A phase I trial of nab-paclitaxel, gemcitabine, and capecitabine for metastatic pancreatic cancer

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2012 Dec;70(6):875-81. doi: 10.1007/s00280-012-1979-7. Epub 2012 Sep 28.


Background: Substantial antitumor activity has previously been demonstrated with the addition of nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane [Celgene, Summit, NJ]), an albumin-bound formulation of paclitaxel, to gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Given preclinical evidence of synergy when a fluoropyrimidine is added to gemcitabine plus a taxane in a sequence-specific schedule, we conducted a phase I study to evaluate the combination of nab-paclitaxel, gemcitabine, and capecitabine administered biweekly in patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Materials and methods: Patients with previously untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer and an ECOG performance status of 0-1 were eligible to participate. Study design utilized a 3 + 3 dose-escalation schema, with expanded cohort at maximum-tolerated dose (MTD). Treatment was administered in 14-day cycles, with capecitabine given on days 1-7 and both gemcitabine (at fixed-dose rate infusion) and nab-paclitaxel on day 4 of each cycle. Dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) definitions included grade 3-4 hematologic toxicities and grade 2-4 hand-foot syndrome, neuropathy, or diarrhea.

Results: Fifteen patients were enrolled across two dose levels. Final MTD was established at nab-paclitaxel 100 mg/m(2), gemcitabine 750 mg/m(2), and capecitabine 750 mg/m(2) twice daily. Patients received a median of four treatment cycles (range 1-16). The most frequent adverse events (any grade) for the entire study cohort included fatigue, rash/hand-foot syndrome, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, neuropathy, and elevated liver function tests. Ten patients (66.7 %) experienced at least one grade 3-4 adverse event. Grade 3-4 hematologic toxicities were uncommon. Two of 14 evaluable patients (14.3 %) exhibited a partial response, and 6 of 12 patients (50 %) with elevated CA19-9 at baseline had a ≥50 % biomarker decline.

Conclusion: While well tolerated overall, this regimen demonstrated only modest antitumor activity in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Recognizing the limits of cross-study comparisons and small sample size, these results do not match those reported at MTD in the phase I/II trial of gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel. The lower doses used in the current study suggest that dose intensity may be a critical aspect to optimize multidrug regimens.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / blood
  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Albumin-Bound Paclitaxel
  • Albumins / administration & dosage
  • Albumins / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • CA-19-9 Antigen / blood
  • Capecitabine
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / adverse effects
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Fluorouracil / adverse effects
  • Fluorouracil / analogs & derivatives
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Maximum Tolerated Dose
  • Middle Aged
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Albumin-Bound Paclitaxel
  • Albumins
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Capecitabine
  • gemcitabine
  • Paclitaxel
  • Fluorouracil