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Radiat Oncol. 2013 Oct 31;8:254. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-8-254.

Pathologic response with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and stereotactic body radiotherapy for borderline resectable and locally-advanced pancreatic cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Neoadjuvant stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) has potential applicability in the management of borderline resectable and locally-advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma. In this series, we report the pathologic outcomes in the subset of patients who underwent surgery after neoadjuvant SBRT.


Patients with borderline resectable or locally-advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma who were treated with SBRT followed by resection were included. Chemotherapy was to the discretion of the medical oncologist and preceded SBRT for most patients.


Twelve patients met inclusion criteria. Most (92%) received neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and gemcitabine/capecitabine was most frequently utilized (n = 7). Most were treated with fractionated SBRT to 36 Gy/3 fractions (n = 7) and the remainder with single fraction to 24 Gy (n = 5). No grade 3+ acute toxicities attributable to SBRT were found. Two patients developed post-surgical vascular complications and one died secondary to this. The mean time to surgery after SBRT was 3.3 months. An R0 resection was performed in 92% of patients (n = 11/12). In 25% (n = 3/12) of patients, a complete pathologic response was achieved, and an additional 16.7% (n = 2/12) demonstrated <10% viable tumor cells. Kaplan-Meier estimated median progression free survival is 27.4 months. Overall survival is 92%, 64% and 51% at 1-, 2-, and 3-years.


This study reports the pathologic response in patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and SBRT for borderline resectable and locally-advanced pancreatic cancer. In our experience, 92% achieved an R0 resection and 41.7% of patients demonstrated either complete or extensive pathologic response to treatment. The results of a phase II study of this novel approach will be forthcoming.

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