Skip to content

Marseille researchers work towards personalised medicine for pancreatic cancer

24 June 2024
← Back to news
Using a personalised treatment to fight pancreatic cancer may soon no longer be a fantasy. Researchers at the Cancer Research Center of Marseille and the Institut Paoli Calmettes carried out a molecular signature test on patients included in the French-Canadian PRODIGE-24/CCTG PA6 study. As a result, it is possible to predict the sensitivity of each patient to chemotherapy protocols and, therefore, to adapt each treatment.
© National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.

In the management of pancreatic cancer, treatment with FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy, although effective, is associated with toxicity and reserved for patients who can tolerate this molecule. The choice of this chemotherapy is therefore currently based on the general health condition of patients, rather than on cancer biology.

Researchers at the Cancer Research Center of Marseille (AMU/Inserm/CNRS/Institut Paoli Calmettes), in collaboration with clinicians at the Institut Paoli-Calmettes, have identified a signature based on the molecular characteristics of the tumour. With the help of artificial intelligence, this signature was also developed to be able to predict sensitivity to the various molecules used in pancreatic cancer.

The beginning of a new era in pancreatic cancer management

This PancreasView signature was tested for validation on 343 patients included in the PRODIGE-24/CCTG PA6 study, and with available biological material. The results showed that this signature made it possible to identify patients sensitive to the molecules under study. Patients who received appropriate therapy (m FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine) showed improved survival. The use of these signatures in patient management could improve efficacy and reduce toxicity by avoiding unnecessary administration of drugs predicted to be ineffective.

The results of this study underline the importance of the PancreasView molecular signature in identifying patients who respond favourably to treatment. This advance not only improves the survival of patients who receive appropriate therapy, but also considerably reduces the risk of associated toxicity. This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in pancreatic cancer management, where every patient can benefit from personalised treatment," says Dr. Nelson Dusetti, Inserm researcher at the Cancer Research Center of Marseille.

About pancreatic cancer and the PRODIGE-24 study

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common form of pancreatic cancer, is a particularly aggressive disease, the incidence of which has been rising sharply in recent years. Surgery is currently the only chance of a cure, but is only possible in around 15% of patients, and metastatic relapse is unfortunately frequent. The use of adjuvant chemotherapy has significantly improved patient survival over the past 20 years.

In 2018, the results of the PRODIGE-24/CCTG PA6 clinical trial, conducted in 493 patients in France and Canada, were presented. Promoted by Unicancer with the collaboration of the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG), and funded in France by the Ministry of Health and the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer, this study showed a significant improvement in survival, with median overall survival increasing from 3 years to 4.5 years in patients treated with mFOLFIRINOX (trichimiotherapy based on 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan and oxaliplatin) compared with gemcitabine alone.

Find out more about the study from the original story, in French

Other Highlights this month: