Imbruvica Falters in Pancreatic Cancer Trial

According to a story from Physician’s Weekly, the pharmaceutical company AbbVie, Inc. recently announced that its cancer drug Imbruvica failed to measure up in a recent clinical trial in which it was used in combination with chemotherapy as a therapy for pancreatic cancer. Unfortunately, the approach failed to show an meaningful improvement in overall survival or progression free survival in comparison to placebo.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. The disease affects the pancreas, which is a glandular organ that is situated behind the stomach. Part of the reason that pancreatic cancer is so dangerous is that it rarely produces noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage and begun to spread. However, even when detected earlier, it is difficult to treat effectively. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include being male, old age, African-American ancestry, family history, smoking, obesity, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and a diet heavy in red meat, processed meat, or meat cooked at very high temperatures. Symptoms include depression, upper abdominal pain, jaundice, diabetes, constipation, weight loss, and appetite loss. Treatment approaches for this cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Even with heavy treatment, pancreatic cancer almost always returns. The five year survival rate is just five percent. To learn more about pancreatic cancer, click here.

New Treatments Needed

There is a serious need for new treatment options for pancreatic cancer. Despite the fact that pancreatic cancer accounts for only about three percent of cancer cases in the US, it is responsible for seven percent of annual deaths from the disease. The American Cancer Society projects that around 56,770 will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during 2019. These statistics make Imbruvica’s poor performance in the trial even more disappointing for patients who are in dire need of more effective approaches.

About Imbruvica

Ibrutinib, which is marketed as Imbruvica, is a cancer drug of the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor class. The medication is effective in treating a number of B-cell blood cancers, such as mantle cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia. It was also approved in 2017 as a treatment for graft versus host disease, making it the first FDA approved therapy for this indication.


James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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