According to a story from currentargus.com, the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, which takes place in Chicago, is the largest convergence dedicated to cancer research in the world. Around 40,000 cancer researchers and specialists attend and participate in the event every year, presenting the latest in cancer research, treatment, and study. In this story, we are going to take a look at some of the most important new findings presented at the event, particularly those that are relevant to rare forms of cancer.
New Chemotherapy Offers Improved Survival For Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is widely known as one of the most lethal and dangerous types of cancer. This cancer rarely presents symptoms until it has developed into an advanced stage and has begun to spread. For the most common type of pancreatic cancer, called pancreatic adenocarcinoma, the five year survival rate is a paltry five percent. Even when the cancer is found early, the rate only increases to 20 percent. Clearly, new advances in treatment are desperately needed for this type of rare cancer.
Thankfully, the results from a Phase 3 trial that involved nearly 500 patients showed that a more powerful, four part chemotherapy mixture called FOLFIRINOX could offer substantial increases in survival. When compared to the current standard chemo approach, survival jumped, on average, from 34 months to 54 months. This is a significant improvement for this deadly cancer. However, patients must be healthy enough to endure the more powerful treatment, as it does come with noticeable more toxic side effects.
Patients With Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma May Not Need Surgery
Renal cell carcinoma is a type of kidney cancer that usually appears in a part of the organ called the proximal convoluted tubule, a passage in the organ that transports urine. Like pancreatic cancer, it often does not present symptoms until an advanced stage, once again making a late diagnosis likely. Five year survival rate is closely tied to whether renal cell carcinoma has metastasized (spread); cancer that has not spread has a five year survival of 81 percent, but this drops to only 8 percent if it has invaded other organs.
A very common treatment approach to treating renal cell carcinoma is surgery to remove part or all of the affected kidney. However, a study found that this surgery does not benefit patients with advanced, stage IV cancer. In fact, the surgery seemed to shorten overall survival. In the study, surgery followed by targeted treatment, the current standard, netted a survival time on average of 13.9 months. Targeted therapy on its own, with no surgery, increased survival to 18 months.
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