Targeted therapy and immunotherapy
Other cancer drug treatments include targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Targeted therapy targets specific features of cancer cells to stop the cancer growing and spreading, while immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
The targeted therapy drug called olaparib has been shown to provide some benefit for people with metastatic pancreatic cancer who have the BRCA gene changes. This is only a small number of people with pancreatic cancer. Olaparib is approved for use in Australia but the cost is not yet covered by the government through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for pancreatic cancer (as at January 2022). Your doctors will be able to provide the latest information about its availability.
So far, other targeted therapy and immunotherapy drugs have had disappointing results for pancreatic cancer, but research is continuing and there are new clinical trials underway. Talk to your treatment team about whether a clinical trial is an option for you.
Podcast: Immunotherapy and Targeted Therapy
Dr Benjamin Loveday, Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) Surgeon, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Katherine Allsopp, Palliative Medicine Physician, Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Hollie Bevans, Senior Dietitian, Radiotherapy and Oncology, Western Health, VIC; Dr Lorraine Chantrill, Head of Department Medical Oncology, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW; Amanda Maxwell, Consumer; Prof Michael Michael, Medical Oncologist, Lower and Upper GI Oncology Service, Co-Chair Neuroendocrine Unit, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and University of Melbourne, VIC; Dr Andrew Oar, Radiation Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Gold Coast University Hospital, QLD; Meg Rogers, Nurse Consultant Upper GI/NET Service, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Ady Sipthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA.
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