Currently, only about 15% of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are eligible for potentially curative surgery. We need to find the disease earlier!
We are dedicated to promoting awareness, increasing education, and furthering pancreatic cancer research.
In the mid-90s, Von Hoff et al. published several papers of their medical research that demonstrated the survival advantage of the drug-agent gemcitabine (sold in the U.S. as Gemzar; developed by Eli Lilly and Company) as first line therapy in the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) over the use of somewhat ineffective but standard monotherapy for pancreatic cancer for years, fluorouracil (known as 5-FU). Quickly, gemcitabine became the standard of care treatment for pancreatic cancer, although research continued and gemcitabine and other drugs either singly or in combination were studied extensively.
The next major breakthrough in the chemotherapy treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer came in May 2011 by French researchers with the publication of data regarding the use of the 4-drug regimen (including 5-FU) known as FOLFIRINOX. At a point afterwards, the NCCN began to recommend the FOLFIRINOX regimen as first line therapy for advanced pancreatic cancer.
Then in 2013, Von Hoff and others published their research which demonstrated that Abraxane (Nab-paclitaxel; by Celgene) plus gemcitabine gave survival advantage in patient with advanced pancreatic cancer over gemcitabine alone. Soon thereafter, the U.S. FDA approved the Abraxane plus gemcitabine combination for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer.
One point to note is that the central drug in each of the two key drug combinations for chemotherapy of advanced pancreatic cancer involve one or the other of the past drugs that were used alone: 5-FU and gemcitabine.
Gemcitabine is a nucleoside analogue that inhibits an enzyme required for a pathway that is necessary for successful DNA synthesis. It is also approved in the U.S. for the treatment of such conditions as breast, lung, bladder and ovarian cancer.
The side effects of gemcitabine alone, depending on personal response, and given that it IS a chemotherapy are often relatively mild compared to certain other drugs, and can include such conditions as fever, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, GI problems, rashes, hair loss, weakness, and shortness of breath.
There are studies that suggest that the gemcitabine plus Abraxane regimen is generally better tolerated than the FOLFIRINOX regimen in many patient with pancreatic cancer.
Since the development of gemcitabine + Abraxane for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, there have been many innovative studies using this combination in creative ways. We have commented on gemcitabine alone and in combination frequently in the Pancreatica Blog.
James Abbruzzese, MD Chief, Medical Oncology Duke University
Markus Büchler, MD Chairman, Surgery Heidelberg University, Germany
Ralph Hruban, MD Director, GI / Liver Pathology Johns Hopkins University
Eileen O’Reilly, MD Associate Director for Clinical Research – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Margaret Tempero, MD Chief, Medical Oncology University of California at San Francisco
Pancreatic cancer is a serious disease. Taking an aggressive rational stance at the earliest possible time, supported by the best medical team, and treated in the most appropriate manner gives the best chance for survival.
We believe in strong patient-physician bonds, scientifically-based treatment, and that comfort can come from knowing that everything that reasonably can be done – is being done.
That the best approach is meeting cancer of the pancreas head-on and armed with the best available information.
Cancer Patients Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Initiatives include, ToFightCancer.com and Pancreatica.org. All Donations are tax-deductible. Pancreatic cancer is the least funded cancer in terms of research.
Despite causing enormous mortality, pancreatic cancer receives (on a mortality basis) much less funding for research than most of the other major cancers. Currently, there is no molecular marker or genetic screening tool to aid in the earlier diagnosis or screening of pancreatic cancer. Treatment results would improve significantly if this cancer could be diagnosed at an earlier stage.
All Donations are tax-deductible.
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Our mission is to promote awareness, increase education, and further pancreatic cancer research, specifically research aimed at early diagnosis.
Early diagnosis is key:
Survival increases dramatically if patients are diagnosed in time for surgery!