Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy in pancreatic cancer

Raffaele Pezzilli, Riccardo Caccialanza, Gabriele Capurso, Oronzo Brunetti, Michele Milella, Massimo Falconi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive malignancy and the seventh leading cause of global cancer deaths in industrialised countries. More than 80% of patients suffer from significant weight loss at diagnosis and over time tend to develop severe cachexia. A major cause of weight loss is malnutrition. Patients may experience pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) before diagnosis, during nonsurgical treatment, and/or following surgery. PEI is difficult to diagnose because testing is cumbersome. Consequently, PEI is often detected clinically, especially in non‐specialised centres, and treated empirically. In this position paper, we review the current literature on nutritional support and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) in patients with operable and nonoperable pancreatic cancer. To increase awareness on the importance of PERT in pancreatic patients, we provide recommendations based on literature evidence, and when data were lacking, based on our own clinical experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number275
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Chemotherapy
  • Nutritional support
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy
  • Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency
  • Pancreatic resection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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