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World J Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar 14;14(10):1603-11.

A pilot study on combination of cryosurgery and (125)iodine seed implantation for treatment of locally advanced pancreatic cancer.

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  • 1Cryosurgery Center for Cancer, Fuda Cancer Hospital Guangzhou, No 167, West Xingang Road, Guangzhou 510300, Guangdong Province, China.



To study the therapeutic value of combination of cryosurgery and (125)iodine seed implantation for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.


Forty-nine patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (males 36, females 13), with a median age of 59 years, were enrolled in the study. Twelve patients had liver metastases. In all cases the tumors were considered unresectable after a comprehensive evaluation. Patients were treated with cryosurgery, which was performed intraoperatively or percutaneously under guidance of ultrasound and/or computed tomography (CT), and (125)iodine seed implantation, which was performed during cryosurgery or post-cryosurgery under guidance of ultrasound and/or CT. A few patients received regional celiac artery chemotherapy.


Thirteen patients received intraoperative cryosurgery and 36 received percutaneous cryosurgery. Some patients underwent repeat cryosurgery. (125)Iodine seed implantation was performed during freezing procedure in 35 patients and 3-9 d after cryosurgery in 14 cases. Twenty patients, 10 of whom had hepatic metastases received regional chemotherapy. At 3 mo after therapy, CT was repeated to estimate tumor response to therapy. Most patients showed varying degrees of tumor necrosis. Complete response (CR) of tumor was seen in 20.4% patients, partial response (PR), in 38.8%, stable disease (SD), in 30.6%, and progressive disease (PD), in 10.2%. Adverse effects associated with cryosurgery included upper abdomen pain and increased serum amylase. Acute pancreatitis was seen in 6 patients one of whom developed severe pancreatitis. All adverse effects were controlled by medical management with no poor outcome. There was no therapy-related mortality. During a median follow-up of 18 mo (range of 5-40), the median survival was 16.2 mo, with 26 patients (53.1%) surviving for 12 mo or more. Overall, the 6-, 12-, 24- and 36-mo survival rates were 94.9%, 63.1%, 22.8% and 9.5%, respectively. Eight patients had survival of 24 mo or more. The patient with the longest survival (40 mo) is still living without evidence of tumor recurrence.


Cryosurgery, which is far less invasive than conventional pancreatic resection, and is associated with a low rate of adverse effects, should be the treatment of choice for patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer. (125)Iodine seed implantation can destroy the residual surviving cancer cells after cryosurgery. Hence, a combination of both modalities has a complementary effect.

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