August 10, 2016 • 2 Min

Using a Colon Cancer Drug to Treat Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Illustration of the DNA double helix in red, blue, purple, yellow, orange, and green. There is a main spiral in the center and two faded spirals on the left and right.

Can a drug that treats colon cancer be effective against pancreatic cancer that cannot be surgically removed or has metastasized?

A clinical trial is testing a drug already approved for use against colon cancer in patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The effectiveness of the drug is tracked during the trial using an imaging technique that looks at the tumors.

What Is Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Cancer?

Pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer starts in the hormone-making islet cells of the pancreas. Only about 5 percent of pancreatic cancers are of this type. Like many tumors, neuroendocrine tumors need a good blood supply to grow. The drug ziv-aflibercept inhibits the growth of blood vessels, blocking blood flow to the tumors.

Measuring the Trial’s Effectiveness

The trial measures the effectiveness of the drug using computed tomography perfusion imaging. In this type of imaging, patients are given a contrast material which will make the blood vessels visible on the scans. Computed tomography scans are then taken to measure blood flow through a particular part of the body. Trial participants undergo this type of imaging of their tumors during every treatment cycle, to see if blood flow to the tumors is decreasing.

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 study has been completed.

What new treatments and clinical trials are available to me?

Learn more