Hypofractionated Conformal Radiotherapy with Concurrent Full-Dose Gemcitabine Versus Standard Fractionation Radiotherapy with Concurrent Fluorouracil for Unresectable Pancreatic Cancer: a Multi-Institution Experience.

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J Gastrointest Cancer

MeSH Headings

Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antimetabolites, Antineoplastic, Chemoradiotherapy, Deoxycytidine, Dose Fractionation, Radiation, Female, Fluorouracil, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pancreatic Neoplasms, Radiotherapy, Conformal, Retrospective Studies, Survival Analysis


PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE(S): The purpose of this study was to compare oncologic outcomes and toxicity profile of hypofractionated conformal radiotherapy (RT) with concurrent full-dose gemcitabine versus standard fractionation RT with concurrent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in the treatment of unresectable non-metastatic pancreatic cancer.

MATERIALS/METHODS: Patients with unresectable non-metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas treated at three institutions were included. All patients were treated with chemoradiotherapy (CRT) consisting of either hypofractionated RT to the gross disease concurrent with a full-dose gemcitabine-based regimen versus standard fractionation RT to the tumor and elective nodes concurrent with 5-FU. End points included rates of gastrointestinal (GI) toxicities, overall survival (OS), and distant metastasis free survival (DMFS).

RESULTS: From January 1999 to December 2009, 170 patients were identified (118 RT/gemcitabine, 52 RT/5-FU). There were no differences in demographic or clinical factors. Acute GI toxicities (grades≥3) were 82.2 and 17.8 %, respectively, for patients treated with RT/gemcitabine and 78.9 and 21.2 % for those treated with RT/5-FU (p = 0.67). Late GI toxicities (grades≥3) were 88.1 and 11.9 %, respectively, for RT/gemcitabine and 80.8 and 19.2 % for RT/5-FU (p = 0.23). OS for RT/gemcitabine and RT/5-FU were 52 versus 36 % at 1 year and 14 versus 6 % at 2 years favoring the RT/gemcitabine group (p = 0.02). DMFS at 1 and 2 years for RT/gemcitabine were 41 and 11 % versus 24 and 4 % for RT/5-FU (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: RT/gemcitabine was equivalent in toxicity to RT/5-FU but was associated with superior OS and DMFS. When RT is used in the treatment of unresectable pancreatic cancer, hypofractionated conformal RT with concurrent full-dose gemcitabine may be the preferred approach.



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