Study shows improvement in pancreatic cancer survival times

Matt Hancock has taken over as Health Secretary.

A phase 3 pancreatic cancer trial has shown that having chemoradiotherapy before surgery can allow pancreatic cancer patients to live more than twice as long.

The clinical trial, which investigated pre-operative chemoradiotherapy for patients potentially eligible for surgery, was presented at the 2018 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Commenting on the clinical trial, which involved 246 pancreatic cancer patients, Anna Jewell, Director of Operations at Pancreatic Cancer UK, said: “We’re excited about the results of this large trial, which has found that having an existing treatment before surgery allowed patients who had their tumour removed to live for more than twice as long. These promising results show that chemoradiotherapy could also be a treatment option for patients who are diagnosed early, but for whom surgery is less likely to be successful.”

Jewell went on to say that the success rate of surgery, the only potentially life-saving remedy, could increase if more patients had this pre-operative treatment. “Pancreatic cancer has far fewer treatment options than other cancers, so any promising new treatments offer great hope for the future, but it’s important to remember that having treatment before surgery may not be the best option for all patients.”

Current NICE guidelines on the treatment of pancreatic cancer recommend pre-operative treatment only as part of a clinical trial, as more evidence is needed on this treatment option.

“This significant study will help build evidence as to the potential effectiveness of this option. It is vitally important that everyone with pancreatic cancer is treated as soon as possible to give them the best chance of living for longer, or surviving this tough cancer,” she added.