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Study Results Validate Use of Tumor Markers to Treat Metastatic Cancer

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 17 Jun 2019
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A new study validated the use of tumor markers to select chemotherapy drugs for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer (Photo courtesy of SPL).
A new study validated the use of tumor markers to select chemotherapy drugs for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer (Photo courtesy of SPL).
Promising results obtained in a recently conducted pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of using molecular tumor markers as the basis for selecting the chemotherapeutic agents to use in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Investigators at Georgetown University (Washington, DC, USA) and collaborators at several other institutions carried out a study designed to assess the feasibility of following a treatment algorithm based on the expression of three published predictive markers of response to chemotherapy: ribonucleotide reductase catalytic subunit M1 (for gemcitabine); excision repair cross-complementation group 1 (for platinum agents); and thymidylate synthase (for 5-fluorouracil) in patients with untreated, metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Initially, 30 patients were enrolled in the study. However, 10 patients failed screening primarily due to inadequate tumor tissue availability. Of the remaining 20 patients, tumor biopsy analysis was used to assign them to one of seven doublet treatment regimens. Key secondary objectives included response rate (RR), disease control rate (DCR), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS).

Results revealed promising indications for progression-free survival and overall survival, with a partial response seen in 28% of patients and stable disease in 50% by completion of the study.

Based on the results from this pilot study, a larger phase II randomized trial of molecularly targeted therapy versus physicians' choice of standard of care has been initiated.

Results of the pilot study were discussed in the May 2, 2019, online edition of the Journal of Pancreatic Cancer.

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Image: A blood film showing neutrophils and lymphocytes and other white and red blood cells, and a platelet (Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota).

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