Measuring response to neoadjuvant therapy using biomarkers in pancreatic cancer: a narrative review

Catherine Valukas, Akhil Chawla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background and Objective: Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer death in the US, with incidence increasing over the last 20 years. Recently neoadjuvant therapy (NAT) has emerged as an important tool in improving resectability and overall survival. The objective is to describe and discuss the current literature on the use of biomarkers in measuring response to NAT in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Methods: An electronic review of PubMed, Google Scholar and Cochrane was performed to obtain key literature on serum, imaging, clinical, and histologic biomarkers utilized to measure response to NAT in pancreatic cancer. This literature review included publications in English written between January 1, 2011 to March 31, 2022. Key Content and Findings: An overview of four categories of biomarkers was evaluated for their utility in assessing both pathologic response and overall survival following NAT in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Serum CA19-9 as well as CT radiomic features, FDG PET response and development of histologic grading system all show promise as markers of response to NAT. Conclusions: While multiple promising modalities exist, all require some form of standardization in terms of predicting response to NAT. Further investigation and large-scale studies to evaluate the efficacy of various imaging modalities are necessary. Additionally, there needs to be standardization of histologic grading system post NAT, and consensus on CA19-9 cutoff values in determining NAT response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalChinese clinical oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • biomarker
  • circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA)
  • Neoadjuvant
  • pancreatic cancer
  • radiomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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