GBC presents unique challenges due to its often-advanced stage at diagnosis. Despite its relative rarity, GBC's aggressive nature demands relentless scientific research to uncover novel treatment approaches. In recent years, breakthroughs in understanding the disease's molecular mechanisms have paved the way for new drugs and therapeutic strategies. This FAQ delves into the promising developments in the field of GBC treatment, focusing on innovative drugs, clinical trials, and their potential impact on patient outcomes. DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE

What is GBC? 

GBC (GBC) develops when malignant (cancer) cells proliferate in the gallbladder. GBC develops in the mucosal layer (the innermost layer of your gallbladder) and spreads outward. 

GBC is the most frequent biliary tract cancer, accounting for 80%-95% of all biliary tract cancer globally. It is the sixth most common kind of gastrointestinal cancer and is more common in women than in men. The two most common causes of gallstones are high estrogen levels (which are more common in women) and an abnormal pancreatic obstruction (which is more common in Asians). 

Globally, GBC accounted for more than 1 million new cases and more than 80,000 deaths in 2020. The global age-standardized incidence and mortality for GBC were 1.20 and 0.84 per 100,000 people respectively. 

Where are clinical trials being conducted for GBC?

Biopharma companies have initiated approximately 250 ongoing clinical trials in GBC since 2016, with the Asia-Pacific region involved in more than 50% of the trials and more than 40% conducted in the US and Europe. 

Due to its large population and lower volume of studies, the Asia-Pacific region has lower competing trial risk with a trial density about 17 times lower than that of the US and about 4 times lower than Europe. 

Where is GBC most prevalent?

Asia recorded the highest incidence and mortality cases 82,000 and 62,300, respectively, accounting for 70% of global occurrences. 

By 2030, the number of GBC incidence and mortality in Asia is predicted to reach 142,193 and 109,122 respectively.

  • Europe had incidence and mortality cases of about, 12,570 and 8,717 cases, respectively in 2020. 
  • The United States reported over 4,600 incident cases and about 2,300 deaths in GBC in 2020. According to the American Cancer Society estimates, there will be around 12,220 new cases and approximately 4,510 deaths due to GBC in 2023 in the country.
  • Canada reported an incidence of over 500 cases with an ASIR of about 0.66 per 100,000 population in 2020. (4) 

What are the major challenges treating GBC?

GBC, a type of biliary tract cancer, arises from the cells lining the gallbladder, a small organ beneath the liver. Often diagnosed at an advanced stage, GBC poses a considerable challenge due to its limited treatment options. Standard treatments like surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy have been the mainstay for managing the disease. However, the prognosis remains poor, emphasizing the need for revolutionary approaches.

What are Some of the New Drug Discoveries?

Recent advancements in scientific research have identified potential breakthroughs in treating GBC. One such discovery involves the utilization of MEK inhibitors in treating advanced solid tumors, including metastatic biliary tract carcinoma. MEK inhibitors, which target specific molecular pathways within cancer cells, show promise in halting tumor growth and spreading. Coupled with chemotherapy agents like gemcitabine hydrochloride and nab paclitaxel, these inhibitors are being evaluated in clinical trials to assess their effectiveness.

What are Nab Paclitaxel and Gemcitabine Hydrochloride?

The combination of nab paclitaxel and gemcitabine hydrochloride has emerged as a notable contender in the treatment of biliary tract cancers, including GBC. Nab paclitaxel is a unique formulation of the classic chemotherapy drug paclitaxel, designed to enhance drug delivery and potency. Clinical trials studying this regimen's efficacy have shown promising results, particularly in locally advanced and metastatic disease. Improved overall survival rates and prolonged progression-free intervals offer renewed hope for patients battling this aggressive disease.

Are Targeted Therapies and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors being used for GBC?

Targeted therapies, a cornerstone of modern oncology, hold immense potential in the treatment of GBC. Researchers are investigating therapies that specifically disrupt the aberrant pathways driving cancer growth. Moreover, immune checkpoint inhibitors, designed to unleash the body's immune system against cancer cells, are being explored as a potential therapeutic strategy. Combining these agents with standard treatments has shown early signs of improved outcomes, although further research is underway.

What does the future hold?

In the fight against GBC, science is steadily pushing the boundaries of possibility. The convergence of innovative drugs, targeted therapies, and strategic clinical trials paints a promising picture for patients diagnosed with this aggressive disease. While the road ahead may be paved with challenges, the collective efforts of researchers, medical professionals, and patients are inching closer to a future where GBC is not only treatable but also manageable.

As the scientific community continues to unravel the complexities of GBC, the potential for personalized treatments, improved survival rates, and enhanced quality of life remains on the horizon. Through a steadfast commitment to rigorous scientific research and unwavering dedication, the field of oncology stands poised to transform the landscape of GBC treatment, offering hope and healing to patients around the world.