A study of 9-nitrocamptothecin (RFS-2000) in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer

John S. Stehlin, Beppino C. Giovanella, Ethan A. Natelson, Peter D. De Ipolyi, Doug Coil, B. Davis, D. Wolk, P. Wallace, A. Trojacek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


This ongoing study evaluates the efficacy of oral 9-nitrocamptothecin (9NC), or RFS-2000, in the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. Patients received 9NC orally for 5 days/week; 8 weeks of therapy is required to achieve minimum effective dose. Starting dose was 1.5 mg/m2/day, with adjustments made as necessary. Patients were analyzed for changes in tumor size by CT scan, changes in serum CA 19-9 tumor marker levels, quality of life, and survival. 107 consecutive patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were enrolled before November 3, 1997. Of this group, 47 patients did not receive the minimum 2 courses of treatment necessary to induce response, leaving 60 evaluable patients. Primary dose-limiting toxicities were myelosuppression and interstitial cystitis. No deaths were attributed to 9NC. Median survival was 6.5 months for the 107 total patients and 8.7 months for the 60 evaluable patients, with one patient surviving at 44+ months. Of the 60 evaluable patients, 31.7% were responders (median survival 18.6 months; range 6.5-44.7+ months), 31.7% were stable (median survival 9.7 months), and 36.6% were non-responders (median survival 6.8 months). Fifty-seven previously untreated patients had a median survival of 7.3 months compared to 4.7 months for the 50 previously treated patients. Thirty-three patients who failed gemcitabine therapy prior to 9NC treatment had a median survival of 4.7 months. 9NC is safe and efficacious as first-line therapy for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. It also shows some modest success as second-line therapy in treating gemcitabine failures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-831
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999


  • 9-nitrocamptothecin
  • Camptothecin
  • Chemotherapy
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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