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Radiosurgery Proves Viable for Some Pancreatic Cancers

Team cites precision of robotic 'CyberKnife,' with therapy delivered in only a week

MONDAY, Sept. 22 (HealthDay News) -- A preliminary study shows that radiosurgery may be a viable treatment for recurring pancreatic cancer.

Researchers at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, using their precise CyberKnife to perform radiosurgery, had 28 patients experience median survival of 5.3 months from the date of treatment. The range of survival was from one month to 27 months with a quarter of the patients living more than eight months after treatment.

"These patients had received full doses of conventional radiation therapy prior to their radiation treatment, so this speaks to the very high level of precision of the CyberKnife -- that we were able to give them more radiation safely," study lead author Dr. Christopher Lominska, a resident in radiation medicine at the cancer center, said a news release issued by the university. "It's also worth noting that treatment was delivered in only a week, allowing patients to resume systemic chemotherapy with minimal interruption."

The results were presented Sept. 21 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic and Radiology Oncology, in Boston.

Radiographic studies showed the cancer was locally controlled in six patients, Lominska said. Six other patients experienced local control with distant progression of the disease, while local and distant progression occurred in two others. No follow-up imaging was available on the remaining patients.

While the preliminary survival trends look good, Lominska said more studies must be designed to evaluate if radiosurgery with CyberKnife can extend survival when compared with usual care.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about pancreatic cancer.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Georgetown University, news release, Sept. 21, 2008

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