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J Clin Oncol. 1997 Aug;15(8):2920-7.

Combined modality therapy for stage II and stage III pancreatic carcinoma.

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Section of Hematology/Oncology, West Virginia University Health Sciences Center, Charleston, USA.



To study the outcome achieved with three-drug chemotherapy and split-course external-beam radiotherapy as a treatment for unresectable stage II and III pancreatic carcinoma.


Radiotherapy was given in three cycles of 2 Gy/d on days 1 to 5 and 8 to 12 (total dose, 54 Gy) concurrently with fluorouracil (FU) 1,000 mg/m2/d by continuous infusion for 4.5 days, streptozocin (STZ) 300 mg/m2 on days 1, 2, and 3 and cisplatin (P) 100 mg/m2 on day 3 of each every-28-day cycle. Subsequent treatment consisted of leucovorin (LV) 200 mg/m2 and FU 600 to 1,000 mg/m2 every 14 days.


The median survival time for the 35 patients was 15 months and 26% of patients were alive at 24 months. Fifteen patients (42.8%) had objective responses to therapy. Six (17%) had a complete response (CR). Three of nine patients with partial responses (PRs) achieved a radiographic CR within the next 3 months. Nine patients underwent attempts at surgical resection: five were resected (median survival time, 31 months; range, 12.8 to 44.7+), two had no residual disease found at complete resection, and three others also had a complete resection. Of four others who could not be resected, three underwent intraoperative radiotherapy and one had occult metastatic disease. Of primary tumors, 91% did not produce either back pain or local gastrointestinal complications for 2 years. The rates of severe side effects were stomatitis 15%, anemia 14%, granulocytopenia 6%, and thrombocytopenia 6%.


Palliation and survival compare favorably with other series, including many surgical series. The response findings encourage studies of both unresectable and (as neoadjuvant therapy) resectable tumors.

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