Pancreatic cancer survival improved by gemcitabine

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Gemcitabine Improves Overall Pancreatic Cancer Survival
Gemcitabine Improves Overall Pancreatic Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Adjuvant gemcitabine treatment after surgical removal of pancreatic cancer significantly improves both disease-free and overall survival compared with observation, according to a study published in the Oct. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Helmut Oettle, M.D., Ph.D., from Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and colleagues randomly assigned 368 patients after complete resection of pancreatic cancer to either adjuvant gemcitabine treatment for six months or to observation alone.

After a median follow up of 136 months, the researchers found that the gemcitabine group had a significant improvement in median disease-free survival (13.4 versus 6.7 months; hazard ratio, 0.55). Overall survival also significantly improved after gemcitabine treatment (hazard ratio, 0.76), with improved five-year survival (20.7 versus 10.4 percent) and 10-year survival (12.2 versus 7.7 percent).

"Among patients with macroscopic complete removal of pancreatic cancer, the use of adjuvant gemcitabine for six months compared with observation alone resulted in increased overall survival as well as disease-free survival," Oettle and colleagues conclude.

The study was funded in part by Lilly Germany, the manufacturer of gemcitabine; several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly.

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