Thursday, January 24, 2013

Abraxane and Pancreatic CA

The new drug from Celgene for metastatic pancreatic cancer, Abraxane, has been shown to add a little less than 8 weeks of life to patients with the terminal disease. 
Celgene’s drug Abraxane prolonged the lives of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer by almost two months in a clinical trial, researchers reported Tuesday, signifying an advance in treating a notoriously difficult disease but not as big a leap as some doctors and investors had hoped.  
“It was not the breakthrough we were anticipating,” said Dr. Andrea Wang-Gillam, an assistant professor and pancreatic cancer specialist at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not involved in the trial.
The cost for this amazing advance in futile care?  $6000-8000 per month.  And there is already a drug on the market, folfirinox, that has demonstrated longer survival expectations that Abraxane.  I'm sure signing off on Big Pharm profiteering FDA approval is right around the corner. 


Paracelsus said...

It's still us (i.e. the doctors) who decide to give it or not. The Big Pharma schemes are powerless without the involvement of field doctors. It is sad, really, but doctors must assume their responsibility in making those huge profit strategies possible and a reality.

Anonymous said...

FOLFIRINOX is NOT a drug. It is a combination therapy putting together FOLFIRI and FOLFOX (5-fu, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, irinotecan). IF you think that is alot cheaper than abraxanae, I have a bridge in Manhatten I would like to sell you. FOLFIRINOX is now considered standard of care in younger and more robust patients with a four month survival benenfit over gemcitabine. I emphasize YOUNGER and more ROBUST as an oncologist who has put more that a couple of patients in the hospital with this regiman. It is very toxic, and even those who do well end up coming in for hydration visits. The upshot is that we don't have a good therapy for pancreatic cancer except in those rare early instances of resection and I am all for studies trying to improve those lousy numbers. Don't even get me started on the surgeon "conversion to resectability" with chemo or chemo-rad conversations. Rarely happens.