Consolidatory ablative stereotactic body radiation therapy after induction chemotherapy for unresectable pancreatic cancer: A single center experience

Front Oncol. 2022 Nov 18:12:974454. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2022.974454. eCollection 2022.


Background and purpose: Consolidatory radiotherapy in form of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with an ablative dose following induction chemotherapy is emerging as a promising treatment scheme for unresectable pancreatic cancer. Outcomes of given treatment at a single center for contiguous patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer were evaluated to build the optimal treatment strategy.

Materials and methods: In this retrospective study, a total of 50 patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer who underwent induction chemotherapy and ablative dose SBRT were included. SBRT dose was 40-50 Gy in five fractions. Two strategies were adopted to adhere to the organs at risk (OAR) dose constraints: simultaneous integrated protection (SIP) technique and magnetic resonance (MR)-guided adaptive technique. Overall survival (OS) and local progression-free survival (LPFS) were calculated from the start date of SBRT.

Results: The median follow-up period for survivors was 21.1 months (range, 6.2-61.0 months). Eleven (22.0%) patients underwent resection after SBRT, which were all R0 resection. In patients with non-metastatic disease, the median OS was 26.5 months (range, 4.1-61.0 months), and the 1- and 3-year LPFS were 90.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 72.0-96.7%) and 57.4% (95% CI, 31.7-76.4%), respectively. Patients with oligometastatic disease had inferior survival outcomes, but there was no survival difference among responders to induction chemotherapy. In the multivariable analysis, tumor size ≤4 cm, non-metastatic status, and good response to induction chemotherapy were associated with improved LPFS. In dosimetric analysis, GTV Dmin ≥50.5 Gy was the strongest prognosticator against local progression. Grade ≥3 adverse events occurred in two (4.0%) patients with non-adaptive RT, but none in patients with MR-guided adaptive RT.

Conclusion: Ablative dose SBRT following induction chemotherapy is an effective strategy for selected patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. The SIP technique and MR-guided adaptive RT were attributed to minimizing the risk of adverse events. Further studies are needed to identify the best candidates for consolidatory SBRT in unresectable pancreatic cancer.

Keywords: MR-guided adaptive radiotherapy; ablative dose; oligometastatic disease; pancreatic cancer; simultaneous integrated protection; stereotactic body radiotherapy.