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Stemmler, J.; Stieber, P.; Szymala, A. M.; Schalhorn, A.; Schermuly, M. M.; Wilkowski, R.; Helmberger, T.; Lamerz, Rolf; Stoffregen, C.; Niebler, K.; Garbrecht, M. and Heinemann, Volker (2003): Are serial CA 19-9 kinetics helpful in predicting survival in patients with advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer treated with gemcitabine and cisplatin? In: Onkologie, No. 5: pp. 462-467 [PDF, 115kB]


Background: Serial kinetics of serum CA 19-9 levels have been reported to reflect response and survival in patients with pancreatic cancer undergoing surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. We prospectively studied serial kinetics of serum CA 19-9 levels of patients with locally advanced or metastatic disease treated with gemcitabine and cisplatin. Patients and Methods: Enrolled in the study were 87 patients (female/male = 26/61; stage III/IV disease = 24/63). Patients received gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m(2) on days 1, 8, and 15 plus cisplatin 50 mg/m(2) on days 1 and 15, every 4 weeks. Serum samples were collected at the onset of chemotherapy and before the start of a new treatment cycle (day 28). Results: 77 of 87 patients (88.5%) with initially elevated CA 19-9 levels were included for evaluation. According to imaging criteria, 4 (5.2%) achieved a complete remission and 11 (14.3%) achieved partial remission, yielding an overall response rate of 19.5%. 43 (55.8%) patients were CA 19-9 responders, defined by greater than or equal to50% decrease in CA 19-9 serum levels within 2 months after treatment initiation. Except for one, all patients who had responded by imaging criteria (n = 14) fulfilled the criterion of a CA 19-9 responder. Despite being characterized as non-responders by CT-imaging criteria (stable/progressive disease), 29 patients were classified as CA 19-9 responders (positive predictive value 32.5%). Independent of the response evaluation by CT, CA 19-9 responders survived significantly longer than CA 19-9 non-responders (295 d; 95% CI: 285-445 vs. 174 d; 95% CI: 134-198; p = 0.022). Conclusion: CA 19-9 kinetics in serum serve as an early and reliable indicator of response and help to predict survival in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer receiving effective treatment with gemcitabine and cisplatin.

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