What You Need to Know:
Pancreatic cancer is a brutal disease with the shortest expected survival rate of any solid tumor cancers. It is on pace to become the second leading cause of all cancer deaths in the United States. Nearly 57,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and nearly 46,000 will die from this disease in 2019. There has been little hope for long-term survival in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer until promising clinical trial data was recently released for a small subgroup of pancreatic cancer patients.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III international clinical trial entitled, Pancreas Cancer OLaparib Ongoing (POLO) demonstrated positive results and hope for these patients. There was a significant reduction in the risk of pancreatic cancer disease progression or death in patients in the olaparib arm with metastatic pancreatic cancer who also had inherited mutations in the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, which are present in 7% of pancreatic cancers. One hundred fifty-four patients met inclusion criteria for the POLO study. Persons randomized to the olaparib arm received a first-line platinum-based chemotherapy for several weeks, followed by olaparib as the maintenance treatment four to eight weeks after the last dose of chemotherapy.
Progression-free survival, the primary endpoint, was longer than seven months in the olaparib arm versus nearly four months in the placebo arm. Almost 25% of patients on olaparib had a positive response to the drug for a median of two years, which far exceeds the typical survival of less than twelve months for these patients. These encouraging results she’d new light on the benefits of testing patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer for germline BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.
Read More about Pancreatic Cancer and Available Treatments:
University of Chicago Medicine: POLO Trial for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer: A New Standard of Care
American Cancer Society: Key Statistics for Pancreatic Cancer