[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer related death in Western countries. Advantages in surgical techniques, radiation and chemotherapy had almost no impact on the long term survival of affected patients. Therefore, the need for better treatment strategies is urgent. HER2, a receptor tyrosine kinase of the EGFR family, involved in signal transduction pathways leading to cell growth and differentiation is overexpressed in a number of cancers, including breast and pancreatic cancer. While in breast cancer HER2 has already been successfully used as a treatment target, there are only limited data evaluating the effects of inhibiting HER2 tyrosine kinases in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Here we report the design of a prospective, non-randomized multi-centered Phase II clinical study evaluating the effects of the Fluoropyrimidine-carbamate Capecitabine (Xeloda) and the monoclonal anti-HER2 antibody Trastuzumab (Herceptin) in patients with non-resectable, HER2 overexpressing pancreatic cancer. Patients eligible for the study will receive Trastuzumab infusions on day 1, 8 and 15 concomitant to the oral intake of Capecitabine from day 1 to day 14 of each three week cycle. Cycles will be repeated until tumor progression. A total of 37 patients will be enrolled with an interim analysis after 23 patients.
Primary end point of the study is to determine the progression free survival after 12 weeks of bimodal treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent Capecitabine and the anti-HER2 antibody Trastuzumab. Secondary end points include patient's survival, toxicity analysis, quality of life, the correlation of HER2 overexpression and clinical response to Trastuzumab treatment and, finally, the correlation of CA19-9 plasma levels and progression free intervals.