Ablation of the locally advanced pancreatic cancer: An introduction and brief summary of techniques
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a lethal and late presenting malignancy with dismal survival rates. An estimated total of 330,000 people died from this malignancy in 2012. Although there have been improvements in diagnostic and treatment methods, the survival of late stage pancreatic cancer has not shown significant improvement in the past 4 decades. Multiple treatment approaches are available including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy, but to this day surgical resection remains the only curative treatment option. Ablative techniques use various forms of energy to cause local tissue destruction through necrosis or apoptosis. They are relevant in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma as they are a treatment option in non-resectable tumors where their use ranges from symptom control to reducing tumor size for resection. In this narrative review we have grouped and outlined the various ablative methods, classifying them into thermal (Radiofrequency ablation, Microwave ablation, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound ablation, Cryoablation), and non-thermal ablative methods (Irreversible Electroporation (NanoKnife®), Photodynamic Therapy). This is followed by a description and review of the available evidence on survival and complications for each of these ablative methods. According to the literature, thermal ablative methods appear to be more accessible but are implicated with more complications than non thermal ablative methods which show the most promise.