Pancreatic cancer is predicted to be the second deadliest malignancy (a median survival of
4-6 months and a 5-year survival of less than 5%) in the USA by 2020. Although current medical detection
technologies have dramatically improved the survival rate for patients with other gastrointestinal
malignancies, the dismal clinical outcome remains somewhat unchanged for patients with pancreatic
cancer. Preclinical evidence suggests that pancreatic cancer may be benefited from early administration
of systemic therapy in addition to surgery. New biomarkers should help to identify those patients
possibly candidates for various systemic therapy including chemotherapy. Classical anticancer
drugs such as FOLFIRINOX (folinic acid, 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin), and nabpaclitaxel
plus gemcitabine only produced some modest improvements in survival. To this end, novel
therapeutic avenues are sought for pancreatic cancer. This mini-review summarizes the state-of-the-art
of pancreatic cancer treatment, and possible role of autophagy in therapeutics against pancreatic cancer.
Keywords: Autophagy, pancreatic cancer, therapeutics, gastrointestinal tumor, diabetes, pathogenesis.
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