Progress in Pancreatic Cancer: ASCO Studies Move the Needle

Anita T. Shaffer
Published: Thursday, Jul 19, 2018
Dr. Richard L. Schilsky

Richard L. Schilsky, MD

New strategies for the use of standard chemotherapies are likely to improve outcomes for a significant subset of patients with pancreatic cancer, according to study results presented at this year's ASCO Annual Meeting (ASCO 2018).

The findings are generating excitement in the field at a time when pancreatic cancer remains among the most deadly and intractable malignancies.

ASCO 2018 featured the results of 3 studies that are expected to influence the way therapy is administered in adjuvant, neoadjuvant, and metastatic settings:


The study found that a 4-drug chemotherapy combination dramatically improved median overall survival (OS) to 54.4 months compared with 35.0 months for standard gemcitabine in a selective population of fit patients who had undergone resection.1


Preliminary data showed that perioperative chemoradiotherapy resulted in a median OS of 17.1 months versus 13.7 months with immediate surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy in a broader population of resectable or borderline resectable patients.2


A "stop-and-go" strategy involving a less intensive chemotherapy regimen followed by reintroduction of standard agents upon progression proved to be a viable maintenance strategy as frontline treatment for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.3

The adjuvant therapy data from the PRODIGE 24 trial drew the most enthusiastic responses. “This is probably the biggest advance we’ve seen in pancreatic cancer since the introduction of gemcitabine, which is now about 25 years ago," Richard L. Schilsky, MD, ASCO's chief medical officer, said in a discussion about the results of at a press conference. "This is a huge step forward, at least for those patients who are able to undergo surgical resection."

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