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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2017


Cancer treatments


Internal radiation

The other radiation method is internal radiation

therapy, also called brachytherapy. Internal radiation

therapy involves placing a radioactive object in

or near the tumor. For pancreatic cancer, internal

radiation is given during surgery through a plastic

tube that is removed before the surgical cuts are

sewn closed.


Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer.

Many people refer to this treatment as “chemo.”

Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cells throughout the

body, including cancer cells and normal cells. The

chemotherapy drugs used for pancreatic cancer are

listed in

Guide 3.

Chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer may be given

for all stages of pancreatic cancer. This includes:



Neoadjuvant treatment for resectable or

borderline resectable disease



Adjuvant treatment for resectable disease



Locally advanced unresectable disease



Metastatic disease

Guide 3. Chemotherapy drugs

Chemotherapy drug names

• Capecitabine

• Cisplatin

• Docetaxel

• 5-FU (5-





• Gemcitabine

• Irinotecan

• Irinotecan liposome injection

• Oxaliplatin

• Nab-paclitaxel

When only one drug is used, it is called a single

agent. However, chemotherapy drugs differ in the

way they work, so often more than one drug is used.

A combination regimen is the use of two or more

chemotherapy drugs. Leucovorin (also called folinic

acid) is sometimes given along with 5-FU





racil) to improve how well the

chemotherapy works. One example of a combination

regimen used for pancreatic cancer is FOLFIRINOX

(folinic acid, 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, oxaliplatin).

Often, combination regimens are referred to by the

main chemotherapy drug used. For gemcitabine-

based combination therapy, the main drug used is

gemcitabine. For fluoropyrimidine-based therapy, the

main drug used is 5-FU but capecitabine is also an