Purpose: To assess the efficacy of systemic intravenous-fluorouracil (5-FU) and subcutaneous recombinant human interferon alfa-2b (rIFNα-2b) in patients with measurable cancer of the biliary tree. Patients and Methods: Thirty-five patients (25 with cholangiocarcinoma and 10 with gallbladder carcinoma) were registered onto this phase II protocol between 1992 and 1995. Patients received a continuous infusion of 750 mg/m2/d of 5-FU on days 1 through 5 through a centrally placed venous catheter and a subcutaneous injection of 5 MU/m2 of rIFNα-2b on days 1, 3, and 5. Treatment cycles were repeated every 14 days; one course of therapy included four treatment cycles. Disease status was assessed every 8 weeks. Dosages were lowered for grade III mucositis. Fourteen patients had prior treatment and, before initiating this therapy, 17 patients required decompression of the biliary tree. Results: Eleven of 32 (34%) assessable patients had a partial response. The median time to disease progression was 9.5 months, and the median survival time 12 months. Grade III to IV toxic effects were granulocytopenia (14%), mucositis (20%), diarrhea (9%), and dermatitis (11%). Grade III to IV asthenia and fatigue were observed in 6% of patients. Conclusion: Drug tolerance was better among previously untreated patients. To achieve a complete response, additional chemotherapy or radiotherapy should be considered when liver resection or transplantation is not feasible. However, if these results can be reproduced by other investigators, the regimen should be studied for adjuvant treatment of gallbladder carcinoma incidentally identified in patients undergoing cholecystectomy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research