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:6/25/2017)... ... , ... Create a feel-good lyric music video in Final Cut Pro X with ProLyric from ... write in the lyrics to any song. ProLyric flies in the text for each section ... can be added modularly for optimal control. ProLyric makes editing any music video or text-based ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... ... , ... With a heatwave currently bearing down on Northern California pushing temperatures to the maximum, ... ready is easy with laser hair removal. , The process of summer waxing and ... when all you want to do is get out, dive in and cool off. There ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... ... June 24, 2017 , ... ... at 217 Portion Road in Lake Ronkonkoma, Dental365 offers patients high-quality and affordable ... that visits to the dentist fit into their patients’ busy lifestyles. Dental365 also ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... "The ... will ultimately do significant harm to people with all chronic conditions, including mental ... it leaves in place the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that insurers cover ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) announced its ... Affairs, retired Marine Col. Thomas G. Bowman. , Bowman currently serves as the staff ... intimacy with the issues and challenges veterans face with the VA. Following a 30-year ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/16/2017)... , June 16, 2017 Datascope Corp. is voluntarily ... Datascope Corp. for a potential electrical test failure code.     ... PART NUMBER ... IABP CS300 IABP ... ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... June 14, 2017  ivWatch LLC, a medical device ... intravenous (IV) therapy, is pleased to announce it was ... Nonsurgical Hospital Supplies and Equipment at the 2017 Medical ... the medtech industry. The award was presented by Medical ... Javits Center in New York ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 14, 2017  In 2016, ... Creative Startups pitch competition and came away with ... platform is described by Forbes as "entering the life ... Medical Association as teaching "empathy to medical professionals in ... startup was recently named a finalist for the Department ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: