Combination treatment improves survival for pancreatic cancer

May 09, 2005

A combination of chemotherapy drugs could double survival rates for pancreatic cancer, suggests a study published online today by THE LANCET ONCOLOGY.

Pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis. More than 80% of patients present with advanced disease at diagnosis, and mortality is high. A single chemotherapy drug, gemcitabine, is regarded as the standard treatment, but it has lead to a 1-year overall survival of only 17--28% in clinical trials. Various attempts have been made to improve the effectiveness of gemcitabine, by the addition of new or existing drugs, but they have not shown a survival advantage.

Michele Reni (S Raffaele H Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy) and colleagues recruited 104 patients with pancreatic cancer, from five Italian institutions, aged 18-70 years, into a trial to test a combination of chemotherapy drugs against gemcitabine. 52 patients were assigned cisplatin, epirubicin, gemcitabine, and fluorouracil (PEGF regimen) and 47 were assigned gemcitabine alone. More patients assigned PEGF (60%) than gemcitabine alone (28%) were alive without progressive disease after 4 months. The 1-year overall survival was about 40% for patients on PEGF and 20% for patients assigned gemcitabine. Although more patients on PEGF had haematological toxic effects; these were manageable and did not have a detrimental effect on quality of life. The authors state, however, that a larger confirmatory trial may be needed before this combination regimen could be regarded as the new standard treatment.

Dr Reni states: "We have shown that patients allocated PEGF had a more favourable outcome in terms of progression-free survival and overall survival than did those allocated standard treatment with gemcitabine. PEGF might be a feasible and effective first-line treatment for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer."
Contact: Dr Michele Reni, Department of Oncology, San Raffaele H. Scientific Institute, via Olgettina 60, 20132 - Milan, Italy. T) +39-02-26437644


Related Pancreatic Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Precision chemo-immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is highly lethal: according to the National Cancer Institute, only about 10 percent of patients remain alive five years after diagnosis.

Nerves keep pancreatic cancer cells from starving
Pancreatic cancer cells avert starvation by signaling to nerves, which grow into dense tumors and secrete nutrients.

Pancreatic cancer: Subtypes with different aggressiveness discovered
To date, no targeted personalized therapies for pancreatic cancer exist.

Bringing the 'sticky' back to pancreatic cancer
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Japan's Tohoku University has found that a gene regulator, called BACH1, facilitates the spread of pancreatic cancer to other parts of the body.

Does lung damage speed pancreatic cancer?
High levels of CO2 in the body, due to chronic respiratory disorders, may exacerbate pancreatic cancer, making it more aggressive and resistant to therapy.

Scientists have identified the presence of cancer-suppressing cells in pancreatic cancer
Researchers have identified cells containing a protein called Meflin that has a role in restraining the progression of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer discovery reveals how the aggressive cancer fuels its growth
A new discovery about pancreatic cancer sheds light on how the cancer fuels its growth and may help explain how promising cancer drugs work -- and for whom they will fail.

Overcoming resistance in pancreatic cancer
In pancreatic cancer cells' struggle to survive, the cells choose alternative routes when their main pathways are blocked by drugs.

Exposing how pancreatic cancer does its dirty work
Pancreatic cancer is a puzzle -- tumors slough off cells into the bloodstream early in the disease, but the tumors themselves have almost no blood vessels in them.

Targeting cell division in pancreatic cancer
Study provides new evidence of synergistic effects of drugs that inhibit cell division and support for further clinical trials.

Read More: Pancreatic Cancer News and Pancreatic Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to