Patients with Advanced Pancreatic Cancer and Hyperbilirubinaemia: Review and German Expert Opinion on Treatment with nab-Paclitaxel plus Gemcitabine

Oncol Res Treat. 2015;38(11):596-603. doi: 10.1159/000441310. Epub 2015 Oct 20.


In patients with advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer, the prognosis is generally poor. Within recent years, new treatment options such as the FOLFIRINOX regimen (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, irinotecan and oxaliplatin) or the combination of nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab)-paclitaxel plus gemcitabine have shown a clinically relevant survival benefit over the standard gemcitabine in patients with good performance status. Unfortunately, patients with hyperbilirubinaemia, who constitute a substantial proportion of the pancreatic cancer patients, have been excluded from most clinical studies. Consequently, our knowledge on the appropriate medical treatment of this patient group is limited. In a meeting of German medical oncology experts, the available clinical evidence and own clinical experience regarding the management of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer and hyperbilirubinaemia was discussed. The present publication summarises the discussion outcomes with regard to appropriate management of these patients, including consensus-based recommendations for nab-paclitaxel/gemcitabine treatment, according to the best available evidence. In summary, knowledge of the underlying aetiology of hyperbilirubinaemia and the metabolisation routes of the cytotoxic drugs is crucial before initiating chemotherapy. As effective treatment options should also be made available to patients with comorbid conditions, including hyperbilirubinaemia, the experts provide advice for an initial dose reduction of chemotherapy with nab-paclitaxel/gemcitabine based on the total bilirubin level in patients with biliary obstruction or extensive liver metastasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Deoxycytidine / administration & dosage
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Expert Testimony / methods*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / complications*
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / diagnosis
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / drug therapy*
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • 130-nm albumin-bound paclitaxel
  • Albumins
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine
  • Paclitaxel