Two new tumor-inhibiting drugs, still in experimental stages, were said to have doubled the survival time of patients with an unusual form of pancreatic cancer. The two separate studies on these drugs have also said that the cancer did not progress while the drugs were used.
The two new drugs are sunitib and everolimus. These two drugs have reportedly lengthened the survival time of advanced pancreatic cancer patients from 5 to 11 months.
The medications worked by inhibiting factors which helped the growth of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, preventing progression of the disease and as a result, improving survival duration of patients.
The primary goal of the study was progression-free survival, which researchers defined as the time when the study began until indication of cancer progression arises or death happens from any cause.
In the separate studies for each drug, the patients medicated were those with advanced neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors. The researchers have concluded that there is great potential for the drugs as both have shown successful results in progression-free cancer.
Taking the drug also has its risks. Some of the reported adverse reactions from taking the drugs are fatigue, diarrhea, low white blood cell counts, and anemia. Since patients are expected to take these drugs for a long time, the question remains whether the benefits would be outweighed by the adverse reactions.
Currently, these drugs are awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.