Pancreatic Cancer Market changes with Abraxane

Celgene Corporation’s nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane) will be a new treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer. That was the news from the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers symposium (ASCO GI) that took place in San Francisco last month.

At the 2012 European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) meeting in Vienna, Sally Church, PhD noted on Pharma Strategy Blog that pancreatic cancer experts such as Margaret Tempero, MD were excited about the prospect of nab-paclitaxel in pancreatic cancer

The data presented at ASCO GI showed that for patients with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas, the addition of nab-paclitaxel to the chemotherapy gemcitabine led to an increase in median overall survival of 1.8 months compared to receiving gemcitabine alone (8.5 months versus 6.7 months, Hazard Ratio: 0.72, P=0.000015). While this may seem a small amount of time, there are few effective treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer.

By showing a significant increase in overall survival, Abraxane met the primary endpoint of the phase 3 MPACT clinical trial, and is likely to be approved by the FDA in the future.

Abraxane will provide a new treatment option in pancreatic cancer

The Abraxane data presented at ASCO GI was good, but it was not great.  Sally Church interviewed Dr Hedy Lee Kindler, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago about the significance of the data.

In her “Making a difference in Pancreatic Cancer Interview“, Dr Kindler says that for most of her patients she would still use FOLFIRINOX. This is a chemotherapy combination (5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin) that has side effects that need to be carefully managed.

It is only suitable for those patients who are well enough to take it, but offers a superior survival advantage in advanced pancreatic cancer. Data from the PRODIGE 4/ACCORD 11 study presented at the 2010 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) showed the median overall survival time for patients receiving the FOLFIRINOX regimen to be 11.1 months.

Where we expect Abraxane to receive most pancreatic cancer use in the United States is from community oncologists who don’t wish to manage the side effects associated with FOLFIRINOX

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