Combinational therapy: new hope for pancreatic cancer?
ABSTRACT Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with a low overall survival rate. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for patients presenting with advanced pancreatic cancer. Gemcitabine achieves a modest improvement in overall survival and is the gold standard for advanced pancreatic cancer treatment. Capecitabine and S-1, derivatives of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), offers minimal clinical benefits. Folfirinox represents a new and aggressive regimen that might benefit patients of metastatic pancreatic cancer with good performance status. Other chemotherapy drugs such as platinums and irinotecan do not provide significant improvement in overall survival, but have been used as part of combinational therapies. Comparing to systemically delivered chemotherapy, regional intra-arterial chemotherapy achieves higher local drug concentration in tumors with lower systemic drug toxicity, and may serve as a better treatment regimen. Although there have been progress made in chemotherapeutic strategies against pancreatic cancer, the overall survival is not significantly improved in the last decade. Recently, development of chemotherapy in combination with molecular targeted therapies holds great promise in pancreatic cancer treatment, especially in patients with metastatic disease. Growing bodies of preclinical and clinical evidences indicate that the combination of conventional modalities with specific molecular targeted therapy increase the efficacy of the monotherapy without an increase in toxicity. In this review, we summarized the current regimens of chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapy for advanced pancreatic cancer and highlighted the novel combinational treatments tested in recent clinical trials.