Current therapies and advances in the treatment of pancreatic cancer

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2006 Jun;58(3):231-41. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2006.02.004. Epub 2006 May 24.


Pancreatic cancer is a common, highly lethal disease with a rising incidence. In the last years continued efforts in pancreatic cancer research have led to a change in the classic approaches and to the development of new biological agents that appear to show promise. Adjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine has recently demonstrated better survival outcomes following surgical resection compared to no treatment, especially in patients with positive margins or lymph nodes. The addition of anti-VEGF agents to adjuvant regimens could improve long-term outcomes. In locally advanced disease, neoadjuvant regimens have not produced complete remissions, but partial responses have been reported ranging between 10 and 20%, with conflicting survival results. Combination trials with radiochemotherapy and new drugs appear well tolerated with encouraging preliminary results. In the metastatic setting, novel chemotherapeutic combinations and molecular targeted agents have shown promise in improving outcomes. To date, second line therapy is increasingly proposed and may even provide survival benefits in the future. This article summarizes the current standards of therapy for patients with resectable, advanced and metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Neoplasm Metastasis / therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Remission Induction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • VEGFA protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine