Pancreatic Cancer: Advances in Science and Clinical Care

Continuing Medical Education (CME)

Accreditation Statement
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education activities for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement
The AACR has designated this live activity for a maximum of 17.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Credit certification for individual sessions may vary, dependent upon compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria. The final number of credits may vary from the maximum number indicated above.

Claiming (CME) Credit
Physicians and other health care professionals seeking AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM for this live continuing medical education activity must complete the CME Request for Credit Survey, below, by Monday, June 27, 2016. Certificates will only be issued to those who complete the survey. Your CME certificate will be sent to you via email after the completion of the activity.

Statement of Educational Need, Target Audience, and Learning Objectives

Although pancreatic cancer represents ~3% of all new cancer cases, it is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, accounting of over 40,000 deaths in 2015, and incidence has been rising on average 0.8% each year over the past 10 years.

Only 7.2% pancreatic cancer patients survive five years after diagnosis, because more than 90% patients present with cancer that has spread beyond the primary site. Furthermore, pancreatic cancer is typically resistant to therapy. Patients are usually asymptomatic during the early stages of pancreatic cancer and diagnosis occurs at advanced stages when the cancer is unresectable and treatment options are only palliative.  Standard treatment with gemcitabine, the reference standard since the mid 1990's, generally does not prolong a patient's life by more than six months.

The recent development of a new combination therapy regimen, known as FOLFIRINOX, has extended survival for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer from six months to a year. In 2013, the FDA also approved protein-bound paclitaxel (Abraxane) in combination with gemcitabine, for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This combination was shown to extend survival for only 8.5 months, but is easier to administer and tolerate than FOLFIRINOX. Many other attempts to combine chemotherapeutic agents have resulted in increased toxicities but have failed to improve survival. 

Targeted and immune-mediated therapies are currently being developed and are being tested in clinical trials. These novel types of treatments capitalize on our deepened understanding of the molecular mechanisms which underlie pancreatic carcinogenesis. Genetic sequencing has identified common mutational drivers of pancreatic cancer, such as KRAS, TP53, CDKN2A and SMAD4. However, exome sequencing of tumors has also highlighted the complexities of pancreatic cancer: patients carry an average of 26 mutations and tumors display high levels of heterogeneity. Much work remains to be done to determine which aspects of the molecular pathophysiology of pancreatic cancer can be successfully targeted to improve patient treatment and care, and to decrease death rates. 

In addition to further basic and translational studies to target pancreatic cancer, a major goal of pancreatic cancer research is the identification of biomarkers and the design of reliable, non-invasive, early detection methods. This would enable diagnosis before metastasis and increase the window during which treatment could be administered to be successful. Accurate biomarkers would also be instrumental in the development of effective, personalized therapies.

After participating in this CME activity, physicians should be able to:

1. Interpret the changes in epidemiology of pancreatic cancer and how they relate to risk factors.

2. Assess the usefulness and reliability of novel biomarkers and early detection methods.

3. Evaluate the promise of novel drugs in development which target the molecular drivers of pancreatic cancer.

4. Articulate the impact of heterogeneity and the microenvironment in the development pancreatic cancer and response to treatment.

5. Interpret data from clinical trials to determine the potential value of novel therapies currently being investigated.

Disclosure Statement
It is the policy of the AACR that the information presented at AACR CME activities will be unbiased and based on scientific evidence. To help participants make judgments about the presence of bias, the AACR will provide information that Program Committee members and speakers have disclosed about financial relationships they have with commercial entities that produce or market products or services related to the content of this CME activity. This disclosure information will be made available in the Program/Proceedings of this conference.

Acknowledgement of Financial or Other Support
This activity is supported by grants and will be disclosed at the activity.

Questions about CME?
Please contact the Office of CME at 215-440-9300 or