Expanding surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer: The role of regional chemotherapy

Jeremy L. Davis, Prakash K. Pandalai, R. Taylor Ripley, Russell C. Langan, Itzhak Avital

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: Pancreatic cancer is a lethal disease that offers little chance of long-term survival for patients with unresectable tumors. Surgery remains the most effective means of attaining prolonged survival, yet its role remains limited. Regional chemotherapy has been described for patients with pancreatic cancer, including reports of objective tumor regression allowing for tumor resection in previously unresectable cases. However, comprehensive data have not been reviewed to date. Methods: A review of the literature from 1995 to 2010 was performed to analyze the results of regional chemotherapy administered to patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Reports of individual cases, postoperative regional therapy, and treatment of mixed tumor types were excluded. Results: Twenty-one reports of 895 total patients with pancreatic cancer were reviewed. Greater than 95% of the patients had stage III or IV adenocarcinoma. Objective response rates ranged from nil to 58%, with associated median survivals of 4 to 22 months. Low-grade gastrointestinal and hematologic toxicities were not uncommon. Conclusions: Regional chemotherapy can be administered safely to patients with pancreatic cancer but with unclear benefit. Advanced pancreatic tumors converted to resectable status by the use of regional chemotherapy may improve patient survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)678-684
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Infusion
  • Intra-arterial
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Regional perfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Hepatology
  • Endocrinology


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