Stereotactic body radiotherapy and gemcitabine for locally advanced pancreatic cancer

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2010 Nov 1;78(3):735-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2009.08.046. Epub 2010 Feb 18.


Purpose: Patients with nonmetastatic locally advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer have a dismal prognosis. Conventional concurrent chemoradiotherapy requires 6 weeks of daily treatment and can be arduous. We explored the safety and effectiveness of a 3-day course of hypofractionated stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) followed by gemcitabine in this population.

Patients and methods: A total of 36 patients with nonmetastatic, locally advanced, unresectable pancreatic cancer with ≥12 months of follow-up were included. They received three fractions of 8, 10, or 12 Gy (total dose, 24-36 Gy) of SBRT according to the tumor location in relation to the stomach and duodenum, using fiducial-based respiratory motion tracking on a robotic radiosurgery system. The patients were then offered gemcitabine for 6 months or until tolerance or disease progression.

Results: With an overall median follow-up of 24 months (range, 12-33), the local control rate was 78%, the median overall survival time was 14.3 months, the median carbohydrate antigen 19-9-determined progression-free survival time was 7.9 months, and the median computed tomography-determined progression-free survival time was 9.6 months. Of the 36 patients, 28 (78%) eventually developed distant metastases. Six patients (17%) were free of progression at the last follow-up visit (range, 13-30 months) as determined by normalized tumor markers with stable computed tomography findings. Nine Grade 2 (25%) and five Grade 3 (14%) toxicities attributable to SBRT occurred.

Conclusion: Hypofractionated SBRT can be delivered quickly and effectively in patients with nonmetastatic, locally advanced, unresectable pancreatic cancer with acceptable side effects and minimal interference with gemcitabine chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic / therapeutic use*
  • CA-19-9 Antigen / blood
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy / mortality
  • Deoxycytidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Deoxycytidine / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Duodenum / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / blood
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Radiosurgery / adverse effects
  • Radiosurgery / methods*
  • Radiosurgery / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic
  • CA-19-9 Antigen
  • Deoxycytidine
  • gemcitabine