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The Landmark Series: Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer and Ablative Therapy Options


Locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC) is a challenging disease to treat. There is consensus that systemic chemotherapy should be the first line of therapy for most patients. However, there is no consensus on how to manage those patients who do not have sufficient response to become candidates for resection but also do not have distant progression after weeks or months of systemic therapy. Radiation therapy is the most commonly used and best-studied local ablative therapy. One recent randomized controlled trial (LAP-07) failed to demonstrate an overall survival benefit for conventional chemoradiation therapy after induction chemotherapy versus chemotherapy alone. This study had several limitations, and ongoing studies are re-evaluating the role of chemoradiation after more effective chemotherapy regimens as well as more advanced radiation techniques. In parallel, there has been increasing interest in other thermal and non-thermal methods of ablation. In particular, irreversible electroporation has gained traction for treatment of LAPC, with at least one ongoing randomized controlled trial designed to address its role compared with systemic chemotherapy alone. Multiple preclinical and clinical studies are investigating combinations of local ablation and immunotherapy with the goal of generating immune responses that will meaningfully improve outcomes.

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Correspondence to Rebekah R. White MD.

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RRW has received financial support for research from AngioDynamics, and RCGM is a paid consultant of AngioDynamics. JM receives compensation for consulting from Boston Consulting Group.

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White, R.R., Murphy, J.D. & Martin, R.C.G. The Landmark Series: Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer and Ablative Therapy Options. Ann Surg Oncol 28, 4173–4180 (2021).

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