Purpose: To determine the activity and toxicity of paclitaxel and concurrent radiation for pancreatic cancer.
Methods and materials: Forty-four patients with locally unresectable pancreatic cancer were studied. Patients received paclitaxel, 50 mg/m(2) by 3 h i.v. (IV) infusion, weekly, on Days 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. Radiation was administered concurrently to a total dose of 50.4 Gy, in 1.80 Gy fractions, for 28 treatments.
Results: Nausea and vomiting were the most common toxicities, Grade 3 in five patients (12%). Two patients (5%) had Grade 4 hypersensitivity reactions to their first dose of paclitaxel. Of 42 evaluable patients, the overall response rate was 26%. The median survival was 8 months, and the 1-year survival was 30%.
Conclusion: Concurrent paclitaxel and radiation demonstrate local-regional activity in pancreatic cancer. Future investigations combining paclitaxel with other local-regional and systemic treatments are warranted.