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Epirubicin, cisplatin, and protracted infusion of 5-FU (ECF) in advanced intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma

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Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma usually presents late in the clinical course and has a poor prognosis. No effective systemic therapy is currently available. This study aimed to determine the efficacy and toxicity of the ECF regimen (epirubicin, cisplatin. and 24-h continuous infusion of 5-FU) in advanced intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

Patients and method

On day 1, epirubicin 50 mg/m2 and cisplatin 60 mg/m2 were administered i.v., repeated every 21 days. 5-FU (200 mg/m2/day was given continuous i.v. via an ambulatory infusion pump throughout the treatment course. A total of 24 patients (15 men and nine women) with advanced intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma between August 1996 and April 2002 were enrolled in this study.


Of the 20 evaluable patients, two had partial response (10%) and nine had stable disease (45%), including two minor response. Grade 3/4 neutropenia was observed in six patients, while grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia was seen in five patients. There was no neutropenic infection or thrombocytopenic bleeding during any of the cycles of chemotherapy.


ECF regimen is well-tolerated but is not an effective treatment for advanced intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Newer clinical trials with combination drugs should be developed.

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Correspondence to Jin-Hyoung Kang.

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Lee, M.A., Woo, I.S., Kang, J. et al. Epirubicin, cisplatin, and protracted infusion of 5-FU (ECF) in advanced intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 130, 346–350 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00432-003-0534-7

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  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma
  • ECF regimen