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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2003 Sep 1;57(1):98-104.

Concurrent chemoradiotherapy treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancer: gemcitabine versus 5-fluorouracil, a randomized controlled study.

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  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Taipei Veterans General Hospital and Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan.



To determine the efficacy and tolerability of gemcitabine (GEM)-concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) vs. 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) CCRT for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.


Thirty-four patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer were studied. Eighteen patients were randomized to receive GEM CCRT (600 mg/m(2)/wk for 6 weeks) and 16 patients to receive bolus 5-FU CCRT (500 mg/m(2)/d for 3 days repeated every 2 weeks for 6 weeks). All patients were to receive 3D-CRT 50.4-61.2 Gy at 1.8-Gy/d fractions and GEM (1000 mg/m(2) weekly for 3 weeks repeated every 4 weeks) after RT.


The median survival and median time to progression were 14.5 months and 7.1 months for the GEM CCRT group and 6.7 months and 2.7 months for the 5-FU CCRT group (p = 0.027 and p = 0.019, respectively). The quality-adjusted life month survival time was 11.2 +/- 0.5 months for GEM CCRT and 6.0 +/- 0.3 months for 5-FU CCRT patients (p <0.001). The response rate was 50% (four complete responses and five partial responses) for GEM CCRT and 13% (two partial responses) for 5-FU CCRT (p = 0.005). Pain control was 39% for GEM CCRT and 6% for 5-FU CCRT (p = 0.043). Grade 3-4 neutropenia (34% vs. 19%), thrombocytopenia (0% vs. 7%), nausea (33% vs. 31%), vomiting (17% vs. 19%), hospitalization days per month of survival (7.4 +/- 1.7 days vs. 8.0 +/- 1.3 days), and full dose of RT received (78% vs. 75%) were not significantly different between the GEM CCRT and 5-FU CCRT patients.


GEM CCRT appears more effective than 5-FU CCRT for locally advanced pancreatic cancer and has comparable tolerability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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