Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New treatment for pancreatic cancer allows life-saving surgery

08.12.2005


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 (Erbitux®), 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."

Jane D’Antonio | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/
http://www.hitchcock.org

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First diode for magnetic fields

Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.

Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water

21.11.2018 | Life Sciences

New China and US studies back use of pulse oximeters for assessing blood pressure

21.11.2018 | Medical Engineering

Exoplanet stepping stones

21.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>