Advanced Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Moving Forward

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Jul 18;12(7):1955. doi: 10.3390/cancers12071955.


Globally, the death rate of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has doubled over 30 years and is likely to further increase, making PDAC a leading cause of cancer-related death in the coming years. PDAC is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage, and modified FOLFIRINOX or nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine are the mainstay of systemic therapy. For elderly patients with good performance status, low-dose treatment can preserve quality of life without compromising cancer control or survival. Maintenance therapy should be considered in PDAC patients achieving disease control with systemic therapy. In particular, olaparib has demonstrated a progression-free survival benefit of 3.6 months in a subgroup of PDAC patients with germline BRCA1/2 mutations (ca. 10% of all PDAC). Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy is often omitted in the treatment of patients with PDAC, with possibly deleterious consequences. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is highly prevalent in patients with PDAC and should be considered in the diagnostic algorithm of PDAC patients with bloating and diarrhea. Rivaroxaban has been associated with a reduced risk of thrombosis without an increase in major bleeding events, and its use should be considered in every patient with advanced PDAC undergoing systemic therapy.

Keywords: biomarker; maintenance therapy; molecular subtypes; palliative therapy; pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; pancreatic enzyme replacement; prophylaxis of thromboembolisms; small intestinal bowel obstruction; staging; supportive therapy.

Publication types

  • Review