FOLFIRINOX- Drug Combination Prolongs Survival in Pancreatic Cancer Patients
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 most cases.
A recent 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 group.
The result 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.
'FOLFIRINOX is an option for the treatment of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer and good performance status', says the authors.
Source: The New England Journal of Medicine