Feigin Discusses the Association Between Benzodiazepines and Pancreatic Cancer Outcomes


Dr Feigin discusses findings from a study on the varying effects of the benzodiazepines lorazepam and alprazolam on progression-free survival outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Welcome to OncLive On Air®! I’m your host today, Megan Hollasch.

OncLive On Air is a podcast from OncLive®, which provides oncology professionals with the resources and information they need to provide the best patient care. In both digital and print formats, OncLive covers every angle of oncology practice, from new technology to treatment advances to important regulatory decisions.

In today’s episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Feigin, PhD, about the benzodiazepines lorazepam (Ativan) and alprazolam (Xanax) and their varying impacts on progression-free survival (PFS) outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Dr Feigin is an associate professor of pharmacology and therapeutics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

Data from a retrospective study conducted by Dr Feigin’s laboratory at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and published in Clinical Cancer Research demonstrated that 40 patients with pancreatic cancer who received lorazepam experienced significantly worse PFS outcomes compared with those who did not receive the agent, with an HR of 3.83 (95% CI, 1.53-9.57). However, 27 patients given alprazolam achieved significantly improved PFS outcomes vs those who had not received the agent with a HR of 0.38 (95% CI, 0.16-0.92).

In our exclusive interview, Dr Feigin discussed methods for conducting this research, data from the study examining mouse models and the tumor microenvironment, and the implications of findings showing that lorazepam activated GPR68 on cancer-associated fibroblasts and led to the production of interleukin 6 (IL-6), while alprazolam potently decreased IL-6 levels.


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