Spanish research Fulgar and colleagues published a recent article in the journal Anticancer Research detailing the results of their multi-center Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating oral erlotinib (Tarceva – 150 mg per day) coupled with the also orally administered capecitabine (Xeloda) in pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas). Capecitabine is a pro-drug of 5-FU that becomes 5-fluorouracil in the course of its metabolism.
They treated 32 patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer demonstrating a 12-month survival rate of twenty-two percent. 34% of those treated developed a notable skin rash (perhaps related to Tarceva).
The authors indicate that the regimen appears to be active and reasonably safe. They suggest that this oral combination could perhaps be considered as a 1st Line treatment for cancer of the pancreas.
This is an early study in pancreatic cancer that requires further inquiry.
Dale O’Brien, MD