PHILADELPHIA -- Gefitinib may be a promising chemoprevention agent for pancreatic cancer, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The study is published in the November issue, and was discussed during a press conference at the Ninth Annual Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference, held here Nov. 7-10, 2010.
Pancreatic cancer has a dismal prognosis because it is often asymptomatic and not detected until it is in late stages. Strategies to combat pancreatic cancer have focused on earlier and earlier treatments, and this is the first time that a chemoprevention strategy has been tried.
Chinthalapally V. Rao, Ph.D., director of the Center for Chemoprevention and Cancer Drug Development at the University of Oklahoma Cancer Institute, tested the strategy in mice.
The mice were bred to be at high risk for pancreatic cancer and then fed gefitinib in escalating doses of 0, 100 and 200 ppm for a period of 35 weeks, at which time the tumor incidence was analyzed.
Compared to the group that received no gefitinib, the mid-dose group experienced 77 percent fewer pancreatic tumors and the high-dose group had 100 percent fewer tumors.
In the 100 ppm group, 67.6 percent of the mice were free of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasms, a known pre-cursor to pancreatic cancer, compared with 77.3 percent in the 200 ppm group.
"These findings are dramatic enough that human trials should begin soon," said Rao. "The clear message is that the earlier we start, the better the outcome is, and we can already measure neoplasm levels in humans so there is a potential here for clinical benefit."
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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 32,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.