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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2008 Apr 1;70(5):1438-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.08.070. Epub 2007 Dec 31.

3D radiotherapy can be safely combined with sandwich systemic gemcitabine chemotherapy in the management of pancreatic cancer: factors influencing outcome.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, WA, Australia.



The aim of this Phase II study was to examine whether concurrent continuous infusion 5-fluorouracil (CI 5FU) plus three-dimensional conformal planning radiotherapy sandwiched between gemcitabine chemotherapy is effective, tolerable, and safe in the management of pancreatic cancer.


Patients were enrolled in two strata: (1) resected pancreatic cancer at high risk of local relapse (postsurgery arm, n = 22) or (2) inoperable pancreatic cancer in head or body without metastases (locally advanced arm, n = 41). Gemcitabine was given at 1,000 mg/m(2) weekly for 3 weeks followed by 1 week rest then 5-6 weeks of radiotherapy and concurrent CI 5FU (200 mg/m(2)/day). After 4 weeks' rest, gemcitabine treatment was reinitiated for 12 weeks.


For the two arms combined, treatment-related Grade 3 and 4 toxicities were reported by 25 (39.7%) and 7 (11.1%) patients, respectively. No significant late renal or hepatic toxicity was observed. In the postsurgery arm (R1 54.5%), median time to progressive disease from surgery was 11.0 months, median time to failure of local control was 32.9 months, and median survival time was 15.6 months. The 1- and 2-year survival rates were 63.6% and 31.8%. No significant associations between outcome and mutations in K-ras or TP53 or microsatellite instability were identified. Post hoc investigation of cancer antigen 19-9 levels found baseline levels and increases postbaseline were associated with shorter survival (p = 0.0061 and p < 0.0001, respectively).


This three-dimensional chemoradiotherapy regimen is safe and promising, with encouraging local control for a substantial proportion of patients, and merits testing in a randomized trial.

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