Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Treatment For Pancreatic Cancer Allows Life-saving Surgery

Date:
December 6, 2005
Source:
Dartmouth Medical School
Summary:
A new treatment for pancreatic cancer developed by clinical researchers of Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center substantially reduces the size of tumors and lowers the risk of local recurrence of the disease.

A new treatment for pancreatic cancer developed by clinical researchers of Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center substantially reduces the size of tumors and lowers the risk of local recurrence of the disease. Fifty percent of patients in the study responded to therapy--one of the highest response rates ever seen with pancreatic cancer. Results of the study were published in the December 2005 issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Researchers, led by oncologist and principal investigator J. Marc Pipas, M.D., were able to reduce the size of tumors so significantly that a number of patients who previously had been categorized as borderline or inoperable could have their tumors surgically removed.

Surgery, and the complete removal of the tumor, is the only curative hope for people with pancreatic cancer, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. NCI estimates that of the 32,180 new cases of pancreatic cancer in 2005, 31,800 will die.

The overall five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 4%, but for patients whose tumors can be completely removed, long-term survival jumps to 18-24%. Detecting the tumor in an early stage is crucial, but pancreatic cancer has few symptoms and is often diagnosed only after the cancer has grown into surrounding tissue or metastasized, making surgery impossible.

"The only way to cure these tumors is to remove them completely," explains Pipas. "You try to do something to make sure there is no microscopic disease left. If you can't remove it, the prognosis is poor."

Traditional treatment for pancreatic cancer is surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The treatment Pipas developed reverses the treatment steps. He administers chemotherapy and radiation in combination first, in order to reduce the size of the tumor and increase the possibility of surgery. The reverse treatment regimen results in many tumors previously considered borderline or inoperable shrinking to a size where they could be surgically removed. In the Norris Cotton Cancer Center trial, 24 patients were treated with short course, high dose chemotherapy of docetaxel and gemcitabine, followed by a combination of radiation and twice-weekly low-dose gemcitabine. Chemotherapy doses in this trial were higher than previously attempted.

Results showed that 50% of tumors shrank by at least a third, including complete disappearance of a tumor in a patient who previously had been judged inoperable. No tumors progressed during treatment.

The ability to shrink a pancreatic tumor is important because in order to eradicate the cancer, the tumor must be small enough to be completely removed without damaging major blood vessels surrounding the pancreas. Seventeen patients in the study underwent surgery, including nine previously considered inoperable or borderline operable. Subsequent follow-up showed that no patient whose tumor was surgically removed had a local recurrence of the disease, and no patient whose disease was considered inoperable had local progression.

Because the treatment Pipas and his team developed is allowing more patients the option of surgery, it is now the standard treatment for pancreatic cancer at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

In a new study, Pipas is using gemcitabine and radiation in combination with cetuximab (Erbituxฎ), an antibody treatment. Norris Cotton Cancer Center is the only center testing this treatment for pancreatic cancer.

"Our goal for therapy is more people to complete resection," explains Pipas. "That's going to be the first step to curing patients."

###

Article: "Docetaxel/Gemcitabine followed by Gemcitabine and External Beam Radiotherapy in Patients with Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma," J. Marc Pipas, Richard J. Barth, Bassem Zaki, Michael J. Tsapakos, Arief A. Suriawinata, Michael A Bettmann, Justin M. Cates, Gregory H. Ripple, John E. Sutton, Stuart Gordon, Carol E. McDonnell, Raymond P. Perez, Nancy Redfield, Louise P. Meyer, John F. Marshall, Bernard F. Cole, and Thomas Colacchio. Annals of Surgical Oncology, Vol. 12, No.12, December 1, 2005; published online November 1, 2005.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dartmouth Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Dartmouth Medical School. "New Treatment For Pancreatic Cancer Allows Life-saving Surgery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206161635.htm>.
Dartmouth Medical School. (2005, December 6). New Treatment For Pancreatic Cancer Allows Life-saving Surgery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206161635.htm
Dartmouth Medical School. "New Treatment For Pancreatic Cancer Allows Life-saving Surgery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051206161635.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins