What Else in Gemcitabine-Pretreated Advanced Pancreatic Cancer? An Update of Second Line Therapies

Author(s): Fausto Petrelli, Karen Borgonovo, Mara Ghilardi, Mary Cabiddu, Sandro Barni

Journal Name: Reviews on Recent Clinical Trials

Volume 5 , Issue 1 , 2010

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Advanced pancreatic cancer is usually treated with first-line gemcitabine (GEM) (alone or in combination). More recently, GEM has become an established part of an adjuvant therapy based on two recently-reported randomized trials. There remains unresolved the problem of second-line therapy in patients relapsed during or after adjuvant or firstline GEM-based treatment. As of today, platinum analogues in combination with fluoropyrimidine or with GEM represent the most common schedule in clinical practice with data from single-centre or multicentric phase II studies. In 2008, for the first time, a randomized phase III trial conducted on good performance status GEM-refractory patients (CONKO 003) confirmed their benefit in progression-free and overall survival by adding oxaliplatin to a bolus 5-FU/folinic acid schedule. Other agents (irinotecan, taxanes, antifolates, biological) have been tested, although only dismal results have been achieved, as they turned out to be too toxic in combination and to have too low activity when used as single agents. Which is the optimal candidate for second-line therapies, is debatable. Good performance status and discrete progressionfree survival since the beginning of the GEM therapy (more than 6 months?) are likely to be the best indicators of subsequent line benefit. The benefit of biological agents is unknown, also given the poor results achieved in the first-line treatment. In summary, as of today, there is one randomized study that confirms the benefit of second-line chemotherapy for the treatment of GEM-relapsed pancreatic cancer. Current data indicate 5-FU plus a platinum agent (oxaliplatin) as the standard of care for PS 0-1 patients. Ongoing clinical trials will clarify whether there is obviously a place for improvement and for other agents. At present, even though no data on benefits in unfit patients (Karnofsky < 70) are available, a fluopyrimidine agent still remains a reasonable treatment option.

Keywords: Pancreatic cancer, second line, chemotherapy, gemcitabine

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Article Details

Year: 2010
Page: [43 - 56]
Pages: 14
DOI: 10.2174/157488710790820553

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