Pancreatic cancer - Palliative therapy: Chemotherapy

The Chinese-German Journal of Clinical Oncology 04/2007; 6(2):142-148. DOI: 10.1007/s10330-007-0042-3


Single-agent Gemcitabine has been the standard treatment for advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma in the past years. Due to
the aggressive and often chemotherapy-refractory character of this malignancy, systemic treatment options still remain limited.
Many combination therapies have been evaluated in clinical trials to improve survival over Gemcitabine alone, until recently
without satisfying results. Based on the positive results of a recent randomized trial, the combination of Gemcitabine and
Capecitabine might become a new standard as first-line treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer. The clinical advantage of
Erlotinib as a novel targeted agent in combination with Gemcitabine seems to be only marginal. Due to the small number of
studies, there is still no standard of care in second-line therapy, but Oxaliplatin seems to be an active treatment option
in Gemcitabine refractory disease. This article will review the development of cytotoxic antitumoral treatment for advanced
pancreatic adenocarcinoma (locally advanced, irresectable and/or metastatic disease) including monotherapies and newer approaches
with combination therapies.