Pancreatic Cancer

cancer de pancreas cryo

Pancreatic cancer has low survival rates that have not improved in recent decades. Its high mortality is attributed to the biology of pancreatic cancer, the difficulty in early diagnosis, and the lack of standardized international guidelines to evaluate suspicious pancreatic masses.

The most common type of pancreatic cancer is invasive ductal adenocarcinoma, since it occurs in 85% of cases. This type of pancreatic cancer deforms the small pancreatic glands and infiltrates the stroma.

Approximately 95% of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) originates in the exocrine pancreas and 5% originates in the endocrine pancreas.

Signs and Symptoms

Early-stage pancreatic cancers often do not cause any signs or symptoms. When pancreatic cancers have grown very large and/or have already spread outside the pancreas, it is often when pancreatic cancer symptoms occur.

Having one or more of the symptoms below does not mean you have pancreatic cancer and/or symptoms of a diseased pancreas. In fact, many of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions. However, if you have any of these symptoms, it is important to have an examination by a doctor to find out the cause of your symptoms and to receive treatment if necessary.

If you notice any of the symptoms, see a health professional.


Since complete surgical resection of a tumor in the pancreas is the only potentially curative treatment, only about 20% of patients have resectable disease at diagnosis.

Targeted Cancer Treatment

For ductal pancreatic adenocarcinoma, thermal ablative surgery is one of the treatment procedures for pancreatic cancer, if the cancer is locally advanced and unresectable, but not metastatic.

Currently, new treatments such as radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, cryoablation, and irreversible electroporation (IRE) can be considered, along with chemotherapy, in multimodal therapeutic approaches for unresectable, locally advanced, and nonmetastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

For example, irreversible electroporation has given impressive results, such as substantially prolonged survival of patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer, compared to other treatments (Martin et al., Annals of Surgery. 2015).

Thermal ablation is primarily used for the treatment of small, unresectable tumors, for patients who have been resistant to chemo/radiotherapy treatment or who are NOT surgical candidates, such as:

  • Obese patients
  • Patients with chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, cirrhosis, etc.)
  • Patients who cannot have general anesthesia
  • Patients with severe heart disease

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