Improving survival in pancreatic cancer with platinum-based chemotherapy
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A small study of adults with the most common form of pancreatic cancer adds to evidence that patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations long linked to a high risk of breast cancer have poorer overall survival rates than those without the mutations.

The same study also found that those with BRCA1 or BRCA2 had better survival rates with platinum-based chemotherapy, compared with similar patients who received other drugs or no chemotherapy.

In a report published in the April issue of Journal of the American College of Surgeons, investigators at Johns Hopkins Medicine who conducted the study say the findings highlight the potential for matching targeted therapies to subsets of pancreatic cancer patients based on their genetic makeup.

“Current therapies and survival rates for those with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) are poor to begin with, so any finding such as ours that potentially tailors better treatments for some patients is exciting,” says Alex Blair, M.D., a surgery fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s first author.

Current standard of care for PDAC, he says, is surgical removal of the whole tumor, but only an estimated 20 percent of such patients are good candidates for

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