Study results suggest that a new pancreatic cancer treatment regimen should become standard practice world-wide

Patients who receive this treatment after surgery are almost twice as likely to survive
Monday, June 4, 2018
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Dr. Jim Biagi, Queen's University Researcher & Oncologist at the Cancer Centre of South Eastern Ontario and the CCTG Canadian study co-chair with clinical trial participant Kathleen Kennedy

Newly released clinical trial results show a substantial increase in survival rates for pancreatic cancer patients who received a four-drug chemotherapy combination known as mFOLFIRINOX after surgery. The randomized phase III clinical trial was sponsored by the academic cancer research groups of UNICANCER, in Paris, France and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG). The results show that the risk of cancer recurring in post-operative pancreatic cancer patients was reduced by almost 50% with the mFOLFIRINOX chemotherapy combination. Patients who received mFOLFIRINOX lived on average almost twenty months longer and were cancer-free on average nine months longer than those who received the current standard of care.The PRODIGE 24/CCTG PA.6 was presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“Our trial shows a large benefit from adjuvant mFOLFIRINOX chemotherapy over standard chemotherapy with gemcitabine, and we can help patients with pancreatic cancer live much longer,” said lead study author Thierry Conroy, MD, medical oncologist and director of  the Institut de Cancerologie de Lorraine in Nancy, a UNICANCER comprehensive cancer center in France.

“The distressing part of pancreatic cancer is that only a small proportion of patients are candidates for surgery and even if surgery is possible, most will die of recurrent disease,” says Dr. Jim Biagi, Researcher at Queen's University, Oncologist at the Cancer Centre of South Eastern Ontario and the CCTG Canadian study co-chair. “These trial results demonstrate that patients who receive this treatment after surgery are almost twice as likely to survive. This is life changing for these patients and should impact how we treat pancreatic cancer around the world.”

CCTG Canadian study co-chair Dr. Alice Wei, Hepato-pancreato-biliary Surgical Oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre says “This study represents a major step forward in the treatment of a disease that has historically been frustratingly resistant to therapy. This study demonstrates that mFOLFIRINOX chemotherapy following surgery is effective and helps patients live longer. These results will certainly impact how we treat pancreatic cancer and provides hope for patients and their families that a cure for pancreatic cancer is possible,”

“A few months after my cancer diagnosis, I had surgery and then elected to try this experimental treatment,” says Kathleen Kennedy, one of the trial’s nearly 100 Canadian participants. “I knew that there could be risks, but I also knew that it would be helpful – if not immediately to me, then for other pancreatic cancer patients in the future. Now, three disease-free years later, I feel so blessed that this treatment has afforded me more time with my husband, children and grandchildren.”

Many thanks to the Canadian Cancer Society and 7 Days in May for thier financial support of this trial, ensuring that patients had the access to the latest treatments for Pancreatic Cancer.

About PRODIGE 24/CCTG PA.6

Three to 12 weeks after surgery, 493 patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) were randomly assigned to receive either the current standard treatment, gemcitabine or mFOLFIRINOX for six months. PDAC is the most common type of pancreatic cancer and accounts for 90% of all cases. Surgery is possible in only 10-20% of patients with pancreatic cancer overall.

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