A new drug combination, tested in metro Phoenix, to treat late-stage pancreatic cancer was approved Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The Arizona Republic reported.

After clinical trials, the FDA authorized the use of Abraxane in combination with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer. It is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.

A study of 861 patients found that 35 percent of those who took the drug combination lived at least one year, compared with 22 percent of those who took gemcitabine alone, said Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, chief physician of the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.