Therapeutic developments in pancreatic cancer: current and future perspectives

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Jun;15(6):333-348. doi: 10.1038/s41575-018-0005-x.


The overall 5-year survival for pancreatic cancer has changed little over the past few decades, and pancreatic cancer is predicted to be the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the next decade in Western countries. The past few years, however, have seen improvements in first-line and second-line palliative therapies and considerable progress in increasing survival with adjuvant treatment. The use of biomarkers to help define treatment and the potential of neoadjuvant therapies also offer opportunities to improve outcomes. This Review brings together information on achievements to date, what is working currently and where successes are likely to be achieved in the future. Furthermore, we address the questions of how we should approach the development of pancreatic cancer treatments, including those for patients with metastatic, locally advanced and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer, as well as for patients with resected tumours. In addition to embracing newer strategies comprising genomics, stromal therapies and immunotherapies, conventional approaches using chemotherapy and radiotherapy still offer considerable prospects for greater traction and synergy with evolving concepts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biomedical Research
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Palliative Care
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Precision Medicine


  • Antineoplastic Agents