Chemo-radiotherapy for localized pancreatic cancer: Increased dose intensity and reduced acute toxicity with concomitant radiotherapy and protracted venous infusion 5-fluorouracil Conference on Overcoming Bad Blood in Cancer Clinical Trials - Tuskegee Trial Revisited Poen, J. C., Collins, H. L., Niederhuber, J. E., Oberhelman, H. A., Vierra, M. A., Bastidas, A. J., Young, H. S., Slosberg, E. A., Jeffrey, B. R., Longacre, T. A., Fisher, G. A., Goffinet, D. R. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 1998: 93–99


Although concomitant radiation therapy (RT) and bolus 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) have been shown to improve survival in locally confined pancreatic cancer, most patients will eventually succumb to their disease. Since 1994, we have attempted to improve efficacy by administering 5-FU as a protracted venous infusion (PVI). This study compares treatment intensity and acute toxicity of consecutive protocols of concurrent RT and 5-FU by bolus injection or PVI.Since 1986, 74 patients with resected or locally advanced pancreatic cancer were treated with continuous course RT and concurrent 5-FU by bolus injection (n = 44) or PVI throughout the course of RT (n = 30). Dose intensity was assessed for both 5-FU and radiotherapy. Toxicity endpoints which could be reliably and objectively quantified (e.g., neutropenia, weight loss, treatment interruption) were evaluated.Cumulative 5-FU dose (mean = 7.2 vs. 2.5 gm/m2, p < 0.001) and weekly 5-FU dose (mean = 1.3 vs. 0.5 gm/m2/wk, p < 0.001) were significantly higher for patients receiving PVI 5-FU. Following pancreaticoduodenectomy, 95% of PVI patients maintained a RT dose intensity of > or = 900 cGy/wk, compared with 63% of those receiving bolus 5-FU (p = 0.02). No difference was seen for patients with locally advanced disease (72% vs. 76%, p = n.s.). Grade II-III neutropenia was less common for patients treated with PVI (13% vs. 34%, p = 0.05). Grade II-III thrombocytopenia was uncommon (< or = 3%) in both treatment groups. Mean percent weight loss (3.8% vs. 4.1%, p = n.s.) and weight loss > or = 5% of pre-treatment weight (21% vs. 31%, p = n.s.) were similar for PVI and bolus treatment groups, respectively. Treatment interruptions for hematologic, gastrointestinal or other acute toxicities were less common for patients receiving PVI 5-FU (10% vs. 25%, p = 0.11).Concurrent RT and 5-FU by PVI was well tolerated and permitted greater chemotherapy and radiotherapy dose intensity with reduced hematologic toxicity and fewer treatment interruptions compared with RT and bolus 5-FU. Longer follow-up will be needed to assess late effects and the impact on overall survival.

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View details for PubMedID 9422563