March 1st 1996
Blackstock and colleagues present a well-written, comprehensive review of the current state of management of both resectable and unresectable pancreatic carcinoma, as well as ongoing research and future strategies. Unfortunately, in the majority of patients, the disease is locally advanced at diagnosis, with or without regional and distant metastases. Unlike recent advances in screening for both prostate and breast cancer, no reliable and/or cost-effective method for identifying patients at risk for pancreatic cancer is available. Also, there is currently no reliable hematologic marker that can identify patients whose cancers are in the earliest developmental stage. Blackstock et al do emphasize that recent advances in laparoscopic techniques have led to better selection of patients for subsequent exploration and surgical resection. Given the reduction in operative mortality during the last 10 years, survival rates have improved.