Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is increasingly incorporated into therapy for pancreatic cancer. A concern regarding this technique is the potential for geographic miss and decreased local control. We analyzed patterns of first failure among patients treated with IMRT for resected pancreatic cancer.
Methods and Materials
Seventy-one patients who underwent resection and adjuvant chemoradiation for pancreas cancer are included in this report. IMRT was used for all to a median dose of 50.4 Gy. Concurrent chemotherapy was 5-FU–based in 72% of patients and gemcitabine-based in 28%.
At median follow-up of 24 months, 49/71 patients (69%) had failed. The predominant failure pattern was distant metastases in 35/71 patients (49%). The most common site of metastases was the liver. Fourteen patients (19%) developed locoregional failure in the tumor bed alone in 5 patients, regional nodes in 4 patients, and concurrently with metastases in 5 patients. Median overall survival (OS) was 25 months. On univariate analysis, nodal status, margin status, postoperative CA 19-9 level, and weight loss during treatment were predictive for OS. On multivariate analysis, higher postoperative CA19-9 levels predicted for worse OS on a continuous basis (p < 0.01). A trend to worse OS was seen among patients with more weight loss during therapy (p = 0.06). Patients with positive nodes and positive margins also had significantly worse OS (HR for death 2.8, 95% CI 1.1–7.5; HR for death 2.6, 95% CI 1.1–6.2, respectively). Grade 3–4 nausea and vomiting was seen in 8% of patients. Late complication of small bowel obstruction occurred in 4 (6%) patients.
This is the first comprehensive report of patterns of failure among patients treated with adjuvant IMRT for pancreas cancer. IMRT was not associated with an increase in local recurrences in our cohort. These data support the use of IMRT in the recently activated EORTC/US Intergroup/RTOG 0848 adjuvant pancreas trial.