Background: This phase 2 multi-institutional study was designed to determine whether gemcitabine (GEM) with fractionated stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) results in acceptable late grade 2 to 4 gastrointestinal toxicity when compared with a prior trial of GEM with single-fraction SBRT in patients with locally advanced pancreatic cancer (LAPC).
Methods: A total of 49 patients with LAPC received up to 3 doses of GEM (1000 mg/m(2)) followed by a 1-week break and SBRT (33.0 gray [Gy] in 5 fractions). After SBRT, patients continued to receive GEM until disease progression or toxicity. Toxicity was assessed using the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events [version 4.0] and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group radiation morbidity scoring criteria. Patients completed the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ-C30) and pancreatic cancer-specific QLQ-PAN26 module before SBRT and at 4 weeks and 4 months after SBRT.
Results: The median follow-up was 13.9 months (range, 3.9-45.2 months). The median age of the patients was 67 years and 84% had tumors of the pancreatic head. Rates of acute and late (primary endpoint) grade ≥ 2 gastritis, fistula, enteritis, or ulcer toxicities were 2% and 11%, respectively. QLQ-C30 global quality of life scores remained stable from baseline to after SBRT (67 at baseline, median change of 0 at both follow-ups; P>.05 for both). Patients reported a significant improvement in pancreatic pain (P = .001) 4 weeks after SBRT on the QLQ-PAN26 questionnaire. The median plasma carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9) level was reduced after SBRT (median time after SBRT, 4.2 weeks; 220 U/mL vs 62 U/mL [P<.001]). The median overall survival was 13.9 months (95% confidence interval, 10.2 months-16.7 months). Freedom from local disease progression at 1 year was 78%. Four patients (8%) underwent margin-negative and lymph node-negative surgical resections.
Conclusions: Fractionated SBRT with GEM results in minimal acute and late gastrointestinal toxicity. Future studies should incorporate SBRT with more aggressive multiagent chemotherapy.
Keywords: chemoradiation; locally advanced; pancreatic cancer; positron emission tomography; stereotactic body radiotherapy; unresectable.
© 2014 The Authors. Cancer published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Cancer Society.