It is well established that the development of distant metastatic disease represents the dominant pattern of tumor recurrence/progression among patients with operable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer. However, the contribution of localized or locoregional tumor burden to pancreatic cancer–associated morbidity and mortality may be underappreciated, and therefore balancing competing considerations of systemic versus local disease control becomes important in therapeutic decision-making. The role of local therapies, particularly radiation therapy, has remained somewhat controversial in this disease context. Several phase II and III trials have sought to address the relative importance and role of radiation in both the localized and locally advanced settings, including the sequencing of this modality relative to systemic therapy and its optimal means of administration. However, differences and limitations in study design have produced mixed results, particularly in terms of the contribution of radiation to overall survival benefit. An emerging paradigm that makes conceptual sense and remains the subject of active investigation is to start with a defined period of systemic treatment, thus limiting radiation to the subset of patients who do not manifest with metastatic disease during initial therapy and are therefore most likely to benefit from local control.
Andrew H. Ko and Christopher H. Crane
Andrew H. Ko and Margaret A. Tempero
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma represents the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. The vast majority of patients are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease when surgery is no longer an option. For these patients, systemic therapy remains the mainstay of care. Although single-agent gemcitabine has remained the standard of care since its approval in 1997, improvements in patient outcomes may potentially be realized by (1) applying pharmacokinetic principles to optimize drug delivery, such as the administration of gemcitabine at a “fixed-dose rate” infusion; (2) combining gemcitabine with other cytotoxic agents for which evidence of synergy exists, such as platinum compounds; and (3) integrating novel targeted agents such as bevacizumab, erlotinib, and cetuximab into treatment paradigms, based on an increasing understanding of the molecular pathways that govern pancreatic tumor growth and maintenance. This article provides the evidence to support each of these approaches and highlights future directions in the management of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Pelin Cinar and Andrew H. Ko
The best treatment strategy for patients with locally advanced unresectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains the subject of considerable debate. This report presents a case of a 58-year-old woman with locally advanced unresectable PDAC who was treated with sequential FOLFIRINOX for 8 cycles followed by chemoradiation, and continues to show durable disease control 18 months later. The respective roles of systemic therapy and chemoradiation for locally advanced PDAC are discussed, including optimal sequencing of these modalities, recent improvements in chemotherapy, and the question of whether radiotherapy improves survival outcomes in this disease context.
Margaret A. Tempero, Mokenge P. Malafa, Mahmoud Al-Hawary, Horacio Asbun, Andrew Bain, Stephen W. Behrman, Al B. Benson III, Ellen Binder, Dana B. Cardin, Charles Cha, E. Gabriela Chiorean, Vincent Chung, Brian Czito, Mary Dillhoff, Efrat Dotan, Cristina R. Ferrone, Jeffrey Hardacre, William G. Hawkins, Joseph Herman, Andrew H. Ko, Srinadh Komanduri, Albert Koong, Noelle LoConte, Andrew M. Lowy, Cassadie Moravek, Eric K. Nakakura, Eileen M. O'Reilly, Jorge Obando, Sushanth Reddy, Courtney Scaife, Sarah Thayer, Colin D. Weekes, Robert A. Wolff, Brian M. Wolpin, Jennifer Burns and Susan Darlow
Ductal adenocarcinoma and its variants account for most pancreatic malignancies. High-quality multiphase imaging can help to preoperatively distinguish between patients eligible for resection with curative intent and those with unresectable disease. Systemic therapy is used in the neoadjuvant or adjuvant pancreatic cancer setting, as well as in the management of locally advanced unresectable and metastatic disease. Clinical trials are critical for making progress in treatment of pancreatic cancer. The NCCN Guidelines for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma focus on diagnosis and treatment with systemic therapy, radiation therapy, and surgical resection.
Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines
Margaret A. Tempero, Mokenge P. Malafa, E. Gabriela Chiorean, Brian Czito, Courtney Scaife, Amol K. Narang, Christos Fountzilas, Brian M. Wolpin, Mahmoud Al-Hawary, Horacio Asbun, Stephen W. Behrman, Al B. Benson III, Ellen Binder, Dana B. Cardin, Charles Cha, Vincent Chung, Mary Dillhoff, Efrat Dotan, Cristina R. Ferrone, George Fisher, Jeffrey Hardacre, William G. Hawkins, Andrew H. Ko, Noelle LoConte, Andrew M. Lowy, Cassadie Moravek, Eric K. Nakakura, Eileen M. O’Reilly, Jorge Obando, Sushanth Reddy, Sarah Thayer, Robert A. Wolff, Jennifer L. Burns and Griselda Zuccarino-Catania
The NCCN Guidelines for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma discuss the diagnosis and management of adenocarcinomas of the exocrine pancreas and are intended to assist with clinical decision-making. These NCCN Guidelines Insights discuss important updates to the 2019 version of the guidelines, focusing on postoperative adjuvant treatment of patients with pancreatic cancers.