New techniques and agents in the adjuvant therapy of pancreatic cancer

Acta Oncol. 2002;41(7-8):582-95.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma represents a major oncological challenge. Despite improvements in surgical techniques, long-term survival after resection is poor, with few patients surviving after 5 years. Until recently, there have been no large randomized trials of adjuvant therapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. However, major trials such as the European Study Group for Pancreatic Cancer (ESPAC-1) and ESPAC-3 trials have set new standards for patient recruitment and development in this field. Adjuvant therapy has the potential to improve both patient survival and quality of life after curative resection. Currently, the best treatment is with 5-fluorouracil with folinic acid, but in the light of ongoing clinical trials, this may be supplanted by gemcitabine as the treatment of choice. Chemoradiotherapy does not appear to be beneficial in the adjuvant setting, but trials of a wide variety of other techniques and agents in the treatment of advanced disease are being undertaken and some of these will almost certainly be extended into the adjuvant setting in time. Great progress has been made in the adjuvant treatment of pancreatic cancer in the past 10 years and similar advances are likely over the next decade.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic