Most patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer have a poor prognosis, as no highly effective treatments are available. The SAKK 44/19 trial will investigate a novel treatment option: the destruction of a liver metastasis with subsequent administration of the checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab.
In 80% of patients with pancreatic cancer, the tumor is already locally advanced or metastatic at the time of diagnosis. This means that it is no longer possible to surgically remove the tumor. In this situation, a number of chemotherapy options are available, but most patients only survive for a few months. Therefore, new therapies urgently need to be developed.
Up to now, treatment using checkpoint inhibitors alone or in combination with chemotherapy have shown no improvement in the survival rate for pancreatic cancer. The SAKK 44/19 trial will now investigate whether stimulating the immune system (by destroying a liver metastasis) before administering a checkpoint inhibitor can improve its efficacy.
The trial will include 11-15 patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer who have already been given chemotherapy (10-18 weeks).