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Knowledge Is Power in Treating Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer - BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB

Discover why staying updated on the standard of care is essential to ensuring that metastatic pancreatic cancer patients receive the most appropriate treatments.
October 1, 2017
PHILIP AGOP PHILIP, MD
PHILIP AGOP PHILIP, MD, PROFESSOR OF ONCOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY AT THE KARMANOS CANCER CENTER AT WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, EXPLAINS WHY DOCTORS NEED TO STAY UPDATED ON ADVANCES IN THE STANDARD OF CARE TO ENSURE THEIR PATIENTS RECEIVE THE MOST APPROPRIATE CARE.

Pancreatic cancer is expected to be the second leading cause of cancer death by 2030.1 Although new treatments and combinations have improved the standard of care for metastatic pancreatic cancer over the past decade, many patients may not be receiving the most appropriate care.2

We spoke with Philip Agop Philip, MD, Professor of Oncology and Pharmacology at the Karmanos Cancer Center at Wayne State University, who explains why doctors need to stay updated on the latest pancreatic cancer treatment advances to ensure their patients receive the most appropriate care.

Why do pancreatic cancer patients receive a wide variation in care?

“Pancreatic cancer is not as common as breast, colon, or lung cancer.3 So doctors see fewer of these patients and have less experience in treating the disease. Not all oncologists are familiar with the latest advances and current standard of care. Treating pancreatic cancer patients also requires a multidisciplinary approach. We must do a better job with treating this disease.”4

How has the standard of care for metastatic pancreatic cancer evolved?

“Long-term survival in this stage of the disease is closely tied to having better systemic therapies. While gemcitabine was introduced to treat metastatic cancer in the 1990s, it provided a modest improvement to patient survival.5 Over the past 5 years, we have added new therapies and treatment combinations that have helped patients live longer.6 Today, the standard of care for first-line (1L) metastatic pancreatic cancer includes 2 options: gemcitabine plus ABRAXANE® for injectable suspension (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension) (albumin-bound) and a combination of therapies known as FOLFIRINOX.4 Both ABRAXANE + gemcitabine and FOLFIRINOX are Category 1 preferred treatment chemotherapy combinations for patients with good performance status. There have not been any randomized trials that have compared ABRAXANE + gemcitabine with FOLFIRINOX.”

ABRAXANE PLUS GEMCITABINE IS AN ESTABLISHED FIRST-LINE STANDARD OF CARE FOR METASTATIC PANCREATIC CANCER, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL COMPREHENSIVE CANCER NETWORK’S CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES IN ONCOLOGY.6

Today, the standard of care for 1L metastatic pancreatic cancer includes 2 options: gemcitabine plus ABRAXANE and a combination of therapies known as FOLFIRINOX.6

How do you decide which treatment is the most appropriate for your patients?

“Since no one has tested the 2 regimens head-to-head, I base most treatment decisions on how well patients can be expected to tolerate them and how they are administered. Given that the median age of diagnosis for pancreatic cancer is 71 years old,7 I want treatments to be as manageable as possible so patients can continue their treatment.”

“Doctors should provide patients with their treatment options and explain the benefits of each. Patient preference is important.”

What role do patients play in the decision between these treatments?

“If a patient could be a good candidate for both of the two regimens, doctors should provide patients with their treatment options and explain the risks and benefits of each. Patient preference is important.

Cancer patients don’t always feel comfortable communicating their treatment preferences. Doctors should be proactive and ask their patients what matters most to them. This can include talking to their patients about quality of life or length of life. What are their goals and priorities? These may be difficult conversations, but doctors really need to understand the preferences of the patients they are treating.”

What can we do to support patients while being treated for mPC?

“There are many aspects connected to providing optimal care for patients. We need to be proactive and give advice on managing potential side effects of these treatments before they happen. We need to get the patients the support that they need, including nutritional or psychological care.”

How important is it that doctors stay updated on advances in pancreatic cancer treatment?

“It’s vital for oncologists in the community to understand how the field is advancing. The rapid progress we are seeing in this disease is good for patients but represents a challenge for doctors who can easily miss important news for this rare disease. They are more likely to focus on staying informed on the cancers that they see most often. We need to reduce the lag in the adoption of pancreatic cancer treatment advances throughout the cancer community through education and communicating new data more effectively.”

To learn more about ABRAXANE, including dosing, efficacy and safety information, visit ABRAXANEPro.com.

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Additional Information for Readers Provided by Celgene Corporation

The clinical trial described in this article served as the
basis for the approval for ABRAXANE for Injectable Suspension.
The analyses contained in the article may differ from those in the package insert for ABRAXANE.

Please see Important Safety Information and Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING.

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