In 2015 Avner’s Foundation funded a surgical workshop that brought together medical experts from around Australia, including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and gastroenterologists.
The objectives of the workshop were to:
- provide an overview of local and international guidelines which define operability and R0 resection (microscopic clear margins)
- develop a consensus statement that defines when a patient is clearly operable, borderline and locally advanced inoperable
- develop an understanding of the circumstances around the use of neo-adjuvant therapies and chemotherapy and in some centres pre-operative radiation
- provide an understanding of the use of multidisciplinary tumour groups to set treatment plans.
Having a standard definition of resectability (operability) will assist hospitals and surgeons in the decision-making process and will bring comfort to patients. It may also help comparative analysis of studies involving surgery for pancreatic cancer.
Pre-operative neo-adjuvant treatment (treatment that is given prior to surgery in the hope that it will shrink the tumour) and the use of multidisciplinary teams were also discussed and considered with the aim of understanding further their use.
The workshop was convened by the AGITG, led by Professor David Goldstein and was an important step forward in standardising processes.