Current Drug Targets

Francis J. Castellino
Kleiderer-Pezold Professor of Biochemistry
Director, W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research
Dean Emeritus, College of Science
230 Raclin-Carmichael Hall, University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556


Pancreatic Cancer Surgery: The State of the Art

Author(s): Song Cheol Kim, Young Hoon Kim, Kwang Min Park and Young Ju Lee

Affiliation: Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, 86 Asan Byeongwongil, Songpagu, Seoul, 138-736, Korea.

Keywords: Pancreas cancer, surgery, laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery, Pancreatic cancer, Surgical resection, adjuvant therapy, Randomized Trials, pathology, Pancreaticoduodenectomy, Clinical Outcomes


Pancreatic cancer patients have an extremely poor survival prognosis, and surgical resection remains the only curative treatment. Greater experience in pancreatic surgery and developments in surgical techniques have reduced surgical mortality and morbidity rates. It has been suggested that experienced pancreaticoduodenectomy centers should have mortality rates of less than 5% and major complication rates of less than 40%.

Surgical resection followed by combined adjuvant therapy is currently the standard treatment for resectable pancreas cancer. Patients with borderline or marginal resectable tumors are beginning to have favorable outcomes following neoadjuvant chemotherapy or chemoradiation. A number of prospective randomized trials have concluded that “extended” pancreaticoduodenectomy for pancreatic head cancer, involving radical dissection of lymph nodes and peripancreatic soft tissue, does not appear to provide any survival benefits compared with “standard” pancreaticoduodenectomy. Conversely, extensive surgery for pancreatic tail or body cancer (i.e., radical antegrade modular pancreatosplenectomy) can result in favorable R0 resection rates and survival outcomes. However, more prospective randomized trial data are required before these conclusions can be considered established. Laparoscopic approaches are being increasingly used in the field of pancreatic tumor surgery. Moreover, robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery has also been tried in some expert centers. Again, at present a lack of outcome data prevent any definitive conclusion at this stage on the usefulness of those approaches compared to standard open approaches.

Finally, a major problem hindering efforts to identify optimal surgical treatment modalities for pancreas cancer is the lack of a clear definition and standardization of surgical procedures and pathologic descriptions. The American Hepato- PancreatoBiliary Association/Society of Surgical Oncology/Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract conference on pancreatic cancer held in 2008 resulted in a consensus statement as an important first step in overcoming this fundamental hurdle.

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Article Details

Page: [764 - 771]
Pages: 8
DOI: 10.2174/138945012800564185