Dosing Schedules of Gemcitabine and nab-Paclitaxel for Older Adults with Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Arthur Winer, Elizabeth Handorf, Efrat Dotan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (GA) is a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer (mPDAC). The traditional dosing schedule of GA is days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. Frequently, older adults are given a modified dosing schedule using 2 doses per cycle because of toxicity. We retrospectively analyzed treatment patterns and outcomes of older adults with mPDAC given these 2 dosing schedules. Methods: Patients 65 years or older with mPDAC treated with GA in a nationwide real-world database between January 1, 2014, and May 31, 2019, were included. Demographic, disease, and treatment information were collected. Patients were grouped by dosing at treatment initiation (traditional vs modified dosing schedules). Endpoints were time on treatment (TOT) and overall survival (OS) in patients receiving at least 2 cycles. All statistical tests were 2-sided. Results: 1317 patients were included (traditional dosing schedule: n = 842; modified dosing schedule: n = 475). Median age at diagnosis was 72 and 73 years for traditional and modified dosing schedules, respectively (P <. 001), but sex, race, and performance status were not statistically significantly different. The median TOT and OS were better for the traditional vs modified dosing schedule (unadjusted median TOT, first-line = 4.18 vs 3.26 mo, P =.04; OS = 9.44 vs 7.63 mo, P =.003). Conclusion: In this real-world cohort, treatment of older mPDAC patients with a modified dosing schedule of GA resulted in shorter TOT and worse OS vs a traditional dosing schedule. With the caveats of potential confounding that exist in a nonrandomized retrospective database, these results suggest that dose intensity may be important, and prospective studies are necessary to ensure we treat our patients most effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpkab074
JournalJNCI Cancer Spectrum
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Albumins/administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents/administration & dosage
  • Databases as Topic
  • Deoxycytidine/administration & dosage
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Gemcitabine
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Paclitaxel/administration & dosage
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Racial Groups
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


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