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Gemzar PLUS Xeloda for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

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 (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas).  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 2013 issue of the journal Pancreas, 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 in pancreatic cancer appears reasonably consistent with what to date appears to be occurring in the early clinical trials results.

This combination chemotherapy appears worthy of further study and inquiry.

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Dale O’Brien, MD

Pancreatic cancer is the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States, now surpassing breast cancer.