Conflicting data and substantial controversy exist regarding optimal adjuvant treatment for those patients with resectable or potentially resectable adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. Despite improvements in short-term surgical outcomes, the use of newer chemotherapeutic agents, development of targeted agents, and more precise delivery of radiation, the 5-year survival rates for early stage patients remains less than 25%. This article critically reviews the existing data for various adjuvant treatment approaches for patients with surgically resectable pancreatic cancer. Our review confirms that despite several randomized clinical trials, the optimal adjuvant treatment approach for these patients remains unclear.
Despite improvements in short-term surgical outcomes, use of newer chemotherapeutic agents, development of targeted agents, and more precise delivery of radiation, the 5-year survival rates for early stage patients remains less than 25%. Despite several randomized clinical trials in these patients, the optimal treatment approach remains unclear. We review data the data regarding adjuvant therapy for patients with early stage pancreas cancer and discuss potential tumor factors that can be used to select patients for optimal adjuvant therapy. The probability of long-term survival is higher in patients who undergo margin-negative resections but local and distant failures are common, indicating the need for adjuvant therapies. Improved systemic treatment is desperately needed and the role of adjuvant radiation remains unclear. Neoadjuvant chemoradiation is being studied as an alternative to postoperative therapy. Potential molecular targets have been identified and the benefit of the addition of biologic agents to adjuvant treatments is being explored.
Keywords: Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, Radiotherapy, Combined Modality Therapy, Biological Markers, Molecular Targets, Neoadjuvant