A new pharmacological combination showed a significant improvement in overall survival in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, compared to conventional treatment, in one of the tumors with the worst prognosis five years after diagnosis, which represents the eighth tumor with the highest incidence in Spain.
The international phase III NAPOLI-3 trial, in which he participated Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), was presented at the Gastrointestinal Symposium of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which took place from January 19th to 21st, in San Francisco (United States).
“Only 20% of patients with pancreatic cancer are candidates for surgery, which for now is the only curative treatment and, of these, 80% relapse and end up developing metastases, which is why most patients with pancreatic cancer end up reaching this stage”, says VHIO researcher Teresa Macarulla, who was part of the scientific committee for this international trial. In this sense, the new therapeutic strategy is aimed at “so that they can live longer and better, because we control the disease and thus have a better quality of life”, she adds.
Only 20% of patients with pancreatic cancer are candidates for surgery, which for now is the only curative treatment.
The new drug combination is called NALIRIFOX (contains liposomal irinotecan with fluorouracil, leucovorin and oxaliplatin) and is designed for patients with pancreatic cancer who are not candidates for surgery.
There are already authorized drugs
The phase III clinical trial enrolled 770 patients and the median overall survival was 11.1 months for patients treated with the new NALIRIFOX, compared with 9.2 months for those receiving standard therapy (gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxis). Progression-free survival (the time from starting treatment until the tumor grows) also improved significantly from 5.6 months to 7.4 months.
The new pharmacological combination NALIRIFOX was developed for patients with pancreatic cancer that cannot be operated on
“We currently have few treatment options for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, so any progress in this regard is good news. Having a new therapeutic option with NALIRIFOX is another step forward and motivates us to continue researching new treatments,” says Macarulla.
The NALIRIFOX combination is composed of drugs already authorized and used in the treatment of cancer, therefore its safety and effectiveness have already been proven.
For the researcher, this element will be able to speed up the procedures for its validation by the health authorities, once phase III of the test is concluded.
Zev A Wainberg, Davide Melisi, Teresa Macarulla et al. “NAPOLI-3: A randomized, open-label phase 3 trial of liposomal irinotecan + 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin + oxaliplatin (NALIRIFOX) versus Nab-paclitaxel + gemcitabine in treatment-naive patients with metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC)”. Presentation at the ASCO GastroIntestinal Symposium (January 2023).