Adjuvant therapy for pancreas adenocarcinoma: Where are we going?
Evaluation of: Neoptolemos JP, Stocken DD, Bassi C et al. Adjuvant chemotherapy with fluorouracil plus folinic acid vs. gemcitabine following pancreatic cancer resection: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 304(10), 1073-1081 (2010). Over the last decade, adjuvant therapy in the treatment of resected pancreas adenocarcinoma has had its value established. Such treatment incrementally increases 5-year survivorship and delays time to tumor recurrence. The backbone of adjuvant therapy is the single-agent gemcitabine, based primarily on results from the Charité Onkologie Clinical (CONKO)-001 study. Based on the combined results of the European Study Group for Pancreas Cancer (ESPAC)-1 and ESPAC-3 trials, Neoptolemos and colleagues have established both bolus 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin and gemcitabine as standard options for resected pancreatic cancer. Gemcitabine remains the main standard therapy based on its ease of administration and a more favorable toxicity profile; however, there is now a clearly validated alternate option of 5-fluororuacil and leucovorin based on the results of ESPAC-3. Moving forward, the integration of novel cytotoxic and targeted agents into adjuvant therapy, along with refining the role of neoadjuvant therapy for patients with resectable pancreas cancer, will hopefully accrue a more substantial improvement in outcome for patients with resected pancreas adenocarcinoma.