Combination Therapy Offers Hope in Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

Posted by Hollie Williams on July 19th, 2017

When a disease is known to claim most of the lives of those stricken, any step forward in treatment is considered incredibly good news. Such is the case with a recent study into a combination chemotherapy treatment plan that is showing itself capable of lowering risk of death while helping pancreatic cancer patients live just a little bit longer. The therapy in question involves the use of both capecitabine and gemcitabine as adjuvant chemotherapy drugs in patients who have also undergone surgery in hopes of gaining a curative edge. While the drugs on their own show some benefits, researchers ultimately found they perform much more positively when used together.

To arrive at their findings, researchers conducted a randomized study involving more than 700 patients. Some patients were treated with gemcitabine on its own while others were given gemcitabine-capecitabine combination therapy. As it turned out, combination therapy gave patients, on average, about 2.5 more months of life. The duo treatment was also shown to reduce risk of death by about 18 percent. Median survival was about 28 months when the two drugs were combined. It was about 25.5 months with gemcitabine alone. The estimated 5-year survival rates were about 28.8 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively. The study’s finding, part of a multi-phase clinical trial, are likely to change the standard of care for patients who have undergone resection of pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is estimated to strike about 53,600 Americans in the coming year. About 43,000 people die from this cause each year. This cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cases reported in the U.S. each year, but about 7 percent of cancer-related deaths. Often difficult to detect in its earliest stages due to a lack of symptoms, pancreatic cancer has a survival rate of less than 10 percent at the five-year mark. As the number of cases across the country continues to rise, this form of cancer is the focus of intense research to improve treatment and detection protocols.

Pancreatic cancer has a number of known risk factors that include those that can be altered and those that cannot. Some of the risks that are within a person’s ability to control include tobacco use and obesity. Other factors that elevate risks include genetic syndromes, diabetes, family history and chronic pancreatitis.

People who are concerned about their risks for pancreatic cancer are urged to talk to their healthcare providers. Taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle may help prevent this disease and a host of other potentially life-limiting conditions.

About Author

The Sandler-Kenner Foundation was started by Gregory A. Echt, M.D. and his wife, Susan T. Echt, after they lost two of their dear friends, Michael and Peter, to premature deaths from pancreatic cancer.

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Hollie Williams

About the Author

Hollie Williams
Joined: September 18th, 2015
Articles Posted: 25

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