Gemcitabine is a pyrimidine analog with a similar chemical structure and mechanism of action, as cytarabine. It has been shown to be a highly active agent for non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, urothelial cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Gemcitabine is relatively well tolerated and myelosuppression is the dose-limiting toxicity. Pulmonary toxicity with gemcitabine is relatively uncommon, but a well recognized entity, associated with significant morbidity and mortality. A high index of suspicion, early diagnosis and timely intervention with oxygen supplementation, steroids, and diuretics is necessary to manage patients with this complication.
From the Division of Hematology/Oncology (N.G., I.A., D.P., S.N.-H), Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care (H.S.), and Inpatient Oncology Unit (B.M.), Department of Medicine, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York, U.S.A.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. B. Mehrotra, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, 270-05, 76 Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11042, U.S.A.