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Concept: Pancreatic cancer

273

Background In a phase 1-2 trial of albumin-bound paclitaxel (nab-paclitaxel) plus gemcitabine, substantial clinical activity was noted in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. We conducted a phase 3 study of the efficacy and safety of the combination versus gemcitabine monotherapy in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Methods We randomly assigned patients with a Karnofsky performance-status score of 70 or more (on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better performance status) to nab-paclitaxel (125 mg per square meter of body-surface area) followed by gemcitabine (1000 mg per square meter) on days 1, 8, and 15 every 4 weeks or gemcitabine monotherapy (1000 mg per square meter) weekly for 7 of 8 weeks (cycle 1) and then on days 1, 8, and 15 every 4 weeks (cycle 2 and subsequent cycles). Patients received the study treatment until disease progression. The primary end point was overall survival; secondary end points were progression-free survival and overall response rate. Results A total of 861 patients were randomly assigned to nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine (431 patients) or gemcitabine (430). The median overall survival was 8.5 months in the nab-paclitaxel-gemcitabine group as compared with 6.7 months in the gemcitabine group (hazard ratio for death, 0.72; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62 to 0.83; P<0.001). The survival rate was 35% in the nab-paclitaxel-gemcitabine group versus 22% in the gemcitabine group at 1 year, and 9% versus 4% at 2 years. The median progression-free survival was 5.5 months in the nab-paclitaxel-gemcitabine group, as compared with 3.7 months in the gemcitabine group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.58 to 0.82; P<0.001); the response rate according to independent review was 23% versus 7% in the two groups (P<0.001). The most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher were neutropenia (38% in the nab-paclitaxel-gemcitabine group vs. 27% in the gemcitabine group), fatigue (17% vs. 7%), and neuropathy (17% vs. 1%). Febrile neutropenia occurred in 3% versus 1% of the patients in the two groups. In the nab-paclitaxel-gemcitabine group, neuropathy of grade 3 or higher improved to grade 1 or lower in a median of 29 days. Conclusions In patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma, nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine significantly improved overall survival, progression-free survival, and response rate, but rates of peripheral neuropathy and myelosuppression were increased. (Funded by Celgene; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00844649 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Lung cancer, Chemotherapy, Normal distribution, Pancreatic cancer

264

Pancreatic adenocarcinomas (PAs) have very poor prognoses even when surgery is possible. Currently, there are no tissular biomarkers to predict long-term survival in patients with PA. The aims of this study were to (1) describe the metabolome of pancreatic parenchyma (PP) and PA, (2) determine the impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on PP and PA, and (3) find tissue metabolic biomarkers associated with long-term survivors, using metabolomics analysis.

Concepts: Metabolism, Enzyme, Adenocarcinoma, Pancreatic cancer, Digestion, Metabolomics, Metabolome, Antimetabolite

