March 29, 2019 • 2 Min

Immunotherapy to Enhance Standard Chemotherapy for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

electron microscope image of concentric circles formed by reactive ion etching

Brookhaven National Lab; Flickr

Can an immunotherapy drug that is approved for other cancers improve the effectiveness of a standard chemotherapy for metastatic pancreatic cancer?

Researchers are testing whether a drug approved for use in advanced colorectal, stomach, and non-small cell lung cancers can make chemotherapy more effective against pancreatic tumors.

A New Combination

Ramucirumab (brand name CYRAMZA) is a fully human monoclonal antibody, which means the body is more likely to recognize it and not start an immune reaction to reject it. Ramucirumab inhibits the formation of new blood vessels in the tumor, making it harder for the tumor to grow.

FOLFIRINOX is one of the standard treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer. It is a four-drug combination: FOL (leucovorin calcium, or folinic acid), F (fluorouracil, or 5-FU), IRIN (irinotecan hydrochloride), OX (oxaliplatin). Each of these drugs enhances the action of the others. Fluorouracil (5-FU) is an antimetabolite that disrupts a specific part of the cell replication cycle. Derived from folic acid, leucovorin enhances the effects of 5-FU. Irinotecan inhibits the replication and transcription of DNA, and so interferes with cell growth. Oxaliplatin, a platinum compound, disrupts DNA and kills cancer cells. In this study patients will receive a modified version of FOLFIRINOX, which varies the dose or form of the different drugs that make up the combination.

Immunotherapy or Placebo

To participate in this trial patients must have metastatic pancreatic cancer. Participants in this trial are randomly divided into two groups. The experimental group will receive modified FOLFIRINOX plus ramucirumab, and the control group will receive modified FOLFIRINOX and a placebo. This is a double-blinded trial so participants and researchers will not know which group a patient is in.

Researchers are looking to see if adding ramucirumab to FOLFIRINOX slows the progression of pancreatic cancer.

We encourage you to consult your physicians for clinical trials that may be right for you. The website provides more details about this trial as well as many others. You can visit the EmergingMed Trial Finder for a listing of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.

This trial remains active but is no longer recruiting participants.

What new treatments and clinical trials are available to me?

Learn more