18F-FDG PET/CT response in a phase 1/2 trial of nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer

Ronald L. Korn, Daniel D. Von Hoff, Mitesh J. Borad, Markus F. Renschler, Desmond McGovern, R. Curtis Bay, Ramesh K. Ramanathan

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4 Scopus citations


Background: Positron emission tomography (PET) is poised to become a useful imaging modality in staging and evaluating therapeutic responses in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer (mPC). This analysis from a phase 1/2 study examined the utility of early PET imaging in patients with mPC treated with nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine. Methods: Tumors were measured by [18F]2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose PET/computed tomography (CT) in patients who received nab-paclitaxel 100 (n = 13), 125 (n = 38), or 150 (n = 1) mg/m2 plus gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. Lesion metabolic activity was evaluated at baseline and 6 and 12 weeks postbaseline. Results: Fifty-two patients had baseline and ≥1 follow-up PET scan. The median maximum standardized uptake values per pancreatic lesion in the nab-paclitaxel 100 mg/m2 and 125 mg/m2 cohorts were 5.1 and 6.5, respectively. Among patients who had a metabolic response by PET, those who received nab-paclitaxel 125 mg/m2 had a 4-month survival advantage over those who received 100 mg/m2. All patients in the nab-paclitaxel 125 mg/m2 cohort experienced an early complete metabolic response (CMR; 34%) or partial metabolic response (PMR; 66%). In the nab-paclitaxel 125 mg/m2 cohort, investigator-assessed objective response rates were 77% and 44% among patients with a CMR and PMR, respectively, with no correlation between PET and CT response (Spearman r s = 0.22; P = 0.193). Patients in the nab-paclitaxel 125 mg/m2 cohort with a CMR experienced a significantly longer overall survival vs those with a PMR (median, 23.0 vs 11.2 months; P = 0.011), and a significant correlation was found between best percentage change in tumor burden by PET and survival: for each 1% decrease in PET score, the risk of death decreased by 2%. Conclusions: The majority of primary pancreatic tumors and their metastases were PET avid, and PET effectively measured changes in tumor metabolic activity at 6 and 12 weeks. These results support the antitumor activity of nab-paclitaxel 125 mg/m2 plus gemcitabine 1000 mg/m2 for treating mPC and the utility of PET for measuring treatment response. Treatment response by PET analysis may be considered when evaluating investigational agents in mPC. Trial registration: NCT00398086.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017


  • Gemcitabine
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Phase 1/2 clinical trial
  • Positron emission tomography
  • nab-Paclitaxel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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