Combination chemotherapy was more effective than single-agent chemotherapy in prolonging the survival of people with pancreatic cancer, according to a trial presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Researchers launched a clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of a combination of chemotherapy drugs with that of a single-agent chemotherapy in pancreatic cancer treatment. 493 patients involved in the trial were divided into two groups, one treated with the drug gemcitabine (Gemzar), the most common treatment after surgery, and another given FOLFIRINOX, a combination of four drugs (folinic acid, fluorouracil, irinotecan and oxaliplatin).
In the trial, the gemcitabine group went for an average of 12.8 months without their disease returning after treatment, while the FOLFIRINOX group were disease-free for an average of 21.6 months. In addition, average overall survival in the gemcitabine group was 34.8 months compared to 54.4 months in the FOLFIRINOX group, meaning people treated with a combination of chemotherapy drugs could live 20 months longer than those given single-drug chemotherapy after surgery.
It was concluded that taking the drug combination after surgery significantly increased the amount of time patients were disease-free after treatment and improved overall survival for pancreatic cancer patients.
The trial indicated that FOLFIRINOX is an effective adjuvant therapy for pancreatic cancer treatment.
FOLFIRINOX treatment, however, could bring many side effects, so the general health of pancreatic cancer patients was an important consideration in deciding the fit FOLFIRINOX receivers and the next task for researchers would be to find out who would respond well to the treatment by analyzing the tissue and blood samples from the participants.