Navigation Links
2 Experimental Drugs Show Promise for Rare Pancreatic Cancer
Date:2/9/2011

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A pair of tumor-inhibiting drugs more than doubled the progression-free survival time for patients with a rare type of pancreatic cancer, according to two new studies.

In separate phase 3 trials by French and American scientists, the drugs everolimus and sunitinib extended the survival of participants with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors from about five months to 11 months.

Also known as islet cell carcinoma, this type of pancreatic cancer represents a small proportion of all such malignancies but has a better prognosis than adenocarcinoma, the more common and deadlier form. Fewer than 20 percent of adenocarcinoma patients are still alive one year after diagnosis, according to the American Cancer Society, while the study authors said the median survival of neuroendocrine patients is 27 months.

Both studies were reported in the Feb. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"I had a pretty good feeling about the study," said Dr. James Yao, lead author of the everolimus research and deputy chair of gastrointestinal medical oncology at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. "This is certainly what we were hoping for. I think the magnitude of the treatment difference was very good to us."

The new medications, which are awaiting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, work by inhibiting growth factors in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors -- the same cancer for which Apple CEO Steve Jobs was treated in 2004.

The everolimus study, funded by the drug's maker, Novartis Oncology, analyzed 410 patients from 82 health centers in 18 countries worldwide. All patients had either inoperable or metastatic neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors and were randomly assigned to receive either everolimus (10 milligrams daily) or a placebo.

The sunitinib study, funded by drugmaker Pfizer, had 171 participants also randomly assigned to either the medication (37.5 milligrams daily) or a placebo. Enrolled at 42 centers in 11 countries, these patients also had advanced disease.

The primary endpoint of each study was progression-free survival, defined as the time between the start of the research until evidence of cancer progression or death from any cause.

"This is not the garden variety pancreatic cancer we see commonly. It's a rare tumor but definitely a health care issue," said Dr. Bhoomi Mehrotra, section head of the medical oncology and stem cell transplantation program at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"Obviously, this is very encouraging, particularly for patients who are having disease progression," Mehrotra said.

Citing ethical considerations, the everolimus researchers allowed 148 placebo patients whose cancers had spread during the study to switch to the active drug. About 64 percent of everolimus patients experienced some degree of tumor shrinkage from the drug, compared with 21 percent receiving the placebo.

Sunitinib performance was similarly impressive, prompting the researchers to discontinue the study early after noting the radical increase in progression-free survival for those on the active drug.

"There certainly is the potential for patients to be on this [everolimus] for a long time," Yao said, noting that he does not yet know the drug's potential cost. "About 34 percent of patients were alive and progression-free after 18 months, compared to 9 percent of untreated patients. So the curve separated very early."

Side effects, some of them severe, were common with both drugs and included diarrhea, fatigue, anemia and low white blood cell counts.

Noting that the medications might be able to be taken indefinitely if still effective, Mehrotra questioned whether the side effects would outweigh the benefits for patients with either no symptoms or stable cancers.

"It remains an open question of when therapy should be initiated . . . and how we sequence the therapies coming down the pike," he said. "Since these patients live for several years, although the side effects were manageable, this [everolimus] study does raise questions about the optimal timing, dosing and duration of treatment."

More information

To learn more about pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, visit Stanford University School of Medicine's Cancer Center.

SOURCES: James Yao, M.D., associate professor and deputy chair, gastrointestinal medical oncology, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Bhoomi Mehrotra, M.D., section head, medical oncology and stem cell transplantation program, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Feb. 10, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Experimental approach may improve healing of diabetic wounds and bed sores
2. Study raises safety concerns about experimental cancer approach
3. First liver transplant patients receive experimental drug to prevent hepatitis C infection
4. Experimental Drug Helps Fight Aggressive Breast Cancer: Report
5. Experimental drug more potent, longer lasting than morphine
6. Experimental vaccine sets sights on lung cancer
7. Experimental Drug Raises Good Cholesterol Levels in Early Trial
8. UT Southwestern researchers create experimental vaccine against Alzheimers
9. Experimental Drug Aids Kids With Nervous System Tumor
10. Experimental Test May Spot Prostate Cancer Earlier, More Accurately
11. Experimental Leukemia Drug Proves a Slam Dunk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... February 13, 2016 , ... ... Nursing with an in-kind gift of a VeinViewer® Vision vein finder ... learn how to start an IV and draw blood, combining technology with traditional ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... Mystic Buddha Publishing House ... Blue SKies Buddha, the biography of Rama - Dr. Frederick Lenz. , ... the love of a Buddhist teacher for teaching and helping others. Valentine’s Day ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Church, VA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 ... ... Store?, Feb. 29, 2016 — 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. EST, http://www.fdanews.com/fixeddosecombination ... issue in the life cycle of pharmaceutical products, garnering increased attention from all ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Wis. (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... second Lean Leadership Series at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on April 5-7. ... practice new behaviors and create new habits. The workshops cover a broad range ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The Jones Agency, a family owned insurance company with offices ... cooperative charity drive with the Tarrant Area Food Bank in the hopes of alleviating ... in need, the Tarrant County Food Bank offers hope and security to the one ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... The primary goal of this research is ... the usage of liquid biopsy. Key information the survey ... Timeframe of liquid biopsy adoption amidst future users - ... type - Sample inflow to conduct liquid biopsy tests ... and so on. - Correlation analysis of sample type ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Laboratory glassware and plasticware include ... may range from microscope slides to large storage boxes ... borosilicate glass because of its low weight and resistance ... started gaining popularity over the past decade when it ... with plastic in several applications due to its resistance ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a ... throughout Western New York . This ... Polytechnic Institute, includes a major expansion of Athenex,s North ... Buffalo , as well as the creation of ... Dunkirk . The combined projects are expected ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: