Background: Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Among patients treated with surgery alone, liver metastasis occurs in up to 50%, peritoneal recurrence in 25%, and local recurrence occurs in 50-80% of all patients who underwent resection. Even after a macroscopically curative resection, tumour cells might be observed by microscopy at one or more edges of the resected specimen in 20-51% (R-1) which might account for the high local recurrence. Aim of the Study: An analysis was performed in 54 patients who underwent an irradical resection (R-1 and R-2) for pancreatic cancer. 33 patients were treated with chemoradiotherapy. To evaluate the effect of therapy on survival and recurrence, this group was retrospectively compared to a group of 21 patients that did not receive chemoradiotherapy. Methods: Radiotherapy consisted of 50 Gy external upper abdomen radiation in two courses of 3 weeks, concomitant with intravenous 5-FU 25 mg/kg/24 h continuously on the first 4 days of each treatment course. Follow-up was performed mainly by CT scanning and occasionally by US and was completed for all but 1 patient. Results: The treatment protocol was completed in all patients without complications. Local recurrence was found in 6 (18%) patients in the group of patients who received adjuvant therapy versus 16 (48%) patients in the group that did not receive adjuvant therapy (p = 0.001). The median survival time for the treated group was 12.8 vs. 13.7 months in the group that did not receive chemoradiotherapy (p = 0.9). Three (9%) patients are still alive 140, 88 and 70 months after receiving surgery and adjuvant treatment. Conclusion: Adjuvant chemoradiotherapy clearly gives a significant better local control. However, treatment with 5-FU and radiotherapy does not improve survival due to distant metastases. This therapy probably prolongs survival in only a few patients. More effective treatment methods have to be designed to prevent metastatic disease and improve survival. Copyright

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Digestive Surgery
Department of Pathology

Smeenk, H. G., Incrocci, L., Kazemier, G., van Dekken, H., Tran, K., Jeekel, H., & van Eijck, C. (2005). Adjuvant 5-FU-based chemoradiotherapy for patients undergoing R-1/R-2 resections for pancreatic cancer. Digestive Surgery, 22(5), 321–328. doi:10.1159/000089250