Second-line treatment in advanced pancreatic cancer: a comprehensive analysis of published clinical trials

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There is currently no standard of care for the second-line treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. The aim of this analysis was to compare the different therapeutic approaches in this setting.


We carried out a systematic analysis of second-line studies in advanced pancreatic cancer that have progressed on or following gemcitabine and published or presented from 2000 to 2012.


Forty-four clinical trials (t) were identified; of which 34 met the inclusion criteria treating an aggregate total of 1503 patients (n). Patients who received treatments (t: 33; n: 1269) had a median overall survival (OS) of 6 months compared with 2.8 months for patients who received best supportive care only (t: 2; n: 234) (P = 0.013). The gemcitabine and platinum-based combination (t: 5; n: 154) provided a median progression-free survival and OS of 4 and 6 months compared with 1.6 and 5.3 for the rest of the regimens (t: 29; n: 1349) (P = 0.059 and 0.10, respectively) and 2.9 and 5.7 for the combination of 5-fluorouracil and platinum agents (t: 12; n: 450) (P = 0.60 and 0.22, respectively).


Although not conclusive, these data showed that the advantage of second-line chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer is very limited and there is a need for more studies.

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