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      Efficacy and safety of gemcitabine plus erlotinib for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis


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          Pancreatic cancer is considered as a chemoresistant neoplasm with extremely dismal prognosis. Gemcitabine is recommended as the standard agent for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. A series of trials have been conducted to improve the outcome of advanced pancreatic cancer with other anticancer drugs in combination with gemcitabine. Unfortunately, the designers of the clinical trials failed to improve the poor prognosis of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Erlotinib was the first additional drug that improved the overall survival of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer with gemcitabine. We performed this systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the efficacy and safety of the combination of gemcitabine with erlotinib (GemErlo) for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer using the currently available evidence.


          PubMed/MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and relevant abstracts of major conferences were comprehensively searched. Data results on objective response rate, disease control rate, and 1-year survival were pooled by using MetaAnalyst with a random-effects model. Results on progression-free survival and overall survival were only summarized descriptively.


          A total of 24 studies with 1,742 patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer treated with GemErlo were included. Combined objective response rate was 14.4% (95% CI: 11.6%–17.7%), disease control rate was 55.0% (95% CI: 51.5%–58.5%), and 1-year survival rate was 28.5% (95% CI: 24.0%–33.4%). Progression-free survival ranged from 2.63 to 9.6 months, and overall survival varied from 6 to 10 months. As for the toxicity profile, the most common adverse events (AEs) were hematologic reactions, skin rash, and gastrointestinal reactions. Other severe AEs, which had low incidence, included treatment-induced death and interstitial lung disease.


          Our study showed that GemErlo is associated with reasonable activity in treating patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. Most of the AEs were tolerable, while some severe AEs needed careful detection.

          Most cited references43

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          Gemcitabine plus bevacizumab compared with gemcitabine plus placebo in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer: phase III trial of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB 80303).

          The combination of gemcitabine plus bevacizumab produced a 21% response rate and a median survival of 8.8 months in a multicenter phase II trial in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. These encouraging data led Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) to conduct a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized phase III trial of gemcitabine/bevacizumab versus gemcitabine/placebo in advanced pancreatic cancer patients. Eligible patients had no prior therapy for advanced disease, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status 0 to 2, no tumor invasion of adjacent organs, and no increased bleeding risk. The primary end point was overall survival. Patients were stratified by performance status, extent of disease, and prior radiotherapy. Patients received gemcitabine at 1,000 mg/m(2) over 30 minutes on days 1, 8, and 15 every 28 days and bevacizumab at 10 mg/kg or placebo on days 1 and 15 every 28 days. Between June 2004 and April 2006, 602 patients were enrolled onto the study and 535 were treated. Median overall survival was 5.8 months for gemcitabine/bevacizumab and 5.9 months for gemcitabine/placebo (P = .95). Median progression-free survival was 3.8 and 2.9 months, respectively (P = .07). Overall response rates were 13% and 10%, respectively. Patients with a performance status of 0, 1, and 2 survived a median of 7.9, 4.8, and 2.4 months, respectively. The only statistically significant differences in grades 3 and 4 toxicity occurred for hypertension (10% v 3%; P or = 3 was equivalent in both arms (14% and 15%, respectively). The addition of bevacizumab to gemcitabine does not improve survival in advanced pancreatic cancer patients.
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            Phase III randomized comparison of gemcitabine versus gemcitabine plus capecitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.

            Both gemcitabine (GEM) and fluoropyrimidines are valuable treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer. This open-label study was designed to compare the overall survival (OS) of patients randomly assigned to GEM alone or GEM plus capecitabine (GEM-CAP). Patients with previously untreated histologically or cytologically proven locally advanced or metastatic carcinoma of the pancreas with a performance status
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              Gemcitabine in combination with oxaliplatin compared with gemcitabine alone in locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer: results of a GERCOR and GISCAD phase III trial.

              Gemcitabine (Gem) is the standard treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer. Given the promising phase II results obtained with the Gem-oxaliplatin (GemOx) combination, we conducted a phase III study comparing GemOx with Gem alone in advanced pancreatic cancer. Patients with advanced pancreatic cancer were stratified according to center, performance status, and type of disease (locally advanced v metastatic) and randomly assigned to either GemOx (gemcitabine 1 g/m2 as a 100-minute infusion on day 1 and oxaliplatin 100 mg/m2 as a 2-hour infusion on day 2 every 2 weeks) or Gem (gemcitabine 1 g/m2 as a weekly 30-minute infusion). Three hundred twenty-six patients were enrolled; 313 were eligible, and 157 and 156 were allocated to the GemOx and Gem arms, respectively. GemOx was superior to Gem in terms of response rate (26.8% v 17.3%, respectively; P = .04), progression-free survival (5.8 v 3.7 months, respectively; P = .04), and clinical benefit (38.2% v 26.9%, respectively; P = .03). Median overall survival (OS) for GemOx and Gem was 9.0 and 7.1 months, respectively (P = .13). GemOx was well tolerated overall, although a higher incidence of National Cancer Institute Common Toxicity Criteria grade 3 and 4 toxicity per patient was observed for platelets (14.0% for GemOx v 3.2% for Gem), vomiting (8.9% for GemOx v 3.2% for Gem), and neurosensory symptoms (19.1% for GemOx v 0% for Gem). These results confirm the efficacy and safety of GemOx, but this study failed to demonstrate a statistically significant advantage in terms of OS compared with Gem. Because GemOx is the first combined treatment to be superior to Gem alone in terms of clinical benefit, this promising regimen deserves further development.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                13 June 2016
                : 10
                : 1961-1972
                [1 ]School of Medicine and Life Sciences, Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, University of Jinan, Jinan, Shandong, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Shandong Cancer Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan, Shandong, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Zhe-hai Wang, Shandong Cancer Hospital, Shandong University, 440 Jiyan Road, Huaiyin District, Jinan, Shandong 250117, People’s Republic of China, Email wdxshyd2014@ 123456163.com
                © 2016 Wang et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Original Research

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                advanced pancreatic cancer,chemotherapy,targeted agent,meta-analysis


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