Pancreatic cancer: the evolving role of systemic therapy.

Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy

PubMedID: 11825326

Adsay NV, El-Rayes BF, Philip PA. Pancreatic cancer: the evolving role of systemic therapy. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2001;2(12):1939-47.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality in the US. The outcome for patients with pancreatic cancer has not essentially altered over the past few decades. Several new drugs with activity against pancreatic cancer have recently been identified for use in palliative settings. Of these, gemcitabine is the most widely used agent against the disease, but its benefit is very modest. Pilot Phase II studies combining gemcitabine with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), irinotecan, docetaxel or cisplatin show improved outcomes that need to be confirmed in randomised studies. Concurrent administration of gemcitabine and external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) for locally advanced pancreatic cancer is feasible and is currently undergoing efficacy evaluations. Current research in pancreatic cancer involves newer dosing schedules of gemcitabine, and combinations of gemcitabine with novel agents. Ultimately, better understanding of the molecular biology of pancreatic neoplasia will identify potential cellular targets for future development of new agents for pancreatic cancer.