Background: Local recurrence is the most frequent site of failure after resection for pancreatic cancer. Tolerance, local control, and survival obtained by the association of resection and intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) were reported.
Methods: Between June 1985 and March 1993, 90 resections for pancreatic cancer were performed at the authors' institution. For 43 patients, IORT was added to resection (Group 1), whereas the other 47 patients underwent resection alone (Group 2), because of either the unavailability of linear accelerator or the patient's refusal. In Group 1, radiation doses from 12.5 to 20 Gy, with electron beam energies between 6 and 12 MeV, were delivered. Extension of the disease was similar in the two groups of patients: mean diameter of the tumor was 3.2 cm in Group 1 and 3.4 cm in Group 2; percentage of third degree stage disease (International Union Against Cancer classification) was 65.1% in Group 1 and 57.4% in Group 2; and tumor clearance was incomplete in 39.5% of patients in Group 1 and in 34.0% in Group 2.
Results: Operative mortality and overall early post-operative complications were respectively 2.3% and 23.2% in Group 1 and 2.1% and 23.4% in Group 2. One-year, 2-year, and 3-year survival rates were respectively 71%, 24%, and 7% in Group 1 and 49%, 16%, and 10% in Group 2 (P was not significant). Median disease free survival was 13 months in Group 1 and 8 months in Group 2 (P was not significant). A local recurrence was detected in 27.0% of patients in Group 1 and in 56.4% of patients in Group 2 (P < 0.01).
Conclusions: The results suggest a better local control in patients with pancreatic cancer undergoing adjuvant IORT.