Induction Gemcitabine Plus Concurrent Gemcitabine and Radiotherapy for Locally Advanced Unresectable or Resected Pancreatic Cancer
To determine the efficacy of induction gemcitabine followed by biweekly gemcitabine concurrent with radiotherapy for locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
Materials and methods:
Between March 2001 and August 2009, 90 patients with unresectable (78) or resected (12) pancreatic cancer were treated with a standard treatment policy of induction gemcitabine (seven doses of weekly gemcitabine at 1000 mg/m2) followed by concurrent radiotherapy (52.5 Gy) and biweekly gemcitabine (40 mg/m2).
After induction gemcitabine, 17.8% of patients did not proceed to chemoradiotherapy, due to either disease progression, performance status deterioration or gemcitabine toxicity. Of the patients who received chemoradiotherapy, 68.9% completed the course of 52.5 Gy, whereas 79.7% received more than 45 Gy. Chemoradiotherapy was stopped early due to treatment toxicity in 22.9% of patients. On intention to treat analysis, the median overall survival was 12.7 months in the locally advanced group and 18.2 months in the resected group. On multivariate analysis for the unresectable patients, a larger gross tumour volume was a significant poor prognostic factor for overall survival and local progression–free survival.
This large series confirms, in a standard practice setting, similar efficacy and tolerability of treatment as previously reported in our phase I–II study. The benefit to patients with a gross tumour volume >48 cm3 may be limited.