March 1st 2005
Although in centers where pancreatectomy is performed frequently,associated morbidity and mortality rates have improved, long-term outcomesin pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients remain poor when surgeryis the sole therapeutic modality. The impact of adjuvant chemotherapyon survival in patients with localized pancreatic cancer remainsincompletely defined. The European Study Group for Pancreatic Cancer(ESPAC)-1 trial has suggested that overall survival rates are superiorwhen chemotherapy is added to surgery, even when regimens believedto be relatively ineffective in the treatment of advanced diseaseare used. The role of radiotherapy given with chemotherapy is alsounresolved, but chemoradiation continues to receive consideration inthe multimodality approach to localized pancreatic cancer. Enhancedcollaboration and increased involvement by pancreatic surgeons havehelped in the recruitment of pancreatic cancer patients for large-scalerandomized clinical trials in Europe and the United States. Many newerchemotherapeutic agents with efficacy in gastrointestinal cancers haveyet to be investigated in the adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings.