The role of radiotherapy in locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Aug;7(8):437-47. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2010.98. Epub 2010 Jul 13.


The prognosis for locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma remains dismal despite advances in chemotherapy and radiotherapy over the past few decades. The use of radiotherapy for pancreatic carcinoma is often disputed because of the hypothesis that patients with pancreatic cancer die from distant metastases. It is well accepted that the greatest chance for cure of pancreatic cancer involves surgical resection of the primary tumor. However, there is much controversy about the role of radiotherapy in local disease control. The aim of this Review is to discuss data from the available studies, both prospective and retrospective, that evaluate treatment options for locally advanced pancreatic cancer. We focus on the benefits associated with local therapies, including radiotherapy and surgical resection, as they relate to improved local disease control, prolonged overall survival and improved symptom control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy / trends*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antineoplastic Agents