Four-drug chemotherapy regimens treat metastatic pancreas cancer

The study is considered to be the first metastatic pancreatic cancer study in nearly a decade with a successful overall survival outcome.
Representative image
Representative imageANI

WASHINGTON: In Phase 3 clinical trial for metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, a four-drug chemotherapy treatment led to a longer overall survival than a two-drug combination. The study is considered to be the first metastatic pancreatic cancer study in nearly a decade with a successful overall survival outcome.

The first author of the oral abstract outlining the findings presented at the ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium on January 20 in San Francisco is Dr. Zev Wainberg, co-director of the UCLA Health GI Oncology Program and a researcher at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"There have been several chemotherapy regimens used to treat newly diagnosed, metastatic pancreas cancer, also called stage 4, but there have been few head-to-head comparisons to see which regimen would produce a longer overall survival," Wainberg said. "These trials help answer critically important treatment questions for all who treat pancreas cancer."

For the study, 770 patients were randomly assigned to one of two chemotherapy regimens. Patients in the four-drug group had an overall survival of 11.1 months, compared with 9.2 months for those in the two-drug arm. Progression-free survival also increased with the four-drug therapy - 7.4 months versus 5.6 months with the two-drug regimen.

Several side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea and low levels of potassium, were more common in patients taking the four-drug treatment, but anemia and low levels of white blood cells were more common in those taking the two drugs.

The four-drug regimen consisted of liposomal irinotecan, 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin and oxaliplatin - together referred to as NALIRIFOX. The two-drug therapy consisted of nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine.

"This study indicates that the more aggressive chemotherapy approach should be considered for those patients who are able to tolerate it," Wainberg said.

"Metastatic pancreas cancer has long been recognized as a very difficult type of cancer to treat, but this study represents a possible new reference standard for current treatment and for future research and drug development."

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