Intravesical gemcitabine therapy for superficial transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder: A phase I and pharmacokinetic study

Menachem Laufer, Sakkaraiappan Ramalingam, Mark P. Schoenberg, Mary Ellen Haisfield-Wolf, Eleanor G. Zuhowski, Irene N. Trueheart, Mario A. Eisenberger, Ofer Nativ, Merrill J. Egorin

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88 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine maximum-tolerated dose, toxicities, and pharmacokinetics associated with weekly intravesical gemcitabine therapy in patients with superficial bladder cancer. Patients and Methods: Fifteen patients with recurrent superficial transitional cell bladder carcinoma who experienced prior intravesical therapy failure were studied. Two to 4 weeks after complete transurethral resection, gemcitabine was administered intravesically, once weekly for 6 consecutive weeks. Dwell time was 2 hours. Pharmacokinetics of gemcitabine and its metabolite, 2′2′-difluorodeoxyuridine (dFdU), were studied in plasma and urine. Cystoscopy was repeated 6 weeks after therapy. Results: Three-patient cohorts were enrolled sequentially at doses of 500, 1,000, and 1,500 mg in 100 mL 0.9% NaCl. Two patients received 2,000 mg in 100 mL. An additional four patients received 2,000 mg in 50 mL. No grade 4 toxicity or clinically relevant myelosuppression was noted. Nine of 13 evaluable patients were recurrence-free at 12 weeks. Low concentrations of gemcitabine (≤ 1 μg/mL) were present transiently in plasma of all patients receiving 2,000 mg in 50 mL. Gemcitabine was undetectable in plasma of other patients. dFdU was undetectable in plasma of patients receiving less than 1,500 mg. At doses ≥ 1,500 mg, dFdU concentrations increased until 90 to 120 minutes and then declined little, if any. Plasma dFdU concentrations implied absorption of 0.5% to 5.5% of instilled dose. Between 61% and 100% of the gemcitabine dose was accounted for in voided urine. No dFdU was measured in voided urine. Conclusion: Intravesical gemcitabine, at doses up to 2 g/wk, is well tolerated, is associated with minimal systemic absorption, and has promising efficacy in treatment of superficial bladder cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-703
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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