With a very poor prognosis pancreatic cancer is
responsible for 6% of all cancer-related deaths.
Ninety-five per cent of the people diagnosed with this cancer
will not be alive 5 years later. Thus even an early diagnosis may not help in
study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading medical
journal, adds hope. The drug gemcitabine is considered the standard treatment.
The study looked at 342 patients with pancreatic cancer. A combination drug treatment that consisted of
oxaliplatin, irinotecan, fluorouracil and leucovorin (FOLFIRINOX) was tried on
half of the patients. The other group took gemcitabine. Patients in both groups
underwent six months of chemotherapy.
FOLFIRINOX was found to be associated with a
survival advantage. The median survival rate was 11.1 months in the FOLFIRINOX
group compared to 6.8 months in the gemcitabine group.
It was also noticed that the median progression-free survival was
6.4 months in the FOLFIRINOX group compared to 3.3 months in the gemcitabine
is of great significance. A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was often taken
equivalent to a death sentence. A more conclusive study that would confirm the
findings would mean a change in the mentioned scenario.
is an option for the treatment of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer
and good performance status', says the authors.
: The New England Journal of Medicine