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World J Surg. 1999 Sep;23(9):937-45.

Adjuvant therapy for pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Surgery, University of Liverpool, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, 5th Floor UCD Building, Daulby Street, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK.


Pancreatic cancer is a major cause of cancer death; and despite advances in the standards of surgery and supportive care, the median and long-term survival rates have not shown similar dramatic improvements. Techniques such as radical surgery alone cannot guarantee a cure. Previous work with conventional chemotherapy and radiotherapy in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer has indicated a role for adjuvant therapy for patients with resectable tumors. The main modalities that have been assessed are based on the Gastrointestinal Tumour Study Group (GITSG) results using 5-fluorouracil chemotherapy, external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), or both. Alternative approaches such as neoadjuvant therapy have been used, which may increase the number of patients suitable for resection; and regional therapy techniques have been used to increase the therapeutic potential by concentrating agents to the tumor bed. The results of single or combination therapy do show some improvement in survival but have been limited in most cases to retrospective nonrandomized series of patients. Therefore the results must be assessed as such. There are several large randomized trials that will deliver definitive answers in the near future as to whether conventional adjuvant therapy is effective. New approaches using novel agents for advanced disease are currently being assessed, and they may eventually identify the most appropriate and effective agents to use for pancreatic cancer in the adjuvant setting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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