Background: Radiotherapy (RT) in patients with pancreatic cancer is still a controversial subject and its benefit in inoperable stages of locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC), even after induction chemotherapy, remains unclear. Modern radiation techniques such as image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) may improve effectiveness and reduce radiotherapy-related toxicities.
Methods: Patients with LAPC who underwent radiotherapy after chemotherapy between 09/2004 and 05/2013 were retrospectively analyzed with regard to preradiation chemotherapy (PRCT), modalities of radiotherapy, and toxicities. Progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated by Kaplan-Meier curves.
Results: 15 (68%) women and 7 men (median age 64 years; range 40-77) were identified. Median duration of PRCT was 11.1 months (range 4.3-33.0). Six patients (27%) underwent conventional RT and 16 patients (73%) advanced IMRT and IGRT; median dosage was 50.4 (range 9-54) Gray. No grade III or IV toxicities occurred. Median PFS (estimated from the beginning of RT) was 5.8 months, 2.6 months in the conventional RT group (conv-RT), and 7.1 months in the IMRT/IGRT group (P = 0.029); median OS was 11.0 months, 4.2 months (conv-RT), and 14.0 months (IMRT/IGRT); P = 0.141. Median RT-specific PFS for patients with prolonged PRCT > 9 months was 8.5 months compared to 5.6 months for PRCT < 9 months (P = 0.293). This effect was translated into a significantly better median RT-specific overall survival of patients in the PRCT > 9 months group, with 19.0 months compared to 8.5 months in the PRCT < 9 months group (P = 0.049).
Conclusions: IGRT and IMRT after PRCT are feasible and effective options for patients with LAPC after prolonged preradiation chemotherapy.