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Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2004 May;9(1):73-89.

Emerging drugs in pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1Unité de Gastroentérologie, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.


Improving survival in patients with pancreatic cancer remains a formidable challenge. For the few patients with localised stages of the disease, intra-operative radiotherapy, adjuvant chemoradiotherapy and neo-adjuvant therapies remain non-validated and the survival benefit conferred by 5-fluorouracil-folinic acid adjuvant chemotherapy over radical surgery alone is still a matter of debate. Gemcitabine has recently emerged as the standard single agent in advanced stages of the disease and pharmacokinetic refinements such as the use of a fixed-dose infusion rate may further improve still rather modest result figures. At present, most efforts deal with the development of more effective doublet or triplet therapies, combining gemcitabine with either conventional cytotoxic drugs--the most promising being oxaliplatin--or more innovative, targeted therapeutic agents. Among these agents, matrix metalloprotease inhibitors and farnesyltransferase inhibitors have already undergone Phase III trials, alone or in combination with gemcitabine, with rather disappointing results. However, preclinical and Phase I and II studies of cyclooxygenase-2 or lipoxygenase inhibitors, various immunotherapeutic approaches and several tyrosine kinase inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies against growth factors or their receptors are encouraging and may provide some hope for patients with pancreatic cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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