Map of Pancreatica Walks and Runs

Gemzar PLUS Xeloda for Cancer of the Pancreas

An earlier blog entry (February 14th) referenced a study by UK researchers that suggested the substitution of the drug-agent capecitabine (Xeloda) in place of gemcitabine for the treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancer.  Now comes another study by different UK researchers who looked at coupling gemcitabine together with Xeloda for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer.

Hubner and colleagues of the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, in Manchester, UK, in the April edition of the journalPancreas, have published the results of a study whereby the retrospectively reviewed the results of 113 patients with advanced cancer who were treated off-protocol with the combination regiment consisting of gemcitabine and capecitabine (GEMCAP).

They found that the GEMCAP combination appeared to be effective and importantly had reasonable side-effects – was generally tolerable. The researchers reference clinical trials that are additionally ongoing with this combination, and suggest that this off-label use appears reasonably consistent with what to date appears to be occurring in the early clinical trials results.

This combination appears worthy of further study and inquiry.

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Dale O’Brien, MD

Radiofrequency Ablation for Pancreatic Cancer Pain Control

Batistaki and fellow Greek colleagues at the University of Athens reviewed the clinical course of 35 patients who had received a procedure involving thermocoagulation of their splanchnic nerves via radiofrequency – for pain relief.

These were patients who had advanced pancreatic cancer, and whose pain was refractory to conservative pain management.  In pre and post procedure evaluations – the researchers found that pain tended to be relieved, quality of life improved, and opioid drug use was diminished for the patients.

The authors recommend the procedure.

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Dale O’Brien, MD

Ocimum Sanctum Leaves for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment?

In a study involving alternative therapy, researchers including SK Batra and colleagues from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center studied the effects on pancreatic cancer cells of ocimum sanctum, a traditional medicine from India known more commonly as “Holy Basil,” that has been in use for thousands of years. Ocimum-Sanctum-Leaves

They found that extract from the leaves of ocimum sanctum appeared to inhibit mechanisms that control the spread and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells.  And also, in a separate in-vitro experiment with mice, that the extract appeared to potentiate death of pancreatic cancer cells in tumors.

This is a pre-clinical study, but it is of interest in the sense that Holy Basil – known to have medicinal properties for thousands of years – could become a source for new compounds in the therapy of pancreatic cancer.  Further research required.

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Dale O’Brien, MD

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