Irreversible electroporation may hold promise for pancreatic cancer

Irreversible Electroporation Promising in Pancreatic Cancer
Irreversible Electroporation Promising in Pancreatic Cancer

(HealthDay News) -- Irreversible electroporation (IRE) in pancreatic cancer cells may improve survival rates for some patients, new research suggests. The findings were published in the September issue of the Annals of Surgery.

Robert Martin II, M.D., Ph.D., director of surgical oncology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and colleagues included patients with locally-advanced pancreatic cancer, making complete surgical removal impossible. All of the 200 adults with stage III pancreatic cancer included in the current study underwent electrical IRE treatment after completing chemotherapy.

About half of the patients in the study experienced complications. But the side effects related to IRE were minimal, according to Martin. Any side effects were "directly related to the surgical procedure" required to make the tumor area accessible, he told HealthDay. The average survival was two years. The study authors followed some patients for as long as seven years.

"For patients with locally-advanced pancreatic cancer (stage III), the addition of IRE to conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy results in substantially prolonged survival compared with historical controls," the authors write. "These results suggest that ablative control of the primary tumor may prolong survival."

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