A phase 1 study of veliparib, a PARP-1/2 inhibitor, with gemcitabine and radiotherapy in locally advanced pancreatic cancer

R. Tuli, S. L. Shiao, N. Nissen, M. Tighiouart, S. Kim, A. Osipov, M. Bryant, L. Ristow, V. R. Placencio-Hickok, D. Hoffman, S. Rokhsar, K. Scher, S. J. Klempner, P. Noe, M. J. Davis, A. Wachsman, S. Lo, L. Jamil, H. Sandler, S. PiantadosiA. Hendifar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background: Locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) has a dismal prognosis with current treatment modalities and one-third of patients die from local progression of disease. Preclinical studies with orthotopic PC demonstrated dramatic synergy between radiotherapy (RT) and the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1/2 inhibitor (PARPi), veliparib. We conducted a phase I trial of gemcitabine, radiotherapy and dose-escalated veliparib in LAPC. Methods: This was a single institution investigator-initiated open-label, single-arm phase 1 clinical trial (NCT01908478). Weekly gemcitabine with daily IMRT and veliparib dose escalated using a Bayesian adaptive design were administered in treatment naïve LA or borderline resectable PC. The primary end point was identification of the MTD. Secondary endpoints included efficacy, characterization of PAR levels using ELISA, DDR alterations with targeted next generation sequencing and transcriptome analysis, tumor mutation burden (TMB) and microsatellite instability (MSI) status. Findings: Thirty patients were enrolled. The MTD of veliparib was 40 mg BID with gemcitabine 400 mg/m 2 and RT (36 Gy/15 fractions). Sixteen DLTs were identified in 12 patients. Grade ≥ 3 adverse events included lymphopenia (96%) and anemia (36%). Median OS for all patients was 15 months. Median OS for DDR pathway gene altered and intact cases was 19 months (95% CI: 6.2–27.2) and 14 months (95% CI: 10.0–21.8), respectively. There were no significant associations between levels of PAR, TMB, or MSI with outcomes. The DDR transcripts PARP3 and RBX1 significantly correlated with OS. Interpretation: This is the first report of a PARPi-chemoradiotherapy combination in PC. The regimen was safe, tolerable at the RP2D, and clinically active as an upfront treatment strategy in patients biologically unselected by upfront chemotherapy. Expression of the DDR transcripts, PARP3 and RBX1, were associated with OS suggesting validation in a follow up phase 2 study. Fund: Phase One Foundation; National Institutes of Health [1R01CA188480-01A1, P01 CA098912]. Veliparib was provided by Abbvie.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-381
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Gemcitabine
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Parp inhibitor
  • Radiation
  • Veliparib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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