Chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;20(2):327-48. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2005.10.003.


Single-agent gemcitabine was established as standard treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer after a superior clinical benefit response was demonstrated in a randomized study comparing it to 5-fluorouracil (FU). Until recently, many subsequent randomized trials of newer, often gemcitabine-based combinations have not been able to show improved survival over gemcitabine. Combination gemcitabine and capecitabine is likely to become the preferred standard treatment, at least in the UK, on the basis of the positive interim results of the UK National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) randomized study of chemotherapy with this combination. At present, there is no standard second-line treatment for patients who have become refractory to gemcitabine, although a recently reported study has suggested that oxaliplatin with FU and leucovorin is superior to best supportive care in these patients. This article will review and discuss the clinical trials of chemotherapy for this disease, including the more recent trials, which have included the novel targeted agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Camptothecin / analogs & derivatives
  • Camptothecin / therapeutic use
  • Capecitabine
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Glutamates / therapeutic use
  • Guanine / analogs & derivatives
  • Guanine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Irinotecan
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Palliative Care
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pemetrexed
  • Taxoids / therapeutic use
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Glutamates
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Taxoids
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors
  • Pemetrexed
  • Deoxycytidine
  • Guanine
  • Capecitabine
  • Irinotecan
  • gemcitabine
  • exatecan
  • Fluorouracil
  • Camptothecin