While it is still uncertain exactly how Abraxane works, Abraxane wraps traditional chemotherapy, paclitaxel, in near-nano sized shells of albumin, a protein that the tumor could recognize as food. Once inside the tumor, the Abraxane may act like a "Trojan Horse" to release chemotherapy and kill the cancer cells.
Participants treated with Abraxane plus gemcitabine lived, on average, 1.8 months longer than those treated with gemcitabine alone, and they experienced a delay in tumor growth (progression-free survival) that was, on average, 1.8 months later than the participants who only received gemcitabine.
Of note, 35 percent of patients who also received Abraxane survived more than 1 year, a 59 percent increase over the 22 percent of those receiving only gemcitabine who survived more than 1 year. Also, more than twice as many patients (9 percent) who also received Abraxane survived more than 2 years, compared to those (4 percent) who only received gemcitabine.
"This a major breakthrough, but there is more work to be done. Building on these results, we are evaluating new targeted agents in combination with the Abraxane/gemcitabine regimen," said Dr. Ramesh Ramanathan, Medical Director of the Virginia G. Cancer Center Clinical Trials at Scottsdale Healthcare, and MPACT principal investigator for the United States.
The most significant side effect from the addition of nab-paclitaxel was peripheral neuropathy, such as numbness in the hands and feet, although this occurred in only a small proportion of patients and was "rapidly reversible in most patients" by temporarily halting the drug and subsequently reducing its dosage. None of the patients experienced severe (grade 4) neuropathy.
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|Contact: Steve Yozwiak|
The Translational Genomics Research Institute