Pancreatic Cancer Trials Offer Positive Results
Data from phase 3 clinical trials on theuse of Virulizin for treating pancreaticcancer revealed a significant survival benefitfor a particular subgroup of patients.The randomized, double-blind, multicentertrial compared Virulizin plus gemcitabinewith placebo plus gemcitabine inchemo-naive patients with locally advancedor metastatic pancreatic cancer.As a first-line treatment, Virulizin did notshow any statistical significance in overallsurvival, but it showed encouraging survivalrates among patients with metastasisand patients with low EasternCooperative Oncology Group performancestatus. A more recent data analysisshowed increased survival benefit forpatients taking Virulizin who received theoptional second-line therapy after diseaseprogression. At this stage, patientswho remained on Virulizin had a mediansurvival of 10.9 months, compared with7.4 months for patients taking placebo.
The results were presented onFebruary 1, 2006, at the 17th InternationalCongress on Anti-Cancer Treatment inParis, France. Jim Wright, PhD, chief executiveofficer of the drug's manufacturer,Lorus Therapeutics Inc, noted: "Virulizinsignificantly improved survival in pancreaticcancer patients who remained in thetreatment arm even when treatment withthe standard-of-care chemotherapy gemcitabinewas no longer effective. Althoughthis finding is from exploratory analysis, itprovides important new information.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.