Pancreatic resection combined with intraoperative radiation therapy for pancreatic cancer

Ann Surg. 1997 Jul;226(1):66-9. doi: 10.1097/00000658-199707000-00009.


Objective: The objective of the study was to analyze a single center's experience in the treatment of pancreatic carcinoma with a combination of pancreatic resection and intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT).

Summary background data: Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal form of gastrointestinal malignancy. Historically, it carries a 20% 1-year survival and a 5-year survival of 3% to 5%. Since 1987, patients at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital have been offered IORT in an attempt to improve their survival.

Methods: The authors reviewed all patients treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital with pancreatic adenocarcinoma from 1987 to 1994. From this population, 14 patients were identified who received IORT in conjunction with curative surgery. Duration of hospital stay, perioperative complications, duration of postoperative ileus, and survival were assessed by retrospective review.

Results: Of the 14 patients, 6 were male and 8 were female. Patient median age was 61. Six patients had stage I disease, 2 had stage II, 6 had stage III. Two patients had total pancreatectomy, 2 had distal pancreatectomy, and the remaining had pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple resection). Median survival was 16 months with a 15.5% 5-year survival. Postoperative complications, duration of hospital stay, and duration of postoperative ileus were not adversely affected by the addition of IORT when compared to in-house control subjects.

Conclusions: Intraoperative radiation therapy is a useful adjunct to surgical resection as treatment of pancreatic cancer. The authors' data suggested it can prolong median survival and long-term survival without adding significant morbidity.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / mortality
  • Adenocarcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, High-Energy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors