Combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy (cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil) as palliative treatment for localized unresectable or adjuvant treatment for resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma: results of a feasibility study

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2000 Mar 1;46(4):903-11. doi: 10.1016/s0360-3016(99)00478-2.


Purpose: To evaluate a cisplatin-containing chemoradiotherapy (CRT) regimen followed by chemotherapy for unresectable (locally advanced group, n = 32) and resected (adjuvant group, n = 10) pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The quality of palliation and percentage of secondary resections were also studied for unresectable disease.

Methods and materials: The protocol comprised CRT (45 Gy over 5 weeks), combined with 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin during the first and fifth weeks, followed, 3 weeks later, by 4 cycles of the same chemotherapy plus leucovorin.

Results: All patients completed CRT but only 50% of each group finished the entire protocol. Gastrointestinal toxicity and weight loss were the major side effects during CRT. Enhanced hematological toxicity limited the post-CRT chemotherapy. For the locally advanced group, median survival was 9 months; 1- and 2-year survival rates were 31 and 12. 5%, respectively. The overall response rate was 16% and 50% had stable disease. A lasting palliative effect defined as improved performance status and decreased analgesic consumption, was recorded for 43% of the patients. Only three secondary resections have been performed. For the adjuvant group, median survival was 17 months.

Conclusions: Although toxic in advanced disease, this regimen significantly lowered pain and analgesic consumption, but had poor impact on secondary resectability. In an adjuvant setting, although equally toxic, this series was too small to allow conclusions to be drawn.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Palliative Care
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Survival Analysis


  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil