Current chemotherapeutic possibilities in pancreaticobiliary cancer

J. M G H Van Riel, C. J. Van Groeningen, H. M. Pinedo, G. Giaccone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


At time of presentation the majority of patients with pancreaticobiliary cancer have locally advanced or metastatic disease which makes them unamenable for curative surgery. In these patients chemotherapy is an option which has gained more support over the past few years. Special problems faced in chemotherapeutic treatment are the patient's poor condition and the difficulties faced in evaluating response. 5-FU has been the only drug with some efficacy for a long time, but more recently gemcitabine appeared to be more efficient. In locally advanced pancreatic cancer the combination of chemotherapy with radiotherapy has not gained much support. However, studies are implicating better local control with combined treatment and recurrences appear more often at distant sides. In some cases irresectable tumors became resectable. Because of the poor survival after surgery with curative intent, adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy are becoming important issues. Although studies of adjuvant therapy suggest benefit, research is seriously hampered by poor patient accrual due to the morbidity of pancreaticoduodenectomy. Neoadjuvant treatment may overcome this problem. Until now there has been only modest improvement in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Hopefully, new treatment modalities such as immunotherapy, gene therapy and antiangiogenic therapy will alter this dismal picture. In biliary cancer the role of chemotherapy is less well defined, since only few studies with low patients numbers have been performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue numberSUPPL. 4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-fluorouracil
  • Chemotherapy
  • Gemcitabine
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreaticobiliary cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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