction for our research for women who suffer from advanced disease," said Brown, the study's lead author. "The findings have the potential to offer another option to these patients, but establishing this treatment as a standard of care will require more research."
Researchers enrolled patients with stage IV or recurrent endometrial cancer between November 2004 and September 2009 in the single-institution study. Women were treated with gemcitabine and then cisplatin twice during each chemotherapy cycle, undergoing an average of five cycles. Patient response was evaluated with physical and pelv
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University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center