Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trial Launches During Pandemic With Aim to Change Standard of Care for Patients

TORONTO, ON, July 15, 2020 – Pancreatic Cancer Canada announced today the launch of NeoPancONE, a Phase II clinical trial that aims to be a curative strategy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.  Led by Dr. Jennifer Knox, co-director of the McCain Centre for Pancreatic Cancer at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, patients will be recruited at 10 cancer centres across Canada and will receive neoadjuvant chemotherapy – chemo treatments before and after surgery. While used in other cancers, neoadjuvant therapy has not yet become a standard of care for pancreatic.  In fact, typically only 50% of pancreatic cancer patients receive chemotherapy after surgery.  A further 20% of patients see their cancer progress before their chemotherapy begins.

A focus of NeoPancONE will be to validate a potential biomarker – GATA6 – identified through the previous Pancreatic Cancer Canada-funded research trial COMPASS. Data from this study showed that overall survival for patients with a high expression of this signature was more than two months longer than those with a low expression.  These results allowed investigators to separate tumour types and showed different responses to chemotherapy accordingly.  NeoPancONE will now test if those potential differences can be seen in patients who are candidates for surgery.

“Surgery is the only chance for a cure, but we need a more targeted approach on how best to treat patients with systemic therapy both pre- and post-operatively,” Knox says. “If we can reproduce the chemotherapy efficacy by GATA6 status seen in the COMPASS trial in the NeoPancONE trial now in the surgical setting, we could potentially separate patients based on a biomarker to treatment options in which they could do better. We could give them different chemotherapy, or different regimens. We could identify patients who could undergo standard chemotherapy and surgery with much better outcomes than the average statistics. We could suggest different approaches to those not likely to benefit from the standard approach and by avoiding non-effective therapy, improve quality of life. All of this is very important for pancreatic cancer patients because the outcomes, in general, are still poor. This is a way to improve that.”

NeoPancONE Main Objectives

  • Assess disease-free survival in resectable pancreatic cancer patients treated with peri-operative mFOLFIRINOX according to the baseline GATA6 expression level
  • Establish the general feasibility of peri-operative chemotherapy more broadly in the Canadian medical environment in resectable pancreatic cancer patients.

NeoPancONE Primary Outcomes

  • Reduce the chances of disease recurrence, so more patients become survivors
  • Provide researchers with an opportunity to learn about the aggressiveness of the cancer and how it reacts to treatment by subtype
  • Influence the standard of care so more doctors consider chemotherapy as a treatment that can lengthen – or save – a patient’s life.

“Today’s launch of NeoPancONE is a very exciting step forward for pancreatic cancer patients.  In a disease with just 8% chance of survival, progress cannot happen fast enough.  The commitment of our research community is as strong as it has ever been and we are proud of their efforts to move this trial forward, particularly during a global health pandemic,” said Michelle Capobianco, Chief Executive Officer of Pancreatic Cancer Canada. “Increasing survival in pancreatic patients is our one major goal.  Our investments in COMPASS and now NeoPancONE reflect our belief that breakthroughs for this insidious disease are on the horizon.”

About Pancreatic Cancer Canada

Pancreatic Cancer Canada is a national organization devoted to fighting pancreatic cancer through innovative research, awareness, education and advocacy. Our goals are to improve overall patient survival rates, change the outcomes and create a brighter future for those affected by pancreatic cancer.  We’ve raised enough sympathy, it is time to raise survival rates.

For more information about Pancreatic Cancer Canada:

To visit the NeoPancONE webpage click here.

Media Inquiries

Amanda Jodoin
Director, Marketing and Communications
Pancreatic Cancer Canada
Cell: 416-548-8077 x1006