Résumé : Summary: CP-4126 is a gemcitabine (2′,2′-difluorodeoxycytidine; dFdC) 5′ elaidic acid ester. The purpose of this dose-escalating study was to assess safety, pharmacokinetics (PK) and preliminary antitumor activity of the oral formulation and to determine the recommended dose (RD) for phase II studies. The study had a two-step design: a non-randomized dose-escalating step I with oral CP-4126 alone, followed by a randomized, cross-over step II that compared oral CP-4126 with dFdC i.v. CP-4126 was given on days 1,8,15 in a 4-week schedule with increasing doses until the RD was established. 26 patients with different solid tumours were enrolled in step I at seven dose levels (100-3,000 mg/day). The most frequent drug-related AEs were fatigue and dysgeusia, the majority being grade 1-2. One patient experienced a dose limiting toxicity after one dose of CP-4126 at 1,300 mg/day (ASAT grade 3). PK of CP-4126 could not be determined. The metabolites dFdC and dFdU obeyed dose-dependent pharmacokinetics. Exposures to dFdC were about ten-fold lower compared to exposures after comparable doses of dFdC i.v. Nine patients reached stable disease as best response, whereby in one patient with vaginal carcinoma a 25 % reduction of tumor volume was reached. This study demonstrates that CP-4126 can be safely administered orally to patients up to 3,000 mg/day in a d1,8,15 q4w schedule with a tolerable safety profile. CP-4126 acts as a prodrug for dFdC when given orally, but because of the poor absorption and the rapid pre-systemic metabolism the study was terminated early and no RD could be determined. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.