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Anamorelin Study for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Anorexia and cachexia are common clinical sequelae of uncontrolled, metastatic cancer. These effects can impair physical function, reduce quality of life, impair tolerability of anticancer therapy, and reduce survival. Anorexia and cachexia are especially challenging problems in patients diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. With an annual incidence approaching 50,000 patients in the U.S. alone, pancreatic cancer has an annual mortality of approximately 40,000 patients with most individuals succumbing to their disease within two years. Between 70-80% of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer experience cancer cachexia, which has been associated with reduced survival, increased risk of disease progression, and impaired chemotherapy tolerance. Anamorelin HCl is an orally-active selective ghrelin receptor agonist which has shown anabolic and appetite-stimulating effects. Several randomized, double-blind, clinical trials in cancer patients have shown that anamorelin HCL is safe, efficacious and increases lean body mass, bodyweight, and appetite. Investigators propose to test anamorelin HCL administered with chemotherapy in the first-line treatment of locally advanced unresectable and metastatic pancreatic cancer. The study is a randomized, placebo controlled multicenter, Phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of anamorelin HCl. Approximately 100 patients with be enrolled in a 1:1 randomization to anamorelin HCL 100mg per day given concurrently with first-line chemotherapy compared to chemotherapy alone. Patients randomized to anamorelin HCL will take it daily for 24 weeks starting one day prior to chemotherapy. All patients will undergo an assessment by a certified nutritionist at or prior to their first cycle of chemotherapy. Both body weight and appetite will be measured at enrollment as well as at the initiation of chemotherapy. Patients will be stratified by degree of weight loss in the six months prior to enrollment, choice of first-line chemotherapy, and by baseline score of 5-item Anorexia Symptom Scale.