Efficacy and Safety of Dronabinol in the Improvement of Chemotherapy-induced and Tumor-related Symptoms in Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

  • End date
    Sep 30, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Arbeitsgemeinschaft medikamentoese Tumortherapie
Updated on 21 March 2022
adjuvant therapy


Aim of this phase III trial is to investigate the efficacy and safety of dronabinol (orally administered tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) as adjuvant therapy to first-line standard chemotherapy in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer for improvement of chemotherapyand tumor-related symptoms applicated by individual titration up to the maximum tolerated dose.


Patients with pancreatic cancer suffer from multiple symptoms related to the tumor itself or induced by the chemotherapy. The available supportive therapy is still not able to relief all symptoms that are caused by the malignancy itself as well as by the antineoplastic therapy.

Additionally, anorexia and weight loss, that often result in increased morbidity and mortality in this patient population as well as in psycho-social burden and suffering in patients and their relatives, are unmet needs in pancreatic cancer patients.

Therapeutic approaches focus on treating the malignancy itself, additional nutritional support and physical examination might prevent patients from further side effects such as sarcopenia.

During the last decades a number of appetite-modulating drugs have been under clinical investigation. A number of studies focused on the endocannabinoid system, which is involved amongst others in appetite-modulating, antiemetic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory processes.

As dronabinol is already used as magistral formulation, its beneficial effect has often been observed in these patients in the clinical routine, especially in patients with therapy-refractory nausea and emesis. Due to its broad efficacy it might be of benefit for patients suffering from malignancy. Thus, investigators want to evaluate the efficacy of dronabinol in the improvement of chemotherapy-induced and tumor-related symptoms in advanced pancreatic patients during systemic first-line chemotherapy. However, data on optimal dosage are conflicting yet.

In detail, investigators want to study whether dronabinol has a positive influence on quality of life and whether symptoms caused by the tumor or by the chemotherapy itself might be palliated by dronabinol. Beneficial and potential harmful side effects and the personal perception of advanced pancreatic cancer patients will be documented.

Condition Pancreatic Cancer Non-resectable, Chemotherapy-induced Nausea and Vomiting, Pancreatic Cancer Metastatic
Treatment Dronabinol in Oral Dosage Form, Placebo in Oral Dosage Form
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03984214
SponsorArbeitsgemeinschaft medikamentoese Tumortherapie
Last Modified on21 March 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Male and female subjects aged ≥18
Patients with diagnosis of locally advanced, inoperable or metastatic pancreatic cancer, eligible for first-line chemotherapy with FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine+Abraxane®
According to investigator life expectancy of > 4 months at screening
Female patients must either be post-menopausal or surgically sterilized or use a highly effective method of birth control (hormonal contraceptives, intra-uterine devices, or diaphragms with spermicide) for the duration of the study and/or must have a negative pregnancy test (female patients with childbearing potential only)
Willing and able to provide written informed consent
Written informed consent given prior to any trial-related procedure not part of the normal medical practice

Exclusion Criteria

Patients who are members of the staff of the trial center, staff of the sponsor or CRO, the investigator him/herself or close relatives of the investigator
Simultaneous participation in another interventional clinical trial, participation in another trial with less than 30 days or five half-lives of the IMP (whatever is longer) to screening, or previous participation in this trial
Ineligible for chemotherapy treatment with FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine+Abraxane®
Use of dronabinol or cannabis-based medicine with THC as constituent within 6 months before screening. A urine drug test will be performed during screening phase
Use of marihuana within the last 4 weeks and unwillingness to abstain for the duration of the study. A urine drug test will be performed during screening phase
Currently receiving chemotherapy or anticipated use of chemotherapy due to any condition not related to locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer
History of or existing cardiac diseases or pathological findings (e.g. chronic insufficiency NYHA III/IV, severe arrhythmia, unstable angina pectoris, myocardial infarction within the past 6 months, significant QT-prolongation etc.), which in the opinion of the investigator might interfere with the safety or tolerability of the study treatment. An ECG has to be done to exclude pathological findings and must not be older than 3 months before screening or if none is available, has to be performed during the screening phase and assessed prior to randomization
Clinically relevant, severe pulmonary diseases, uncontrolled hypertension, or poorly controlled diabetes
History of or existing relevant CNS and/or psychiatric disorders (e.g. schizophrenia, psychosis, manic and/or depressive disorders, suicidal ideations, etc) which might interfere with the safety or tolerability of the study treatment. Patients with reactive depression are not excluded from participation
Known current or past (within the last year prior to screening) alcohol, narcotics or drug abuse
Pregnancy or breast feeding
Known allergy to cannabinoids and other constituents of the investigational medicinal product
Intake of prohibited concomitant medication
Any other substantial medical condition that in the opinion of the investigator could create undue risk to the subject or could affect adherence with the trial protocol
Legal incapacity, limited legal capacity or any other condition which makes the subject unable to understand the subject information and informed consent form (ICF)
Patients unable or unwilling to waive driving motor vehicles or using machines especially during titration period
Unable or unwilling to comply with the protocol regulations
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