(WXYZ) — Pancreatic cancer is often a deadly disease but a new study has found that a three-drug chemo cocktail can improve survivorship.
I know first-hand how deadly pancreatic cancer is, I see this in my practice more often than I’d like.
Unfortunately, a number of my patients have died from it. It’s also taken the lives of Detroit’s beloved Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin and more recently, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.
Now looking at this new research, this three-drug cocktail seems to offer hope.
Often when patients are treated, the current standard-of-care uses two drugs for chemotherapy, nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine.
In this study, the researchers added a third drug called cisplatin to this mix – and they saw tumors in patients shrink
This is likely due to the platinum-based cisplatin as lab tests have shown it can inhibit pancreatic cancer cells from repairing DNA, basically causing them to self-destruct.
Well, researchers reported that the tumors shrank considerably for about 71 percent of the patients that were treated. Now looking at how this impacts survivorship, a year after the treatment, 64 percent of the patients were still alive. And at the two-year mark, 40 percent were still alive.
Now, those are pretty good numbers even if they don’t sound all that great. Because I can tell you, that the survival rate is pretty bad.
Typically only about 26 percent of people who have advanced pancreatic cancer are still alive one year later
The study was small, with only 25 patients. So there needs to be more research to confirm that these survivorship percentages hold true. And also to track side effects, which in this study were found to be tolerable and manageable.
But this is not a breakthrough treatment and it’s certainly not a cure. But it does offer hope that in the future, those diagnosed with the disease, may be able to longer than what we typically see now.
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Data pulled from WXYZ