Combination Therapy for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer
Name of the Trial
Phase III Randomized Study of Gemcitabine With Versus Without Bevacizumab in Patients With Locally Advanced or Metastatic Adenocarcinoma of the Pancreas (CALGB-80303). See the protocol summary.
Dr. Hedy Lee Kindler, Cancer and Leukemia Group B.
Why This Trial Is Important
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Patients with pancreatic cancer are usually diagnosed with advanced disease because this type of cancer often spreads before symptoms develop. Current treatments may extend survival slightly or relieve symptoms in some patients, but they rarely produce a cure.
In this study, researchers are adding a biological agent called bevacizumab (Avastin®) to standard chemotherapy with the drug gemcitabine to see if the combination can help improve the survival of pancreatic cancer patients whose disease has spread to nearby lymph nodes (locally advanced) or to other sites in the body (metastatic). Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the action of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF stimulates the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), which tumors need to survive, and it may also act as a growth factor for pancreatic cancer cells, stimulating them to multiply. Researchers hope they can cause pancreatic tumors to shrink or die by blocking VEGF activity.
"In a phase II study we conducted with this combination, we observed a time to progression and survival that was far better than we expected," said Dr Kindler. "This randomized trial seeks to confirm our observations, and we hope that the laboratory studies we are also performing will teach us a great deal about the biology of pancreatic cancer."
This clinical trial is no longer accepting new patients. To find other clinical trials for pancreatic cancer, search the NCI's database of clinical trials or call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The call is toll free and completely confidential.