for people ages 18 years and up (full criteria)
at San Diego, California and other locations
study started
estimated completion
Hitendra Patel, MD



The purpose of this study is to see if a treatment regimen with a combination of paclitaxel protein bound (also known as nab-paclitaxel), gemcitabine, and cisplatin when given with high dose Ascorbic Acid will be safe and effective in individuals with untreated metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Official Title

Phase IB/II Trial of High Dose Ascorbic Acid (AA) + Nanoparticle Paclitaxel Protein Bound + Cisplatin + Gemcitabine (AA NABPLAGEM) in Patients Who Have No Prior Therapy for Their Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer


Pancreatic cancer continues to be a very lethal disease. It was estimated that in 2016, 53,070 Americans would be diagnosed with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), and 41,780 would die from the disease. This makes pancreatic cancer the third leading cause of death from cancer in the US.

PDA is the twelfth most common cancer in the world with 338,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012. It is estimated that worldwide there will be > 300,000 deaths from pancreatic cancer. Furthermore unfortunately PDA is projected to be the second leading cause of death from cancer in the US by 2030.

Detection of pancreatic cancer has notoriously been very late in the disease and therefore the 5-year survival rate is only 8%, which is actually a slight improvement over the last few years. Right now the only potential cure for pancreatic cancer is surgical resection (if the disease is caught early). However only about 20% of PDA patients are eligible for potentially curable resection and unfortunately most (> 80%) have recurrence of their cancer within 2 years of resection, and those recurrences are almost universally fatal.

Recently it has been shown that there are regimens that actually improve survival for patients with advanced stage IV PDA. Conroy and colleagues have developed the Folfirinox regimen, which in a large randomized trial improved survival over gemcitabine as a single agent. Von Hoff and colleagues developed the nanoparticle albumin (nab) associated paclitaxel plus gemcitabine regimen which improved survival over single agent gemcitabine. Even more recently Jameson and colleagues have presented a combined regimen of nab-paclitaxel + gemcitabine + cisplatin in a small 24 patient phase Ib/II trial which showed a response rate of 71% with 2 patients having complete response, a 1-year survival of 65% and a median survival of 16+ months.

While there have been multiple investigators and investigations into the use of ascorbic acid for patients with cancer (see, its use has generally not been found to be of help for patients particularly when given orally - e.g. 10 grams daily.


Pancreatic Cancer Pancreas Cancer Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Resectable Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Pancreas Metastases Adenocarcinoma Pancreatic Neoplasms Paclitaxel Albumin-Bound Paclitaxel Cisplatin Gemcitabine Ascorbic Acid Paclitaxel protein-bound


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18 years and up

Patients must meet the following criteria to be included in the trial:

  • Be willing and able to provide written informed consent/assent for the trial.
  • Be ≥ 18 years of age on day of signing informed consent.
  • Histologically or cytologically confirmed metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma (with measurable disease according to RECIST 1.1 criteria).
  • Have a performance status of 0 or 1 on the ECOG performance scale.
  • Demonstrate adequate organ function as defined below in table 4. All screening labs should be performed within 14 days of treatment initiation.
  • Female participants of childbearing potential should have a negative serum pregnancy test within 72 hours prior to receiving first dose of study medication.
  • Female participants of childbearing potential must be willing to use adequate method of contraception (as outlined in section 4.4.2) for the duration of the trial.
  • Male participants must agree to use adequate contraception (as outlined in section 4.4.2) for the duration of the trial.

Note: Abstinence is acceptable if this is the usual lifestyle and preferred contraception for the participant.

You CAN'T join if...

Patients must not meet any of the following criteria in order to be eligible for the trial:

  • Patients must have received no previous radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy or investigational therapy for the treatment of metastatic disease. Prior treatments in the adjuvant setting with gemcitabine and/or 5-FU or gemcitabine administered as a radiation sensitizer are allowed, provided at least 6 months have elapsed since completion of the last dose and no lingering toxicities are present.
  • Palliative surgery and/or radiation treatment less than 4 weeks prior to initiation of study treatment.
  • Exposure to any investigational agent within 4 weeks prior to initiation of study treatment.
  • Patients who need constant use of finger stick blood glucose monitoring for tight contro l of their diabetes being the ascorbic acid causes false low readings of glucose via that technology (Vasudevan and Hirsch 2014) 39
  • Any person with a G6PD deficiency
  • History of renal oxalate stones (if type of stone is unknown, need to assess urine oxalates level if >60mg/dL, then patient is not eligible for the study)
  • Patient is taking acetaminophen at any dose, or any medication that contains acetaminophen within 72 hours of first dose of ascorbic acid.
  • Hypersensitivity to any of the agents proposed for treatment.
  • Has a known additional malignancy that is progressing or requires active treatment. Exceptions include basal cell carcinoma of the skin or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin that has undergone potentially curative therapy or in situ cervical cancer.
  • Has known active central nervous system (CNS) metastases and/or carcinomatous meningitis. Patients with previously treated brain metastases may participate provided they are stable (without evidence of progression by imaging for at least four weeks prior to the first dose of trial treatment and any neurologic symptoms have returned to baseline), have no evidence of new or enlarging brain metastases, and are not using steroids for at least 7 days prior to trial treatment. This exception does not include carcinomatous meningitis which is excluded regardless of clinical stability.
  • Has an active infection requiring systemic therapy.
  • Has a history or current evidence of any condition, therapy, or laboratory abnormality that might confound the results of the trial, interfere with the patient's participation for the full duration of the trial, or is not in the best interest of the patient to participate, in the opinion of the treating investigator.
  • Has known psychiatric or substance abuse disorders that would interfere with cooperation with the requirements of the trial.
  • Is pregnant or breastfeeding, or expecting to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the trial, starting with the pre-screening or screening visit through one week from the last dose of trial treatment.
  • Patients with evidence of iron overload, defined as a transferrin saturation > 45 percent AND serum ferritin > 200 ng/mL (males) or >150 ng/mL (females).
  • Current, serious, clinically significant cardiac arrhythmias as determined by the investigator, or patient receiving a digitalis derivative.


  • University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center not yet accepting patients
    San Diego California 92093 United States
  • HonorHealth Research Institute accepting new patients
    Scottsdale Arizona 85258 United States

Lead Scientist


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
HonorHealth Research Institute
Phase 1/2
Study Type
Last Updated