PORTLAND, Ore. Oregon Health & Science University researchers are reporting the discovery of an early survival advantage when a combination of surgery and radiation therapy is used for patients with a rare but deadly bile duct cancer.
Surgery and radiotherapy shows an early response benefit. It shows that the addition of radiation is potentially reasonable for the first-line treatment, said Clifton David Fuller, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the study. Fuller is a research associate in radiation medicine at OHSU, and a resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology and trainee in Human Imaging/Radiobiology, Division of Radiological Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
A poster of the study will be presented Oct. 28 at the 2007 annual American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) meeting in Los Angeles.
The specific cancer type studied, locoregional extraheptitc cholangiocarcinoma (EHCC), is an uncommon cancer of the bile ducts between the liver and gall bladder. Patients with this cancer typically experience symptoms at advanced stages, and cure rates are low even with aggressive therapy. Patients with this cancer have extremely poor prognosis, with an average five-year survival rate of 5 to 10 percent. The reported incidence of cholangiocarcinoma is one to two cases per 100,000 people in the U.S.
Because these cases are relatively rare, whether radiation should be added to surgery has remained a matter of debate. Because the numbers have been too small to launch a head-to-head trial, we have sought to determine baseline survival for people with this cancer receiving surgery and radiotherapy using a large data set. This study presents results from the largest population-based data set for patients with this cancer, said Charles Thomas, M.D., co-author of the study, and OHSU chairman of radiation medicine and professor of medicine.
A total of 2,591 cases of cholangioca
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Oregon Health & Science University