Background Pancreatic cancer is a disease with a poor prognosis, palliative treatment being the goal of treatment for most patients. Although chemotherapy needs to be tailored to the patient’s preference, treatment tolerance and disease characteristics, prolonged treatment duration may also reflect an increase in progression free survival. Clinical trials with new drugs and new chemotherapy combinations have demonstrated a slight increase in survival in recent years.
Purpose To compare chemotherapy treatment duration in pancreatic cancer patients in two 5 year periods, 2005–2009 and 2010–2014.
Material and methods All pancreatic cancer patients treated with chemotherapy, at the oncology unit in a 500 bed hospital between January 2005 and December 2014, were included. First and last days of treatment were recorded for each patient in order to calculate treatment duration. Other variables such as gender and age were also collected.
Quantitative variables were analysed using the Student’s t test and qualitative variables with the χ2 test, to determine whether there were significant differences in age and sex between the periods. Difference in treatment duration was assessed using the log rank test of survival curve.
Results 116 patients were included. 50.9% were women, median age was 63.7 years (IQR 56–72) and median treatment duration was 130.5 days (IQR 63.25, 275.75). No statistically significant differences were found for sex (p = 0.679) or age (p = 0.09) between the two study periods. Significant differences in treatment duration were found depending on the period, from 91 (84,119) days before 2010 to 175 (136, 241) days after 2010 (p = 0.04). Survival curve of treatment duration showed significant differences depending on the period (log rank test, p = 0.02).
Conclusion Chemotherapy treatment duration in pancreatic cancer has been significantly prolonged in the past years. This may be due to the development of new drugs. Whether this is associated with an increase in survival needs to be confirmed in further studies.
No conflict of interest.
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