The importance of quality-of-life management in patients with advanced pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Curr Probl Cancer. 2018 Jan-Feb;42(1):26-39. doi: 10.1016/j.currproblcancer.2018.01.013. Epub 2018 Jan 31.


Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) carries a poor prognosis, and as such, a focus on quality of life is vital. This review will discuss various aspects of quality of life in patients with PDAC and their treatment. Pancreatic exocrine and endocrine insufficiency may result in issues related to nutrition, and pain and fatigue are other common symptoms, and may be managed with pharmaceutical or nonpharmaceutical methods. It has also been reported that low mood is a particular problem for patients with PDAC compared to patients with other cancers; however, the data supporting this is inconsistent. Data regarding improvements in quality of life in patients with PDAC receiving chemotherapy is also reviewed, which in some cases suggests a benefit to chemotherapy, particularly in the presence of a radiological response. Furthermore, the importance of early palliative care is discussed and the benefits reported including improved quality of life and mood, reduced aggressive interventions at the end of life and improved survival. Areas for future development may include increased use of quality of life as a trial outcome and the use of patient-reported outcomes to improve symptomatic care of patients, and particularly in those receiving active systemic treatment.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Fatigue; Health-related quality of life; Mood; Nutrition; Palliative care; Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / complications
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / psychology
  • Carcinoma, Pancreatic Ductal / therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / complications
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / psychology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Precision Medicine / methods
  • Precision Medicine / trends
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires