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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 22

of 'Chemotherapy for advanced exocrine pancreatic cancer'

Decrease of CA 19-9 during chemotherapy with gemcitabine predicts survival time in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
Halm U, Schumann T, Schiefke I, Witzigmann H, Mössner J, Keim V
Br J Cancer. 2000;82(5):1013.
Chemotherapy with gemcitabine has been shown to be an effective regimen in advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer with improvement of both quality of life and survival time. The response of the tumour marker CA 19-9 to chemotherapy with gemcitabine was studied in order to find out whether it is related to survival time of patients. Forty-three consecutive patients (median age 61 years, range 39-76 years; 20 males, 23 females) suffering from histologically proven locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma and a baseline Karnofsky-index>or = 60 were treated with gemcitabine in a dose of 1,000 mg/m(-2) weekly x 7 followed by 1 week of rest during the first cycle and thereafter 1,000 mg/m(-2) weekly x 3 followed by 1 week of rest until progression. In 36 of 43 patients serial measurements of CA 19-9 could be performed. Patients with a decrease of>20% of the baseline CA 19-9 level after 8 weeks of treatment (n = 25) had a significantly better median survival than patients with a rise or a decrease<or = 20% (n = 11) (268 vs 110 days; P<0.001). The response of CA 19-9 was the strongest independent predictor of survival (P<0.001) in the multivariate analysis. In conclusion, a decrease of CA 19-9>20% during the first weeks of chemotherapy with gemcitabine is associated with a better survival of patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. Serial measurements of CA 19-9 are useful to decide whether further chemotherapy after the first weeks of treatment is indicated.
Department of Internal Medicine II, University of Leipzig, Germany.