Opioid growth factor improves clinical benefit and survival in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer
Jill P Smith1, Sandra I Bingaman1, David T Mauger2, Harold H Harvey1, Laurence M Demers3, Ian S Zagon4
1Departments of Medicine, 2Public Health Sciences, 3Pathology, and 4Neurosciences and Anatomy, Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine, Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA, USA
Background: Advanced pancreatic cancer carries the poorest prognosis of all gastrointestinal malignancies. Once the tumor has spread beyond the margins of the pancreas, chemotherapy is the major treatment modality offered to patients; however, chemotherapy does not significantly improve survival.
Objective: Opioid growth factor (OGF; [Met5]-enkephalin) is a natural peptide that has been shown to inhibit growth of pancreatic cancer in cell culture and in nude mice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of OGF biotherapy on subjects with advanced pancreatic cancer who failed chemotherapy.
Methods: In a prospective phase II open-labeled clinical trial, 24 subjects who failed standard chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer were treated weekly with OGF 250 μg/kg intravenously. Outcomes measured included clinical benefit, tumor response by radiographic imaging, quality of life, and survival.
Results: Clinical benefit response was experienced by 53% of OGF-treated patients compared to historical controls of 23.8% and 4.8% for gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), respectively. Of the subjects surviving more than eight weeks, 62% showed either a decrease or stabilization in tumor size by computed tomography. The median survival time for OGF-treated patients was three times that of untreated patients (65.5 versus 21 days, p < 0.001). No adverse effects on hematologic or chemistry parameters were noted, and quality of life surveys suggested improvement with OGF. Limitations: Measurements other than survival were not allowed in control patients, and clinical benefit comparisons were made to historical controls.
Conclusion: OGF biotherapy improves the clinical benefit and prolongs survival in patients with pancreatic cancer by stabilizing disease or slowing progression. The effects of OGF did not adversely alter patient quality of life. The use of OGF biotherapy at earlier stages of disease or in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents may further improve the outcome of this malignancy.
Keywords: phase II, pancreatic cancer, biotherapy, quality of life
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