Christine B. Brezden-Masley, MD, PhD, Staff Physician, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology, St. Michael’s Hospital; Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Monika K. Krzyzanowska, MD, MPH, Staff Physician, Department of Medical Oncology & Hematology, Princess Margaret Hospital; Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth and fifth leading cause of cancer-related death for men and women, respectively (following lung, colon, and prostate cancers in men; lung, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers in women). Patients usually present with advanced disease, making curative attempts difficult. Surgery is the only curative therapy; however, local disease recurrence with or without spread to distant organs occurs in over 80% of patients. Attempts at better therapeutic modalities are necessary in order to improve outcome in this disease. This review will focus on staging, risk factors, and therapies for resectable, locally advanced, and advanced (metastatic) pancreatic cancer. Novel molecular targeted therapies will also be briefly highlighted.
Key words: pancreatic cancer, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Whipple procedure, staging.