Research Papers:

Stereotactic body radiation therapy for palliative management of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in elderly and medically inoperable patients

John F. Ryan, Lauren M. Rosati, Vincent P. Groot, Dung T. Le, Lei Zheng, Daniel A. Laheru, Eun J. Shin, Juan Jackson, Joseph Moore, Amol K. Narang and Joseph M. Herman _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:16427-16436. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.24713

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John F. Ryan1, Lauren M. Rosati1, Vincent P. Groot2, Dung T. Le3, Lei Zheng3, Daniel A. Laheru3, Eun J. Shin3, Juan Jackson1, Joseph Moore1, Amol K. Narang1 and Joseph M. Herman1,4

1Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

2Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

3Department of Oncology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

4Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Correspondence to:

Joseph M. Herman, email: [email protected]

Keywords: stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT); palliative care; pancreatic cancer; radiation; elderly

Received: November 07, 2017     Accepted: March 02, 2018     Published: March 27, 2018


Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) represents a promising treatment option for patients with localized pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) who cannot tolerate surgical therapy. We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients with localized PDAC treated with SBRT at our institution between 2010 and 2016 to identify patients deemed medically inoperable due to poor performance status, advanced age, and/or comorbid conditions. Overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and local progression-free survival (LPFS) were estimated using Kaplan-Meier curves. Twenty-nine patients were included. Median age was 74 (IQR 68-79). Thirteen patients (45%) had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 2. Six patients (19%) had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 9 (31%) had cardiovascular disease, and 17 (58%) had diabetes mellitus. SBRT was delivered over 5 fractions to a median dose of 28 Gy (IQR, 25-33). Twenty-two patients (76%) received induction chemotherapy prior to SBRT, and 9 (31%) received maintenance chemotherapy after SBRT. Median OS was 13 months from diagnosis. Median OS and PFS were 8 and 6 months from SBRT, respectively. Six and 12-month LPFS rates were 91% and 78%, respectively. Patients receiving induction chemotherapy had superior survival from diagnosis than those who did not (14 vs. 7 months, p = 0.01). Three patients (10%) experienced acute grade ≥3 toxicity, and 1 patient (4%) experienced grade ≥3 late toxicity. Symptom relief was achieved at three-month follow-up in 8 of 11 patients (73%) experiencing abdominal pain. These results suggest SBRT may be safe and effective for patients who cannot tolerate surgery.

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