[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: More than 90% of patients with pancreatic cancer present either with incurable locally advanced or metastatic disease or relapse following surgery. For these patients systemic therapy offers the only prospect of salvage, but pancreatic cancer is one of the most chemoresistant of tumors; current chemotherapy can only delay progression in a limited proportion of patients and survival rates are poor. There is therefore a pressing need for more effective therapy. Capecitabine is a new oral prodrug of fluorouracil, which has shown activity in pancreatic cancer particularly when used in combination with gemcitabine.
To review the emerging evidence for the clinical effectiveness of capecitabine in the management of carcinoma of the pancreas.
There is evidence from phase II testing that capecitabine is active in pancreatic cancer. The Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research/Central European Cooperative Oncology Group (SAKK/CECOG) phase III trial found that the combination of gemcitabine and capecitabine did not improve overall median survival as compared with gemcitabine alone (8.4 vs 7.3 months, respectively; P=0.314) but subgroup analysis in patients with good performance score [Karnofsky Performance Scores (KPS) ≥90] revealed a significant survival improvement with the combination arm (10.1 months) compared with single-agent gemcitabine (7.5 months; P=0.033). Preliminary data from the GemCap phase III trial indicated significantly improved response rates and survival for the combination of gemcitabine with capecitabine (7.4 months) compared with gemcitabine alone (6 months; P=0.026) but analysis of the mature data with adequate follow-up awaits reporting.
The addition of capecitabine to gemcitabine may represent a small step forward in the management of advanced pancreatic cancer but further data are required in order to determine its full impact.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the UK, Europe and US, with incidence closely paralleling mortality. Until recently, enthusiasm for treating these patients was limited for a number of reasons: the majority of patients undergoing surgery would relapse early, adjuvant treatment was of unproven value and systemic therapy in advanced disease had only a small chance of a short-term benefit. More recently, however, it has become recognised that specialist surgery can improve results and there is evidence that adjuvant chemotherapy has a significant advantage in terms of 5-year survival. In particular adjuvant systemic 5-fluorouracil with folinic acid can result in 5-year survival of < or = 29% (compared with 11% for controls) and adjuvant gemcitabine can improve disease-free survival to 13.4 months from a median of 6.9 months in controls, but not overall survival. In contrast the role of adjuvant chemoradiation in addition to chemotherapy remains unproven and the survival results appear to be inferior to systemic chemotherapy alone. New agents, such as capecitabine and erlotinib, are emerging with some activity in this dismal disease signalling hope for the future.
No preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the non-curative setting, the sequence in which anticancer agents are used, singly or in combination, may be important if patients are to receive the maximum period of disease control with the minimum of adverse effects. We compared sequential and combination chemotherapy strategies in patients with unpretreated advanced or metastatic colorectal cancer, who were regarded as not potentially curable irrespective of response.
We studied patients with advanced colorectal cancer, starting treatment with non-curative intent. 2135 unpretreated patients were randomly assigned to three treatment strategies in the ratio 1:1:1. Strategy A (control group) was single-agent fluorouracil (given with levofolinate over 48 h every 2 weeks) until failure, then single-agent irinotecan. Strategy B was fluorouracil until failure, then combination chemotherapy. Strategy C was combination chemotherapy from the outset. Within strategies B and C, patients were randomly assigned to receive, as the combination regimen, fluorouracil plus irinotecan (groups B-ir and C-ir) or fluorouracil plus oxaliplatin (groups B-ox and C-ox). The primary endpoint was overall survival, analysed by intention to treat. This study is registered as an International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial, number ISRCTN 79877428.
Median survival of patients allocated to control strategy A was 13.9 months. Median survival of each of the other groups was longer (B-ir 15.0, B-ox 15.2, C-ir 16.7, and C-ox 15.4 months). However, log-rank comparison of each group against control showed that only C-ir--the first-line combination strategy including irinotecan--satisfied the statistical test for superiority (p=0.01). Overall comparison of strategy B with strategy C was within the predetermined non-inferiority boundary of HR=1.18 or less (HR=1.06, 90% CI 0.97-1.17).
Our data challenge the assumption that, in this non-curative setting, maximum tolerable treatment must necessarily be used first-line. The staged approach of initial single-agent treatment upgraded to combination when required is not worse than first-line combination, and is an alternative option for discussion with patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Capecitabine is an oral prodrug of 5-fluorouracil, which is converted to 5-fluorouracil by three sequential enzymatic reactions. The final requisite enzyme, thymidine phosphorylase, is present at consistently higher levels in tumours compared with normal tissues, thereby suggesting that 5-fluorouracil that is delivered in this way may benefit from an element of tumour targeting and thus enhanced selectivity and better tolerability. Capecitabine has been shown to have single-agent activity in advanced carcinoma of the pancreas and to improve response rates and survival when administered in combination with gemcitabine compared with gemcitabine alone. This paper reviews the pharmacology and clinical data that are relevant to the use of capecitabine in pancreatic cancer.
No preview · Article · Sep 2006 · Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A regimen of epirubicin, cisplatin, and infused fluorouracil (ECF) improves survival among patients with incurable locally advanced or metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma. We assessed whether the addition of a perioperative regimen of ECF to surgery improves outcomes among patients with potentially curable gastric cancer.
We randomly assigned patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the stomach, esophagogastric junction, or lower esophagus to either perioperative chemotherapy and surgery (250 patients) or surgery alone (253 patients). Chemotherapy consisted of three preoperative and three postoperative cycles of intravenous epirubicin (50 mg per square meter of body-surface area) and cisplatin (60 mg per square meter) on day 1, and a continuous intravenous infusion of fluorouracil (200 mg per square meter per day) for 21 days. The primary end point was overall survival.
ECF-related adverse effects were similar to those previously reported among patients with advanced gastric cancer. Rates of postoperative complications were similar in the perioperative-chemotherapy group and the surgery group (46 percent and 45 percent, respectively), as were the numbers of deaths within 30 days after surgery. The resected tumors were significantly smaller and less advanced in the perioperative-chemotherapy group. With a median follow-up of four years, 149 patients in the perioperative-chemotherapy group and 170 in the surgery group had died. As compared with the surgery group, the perioperative-chemotherapy group had a higher likelihood of overall survival (hazard ratio for death, 0.75; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.60 to 0.93; P=0.009; five-year survival rate, 36 percent vs. 23 percent) and of progression-free survival (hazard ratio for progression, 0.66; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.53 to 0.81; P<0.001).
In patients with operable gastric or lower esophageal adenocarcinomas, a perioperative regimen of ECF decreased tumor size and stage and significantly improved progression-free and overall survival. (Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN93793971 [controlled-trials.com].).
Full-text · Article · Aug 2006 · New England Journal of Medicine