Disulfiram and Chemotherapy in Treating Patients With Refractory Solid Tumors or Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

  • days left to enroll
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Mayo Clinic
Updated on 17 June 2022
cervical cap
tubal ligation
serum pregnancy test
international normalized ratio
neutrophil count
metastatic adenocarcinoma
pancreatic adenocarcinoma
tumor cells
solid tumor
metastatic pancreatic cancer


This partially randomized phase I trial studies the side effects and best dose of disulfiram when given together with chemotherapy in treating patients with a solid tumor that does not respond to treatment (refractory) or pancreatic cancer that has spread to other places in the body (metastatic) and to compare whether disulfiram and chemotherapy may reduce tumor induced muscle loss. Weight loss occurs in pancreatic cancer patients and is common in a multitude of other cancers. Patients with metastatic cancer and weight loss sometimes are not able to receive treatment due to physical weakness or debility. Disulfiram is a potential inhibitor of muscle degradation and may reduce tumor induced muscle wasting. Disulfiram may also help chemotherapy work better by making tumor cells more sensitive to the drug. Drugs used in chemotherapy work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. It is not yet known whether giving chemotherapy with or without disulfiram is a better treatment for refractory solid tumors or metastatic pancreatic cancer.



I. To determine the maximally tolerated dose (MTD) of the combination of disulfiram and gemcitabine (gemcitabine hydrochloride) in unresectable solid tumor cancer patients (Cohort 1).


I. To describe the adverse event profile associated with this combination of disulfiram and chemotherapy (Cohort 2).

II. To describe changes in muscle area at the L3 level from baseline to 28 to 60 days from the baseline computed tomography (CT) scan in patients treated with disulfiram/chemotherapy and with placebo/chemotherapy (Cohort 2).

III. To describe changes in fist-grip strength from baseline to 28 to 35 days of treatment with disulfiram/gemcitabine and with placebo/chemotherapy (Cohort 2).

IV. To describe overall survival of pancreas cancer patients who disulfiram/chemotherapy or placebo/chemotherapy (Cohort 2).

V. To estimate the response rate per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria around 1 month post-treatment in patients who receive disulfiram/chemotherapy and placebo/chemotherapy (Cohort 2).


I. To assess the effect of disulfiram and chemotherapy on the ubiquitin proteasome and autophagy pathways within muscle, as assessed by means of muscle biopsies performed at baseline and after 28 to 35 days of treatment (Cohort 2) (this is for Mayo only patients and can be waived upon permission from the principal investigator [PI]).

OUTLINE: This is a phase I, dose-escalation study of disulfiram.

COHORT I: Patients receive gemcitabine hydrochloride intravenously (IV) over 30 minutes on days 1, 8, and 15 and disulfiram orally (PO) on days 1-28 or days 1-35.

COHORT II: Patients receive chemotherapy at the discretion of the treating oncologist and disulfiram PO on days 1-28 or days 1-35.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up at 30 days, and then every 6 months for 3 years.

Condition Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, Refractory Malignant Solid Neoplasm, Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer AJCC v8
Treatment laboratory biomarker analysis, gemcitabine hydrochloride, Placebo, Chemotherapy, Placebo Administration, Disulfiram
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02671890
SponsorMayo Clinic
Last Modified on17 June 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Cohort 1 (dose escalation): histologic or cytologic proof of any solid tumor that is incurable with no standard therapy that is likely to make a major impact on clinical outcomes
Cohort 2 (MTD) only: metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas; prior systemic treatment for metastatic disease is allowed
Cohort 2 (MTD) only: Patient is thought to be a short- or long-term candidate for chemotherapy in the opinion of the treating oncologist
Absolute neutrophil count (ANC) >= 1500/mm^3 (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Platelet >= 100,000/ mm^3 (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Total bilirubin =< 2 x upper limit of normal (ULN) (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase [SGOT]) =< 3 x ULN (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Creatinine =< 1.5 x ULN (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Hemoglobin >= 9.0 g/dL (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Cohort 2 (MTD) only: prothrombin time (PT)/international normalized ratio (INR) =< 1.5 x ULN (only if muscle biopsy has not been waived, does not apply to non-Mayo sites that will not be conducting biopsies) (obtained =< 7 days prior to registration)
Ability to provide written informed consent
Life expectancy >= 12 weeks
Cohort 2 (MTD) only: patient willing to undergo muscle biopsies at baseline and after 28 to 35 days of disulfiram/chemotherapy as required by the protocol unless the muscle biopsy has been waived after discussion with the principal investigator (PI); muscle biopsies will not be required at non-Mayo Clinic sites
Cohort 2 (MTD) only: patient willing to have paraffin-embedded slides of the primary pancreas tumor or metastatic site, if available, sent to Mayo investigators for this study
For women of childbearing potential only: negative urine or serum pregnancy test done =< 7 days prior to registration
Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) 0, 1 or 2
Able to swallow or have medication administered through a gastrostomy tube (G-tube) and absorb the medication
Patient willing to complete a medication diary
Patient agrees to use acceptable form of contraception during the study and for up to 30 days after last study drug dose if female partner is of childbearing potential
Acceptable forms of contraception
Latex condom (always used with spermicide)
Diaphragm (always used with spermicide)
Cervical cap (always used with spermicide)
Acceptable forms of secondary contraception, when used along with a barrier
Hormonal contraception methods, including pills, patches, rings, or injections except progestin-only containing pills (i.e. "Mini-pill")
Tubal ligation
Partner's vasectomy
Intrauterine device (non-progesterone T)
Vaginal sponge (containing spermicide)
Other acceptable forms
% commitment to abstinence
Unacceptable forms of contraception for women of childbearing potential
Oral contraception containing progestins only
Intrauterine device (IUD) progesterone T
Female condom
Natural family planning (rhythm method) or breastfeeding
Fertility awareness
Cervical shield

Exclusion Criteria

Known standard therapy for the patient's disease that is potentially curative
Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active infection, including localized infections, symptomatic congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements
Untreated brain metastases
Any of the following
Pregnant women
Nursing women This study involves an investigational agent whose genotoxic, mutagenic and teratogenic effects on the developing fetus and newborn are unknown
Other concurrent chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, any ancillary therapy
Baseline of grade 2 or worse peripheral sensory neuropathy
considered investigational (utilized for a non-Food and Drug Administration
Receiving phenytoin
[FDA]-approved indication and in the context of a research investigation) or
Unable to abstain from alcohol for the duration of the study
receiving any other investigational agent which would be considered as a
treatment for the primary neoplasm
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer  to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact


Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note