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Stereotactic radiotherapy slows pancreatic cancer progression for inoperable patients
Date:10/29/2010

43,140 new cases of pancreatic cancer, and approximately 36,800 will die from the disease. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include smoking, diabetes, obesity, family history of the disease and pancreatitis. Most people diagnosed with the disease are older than 65.

Surgery is the only known cure for resectable pancreatic cancer, where the cancer is localized to the pancreas and hasn't spread.

It is estimated that only 20 percent of pancreatic cancer patients have their tumors present with localized disease amendable to surgical removal. A select number of those patients, however, are not candidates for surgery due to having other co-morbidities such as heart disease. This leaves only chemotherapy and radiation, or a combination of the two, available for treatment.

SBRT is a method of giving radiation that can be highly targeted to the tumor, sparing the normal tissue around it. It also provides a higher dose of radiation, meaning patients have fewer treatments. It is most commonly used for lung cancer patients, but has been used for liver and brain tumors as well.

The Henry Ford study looked to determine if SBRT was a viable option to slow cancer progression in medically inoperable patients with potentially resectable pancreatic cancer.

The study included 12 medically inoperable patients with stage I or II pancreatic cancer. The median patient age was 83. Patients received between three and seven SBRT treatments.

Among those patients whose cancer spread, SBRT was able to slow cancer progression for five to six months. Once the patients' cancer started to progress, they lived about 2.5 months. "This may indicate that this slowing of the progression of disease accomplished by SBRT may modestly increase overall life span," notes Dr. Haley.

A few patients reported some minor side effects from treatment, including fatigue, loss of appetite and weakness. Two patients developed gastric ulcers, but both rec
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Contact: Krista Hopson
khopson1@hfhs.org
313-874-7207
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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