Considerations for the treatment of pancreatic cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic: the UK consensus position

Br J Cancer. 2020 Jul 8;1-5. doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-0980-x. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic epicentre has moved to the USA and Europe, where it is placing unprecedented demands on healthcare resources and staff availability. These service constraints, coupled with concerns relating to an increased incidence and severity of COVID-19 among patients with cancer, should lead to re-consideration of the risk-benefit balance for standard treatment pathways. This is of particular importance to pancreatic cancer, given that standard diagnostic modalities such as endoscopy may be restricted, and that disease biology precludes significant delays in treatment. In light of this, we sought consensus from UK clinicians with an interest in pancreatic cancer for management approaches that would minimise patient risk and accommodate for healthcare service restrictions. The outcomes are described here and include recommendations for treatment prioritisation, strategies to bridge to later surgical resection in resectable disease and factors that modify the risk-benefit balance for treatment in the resectable through to the metastatic settings. Priority is given to strategies that limit hospital visits, including through the use of hypofractionated precision radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy treatment approaches.

Publication types

  • Review