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Br J Cancer. 2005 Jul 25;93(2):195-9.

Serum CA19-9 response as a surrogate for clinical outcome in patients receiving fixed-dose rate gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1University of California at San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1600 Divisadero Street, 4th Floor, Box 1705, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


The use of serial serum measurements of the carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) to guide treatment decisions and serve as a surrogate end point in clinical trial design requires further validation. We investigated whether CA19-9 decline represents an accurate surrogate for survival and time to treatment failure (TTF) in a cohort of 76 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer receiving fixed-dose rate gemcitabine in three separate studies. Statistically significant correlations between percentage CA19-9 decline and both overall survival and TTF were found, with median survival ranging from 12.0 months for patients with the greatest degree of biomarker decline (> 75%) compared with 4.3 months in those whose CA19-9 did not decline during therapy (P < 0.001). Using specific thresholds, patients with > or = 25% decline in CA19-9 during treatment had significantly better outcomes than those who did not (median survival and TTF of 9.6 and 4.6 months vs 4.4 and 1.5 months; P < 0.001). Similar results were seen using both 50 and 75% as cutoff points. We conclude that serial CA19-9 measurements correlate well with clinical outcomes in this patient population, and that decline in this biomarker should be entertained for possible use as a surrogate end point in clinical trials for the selection of new treatments in this disease.

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