Overshadowed perhaps by the positive results of Von Hoff and colleagues’ research on Abraxane plus gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer, an interesting study on the treatment of LOCALLY ADVANCED pancreatic cancer was presented at the recent ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco late January.
In locally advanced cancer of the pancreas the treatment is generally chemoradiotherapy, meaning radiation therapy plus chemotherapy – the chemo often being the drug-agent gemcitabine.
Mukherjee of Oxford University and British colleagues presented a meeting abstract of the results of their unyet unpublished work on a Phase II clinical trial that showed a modest survival advantage by using capecitabine (Xeloda) as compared to gemcitabine as the chemo component of chemoradiation for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
Capecitabine is a pro-drug that is converted into 5-FU by the body. It is also given orally. The study results by Mukherjee indicated that the regimen that included capecitabine offered less side-effects as compared to that of the gemcitabine regimen.
It will be interesting to see this work in a peer-reviewed medical journal, and to see if the results will be replicated over time.
Dale O’Brien, MD