November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month, and the GI Cancer Institute is raising awareness and funds to expand important clinical trials which have the potential to significantly advance the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Treatment advances are essential for the disease as it has the lowest five-year survival rate of all cancers in Australia, at less than 5 percent. There have been no major improvements in patient outcomes in the last 20 years.
The GI Cancer Institute is currently funding 3 trials into pancreatic cancer: IMPaCT, GAP, and LAP-07.
The IMPaCT trial, run by the AGITG with the Garvan Institute and Sydney Catalyst, is currently open to recruitment. The study will investigate whether using biomarkers to select the best treatment for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer has an impact on survival. A biomarker is a biological characteristic from tumour tissue or blood, which may provide information on the behaviour of the cancer or help predict the likely effect of a given treatment. The study will use results from tests done as part of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative (APGI) to help select treatments to suit individual patients with pancreatic cancer, and to minimise side effects. A total of 90 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who are also enrolled in APGI will be recruited for the study. People with one of the HER2, BRCA1/BRAC2 or PALB, or KRAS genes will be eligible for the study.
The GAP study is another pancreatic cancer clinical trial open to recruitment, which aims to evaluate rates of complete resection in pancreatic cancer when chemotherapy is given prior to surgery. Recent studies have promising overall survival with the addition of chemotherapy prior to surgery. The GAP trial will use a combination of the chemotherapy drugs gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (Abraxane), which recent data suggests enhance response and overall survival in pancreatic cancer patients. 11 sites are currently open, with 3 more due to open in Australia this year. The study aims to recruit 50 patients in total, and 25 have been recruited so far.
The LAP-07 study aims to determine the role of radiotherapy in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, and to determine whether the addition of radiotherapy to standard chemotherapy will increase survival. A secondary aim of the study is to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the drug erlotinib. Ultimately, the goal of the study is to identity an effective treatment involving chemoradiotherapy and chemotherapy that can achieve durable symptom control. 32 patients were recruited from Australia and New Zealand and 442 were recruited internationally. The study closed to new recruitment in 2012 and is currently in follow-up.
To donate towards our Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month appeal and help fund these important trials, click here and select ‘Pancreas’ in the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can buy a purple ribbon from the Garvan Research Institute (funds from purple ribbon purchases will go towards the IMPaCT trial).