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Korean J Radiol. 2011 Mar-Apr;12(2):176-86. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2011.12.2.176. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

Concurrent chemotherapy and pulsed high-intensity focused ultrasound therapy for the treatment of unresectable pancreatic cancer: initial experiences.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and the Institute of Radiation Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 110-744, Korea.



This study was performed to evaluate the potential clinical value of concurrent chemotherapy and pulsed high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy (CCHT), as well as the safety of pulsed HIFU, for the treatment of unresectable pancreatic cancer.


Twelve patients were treated with HIFU from October 2008 to May 2010, and three of them underwent CCHT as the main treatment (the CCHT group). The overall survival (OS), the time to tumor progression (TTP), the complications and the current performance status in the CCHT and non-CCHT groups were analyzed. Nine patients in the non-CCHT group were evaluated to determine why CCHT could not be performed more than twice.


The OS of the three patients in the CCHT group was 26.0, 21.6 and 10.8 months, respectively, from the time of diagnosis. Two of them were alive at the time of preparing this manuscript with an excellent performance status, and one of them underwent a surgical resection one year after the initiation of CCHT. The TTP of the three patients in the CCHT group was 13.4, 11.5 and 9.9 months, respectively. The median OS and TTP of the non-CCHT group were 10.3 months and 4.4 months, respectively. The main reasons why the nine patients of the non-CCHT group failed to undergo CCHT more than twice were as follows: pancreatitis (n = 1), intolerance of the pain during treatment (n = 4), palliative use of HIFU for pain relief (n = 1) and a poor physical condition due to disease progression (n = 3). No major complications were encountered except one case of pancreatitis.


This study shows that CCHT is a potentially effective and safe modality for the treatment of unresectable pancreatic cancer.


Chemotherapy; Gemcitabine; High-intensity focused ultrasound ablation; Pancreatic cancer

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