The medication capecitabine taken after bile duct cancer surgery can extend survival times.
Patients who take capecitabine after surgery for bile duct cancer live for almost a year and a half longer than those not given the drug, according to the results* of a Cancer Research UK funded trial presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago(link is external).
The BILCAP trial is one of the first to look at testing treatments for bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma) and gall bladder cancer following surgery. This is because for rare conditions like bile duct cancer it is difficult to recruit enough patients to clinical trials. The researchers are now calling for capecitabine to be given to all patients after surgery.
In the study, around half of the 450 patients were given capecitabine for six months after surgery, and the other half only had surgery.
Three year survival improved by almost a quarter (23 per cent) in patients who were given capecitabine***, and the average survival was increased to 53 months from 36 months compared to for those who only had surgery.
Professor John Primrose, lead researcher based at the University of Southampton(link is external), said: “While rare, bile duct cancer is difficult to treat and until recently there has been very little progress in treating the disease. Our results clearly show that patients who have surgery should be given capecitabine, as a result of which more will survive and with few side effects.”
|Read Full Article: Drug improves survival of patients with rare cancer by almost a quarter | Cancer Research UK|