Management of pancreatic cancer today

Bodoky György, Lakatos Gábor
Egyesített Szent István és Szent László Kórház-Rendelőintézet, Budapest

Pancreatic cancer (PC) is a major health problem with a poor prognosis. The number of patients with PC is increasing globally. There are no screening tests for early detection of PC, but even when diagnosed early, surgery is possible in only a minority of cases. Managing PC remains a big challenge. For selected patients with borderline or unresectable disease, neoadjuvant therapy offers the potential for tumor downstaging. In patients with resectable disease, adjuvant chemotherapy improves the fi ve year survival rate, whereas the use of adjuvant radiochemotherapy is still controversial. In metastatic cancer, monotherapy with gemcitabine remained the main therapeutic option during more than 10 years. Many different combinations with other drugs and new targeted therapies have been tested with gemcitabine. Only a combination of erlotinib and gemcitabine has shown a modest survival benefi t until now. Many gene alterations that directly contribute to pancreas tumorigenesis have been identifi ed or are under active investigation. Recently, the FOLFIRINOX regimen has been reported to be more active than gemcitabine in selected metastatic patients. Quality of life is an extremly important factor, when treating a patient with PC. CA 19-9 serum level can provide important information with regards to prognosis, overall survival, and response to chemotherapy as well as predict post-operative recurrence. There is a strong need for other predictive biomarkers to select patients, who might benefi t from available and new therapeutic options.

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