Preoperative chemoradiation strategies for localized adenocarcinoma of the pancreas
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- Evans, D., Pisters, P., Lee, J. et al. J Hep Bil Pancr Surg (1998) 5: 242. doi:10.1007/s005340050041
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Patients who undergo pancreaticoduodenectomy alone for adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head or uncinate process have a median survival of 12 months, and a high incidence of local tumor recurrence (50%–80%) due to the common finding of positive margins following pathologic evaluation of pancreaticoduodenectomy specimens. The available prospective and retrospective data suggest improved survival duration and local-regional tumor control when pancreaticoduodenectomy is combined with 5-FU–based chemoradiation. However, the morbidity and prolonged recovery associated with pancreaticoduodenectomy frequently prevent the timely delivery of postoperative chemoradiation. In contrast, chemoradiation delivered prior to pancreaticoduodenectomy is not associated with toxic effects which delay surgery and has not been shown to increase surgical morbidity or mortality. In fact, recent data suggest that pancreaticojejunal anastomotic leaks, the most common major complication following pancreaticoduodenectomy, are decreased in patients who receive preoperative radiation therapy. Current and future multimodality treatment strategies will capitalize on our expanding understanding of tumor growth and metastasis, allowing more effective radiation sensitizing agents to be combined with external-beam irradiation and surgery, followed by the systemic or regional delivery of novel agents that inhibit essential steps in tumor cell growth.