It is the impression of this author that in the past decade or so the quantity and quality of published medical research coming from China has increased rather remarkably. This has included challenges to “standard” established practice – with innovative ideas particularly on the treatment of pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas). Now comes a study from China involving cryotherapy, a surgical “ablation” (or removal) procedure that attempts to use a freeze technique to destroy pancreatic cancer malignant tissue.
On July 30th, Vu and colleagues from Jinan University in Guangzhou, China published an article in the journal Pancreas that divided 106 patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer into four groups depending of treatment modality: cryotherapy in combination with immunotherapy, cryotherapy alone, immunotherapy alone, and chemotherapy. They reported the median overall survival duration of the groups with some elaboration, finding that the median survival of the cryotherapy and immunotherapy in combination group was much longer than the others (13 months). Their work also found the median OS was increased if multiple cryoablation was used (rather than a single such treatment).
This is very interesting early work on this combination modality for metastatic pancreatic cancer. This approach appears worthy of further work to see if the results stand up to scrutiny.
Dale O’Brien, MD