A Courtin, FM Richards, TE Bapiro, JL Bramhall, A Neesse, N Cook, B-F Krippendorff, DA Tuveson, DI Jodrell
Capecitabine (CAP) is a 5-FU pro-drug approved for the treatment of several cancers and it is used in combination with gemcitabine (GEM) in the treatment of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC). However, limited pre-clinical data of the effects of CAP in PDAC are available to support the use of the GEMCAP combination in clinic. Therefore, we investigated the pharmacokinetics and the efficacy of CAP as a single agent first and then in combination with GEM to assess the utility of the GEMCAP therapy in clinic. Using a model of spontaneous PDAC occurring in Kras(G12D); p53(R172H); Pdx1-Cre (KPC) mice and subcutaneous allografts of a KPC PDAC-derived cell line (K8484), we showed that CAP achieved tumour concentrations (∼25 µM) of 5-FU in both models, as a single agent, and induced survival similar to GEM in KPC mice, suggesting similar efficacy. In vitro studies performed in K8484 cells as well as in human pancreatic cell lines showed an additive effect of the GEMCAP combination however, it increased toxicity in vivo and no benefit of a tolerable GEMCAP combination was identified in the allograft model when compared to GEM alone. Our work provides pre-clinical evidence of 5-FU delivery to tumours and anti-tumour efficacy following oral CAP administration that was similar to effects of GEM. Nevertheless, the GEMCAP combination does not improve the therapeutic index compared to GEM alone. These data suggest that CAP could be considered as an alternative to GEM in future, rationally designed, combination treatment strategies for advanced pancreatic cancer.