More Aggressive Chemo Regimen Improves Outcomes of Pancreatic Cancer Patients After Surgery

According to a story from, a recent study has revealed that a more aggressive chemotherapy could be significantly more effective for patients with pancreatic cancer after surgery in comparison to the standard chemo that has become the typical treatment for pancreatic cancer. Gemcitabine (Gemzar) has been the chemo formulation used for pancreatic cancer for about a decade, but when it was compared side by side to mFOLFIRINOX, the latter was found to offer improved survival.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat, and it is often detected at an advanced stage when it has already started to spread to other areas of the body. This is mainly because pancreatic cancer rarely causes prominent symptoms in its early stages. There are several potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer, such as smoking cigarettes, such as old age, obesity, being male, being African American, family history, alcohol consumption, pancreatitis, diabetes, and diet heavy in processed meats, red meats, or meat cooked at very high temperature. Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include nausea, constipation, jaundice, diabetes, unexplained weight loss, pain in the upper abdomen and/or back, fatigue, and depression. Five year survival rate is very poor, at just five percent. To learn more about pancreatic cancer, click here.

Study Findings

In the study, patients with non-metastatic pancreatic cancer that had been treated with surgical resection took either gemcitabine or mFOLFIRINOX for a six month period. At follow up, patients that had been treated with gemcitabine survived for just 12.8 months compared to 21.6 months for those that took mFOLFIRINOX. Overall survival was also greater, at 54.4 months versus 35 months.


MFOLFIRINOX is a chemotherapy formulation that is delivered every two weeks and contains a total of four active components. Although the new chemo regimen offers improved outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients, it is also associated with more severe toxicity and side effects. Regardless, the authors of the study determined that these effects could be managed successfully. They recommend that mFOLFIRINOX should be regarded as a new care standard for patients that have pancreatic cancer treated with surgical resection. Hopefully, this new recommendation will start increasing survival rates for this deadly form of cancer.

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