A phase I/II study of gemcitabine during radiotherapy in children with newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma

Sophie E M Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Fatma E El-Khouly, Marc H A Jansen, Dewi P Bakker, Esther Sanchez Aliaga, Cornelis J A Haasbeek, Nicole I Wolf, C Michel Zwaan, W Peter Vandertop, Dannis G van Vuurden, Gertjan J L Kaspers

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25 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this phase I/II, open-label, single-arm trial is to investigate the safety, tolerability, maximum tolerated dose and preliminary efficacy of the potential radiosensitizer gemcitabine, administered concomitantly to radiotherapy, in children with newly diagnosed diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). Six doses of weekly gemcitabine were administered intravenously, concomitantly to 6 weeks of hyperfractionated radiotherapy. Successive cohorts received increasing doses of 140, 175 and 200 mg/m2 gemcitabine, respectively, following a 3 + 3 dose-escalation schedule without expansion cohort. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) were monitored during treatment period. Clinical response was assessed using predefined case report forms and radiological response was assessed using the modified RANO criteria. Quality of life (QoL) was assessed using PedsQL questionnaires. Between June 2012 and December 2016, nine patients were enrolled. Treatment was well tolerated, and no DLTs were observed up to the maximum dose of 200 mg/m2. All patients experienced reduction of tumor-related symptoms. QoL tended to improve during treatment. PFS and MOS were 4.8 months (95% CI 4.0-5.7) and 8.7 months (95% CI 7.0-10.4). Classifying patients according to the recently developed DIPG survival prediction model, intermediate risk patients (n = 4), showed a PFS and MOS of 6.4 and 12.4 months, respectively, versus a PFS and MOS of 4.5 and 8.1 months, respectively, in high risk patient (n = 5). Gemcitabine up to 200 mg/m2/once weekly, added to radiotherapy, is safe and well tolerated in children with newly diagnosed DIPG. PFS and MOS were not significantly different from literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-315
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Adolescent
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic/adverse effects
  • Brain Stem Neoplasms/therapy
  • Chemoradiotherapy/adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deoxycytidine/adverse effects
  • Female
  • Glioma/therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents/adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


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