N. Engl. J. Med.
Cisplatin plus gemcitabine versus gemcitabine for biliary tract cancer.   
There is no established standard chemotherapy for patients with locally advanced or metastatic biliary tract cancer. We initially conducted a randomized, phase 2 study involving 86 patients to compare cisplatin plus gemcitabine with gemcitabine alone. After we found an improvement in progression-free survival, the trial was extended to the phase 3 trial reported here.
We randomly assigned 410 patients with locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma, gallbladder cancer, or ampullary cancer to receive either cisplatin (25 mg per square meter of body-surface area) followed by gemcitabine (1000 mg per square meter on days 1 and 8, every 3 weeks for eight cycles) or gemcitabine alone (1000 mg per square meter on days 1, 8, and 15, every 4 weeks for six cycles) for up to 24 weeks. The primary end point was overall survival.
After a median follow-up of 8.2 months and 327 deaths, the median overall survival was 11.7 months among the 204 patients in the cisplatin-gemcitabine group and 8.1 months among the 206 patients in the gemcitabine group (hazard ratio, 0.64; 95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.80; P<0.001). The median progression-free survival was 8.0 months in the cisplatin-gemcitabine group and 5.0 months in the gemcitabine-only group (P<0.001). In addition, the rate of tumor control among patients in the cisplatin-gemcitabine group was significantly increased (81.4% vs. 71.8%, P=0.049). Adverse events were similar in the two groups, with the exception of more neutropenia in the cisplatin-gemcitabine group; the number of neutropenia-associated infections was similar in the two groups.
As compared with gemcitabine alone, cisplatin plus gemcitabine was associated with a significant survival advantage without the addition of substantial toxicity. Cisplatin plus gemcitabine is an appropriate option for the treatment of patients with advanced biliary cancer. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00262769.)

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