Muhammad Wasif Saif, Konstantinos N Syrigos, Evangelos G Sarris
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is one of the most aggressive malignancies and the fourth leading cause of cancer-relatedmortality in the United States. The majority of patients are diagnosed at advanced stage with inoperable locally advancedtumors or metastatic disease, and palliative chemotherapy remains the best therapeutic option for these patients. Despiteintensive clinical and pre-clinical research over the last few years, the combination of the anti-metabolite drug gemcitabinewith the targeted agent erlotinib, is considered standard of care in the treatment of these patients, with only minimal ormodest efficacy. Therefore, novel therapeutic approaches are currently under clinical investigation in an attempt to producemore definite results for this fatal disease. In this paper we summarize five most interesting research abstracts as presentedat the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting. In two studies, nimotuzumab, a monoclonalantibody against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) (Abstract #4009) and bavituximab, a monoclonal antibodyagainst phosphatidylserine (Abstract #4054) are tested in combination with gemcitabine in patients with advancedpancreatic cancer. Abstract #4012 is a study of gemcitabine with vismodegib, a novel hedgehog pathway inhibitor, whereasin Abstract #4035, toxicity and efficacy results of sunitinib in combination with gemcitabine in patients with pancreaticadenocarcinoma are presented. Lastly, safety results of pimasertib, a novel mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)inhibitor, combined with the standard gemcitabine are presented in Abstract #4041.