-- Scott Roberts
FRIDAY, Sept. 6 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. Food and Drug
Administration approval for Abraxane (paclitaxel) has been expanded
to include advanced pancreatic cancer, the agency said Friday in a
The agency previously approved the chemotherapy drug to treat
cancers of the lung and breast.
Some 45,220 people are expected to be diagnosed with pancreatic
cancer this year, and an estimated 38,460 will die from it, the FDA
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death.
Surgery is the only way to permanently remove pancreatic cancer,
but it's usually too late for surgery by the time most cases are
identified, the agency said.
Abraxane's safety and effectiveness in treating pancreatic
cancer were evaluated in clinical trials involving 861 people.
Those treated with Abraxane and another chemotherapy drug,
gemcitabine, lived an average of 1.8 months longer than those
treated with gemcitabine alone.
Common side effects of the drug combination included a drop in
white blood cells and blood platelets, fatigue, nerve damage in the
extremities, vomiting, diarrhea and fever.
Abraxane is marketed by Celgene, based in Summit, N.J.
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