Current Standards of Chemotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose Pancreatic cancer has a dismal prognosis due to the early development of systemic metastatic disease. Chemotherapeutic agents are the only systemic therapy that offers patients meaningful benefit. Methods This study reviewed the literature for recently published Phase III clinical trials whose results have guided the current standards of chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. Findings Although combination chemotherapy regimens are shown to be superior to gemcitabine monotherapy for both metastatic pancreatic cancer and adjuvant chemotherapy after surgical resection, it should be recognized that all combination chemotherapy regimens offer only limited benefits. In addition, there is a paucity of clinical trials that directly compare the various combination chemotherapy regimens. Implications With the advancement of systemic cancer treatment beyond chemotherapy, it is important to devote more investigation into better understanding the biology of these chemotherapy regimens, such that we combine them with targeted therapeutics and immunotherapeutics in a rational and scientific manner. For the current treatment of pancreatic cancer, the available chemotherapy regimens have shown modest but statistically significant improvements in survival. However, it is important to avoid cross-comparisons of trials and choose regimens based on patient characteristics and the side-effect profiles of the regimen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2125-2134
Number of pages10
JournalClinical therapeutics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • adjuvant
  • capecitabine
  • gemcitabine
  • liposomal irinotecan metastatic
  • nab-paclitaxel
  • pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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