According to a study presented at the ESMO 16th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, MM-398, which was added to the standard treatment of metastatic pancreatic cancer, improved patient survival. Study author Andrea Wang-Gillam, MD, PhD and researchers found that overall survival improved when MM-398 was used in combination with 5-fluorouracil (FU)/leucovorin.
Median overall survival for patients treated with MM-398 and FU/leucovorin was 6.1 months, as opposed to a 4.2-month survival when treated with only FU/leucovorin. Patients treated with MM-398 and FU/leucovorin also had an improved progression-free survival of 3.1 months, compared to the 1.5-month progression-free survival for patients who were treated with FU/leucovorin alone.
Wang-Gillam said that since drug delivery is a big barrier for treating pancreatic cancer, patients have limited options. MM-398 is a nanoliposomal irinotecan, which exposes the circulation to the drug for a longer period of time. In addition, the drug and its active metabolite SN38 can accumulate more at the site of the tumor.
Despite this advancement, combination therapy caused more gastrointestinal side effects, with an increase in diarrhea from 4.5% to 12.8% and vomiting from 3.0% to 11.1%. Fatigue increased as well from 3.7% to 13.7%.
Overall, Wang-Gillam said the study indicated MM-398 as a viable option for metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Adding the novel MM-398 to standard treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer patients who have already received gemcitabine improves survival, researchers said at the ESMO 16th World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona.
“Patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer or pancreatic cancer in general have very limited options,” said study author Andrea Wang-Gillam, assistant professor in the Division of Oncology at Washington University in St. Louis, USA. “These patients just simply don’t do well. This was a positive trial and will provide a new treatment option for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer.”