Biweekly gemcitabine (GEM) in combination with erlotinib (ERL): An active and convenient regimen for advanced pancreatic cancer

First Department of Medical Oncology, St. Savvas Anticancer Hospital, Athens, Greece.
Anticancer research (Impact Factor: 1.83). 12/2009; 29(12):5211-7.
Source: PubMed


Pancreatic cancer remains a disease of high mortality and one of the most frustrating, resistant solid neoplasms to treat. The aim of this study was to evaluate a biweekly gemcitabine plus daily erlotinib regimen in patients with advanced (stage III-IV) pancreatic cancer in terms of overall survival and time to progression of the disease. The secondary aim was to record treatment related toxicities.
Twenty-seven patients with metastatic non-operable pancreatic adenocarcinoma, stage III-IV, consented to receive chemotherapy with gemcitabine and erlotinib. Patients received first-line treatment with gemcitabine (2 g/m(2) via 90 min i.v. infusion every two weeks) and 100 mg erlotinib per os every day, for at least 12 consecutive courses (6 cycles). Treatment was discontinued at disease progression and/or serious toxicity.
The objective response rate was 25.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 11.1-46.3%) and the stable disease rate was 59.3% (95% CI: 38.8-77.6%). The one-year overall survival was 20%. The median overall survival and time to progression at the time of assessment was 7.5 months (95% CI: 3.6-42 months) and 5.5 months (95% CI: 1.5-10 months), respectively. Overall survival and time to progression were related to response (p<0.001), while time to progression was further related to disease stage (p=0.011). No grade 4 haematological or non-haematological toxicities were observed.
The biweekly regimen of gemcitabine plus erlotinib has similar toxicity and efficacy to weekly administration, presenting both patients and hospital resource departments with a clearly more convenient therapy alternative.

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    • "Objective response rates were reported in 12 studies [6], [21]–[24], [26], [32]–[37], ranging from 0% to 28.6% with significant between-study heterogeneity (P = 0.003, I2 = 37.8%). The combined objective response rate estimated by the random-effects model was 12.9% (95% CI 9.4%–17.5%) "
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    ABSTRACT: Background This study aims to comprehensively summarize the currently available evidences on the efficacy and safety of gemcitabine plus erlotinib for treating advanced pancreatic cancer. Methodology/Principal Findings PubMed, EMBASE, The Cochrane Library and abstracts of recent major conferences were systematically searched to identify relevant publications. Studies that were conducted in advanced pancreatic cancer patients treated with gemcitabine plus erlotinib (with or without comparison with gemcitabine alone) and reporting objective response rate, disease control rate, progression-free survival, time-to-progression, overall survival, 1-year survival rate and/or adverse events were included. Data on objective response rate, disease control rate, 1-year survival rate and adverse events rate, respectively, were combined mainly by using Meta-Analyst software with a random-effects model. Data on progression-free survival, time-to-progression and overall survival were summarized descriptively. Sixteen studies containing 1,308 advanced pancreatic cancer patients treated with gemcitabine plus erlotinib were included. The reported median progression-free survival (or time-to-progression), median overall survival, 1-year survival rates, objective response rates and disease control rates were 2–9.6 months, 5–12.5 months, 20%–51%, 0%–28.6% and 25.0%–83.3%, respectively. The weighted 1-year survival rate, objective response rate and disease control rate based on studies reporting robust results were 27.9%, 9.1% and 57.0%, respectively. According to the studies with relevant data, the incidences of total and severe adverse events were 96.3% and 62.9%, respectively. The most frequently reported adverse events were leucopenia, rash, diarrhea, vomitting, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anaemia, stomatitis, drug-induced liver injury, fatigue and fever. Compared with gemcitabine alone, the progression-free survival and overall survival with gemcitabine plus erlotinib were significantly longer, but there were also more deaths and interstitial lung disease-like syndrome related to this treatment. Conclusions/Significance Gemcitabine plus erlotinib represent a new option for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer, with mild but clinically meaningful additive efficacy compared with gemcitabine alone. Its safety profile is generally acceptable, although careful management is needed for some specific adverse events.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUNDS: Pancreatic carcinoma is one of the most serious forms of cancer, with a very high mortality rate, and is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the Czech Republic. The etiology and molecular pathogenesis of the disease is still poorly understood. Gemcitabine is a cytotoxic nucleoside analog, which is widely used in the treatment of malignancies, and in particular in pancreatic carcinoma. Interindividual differences in gemcitabine pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics have been demonstrated, which can significantly influence the outcome of the therapy in thus treated patients. Resistance developed to nucleoside analogs limits their clinical use, just like in the case of any other cytostatics. AIM: This review summarizes available data concerning the membrane proteins involved in the transport mechanism of gemcitabine through cellular membrane, and their role in the cellular resistance of pancreatic carcinoma to gemcitabine.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Klinická onkologie: casopis Ceské a Slovenské onkologické spolecnosti
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    ABSTRACT: Despite remarkable progress that has been made in the recent years in the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors, in particular colorectal cancer, the prognosis of pancreatic cancer remains dismal. Five years after diagnosis almost all patients have died. At early stages of the disease surgery is the only modality to achieve long term survival. In the palliative setting gemcitabine confers some benefit to patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. A large number of chemotherapy combinations has been tested in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Only one combination showed significant improvement of survival, however also increased toxicity. The introduction of targeted therapies raised hopes for a better treatment of pancreatic cancer. However, most of the compounds tested so far failed to improve the survival of patients with pancreatic cancer. This review summarizes molecular targets examined so far in pancreatic cancer including matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors, farnesyltransferase inhibitors, vascular endothelial growth factor and epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors and points out novel promising strategies for this difficult-to-treat tumor.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Current Cancer Drug Targets
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