Although surgical resection is considered to be the only approach that offers a possibility of cure to patients with pancreatic cancer, the prognosis of the disease has not been improved markedly by any surgical procedures in the past 20 years. Large-scale randomized prospective clinical trials are being conducted in the United States and Italy, comparing standard lymph node dissection with extended lymph node dissection. Although preoperative chemoradiation has various advantages in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, it does not contribute to its downstaging and eventual cure. The combination of leucovorin, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and extracorporeal irradiation, however, has been proven to improve the patient's quality of life (QOL). Palliative surgery still requires further research in areas such as the examination of morbidity rates and the duration of bypass effects, now that laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery have both been well developed. Recent biological research has revealed the mechanisms of the carcinogenesis and the progression of pancreatic cancer, and, against this background, we assume that more effective trials will be conducted soon. Immunotherapy with dendritic cells, as well as gene therapy with mutant adenovirus, has already been employed clinically. Pancreatic cancer therapy is now facing new prospects.
- Pancreatic cancer
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