209

BACKGROUND: Regardless of the availability of therapeutic options, the overall 5-year survival for patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer remains less than 5%. Gum resins from Boswellia species, also known as frankincense, have been used as a major ingredient in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a variety of health-related conditions. Both frankincense chemical extracts and essential oil prepared from Boswellia species gum resins exhibit anti-neoplastic activity, and have been investigated as potential anti-cancer agents. The goals of this study are to identify optimal condition for preparing frankincense essential oil that possesses potent anti-tumor activity, and to evaluate the activity in both cultured human pancreatic cancer cells and a xenograft mouse cancer model. METHODS: Boswellia sacra gum resins were hydrodistilled at 78 [degree sign]C; and essential oil distillate fractions were collected at different durations (Fraction I at 0–2 h, Fraction II at 8–10 h, and Fraction III at 11–12 h). Hydrodistillation of the second half of gum resins was performed at 100 [degree sign]C; and distillate was collected at 11–12 h (Fraction IV). Chemical compositions were identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS); and total boswellic acids contents were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Frankincense essential oil-modulated pancreatic tumor cell viability and cytotoxicity were determined by colorimetric assays. Levels of apoptotic markers, signaling molecules, and cell cycle regulators expression were characterized by Western blot analysis. A heterotopic (subcutaneous) human pancreatic cancer xenograft nude mouse model was used to evaluate anti-tumor capability of Fraction IV frankincense essential oil in vivo. Frankincense essential oil-induced tumor cytostatic and cytotoxic activities in animals were assessed by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Longer duration and higher temperature hydrodistillation produced more abundant high molecular weight compounds, including boswellic acids, in frankincense essential oil fraactions. Human pancreatic cancer cells were sensitive to Fractions III and IV (containing higher molecular weight compounds) treatment with suppressed cell viability and increased cell death. Essential oil activated the caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway, induced a rapid and transient activation of Akt and Erk1/2, and suppressed levels of cyclin D1 cdk4 expression in cultured pancreatic cancer cells. In addition, Boswellia sacra essential oil Fraction IV exhibited anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities against pancreatic tumors in the heterotopic xenograft mouse model. CONCLUSION: All fractions of frankincense essential oil from Boswellia sacra are capable of suppressing viability and inducing apoptosis of a panel of human pancreatic cancer cell lines. Potency of essential oil-suppressed tumor cell viability may be associated with the greater abundance of high molecular weight compounds in Fractions III and IV. Although chemical component(s) responsible for tumor cell cytotoxicity remains undefined, crude essential oil prepared from hydrodistillation of Boswellia sacra gum resins might be a useful alternative therapeutic agent for treating patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma, an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Apoptosis, Chemotherapy, Tumor, Neoplasm, Cell cycle, Pancreatic cancer

184

Pancreatic cystic lesions (PCLs) are increasingly frequent radiological incidentalomas, with a considerable proportion representing precursors of pancreatic cancer. Better diagnostic tools are required for patients to benefit from this development.

Concepts: Cancer, Pancreas, Pancreatic cancer

177

BACKGROUND: Information about diagnosis, treatment options and prognosis has been emphasized as a key to empower cancer patients to make treatment decisions reflecting their values. However, surveys indicate that patients' preferences regarding information and treatment decision-making differ. In this qualitative interview study, we explored pancreatic cancer patients' perceptions and preferences on information and treatment decision-making. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Qualitative in-depth interviews with patients with pancreatic cancer. Purposive sampling and qualitative analysis were carried out. RESULTS: We identified two stages of information and treatment decision-making. Patients initially emphasize trust in their physician and indicate rather limited interest in details about surgical and medical treatment. In the latter stage of disease, patients perceive themselves more active regarding information seeking and treatment decision-making. All patients discuss their poor prognosis. Reflecting on their own situation, all patients interviewed pointed out that hope was an important driver to undergo further treatment also in advanced stages of the disease. Interviewees unanimously emphasized the difficulty of anticipating the time at which stopping cancer treatment would be the right decision. CONCLUSIONS: The findings can serve as starting point for reflection on professional decision-making in pancreatic cancer and larger representative surveys on ethical issues in treatment decision-making in pancreatic cancer.

Concepts: Psychology, Medicine, Cancer, Oncology, Decision making, Physician, Pancreatic cancer, Interview

171

Emodin has been showed to induce apoptosis of pancreatic cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth in our previous studies. This study was designed to investigate whether emodin could inhibit the angiogenesis of pancreatic cancer tissues and its mechanism.

