Adjuvant Treatment Following Pancreatic Cancer Surgery
Adjuvant means ‘follow-on’. Follow-on chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment is used after surgery has removed all or part (resection) of the pancreas.
Doctors around the world are also investigating the effectiveness of using chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink the size of the tumour before surgery. This can mean less surgery and more chance of removing the cancer. It is not yet known whether this approach is effective.
Radiotherapy may also be used before surgery for pancreatic cancer although this is also at an early stage of clinical development.
The purpose of the follow-on treatments is to deal with any cancer cells that remain after surgery and/or to help prevent the cancer returning. By doing so the treatments aim to improve quality of life outcomes and extend the life expectancy of patients. Studies have indicated is this achievable particularly with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine, which is also used in the treatment of lung, breast and bladder cancer.