Advanced carcinoma of the pancreas: Phase II study of combined chemotherapy, β-interferon, and retinoids

Francesco Recchia, Gigliola Sica, Desireè Casucci, Silvio Rea, Alberto Gulino, Luigi Frati

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Because of the poor response of pancreatic cancer to conventional therapy, the authors performed a phase II pilot study to evaluate whether β- interferon and retinoids, added to active chemotherapeutic agents, could increase response rate and survival in a group of patients who had metastatic disease. Twenty-three chemotherapy-naive patients were treated as follows: epirubicin, 60 mg/m2, and mitomycin C, 10 mg/m2, intravenously on day 1; folinic acid, 200 mg/m2, and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), 370 mg/m2, intravenously for 5 consecutive days. β-Interferon, 1 x 106 IU/m2, subcutaneously three times a week, and retinol palmitate, 50,000 IU orally twice a day, were given between chemotherapy cycles. Patients having responses and disease stabilization were maintained with the same dose of β- interferon and retinol palmitate. Treatment was given every 4 weeks for four courses or until onset of progression. A median of three courses of chemotherapy was delivered to each patient. All patients were evaluable. Eight patients responded (35%) and 8 (35%) had stable disease. Median time to progression and survival for all patients were, respectively, 6.1 months and 11 months. Toxicity was severe: 60% of patients had hematologic toxicity, 40% had gastrointestinal toxicity, 13% had cardiac toxicity, and 1 patient had a hemolitic-uremic syndrome. The combination of chemotherapy, β-interferon, and retinoids shows activity in metastatic pancreatic carcinoma. Toxicity was high but patients who had responses and disease stabilization had prolonged symptom palliation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-278
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998


  • β- interferon
  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • Epirubicin
  • Mitomycin C
  • Pancreatic carcinoma
  • Retinoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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