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PostPosted: 16 Feb 2018 21:34 
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Cancer Research UK indicates that patients who take capecitabine after surgery for bile duct cancer live for almost a year and a half longer than those not given the drug.

Professor John Primrose says results of the research clearly show that patients who have surgery should be given capecitabine. The BILCAP trial is one of the first to look at testing treatments for bile duct cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma) and gallbladder cancer following surgery. This is because for rare conditions like bile duct cancer it is difficult to recruit enough patients to clinical trials. The researchers are now calling for capecitabine to be given to all patients after surgery.

In the study, around half of the 450 patients were given capecitabine for six months after surgery, and the other half only had surgery. Three year survival improved by almost a quarter (23 per cent) in patients who were given capecitabine, and the average survival was increased to 53 months from 36 months compared to for those who only had surgery.

Professor John Primrose, lead researcher based at the University of Southampton said: “While rare, bile duct cancer is difficult to treat and until recently there has been very little progress in treating the disease. Our results clearly show that patients who have surgery should be given capecitabine, as a result of which more will survive and with few side effects.”

Nikki Archer, 42 from Exeter, was first diagnosed with bile duct cancer in 2008. Following surgery she was offered the opportunity to take part in the BILCAP study and received capecitabine for six months.

“After I had surgery I was offered the chance to take part in the trial and I felt privileged and lucky,” said Nikki. “As part of it I took capecitabine for six months, but the doctors allowed me to have a break from the treatment to get married. Since finishing treatment I’ve had my second child, who’s now four, and now no longer need follow up.”

Around 2,300 people are diagnosed with bile duct cancer in the UK every year.

Capecitabine is an anti-cancer ("antineoplastic" or "cytotoxic") chemotherapy drug. Capecitabine is classified as an "antimetabolite."


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