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Gemcitabine And Abraxane

gemcitabine and abraxane

Gemcitabine plus Abraxane for Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Every person is different; every situation is different; every cancer is different. So, the decision about which treatment is right for an individual patient with pancreatic cancer (ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas) by their health care team is highly complex. Here we present the work of published research that examines factors related to two of the most common chemotherapy regimens in use for advanced stage pancreatic cancer.

serious side effects

Nab-paclitaxel can cause side effects but these can affect everyone differently. Your doctor or nurse should give you information about side effects. Make sure you read this, and ask them any questions you may have about the possible side effects, and how to manage them. Knowing what to expect can help you to deal with any side effects.

  • decreased blood counts. abraxane can cause a severe decrease in neutrophils (a type of white blood cell important in fighting against bacterial infections) and platelets (important for clotting and to control bleeding). your doctor will check your blood cell count during your treatment with abraxane and after you have stopped your treatment
  • numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness in the hands or feet (neuropathy)
  • severe infection (sepsis). if you receive abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, infections can be severe and lead to death. tell your doctor right away if you have a fever (temperature of greater than 100.4°f) or develop signs of infection
  • lung or breathing problems. if you receive abraxane in combination with gemcitabine, lung or breathing problems may be severe and can lead to death. tell your doctor right away if you have a sudden onset of persistent dry cough or shortness of breath

Abraxane is a modified version of an old chemotherapy drug called paclitaxel (Taxol). Paclitaxel was originally isolated from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree. It works by disrupting the "cytoskeleton" of dividing cells, a molecular scaffold that plays an important role in cell division. The remarkable success of paclitaxel in treating ovarian and breast cancers led to the devastation of the Pacific Yew population in the 1980's and 90's, until new means of synthesizing the drug were developed. Two drawbacks of paclitaxel are it's toxicity, and the fact that it is poorly solubility in water. Some of the toxicity are related to its function- cancer cells are not the only rapidly dividing cells in a person's body.

The cells of the skin, hair, intestines, and immune system all divide very rapidly, and paclitaxle can kill these cells in addition to cancer cells. Moreover, in order to administer paclitaxel to patients, it is necessary to dissolve the compound in a substance called Cremophor EL, which itself is somewhat toxic.

How is nab-paclitaxel given?

You will have your chemotherapy as an outpatient in the chemotherapy unit at the hospital, which means you will go in for treatment, but won’t need to stay overnight. Nab-paclitaxel with gemcitabine is given in a four-week cycle. Both drugs will usually be given on the same day. You will have them once a week for three weeks, and then have one week off. The exact number of cycles will depend on how well the treatment works and how you cope with it. Speak to your doctor about your treatment plan.

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