New Study Suggests Tumor Treating Fields Can Increase Progression-Free Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

October 22, 2018
  • In the Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine cohort, progression free survival and overall survival were each more than double those of the gemcitabine-treated historical control
  • Novocure’s has one commercialized product that is approved for the treatment of adult patients with glioblastoma


Novocure (NASDAQ: NVCR) announced on 10/22/18 that the results of its PANOVA phase 2 pilot trial have been published in Pancreatology. The PANOVA pilot trial was a prospective, single-arm study testing the feasibility, safety and preliminary efficacy of Tumor Treating Fields in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer whose tumors could not be removed surgically and who had not received chemotherapy or radiation therapy prior to entering the clinical trial. Tumor Treating Fields is a cancer therapy that uses electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt cell division, inhibiting tumor growth and causing affected cancer cells to die.

“Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer, taking the lives of more than 432,000 people worldwide each year,” said Fernando Rivera, MD, PhD, the study’s principal investigator and a Senior Medical Oncologist at the Santander University Hospital M Valdecilla in Spain. “The results of the PANOVA pilot trial are promising and may provide hope to advanced pancreatic cancer patients who are in urgent need of treatment options that extend survival.”

The trial included 40 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer in two cohorts, 20 of whom received Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine and 20 of whom received Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel. The primary endpoint was safety. Secondary endpoints included progression free survival and overall survival.

In the Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine cohort, progression free survival and overall survival were each more than double those of the gemcitabine-treated historical control. Advanced pancreatic cancer patients treated with Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine experienced a median progression free survival of 8.3 months (95% CI 4.3, 10.3) and a median overall survival of 14.9 months (95% CI 6.2, NA), compared to 3.7 months and 6.7 months, respectively, in the gemcitabine historical control.

In the Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel cohort, progression free survival and the one-year survival rate were more than double those of the gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel-treated historical control¹. Advanced pancreatic cancer patients treated with Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel experienced a median progression free survival of 12.7 months (95% CI 5.4, NA), compared to 5.5 months in the nab-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine historical control. Median overall survival for the Tumor Treating Fields and gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel cohort was not yet reached. The one-year survival rate of patients treated with Tumor Treating Fields plus gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel was 72 percent, compared to 35 percent in a gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel historical control. Twenty-one patients reported skin toxicity related to Tumor Treating Fields. No serious adverse events related to Tumor Treating Fields were reported.

Novocure is an oncology company developing a different class of cancer treatment utilizing a proprietary therapy called Tumor Treating Fields. It involves the use of electric fields tuned to specific frequencies to disrupt solid tumor cancer cell division. Novocure’s commercialized product is approved for the treatment of adult patients with glioblastoma. Novocure has ongoing or completed clinical trials investigating Tumor Treating Fields in brain metastases, non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, liver cancer and mesothelioma.


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