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Eur J Surg Oncol. 2000 Sep;26(6):578-82.

Neoadjuvant radio-chemotherapy in advanced primarilynon-resectable carcinomas of the pancreas.

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  • 1University of Erlangen, Department of Surgery, Germany.



To investigate the feasibility of neoadjuvant radio-chemotherapy (RCT) in the treatment of primarily non-resectable pancreas carcinoma the parameters tumour regression, possibility of subsequent resection and tolerability were examined.


Between 1995 and 1997, 27 patients with locally inoperable (assessed by CT criteria) pancreatic carcinoma received radio-chemotherapy for 5 weeks comprising irradiation (55.8 Gy) and chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU, 1000 mg/m(2)/day; 120 h continuous infusion) and mitomycin C (10 mg/m(2)i.v.-bolus, day 2 and day 30) during the first and fifth week of radiotherapy. Two target volumes were irradiated with fractionated doses of 1.8 Gy up to a total of 50.4 Gy. Radiation was applied once a day five times a week and target volume 1 was irradiated with the same fractionated dose, and an additional boost of 5.4 Gy to make an overall total of 55.8 Gy.


Sixteen patients underwent explorative laparotomy, 10 of these were resected (eight Whipple's procedures, two distal pancreatic resections), while six could not be resected due to peritoneal carcinosis (n=3), local irresectability (n=2) and liver cirrhosis (n=1). A further nine patients were found to have unresectable tumours on CT and did not undergo surgery after restaging (five of these patients were staged as <<locally irresectable>>, three patients had distant metastases and one patient refused surgery). In two patients RCT was abandoned because of progression of disease.


The study protocol described is feasible without significant acute toxicity and when used the resectability rate was improved; the survival rate, however, was not improved. Additional intra-arterial or intraportal application of such drugs as mitomycin C or cisplatin may be necessary.

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