Systemic therapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs)—basis and current status

24 Mar 2022
Anant Ramaswamy, Sujay Srinivas, Vikram Chaudhari, Prabhat Bhargava, Manish Bhandare, Shailesh V Shrikhande, Vikas Ostwal

A major shift in the approach to the management of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) has been the recognition of the systemic nature of the disease even in clinically and radiologically limited disease stages. The recalcitrant nature of PDAC is intrinsically related to the lack of therapeutic targets and dense surrounding stroma that limits the activity of currently available chemotherapeutic options. However, research is increasingly focusing on intensifying systemic management options in PDAC, resulting in gradual improvements in survival. Currently effective chemotherapeutic regimens like modified 5-fluorouracil-leucovorin-irinotecan-oxaliplatin and gemcitabine-nab-paclitaxel have improved outcomes in resectable and advanced PDAC. An increasing use of these regimens has also resulted in greater conversion of borderline resectable and locally advanced cancers to resection, though the most effective approach in this subgroup is yet to be identified. The current review presents an outline of the basic systemic nature of PDAC and current options of systemic therapy, predominantly chemotherapy.

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