March 10, 2017 • 2 Min

Maintenance Chemotherapy for Stable Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

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Andrew Cooke; Flickr

Can drugs used for other conditions prevent metastatic pancreatic cancer from advancing once the disease has stabilized?

Researchers are looking at the ability of two medications—one that controls type 2 diabetes and another that prevents organ rejection in transplant patients—to maintain the effects of initial chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer patients.

New Uses for Older Drugs

After chemotherapy has stabilized the disease—stopped the pancreatic cancer from growing—there is a need for maintenance chemotherapy, a treatment that will keep the disease in check. Scientists are testing older drugs with possible anti-tumor abilities to see if these medications can control cancer.

Metformin controls blood sugar levels and is commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes. Because it lowers blood glucose levels it may also reduce the energy supply for cancer cells that rely on sugar for energy. Rapamycin (also known as sirolimus) suppresses the immune system and also helps prevent tumor growth.

Trial Details

This clinical trial is for patients whose disease has stabilized after completing treatment with FOLFIRINOX or a gemcitabine-based regimen. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive either metformin alone or metformin and rapamycin, and will know which drug or drugs they are receiving. Researchers are looking to determine the best dose of the drugs, as well as safety and effectiveness of the metformin and the metformin/rapamycin combination as a maintenance therapy.

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.

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