Combination Chemotherapy Improves Survival with Biliary Tract Cancer
According to the results of a Phase III clinical trial, treatment of locally advanced or metastatic biliary tract cancer with a combination of Gemzar® (gemcitabine) and cisplatin results in better survival and a lower risk of cancer progression than treatment with Gemzar alone.
Biliary tract cancer includes cancers of the gallbladder and bile ducts. These cancers are relatively rare and tend to be diagnosed at an advanced stage.
Patients diagnosed with advanced biliary tract cancer often have poor survival, and the optimal approach to treatment remains uncertain. Patients may be treated with chemotherapy, enrolled in a clinical trial, or given best supportive care (management of symptoms).
To evaluate a combination of chemotherapy drugs for the treatment of biliary tract cancer, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial among 410 patients with inoperable, advanced biliary tract cancer. Study participants were assigned to receive chemotherapy with Gemzar alone or Gemzar plus cisplatin.
- Overall survival was 11.7 months among patients treated with Gemzar plus cisplatin compared with 8.1 months among patients treated with Gemzar alone.
- Survival without cancer progression was 8.0 months among patients treated with Gemzar plus cisplatin compared with 5.0 months among patients treated with Gemzar alone.
- Neutropenia (low white blood cell count) occurred more often in patients treated with Gemzar plus cisplatin than in patients treated with Gemzar alone.
These results suggest that the combination of Gemzar and cisplatin results in better survival than Gemzar alone in patients with advanced biliary tract cancer.
Reference: Valle J, Wasan H, Palmer DH et al. Cisplatin plus Gemcitabine versus Gemcitabine for Biliary Tract Cancer. New EnglandJournal of Medicine. 2010; 362:1273-1281.?
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