Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is one of the most lethal malignancies among solid tumors. Unfortunately, several patients are diagnosed at metastatic stage or with unresectable disease due to vascular compromise involving the pancreas without any chance of curative treatment. There are also two other groups of patients: resectable patients at upfront diagnosis and “borderline resectable” pancreatic cancer patients. This last group represents those patients where surgery is not always possible without a preoperative treatment allowing surgeons to perform an R0 resection. Achieving an R0 resection is the only curative option for pancreatic cancer patients; nevertheless, many R0-resected patients will relapse within 2 years from surgery. Despite adjuvant treatment, reported median overall survival is only 28 months for patients with resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma; thus, neoadjuvant treatment has been explored in order to improve survival. We aim to describe the controversial reported data and to show the recommendations that are suggested for these patients; however, we need to remark that there is no strong data that support neoadjuvant treatment. Currently, clinical trials are ongoing, and probably soon this approach will become a standard of care among borderline resectable patients and probably in selected resectable patients too.
Part of the book: Advances in Pancreatic Cancer
Metastatic and local advanced unresectable pancreatic cancers are lethal conditions that always carry a poor prognosis with rare exceptions. Currently, the mainstay of therapy is cytotoxic chemotherapy plus best supportive care. First-line therapy for patients with a good performance status includes FOLFIRINOX or gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel regimens. Patients carrying a deleterious germline BRCA mutation can be treated with maintenance olaparib after FOLFIRINOX. Patients with a poor performance status, but still fit enough for chemotherapy, may be treated with single agent gemcitabine. Second-line therapy will depend on previous therapy and current performance status. Options for patients treated with gemcitabine-based regimens are 5-fluorouracil plus leucovorin plus either nanoliposomal irinotecan, irinotecan or oxaliplatin. Patients that were treated with first line FOLFIRINOX may benefit from a gemcitabine-based chemotherapy, but evidence from randomized trials is lacking. Other options like immunotherapy and targeted therapies yield benefit only in very selected cases, and it is still an area of research.
Part of the book: Challenges in Pancreatic Cancer