Preoperative chemoradiation in resectable pancreatic cancer

Nicole M. Chandler, Jonathan J. Canete, K. E. Stuart, Mark P. Callery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Despite advancements in the field of surgical oncology, the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer still carries a grave and dismal prognosis. Surgery alone for adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head or uncinate process has a median survival time of 12 months. These grim statistics have led many to study the effects of combined multimodality therapy in the fight against pancreatic cancer. The long recovery time associated with pancreaticoduodenectomy has resulted in as many as 25% of patients unable to proceed with planned adjuvant therapy. For these reasons preoperative or neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy (CRT) has been evaluated. Preoperative CRT ensures that all eligible patients receive the benefits of multimodality therapy, and patients who manifest metastatic disease on restaging evaluations are spared the morbidity of an unnecessary laparotomy. Multimodality therapy appears to lengthen the survival duration in patients with pancreatic cancer. It also affords a selection advantage, in that patients with aggressive disease biology with advanced metastatic disease following CRT are spared the morbidity of surgery. Conversely, a limited subset of patients may even be downstaged, allowing for a potentially curative resection. In this article we review the current status of neoadjuvant chemoradiation in adenocarcinoma of the pancreas. We discuss its rationale in light of the reported strengths and weaknesses of postoperative adjuvant CRT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-66
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Multimodality therapy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology


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