Concepts: Immune system, Cancer, Metastasis, Oncology, Apoptosis, Neoplasm, Cell cycle, Pancreatic cancer

168

BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer, including cancer of the ampulla of Vater and bile duct, is very aggressive and has a poor five year survival rate; improved methods of patient stratification are required. METHODS: We assessed the expression of calpain-1, calpain-2 and calpastatin in two patient cohorts using immunohistochemistry on tissue microarrays. The first cohort was composed of 68 pancreatic adenocarcinomas and the second cohort was composed of 120 cancers of the bile duct and ampulla. RESULTS: In bile duct and ampullary carcinomas an association was observed between cytoplasmic calpastatin expression and patient age (P=0.036), and between nuclear calpastatin expression and increased tumour stage (P=0.026) and the presence of vascular invasion (P=0.043). In pancreatic cancer, high calpain-2 expression was significantly associated with improved overall survival (P=0.036), which remained significant in multivariate Cox-regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.342; 95% confidence interval=0.157-0.741; P=0.007). In cancers of the bile duct and ampulla, low cytoplasmic expression of calpastatin was significantly associated with poor overall survival (P=0.012), which remained significant in multivariate Cox-regression analysis (hazard ratio=0.595; 95% confidence interval=0.365-0.968; P=0.037). CONCLUSION: The results suggest that calpain-2 and calpastatin expression is important in pancreatic cancers, influencing disease progression. The findings of this study warrant a larger follow-up study.

Concepts: Cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Liver, Carcinoma, Pancreatic cancer, Pancreatic duct

167

Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is a common gastrointestinal illness, which affects the quality of life with substantial morbidity and mortality. The management includes medical, endoscopic and surgical approaches with the need for interaction between various specialties, calling for a concerted multidisciplinary approach. However, at the time of this publication, guidelines to establish care of these patients are lacking. This review provides the reader with a comprehensive overview of the studies summarizing the various treatment options available, including medical, surgical and endoscopic options. In addition, technological advances such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogrophy, endoscopic shock wave lithotripsy and endoscopic ultrasound can now be offered with reasonable success for pancreatic decompression, stricture dilatation with stent placement, stone fragmentation, pseudocyst drainage, and other endoscopic interventions such as celiac plexus block for pain relief. We emphasize the endoscopic options in this review, and attempt to extract the most up to date information from the current literature. The treatment of CP and its complications are discussed extensively. Complications such as biliary strictures. pancreatic pseudocysts, and chronic pain are common issues that arise as long-term complications of CP. These often require endoscopic or surgical management and possibly a combination of approaches, however choosing amongst the various therapeutic and palliative modalities while weighing the risks and benefits, makes the management of CP challenging. Treatment goals should be not just to control symptoms but also to prevent disease progression. Our aim in this paper is to advocate and emphasize an evidence based approach for the management of CP and associated long term complications.

Concepts: Medicine, Pain, Pancreatic cancer, Term, Suffering, Pancreatic pseudocyst, Robert C. Merton, Celiac plexus

51

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a highly desmoplastic tumor with a dismal prognosis for most patients. Fibrosis and inflammation are hallmarks of tumor desmoplasia. We have previously demonstrated that preventing the activation of pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) and alleviating desmoplasia are beneficial strategies in treating PDAC. Metformin is a widely used glucose-lowering drug. It is also frequently prescribed to diabetic pancreatic cancer patients and has been shown to associate with a better outcome. However, the underlying mechanisms of this benefit remain unclear. Metformin has been found to modulate the activity of stellate cells in other disease settings. In this study, we examine the effect of metformin on PSC activity, fibrosis and inflammation in PDACs.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Obesity, Pancreatic cancer, Hepatic stellate cell, Stellate cell, Pancreatic stellate cell

51

Fewer than 6% patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas live up to five years after diagnosis. Chemotherapy is currently the standard treatment, however, these tumors often develop drug resistance over time. Agents for increasing the cytotoxic effects of chemotherapy or reducing the cancer cells' chemo-resistance to the drugs are required to improve treatment outcome. Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), a pro-inflammatory transcription factor, reportedly plays a significant role in the resistance of pancreatic cancer cells to apoptosis-based chemotherapy. This study investigated the effect of aqueous Moringa Oleifera leaf extract on cultured human pancreatic cancer cells - Panc-1, p34, and COLO 357, and whether it can potentiates the effect of cisplatin chemotherapy on these cells.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Cancer, Oncology, Lung cancer, Pancreatic cancer, Moringa oleifera, NF-κB