Chemotherapy 'effective in pancreatic cancer treatment'

11 July 2012

The use of chemotherapy has been proven effective in the treatment of people suffering from a type of cancer at the head of the pancreas in clinical trials.

Experts led by Dr John Neoptolemos, from the University of Liverpool, found that overall survival improved by a relative 25 per cent when the treatment was used, in comparison to observation alone in people with periampullary adenocarcinoma.

The researchers were attempting to determine whether adjuvant chemotherapy using either fluorouracil or gemcitabine could provide improved overall survival following resection in patients with periampullary adenocarcinomas rising from the head of the pancreas in the region of the ampulla of Vater.

After adjustment for independent prognostic factors, they found that the difference in median survival was 43.1 months with adjuvant chemotherapy and only 35.2 months with observation alone.

However, the experts noted: "Although this study found support for the use adjuvant chemotherapy to improve survival in patients with periampullary cancers, this effect was modest, indicating a need for further improvements and warranting the testing of combination chemotherapies."

Posted by Philip Briggs

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