Preoperative versus postoperative chemoradiation for patients with resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

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Two groups of patients with adenocarcinoma of the pancreas treated with either preoperative chemoradiation (preop CTRT) or postoperative chemoradiation (postop CTRT) were retrospectively analyzed for various treatment-related parameters. Between November 1986 and October 1996, a total of 70 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma were enrolled into preop CTRT protocols at our institution. Twenty-five patients with adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy with curative intent. After the closure of the preop CTRT protocols, we had the opportunity to perform 23 pancreatic resections without preop CTRT. After surgery, these patients were advised to undergo CTRT. These two groups of patients were therefore selected consecutively, dependent only on the time of referral and no other bias. These two cohorts of patients are compared for various intraoperative parameters, length of hospital stay, pathologic findings, time to recurrence, and survival. Mean age was 65 and 66 years in the preop and postop CTRT groups, respectively. Sex distribution was almost equal. Treatment breaks resulting in greater than 1 week delay in the radiotherapy occurred in 2 (8%) of 25 patients in the preop CTRT group (myelotoxicity in 1 case and biliary sepsis in 1 case), whereas no treatment breaks >1 week occurred in those receiving postop CTRT. Eleven patients in preop CTRT had grade 3 or 4 toxicity, whereas none was noted in those with postop CTRT. There was one postoperative death in the preop CTRT group and none in the postop CTRT group. Mean time to the start of CTRT was 45 days (range, 20-66 days) after pancreaticoduodenectomy. Delay of >60 days to the onset of CTRT occurred in 2 (22%) patients and was attributable to patient delays in time to recover from surgery or patient noncompliance. Furthermore, 5 of 23 patients (22%) in the postop CTRT group did not receive treatment for various reasons. Average estimated operative blood loss was 1933 mL (median 1550) and 1060 mL (median 1000) for preop and postop CTRT groups, respectively. Mean length of operation was 488 minutes (median 480) and 486 minutes (median 480). Median length of postoperative stay was 22 and 20 days (ranges, 9-144 and 10-38). Pathological findings in the resected specimens showed significantly fewer involved nodes in the preop CTRT group (28 vs 87%; P = 0.0006), whereas similar numbers of nodes/patient were counted in each group (14 vs 22, P = 0.11). More negative resection margins were observed in the preop CTRT group (28 vs 56%; P = not significant). A significantly greater amount of fibrosis replacing the tumor was observed in the preop CTRT group (70 vs 40%; P = 0.0001). There were no significant survival differences observed (median 20 months vs 25 months; P = 0.48), in follow-up that ranged from 4 to 76 months (median 44 months for surviving patients) for the preop group and 4 to 40 months (median 16 months for surviving patients) for those with postop CTRT. Local failure either alone or as a component of distant failure occurred in 16 per cent (4 of 25 patients) with preop CTRT and 16.6 per cent (3 of 18) with postop CTRT. Analysis of differences between those treated with preoperative and postoperative CTRT demonstrates similarity in toxicity and effects. However, 22 per cent of patients intended for postoperative therapy did not receive treatment.





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Medicine

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