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Radiother Oncol. 2011 May;99(2):114-9. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2011.05.038. Epub 2011 May 27.

Long-term results of full-dose gemcitabine with radiation therapy compared to 5-fluorouracil with radiation therapy for locally advanced pancreas cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, USA.



To retrospectively compare the efficacy and toxicity of full-dose gemcitabine based chemoradiotherapy (GemRT) versus 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) based chemoradiotherapy (5FURT) for locally advanced pancreas cancer (LAPC).


From January 1998 to December 2008, 93 patients with LAPC were treated either with 5FURT (n=38) or GemRT (n=55). 5FURT consisted of standard-field radiotherapy given concurrently with infusional 5-FU or capecitabine. GemRT consisted of involved-field radiotherapy given concurrently with full-dose gemcitabine (1000mg/m(2) weekly) with or without erlotinib. The follow-up time was calculated from the time of diagnosis to the date of death or last contact.


Patient characteristics were not significantly different between treatment groups. The overall survival (OS) was significantly better for GemRT compared to 5FURT (median 12.5months versus 10.2months; 51% versus 34% at 1year; 12% versus 0% at 3years; 7% versus 0% at 5years, respectively; all P=0.04). The OS benefit of GemRT was maintained on subset analysis without concurrent erlotinib or with sequential gemcitabine (all P<0.05). The rates of distant metastasis, subsequent hospitalization, acute and late grade 3-5 gastrointestinal toxicities were not significantly different between the GemRT and 5FURT groups.


GemRT was associated with an improved OS compared to standard 5FURT. This approach yielded long-term survivors and was not associated with increased hospitalization or severe gastrointestinal toxicity.

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