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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2019 Mar;20(4):399-409. doi: 10.1080/14656566.2018.1560422. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Capecitabine for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

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a Division of Hematology/Oncology , Tufts Medical Center - Tufts University School of Medicine , Boston , MA , USA.
b Department of Medical Oncology , Northwell Health Cancer Institute , New York , NY , USA.


Capecitabine is an oral prodrug of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) which is converted to 5FU by a series of reactions catalyzed by different enzymes, the last of the enzymes being thymidine phosphorylase (TP). TP is found to be elevated in tumor cells in comparison to normal cells, which consequently tumor-localizes the production of 5-FU, thereby limiting its systemic toxicity. Today, capecitabine is extensively used for the treatment of many solid malignancies, with a particular focus in breast and gastrointestinal tumors, but also in pancreatic cancer. Areas covered: This review summarizes the pharmacology and the clinical evidence relevant to the use of capecitabine in the treatment of pancreas cancer. The authors provide, furthermore, provide their expert perspectives on its use. Expert opinion: Capecitabine has the advantage over other therapeutics in so much that it has both convenient oral administration and a favorable toxicity profile. Current data has promised the use of capecitabine in all stages of pancreatic cancer. However, predictive markers for outcome and toxicity remain to be validated.


5-fluorouracil; adjuvant; advanced; cancer; capecitabine; chemotherapy; gemcitabine; pancreas; pancreatic

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