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Cancer Invest. 2003;21(1):73-86.

Developments in the systemic therapy of pancreatic cancer.

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Division of Hematology and Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, 4100 John R Street, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Pancreatic adenocarcinoma is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States of America. Progress in the treatment of this disease in the past several decades has been very modest. Several new agents with activity against pancreatic cancer have been identified. Of these, gemcitabine is the most promising agent when used in combination with other drugs. Pilot phase II studies combining gemcitabine with 5-flourouracil, irinotecan, docetaxel, or cisplatin show improved outcomes in objective response rates and survival that need to be confirmed in larger randomized studies. Advancement in the understanding of the molecular biology of neoplasia in recent years has helped identify several molecular targets for future new drug development in pancreatic cancer. Assessment of response to therapy of pancreatic cancer has been a difficult challenge. Functional imaging with techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET) may yield a more precise and timely objective evaluation of response to treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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