Purpose: Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The median survival of locally advanced nonoperable disease is approximately 9 months. 5-FU-based chemoradiotherapy has been the standard treatment. However, the survival benefit of this approach is modest. To improve the efficacy of 5-FU-based chemoradiation therapy, we evaluated the safety and feasibility of the combination of capecitabine and erlotinib with radiotherapy in this group of patients. Experimental design: A traditional "3 + 3" dose escalation design was adopted in the study. A total of four dose levels were designed. For safety purpose, a minus I dose level (-I) was also planned. The -I level consisted of capecitabine 600 mg/m2 and erlotinib 50 mg daily, and the remaining four dose levels were as follows: level I: capecitabine 600 mg/m2 bid (twice daily); level II: 700 mg/m2 bid; level III: 825 mg/m2 bid; and level IV: 925 mg/m2 bid. Erlotinib was administered at 100 mg daily at all dose levels. Erlotinib and capceitabine were given continuously Monday through Friday concurrent with radiotherapy (50.4 Gy in 28 fractions). Results: A total of 18 patients were consented. Fifteen patients were enrolled and completed therapy. No dose-limiting toxicity was observed. The most frequent side effects were lymphopenia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalances, and skin rashes. The majority of the toxicities were grade 1 and 2. No objective response was observed. The median progression-free survival was 0.59 years (95 % CI 0.31-1.1), and the median overall survival was 1.1 years (95 % CI 0.62-1.59). Conclusions: The combination of capecitabine and erlotinib with radiotherapy in locally advanced pancreatic cancer is well tolerated and feasible at the dose level of capecitabine 925 mg/m2 bid and erlotinib 100 mg daily.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research
- Pharmacology (medical)