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 September 20, 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 September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
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