Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy may benefit certain patients with pancreatic cancer
the ONA take:
Stereotactic body radiotherapy appears to be both effective and safe for treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer tumors that have not spread to other areas of the body.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy, a high-dose radiation treatment, may have advantages over traditional radiation therapy for some patients because it can be delivered over the course of one week, whereas standard radiation therapy can often take six or more weeks to complete. A longer course of standard radiotherapy can delay full-dose chemotherapy.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center conducted two studies examining the effectiveness of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for advanced pancreatic cancer treatment.
In the first study, 49 patients with (locally) advanced pancreatic cancer received stereotactic body radiotherapy in five doses, coupled with chemotherapy with gemcitabine before and after.
The 22 patients that completed a quality-of-life questionnaire after treatment all reported an eight-point pain reduction (from a baseline measure of 25) with no reduction in quality of life.
In their second study, the investigators examined the records of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer that had received SBRT and chemotherapeutic drugs at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between 2010 and 2014.
Of 88 patients reviewed, 19 that had tumors previously considered inoperable were able to benefit from surgery after the SBRT treatment. The radiation treatment changed the tumors to a form more easily removed from blood vessels. Eight of the 88 patients experienced severe gastrointestinal side effects.
Joseph Herman, M.D., M.Sc., co-director of the Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic, stated that SBRT "appears to be at least as good as standard radiation, and in some cases, it appears to be better," though he also cautions that additional research is needed via randomized trials. Results of these studies were published in the journal Cancer (first study) in April and the journal Annals of Surgical Oncology in January 2015.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy appears to be both effective and safe for treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer tumors.
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